I swear I didn’t mean to flirt with the world-famous Brayden Clarke—especially not right in the middle of an interview for a job.
It was a slip—or perhaps a gut reaction to his smoldering eyes and deep, sexy voice.
To my total disbelief, they give me the assignment. My task is simple: advise Brayden and his band on how to communicate with their fans. Easy-peasy. Or so I thought…
I can handle the job, but the sexy lead singer who’s intent on getting under my skin might be too hot to resist.
But our lives are too different. His life is under constant scrutiny. I thrive on freedom and spontaneity. I like exploring the streets of New York and meeting up with my siblings without needing security detail.
But when we’re together, all our differences fade, and I can’t get enough of this man. And he won’t quit until he makes me his.
Say You’re Mine starts off a new spinoff series from Layla Hagen’s Irresistible Bachelors series. It is a standalone, but the connections between the characters in the IB books are explained well enough.
This instalove story is entertaining and lighthearted. Brayden’s band needs some social media assistance to connect with their fans, so Isabelle is hired to do an analysis. There is an instant connection between them, even though they (of course!) try to resist one another. I love that Isabelle doesn’t care that Brayden is one of the biggest rock stars — and of course that is what he finds intriguing about her. She could care less about who he is, and he finds the possibility of being in a real relationship with her intriguing. She’s kind, honest and down to earth, and the more time Brayden spends with her, the more he realizes that he wants to be with her.
But Isabelle and Brayden can’t live their lives in a bubble. Will she be able to handle the scrutiny and life in the spotlight that goes along with being Brayden Clark’s girlfriend? Will their romance go past the expiration date of when Brayden’s band leaves for their next tour? There are many ups and downs to their relationship as they navigate trying to find a middle ground. This story was well-written, and Isabelle and Brayden are great characters who are easy to connect with.
I look forward to seeing more from the Gallaghers in this series! I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Meet Layla Hagen
Welcome! My name is Layla Hagen and I am a Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later. I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world. And I drink coffee. Lots of it 😀
She was never mine to keep, still I took every second that girl was willing to give me.
I always knew she’d go back to him.
But I never expected she’d take a piece of me with her.
He changed my life forever, and it happened long before our two weeks together.
I didn’t mean to fall for him.
But how could I not when he gave me the most precious gift of all?
We’re Made of Moments (A Cole Creek Novel) is the first book in a brand new, small town romance series by Molly McLain. This series is full of Molly’s guaranteed feel-good vibes, amped up emotion, and page-sizzling heat. If you liked the River Bend and Velocity series, you will LOVE Cole Creek!
“Daddy’s here!” Jett shrieks from the first floor and, just like that, my stomach drops to my toes.
Lane winks. “You got this, gorgeous.”
I know I do. But that doesn’t mean I have to like any part of it.
When he turns away, I paste on my game face and chink my armor firmly into place, just like I do every other Friday. I also send up a prayer for extra grace this week, because these exchanges seem to be getting harder and harder. I’m not sure why, but I feel the unease creeping in a little more with every swap.
“Mama, come on!” Jett yells again, and I pull in a deep breath. Shoulders back, girlfriend.
I make it halfway down the stairs when my son yanks the front door open and launches himself at the brick wall of a man standing on the other side.
Big arms wrap around our little boy and lift him from the floor, while my lungs hold every ounce of air in my body hostage.
My son adores his father. Of that, I am absolutely certain. And when aquamarine eyes, the exact same color as Jett’s meet mine over the top of our little boy’s head, I realize that no matter how hard I try to prepare myself, this will never get easier.
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars
We’re Made of Moments is the first book I’ve read by Molly McLain, and I was totally hooked on Jesse and Hayden’s story! This second-chance romance is the rip your heart out and piece it back together kind of tale that I love to devour! The prologue hooked me, and the rest of the book was just as gut-wrenching.
Hayden and Jesse knew each other socially from around the small lake town where her parents had a cabin and he was from a local family. He always liked her, but respected that she had a boyfriend. They shared a few moments of pure connection over the years, so when Hayden’s boyfriend, Lane, cheated on her, Jesse was the guy she sought out when she escaped to her family’s cabin. Their two-week fling was never supposed to amount to anything more, and when Hayden eventually returned home, she reunited with Lane… and stayed with him even after discovering that she was pregnant with Jesse’s child.
