Rules of Engagement by Lily White

Rules of Engagement Final Cover social media size.jpg

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.

Purchase

Advertisements

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…

Purchase it

Read a sneak peek

Beta read and formatted by Pinpoint Editing

Down on Me by J. Kenner

1 - January - Down On Me.jpg

Synopsis

Tight muscles. Vibrant Ink.
Meet Mr. January. Winter’s never looked so hot …

Certified bachelor Reece Walker wants two things—to save the local bar he manages and to get Jenna Montgomery into his bed.

He has a few ideas for the bar. But Jenna  . . .  well, he’s going to have to rely on cold showers, because she’s been his best friend for years, and that’s a line he just can’t cross.

Until one wild kiss on a dark night changes everything. Now Reece is certain Jenna’s meant to be his.

And with long nights in bed, sensual caresses, and deep, lingering kisses, he sets out to thoroughly convince her that friends can be lovers, too.

**Down On Me is the first in 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.

Each book in the series is a STANDALONE novel with NO cliffhanger and a guaranteed HEAT!

But even so, you won’t want to miss any in the series. Because then you can answer the question…

Who’s Your Man of the Month?

Purchase

Review

Reece can barely contain his excitement for his best friend coming back home – unfortunately, this excitement is mostly in his pants and Jenna, him and Brent have always promised to be friends – so he knows that’s a line he mustn’t cross.

When one of the local bars (aka his second home) is threatened, Reece will do almost anything to keep it from sinking. Battling his life long crush on his best friend, and the few places he considers home is no easy feat, and if it takes everything (short of posing in a man-of-the-month calender) then he’s up for it. Jenna is everything he has ever wanted, and he’ll stop at nothing to prove that he’s here for her. Forever.

A breathtaking story that sweeps you in right from the first page. Friends-turned-lovers is a tricky hand to play with (no pun intended) but Reece and Jenna both know what they want. It’s not always the same thing and that’s what takes us readers on a quick paced story filled with hope, friendship and laughter. I can’t wait to meet Mr. February!

~Alex (4/5)

Besting the Billionaire by Alison Aimes

BtB_500 copy-1.jpg

Synopsis

Billionaire Alexander Kazankov always wins. But he didn’t count on high-heeled, drop-dead sexy Lily Bennett getting in the way of his latest deal. She’s a distraction he doesn’t need, not when he’s so close to making things right for his family.
 
Lily may walk and talk like a Southern piece of fluff, but she’s been underestimated before. She’s determined to succeed—and no entitled, arrogant asshole, especially the too-gorgeous-for-his-own-good-kind, is going to get in her way.
 
Oil meet water. Gasoline meet spark. It’s all out war as these two enemies go toe-to-toe in an ugly, take no prisoners battle to prove they’re the right choice to be CEO of the same company. All too soon playing dirty in the boardroom leads to playing even dirtier in the dark. It’s destined to end in personal and professional disaster. So why the hell can’t they stop?

Purchase it

Review

Alexander Kazankov knows what he wants, how to get it, and never fails. He is fierce in every aspect of his life. When his rival passes, and his widow is set to take over his company, Alexi wants to fight for it. There are reasons for his go-getter attitude and no one has ever melted the “Iceman”. No one until Lily Bennett.

After her husband passes, Lily is out to prove to his family and company that she can handle the takeover; even with a hothead like Kazankov trying to snake it from her.

When the two collide it is like nothing either have ever seen before and neither one of them are prepared for it.

A hot and heavy, quick paced story that keeps you on your toes! The back-stories play a huge part in the motivations for the characters and I loved that we got dual POVs. The passion from the two of them was undeniable. Sometimes, you can mix business with pleasure.

~Alex (4/5)

Buried Alive by Stacey Marie Brown

Buried-Alive SMASHWORDS.jpg

Synopsis

Nine years after a tragic accident, Hannah “Brennley” Evans has returned home to the snowy mountains of Whistler, Canada. This is the very place that destroyed her, where her whole world ended, and the reason she now goes by Hannah Jennings.

