Thursday, December 3, 2020

How to Catch a Queen (Runaway Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole

 * * * * 1/2

When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.

A king must rule with an iron fist, and newly crowned King Sanyu was born perfectly fitted for the gauntlet, even if he wishes he weren’t. He agrees to take a wife as is required of him, though he doesn’t expect to actually fall in love. Even more vexing? His beguiling new queen seems to have the answers to his country’s problems—except no one will listen to her.

By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.

Source: ARC generously provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

How to Catch a Queen is the first book in Cole's new Runaway Royals series and I think it's one of her best. I liked the entire set up of a reluctant and self-doubting king who has to govern a country built upon the legacy of his father, and at the same time learn how to be a husband to a wife he hardly knows. 

Sanyu and Shanti couldn't be more dissimilar upon their first meeting. He wants to run away from his responsibilities and the overwhelming expectations while she willingly walks into that. He's unsure how to lead or make decisions whereas she craves opportunities to do so. Shanti is severely disappointed to find out that she's not allowed to play an integral part of helping her husband to govern their country. Women have been traditionally sidelined in Njaza so Shanti's opinions do not matter. None of the queens in the past were treated well, either. The queens are simply disposable. Since she can't help her husband, much less see him, she finds other ways to help her newly adopted country.  She attends secret meetings in disguise outside of the palace. People who want to bring positive change in Njaza gather together to discuss how they can do so. Shanti brings her many skills and years of studies to guide her new friends and offer perspective. 

Sanyu has no idea what his wife has been up to. He's ignored her for the first few months of their marriage as he's been busy trying unsuccessfully to figure out how to rule. He has advisors but he doesn't have a firm voice. That's his biggest problem: he hears so many voices that he doubts his own ideas. Who hasn't been there? One day, after a rare and unexpected display of public defiance from Shati, Sanyu seeks her out realizing that she might actually be someone who could help him. Their relationship is one that grows throughout the story and it's rather slow burn. Sanyu seems almost lost compared to Shanti's bold certainty of who she is and what she wants. It's quite remarkable to read how his perception of her changes form one of suspicion (because, really who would walk into a marriage so blindly?) to one of wonderment. For her turn, Shanti sees Sanyu's potential. All she wants is to embolden him so he can trust his vision for his country and believe that he can make a proper ruler. 

The true standout of this novel is Njaza. Cole has outdone herself with the world-building and she's seen to every detail from its landscape and geography, to its religion and culture, to its history and customs, to its myths and legends ... you get the idea. She's painted an incredibly vivid picture for readers. This is a country that's shedding its colonial past and now seeks to build a bright future that integrates its pre-colonial history with a present that all its people - men and women - can be proud of. I was dazzled by all of it!

How to Catch a Queen was such pleasurable reading. I enjoyed the romance but I was taken in by the power play dynamics of running a kingdom that Sanyu was gradually becoming accustomed to. Both he and Shanti are impressive characters, and as I said already, Njaza is absolutely captivating!

~ Bel

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams

* * * *

One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.

When her flailing department lands on the university's chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.

Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.

Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she's finally living again.

Source: ARC generously provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Returning to the dating pool is a scary prospect for Naya who's avoided it for years. Upon her two best friends' urging, she promises to shake things up and do things that she wouldn't ordinarily do. They make a plan for her first night out and wouldn't you believe it, her friends have to bail on her. But not everything goes bust because she meets Jake and he is that guy who's too good to be true. They hit it off and Naya finds herself experiencing lots of firsts with this unbelievably cool and hot looking guy by her side. 

