Fast Burn (Body Armor #4) by Lori Foster

For the woman who’s his perfect match, he’s willing to break the rules…
The moment Brand Berry meets beautiful, driven Sahara Silver, the connection between them is electric. It’s also something he can’t pursue. Sahara wants him, sure—to join Body Armor, where his MMA skills, size and cocky attitude make him perfect for her elite crew of bodyguards. For Sahara, the agency always comes first, and Brand needs more. Yet when she’s kidnapped by men searching for her missing brother, he doesn’t hesitate.
Somewhere along the way, flirting with Brand for the sake of business turned very personal. Despite his refusal to join Body Armor, it’s Brand who steps up when Sahara needs him most. Now there’s no more time for games, and no point denying the hunger they both feel. They’ll escape together or not at all. But if they survive, can Sahara finally surrender control to claim this blazing passion?

I’m always sorry to know that a series is ending, especially one of Lori Foster’s. I felt that way when the Ultimate series ended, but the Body Armor series softened the blow a little since there was a connection between the two. I suppose if the series had to come to an end, Brand and Sahara’s story was the perfect way to wrap things up.

Both Brand and Sahara have been around for a while. Sahara has been front and center since she ran the Body Armor company. Brand’s been the one man she’s wanted to bring in for a while, but he’s always balked. Even though she knows his reasons, she still wants him on her team and in her life. When Sahara becomes a target, Brand won’t leave her side whether he’s an official body guard or not.

There’s plenty of danger, mystery, heat, intrigue and that family connection that I’ve come to not only expect, but look forward to from this author in Fast Burn. Honestly, both Sahara and Brand took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to feel as connected to these two as I did. It’s not that I didn’t like Sahara, but she was the boss, so it was hard to really get to know her. It was obvious that she cared about all the guys she employed, as well as their families, but she was so strong and independent, it was hard to feel a closeness to her. Her personality really came through in Fast Burn. Brand’s character was the same, but readers knew even less about him until this book. I ended up falling in love with them both.

So, yeah… I’m sorry that the Body Armor series has come to an end, but I’m sure whatever Lori Foster has in store for readers next will be worth it. There’s at least one character from Fast Burn that I hope gets a chance to redeem himself, but only time will tell. 😉

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When Love Comes Back (When the Mission Ends #5) by Christi Snow

He was her biggest mistake.
She was his biggest regret.
Once upon a time Felicia Parks and Gage Winston were each other’s everything. But one drunken night, Gage ruined it all and broke Felicia’s heart.
That was a long time ago and they’ve both moved on, never expecting to see one another again.
But as the new wing commander at the local Air Force base, Gage finds something on this assignment that he never expected…his first love.
The problem…she’s in love with someone else.
Fate can be a lover’s best friend, but karma can be a vengeful enemy….
And a dangerous obsession threatens it all.

Oh, this was a scary one going in. From the description I just knew that Felicia and Gage needed to be together. I was prepared to be all in and want their HEA from the beginning… it would have been so much easier if Steve had been a jerk and all Felicia needed to do was see the light and dump him – but he wasn’t. He was a great guy and he deserved to be loved, he just wasn’t the right guy for Felicia… and that kinda sucked. So, in case you’re wondering, Christi Snow gets to hold onto her #EvilAuthor title just a little bit longer.

Actually, all the characters in When Love Comes Back were great. I loved Gage’s kids and having Felicia’s best friend around to bounce her feelings off gave an alternate perspective that really added to the story. Getting POVs from both Felicia and Gage helped a lot as well. There were also flash backs that shed some light on what happened in Gage and Felicia’s past. It also proved that as much as Gage screwed up, he wasn’t the only one who made some mistakes and hasty decisions.