Struggling with his own tragic past, Rhys Axton, an infamous sexy snowboarding champion, wants nothing more than to be the next Olympic hopeful. Sex, snowboarding, and working out are all he cares about, which helps shut off the demons that haunt him and the family who rejected him.

The moment Hannah walks into his room, he knows something is different about her. Drawn to her, he can’t seem to stay away from the mysterious, guarded girl. They are two heartbroken souls who both understand the darkness.

Little does he know she lives in lies and carries secrets that will bring his universe to its knees and secrets that will bury them both alive.

Purchase

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review

Title: Buried Alive
Author: Stacey Marie Brown
Series: standalone
Genre: new adult, romance
Themes: return to hometown; sports
Heat: 3/5
Rating: 3/5

Background
Although Stacey Marie Brown is a new-to-me author, she’s been on my watchlist for some time now. I have several of her releases on my Kindle, but haven’t got around to reading them as of yet; I’m pleased to say that, after this, they will be booted up my priority list.

Cover
It’s pretty enough, but didn’t ‘wow’ me. It wouldn’t have grabbed me when browsing the Kindle store. I certainly appreciate the snowflakes and the darkness, and the man candy (who perhaps doesn’t resemble the hero I pictured whilst reading).

Writing
In some ways, I feel like I’m over basic contemporary romance. There’s very little originality left and I now find myself bored more often than not. Fortunately, there was a little more depth to Buried Alive. Dealing with the aftermath of an unspecified accident, two people affected find their way to one another after Hannah returns to her hometown to face her demons. The slow reveal of the events from that fateful night is wonderful, enough hints dripped down to sustain the reader’s attention. Yet, it was also a little predictable, marring the final, anguished reveal.

I also found the beginning a little confusing, unsure as to whether Rhys really recognised her or not, which became more clear as I continued reading. In some respects, I felt this was perhaps the least believable part, him knowing but not knowing her, and then this confusion on his end being forgotten.

Characters
I certainly appreciated the depth and flaws of both Hannah and Rhys, and never found myself too frustrated with their actions, despite the back and forth. I found it more believable than most due to the events of the past, shaping these characters and their anxieties. I also enjoyed how developed and lovely their ‘sidekicks’ (Shaun and Siena) were; again, flawed yet believable, and certainly likeable.

It was just a shame how the antagonists seemed to be lacking in development, more shells used to create pressure and drama than fully fleshed out characters which would hold their own. I found them more irritating than believable.

Conclusion
I very much enjoyed the overall story, which fortunately managed to distinguish itself from the usual contemporary romance, despite having some aspects I felt didn’t quite grip me as much as I hoped, particularly needing a little more development in some areas.

I look forward to reading more from Stacey Marie Brown.

Turning Back by J.A. Huss

Turning Back Ebook CoverTurning Back by J.A. Huss
Series: Turning #2
Genre: dark erotic suspense
1dc99-addtogoodreads

I lived in the dark for three years. My whole world revolved around the whims and happiness of three men. It was just a trip into the forbidden. A way out of a bad situation and forward into nothingness.

Quin, with his easy smile and charming good looks. He was always there for me… Until he wasn’t.

Smith, and his dispassionate attention. He was never there for me and he never regretted it.

Bric, the one who listened, but only to himself. Self-absorbed, self-obsessed, and self-serving. He was never the one I wanted.

And now he might be the only one I have left.

It was good while it lasted, I guess. But it could’ve been so much more. It could’ve been so much better. 

And that’s why I’m turning back.

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Sneak peek

“So then what happened?” Bric asks.

We’re sitting at our booth in the White Room. Before I left, I’d sit in the middle of the bench, Quin would sit across from me in a chair, and Bric would sit to my left.

Bric is still to my left, Quin isn’t here yet—if he’s coming at all—and Adley is in her baby seat on my right.