This story features a lovely romance between two people who have been burned by past relationships so they're entering into this with a some hesitancy. Nay and Jake are very relatable, normal people you'd recognize in your own friend group. Naya's painful secret, though came as a bit of a surprise to me because its revelation kind of sneaks up on you. Her last relationship was unhealthy - her ex was abusive and would gaslight her at every turn. Williams remarkably shows Naya's fragility as she wrestles with her doubts and tries not cast Jake in the same light. But since her ex screwed with her confidence it's understandably tough to get that voice out of her head. And now that very man who hurt her is back working on the same campus as she is and is up to all his old tricks. She refuses to let Jake know what's going on, maintaining in her mind that she can handle herself.  I totally empathized with Naya wanting to be self-reliant and stronger, which is why she doesn't let anyone know the full depth of her fear. Then there's also an element of shame. She's this brilliant woman and a exemplary professor. She's supposed to be smart enough to not be a victim. Once again, I hand it to Williams for allowing her character to be all these conflicted and vulnerable emotions. The latter portion of the books follows Naya's struggle to maintain composure as she fights for the survival of her department and her new relationship, all while she also has to ward off the man who threatens her happiness and safety. All she has to do is trust Jake with the truth but trust is a commodity that's so precious and since it was broken before, she can't quite get there just yet. Trust is a strong running theme in this story.

How to Fail at Flirting was a quick and satisfying read for me. I was amazed by Denise Williams' ability to strike an impressive yet delicate balance between the jovial and steamy moments, and the serious undertone of partner violence. I do recommend this book but it might be tough for some readers due to some of the triggering content (listed below). Rest assured that Naya does end up stronger in the end and has her moment of triumph which frees her from her terror. That alone is the ultimate happily ever after!

~ Bel

Content warning/triggers:

Physical abuse (memories and on-page), racism (quick mention by passing character), gaslighting, unsolicited texts

About the Author:

Denise Williams wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. I Hate You and its sequel, I Still Hate You, featured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a PhD in education, going on to work in higher education. After growing up a military brat around the world and across the country, Denise now lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, son, and two ornery shih-tzus who think they own the house.


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Monday, November 16, 2020

A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (A Lady's Guide #1) by Manda Collins

 * * * *

An intrepid female reporter matches wits with a serious, sexy detective in award-winning author Manda Collins' fun and flirty historical rom-com!

England, 1865 : As one of England's most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she's determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are praying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.

Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham's refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she's the key witness in a new crime, he's determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they'll need to catch a killer.

Source: ARC generously provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

I've just read my first Manda Collins novel and I am in love! A Lady's Guide was everything I wanted to read at the time -- a sharp-minded, independent woman meets disciplined, meticulous detective. It has the wise cracks, the mystery and the burgeoning romance, plus the setting of 1865 London is fun.

Lady Katherine now runs a well-known London newspaper after her husband passed. It's rare for a woman to own much less run a business but she relishes having autonomy over her own livelihood. London is currently gripped by fear with the unsolved murders making the headlines. Feeling that the detectives are missing a woman's perspective, Lady Katherine decides to do her own investigative work. All looks promising after her first column leads to an arrest and all of London sighs in relief. However, Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham isn't convinced. He thinks Lady Katherine's column was irresponsible but more pertinently, he believes the wrong person was arrested. When she comes across another murder in the country that resembles the London murders, she and Andrew team up together - okay, he was definitely talked in to the partnership by a persuasive Lady Katherine - to find the true killer before more any more lives are lost.

The mystery sucked me in immediately. Not only was the concept interesting, there were also enough fascinating characters for them all to be touched by suspicion. All the pieces for the mystery were well played out. What cinched it for me, though was the marvelous chemistry between Katherine and Andrew. There was some verbal sparring and slight annoyances but we know they delighted in it. Lady Katherine's astute observations coupled with Andrew's expertise make for a powerful combination and they were simply effective together. And it was refreshing that Andrew never thought to underestimate Katherine or put her in her place. Once past the sting of that column, Andrew developed an appreciation for her wit and knew she was just as resolute as he was about bringing the actual killer to face justice. Of course, he wanted to protect her and keep her out of harm's way but he also knew her defiant spirit would have none of that. To put it succinctly, he respected her. Watching two very capable people in action is so rewarding. They're so perfectly matched to go head-to-head, to challenge each other which translates so naturally into that delicious sexual tension between them.

I love reading mysteries and I've grown fond of historical romances lately so the two combined together was a blast for me. A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem is a scintillating mystery and Lady Katherine and Andrew will charm your socks off!

~ Bel

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Snapped (Playbook #4) by Alexa Martin

* * 3/4

With the stakes this high, it’s no longer just a game for the quarterback in this romance by the author of Blitzed.