When Love Comes Back had everything that I’ve enjoyed in the other books in the When the Mission Ends series. Romance, a little bit of danger and characters who are really easy to fall for. It can most definitely be read as a stand alone, but I’ve been a fan of this author’s writing since prologue in the first book in this series, so of course I’m going to recommend that you start at the beginning with Operation: End Game – you can thank me later 😉

When you finish When Love Comes Back, make sure you read the author’s notes at the end. There are a couple of characters in this one that I really want to see more of. You know those characters that kind of jump off the page and demand to be heard? Or the ones that really need an HEA of their very own? Yeah, I’m really looking forward to what comes next 😉

Paradise Found by Sarah O’Rourke

Samantha “The Body” Dixon had once been a famous runway model who’d walked every catwalk from Paris to Milan and back again, but when her career abruptly comes to a screeching halt, she’s out to prove she’s got a whole lot more to offer than just a pretty face and killer rack.
Benjamin Atkins might have once been the most in demand photographer in the fashion industry, but times have changed and he’d learned the hard way to value substance over style. Now, he’s built a new life doing what he loves in the beautiful town of Paradise, TN.
When these two ex-lovers reconnect after a bitter break-up, can their broken hearts find a way back to their own personal paradise found?

Confession time… I’m way behind in reading the Passion in Paradise series by Sarah O’Rourke. I know that the “Too many books, too little time” excuse is WAY overused, but it’s honestly the only one I’ve got. *hangs head in shame* So far I’ve read Cain’s Salvation and Hard as Stone. Even though Paradise Found isn’t exactly part of the same series, it is set in the same town (obviously) with a lot of the same characters. So… the good news is, this short, sweet little jaunt back into Paradise made me want to go back and check out the books I’ve missed. 😉

The prologue of Paradise Found was heartbreaking and from that moment on, I was hooked. I just had to find out how this author duo was going to fix this for Ben and Sami – because things most definitely needed fixing. I didn’t exactly agree with how either character handled things, but hind sight’s 20/20 so I’ll cut them a little slack. All I gotta say is thank goodness their friends had their back. Otherwise fate may have taken forever to get these two back together.

Which brings me to the supporting characters. Some of them are obviously from previous books, which gives me even more incentive to take a trip back to Paradise, but Sami’s friends were some of my favorites – especially Mannie. I kinda had a soft spot for him and I really hope he and his man make a trip back to Paradise. I have to say, one of my favorite couples showed up at the end… Orla and Jethro – Sami’s introduction to them was priceless. For that reason only, I’m going to try to start my return to Paradise with Wed by Wednesday – the prequel to the Passion in Paradise series.

So, to wrap things up, Paradise Found was short, but it wasn’t lacking. I got really mad at BOTH the characters from time to time, but no one’s perfect. It was a great little escape into a town full of quirky characters who had a hard time staying out of each other’s business, but they had big hearts so that little flaw was pretty easy to forgive. 😉

Tempted & Taken (Men of Haven #4) by Rhenna Morgan

There’s no code Knox Torren can’t break. He knows no limits when it comes to uncovering intel, especially on anyone who crosses his family. But a skip tracer with a sketchy history presents a puzzle he can’t solve. When he finally meets the statuesque blonde with the intoxicating Russian accent, he’ll try anything to unearth her secrets. Darya Volkova has been living under an assumed identity for years. Searching for a job that will take her out of the dangerous life she’s built, she has her sights set on Knox: the best hacker in the business. From their first meeting, though, something far more intimate than a professional connection develops.  Darya must overcome still-healing wounds to trust that Knox will take care of her in all the ways she needs. And Knox will do whatever it takes to make sure whatever—or whomever—she’s running from never touches his woman again. 

I’ve said it before (pretty much with every review I’ve written in this series) but each book in this series gets better and better. To be honest, that may be because the characters are becoming closer to both each other and the reader. Which means that they’re becoming more and more like family. The Men of Haven have considered themselves family for a long time, but as they add their significant others to the mix, that sense gets even stronger.

I loved watching Knox reluctantly fall for Darya. Once he was hooked though, there was no turning back. She was his, no argument. His brothers saw it coming way before he did, which was fun.

Darya’s back story was heartbreaking, but it didn’t break her. It just made her more determined not to waste a minute of the life she’d been given and always remember the people in her past who had made it possible. She was a hard character to not admire.

That thin line that the brothers crossed from time to time to protect those they loved was stretched to its limit in Tempted & Taken. It proved once again what lengths they would go to in order to protect the innocent at the cost of the threat. They made some unexpected allies who they probably haven’t seen the last of, which could prove to make things even more interesting for the Men of Haven.

