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Monday, February 27, 2017

WHISPER OF LOVE by Melissa Foster


For the first time in years, Nash wants to let a woman into his world, 
but while his loss made him stronger, that strength came at a price.


WHISPER OF LOVE
The Bradens - Peaceful Harbor, MD #5
Melissa Foster
Releasing Feb 22, 2017
World Literary Press


Tempest Braden adores her family and her small hometown, but sometimes too much of a good thing can be confining. At almost thirty, having watched most of her siblings find true love, she’s anxious to experience her own happily ever after, and the move to Pleasant Hill, Maryland, is just the change she needs. When she rents a room from ruggedly handsome, and closed-off, artist Nash Morgan and his adorable son, Phillip, she thinks she’s found a little slice of heaven on the outskirts of town, where she can concentrate on building her business. That is, if she can ignore the undeniable heat between her and the sinfully hot single father.

When Nash bought his farmette, he had one goal in mind—to provide a loving, stable home for his son. He never imagined he’d be raising Phillip alone, or renting out a room to keep their heads above water. Then again, he never imagined losing his brother, or spending two years sailing around the world with parents who seemed to forget one son was still alive. 

Sparks fly from the moment Tempest moves in, and her positive energy and inquisitive nature brings new life into Nash and Phillip’s quiet, confined world. For the first time in years, Nash wants to let a woman into his world, but while his loss made him stronger, that strength came at a price, leaving him walled off and wary of opening his heart again.





Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance, and women's fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa's emotional journeys are lovingly erotic, perfect beach reads, and always family oriented. 


The sound of tires on gravel drew his attention. He scooped Phillip into his arms, locked the goat pen, and grabbed the buckets. “Visitor,” he said, carrying Phillip toward the house and eyeing the Prius parking behind his old Ford pickup truck. His truck was a gas guzzler, but as much as he hated that, he needed the bed of the truck to haul the furniture he made into town. He hoped Tempest Braden, the woman coming to see the room he was renting out, wasn’t a preachy tree hugger. Hell, he hoped she would turn out to be the silent type so he could pretend she didn’t live in their house.

 Phillip’s brows knitted, his hands firmly planted around Nash’s neck. He wasn’t used to visitors. The last several people who had come to see the room they had for rent hadn’t been the kind of people Nash wanted around his son. They’d rubbed him the wrong way—too aggressive, too loud, too shady, too flighty. He just needed a stable, responsible person to rent the room so he could afford to upgrade a few of his tools and start saving for Phillip’s future. He tightened his grip on his son and headed up to meet the tall blonde stepping from the car. Her wispy skirt fluttered around her knees. Large pink roses with muted green leaves looked as if they’d been thrown onto the flimsy white material haphazardly. A fringe of lace lined the edges. On anyone else the flouncy, floral skirt might look immature. But her legs went on forever, and coupled with her tight, curve-hugging tank top, she looked like Sweet and Sexy collided at the corner of Sinful Temptation. She turned as he approached, and Nash stopped in his tracks, standing still as a stone. The setting sun caught her hair, highlighting several different shades of blond in long, cascading layers that hung to the middle of her back. Her nose was slightly upturned, and she had a cute, rounded chin. He’d never seen such natural beauty. 

 She smiled and tilted her head. “Nash?” Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he forced his legs to carry him forward. “Yes. Tempest?” She met him halfway up the hill. “Thanks for seeing me so quickly.” She peered into the buckets. “I hope I’m not interrupting.” “Evening routine. Did you have any trouble finding us?” She was even more beautiful up close. Her hair was tousled, as if she hadn’t brushed it all day, and her eyes were so light blue, they had starbursts of white around the pupils, sparkling like diamonds. It had been a long time since any woman had caught Nash’s interest, and he reminded himself to rein in that attraction. The last thing he needed were complications in Phillip’s life. Even for a girl with the most spectacular blue eyes he’d ever seen. “No. Your directions were perfect.” 

She smiled at Phillip, and when she spoke again her voice was soft as a summer’s breeze. “What’s your name, cutie pie?” Phillip’s fingers dug into his neck. Nash nodded his approval. “Flip,” Phillip said. Tempest’s eyes widened with amusement. “Flip? That’s a unique name.” That beautiful smile lit up her face again. “I’m Tempest, but everyone calls me Tempe. It’s nice to meet you both.” When she turned that smile on Nash, his entire body heated up. As a sea lover, he knew the word tempest meant a violent storm. It was obvious what type of unexpected storm this sweet-natured, soft-spoken beauty could cause, and he couldn’t afford to be caught in a squall. “My son’s name is Phillip.” He said it faster than he’d meant to, and realized his son’s name came out sounding like Flip. He’d also said it harsher than he’d intended. Reeling in his attraction was going to make him look like an asshole. “Then Flip it is.” The way she said it sounded so damn cute, he wasn’t about to correct her. “Flip,” Phillip repeated.

 “Come on, I’ll show you the room.” He caught a whiff of her floral perfume on the way inside. It had been a long time since he’d smelled anything so feminine. Maybe this housemate thing wasn’t such a good idea after all.




Whisper of Love is the first book by author Melissa Foster that I have had the opportunity to read. The unique characters and their amazing journey immediately drew me into the story and I enjoyed every word!

Tempest Braden is a talented music therapist who brings comfort to hospital patients and their family. A nurturing, caring person, she has left her family and her hometown to focus on her music. Tempe needs a quiet place to live where she can concentrate on writing music. She meets Nash Morgan and his son Philip when she visits their farm to look at a room.

Tempe’s presence at the farm changes both Nash and Philip. Her positive energy and love of life brings joy into their lives. Nash has devoted himself to raising Philip. Nash abandoned a very lucrative career as a talented woodworking artist to raise his son. Nash is so devoted to his son that he’s forgotten about himself and his needs.

There are several poignant scenes in the novel. My favorite scene is when Philip showed Tempe how to collect the eggs in the chicken coop. Tempe realized that three- year old Phillip couldn’t count. She asks if she can collect a few eggs and counts each one as she puts them into her basket. Philip quickly learns to count and starts to count everything in sight from eggs to pancakes! This simple scene is a turning point in the novel as Nash realizes that he has sheltered Philip and that they have been missing out on enjoying life.

The romance that develops between Tempe and Nash is passionate and it intensifies with each chapter. Ms. Foster writes two characters who are trying to find personal happiness with the correct blend of passion and emotion. Tempe and Nash’s story made me smile, laugh and cry. I appreciated that the characters stayed true to themselves-each of them had emotional and professional obstacles to overcome- in this well-paced story.

Readers who enjoy books by Donna Alward, Debbie Mason and Kristin Higgins will adore Whisper of Love!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman




Rafflecopter Giveaway (Two Winners will receive a digital copy of HEALED BY LOVE (Bradens at Peaceful Harbor #1) a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Austenland - Movie Review

Austenland
Movie Review
 
 
Released in 2013
 
I really did not know what to expect from this movie.
Keri Russell stars as the sweet, obsessed Jane Hayes.
Jane loves Mr Darcy and everything Jane Austen.
She finds out about a place to go and completely
immerse yourself into the life of Darcy era.
But, of course, its modern time.
 
 
 Austenland turned out to be a really fun movie.
When you watch, keep your eyes peeled all around.
There are little touches (and big touches) all over!
I love reading romance stories even though I
usually know who is going to wind up together
pretty quickly.
But the greatest part about this movie is I wasn't
sure about who she would be with in the end!
I loved it. Enjoyed the whole silly movie.
Great girls night movie.
 
I borrowed this copy from my local library.
Review by Lisa Hutson


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Zero to Sixty by Marie Harte Spotlight Tour

Zero to Sixty by Marie Harte Spotlight Tour.


BAD BOY SAM + GOOD GIRL IVY = LEARNING TO LOVE AGAIN 

After her last disaster of a relationship, Ivy Stephens is content being single. She has her job, her apartment—and the cute little puppy she’s seen hanging around. When he escapes, she finds her search efforts aided by a big, burly, devastatingly handsome man. One who claims a prior claim on her dog.

Sam Hamilton is at loose ends since his best friend fell in love. He finds a sense of purpose in rescuing strays. The puppy who’s stolen his heart just happens to run into blond, beautiful Ivy. And Sam can’t help hoping she’ll take in one more stray—him—for good. 




Susan’s review of Marie Harte’s Zero to Sixty

Marie Harte’s Zero to Sixty is the third book in her Body Shop Bad Boys series and once again she delivers a steamy, sexy romance! This novel features massage therapist Ivy Stephens and mechanic Sam Hamilton. The couple bond over a stray dog that Ivy has named Cookie. Sam’s friends have been fostering the same dog, who is constantly running away. The dog slipped his collar and is loose, so Ivy and Sam team up to search for him. The couple finds Cookie and Sam asks if Ivy wants to adopt him. The couple agrees to meet the next night after work to talk about Cookie.


He cleared his throat. ’So I’ll call you.’ He rubbed the dog’s head, and Cookie looked like he’d gone off to heaven. ‘If you’re not busy tomorrow night, we could grab a beer or something. Talk about plans for Cookie.” Don’t you mean Scruffy?” she teased. ‘Nah. Cookie sounds much more respectable.” He stroked the dogs just as she reached in to do so and accidentally ran over her hand in the process. They both froze and he slip his hand away. She’d never been with a man so intense. Protective, dangerous, handsome. Sexy? Since when did Ivy go with the bad boy type?


I read Marie Harte’s novels because of their unique characters, clever dialogue and fast-paced plots. I was a bit surprised when the author paired career- oriented Ivy with Sam, the tattooed car mechanic. Their first date is a disaster. A few days later, Sam helps Ivy when she has car trouble. The couple bonds over Cookie, Sci -fi movies, tea and an unexpected kiss. The author creates excellent secondary characters. Foley and the crew at the car shop are Sam’s family and the intricate relationships add authenticity to the story. Ivy and Sam’s conversations were honest and heart breaking at times. Through the talks with Sam and his best friend Foley, the reader learns about Sam’s childhood and his relationship with his mother. Sam and Ivy are surprised by their intense and powerful attraction. Kudos to Marie Harte for Sam’s insistence for Ivy’s consent—and the importance of sexual consent—before they consummate their relationship.

The couple faces several challenges during the novel and the ending was perfect. I enjoyed the passion in Ivy and Sam’s story and am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

ARC provided by the publisher




Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, MARIE HARTE is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit www.marieharte.com and fall in love.
 


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Excerpt

 They walked down the street and turned right. After a few more blocks they passed the middle school, heading toward the park bordered by Blaine Street. Despite the late hour, a few parents and children still played on the swings. Ivy felt a moment’s envy, that her own perfect family didn’t exist and likely never would. She should be glad, really. Imagine if Max had gotten her pregnant the way he’d wanted to when they’d first started dating? All those years supporting him through undergraduate school had been difficult enough. But with a baby on board? Then his leaving her high and dry for law school and that perky blond would have hurt a lot more. She should be glad to be strong and independent and single. Who the hell needed a man anyway? Someone shouted from the other side of the street, and she started. 

 “You okay?” Sam put a hand on her shoulder to keep her from tripping over her own feet. She felt safe next to his large presence. “Yeah, wasn’t paying attention.” Then, to prove she really didn’t need a man to protect her or stop her from being clumsy, she stepped away and called out for Cookie. By herself. They walked all around the park and deeper into the West Queen Anne neighborhood. Despite Sam still being a stranger, he seemed on the up and up. He called out for the dog. They walked near each other but not too close. She saw him watching her, but when she’d look at him, he appeared to make an effort to seem nonthreatening. Hands in pockets, keeping his distance. She found his actions comforting—and charming, oddly enough—because he didn’t seem to be trying to impress her. He’d sworn. Called her a hot chick, and he— “Sam.” She pointed to a small moving shadow near a house on the corner of 4th and Blaine. 

He nodded and raised his voice. “Scruffy. Come.” The shadow picked its head up and took a step in their direction. “Cookie, come here,” she added and made a few kissy sounds. “Come here, boy.” A tiny yip, and then the little guy was bounding toward them. Sam and she crouched low, so as not to threaten with their size. But Cookie didn’t seem to care. He went to Sam first, his tail wagging and his tongue licking everywhere he could reach. Ivy watched Sam’s stern demeanor melt into a smile that stole her breath. When he wasn’t looking so serious or tough, he was…beautiful. His smile reached his eyes, and the joy on his face was infectious.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Loving Lady Dervish by Heather Snow

Loving Lady Dervish
by Heather Snow
 

The heroes in the stories I read are mostly suave. Confident.
Not always of course. Sometimes they are shy. Maybe
a bit insecure. But almost never have they been
plagued with peer pressure. Peer pressure that leads
them to most regrettable behavior toward the heroine
in Loving Lady Dervish. The heroes name is
Lord Malcolm Gray. Now, Lord Gray has the large
challenge to overcome his past behavior. He needs
to make it right.
 
Lady Phoebe Anson has also had to overcome the
same behavior. The poor choices Lord Gray made also
stuck with Lady Phoebe. They altered the course of her life,
leaving her to struggle. To create a life that she wants from
the leftover rubble. She is on the cusp. She has made the
connections. She has it all set up. But then, her father
throws a monkey wrench in her plans. Leaving her to ask
a big favor of Malcolm Gray.
 
Heather Snow is brilliant. There is no question. But she
also can write. She creates wonderful, fun, interesting,
real characters and places for these characters to live.
The situations and lives are so true to life. The heroines
are not typical women of these times. They are strong
and knowledgeable. They are female with many layers.
 
I always enjoy reading Heather Snow because of the
uniqueness of her characters. Particularly, her female
characters. In this particular story, the hero is also
rather different. Not your typical Lord.
 
This is a novella. I believe around 113 pages.
You will never know it for all the story packed
into those pages.
If you have not read Heather Snow in the past,
this a wonderful story to get the feel of her
writing from. You will quickly see what I mean
about her wonderful writing.
 
 Review by Lisa Hutson
 



Thursday, February 16, 2017

Every Little Thing--The Butler, Vermont Series, Book 1 by Marie Force

Every Little Thing by Marie Force
The Butler, Vermont Series, Book 1

On Sale Date: Feb. 14, 2017
Ebook Price: $4.99
Print Price: $9.99


Grayson Coleman has just moved home to Butler, Vermont after spending years working for a high-powered law firm in Boston. He’s looking for a simpler, less stressful existence in the sleepy little mountain town where he grew up with his siblings and Abbott cousins. Once the holidays are over, he plans to hang out a shingle and open a new general law practice. After helping to raise his seven younger siblings, the last thing on Grayson’s mind is a family of his own.

Emma Mulvaney is enjoying a break from her reality as a busy single mother in New York City while she and her adorable daughter, Simone, spend the holidays in Vermont with Emma's sister, Lucy, and Lucy’s future in-laws, the Abbotts. After meeting Abbott cousin Grayson Coleman and talking to him for hours, Emma is nervous and excited to have dinner alone with him after sharing her deepest, most personal secrets with him. 

Will that first night be the start of something new for the jaded lawyer and the selfless single mom or will a holiday week flirtation turn into something much bigger than either of them ever expected?

Come back to Butler, Vermont for more of the charming Abbott family, their matchmaking father and grandfather and of course, Fred the Moose.

The indie-published Butler, Vermont Series is a continuation of Marie’s Green Mountain Series with all the things you loved best about that series—Fred the Moose, the boisterous Abbott family, the beautiful Vermont mountain landscape and the sexy romances that set your heart to racing. Catch up with the series by checking out the Green Mountain Series and then come along on the next phase of the story with the all new Butler, Vermont Series!

The Green Mountain Series
Book 1: All You Need Is Love
Book 2: I Want to Hold Your Hand
Book 3: I Saw Her Standing There
Book 4: And I Love Her
Novella: You’ll Be Mine
Book 5: It's Only Love
Book 6: Ain’t She Sweet



Susan's Review
Author Marie Force’s novel Every Little Thing in set in Butler, Vermont. The romance which develops between attorney Grayson Coleman and Emma Mulvaney is featured in this charming, character-driven, well-paced novel.

At first, I didn’t think Grayson and Emma had enough in common to make their relationship work long -term. Grayson has returned home to work in his family business after spending several years in Boston working as a corporate attorney. His last romantic relationship crashed and burned. Emma is a single mother who works in New York City as an office manager. She has a huge support system which includes her Dad and several close friends. Providing a warm, stable loving home for her precocious 9 year old daughter Simone is Emma’s focus; she hasn’t dated in years. Emma and Grayson sit by a fire and confide in each other after a wedding. The chemistry that developed between them during the fireside conversation drew me into the story.

The author’s descriptive writing style shines Every Little Thing. I could picture the main characters, envision having breakfast at the diner with Gray’s relatives Elmer and Linc and picture myself with Emma’s sister Lucy as she watched Simone and Colton ski. Marie Force effortlessly transitions between several subplots featuring Butler residents Hannah and Noah, Lucy and Colton and Elmer and Linc. Each one of the side plots connects back to Gray and Emma’s story and the significance of family and friends.

The central theme of family and community in this novel appealed to me. Grayson and his family are contacted by their father who abandoned them sixteen years ago. Grayson is faced with a moral decision which could alienate him from his mother, brothers and sisters. Emma has several things to consider when she is offered a job in Vermont. Can she uproot Simone from her family friends and school? Can she leave her widowed father in New York and start a new life?

The characters in this novel are easy to relate to as they are faced with every day concerns. The author seamlessly weaves issues such as modernizing a family run business, single parenthood, communication issues and a cancer diagnosis throughout the story. I liked that Emma and Grayson took a chance on love and they believed and supported each other. The conclusion to this romantic novel had a few surprises for several characters and I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

If you are looking for a winter romance –pick up a copy of this heartwarming romance!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC provided by publisher
Edited by Brian McGee


Ebooks:
Kindle US | 

Print:
Marie’s store: http://geni.us/eltmarie






Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 contemporary romances, including the Gansett Island Series, which has sold nearly 3 million books, and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books, which has sold 1.5 million books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series, written under the slightly modified name of M.S. Force.  All together, her books have sold more than 5.5 million copies worldwide!
Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

All I Want by Jill Shalvis - audio version

All I Want
by Jill Shalvis
Audio Version
 


All I Want is book 7 of the Animal Magnetism series.
I could make this shortest review ever.
You simply cannot go wrong with a Jill Shalvis story.
There, that's it. No, seriously, her characters are always
fun and easy to read. They are real with flaws and
issues. In this story, Zoe is a pilot. Yes, not
necessarily someone you run into every day.
But she is also an animal lover. She is not afraid
of flying a plane. But she is afraid of trusting
anyone outside her very tiny circle.
Parker is a tough, bossy, determined, good looking
man. He is not afraid of being run over by a truck.
Or having a gun pointed straight at him. But he is
 afraid that his little sister, Amery, will get lost or hurt.
Parker is also afraid that Amery won't have the
fullest life possible. He is afraid that Zoe won't want
him as much as he wants her. 
Which all makes them the perfect couple of course.
 
 
The narration is terrific. Karen White has done a
number of Jills stories. She has a distinct voice.
And fits the stories and characters very well.All I Want is a fun, romantic read.  
 
When you put it all together, it makes a wonderful
audio story. I hope you will give it a try and
enjoy it as much as I did.
 
I bought my audio copy from Audible.com
Review by Lisa Hutson



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

SAUVIGNON BLANC TO SIGH FOR by Pamela Gibson: Feb 14


They’re best friends until a wine and food pairing competition 
throws them together in an intimate, tension-filled setting. 


SAUVIGNON BLANC TO SIGH FOR
Love in Wine Country #4
Pamela Gibson
Releasing Feb 13th, 2017


Sarah James has always wanted to be part of a family. Her divorced parents are estranged and she has no siblings. But she does have friends, especially Sam, who’s always underfoot…eating her food, fixing stuff in her house, and seeking advice about his love life.

Aspiring winemaker Sam Reynoso has taken care of Sarah since the sixth grade. She’s smart, comfortable, and indulgent. They’re best friends until a wine and food pairing competition throws them together in an intimate, tension-filled setting.

As feelings neither of them expected start to emerge, each will have to decide if their relationship will evolve, or if their newfound love will be nipped in the bud by a crushing secret.





Pamela Gibson grew up loving books, history, and small towns. Her first career was a newspaper reporter, but when she returned to college to get a master’s degree, it was in public administration which eventually led to jobs running cities…not as an elected official, but as a city manager, the chief appointed one.

Writing was still her passion and in her spare time—between meetings and raising two active kids—she was contracted to write several books on local history. Taking an early retirement at the urging of her very supportive husband, she turned to fiction and began writing the happy ending novels she loves to read.

She now spends half her time on land and the other half cruising coastal or inland waters in her 32-foot boat. She speed-eats chocolates when she’s nervous, squeals when she sees a spider, and loves to relax with a good read with a mellow glass of wine.  











Pamela Gibson’s novel Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For tells the story of wine maker Sam Reynoso and his childhood friend Sarah James and their special bond.

Sam is a handsome, charming flirt who falls in and out of love all the time. Women are drawn to him but he can’t seem to keep a steady girlfriend. At the beginning of the novel, he seeks out his childhood friend Sarah after a particularly bad breakup. Sam invites himself over to Sarah’s for dinner the next night and they talk about her upcoming two- week vacation. Sam loves Sarah’s cooking and mentions that she should open a restaurant; she fires back that he should open a winery.

During dessert, Sam confesses to Sarah that he’s signed both of them up to participate in an invitational couple’s wine and food competition. He has given her four days to select, shop and prepare food pairing for the wines. And to make add insult to injury, Sam suggests that Sarah do something with her hair and clothes because “neither of us looks like someone the other would date.’

Fueled by Sam’s comments, Sarah changes her appearance from the girl next door to the woman of Sam’s dreams! She has cut and colored her hair, wears contacts and buys a few sexy outfits to show Sam up. I loved the laugh out loud back and forth banter between Sarah and Sam throughout the novel.

‘Do you think people will believe we’re a couple now, Mr. Hot Guy?’ Her voice was low and sexy, her soft mouth curved into a secret smile.
‘Geez, Sarah. You didn’t have to change your appearance.”
‘Sure, I did. We’re supposed to be a couple in a committed relationship. I have to look like the girls you date. I have to be warm and affectionate and look at you like you’re my dessert course.”


Loved Sam’s reaction to the ‘new’ Sarah and the romance that sizzles between them as they work together during the contest. After the first day of the competition, Sam realizes that he needs to up his marking and presentation skills for the judges because he receives more positive feedback about Sarah’s appetizers than his wine! Sarah supports him throughout each phase of the contest as the risk of elimination intensifies each day. The conclusion to the novel holds a few surprises and a major set -back for the couple. Their friendship is put to the test. Kudos to Pamela Gibson for a heart- warming story about wine, fabulous food, friendship and forgiveness!

If you enjoy reading authors Sherryl Woods, Samantha Chase and Melanie Shawn, pick up this novel—you will love it!

Review by Susan 

 
Sarah hopped off the couch, fists clenched. “Are you out of your freakin’ mind? I’m not doing this. I’m going to Sea Ranch or Morro Bay or Santa Barbara…somewhere with a beach.”

“But this is a great opportunity, Sarah. The judges are enologists and wine and food raters from the big magazines. Even if we don’t win, we can get our talents in front of people who can make things happen for us.”

“We? I don’t want to be a chef. I’m a planner. A damn good one.”

He swiped his fingers over his hair. “You hate the politics. You know you’re a gourmet cook. This is a great chance for you as well as me.”

She planted her hands on her hips and glared. “No. No. No.”

“Why are you being like this?”

She raised her voice. “We’re not a couple. You said this is for couples. To me that means married or engaged. Now eat your cobbler, and I’ll go in the kitchen and make coffee.”

“How can you say that? We’ve been a couple since we were kids. Our friendship is probably stronger than most marriages.”

“But this implies a committed relationship. It would be dishonest.” She stood her ground, but he had a point. If it didn’t specifically say engaged or married, they’d technically qualify.

He hung his head and looked up at her through those lashes most women would kill for. “Uh, Sarah? I already signed us up.”

“What?” she shrieked. “Sam, I can’t believe you did this. I could just…just…this is exactly what you do, every time. Take over and do what you want, and don’t even bother to think about the person you‘re going to rope into your latest scheme. No.”

“It’s only a week. You can have the second week all to yourself.” He got up and stood in front of her, so close she had to look up at him. “Can’t you pretend that we’re more than friends for a week? I know you love me.”

“Yes…like a brother…a big, overgrown, aggravating, controlling, nuisance of a brother.”

“But you’ll do it.”

“No.” She looked up at him and knew instantly why women fell at his feet. His shoulders were immense, and the light stubble on his face made him look dangerous. But the heat in his eyes could melt rocks in an iceberg.

He put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her toward him. It was a brotherly hug, one they’d shared often. “Think about it. I’ve paid the fee, but I can stand to lose it.”

“How much was it?” She murmured against his chest.

“Two grand.”

Two thousand dollars? She pushed him away and faced the kitchen. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Spotlight and Review of One More Kiss by Samantha Chase

One More Kiss (Shaughnessy: Band on the Run)



MATT REED IS HIDING
…from his fans
…from his past
…from a failure too painful to contemplate
Most of all, Matt is hiding from himself.

VIVIENNE FORRESTER IS A WOMAN WHO GIVES HER ALL
…to her friends and family
…to her online food blog
…to the man she loves

Vivienne will try anything and everything to coax Matt out of his self-imposed exile. But for this to work, Matt is going to have to meet her halfway…




Review



In One More Kiss, Samantha Chase presents a poignant, passionate story of one man’s triumph over personal and professional disappointments. As a guitarist for the legendary rock band Shaughnessy, Matty Read was used to success, parties and lots of media attention. The band members decided to take a break from touring to pursue different creative outlets. Matty chooses to perform a musical on Broadway, however, much to his disappointment the musical closed after 3 performances. While his band members have achieved success during the break, Matty has crashed and burned in a big way. Members of the media have questioned his singing ability and his work ethic.

 Samantha Chase’s portrayal of Matt’s struggles takes on an edgy tone. In the novel, the reader senses the intensity of his inner struggle. Was he really the party hearty, Jack Daniels drinking rock star Matty Read? Or was he Matt Read; the singer songwriter from North Carolina? 

Vivienne Forester is Matt’s best friend’s sister and she’s had a huge crush on Matt for years. A successful food blogger and editor, she is moving into a cottage on her brother’s property. Vivienne is not amused when her brother tells her that Matt is hiding out from the media at their home. Loved that the author provided a backstory to Matt and Vivienne’s romance as it clearly defined the difficulties faced by Matt’s rock star persona and provided the reader with Vivienne’s perspective. 

I am glad the author chose to have romance between Matt and Vivienne progress slowly in this character-driven novel. Both characters need to sort out issues before they can take the leap from friends to lovers. Vivienne is one of Ms. Chase’s best characters. She’s is independent, smart and very career- oriented. Even though the chemistry between Matt and Vivienne sizzles during the novel, she is aware that Matt is restless. How can she have a serious relationship with a man who hiding out from reality? 

The last few chapters are superbly written in this novel. Matt’s past and present seem to simultaneously collide in front of him. His friendship with Aaron, Viv’s brother, is tested and Riley presents him with a huge opportunity. Will Matt and Vivienne be able to exist in each other’s worlds? In One More Kiss, Ms, Chase delivers a terrific contemporary fiction novel with characters whose unique story has the perfect happily ever after!

Reviewed By Susan Gorman
ARC provided by the publisher



 










About the Author


Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Since then, she has published twenty more titles and has become a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of twenty-five years and their two sons in Wake Forest, North Carolina.


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Excerpt


Then they easily moved on to “Chopsticks.” And from there she moved on to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” They both laughed as she played it and Matt sang along and then he played it back for her, teasing that she needed to sing it to him.

She declined but laughed the entire time. There was no way she was singing for him – she knew her strengths and weaknesses and singing was not a strength.

“What about this one?” he asked and started the very basic beginnings of “Heart and Soul.”

“Oh,” she sighed, “this is one of my favorites.” She joined in and together they went on to play a duet – with Matt doing the A-section and Vivienne doing the chords. Their shoulders bumped together as they played and she couldn’t help the tingles she got as Matt quietly sang the lyrics beside her.

When she turned her head and caught him watching her with an odd expression on his face, she began to wonder if maybe he was remembering – the way he’d held her that night and kissed her…and let her go.

She jumped up from the bench so quickly she stumbled and almost fell over onto her butt. When she righted herself, Vivienne looked at him with wide eyes, her heart beating madly. “Sorry.”

“You okay?” he asked, obviously concerned.

“Um…yeah. I had a…a um…leg cramp and I needed to get up and move.” Way to sound like an eighty-year-old woman, Viv, she cursed herself. Trying to prove she wasn’t lying, she limped around a bit and then sat back down on the very edge of the bench – effectively putting space between the two of them. “So…I think you should be good to go. Why don’t you play something for me?” Her voice sounded weird even to her own ears.

Matt was still looking at her funny, but he didn’t say a word. He cleared his throat as he turned and put his focus on the keyboard and began to play. It was slightly off and riddled with mistakes, but he kept going. Vivienne was learning more and more about him, but she could tell he was tempted to stop and start over again with every mistake. But he didn’t. He kept on playing and singing.

He opted for the Elton John tune, and as he had before, he sang as he played. Vivienne could only stand and listen, his voice washing over her. She knew he hadn’t purposely chosen this song –the lyrics weren’t his – but for one brief moment, she let her imagination run wild. A small sigh escaped her lips as she imagined it was her own sweet eyes he was singing about.

Matt was looking at her again, and Vivienne felt hot all over. She was feeling things she shouldn’t. He was making her feel things she shouldn’t. Or maybe he was just singing lyrics, and she was reading too much into them. When he turned back to the piano and continued to sing, she told herself that was all it was – her imagination.

Her stupid overactive imagination.

With her mind somewhat made up, she allowed herself to relax a little and just enjoy the music. As the last note faded and the room became silent, she knew he was waiting for her to give him feedback. Forcing herself to smile, she turned her head and looked at him. “That was pretty good. I would never know you were new to playing the piano.”

“Really?” he asked, and she could tell he didn’t fully believe her. “Because it was riddled with mistakes.”

She shrugged. “And it’s completely normal. Everyone makes mistakes, especially in the beginning. If this is something you want to pursue, just keep practicing. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you’ll be able to compose music of your own.”

He smiled gratefully. “You think so?”

“Matt, you know you have talent.”

“I used to…”

“That’s a bunch of bull and you know it,” she said a bit harshly. “You can’t be good at everything. It sucks but there it is. You’re a very talented musician. So you can’t act? Big deal? So you’re better at backup vocals than lead? There are worse things that could happen! Seriously, you have more skill and musical ability than most people, why can’t you just be happy with that?”

His answer wasn’t immediate. Instead, he got up and went to the kitchen and grabbed them each a bottle of water. When he walked back over and handed Vivienne hers, he smiled sadly, “I hate to fail.”

She couldn’t help but smile back. “It’s natural. We all do. You have to cut yourself some slack. If I were to get up on a stage and try to do what you do, I’d fail too. But it doesn’t mean I’d beat myself up over it. You just have to know your limitations.”

He sat back beside her and nudged her playfully with his shoulder. “Oh come on, you can’t tell me you haven’t tried to play the guitar a time or two. Or sang into a hairbrush while looking in the mirror. Everyone does that one. Or sings in the shower.”

“Oh, I sing all the time,” she quipped. “Just not well. And I’m okay with it.”

“Normally I am. I learned a long time ago it was better just to prove people wrong. But lately…”

“Okay, so what is it going to take for you to get over this?” she interrupted. “Because it seems like you are refusing to move on.”

“Move on? It just happened!”

“Weeks ago, Matt!” she cried. “I mean, I could see the first week, even the second, but now? It’s time to move on! You’re giving the press and the haters all the power! And personally, I think you’re making it worse by hiding out.”

His eyes went wide. “Excuse me?”

Okay – insert foot in mouth.