Jesse.. wow. What a stand-up guy. I knew from the first time he and Lane were introduced in this book that I would be rooting for Jesse to get the girl. The guy is a super dad, and everything he does is for Hayden and their son, Jett. Even though he is hopelessly in love with Hayden, he respects her relationship and is the best co-parent he can be. But when Lane and Hayden split and she admits that she’s had feelings for him all along, Jesse wants his shot at truly making his family his.
The reunion between Hayden and Jesse isn’t easy. There are some issues they both have to hash out as far as their insecurities and personal demons, but We’re Made of Moments is a beautiful journey as they do exactly that. My heart broke for each of them at times, and I was overjoyed to see them finally get their happily ever after. This book is the gut-punch kind of story that gives you all the feels!
I will definitely be looking for more of the Cole Creek series! I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Molly McLain lives in a tiny Wisconsin town with her husband, three kiddos, and two adorable German Shorthaired Pointers. She’s addicted to 80’s ballads, 90’s rock, cheesecake, and office supplies, and she’s been scribbling down love stories in spiral notebooks since she was old enough to daydream about hunky boys and happily-ever-afters. Now, she turns those daydreams into steamy, small town romance novels.
Gabriel’s Album Sian Ceinwen
(Cruise Control Heroes, #1)
Publication date: March 14th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
The rock star always gets the girl…
I’m living my dream. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a rock star. And now here I am, about to start my first big tour, when she comes along.
From the second we meet, she’s all I can think about.Asking her to come on tour with me is easy. But she’s shy, insecure, and the paparazzi scare her. We live in two completely different worlds.
I love her and I know that she’s worth fighting for. The problem is, I’m not sure if love is enough.
Gabriel’s Album is the first book in the Cruise Control Heroes series. It’s the companion novel to The Album. Fall in love with Gabriel and Ariana all over again as Cruise Control embarks on their first world tour.
Sebastian hands us our bottles of water and walks over to a trunk with ‘DREAMS COME TRUE’ written on it. He opens it and pulls three journals and pens out if before giving one of each to both me and Hayden.
“This is called the Wisdom Tree,” Sebastian informs us. “You write your thoughts, ideas, or dreams in these books. People add to them all the time. I thought this might be good for you, Gabriel.”
I flick through the journal he gave me, reading the thoughts, dreams, and ideas that other hikers have contributed. My heart rate increases as I consider what I should add to this. I close my eyes and take some deep breaths while I think about it. I’ve just achieved a life dream, probably my biggest one, but I know what I want. I begin to write.
I’ve worked hard to get where I am. I’ve succeeded in achieving my goals. What does it mean if I can’t have you?
It’s the thought that I’ve been struggling with since Ariana left. I thought that what we were building together could become something much more. The possibility that she might not come back to me is too painful to bear. I have to cling to the hope that Heather will get through to her while she’s back at home, and we can get through this.
A single tear drops from my face and splashes on the page, causing the ink in front of me to blur. I wipe the other tears from my face and close the book before walking over and placing the journal and pen in the trunk again.
I cough and ask, “Are you guys done?”
“Just finished,” Hayden smiles.
“I’m done too,” Sebastian nods.
If either of them notices my tears, they don’t mention them, and we continue on our way to the sign. On the way there, Sebastian stops and drops the backpack on the ground before pulling out my phone.
“You can check it if you want,” he says as he holds it out to me.
My heartbeat increases as I take it from him, and I can barely breathe as I check the screen. Nothing. I take a deep breath and fight back tears. Surely, Heather should’ve gotten a hold of her by now.
I hand the phone back to Sebastian without saying a word, or even unlocking it. He puts it away without further comment, but for the rest of the hike, my mind is a blur. I can’t focus on the amazing scenery; I can only focus on my inner turmoil. Everything is wrong. I hate knowing that I’m going to see the Hollywood sign without Ariana. She should’ve been here.
When we get to the point where we can see the sign, we finally see other hikers. Sebastian was right about the Burbank Peak Trail being a solitary hike. I see a couple of the other hikers take photos of us, but they don’t approach us.
“Should we go and try to climb the sign?” Sebastian asks with a cheeky grin on his face as he gestures to the chain-link fence protecting it.
“Pass,” Hayden laughs. “I don’t feel like being arrested today. Can you even imagine what Cooper would say?”
“You’re not talking me out of it,” Sebastian smirks, then looks at me, and his face drops. “Okay, bad idea, I guess. Well, let’s get pictures. I’ll put them on Instagram and make Heather jealous, at least.”
We take selfies in front of the view of the sign below us. I’ve gotten so used to posing for photos that when I look at the ones we’ve taken, you can’t even tell that my heart is broken and every cell in my body is aching for Ariana. I look like any other guy out on a hike with his friends.
Sebastian takes some more pictures of the view, then we have a drink of water before beginning the hike back to the car.
When we reach the Wisdom Tree again, I say, “Wait a second.”
I open the trunk and pull out another journal and pen. I open it to write another message.
If you don’t come back to me, I know the pain will fade. My love, though? That will remain the same.
I know Ariana will never read this, but it doesn’t matter. I feel better for writing it down. It’s the truth, as well. I can barely stand to think about her not coming back to me, but even if she doesn’t, I will always love her. I kiss the words on the page, wishing they were Ariana’s lips, and place the journal back in the trunk.
By the time we get back to the car, I’m tired, both physically and emotionally. Sebastian and Hayden talk on the way back to the hotel, but I’m grateful that they don’t push me to talk at all. As soon as I reach the quiet darkness of my hotel suite, I pull out my phone again and see nothing of interest. People have called and messaged, but none of them are Ariana. So, I call her.
Hi, I’m Sian Ceinwen and I live in Western Australia with my husband and two kids. I started writing this in the third person but it was just odd. A little bit about me, I’ve enjoyed writing all my life, getting the worlds and characters in my head down for other people to enjoy is my passion.
Writing a book wasn’t something I ever thought I could really do but inspired by a song, I aimed to do it. With a lot of coaxing from my friends for me to finish it so they could find out the ending.
I released Gabriel and Ariana’s story, The Album, on March 14th, 2020. Harrison and Heather’s story, The Wedding, came out on June 6th, 2020. Sebastian and Lita’s book, The Baby, was released on November 18th, 2020.
The first book in the companion series, Gabriel’s Album, is available for pre-order and will be released on March 14th, 2021. It’s Gabriel and Ariana’s story retold from Gabriel’s point of view.
I hope that you will fall in love with the Cruise Control world the same way that I have.
I turn toward the door to see Carter, Jace, and Jace’s girlfriend standing there. The guys look just as shocked to see me as I am to see them, but the girl next to Jace is most likely picturing ways to murder me in her mind.
“You two know each other?” Amelia asks.
She grunts. “Not exactly, but I know enough of her to know she’s a fucking bitch.”
“Woah,” Kennedy steps in. “Easy, Paige.”
“Yeah, babe. Let’s calm down a little,” Jace tries, but she’s not having it.
She rips her arm out of his hold. “No! Fuck no! She tried to put you away for life, Jace. For life!”
The reminder of my best friend’s murder trial is a slap in the face, and my testimony was based off my belief that he actually did it. If I had seen the tape showing the other angle before I got on the stand, I never would have agreed to testify. The one thing I can see, though, is that Jace seems to value his life a little more than he used to, because he doesn’t try to calm his girlfriend down again.
Paige glares at me as she steps forward and into my face. “I don’t know what the fuck you’re doing here, but let me make one thing clear: if you try fucking with my friends, my family, we’re going to have serious issues.”
There is absolutely nothing that I find intimidating about this girl. To be honest, it looks like I could have the right guy punt her across a football field. But I can respect her loyalty to her friends and the courage to jump into the lion’s den to defend them.
I used to have that.
She turns around and walks back toward Jace. “Come on. We’re leaving.”
“No. Allow me.” I interrupt and my eyes find Carter’s. “Suddenly, this is the last place I want to be.”
Neither Kennedy or Amelia try to stop me as I slip out the door—not that I expected them to. They’ve been friends with them longer. Of course, Carter manages to take everything from me. He took Davi. Now he already has Kennedy and Amelia. There’s no way those two will have anything to do with me once I start doing things to get back at Carter, and nothing will stand in the way of my plans.
As if he has an actual death wish, the door opens and Carter comes running out, calling my name. I consider not stopping. I’m sure nothing good can come from talking to him, but my anger is enough to get me to freeze.
“Don’t leave,” he tells me. “I’m sorry for what Paige said.”
I balk. “For what Paige said? That’s what you’re sorry for?”
Running his fingers through his hair, he sighs. “Not the only thing, but it’s something I’m sorry for. Can we just go somewhere and talk?”
