Friday, March 22, 2019

Making Up (London Celebrities #3) by Lucy Parker

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Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown. 

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser. 

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible. 

And yet…


Source: audiobook borrowed from Hoopla


Trix has been through a rough, confusing patch lately. First, she breaks it off with a controlling boyfriend. Now she finds herself in the spotlight after the star of the Festival of Masks is out due to a freak accident. The sudden thrust into the limelight is disconcerting for her. Trix was always full of life and game for trying new things but since the debacle of her relationship, she's been apprehensive about everything. Even Leo, her former love, who has appeared on the scene again can see that she's behaving differently. Her confidence has taken a knock and she can't seem to get out of her own head. Leo coming back to work at the Festival of Masks only aggravates her more. They've always managed to push each other's buttons while simultaneously wanting to get naked with each other. Conundrum indeed. Leo has his own plans though. He's hoping to win a contest for special effects makeup that will open doors for him in the industry. Now that they're back and sharing the same air space stirs up all sorts of memories and feelings but two things are for sure: they're both hurting and they can see through each other.

Making Up is the more angsty of the three London Celebrities books so far. I think Trix and Leo's shared history lends itself to more tension between them. Something happened to both of them that makes them more reserved and overly cautious about stepping into another relationship, especially Trix. 

As I was listening to it, it struck me that a cynical view would be to see Leo as a sort of saviour coming in to sweep Trix off her feet. I don't see him that way at all. If anything, he's a good friend who's constantly thinking of her and always encouraging her and never mincing his words. Trix, who's feisty, fiery, and always ready to start a battle of words with Leo, is never treated like a delicate flower. This is why I like this story so much. I can totally relate to what Trix is going through where someone close to her that she placed her trust in robbed her of her confidence. It's hard to cast away the gnawing, critical voice that seems to override self-belief. We could all do with someone like Leo who gently reminds her that she strong enough, she is worthy of good things and she deserves that happiness. It does go both ways because Trix looks out for Leo as well, wanting to see him make good on his own career aspirations. She notices a side of him that many don't know about and she also helps him find his footing.


"Nobody is magically immune to having their emotions messed with. It's not a question of moral strength. ... Strong, smart people make mistakes. And if the worst thing you ever do is believe in someone who doesn't deserve to breathe the same air as you, I think you're doing okay."
~ Leo, Making Up
I knew I already loved this series but Making Up cinched it for me. It gave me a favourite new quote that resonated with me at my core. Its sensitive theme doesn't take away from the fact that this is a sweet romance full of optimism and love. 

~ Bel



Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Can't Escape Love (Reluctant Royals #3.5) by Alyssa Cole

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Regina Hobbs is nerdy by nature, businesswoman by nurture. She's finally taking her pop culture-centered media enterprise, Girls with Glasses, to the next level, but the stress is forcing her to face a familiar supervillain: insomnia. The only thing that helps her sleep when things get this bad is the deep, soothing voice of puzzle-obsessed live streamer Gustave Nguyen. The problem? His archive has been deleted.

Gus has been tasked with creating an escape room themed around a romance anime…except he knows nothing about romance or anime. Then mega-nerd and anime expert Reggie comes calling, and they make a trade: his voice for her knowledge. But when their online friendship has IRL chemistry, will they be able to escape love?


Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review


I hadn't thought about how much story the world of the Reluctant Royals has in it. Alyssa Cole has managed to stretch this series out by continuously introducing fascinating characters with equally fascinating backstories ensuring that there'll be no suffering from boredom here. Admittedly, the premise that mega nerd and influencer, Reggie reaching out to fellow mega nerd and bit of an introvert, Gustave to request the use of his voice to help her fall asleep sounds way out there. But if I've learned anything from my exposure to the Reluctant Royals is that unlikely things do happen and usually result in some amazing consequences. 