Speaking of which, the next book in the series, Stand & Deliver, features Beck and Gia… interesting indeed 😉

Close Contact (Body Armor #3) by Lori Foster

MMA fighter Miles Dartman’s casual arrangement with personal shopper Maxi Nevar would be many men’s fantasy. She seeks him out, they have mindblowing sex, she leaves. Rinse, repeat. Yet lately, Miles wants more. And when Maxi requests his services via the Body Armor security agency, he’s ready to finally break through her defenses—and protect her day and night.
Receiving a large inheritance has brought chaos and uncertainty into Maxi’s life. Her ex has resurfaced, along with lots of former “friends,” and someone is making mysterious threats. Then there’s Miles, who doesn’t ask for anything…except her trust. Pleasure is easy. Now Maxi has to give her heart as well as her body…or risk losing a man who could be everything she needs.

I think I’ve said this before, but this series gets better with each new book that’s added. Of course, that’s pretty much the norm for me when it comes to any Lori Foster series, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

I loved the relationship between Maxi and Miles. They really wanted the same thing, but they were crappy at picking up the cues from each other. Their friends saw through them first, which was fun. They had serious problems to figure out first though. Like who was terrorizing Maxi and trying to get her to break her promise to her grandmother. It was more than that though. She honestly loved the farm her grandmother had left her and she wasn’t about to back down. Which meant that Miles, Body Armor and his friends weren’t giving up either. Not until whoever was threatening Maxi was taken care of – for good.

Once again, the sense of family was front and center. Not only the guys (and gals) from Body Armor, but Miles’ family from his MMA days. Which, by the way, was absolutely fine with me because I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to that bunch and having them drop in from time to time is the perfect consolation. 😉

The sweet (and hot) romance between Maxi and Miles, along with the suspense, danger and mystery kept the pages turning. There were quite a few bad guys to choose from in Close Contact so it was fun trying to figure out who the baddest of the bad really was. I almost saw it coming, but not quite.

The next book in the Body Armor series is Fast Burn and I really can’t wait for this one. I can’t think of a more appropriate title for whatever Lori Foster has in store for Sahara and Brand. 😉

Tequila Sunrise (Agents Irish & Whiskey #4) by Layla Reyne

Former FBI agent Melissa “Mel” Cruz spent years skirting the line between life and death, knowing the next assignment might be her last. Back from overseas and eager to enjoy life outside the Bureau, she’s ready to give Danny Talley a Christmas Eve he’ll never forget.
A proven asset in high stakes missions, Danny’s known for having the skill and brains to get the job done. When the Talley Flag Ship is hijacked during the company holiday party, he’ll do anything to save his family, his love, and everything they’ve all worked so hard to build. But their enemies have a secondary protocol—leave no survivors—and that plan is already in play.
Navigating through a tangled web of lies and betrayal, Mel and Danny race against the clock to retake the ship before their future goes up in flames. As the seconds tick down, they’re forced to face their greatest fear—losing each other.

This may have been a short and sweet glimpse of Danny and Mel, but there was most definitely nothing lacking. I also made a point of tagging this one M/F Romance because the rest of the books in the series were all M/M and featured Mel’s brother-in-law and Danny’s brother. Although Aidan and Jamie played important roles in Tequila Sunrise, this book was all Danny and Mel’s and I loved every minute of it. 😉

Readers were not only treated to a new story in this series, but they were given tidbits of Danny and Mel’s history from the beginning of the series. It’s kinda fun to see things that you didn’t know were happening in the ‘shadows’ to other characters in the same time frame. The really great part about this holiday read was that it gave readers some extra time with characters that they may not have been quite ready to say goodbye to when the series ended.

Nothing’s easy when it comes to this family, but the one thing that they never have to worry about is doing it alone. They always have each other’s back and giving up isn’t part of their mindset – even when the odds seem to be totally against them.

Getting to know Mel and Danny a little better was a great way to put the finishing touch on this great series. I can’t wait to see what Layla Reyne has in store for readers next.