A bark of humorless laughter echoes out of me. “No. I don’t want to go anywhere with you. I don’t even want to fucking look at you.” My fists clench, and I can feel my nails digging into my skin as he stays quiet. “You just have the perfect life, don’t you? You’ve got your team and your friends and your family. And where’s mine? Oh. That’s right. Six feet under, right where you fucking left her.”
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Star
Wreck My Plans is another great story in the North Haven University series by Kelsey Clayton, telling Carter and Tyeler’s story. It is a standalone, but events are referenced from the previous book, Change My Game, but I think the reader would be fine not going in without that background.
Now we know exactly why Tyeler transferred to NHU, and why she’s gunning for Carter: She wants him to pay for the death of her best friend, Davi. Even though Jace was wrongly tried for having killed Davi, Tye holds Carter responsible. After all, he was Davi’s fiance, and she blames him for taking her best friend away from her.
This book is all kinds of twisted, and Tye is really out of control. Some of her paybacks are harmless pranks but she crosses the line to illegal more than once. And Carter just takes it all because he’s been in love with her for years, and knows that she’s suffering and hurt. While it’s a bit outlandish that Tye never pays for anything she does, I read it knowing that I had to suspend belief. Carter carries his own guilt over Davi’s death, and has been worried about Tye ever since. He knows that her grief is consuming her, and rather than being pissed off about her antics, he is genuinely terrified for her own mental health. The worst part of it all is that Carter has the info that would make Tye stop it all, but he knows that revealing the truth to her about Davi would hurt her even more.
Wreck My Plans is a second-chance story with a bit of hate, lust, love, revenge and forbidden romance between two enemies to lovers who have both been hurt by events of the past and find a shred of peace in one another to move forward. I think Carter and Tye may be my favorite couple of this series so far… but I can’t wait for Easton and Kennedy’s story!
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 International Bestselling author Kaydence Snow, comes a student-teacher romance full of suspense and forbidden heat.
My life is a mess.
No plans for the future, constantly disappointing everyone, and now some creep is threatening me, making me do reprehensible things.
Oh! And a teacher is somehow involved too. Easton Monroe is strict, aloof, and not at all what everyone at school thinks he is. The more I dig beneath his neat shirts and disapproving frowns, the more I catch feelings for the complicated man.
I have to figure him out – before we do something we’ll both regret.
My life is a lie.
In a job I can’t stand, alone and miserable, the anonymous psycho blackmailing me is the only person I speak to regularly.
In case I didn’t have enough to stress about, a student is being targeted by the same psycho. Harlow Mead is stubborn, brave and so much more than she lets people see. She’s determined to fight and more beguiling the more I get to know her.
I have to get us out of this deadly situation – before I ruin us both.
Like You Should is a student/teacher romance, but it’s worth noting that Harlow is 18, Easton only 23, and he’s not *her* teacher — just teaches at the same elite academy where she attends.
Going into this book, I didn’t have much of an opinion of Harlow based on her appearances in the previous ones. She was just kind of a background player, but she really comes into her own in Like You Should. She was always Donna’s little sister who needed taking care of, but now she’s trying to take care of her big sister. Even if it means doing shady, illegal things to protect Donna’s wild past from coming to light. I *really* liked Harlow. Whereas I found Donna to be a bully and a mean girl in her book, I thought Harlow was fiercely loyal to her family and selfless. Sure, she was being coerced into breaking and entering among other things, but she was doing it to protect her big sister. Harlow always put herself down as being stupid, but I found her to be full of street smarts and a strong heroine.
Then there’s Easton. Cold, uptight Mr. Monroe is actually a weekend tattoo artist, full of ink and a pretty sweet guy to boot. He’s cold at school because he hates being there. He, too, is being coerced to do shady things, and it’s all to protect his little brother, Ford. He tries so hard to distance himself from Harlow, but there’s a strong connection there that he can’t deny. Even though he’s not her teacher, Easton tries to do the right thing and not compromise either of their reputations.
But as Easton, Harlow and Ford work together to try to uncover the identity of their mysterious blackmailer, Easton learns that there is much more to Harlow than the bratty rich girl he originally thought she was, and she discovers that there’s nothing he wouldn’t do to protect those who matter to him… and that includes her. I thought these two were wonderful together… I really think they are my favorite couple of this series so far!
Like You Should can be read as a standalone, but there is an ongoing storyline with a mysterious self-help group called BestLyfe that has continued through all three books so far. Somehow — I’m sure of it! — the hacker who was blackmailing Easton and Harlow is connected to BestLyfe, but that was mysteriously dropped as soon as Ocean’s identity was revealed. But I trust Kaydence Snow has the resolution to it all planned out for Amaya’s book, coming next! And can we PLEASE get a book for Ford??
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Kaydence Snow has lived all over the world but ended up settled in Melbourne, Australia. She lives near the beach with her husband.
She draws inspiration from her own overthinking, sometimes frightening imagination, and everything that makes life interesting: complicated relationships, new experiences and good food and coffee. Life is not worth living without good food and coffee!
She believes sarcasm is the highest form of wit and has the vocabulary of a highly educated, well-read sailor. When she’s not writing, thinking about writing, planning when she can write next, or reading other people’s writing, she loves to travel and learn new things.
“Waiting for your next victim?” a cool, dark voice asks from my left.
“What do you want?” I ask without turning around. His voice alone sends shivers down my spine. God only knows what seeing his smug smile and sharp jaw would do to me right now.
Stupidly, I let my guard down tonight. Every single fiber of my being is telling me to run, but I refuse—partly because the thought of making a scene in front of all of these people has my skin feeling tight and itchy, and also because I refuse to give him the satisfaction of seeing me run away… again.
Sterling leans in, his breath tickling my neck and his body warming mine. “I’m just saying. Dressed the way you are, you must be looking for a good time. And I can’t help but wonder…” He trails off, skimming his nose down the column of my throat before scraping his teeth against the sensitive flesh where my neck and shoulder meet.
“Stop it!” I pray for my voice to come out firm and commanding, but seeing as God abandoned me long ago, I sound raw and needy. Which is a lie. I am a lot of things in regard to Sterling Abbot—angry, frustrated, hurt—but definitely not needy.
I try to shoulder-check him, but he bands an arm around my waist and pulls me in closer, bringing my back flush with his front. The feel of our bodies pressed together has my heart slamming against my ribs as arousal and disgust battle for dominance inside of me.
Judging from my roiling gut and damp panties, it’s a tie.
“I don’t really think you mean that, little mouse.”
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars
I started this book at 11 pm and was up until 2 am reading because I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. Reader beware of trigger warnings, because this book is full of dark themes and the heroine is an abuse survivor.
Emmy’s life has been horrible. Horrible! Betrayed by everyone who was supposed to protect her, namely her mother. The cruel, mean things that have been done to her and said about her nearly broke her, but she arrives at college hoping for a fresh start. And she makes a solid circle of friends in Stella and the guys, people who finally believe her word over that of her stepbrother Rob. But then she sees that her TA is Sterling, Rob’s best friend, who is continuing her stepbrother’s reign of terror.
Except that along the way while making Emmy’s life miserable, Sterling discovers that maybe she wasn’t the liar after all.
The only thing I would have liked to have seen more of was the transition from Emmy mistrusting Sterling to being full-blown trusting relationship. There was plenty of Sterling’s change of heart that was shown to me through his POV, but I would have liked to have had more from Emmy’s side. But otherwise, this book is a gripping bully romance. Realistic? Not likely. But wildly entertaining, and left me with a helluva book hangover.
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
LK Farlow (A.K.A Kate) is a small town girl with a love for words. She’s been writing stories for as long as she can remember. A Southern girl through and through, Kate resides in beautiful, sunny LA–that’s Lower Alabama, y’all–with her amazing husband and four rambunctious children. When she’s not writing, you can find her snuggled up on the couch watching car shows while she crochets or with her nose in a book.
First, she tampered with my pickle. Then, she got us both kicked off a cooking show. Now, we’re fake engaged. Sit back, friends, this is one crazy tale of treachery and pickle juice.
Anthony: All right. Here’s how it went. My pickle went viral. Millions saw it. Thousands ate it. Hold up, pervs. Let me backtrack. I invented a very spicy pickle made with ghost peppers. One bite and you’ll swear someone stuffed a hot coal in your mouth. It’s extremely popular in pranks. I’m in the middle of filming with a prominent cooking show when in walks Little Miss Perfect Pants from a rival deli to insist she has improvements for my pickle. It all goes downhill from there.
Magnolia: Read the reviews and weep, Anthony Pickle. I got the best of you on reality TV. You got me back with a very public kiss. After your new deli poached on my territory, I swore to hate you. But every time those smoky eyes meet mine, I melt a little. Cheesy, right? By the time you’ve kissed me, I already know I’m in deep. But then you propose? How am I supposed to keep faking it when every swoon is real?
Spicy Pickle is a romantic comedy about a culinary feud, potent pickle juice, and the most not-fake fake love story in the history of reality TV.
She glances up when I enter the room that adjoins our two hotel suites. I could kiss our cooking tour publicist for this arrangement.
“Hey!” she says. “You got fancy sleepwear from the designers, too.”
I sit in the chair next to her. “You got some?”
“You bet I did. It was mixed in with all the fancy dresses for the talk shows. But I won’t be caught dead in it.”
Now she has my interest. “What is it?”
She runs her finger down the room service menu. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
Yes. Yes, I would.
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars
Ah, I adored Anthony and Magnolia’s story! This enemies to lovers/fake relationship romance was perfect. Great characters, funny innuendos, a super sweet hero and a slightly awkward heroine.
Anthony is the youngest Pickle brother, and after his ghost pickle goes viral on TikTok for how spicy it is, he is invited on a popular cooking show. Unbeknownst to him, the daughter of a rival deli is also on the show, determined to show him up. Things don’t go as either Anthony or Magnolia planned, and they find themselves in the midst of a social media firestorm and scandal when they are accused of pulling a prank on the show host. To save both their businesses, they go on a publicity tour, flipping the script and pretending that they’ve fallen in love. And at some point, the lines between what is reel and what is real begin to blur.
I loved this book so much. Anthony is such a sweetheart, and he is the perfect fake boyfriend. Magnolia is stronger than she gives herself credit for, and she holds her own during their tv appearances, despite thinking she’s a wall flower. I loved seeing her blossom and find confidence during the PR tour as she fell in love with Anthony despite herself!
Spicy Pickle marks the end of the Pickle Brothers series, but the epilogue sets up a new series staring with Havannah, Magnolia’s sister, set in the new deli that the sisters open up. I can’t wait!
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
JJ Knight is the USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic comedy. She’s never met a pickle she didn’t want to eat.
Holding You Close is now available on all retailers!
After serving a decade long prison sentence for an accident that resulted in my husband’s death, Noah Reid returns. Even if he was my childhood best friend and the first man I secretly loved, I refuse to make it easy for him. But the heart never forgets and those old repressed feelings quickly bubble to the surface.
Loving him is a dangerous game but one I’m willing to play.
Flirting leads to falling between the sheets, and I’m forced to deal with the guilt of what we’re doing. Viciousness towards Noah runs rampant and while revenge trickles through the streets of Lawton Ridge, I realize there’s more on the line than just my heart. While I’m afraid that my son and I will be caught in the crossfire of those who want to hurt Noah, I can’t walk away.
Secrets are revealed and revelations are made, but losing him again isn’t an option—especially since I’m pregnant.
HOLDING YOU AWAY is a slow burn, angsty friends to lovers romance with lots of small-town, Southern drama. It’s book 2 in the Noah & Katie duet and must be read in order.
I have loved all of these duets by Kennedy Fox, going back to the Roommates series. I was anxiously waiting for the conclusion to Noah and Katie’s story, and it did not disappoint!
There is a definite formula that Kennedy Fox follows in writing these books, so I know what to expect as the story unfolds. But the authors still always do a great job of piecing together a fantastic romantic story with a thread of mystery. And now that I know what the twist is to Noah and Katie’s story, I can’t believe I didn’t piece it together earlier!
I loved the connection between these two childhood best friends, and how that grows as they fall in love. Noah is so great with Katie’s son, Owen, and they really develop a nice relationship themselves. My heart broke for the kid when he asked Noah for the truth about how his father had died, but Noah handled it well and he and Owen had a stronger bond as a result of it. I also really liked the family reconciliations that came about by the end of the book, and there is a great set-up for Everleigh’s forthcoming book with Tyler’s former cellmate, Asher. Oh, and that epilogue from Owen’s POV was adorable!!
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Brooke Cumberland and Lyra Parish are a duo of romance authors who teamed up under the USA Today pseudonym, Kennedy Fox. They share a love of Hallmark movies, overpriced coffee, and making TikToks. When they aren’t bonding over romantic comedies, they like to brainstorm new book ideas. One day in 2016, they decided to collaborate under a pseudonym and have some fun creating new characters that’ll make you blush and your heart melt. Happily ever afters guaranteed!