So, yes, Reggie makes her offer to Gustave and he takes her up on it though making a few changes. Since he has to create this escape room based on a popular anime that he knows nothing about, why not make a counter offer? They could barter services, so to speak: his voice for her anime knowledge. And they have a deal which means ample opportunity to get cozy with each other every day as they work on their projects. Gustave may be a genius at puzzles but he's not so adept at understanding people and social cues. Reggie is different for some reason. They've already established a relationship when she was his one and only YouTube follower way back when, so it's not like they're complete strangers. He finds her mind fascinating. She feels the same way about him though she hasn't necessarily wanted to get close to anyone. She loves this career she's created and the fact that it's founded in something she loves doing. Her enthusiasm is infectious and it only spurs Gustave on to want to do better.

At no point does Gustave treat Reggie's disability as a hindrance. In fact, he's more impressed by how she's navigated her surroundings to work for her, not letting anything stop her if she can at all help it. He even manages to get the industrious workaholic to take a breather every now and then. The main challenge is in dealing with her parents. If you've read Duke by Default then you know that Reggie and her twin sister, Portia have always been pitted against each other. The expectations placed on them have resulted in strained relationships between siblings and parents. I liked that we got to see Reggie's perspective on this. 

Can't Escape Love was such a pleasing read. I love seeing two people perfectly matched in intellect and passion make it work.

~ Bel


Monday, March 18, 2019

This Scot of Mine Blog Tour





A daring deception…

Desperate to escape her vile fiancĂ©, Lady Clara devises a bold lie—that she’s pregnant with another man’s child. With her reputation in tatters, Clara flees to Scotland to live out her days in disgrace, resigned to her fate as a spinster…until she claps eyes on the powerful and wickedly handsome Laird Hunt MacLarin.

She’s the answer to his curse…

Laird of an ancient clan, Hunt needs an heir, but he comes from a long line of men cursed to die before the birth of their firstborn. When the Duke of Autenberry approaches him with a proposition—marry my ruined sister—it seems the perfect solution. Even better, the defiant lass stirs him to his very soul.

No escaping the truth...

Except marriage cannot set them free. No matter how much Hunt desires her. No matter how much Clara burns for him. Soon she is falling for her husband, but is love enough to end the curse? Or is the tragic history of the MacLarin Clan doomed to repeat itself?

 Purchase Your Copy Today



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Excerpt

Clara could not have made the invitation any clearer.
She didn’t know where such boldness came from within her. She had never forayed into intimacy like this. She didn’t know she had it in her. She supposed it had something to do with the way he made her feel . . . something to do with the fire in her blood.
He said her name again. “Clara.” In that husky brogue of his she felt herself melting, sliding deeper into a puddle of desire.
They hadn’t even kissed. Not a true romantic kiss. She did not count the chaste peck the morning of her wedding.
And heavens, she wanted him to kiss her.
She wanted his mouth on hers. She wanted to taste him with an ache that went bone-deep. Despite his gruffness, his mouth looked beautiful. There was a tenderness in the well-carved shape that she wanted to explore.


About Sophie Jordan




SOPHIE JORDAN grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she’s the New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of more than twenty novels. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with anything that has a happily ever after.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon











Thursday, March 14, 2019

King by Cassia Leo Excerpt Reveal







About the Book

From New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo comes a romance about taking chances, double lives, and falling madly in love with the one person you’re supposed to want dead.

Never steal from a king.

Down on her luck in Las Vegas, Isabel “Izzy” Lake turns to the regulated prostitution industry. But her first day on the job ends abruptly when her client dies, and his suitcase contains over a million dollars.

Izzy takes the money and sets off to a small town on the other side of the country, where she attempts to live a low-profile life. A few weeks into her new country girl lifestyle, she finds owning an old fixer-upper isn’t so fun when you’re a city girl with zero DIY skills.

Izzy’s handsome new neighbor, Kingston Jameson, is all too eager to fix her leaky faucet and warm the cold side of her bed. It’s not long before she finds herself falling for King. But is he really the sweet-talking country boy he claims to be, or has he come to collect more than her heart?

***

Kingston “King” Jameson knew he shouldn’t have let Garrett pick up the suitcase full of cash. And he sure as hell never expected Garrett to die at a brothel and get robbed by a prostitute.

King needs to get the suitcase – and the secret item hidden in the lining – before his boss kills him.

He has one problem: The girl who stole the suitcase has hidden it very well. She left her entire life behind in Las Vegas. She’s got nothing left to lose. If King wants that suitcase, he needs to get close to her. Close enough to watch her every move. To know her deepest secrets.

Okay, he has two problems: He’s also fallen in love with the girl he’s supposed to kill.


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About the Author


New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time re-watching Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. When she’s not binge watching, she’s usually enjoying the Oregon rain with a hot cup of coffee and a book.

Website   I   Facebook   I   Instagram   I   Twitter   I   Newsletter   I   Club Cassia


Excerpt

The drive home is relatively silent, save for the occasional heaving noises from Izzy.

 When I pull into her driveway, I make sure to park with the passenger side as close to her front door as possible. Then, I carefully open her door, catching her so she doesn’t tumble out, and carry her up the front steps.

“Try not to collapse, okay?” I say, setting her down gently. “I have to look for your keys.”

“Are you feeling me up?” she asks as I slide my hand into each pocket of her jeans.

Her breath is coated in the sickly sweet scent of whiskey mixed with a trace of vomit. Her hair smells like the smoky atmosphere in the bar. But her body is dangerously warm and soft under my touch.

“No, ma’am,” I reply, pulling a set of keys out of her front pocket.

She reaches up and clumsily traces her fingertip down the front of my lips. “Why not?”

I shake my head. “Believe it or not, I’m not in the habit of taking advantage of women who are too drunk to remember their own name.”

“That’s a shame,” she pouts as I unlock the door. “It’s… It’s Jolene.”

She laughs as I scoop her up in my arms and carry her into the house, where we’re greeted by Steve. The gentle beast wiggles her butt violently as she sniffs me up and down, taking in the smells of the bar.

“Hey, Steve,” I greet her as I use my foot to push the door closed behind me.

“You have to call her Steve-Bella until she’s used to Steve,” Izzy corrects me.

Maybe I should refer to you as Jolene-Izzy until you’re used to your new name.

I lower her onto the worn-in beige sofa, which I assume she purchased second-hand at The Junk Drawer. Taking a step back, I watch with slight amusement as she adjusts a throw pillow under her head and closes her eyes with a big smile on her face.

“How did you learn those fancy moves?” she slurs.

“What are you talking about?” I reply, taking a seat on the edge of the coffee table so I can keep an eye on her for a bit.

I tell myself I need to make sure she doesn’t choke on whatever’s left inside her stomach, but I know I’m only kidding myself.

Her eyelids flutter open, her gaze unfocused as she looks me up and down. “You tackled that guy like a defensive lineman, but you don’t look like a lineman. You’ve got quarterback written all over that hard body.”

I shake my head. “I used to be in the military. How did you learn those fancy moves? That was quite an elbow you dealt that guy.”

“I used to be in the military,” she replies with a cheesy grin.

“No, you weren’t.”

“No, I wasn’t.”

This girl just made off with 1.4 million dollars cash from a criminal organization. She’s obviously drinking to cope with the sudden loss of her friends and family. Yet, she still remembers to clam up about the details of her former life when she’s drunk.

I’m more impressed with her by the second.

“All right. I’ll let you keep your secrets,” I reply, getting to my feet now that I’m pretty sure she doesn’t need me here to watch over her.

“Thank you,” she says, closing her eyes again.

“For what?”

“For saving me.”



Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Remind Me by Samantha Chase Release Day Blast


We're wishing Samantha Chase a very Happy Release Day!


About Remind Me

It’s been years since Mallory Westbrook set foot in Magnolia Sound, but the death of her great-grandfather forces her back. Two weeks to get his affairs in order then she would return to her life in New York. The perfect plan, if not for Jake Summerford—her first love who broke her heart.

Jake always regretted the way things ended with Mallory and now that she’s back in town, he’s hoping they can put the past behind them. As they reconnect, old feelings resurface and Jake realizes that friendship is only the beginning of what he wants from Mallory.

With one foot out of the door, Mallory is looking for any excuse to leave Magnolia Sound behind. Forever. Will Jake’s plan to replace the old, painful memories help him finally show her their love deserves another chance?


Goodreads I Amazon     I     Apple I Nook






About Samantha






Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.


Monday, March 11, 2019

Pretty Face (London Celebrities #2) by Lucy Parker

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Highly acclaimed, award-winning author of Act Like It Lucy Parker returns readers to the London stage with laugh-out-loud wit and plenty of drama

The play's the fling


It's not actress Lily Lamprey's fault that she's all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that's not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn't so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He'd be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily's suddenly rising career, it's threatening Luc's professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they're not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…


Source: audiobook borrowed from Hoopla

Luc Savage has much on the line at the moment. He's invested a huge chunk of money in renovating the Queen Anne Theatre, his newest play is proving to be quite challenging with a diva in the cast and the urgency to find another actress to take on one of the final key roles to be filled. His assistant, Amelia keeps pushing him to consider Lily Lamprey who has achieved notoriety in a scandalous but popular tv show. Luc's being a snob about it. On a normal day - which is near impossible in the theatre - he wouldn't even entertain the thought that Lily could be talented enough for his production. But right now he's desperate and he trusts Amelia enough to give it a go. when he does, he sees potential though she will need extensive training and discipline to make this gamble work. Never having done theatre before, Lily is all too aware that she has much to prove - to herself, to her detractors  - who view her as an upstart who most likely slept her way into her latest role. She understands that her looks and her current role as a sultry homewrecker on her tv show seem to have people thinking that she's just like her alter ego. To distance herself from that she abides by a certain set of rules but then there's Luc. For how much he might still have doubts about her acting ability on stage, she can't help but fall for him. Same goes for him. Lily is not someone he'd ever expect to be attracted to but despite the number of times he's been brusque with her, she's never broken down. Now that they're working together he gets to see firsthand what she contends with as a woman who looks a certain way and receives a certain kind of attention and gossip. 

One reason I like Lucy Parker is that she writes strong, funny women. Lily faces so many presumptions based on her looks that lead people to be skeptical of her talent and work ethic. However, she chooses which battles to fight on her terms. In both books I've read so far (Act Like It was the previous one), the female leads have been top notch figures who are unyielding and don't easily fade into the background when up against a forceful personality. In Pretty Face I was also excited about Amelia whose quick replies and jabs at Luc's grumpiness and sometimes irrational tones made me laugh. She kept him on the straight and narrow. Behind every man ... as the saying goes. Even Lily's bestie, Trix was a joy. And as for Lily and Luc? They're terrific together. As much as distancing themselves from each other for propriety's sake would be the best professional move, they can't fight that inevitable collision. They seriously have great chemistry and even though he's the director and she's the actress, and there's an age difference, as far as their relationship is concerned, they're equals. I like that Luc started out the gruff, stalwart of the group but relented to the change in dynamics, even showing remorse for his own past behaviour towards Lily.

Lucy Parker is basically my hero. She gifts us with amusing and uplifting reads that just put me in such a good mood and I love how happy I feel after I'm done with her books!

~ Bel


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Remind Me by Samantha Chase Excerpt Reveal




About Remind Me

It’s been years since Mallory Westbrook set foot in Magnolia Sound, but the death of her great-grandfather forces her back. Two weeks to get his affairs in order then she would return to her life in New York. The perfect plan, if not for Jake Summerford—her first love who broke her heart.

Jake always regretted the way things ended with Mallory and now that she’s back in town, he’s hoping they can put the past behind them. As they reconnect, old feelings resurface and Jake realizes that friendship is only the beginning of what he wants from Mallory.

With one foot out of the door, Mallory is looking for any excuse to leave Magnolia Sound behind. Forever. Will Jake’s plan to replace the old, painful memories help him finally show her their love deserves another chance?


Goodreads I Amazon     I     Apple I Nook



About Samantha




Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.