Everything is familiar—but off.

“Then he went to bed.”

“What’d you do?”

“I sat there on the couch for a while trying to figure out what happened.”

“What did you come up with?” Bric is looking very intently at me. Like everything I’m saying is critically important.

“He hate-fucked me, that’s what I came up with, Bric!”

“Rochelle,” Bric says, throwing me one of those Don’t overreact looks.

“I’m serious. There’s no other explanation for it. He hate-fucked me. Revenge fuck. Whatever you want to call it. That’s what happened last night.” I sigh and try not to feel depressed and sad. “And then this morning I got out of bed to go check on Adley when she woke up, and when I came back, he was gone.”

“Gone?” Bric asks. “Where’d he go?”

“Just left,” I say. “I texted him. Asked if he’d be here for breakfast. And he never texted back.”

“He’s just mad,” Bric says.

“I know.” I huff. “He told me that last night too. He spelled it out very clearly. He was worried about me. Sad about my leaving. But then when I came back—”

“Now he’s just angry.”

“Right.”

“It’s a pretty typical reaction,” Bric says.

“I realize that. Which is why I’m not going to make a big deal about this. But I don’t know if this is going to work, Bric. He might not want me. He might just want to hurt me. Exactly the way I hurt him.”

“No,” Bric says, like I’m being ridiculous.

“I’m not being ridiculous,” I say. “Maybe he’s not out to hurt me. But he’s doing something, Bric. He’s playing a game, but I’m pretty sure we’re not all playing the same game.”

“He’s mad, Rochelle. You have to expect that. He’s gonna come around.”

“What does that mean? Come around? Do you really think he’s gonna fall back in love with me the way he was? Because I don’t. I think he’s here for us. Me, you, and him together. And that’s all.”

Bric rubs his hand across his scratchy jaw as he thinks this over, so I check on Adley. She fell asleep in the car on the way over here and hasn’t woken up yet. Bric is still thinking.

“I don’t want an us, Bric.”

He looks me in the eye and says. “I do. But I get it. And I’m fine with you and Quin getting your little happy ending. But I’m telling you, Rochelle, he’s just trying to protect himself right now and the best way to let him work that out and ensure you two get back together is to have an us.”

“He said he doesn’t trust me.”

“He has a good reason,” Bric counters.

“I know that,” I say, starting to get angry. “I understand that. But the whole point of us doing this… game… or whatever it is, was so that you can help me figure this out. I want him, Bric. You’re supposed to help me.”

But as soon as the words come out of my mouth I realize how stupid that is. I trust no one and I have very good reasons for that. I’ve learned over the course of my life that people are selfish. People are out for themselves. People are liars. I have a lot of experience in being lied to.

Elias Bricman definitely fits all those assumptions I have about people. And then some.

Paper Fools by Staci Hart

Hearts & ArrowsPaper Fools by Staci Hart
Series: Hearts and Arrows #1
Genre: fantasy, romance
e4584-addtogoodreads

Aphrodite knows love — just don’t ask her to figure out her own mess.

Rather than deal with her sticky love life, she toys with the hearts of unwitting humans. It’s a little game she plays, and the stakes are high. Lucky for her, she’s just found the perfect match.

Lex is everything Dean needs, but he can’t have her.

It doesn’t matter that her eyes speak to a long forgotten part of him, or that her art and poetry touch his shredded heart. She’s off limits — crossing that line would implode his band and everything he’s ever cared about. There’s only one option: stay away from her, no matter the cost. Even if the price is his heart.

Dean is everything Lex wants, but she can’t take the risk.

The second she meets him, she knows her heart is in danger. She’s convinced it’s only attraction that has her hung up on the dark, quiet lead singer, but with every day that passes, she knows it’s more. It’s just that she can’t put her heart on the line. She won’t — love has never been worth the sacrifice.

If only they knew they were just pawns in a much bigger game. And in the game of love, Aphrodite never loses.

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK