I am absolutely loving the Southern Wedding series by Natasha Madison, and adore Clarabella and Luke’s story in Mine to Cherish. What a romantic tale of a second chance with the one that got away!
Clarabella and Luke have such a great chemistry, so it was easy for me to root for them as the endgame even though she’s engaged to someone else when they cross paths again. And it was only six months ago that they crossed the line of their friendship, so they are both still at the forefront of each other’s minds. Because of that connection, I hate to say that this story is a rebound romance. Because Luke and Clarabella should have been together all along. Edward was never right for her, and that was super obvious.
When Luke offers Clarabella an escape plan from her wedding, their time alone at his cabin provides them with a forced reason to reconnect. They approach their resumed romance with a lot of transparency in their communication, and though they each allow anger and hurt to overcome them a few times, they are quick to apologize and set things right, which I found refreshing.
I thought the last chapter was a bit rushed, to be honest, but NM made up for it with the two epilogues!
Bring on Presley and Bennett! 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…
Wow. Macon and Lennon’s story is a doozy. I read this book in a day because it was one of those stories that I just had to keep reading “one more chapter” — and the next thing I knew, it was 1 am.
This story is definitely not sunshine and rainbows. It’s dark and gritty, and Macon does some despicable things. Not that it’s an excuse for his behavior, but the dude has some serious demons.
The push and pull between these two drove me crazy, which I’m sure was Benson’s intention. Two steps forward, five steps back. Mostly because Macon is such a broken hero… and don’t we all secretly love that? I felt every emotion that these two went through. How conflicted Lennon was about her feelings for Macon, how he struggles with falling for his sister’s best friend when he shouldn’t. I felt so much for these two with the life twist that affects them just when things are going well and the betrayal that follows. So much angst and family drama wrapped up in a slow-burn romance!
There are trigger warnings that Benson lays out for the readers, so beware that this story deals with some sensitive subjects. And that ending was a fabulous cliffhanger to set up the rest of this duet!
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Meet Brit Benson
Brit Benson writes romance novels that are sassy, sexy, and sweet.
When she’s not dreaming up her next swoony book boyfriend and fierce book bestie, she’s reading.
When she’s not reading, she’s probably marathoning a Netflix series or wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles in Homegoods.
Brit currently resides somewhere near the Blue Ridge Parkway with her husband, daughters, and dogs.
To learn more about Brit and her books, visit here!
I walk up to Jason in the kitchen. “Remember how you said you owed me a favor for going to the wedding?” “Yeah. What about it?” “You said you’d do anything, right?” “Within reason. Why?” “You didn’t say within reason. You can’t add that part now.” He laughs. “Mia, what is this about?” “My parents don’t know that I’m pregnant. I was going to tell them after my graduation, but I don’t think I can wait. They’ll want to know who the father is and since you’re here, and they’re here, and I’m here, I thought I’d introduce you to them.” “Okay. But that’s not doing you a favor. I’m happy to meet your parents. I want to.” “Yeah, um, that’s not really the favor part.” “Then what is it? What do you want me to do?” “I need you to pretend to be my fiancé.” “Fiancé? We’re not even dating.” “But my parents don’t know that.” “Why would you lie to them?” “Because they’re old-fashioned. I don’t want them knowing I hooked up with you at a wedding and haven’t seen you in months. I was going to tell them we’ve been dating this whole time.” I pause. “And maybe part of last year.” Jason laughs. “You’re kidding, right? This is some kind of joke?” “It’s not a joke. I need you to do this.” I clutch his arm. “I’m begging you to. If you knew my parents, you’d understand.” “I’m sure they know things have changed since they were our age. People have kids outside of marriage all the time.” “Yes, I know, but it’s not what they wanted for their only daughter. Jason, you said you’d do anything if I went to your brother’s wedding. I did my part of the deal. I’m asking you to do yours.” “So what happens when you leave at the end of the summer?” “I’ll tell them we broke up. I’ll say we tried to make it work but it didn’t.” He shakes his head. “I don’t know, Mia. I don’t like this. I think you