Excerpt

“But we were already hanging out,” Mallory reminded him and the look Sam gave her bordered on hysterical. “What? What’s so funny?”
“We all know I’m the third wheel here and the two of you would like nothing more than to be alone, so…I’m leaving,” he said, walking back into the kitchen to put the beer back in the refrigerator. “I’m gonna go home and tell Mom what the plan is–I’m going out to be a good cousin, while you’re here doing…I don’t know…Jake.” He winked. “You two have fun!”
Jake knew he didn’t let out a breath until the back door closed and he saw Sam walk down the deck stairs from the living room window. “Well…that was…awkward.”
“Just a little,” Mallory agreed. “Ugh…why is my brother such a dork?”
Laughing, Jake shifted them until her head was on his shoulder. “I wouldn’t call him a dork, he’s just a little…”
“He’s a dork. Trust me. We’re twins and I’m allowed to say it.” She shook her head. “He’s going to be snarky about this until he leaves.”
“About what?”
“You and me. Us. The fact that he knows what we’re doing.” She groaned. “Now, every time I mention seeing you or doing something, he’s going to make some sort of doofus comment about how I’m doing you. I’m telling you, he’s the worst.”
But Jake couldn’t help but laugh. He didn’t have any siblings so he didn’t understand the dynamics, but from where he was sitting, it was all pretty comical. The fact that they each other and had such obvious affection for each other was a pretty amazing thing. Maybe it was because they were twins or something. All he knew was that he hadn’t met many siblings with the kind of relationship Sam and Mallory had.  
Plus, he liked knowing Sam looked out for her when he couldn’t.
And that one single thought had him going still.
This wasn’t going anywhere–this was about passing the time and getting her out of his system. He wasn’t supposed to be thinking about his feelings or hers. This was temporary. They both saw the end before they started up again, so why was he suddenly feeling concerned about how Mallory was going to be when he wasn’t around?
“Jake?” she asked softly, looking up at him. “You okay?”
He nodded. Right now, he didn’t want to talk. Hell, he didn’t want to think either. All he wanted was to feel–feel Mallory’s body against his. Feel her skin under his hands. Feel her breath mingling with his.
Standing, he gently tugged her to her feet before plunging his hands into her hair and giving her a searing kiss. If she was surprised by the sudden change of events, she didn’t show it. If anything, she kissed him back with equal abandon.  
So good, he thought. Kissing Mallory was always so damn good…
When he had invited her to come home with him earlier–before Sam showed up–Jake envisioned them coming in and talking and maybe sharing some lazy kisses before he seduced her into staying the night. But as Mallory pressed up against him and purred, he was pretty sure nothing was going to be slow and lazy, and that he was the one being seduced.
And he loved every minute of it.
Without breaking the kiss, they maneuvered across the room and down the hall, stopping once so he could back her against the wall and grind against her. She tore her lips from his and sighed his name like a plea. Reaching down, Jake lifted her until her legs wrapped around his waist and it took every bit of self-control he possessed not to take her right then and there. Her dress was bunched up at her waist and the barely-there panties would be gone with only the slightest of tugs…
“Bed,” he growled against her throat even as he continued to rub against her. “I want you in my bed.”
“Then take me there,” she said breathlessly.
Easier said than done, he thought, forcing himself to walk the last ten feet to his room. At the side of the bed, he simply let himself fall and kept Mallory in his arms. They laughed and rolled until they were comfortable and then he sank back into the kiss.
Mallory tugged at his shirt and once she had it pulled free of his trousers, her nails scraped up his back and it gave him chills. Sitting up quickly, he ripped the shirt off–buttons flying in every direction.
“Wow,” she panted. “That was incredibly sexy.”
“Oh, yeah?” he asked, his own breath coming out roughly. “How do you feel about this?” His hand snaked under her dress and he tugged her tiny panties off–the sound of the fabric ripping seemed insanely loud in the room.
“Oh!” she cried as her hips bucked off the bed. Jake knew what she wanted and he was more than happy to give it to her.  In a flash her dress was off. He peeled her bra off with his teeth as she writhed beneath him. “Jake…”
Once he had her completely naked, his self-control completely vanished. His mouth and hands were everywhere. While he licked and suckled at her breasts, his hand was ruthlessly teasing her between her legs. Watching Mallory lose control was one of his favorite pastimes and as he urged her on, he knew it would always be this way. She cried out his name again and again and again and each time it ratcheted his own arousal up more and more.
He hated to move away from her even for a second, but he still had half of his own clothes to discard. Mallory reached for him as he moved away and he smoothed a hand across her stomach. “Soon,” he whispered. “I’m not going anywhere.”