Hold On Tight by J. Kenner

2 - February - Hold On Tight

Synopsis

A hard body.  A dangerous past.

Meet Mr. February.

Reality-TV star and reformed bad boy Spencer Dean doesn’t trust women. Not after his fiancée, Brooke, left him at the altar five years ago, breaking his heart and hardening his soul.

Now, Brooke is close to a deal for her own show that will launch with the remodel of a popular Austin bar. The problem? The network insists that Spencer step in as her partner.

He’s tried to forget her—but he can’t deny that he still wants her. More than that, he wants to punish her. And so he agrees, but only on terms that are provocative, demanding, and wildly sensual.

It’s the perfect set-up for extracting revenge. But he doesn’t expect to fall for Brooke all over again…

Revenge never looked so hot.

**Hold On Tight is part of a binge read series by New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and #1 International bestselling author of the million copy Stark series, J. Kenner.

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Review

Overlapping with Mr January’s story, here comes Mr February …

Spencer has never wanted for much. His childhood was rough but it was all worth it when Brook Hamlin came into his life. She was his from the moment he pulled off the road to help her change her tire. When she left him, she took his heart with her.

Now that the two are being forced to do this T.V show together – remodeling The Fix while filming the Man of the Month contest – he wants his revenge; She broke his heart, now he’s going to break her… until she looks at him with those big eyes and he sees something new there. Then he’s back to where he was the day she left him.

A raw and heart-racing read, Spencer and Brooke’s story is one you cannot put down. Getting both POV’s, plus the back story of what really happened all those years ago, will pull at your heart strings (and your drawstrings *fans self*). Love, manipulation, and the power one has when you love someone is shown throughout this whole story in many ways. Absolutely breathtaking.

~Alex (4/5)

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The Upside to Being Single by Emma Hart

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Synopsis

If anyone asks, I knew better than to flash my boobs for Mardi Gras beads.

I still don’t know why I did it.
Maybe it was the dare from my two best friends.
Maybe it was the guys on the balcony saying they’d throw Fireball shots with the beads.
Or maybe it was the quiet guy in the corner of that same balcony with piercing gray eyes, wavy dark hair, and a smile so tempting I wanted to climb up there and lick it off his face.
Maybe it was because I never thought I’d see them again.
Not that it matters. Not today.
Because the hotel I manage was finally bought—and the guy who walks in and introduces himself as my new boss is Mr. Tall, Dark, and Silent.

There are many upsides to being single.
Your new boss knowing what your boobs look like?
Not one of them.

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Sneak peek

Chloe grimaced, turning around to face me. “Does he show up randomly at your house?”
I jumped out of my chair. “Shut up! No!”
She pointed at the door. “There’s a hot guy who just pulled up in an Audi unexpectedly with dark hair, who wears a white shirt the way hookers wear thongs, and has an ass like a giant, ripe peach.”
Three loud knocks sounded at my door.
“Oh God!” I moaned, clutching at my stomach. “I have to hide. Can you stall him?”
Peyton grinned. A shit-eating warning grin.
“Actually, no, never mind,” I whispered harshly. “Peyton, you go out the back, I’ll hide, and Chloe can get rid of him!”
Peyt shook her head. “Not a chance. Who is it?” she added, shouting the last three words.
I clapped my hands over my mouth. Not only was this not a good time because I was still freaking out over the kissing, but we’d not long finished a yoga DVD and I was still sweaty and gross. Not to mention I was pretty sure I’d pulled a muscle.
And the powder. I was covered in donut sugar, okay?
“Uh… It’s Jake,” came the reply through the door.
Peyt waggled her eyebrows. “Jake, eh?”
I glared at her then stuck my middle finger up in her direction. “I hate you.”
The door hinges creaked, and the next thing I knew, Chloe was standing in the door frame. “Hi!” she said in an upbeat tone. “I’m Chloe.” She shoved her hand at him.
“Jake,” he replied slowly, taking her hand. “Is Mellie here?”
“She’s here, but she might be hiding.”
Peyton burst out laughing. My cheeks flamed red, and I stormed across the room and tugged her away from the door.
“Hi. Excuse her. She didn’t take her meds this morning,” I said.
Chloe poked my cheek. “Hello, Mommy. Did you bring me my cookies?”
Peyton, still laughing, stood up. “Okay, Chlo, drop it. Let’s go. We have work to do.”
I spun around as she slipped her laptop into her purse. “And you need to leave to do that? You literally just showed us a penis photo.”
“Your house doesn’t have the right Feng Shui.”
“You’ve never looked up Feng Shui!”
She pointed a finger in my direction. “You don’t know my life!”
Jake blinked between the three of us.
Chloe grabbed hold of her purse and then Peyton’s arm. “We’re going. Call us later, okay?”
Jake moved out of the way while Chloe dragged Peyton out of my house.
“And don’t forget to put your foot down on the kissing thing!” Peyton shouted, eyes sparkling. The last I saw of her was a large, mischievous grin right before Jake shoved the door shut on her.