Elliot Reed is living her best life—or pretending to. She owes it to her dad’s memory to be happy and make the most of her new job as Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs. Things are going well until star quarterback Quinton Howard Jr. decides to use the field as his stage and becomes the first player to take a knee during the national anthem.

As the son of a former professional athlete, Quinton knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about football. He's worked his entire life to gain recognition in the sport, and now that he has it, he’s not about to waste his chance to change the league for better. Not even the brilliant but infuriating Elliot, who the Mustangs assign to manage him, will get Quinton back in line.

A rocky initial meeting only leads to more tension between Quinton and Elliot. But as her new job forces them to spend time together, she realizes they may have more in common than she could've ever imagined. With her job and his integrity on the line, this is one coin toss that nobody can win.

Source: advance copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Elliot (Elle) is still new at her dream job doing PR for the Denver Mustangs when she's called into the owner's office and given her first major assignment: work with their newest Mustang, Quinton Howard Jr who's created a a PR nightmare for his team by covering up the NFL logo on his uniform and kneeling during the anthem. It's subtly implied that her job is on the line therefore she has to minimize whatever damage has been done and keep him from creating any more distractions. Elliot and Quinton don't quite hit it off upon their first meeting but come to some sort of weird truce to get the job done. In the meantime, the Mustangs owner recruits her to help him with a secret event. This is a potentially big career move so she agrees to it despite any reservation she might have about the owner's agenda.

It's a daunting task to address the issues of racism, Black Lives Matter, and unfair treatment of retired NFL players suffering from CTE in one book. It comes with heavy expectations.  I think Snapped struggled here in three parts. 

Firstly, it seemed to only graze the surface of the topic of race. For example, Elliot never specifically asks Quinton why he knelt during the anthem. Instead of trying to understand the motive behind his very public action, she views him as just an assignment, and his protest as a threat to her dream job. He's simply another one of those spoiled rich athletes that must be dealt with swiftly to please her boss. Her solution is to give Quinton an image makeover and steer the conversation away from his kneeling to his philanthropy work. That's a decent gesture but I didn't get the point of introducing his peaceful protest only to not really discuss its intent and ramifications. 

There is plenty of emphasis on Elliot being biracial and how she's learned to internalize things or see past them. Having been raised by her white father, whom she loved and adored, she grew up looking past color. While she looks black, she's never ever wanted to be categorized as either black or white. She wants to be judged as a person. She comes to a startling realization about herself by the end of the book which majorly shifts her worldview. This is Elliot's experience and upbringing specific to her, and even though I'm not biracial I felt a certain kinship with her because of my own upbringing and experiences. 

Secondly, there were too many subplots at the expense of a focused plotline. Aside from social justice issues, there's Quinton's fight for adequate compensation and care for older retired players who have been diagnosed with CTE. Then there's Elliot's immediate acceptance and friendships with the Lady Mustangs, and in particular, her involvement with one of the characters whose has marital problems. With several things happening simultaneously it became pure overload. I think removing some of those subplots would've streamlined the story and allowed for better exploration of the other topics. The marital problems and/or the instant friendships with the Lady Mustangs, for example could've been a separate book or novella. 

The romance was fine, though I couldn't quite understand their emotional connection when Elliot never truly understands what currently matters to Quinton. I also felt she was keeping herself at a bit of a distance, too. It didn't help that he was being kind of cagey as well.

I was thrown off by the ending because it felt like suddenly everyone, including Quinton's teammates were on board with the kneeling, and that in turn inspires the entire stadium to do so. It's sudden and resolves everything with a neat little bow leading me to my third point: the story would've benefited from including Quinton's POV throughout and not just in the prologue. I think it would've enhanced his message exponentially to know his thoughts, see first-hand how his kneeling was impacting the team and his relationships with the other players. Whether those hard but frank conversations took place between Elliot and Quinton or Quinton and his teammates, it would've been insightful to have his perspective as a black man with a massive platform who wants to facilitate reform. I also think it would've given more meaning to the ending. Anyway, I understand the author has since revised it. (I can't speak to any changes since I have the original advance copy but I'll update my review in the future if I get the chance to revisit it again.)