should just tell them the truth.” “And break their hearts? Jason, I’ve seen how much you love your parents. If you knew something would hurt them and disappoint them, but there was a way to avoid all that, wouldn’t you do it?” “Maybe. But I’d be more likely to tell them the truth.” My phone dings with a text. “My mom says they’ll meet me for breakfast in a half hour. I’m going to go pack up.” “You’re leaving?” I nod. “My parents want me to stay and spend the week with them but it’s too risky. I’d end up running into your family and then I’d have to tell my parents everything. I’m just going to go with my original plan of telling them I’m pregnant right before they leave.” “What are you going to tell them about the father?” “I haven’t decided, but I’ll figure it out.” I go to the bedroom and pack up my things. I take my suitcase out to the living room and see Jason sitting on the couch. “Bye, Jason.” I walk to the door. “Wait.” He jumps up. “I’ll walk you out.” “You don’t have to.” I don’t want him to because I’m pretty sure I’ll burst into tears when I get past the door. I really thought he’d do this for me, but he won’t. Jason goes with me to my car. He puts my suitcase in the trunk, but doesn’t close it. “Jason, I need to hurry. I’m going to be late.” He closes the trunk and walks up to me. “What would I tell my family? If we did this?” “You don’t have to tell them anything. My parents don’t live here, and as long as we keep them away from your parents, they never have to know.” “What if your parents want to meet mine?” “We could tell them we haven’t told your parents yet. We could say we just got engaged and that you wanted to wait to tell them about the baby.” “This is never going to work.” “My parents aren’t going to be here that long. There’s very little chance they’ll run into your parents.” He checks his watch. “I need to clean up. I’ll meet you there.” “Really? You’ll really do this?” He shrugs. “I owe you. I have to pay you back.”
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 4 Stars
Pretend With Me is the second book in the Kanfield brothers series that I’ve read, and I enjoyed it just as much as Brody and Kate’s story. Jason and Mia clicked right from the start, and I felt every ounce of their connection the night they meet at a wedding. And the yearning after! Mia was planning to move back home to Boston in a few months, so they both decided pursuing a relationship was pointless. Until Mia realized she was pregnant.
But man, I felt like I was getting hit over the head with all the back and forth about how she needs to love back home to take care of her aging parents, and he won’t leave his family to go with her. I got it the first time, but between the multiple conversations and all of the inner dialogue, I felt it was all these two spoke and thought about. And as soon as Mia’s old-school parents came to visit and she and Jason pretended to be engaged since she was pregnant, the solution was so obvious. I can’t believe it took so long to get there!
Still, Pretend With Me was a pretty low-angst, instalove story that I easily read in a day. It hits all the right notes, and ends with a HEA for all! I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
About Allie Allie Everhart is the author of more than 50 books and several bestselling series, including The Jade Series, The Kensington Series, and The Wheeler Brothers. Allie writes angsty love stories, often with a twist of mystery and suspense. She loves reading for hours in a comfy spot, drinking strong coffee, walking in the woods, and writing emotional stories that make the characters work for their happy ending.
Pick a trope, any trope! This anthology’s got you covered!
Ten First Dates, a FREE, swoony romance collection featuring ten all-new prequels from ten bestselling authors, is out now!
He was the last person on earth she’d ever want to be stuck with for a weekend… Their eyes met across the room and she knew… They’d been friends forever but everything was about to change… Once upon a time…
There are so many ways a great romance can start, and we’ve got TEN of them right here for you!
Ten ALL NEW, never-before-seen prequels from ten bestselling romance authors all in one place! Find out how these swoony heroes and feisty heroines are first thrown together on the path to their happily ever after!
Enemies to lovers? Friends to lovers? Opposites attract? Small town? We’ve got it all!
TEN FIRST DATES features brand new stories from: Ainsley Booth, Angela Denise, Erin McCarthy, Erin Nicholas, Julia Kent, Kaylee Ryan, Molly Mclain, Piper Rayne, Samantha Chase & Zoe York
I love these multi-author anthologies, because they are a great way to introduce yourself to new authors… and the there are always some favorites mixed in!