Dark Deception by Zoe Blake

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Synopsis

She wants him dead.

Mirage is a master jewel thief but tonight she is an assassin.

~*~

His life was ruined by her lies.

Now he will make her pay.

He will have her on her knees, begging for forgiveness.

It’s time she learned why they call him, Paine.

AUTHOR NOTE: This book is edgy, dark and dirty. If the possibility of having your boundaries tested does not appeal to you, then please do not purchase.

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Review

Background
I found a few teasers of this in a blogger e-mail and despite having a pretty full January, decided I had to add it to my reading schedule. I love dark, and I can be a big fan of erotica when the mood strikes.

Cover
It’s a good image and nice colours, although I’m not a fan of the text and, having read the book, I don’t think it’s particularly relevant to the plot, either. It’s pretty average, in my opinion, with nothing particularly extraordinary or striking.

Writing
It wasn’t bad. There were too many sentence fragments and not enough vocative commas for my liking (and the odd typo, but I was reading an ARC so I have to trust these will be picked up before publication and they will not affect this review). I found the plot, although interesting and with a lot of potential, was rushed in favour of the erotica. There was no true suspense, and due to how short this manuscript was, nothing was developed at all. This was highly disappointing to me, as with a little more consideration, this could have been a highly original, erotic romp full of suspense, but instead, it fell flat. I mean, it was hardly dark, either. Yes, there was some dubious consent involved, but it was so light it can’t be described as pushing boundaries. The most erotic sex scene was the first anal scene, which was done better and with more thought, in my opinion, than the others.

Characters
Again, a good foundation but severely lacking in development. Mirage was too quick to believe Paine about her relationship with Dev, too quick to accept it despite her claims of loving him (which led to the entire revenge plot to begin with…). Complete with insta-love and a too-alpha alpha, this just didn’t do it for me and I found no depth to their relationship beyond a good sex life at all.

Conclusion
A disappointing romp with an original premise, which would have benefitted from more development and a longer manuscript.

~Evelyn (2/5)

Falling Under by Lisa Renee Jones

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Synopsis

A new sexy standalone from Lisa Renee Jones…

Ex-special forces, Jacob King, is a man who keeps to himself, having learned the hard way that letting people close to you, trusting them, might just get you killed. A lesson he learned when members of his Special Ops team turned dirty, while others, men he considered friends, died. He made them pay. He made them hurt. He put them in jail. And so he doesn’t trust anyone anymore. He keeps his women hot and fast, his friends few to none, and his clients through the elite Walker Security at a professional distance, but safe.

It works for him. Until it doesn’t.

His newest job should be simple and cut and dry. Jewel Carpenter, the daughter of the CEO of Carpenter Enterprises, is receiving death threats. He’s to protect her and find out who is issuing the treats.

Simple. Cut and Dry.

Until it’s not.

Until the chemistry between he and Jewel is all about love, hate, and sex. But even as he fights the attraction to Jewel and discovers there is more to her than meets the eye, the real threat comes not from the threats she’s receiving, but the connection she has to him. Because his past has come full circle, and those men he’s made pay for their sins now want him to pay. And what better way than the woman in his bed?

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Review

Another of Lisa Renee Jones’ wonderful romantic suspenses, with a twist of the psychological thriller in there for added measure.

This was a slightly shorter read from Jones, and a standalone, so a little different to what I’m accustomed to (her Dirty Money series being the most recent, but she is very much known for her series, layering intrigue). I wasn’t disappointed—there was enough detail and complexities to the characters to keep me wanting more, with the usual thick chemistry this time woven into a hate/love / enemies-to-lovers theme. With the perfect balance of sex to action (sometimes a sticking point for me with this author), I found myself invested in the story, pulled in my the mystery and the developing relationship between hard-as-nails detective Jewels and green beret alpha Jacob.

With twists and turns and a supporting cast to please readers who have invested in this series, this read is sure to please fans of Lisa Renee Jones, as well as being light enough on the intrigue to ease new readers in.

A great book to get stuck into on a cold winter’s day.

~Evelyn (4/5)

She Asked For It by Willow Winters

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Synopsis

DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER.
You’ll tell me you don’t… but you already think you know what my story’s about.

You have no idea.
Just like the people sitting in this courtroom.
She asked for it.  That’s what they keep saying.

And no, it’s not because my skirt was too short or I was drunk at a party.
It’s nothing like that.  It’s because of what I like and how I like it.

They’re judging me as I sit in the front row, my eyes drawn to the man on trial.
If I’d known it was going to end like this, I never would have gone home with him.
But he’s the type of man I just can’t say no to.

I wanted to feel his lips kiss down my neck.
I dreamed of running my fingers along the rough stubble on his jaw.
I craved his hands on me, pinning me down.
I needed to whisper his name in the dark, late at night.

You still think you know what happened? You don’t.
He’s innocent and I enjoyed every second I was with him.

Let me tell you my story … all about how I asked for it.

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Review

Intense…..

Within the pages of this book there are two damaged, complex characters; a realistic and detailed world; a carefully constructed and suspenseful plot; and a pace that is full of momentum…this is not a sweet romance: it is a dark, gritty and dysfunctional lust/love story.

The main characters both have stories to tell; there is a mystery to be solved and plenty of drama and intrigue en route….what I particularly enjoyed about this book was the relationship between the protagonists…the chemistry is there from the beginning and the development of their relationship from physical to emotional is skilfully demonstrated … both fascinating individuals Dean is fiercely protective and empathetic towards Allison, he is a perfect balance of caring and possessive….. Allison is more complicated and difficult to understand but as the story unfolds so my opinion of her changed as I began to recognise her demons even if I could not comprehend her method of dealing with them…

If I have a criticism at all it is that the ending leaves some unanswered questions about the future for these two. It seemed like there was still some unfinished business to attend to and I am hoping that their continuing story will have a place in the follow up book that would appear to feature Danial, one of the secondary characters, from this one….

Intense and compelling….this book drew me in and kept me intrigued throughout…a must read…this book was reviewed for Summer’s Eve Reads.

~Sheena (5/5)

Rules of Engagement by Lily White

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Synopsis

Rule No. 1:  Do not enter the game unless you intend to finish. Once accepted, there is no escape.

This is a love story, one that comes with rules, expectations, and dark shadows. One where the man who challenges me the most is cloaked in deception. I had no choice but to accept the terms, nowhere to run once the clock started ticking.

Donovan Stone was a man few people dared to cross.

He was dark.

He was dominating.

He was so silent that you had to watch him closely to begin to know what he was thinking.

He was my boss, and the man I should have run from the minute I walked into his corporate office.

Like any bad decision, it took time for me to see the truth about the game I’d entered, for me to understand that it wasn’t the stalker in the shadows I should fear, but the man who pulled the strings.

I had no choice.

At least, that’s the lie I told myself to forgive my foolish actions.

And while running as fast as I could through twisted mazes and deceitful games, I understood that the Rules of Engagement were now my life.

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Sky’s the Limit by Elle Aycart

Sky's The Limit

Synopsis

Tired of waiting for her big break in the fashion industry, Sky Gonzalez, eternal part-time student and overworked retail drone, quits her job, sublets her New York apartment, and embarks on a semester abroad study program in Paris. Paris! Time to throw caution to the winds and jump-start her dreams. What’s the worst that could happen?

How about getting sent to the wrong Paris? As in Paris-frigging-Minnesota?

Bye-bye career dreams. Bye-bye glamour and haute couture. Hello flannel shirts, mind-numbing cold, zero bars on the cell phone, and socially challenged mountain men with tons of unruly facial hair.

So yeah, let the truck barreling her way hit her, please. Less painful.

Logan should have dodged the little lost waif and kept on driving. Who in their right mind walked in the middle of the road, dressed in white from head to high heels, during a snowstorm? Clueless city girls, that’s who. Sky is all that Logan has gladly left behind: stylish, cosmopolitan, and a massive pain in the butt. He wouldn’t trade a single day in his quirky little corner of the woods for all the high-maintenance beauties the city can offer.

Too bad this beauty has been deemed a health hazard and quarantined in his house. Damn his doomsday-prepper neighbors and their paranoid emergency protocols. Now  he has to keep Sky in and the pandemic squad out until the roads are clear. The question is, will that happen before or after Sky realizes she’s under house arrest?

Ah, the best-laid plans…

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