I loved the previous books in the series so naturally I looked forward to Snapped. I struggled with this review because I wanted to be able to clearly identify what was off for me - the plot layout which didn't provide a wide enough space for the major topics while it gave away space to distracting subplots. It's because the main issues were either unexplored or underdeveloped that Snapped left me wanting. 

~ Bel

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs #2) by Sarah Morgenthaler

 * * * 1/2

How the moose (almost) stole Christmas.

Lana Montgomery is everything the quirky small town of Moose Springs, Alaska can't stand: a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better. But Lana's determined to prove that she belongs...even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town's hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into.

And hard could it be?

The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it's not getting any easier now that his dream girl's back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it's clear she needs help, fast...and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It's an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong...together.

Source: advance copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Mistletoe and Mr. Right is an adorable read in the lead up to the holiday season. I didn't realize that it's the sequel to The Tourist Attraction but I don't think I missed out on anything by reading out of order. 

Lana is a high-powered business woman with the brains to envy. Moose Springs has been her long-awaited passion project because it feels like a home to her. Too bad the locals see her as an intruder who wants to change the nature of their small town vibe. All she wants to do is help it grow and prosper and eventually make a home there. At least she has reinforcements with Zoey and her boyfriend, Graham, a local business owner. Between balancing construction needs, being on the board of her family's multi-million dollar business empire, catching the dreaded Santa Moose that's terrorizing the town's Christmas decor (yes, there's a rogue moose running amuck), she's slowly falling in love with Rick, the laid back resident and quiet owner of the local pool hall. Lana's plans are threatened when her family starts to question her commitment to Moose Springs, viewing it as a waste of financial resources. She has to work overtime to defend the town and the people even if they don't return the sentiment.

This story is simply too adorable and right in keeping with that cozy small town feeling. It's all about people with good intentions who just want to go about doing their own thing. I really liked Lana, too. She's a smart businesswoman who handles herself well even when someone's trying to back her into a corner. She also looks to make personal connections, something she's felt lacking in her upbringing. She's always had to put on a good, professional face so it's easy to see why Moose Springs is a place where she can put that aside and just be. 

As for Rick ...I pictured him as Mutt from from Schitt's Creek. He's the guy who just wants to be under the radar, likes simple things and is a wee bit clueless about how to woo the woman he thinks is out of his league. I liked that he isn't intimidated by Lana's career or business smarts. He's only doubtful because he's a true small town guy while she's a world traveler, so his concern is that he won't be exciting enough for her. Seriously, Rick is so endearing and I just want him to have all the good things in life. There's a fantastic scenario they wind up in on their first official date that is so bizarre and just out there. Yeah, bizarre is a good word for it.

It may seem like it's far away but Christmas will be upon us soon. Reading Mistletoe and Mr. Right would be a good start to your holiday season!

~ Bel

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

* * * *

In this finger-licking good rom-com, two is the perfect number of cooks in the kitchen.

Nikki DiMarco knew life wouldn’t be all sunshine and coconuts when she quit her dream job to help her mom serve up mouthwatering Filipino dishes to hungry beach goers, but she didn’t expect the Maui food truck scene to be so eat-or-be-eaten—or the competition to be so smoking hot.

But Tiva’s Filipina Kusina has faced bigger road bumps than the arrival of Callum James. Nikki doesn’t care how delectable the British food truck owner is—he rudely set up shop next to her coveted beach parking spot. He’s stealing her customers and fanning the flames of a public feud that makes her see sparks.

The solution? Let the upcoming Maui Food Festival decide their fate. Winner keeps the spot. Loser pounds sand. But the longer their rivalry simmers, the more Nikki starts to see a different side of Callum…a sweet, protective side. Is she brave enough to call a truce? Or will trusting Callum with her heart mean jumping from the frying pan into the fire?

Source: advance copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

I'm all for no-brainer choices when it comes to picking my next book. Having read and loved Faker, I knew I couldn't pass up on Simmer Down. Sarah Smith brought that same effortless and whimsical flair to her second novel and threw in some amazing food, and what I got was a mouth-watering romance in what sounds like idyllic paradise.

Nikki runs a popular food truck with her mom of whom she's fiercely protective. It was her father's dream to own one but that never came to fruition until after his passed away. The food truck's success is a way to keep her father's legacy alive and be close to her mother so she can keep an eye on her. As she's pulling up to her usual spot one morning, she sees another food truck in their vicinity. One of the silent rules of food truck vendor etiquette is you don't infringe on someone else's turf. Callum, the owner, doesn't take Nikki's attempt at a welcome or her guidance seriously and so ensues one of the most ridiculous turf wars. They do silly things to sabotage each other - nothing harmful, just annoying enough to grate on the other's nerves. The locals eventually catch on when one of their very pubic blowouts goes viral. Callum rebuffs any attempt at civility from Nikki. In the midst of this, they both enter the Maui Food Festival where recognition and a massive amount of money are on the line. They also strike up a private agreement that the winner has the right to permanently keep their food truck in the coveted spot. 

I'm a sucker for rivals who become lovers and Simmer Down absolutely delivers on that. I like the process of uncovering the reasons why initial meetings don't go off well, and it's usually because of misconceptions. Nikki and Callum are adorable once they start flirting freely, and let's not forget the food! Oh my god...the descriptions made me so hungry! I really just wanted to be there and taste all the Filipino cuisine that Nikki and her mom were cooking up. I also loved when Nikki and Callum started to work together, melding their experiences to create some exquisite meals. Their different styles in action showed how simpatico they could be. 

The story hits a bump for me toward the end when Nikki's tendency to self-sabotage by jumping to conclusions and making rash decisions becomes a redundant occurrence. It felt a bit irksome to read it happening repeatedly in a short span of time. At least they're resolved quickly.

Simmer Down is warm and delightful, and ultimately it's a loving story about families healing and coming through difficult times together. The food truck world is equally fascinating as are the vendors who live the life 24/7, it seems like. And what's not to like about the setting of Hawaii? There's plenty to love in this so don't miss out!

~ Bel

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Last Rule of Make Ups Tour

We are thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE LAST RULE OF MAKEUPS  by Nina Crespo Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out our post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About the Book:

Title: THE LAST RULE OF MAKEUPS (Breakup Bash #3)

Author: Nina Crespo

Pub. Date: October 12, 2020

Publisher: Entangled: Brazen

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 150

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&NiBooksKobo

Cori Ross is thanking her lucky stars. Sure, her long-time boyfriend just dumped her, but that’s a good thing. In her rush to find Mr. Right, she realizes she almost settled for Mr. Just Okay. And that’s definitely not okay. So, tonight, she’s out with her friends at the Breakup Bash—a private party for women celebrating their break-ups—and she’s actually celebrating. Still, it was too close a call. So she makes a deal with herself—no guys for six months.

Unfortunately, just as she’s leaving the club, she runs into her old boyfriend, Grey Latham—the guy she’d always wanted to be Mr. Right. Great. What a time to swear off guys. Maybe she needs to change the deal—no relationships for six months. There’s no reason why she can’t have a fling, right? Because Grey still holds the title of the best sex she’s ever had.

There’s no way this could go wrong. Grey is on his way to international DJ fame—he’s only in town for a short time, and then he’ll be gone again. No harm in burning up the sheets while it lasts.

Too bad neither expected what happened next...

Each book in the Breakup Bash series is STANDALONE:

* The First Rule of Hook-Ups

* Rules of a Rebound

* The Last Rule of Makeups


Nina Crespo’s Top 5 Favorite Scenes From THE LAST RULE OF MAKEUPS 

The Last Rule of Makeups is a reunited lovers/second chance romance. It’s the third book in the steamy Breakup Bash series. Cori has sworn off of relationships, but then she runs into her ex-ex-boyfriend, Grey Latham. What happens when Mr. Right has the worst timing? You’ll have to read Cori and Grey’s story for all of the sizzling details, but here is a list of my favorite scenes from the book. 

1. The shoe shopping scene at the start of the book. I’m totally on board with Fashion Therapy Friday. 

Corinne Ross removed the turquoise stiletto-heeled pumps from the box on the floor next to her chair in the shoe store. She slipped them on, and after fastening the straps around her ankles, she rose to her feet and sank into alluring, red- soled, four-inch-high perfection.  

Fashion Therapy Friday.  

It had the ability to turn nightmares into fairytales, tears into smiles, and shit into glitter-filled, sparkly rainbows. At least temporarily, and after her crazy work week, she needed a huge dose of happy.  

2. When Cori runs into Grey at Club Escapade. I love that he’s a gift for the eyes. 

Dark jeans hugged his long legs. Smooth unruffled confidence emanated from his stride. The navy pullover he wore hugged broader shoulders, but he was still lean and muscular. His dark hair was close-cut now, and the sides were edged to perfection bringing out the angles in his brown face that was a gift for the eyes. But it was definitely Grey Latham, her ex-ex-boyfriend walking toward her.  

3. Cori and Grey’s first reunion kiss. It’s been seven years and it’s still that good. 

Grey held her gaze as he leaned in. He hesitated a moment, as if giving her time to change her mind, before pressing his lips to hers. The gentle glide of his tongue along the seam of her mouth was an ask for more, and she gave it, parting her lips, welcoming him in. 

4. Girl Chat. Best friends know how to help us keep things in perspective. 

“Will you stop?” Cori threw a pillow at Nat’s head and missed. But she had said that during a chat about old boyfriends they’d had years ago. In her defense, wine had been involved during their conversation. 

“You’re impossible.”  

Nat laughed. “And I bring such wonder and delight into your world, you’ll never send me away.”  

“No, but I’ll lock your ass in a basement and lose the key if you really said that to my mom.”  

“Of course not.” Nat chuckled as she pointed the spoon at her and circled it in the air. “But your face a minute ago, when you thought I did? Totally worth it.”  

5. Grey’s cooking and towel wearing abilities. He does it so well. (abbreviated excerpt) 

Grey walked in wearing a rose-colored towel around his waist. A sheen of dampness trailed down between his pecs to his abs. The scent of her lemon body wash wafted from his skin. On him, the feminine fragrance transformed into something wholly masculine and potently sexual…  

He glanced at the eggs and bowl on the counter. Do you want me to cook?”  

He was offering to cook? When they were together, he was the Microwave King, and breakfast Hot Pockets and Toaster Strudel had ruled his kingdom. Starvation must have messed with her hearing.  

“You mean like actually crack the eggs open and cook them, in a pan, on the stove?” 

 “Yes, I can scramble eggs and actually cook a few other things.” He lifted her chin to shut her mouth, sealing her lips with his. “Stop looking at me like I just grew another head.”  

“You kinda did. The Grey I knew owned exactly one flimsy pot that he never used.”  

“No, I owned two, but yeah, that was me. But now I’ve got skills. I can even handle toast and coffee to go with it.”  

“Oh my gosh.” She exaggerated her surprise. “You’re practically a certified chef. I must partake of this goodness.”  

“Uh-huh. I can’t believe you doubt my skills.” He tightened the towel. 

Her gaze dropped to where he tucked the ends around his waist. 

One light tug … 

That’s my list. I hope you’ll check out these scenes in THE LAST RULE OF MAKEUPS. It releases on October 12thI’d love to hear from you. Connect with me on Instagram @NinaCrespowrites or signup for my newsletter at www.ninacrespo.comHappy reading! 


About Nina:

Nina Crespo lives in Florida where she indulges in her favorite passions — the beach, a good glass of wine, date night with her own real-life hero and dancing.

Her lifelong addiction to romance began in her teens while on a “borrowing spree” in her older sister’s bedroom where she discovered her first romance novel. 

Let Nina’s sensual contemporary stories and steamy paranormal tales feed your own addiction for love, romance, and happily ever after.

Stay connected with Nina on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or through her newsletter.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Amazon | BookBub


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will win a $15 Amazon Gift Card, INTERNATIONAL.

Tour Schedule:


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A Dream Within A Dream



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underneath the covers



Eli to the nth