From New York Times bestseller Katy Regnery comes a new twist on the beloved American legend, “Rip Van Winkle.”
Sometimes, the journey is the love story.
On the night of his high school graduation, Ripley Van Winkle—local quarterback, prom king and all-around big man on campus—swan dives off the top of the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse. . . and lands on jagged pile of rocks. Suffering massive brain trauma, Rip isn’t expected to live, but he somehow manages to beat the odds: most of his physical injuries heal, though he remains in a deep coma for the next twenty years.
When Rip awakens two decades later, he will need to relearn his body’s most basic functions, in addition to catching up on twenty years’ worth of history, progress and change.
Something called the “internet” has the answer to every question you could ever dream of asking, and people are reliant on mobile telephones smaller than a Walkman. His high school girlfriend is married with children, and he has an eighteen-year-old sister who was born while he was “sleeping.”
As Rip struggles to find his place in this strange, new world, one presence in his life will become both a beacon and guide: his childhood friend, Katrina Van Tassel. But Trina has a challenging adult life of her own, and there’s no guarantee she has space in her life (or her heart) for her one-time high school crush . . . Rip Van Winkle.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Love is Never Lost is part of the ~a modern fairytale~ collection: contemporary, standalone romances inspired by beloved fairy tales.
The Vixen and the Vet (Beauty & the Beast) Never Let You Go (Hansel & Gretel) Ginger’s Heart (Little Red Riding Hood) Dark Sexy Knight (Camelot) Don’t Speak (The Little Mermaid) Shear Heaven (Rapunzel) At First Sight (Aladdin) Love is Never Lost (Rip Van Winkle)
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars
Love Is Never Lost is a brilliant reimagining of the Rip Van Winkle fairytale! I’ve read a few of Katy Regnery’s Modern Fairytale stories now, and she never ceases to amaze me with her retelling of classic tales!
The story is told in two parts — before Rip’s accident and after. Part 1 is set in 1985, when Rip and Katrina are seniors in high school. They were once family friends, but as their families grew apart after the death of Trina’s mom, so did the kids. Now they are about to graduate high school, and Rip is the popular jock while Trina is the bookish nerd. But in the weeks leading up to graduation, Rip and Trina rekindle their friendship… and as Rip’s relationship with his girlfriend Becky begins to fall apart, he begins to develop feelings for his childhood friend.
Part 2 is set after Rip’s accident — he wakes up after being in a coma for 20 years. I loved this part of the book. I loved how KR wrote (with creative license) the struggles he felt in adapting to how different the world is around him. Internet, cell phones, having a sister born while he was sleeping… and Katrina is still there by his side to help him through it all.
It’s not all roses and unicorns for Trina and Rip to get together. There are real issues for them to work through regarding her ex-husband, and Rip’s recovery. There is a great scene in particular where they clash while trying to discuss their feelings — Rip feels like he’s being treated constantly as a patient, not as a man, and Trina’s lack of social skills prevents her from understanding what Rip is trying to get across to her.
Rip and Trina’s journey is a wonderful slow burn. Another great story in the Modern Fairytale series!
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
About the Author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery has a heart for smart romance featuring strong women and decent men. Almost exclusively self-published, Katy claims authorship of almost 50 titles, including three RITA® finalists. Translated into French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, and Turkish, Katy has sold over two million books worldwide.
Fearless Kaylene Winter (Less Than Zero, #3) Publication date: March 17th 2021 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Family is everything, I protect mine with my life..
Connor McGloughlin had it all, a great family, a college scholarship and music. Tragedy forced him to grow up too fast. When his life finally is on track, Ronni Miller appears like a dream. Kindred spirits in the most unlikely of circumstances. There’s only one thing in the way— Her dark past he’s determined to protect her from.
When your innocence is stolen, trust is a precious gift..
Actress Ronni Miller tasted fame at a young age. But her path to stardom was riddled with tragedy. She never imagined falling for Connor McGloughlin, a rogue, Irish rock star. The thing is? Ronni’s got revenge on her mind. Regardless of the risk or the consequences. Or losing the one thing in her life that makes her feel alive.
Connor has only ever asked Ronni for one thing: her heart. But when her bravery is couched in lies? She risks losing the man who would do anything for her. Unless she finally realizes being fearless means placing your trust in true love.