In Ten First Dates, I loved reading a False Start, Piper Rayne’s prequel story for the upcoming book You Had Your Chance slew Burrows. I adored Lee and Shayna’s backstory in college where she is his tutor and he makes a bet with his friends about her. He’s only trying to keep her away from his roommate, but that backfired spectacularly! I can’t wait to read the rest of this book when they meet again eight years later!
I also really liked Angela Denise’s prequel for Matchmaking a Single Dad, and getting the backstory to the steamy kiss Cole and Holly shared a year before the book takes place.
London Kelly is in love with her best friend and has been for years.
Too bad he’s an adorably clueless idiot who a) just doesn’t see what everyone else sees and b) abides by the rule of ‘don’t screw the crew’s sisters, daughters, or exes.’ And since London’s dad is his fire captain, that puts her firmly in the do not touch category.
Then one night, London decides to throw caution to the wind and kisses him, finding her unequivocally placed in the friend zone.
That’s when London decides that maybe it’s time to move on.
Except fate decides to have the last laugh, calling Luca to the scene of a fire at the very same restaurant where London is on a secret blind date, bringing him face-to-face with the reality that he could lose his girl.
Suddenly all bets are off.
Besides, bending the rules isn’t the same as breaking them… right?
USA Today Bestselling Author BJ Harvey brings you Rule Bender – Book 4 and the last book in a spin-off to the Cook Brothers steamy rom-com series featuring first responders in Chicago who are fighting the good fight and also finding love at the same time. This series can be read as a standalone and is set in the same world as the Bliss and Cook Brothers series before it.
This book is adorable!! Best friends is one of my favorite romance tropes, and I adored Luca and London’s story.
While Luca was so dense at times when it came to London’s feelings for him and I wanted to slap him upside the head, this story was a wonderfully charming one. London is the daughter of his fire captain, therefore she should be off limits, and Luca was all kinds of flustered as he debated crossing the line with his best friend. And London just couldn’t walk away, No matter how many times her heart got hammered!
I haven’t read anything else in this series, so there were some questions I had, but I didn’t find that took away any enjoyment from Luca and London.
I received a complimentary copy and voluntarily left a review.
“I’m not a child, Luc,” London pipes up. I look down at her mascara-smudged glare, my annoyance level dropping at the sight that’s more hilarious and adorable than menacing.
“Never said you were, Lonnie.”
“I prefer being called beautiful,” she grumbles.
I take a step forward and lift the clean corner of the towel and gently wipe around her mouth, my lips twitching as I look down at her gorgeous face. “Beautiful, you’re a cute drunk but you’re also a messy one, especially when you share your liquor with my turnouts and boots.” She giggles and my anger disappears completely. “I’m trusting Brock to—”
The corner of my mouth tips up. “I ain’t calling him that, beautiful. You know there isn’t a man on earth that’ll ever be good enough for my girl.”
Her breath catches, a soft moan vibrating in her chest as her eyes flutter closed before slowly opening again.
“But I want you to go home, grab some water and some Tylenol, and go to bed. I’ll take care of your car and will come get you tomorrow on the way to lunch at my parents’, yeah?”
She stares at me for a good long while, but when the truck’s horn sounds, I know I’ve got to get a move on. “Can you do that for me, Lonnie?”
“Yes, Luc,” she nods, slowly at first then more enthusiastically.
“Good girl,” I say, earning a beaming, blinding smile this time. “And make sure you text me when you get home. Can you do that for me, beautiful?”
After she nods again, I lean in and touch my lips to her temple, ignoring how right it feels.
Before leaving her, I pin Perfect Brock with a knowing glare. “Straight home, man. I’m trusting you with something precious to me here.”
He tilts his head, rubbing his chin and studying me. “I can’t work out if you’re an idiot or you just don’t see it,” he says, pulling London snugly into his side. He looks to Cohen. “C’mon. You see it too, right?”
Cohen purses his lips and shrugs, not exactly denying it.
“What the fuck?” I ask.
He leans in and lowers his voice. “One date with this woman and I already know she’s someone special.”
I grind my teeth together so hard my jaw aches.
“And I don’t owe you anything, especially not after your friendly disposition tonight. But just so we’re crystal clear, this date stopped being a date when she told me she can’t get over her stupid crush on her best friend, and because I’m a nice guy, a good guy, and not the asshole you seem to think I am, I’ll give you some free advice. You’ve got a choice to make, and you’re gonna have to make it sooner rather than later.”
“Oh yeah? Enlighten me, wise one, who seems to know everything about my girl here.”
His eyes flash. “You can either open your eyes to what’s right in front of you and how good it could be, or you can let her go so she can get over you and find a man who’ll give her the world she desperately wants from you.”
Then, like he hasn’t just laid me out where I stand, he carefully turns London around and walks her down the sidewalk away from us, leaving me standing there wondering what the hell just happened.
BJ Harvey is the USA Today Bestselling Author of angsty contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and sometimes a little bit of romance suspense. She regards herself as a smut peddler, suspense conjurer, and a funny romance thinker upper. An avid music fan, you will always find her singing some hit song badly and loving every minute of it. She’s a miner’s wife, a mom to two beautiful teenagers, and was born in New Zealand and currently lives in Perth, Australia.
More Than a Memory is a wonderful second-chance romance between two people who never stopped loving one another. With a traumatic past, a dead husband, a heroine in danger, and the brother’s best friend trope added in.
Aiden and Olivia are remarkable characters. She’s been through so much but she is such a strong heroine. And even though Aiden *wants* to hate her for ghosting him without a trace all those years ago, he knows the second he sees her again that she still owns his heart. Now, Olivia needs protection and Aiden is the only one who can keep her safe. Will their love be more than just a memory?
This book is part of the Cole Creek series but is a standalone story. This story had the right blend of romance, heat, suspense, angst, and sizzling chemistry between the H and h. There are some difficult scenes to read in regards to some trauma in Liv’s past, but I thought that Molly McClain handled that very nicely and it helped propel this couple forward as they dealt with Aiden’s guilt in the matter and where they go in the future.
I received a complimentary 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.
Seeing him again has her second guessing everything.
Unfinished Ex, an all-new steamy romance with a surprise twist from bestselling author Samantha Christy, is out now!
He wanted everything I couldn’t give him. A doting wife, a perfect family, a white picket fence, and game nights.
It’s not that I didn’t want to be his wife anymore. I just wanted something more—a career. So when an opportunity came up two years ago, it was easier to make him hate me than have him think he wasn’t enough.
Now, a day after our divorce is final, I find myself thrust back in the town we grew up in, down the street from the house we once owned together.
Seeing him again has me second-guessing everything. My priorities. My reason for leaving. My secrets. When we cave, and have one explosive night of ex sex, everything changes. Or nothing has.
And I have to decide if history is about to be repeated.
“Aren’t you popular?” a familiar voice spews behind me. I stiffen, then turn. “Jaxon.” I spin back and motion for the bartender. My hair gets moved aside, and strong fingers come around the side of my throat. For a second, I think he might strangle me. Then his grip relaxes, and his thumb brushes against the hollow of my neck. Tingles shoot through my body. It’s the first time I’ve felt his touch in years. “As if being all over television isn’t enough,” he says. “You have to come here and rub it in my face? What the hell, Nic? Is there any guy here you haven’t come on to?” “Give me a break.” I shrug his hand off me and huff. “It’s my reunion too. And if you don’t want to see me on TV, change the channel. Anyway, don’t you have a girlfriend you should be dancing with?” The disdain in our voices is surprising. We never spoke like this to each other when we were married. And I’m not sure why I’m speaking to him this way now. He doesn’t deserve it. But seeing him on the arm of another woman all night has been… devastating, to say the least. And my defenses are up. He takes my arm and leads me to the dance floor. I know I should resist, but I don’t. Not much anyway. “What are you doing?” “Talking with my ex-wife. And showing everyone here that we can be civil.” I glance around. Everyone is staring. And guffawing. And videoing. I suppose they either think I’m going to punch him or fuck him. “Can we be civil?” I ask. “Because based on the two times we’ve seen each other, we’re either glaring at or ignoring one another.” “I think we should try to be. How else are we going to survive two months of you being here?” “Avoidance,” I say, trying to ignore the warmth of his hands. The solidness of his body. The familiarity of his scent. Every synapse in my brain is firing, telling me to pull away. But my heart strings—apparently they think we’re still tethered together, and I find myself swaying to the music. He moves with me. “How’s that working for you? Apparently not well since you decided to show up at the one place you knew I’d be. Not to mention my friends.” “Oh, your friends.” “Yeah, my friends. You left them too. Or have you forgotten?” “I remember perfectly well. More than you could ever know.” I break away from him because being in his arms is suffocating. “I have to go. I need to be up early.” “Then why did you even come?” Why did I? “It was obviously a mistake.” I go back to the bar and Paige, who is holding up a shot. I’ve never needed one more. “Thanks. And now I’m leaving.” She checks the time. “You almost made it an hour. That’s longer than I thought you’d last.” She glances behind me. “Oh shit.” I turn to see Calista standing in the hallway, the sadness of her stare burning through my skin from twenty feet away. She saw us dancing. Not bothering to say goodbye to anyone, I hightail it to the back door. I’m barely to the back gate when I hear, “Why can’t you leave well enough alone?” Slowly, I rotate and face Calista. She walks toward me in what seems like slow motion. Is she going to call me names? Pull my hair? Tackle me to the ground? Behind her, people pour out from inside. “Calista, now is not the time. We’ve both been drinking.” “You think I’m going to cause a scene?” “No, because I’m walking away.” I get another thirty feet when I hear her heels on the pavement behind me. She runs ahead and stops my progress. Not with her fists or her body, but with her eyes. Her sorrowful, poignant stare that makes me feel even more guilty about being here. “Calista, I don’t have time for this.” “You left. You chose your career over him. You were selfish, uncaring, and insensitive. Not to mention you broke him. Do you know how long it took him to even ask someone out?” “Cal—” “It’s my turn. You had your turn. You had your chance with him. You don’t get to waltz back into town and pretend like everything is normal when you’re the reason he can’t be. He was just starting to heal. And tonight, I had a feeling he might even commit to this relationship. Then you show up and all anyone can do is look at you, and then look at him to see if he’s looking at you, and then look at me to see if I’m bothered by any of it. Why are you here? You made your choice. You don’t even want him, so why don’t you stay away and give him room to breathe? Please, Nicky. I’m begging you.” I’m stunned by the lack of anger in her confrontation. But I shouldn’t be. Even when we butted heads back in high school, she was still nice about it. She didn’t get to be head cheerleader, class president, and prom queen by intimidation. She did it because she was delightful, caring, and perky. The kind of person who’s perfect for Jaxon. Jaxon comes out of the pub and sees us. Calista glances between him and me. “Unless you still want him.” Her eyes become glassy. “Do you?” “I…” I clutch my pendant. “I have to go.” I run through the parking lot. Then I run down the street. Then I take my shoes off and run barefoot until I get inside the house and up to my room. Then I collapse on my bed, knowing everything she said was one hundred percent true. Especially the part about me wanting him. Because I was lying to myself. Being in his arms wasn’t suffocating. It was like going home.
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 3 Stars
I really liked parts of this book, and really disliked other parts of it. I have such conflicted feelings! While I loved the second-chance romance between a divorced couple who so clearly still was madly in love with one another, there were so many plot points in this story that I kept rolling my eyes over.
The good: There is a lot of growth on the parts of both Nicky and Jaxon in this book when it comes to their relationship and how they drifted apart in the past because of her career aspirations. Unfortunately, I felt that was overshadowed by the lie that Nicky told Jax in the first place and… the ickiness… of the surprise pregnancies in this book.
So Nicky lied about having cheated on Jaxon so he wouldn’t come after her because she felt like she wasn’t enough for him anymore since she had dreams of being a broadcast meteorologist. Except that she lied about it. And then his indiscretion was brushed under the rug by them both on their way to reconciliation. Okay, I can suspend belief for that. But Jaxon getting his ex-girlfriend and Nicky pregnant within weeks of each other was a bit too much. Calista was just a wretched woman who kept coming up with excuse after excuse to spend time with Jax because she was jealous he and Nicky were seeing each other again. I will admit that Jax and Nicky handled Calista’s pregnancy like champs, and came out the other side rock solid as a result. In the end, everything got tied up in a neat little bow and they make it work for all parties involved, including Calista, so this story does have a HEA for everyone.
I wish this book would have come with a trigger warning for miscarriage because that is a sensitive subject for me that I need to know about going into a story.
If I could pluck out certain parts of this story, I would give this book a higher rating. Because I really enjoyed how Nicky and Jaxon found their way back to each other. But I felt that the outside drama was unnecessary since they had enough to work with between the distance, their breakup, their loss, and where they go in the future.
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
About Samantha Christy Samantha Christy’s passion for writing started long before her first novel was published. Graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Criminal Justice, she held the title of Computer Systems Analyst for The Supreme Court of Wisconsin and several major universities around the United States. Raised mainly in Indianapolis, but also living in Lincoln, NE for a time, she decided to devote herself to family upon the birth of her third child and became a stay-at-home mom. It was then when the writing bug really took hold as she was a voracious reader. Being a stay-at-home mom facilitated her ability to follow her dream of becoming an author. When she is not writing, she keeps busy cruising to every Caribbean island ships sail to. Samantha Christy currently resides near St. Augustine, Florida with her husband and the two of her four children who haven’t flown the nest. Oh, and her dog, Ozzy, who she worships and thinks is the most adorable Whoodle on the planet.
You know that girl from your past that you can’t quite stop thinking about? The one that you pushed away because you had a goal that seemed so much bigger, so much more important than any crush you might have had?
That’s Adaline Wilder for me.
Nothing came before football. Not in college, and not in my five years in the pros. All I wanted was to win games, win a championship, carve my own path out of the illustrious Ward family football legacy. And I’ve done all that. But something is missing.
I’ve never been wrong about what I want. Except with her.
She moved on to someone else, but that baseball playing moron just broke her heart. I don’t blame her for not trusting me, but even Adaline can’t deny the heat when we’re together.
I have one shot at winning her back. And I intend to take it.
I wish I could give Emmett and Adaline more than 5 stars! I think The Crush is one of Karla’s best books, and Emmett had A LOT to live up to as Logan Ward’s son!
The long-distance yearning and missed connections and wrong timing of Emmett and Adaline’s relationship was written so beautifully. I just wanted them to be together!! I love how once Emmett realized that Adaline was the one he is meant to be with, he moved mountains to be with her.
I really feel like I’ve gotten to know the Ward family over the last few years thanks to the original Wolves books and now the next-Gen spinoff. And since Adaline is a character who has been around a bit in previous books, I was already shopping these two as soon as I read the blurb. I cried for the Wilder family as well, and I loved reading Karla’s note at the end, because I am not ready to say goodbye to this universe.
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Meet Karla Sorensen
Well, let’s see … I’m a wife and a mother. If the things that I write bring a smile to someone’s face, then I’ve done my job.
I am obsessed with Outlander (both the books and the show). I’m almost exclusively a romance reader, which means some people will never consider me a literary snob.
If I could meet one historical figure, it would be Jane Austen. I received my Bachelors in Public Relations and worked in health care marketing before I had my babies.
I hate Twitter. I do it, but I hate it. Also, if you want to get on my good side, bring me wine and I’ll love you forever.
Happily engaged. Fulfilled by a lucrative career. Addison McCormick thought she had it all—until she caught her soon-to-be-husband cheating.
Forced to start anew, Addison decides a vacation is just what she needs to escape the wreckage of her life in LA, and serene Colorado is calling her name.
What she doesn’t expect to find is Chase Prescott: the sexy, brooding neighbor at the cabin she’s renting. She sees him as nothing more than a vacation boyfriend, a quick and dirty fling to help her get over her recent heartbreak.
But when that spontaneity leads to the surprise of her life, Addison discovers that Chase’s mysterious allure isn’t just a front, and that he has a secret that will change everything.
What happens when the fantasy they created crashes head-on with their harsh reality? Can Addison find her new place in a world she might not be welcomed?
The In Between Duet is the first book I’ve read by Amanda Cuff, and I very much enjoyed Addison and Chase’s story. I didn’t think it needed to be spread out in a duet, but I was glad that both books released on the same day so that I could continue straight through with both parts!
In All That Lies Between Us, Addison’s life has been turned upside down when she found out her fiance cheated on her and her dad pretty much then writes her off for not putting up the front of the perfect, dutiful daughter. It’s almost a blessing in disguise because Addison was bored with her life as an attorney and she’d just been going through the motions with her fiance.
Addison drags her best friend, Olivia, along for a spur-of-the-moment trip to Colorado to get away from it all and reset… And finds herself resetting with Chase, the guy who owns the cabin next door.
Chase has some secrets and we don’t know what those are in All that Lies Between Us. There’s a reason he’s so hesitant to get involved with Addison, despite how much he immediately likes her. They embark on a week-long fling while Addison is in town, both of them knowing that whatever is between them has an expiration date.
But when an emergency takes Chase away and back to his “real life” sooner than expected, will his abrupt departure break Addison more than finding out her fiance cheated on her did?
This first book is a lot of setup, I felt. I really felt the spark between Chase and Addison came across on the page, but there wasn’t a lot of “meat” to their story. Well, keep on going for book two….
All That Lies Ahead is the conclusion to the In Between duet, and picks up where All That Lies Between Us left off. It’s been a few weeks since Addison and Chase had a steamy vacation fling, and now they are back to their real lives. And their real lives are complicated.
When Addison has to track Chase down at his family’s business, she knows that she will be delivering some big news to him. And she gets some shocking news in return. This story took a twist I didn’t see coming, and it was not a traditional take on this particular trope! As much as this story was about Addison and Chase trying to make their relationship work among his obligations, it is also about sacrifice and knowing that life can change in an instant.
This story was so full of love — romantic love, friendship, making a family of your own choosing. It warmed my heart despite the sadness of this story. I was on a rollercoaster of emotions reading the conclusion to this story, but it was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking.
I hope that Olivia and Drake get a book of their own, because I am totally shipping them!
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Meet Amanda Cuff
Amanda is a mom of four and military wife living wherever the government dictates. She squeezes writing time in between mountains of laundry, taxi mom duties, and stuffing her face with carbs. She never turns down a strong margarita, her husband’s cooking, or a good Netflix binge.
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Could Hutton French and I actually be right for each other, or is it all just one big tease?
TEASE, an all new sizzling friends to lovers, fake engagement small town romantic comedy from USA Today and #1 Amazon bestselling author Melanie Harlow, is now available!
I didn’t mean to say I was engaged to a hot billionaire–it just slipped out.
In my defense, I’d had a really bad haircut, a really strong drink, and I was trying to save face in front of the Mean Girl at my high school reunion.
Lucky for me, I happen to know a hot billionaire. Hutton French and I have been friends forever, and even though big social gatherings are not his thing, I called him from the coat closet and begged him for a favor–show up and play my fake fiancé for the night.
Except that word of our engagement spreads like wildfire. Our families are ecstatic. We’re front page news. My little food blog is launched into the stratosphere.
Of course, I offer to set the record straight right away, but Hutton wants to give it a little time–the phony engagement will keep his matrimony-mad mother and every matchmaking granny in town off his back.
He even suggests I move in with him to make the ruse more real.
And we don’t stop there.
We practice kissing. Undressing each other. Saying things–and doing things–we’d never dare if we weren’t pretending. Because it’s all for show, right? We’re just role-playing. Hutton doesn’t want a real relationship, and I don’t want to get hurt. But the more time we spend faking it, the more I start to wonder.
Could Hutton French and I actually be right for each other, or is it all just one big tease?
“Want something to drink? Whiskey or scotch?” “No, thanks. Mostly I just want to take these heels off.” “Leave them on.” I was already bending down to unbuckle one ankle strap. I looked up and saw him standing there with his glass in his hand. “What?” “Leave them on. And come over here.” I straightened up and took one tiny step. “On your hands and knees.” My breath caught. I could feel his eyes on me. Instantly I understood what this was, and even though I was a little nervous, I wanted to play along. I wanted to please him this way. The only problem was, I wasn’t entirely sure I could get to my knees in this tight dress. But I said a quick prayer and dropped to my knees on the carpet in one smooth motion. Thankfully, the dress material had some stretch, and the seams didn’t pop. “Good girl,” he said quietly, igniting a firestorm in my blood that surprised me. “Now come here.” My heart thrummed fast and loud as I lowered my palms to the floor and slowly closed the distance between us. I’d never done anything like this in my life—who am I right now?—but I liked the way it made me feel. Tempting. Seductive. Alluring. I’d never thought of myself that way before, but here and now, in this tight little black dress with the red satin heels, crawling toward a gorgeous, powerful man in a suit in our Manhattan hotel suite? My billionaire fake fiancé? It was easy to imagine I wasn’t myself at all. When I reached his feet, I sat back on my heels and looked up. Our eyes met. His lean, muscular silhouette looked imposing above me. Even that rebel lock of hair had been tamed into submission tonight. He took another sip of his drink and set the glass on the table. Pulled the chair at the head of the table aside. Loosened the knot in his tie. “Are you okay?” “Yes.” “If there’s a point tonight where you are not, you should tell me.” He slipped the tie from his collar. I swallowed hard. “Like a safe word?” His mouth hooked up on one side. His hand freed the top button of his shirt. “You already have a safe word?” “No,” I said quickly. “I’ve never needed one before.” “You do now.” He undid a second button. “So what will it be?” Of course, I couldn’t fucking think of anything, and I panicked. “Roy Kent,” I blurted. He cocked his head, his hand still on his shirt. “Who’s Roy Kent?” “Never mind. I’ll think of another one.” Do not say Oklahoma. Do not say bumblebee. I racked my brain for something else. “Romeo,” I said breathlessly. “That’s what I’ll say. Romeo.” He set his tie on the table and offered me a hand. Placing my palm in his, I rose to my feet. “Is anything going to hurt?” I asked, picturing whips, chains, ball gags, metal cuffs and clamps, shiny rubber gloves. “I don’t need to inflict pain to feel in control, if that’s what you’re asking.” “Okay. Should I—” But that was all I got out because he spun me around and clamped a hand over my mouth, pressing his body tight against my back.
The best friends romance trope is one of my current faves, and Melanie Harlow did a fantastic job with Felicity and Hutton’s story in Tease. Felicity and Hutton are totally relatable characters, and their story is full of angst and does-he-like-me-too feelings of insecurity, and so much sweetness and swoon. There’s also the added layer of both characters suffering from anxiety, which I thought MH handled brilliantly in how it affected each of their reactions with other people and one another.
I devoured this heart-warming tale of two best friends who were afraid to cross the line but were so clearly meant for one another. And wow, does Hutton know how to take control *wink, wink*
Tease is a next-generation book in MH’s Cloverleigh series, and it is a standalone. But there are some great little moments with some of the other couples from this series and obviously Felicity’s parents, Mack and Frannie, from the OG series.
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
About Melanie Harlow USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like Ted, Lasso, Schitt’s Creek, and Fleabag. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.
Melanie is the author of the BELLAMY CREEK series, the CLOVERLEIGH FARMS series, the ONE & ONLY series, AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, and the FRENCHED series. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.