“Fuck my life!” Byron Angel, the pampered second-bit actor screeched just before shoving his chips over to me. Yanking his fancy mirrored-lens sunglasses off, he tossed them on the poker table, unable to mask his disdain at losing 50k to a lowly bass player in a rock band. His words, not mine.
Not bothered in the slightest, I carefully stacked my bounty of chips and assessed the situation without saying a word. I’d learned over the years that being stealthy allowed you to fly under the radar. It also came in handy to observe and learn things about the people around you. Stuff that was often quite useful.
Like winning big hands in an invitation-only poker game.
“Angel, you’re out. So it’s time to get the fuck out.” The A-list director of Phantom Rising pointed to the door.
“Maybe I’ll stay and just hang out for a bit?” Byron’s desperate pandering was not endearing. It was pathetic, truth be told.
Glancing up at the other players’ bemused expressions, I knew without a shadow of doubt that his failure to read the room was fatal. It had cost him a significant amount of money. Worse, it cost him respect.
Respect was always better than money. Always.
The director sniffed sharply. Probably to clear the last of the coke from his sinuses. Barely even giving Byron a second glance, he waved him off with a “shoo” gesture. “Nah. Jermaine will see you out.”
And just like that, the eejit Byron Angel was booted the fuck out.
The director’s exclusive games were always a veritable male celebrity cock-fest. Filled with actors, directors, producers, and other industry bigwigs who felt the need to throw their power around. All it really meant was a bunch of yammering on and on about their looks, their women, and their stupid cars. Oh, how I loved to slag these boyos. To their face. My slight second-generation Irish accent made my insults harder to understand if I turned up the brogue. Easier to swallow.
Tonight wasn’t my first go-round. A few months ago, I’d been in LA with my band, Less Than Zero, recording the soundtrack to Phantom Rising. The director found out I liked poker and invited me to his regular underground game hosted in his Hollywood mansion. Tonight, my band was in New York City for the movie premiere and to play a private concert afterward. He’d practically dragged me out of the VIP party to attend his relocated poker game, which happened to be here in his Manhattan penthouse.
In other words, an underground game that wasn’t actually underground. This one was thirty-six stories up.
After a few hours, I’d all but forgotten about the dim-witted actor. I had a huge pile of chips. It was turning out to be a good night. Especially when I mentally calculated my winnings. Factoring in the implied odds, I was on target to strip these losers of a couple hundred thousand dollars. Give or take a few grand after subtracting the buy-in.
Not that I’d keep any of this ill-begotten money for myself.
I just liked winning. Especially against arseholes.
Jermaine’s booming voice snapped me out of my thoughts. “Need a beer, McGloughlin?”
“Nah, I’m grand.” Studying my cards with a covert glance at the table, I estimated I was about one hand away from shutting the director out.
“I’m all in.” The director pushed his chips to the center of the table.
“Call.” I barely looked up.
The director blanched, only for a second. Had to maintain the appearance of dignity. Or whatever. Just as the dealer was about to lay down the river card, the door burst open. Byron Angel was back, tugging a divine, auburn-haired woman behind him. I was surprised to see her but steeled my expression to keep it neutral. Waiting to see WTF was going on. The mystery was solved when the actor produced a stack of hundred-dollar bills.
“Well, well, well.” The director tapped a couple of chips roughly on the table and visibly ogled the woman’s ample breasts. “I haven’t seen you in a while. I think you’ve been avoiding me.”
She ignored him completely. She pointedly ignored everyone, actually.
“I want back in; my girl is staking me.” The desperate actor’s slick, veneered grin made me want to punch a hole in his face just for existing.
Without being obvious, I kept an eye on her. For a split second her soulful green eyes locked with mine, but she quickly looked away to study something fascinating on the floor. It gave me a prime opportunity to more openly admire her. Delicious tits straining against a snug, plain black blouse that bared her shoulders. Lightly sculpted muscles. Curvy waist. Long, slim legs clad in tight jeans.
When she was only 15, Kaylene Winter wrote her first rocker romance novel starring a fictionalized version of herself, her friends and their gorgeous rocker boyfriends. After living her own rockstar life as a band manager, music promoter and mover and shaker in Seattle during the early 1990’s, Kaylene became a digital media legal strategist helping bring movies, television and music online. Throughout her busy career, Kaylene lost herself in romance novels across all genres inspiring her to realize her life-long dream to be a published author. She lives in Seattle with her amazing husband and dog. She loves to travel, throw lavish dinner parties and support charitable causes supporting arts and animals.