Can’t Let Go (The Original Heartbreakers #5) by Gena Showalter

With trust issues a mile long, Ryanne Wade has sworn off men.  Then Jude Laurent walks into her bar and all bets are off.  The former Army Ranger has suffered unimaginably, first being maimed in battle then losing his wife and daughters to a drunk driver. Making the brooding widower smile is priority one. Resisting him? Impossible.
To Jude, Ryanne is off limits. And yet the beautiful bartender who serves alcohol to potential motorists tempts him like no other. When a rival bar threatens her livelihood, and her life, he can’t turn away.  She triggers something in him he thought long buried, and he’s determined to protect her, whatever the cost.
As their already scorching attraction continues to heat, the damaged soldier knows he must let go of his past to hold on to his future…or risk losing the second chance he desperately needs.

Okay, so I may or may not be skipping around this series… okay, so I’m totally guilty of skipping around. It hasn’t been intentional, honest. I’ve just kind of lost track… a lot. I read the prequel in the Original Heartbreakers, The One You Want. Then I missed books 1-3, but I picked the series back up at Can’t Hardly Breathe and here we are at Can’t Let Go. I really do intend to play catch up, but in case you’re wondering, other than a few references here and there, I didn’t get lost at all. Although, I did enjoy watching the back and forth between Ryanne and Jude in Can’t Hardly Breathe. 😉

Jude’s back story is heart breaking. Watching him begin to care for someone after everything he’s been through is both amazing and gut wrenching. I still found myself getting frustrated with him at times for the way he treated Ryanne. He had a lot to work through and Ryanne understood that, but it was still hard to watch. Having him not have issues would have been less realistic and believable though, so his slip ups were easy to forgive… eventually.

Ryanne’s determination, along with the love and support that they both had from their friends is honestly what made this story work. I know I sound like a broken record, but stories with a strong sense of family get me every time and this series is full of those kind of connections. Brock and Lyndie are next in Can’t Get Enough and it will not be a book that I will be skipping. 😉

 

Right Where We Belong (Silver Springs #4) by Brenda Novak

Savanna Gray needs a do-over. Her “perfect” life unraveled when, to her absolute shock, her husband was arrested for attacking three women. With her divorce settled, she takes her two children home to Silver Springs to seek refuge between the walls of the farmhouse where she was born. It needs a little TLC, but she’s eager to take control of something. 
Gavin Turner understands the struggle of starting over. Abandoned at a gas station when he was five, it wasn’t until he landed at New Horizons Boys Ranch as a teen that he finally found some peace. He steps up when Savanna needs help fixing things—even when those things go beyond the farmhouse. 
Despite an escalating attraction to Gavin, Savanna resolves to keep her distance. She trusted her ex, who had a similarly tragic background, and is unwilling to repeat her past mistakes. But it’s hard to resist a man whose heart is as capable as his hands.

This book went all over the place and honestly, I could have done without the ‘extra’ conflict in that was thrown into the mix. I liked Savanna and Gavin together and I think if the story would have focused only on Gavin and Savanna’s complicated backgrounds I would have enjoyed it more. *sigh*

Savanna’s husband (he wasn’t legally her ex, but there was no going back) was truly despicable. She was caught in a nightmare that there was no escaping from no matter how far away she went. I understood her reluctance to trust Gavin, especially when she found out about his background.

Then there was Gavin. I really liked him and admired him, but I wish he would have listened to his mother and brother when it came to judge of character. Things wouldn’t have escalated nearly as far as they did if he had. I’m glad that things worked out, but like I mentioned before, I think the story had enough drama without adding that extra layer.

I’ve read all the books in this series except for the 3rd, Until You Loved Me. I’m planning on picking it up soon though, so stay tuned. 😉

Holiday House Call (Calling It #3.5) by Jen Doyle

Dr. Karen Carmichael prides herself on being capable, optimistic and always in control. But even neurosurgeons have breaking points, especially as the holidays approach. When Karen finds herself on the side of the road, explaining to a cop that her less-than-stellar driving was due to stress and tears rather than too much booze, it’s humiliating. When that cop turns out to be a one-night stand from her past, it’s icing on the bad-day cake. 
Officer John “Tuck” Tucker didn’t expect to see Karen again after their night together. The circumstances may not be ideal, but convincing this beautiful, stubborn woman to get to know him with his clothes on is more fun than he could have imagined.  
Karen swore she’d never fall for someone who risks his life for his job. She sees enough heartbreak at work without inviting it into her personal life, and she has no interest in becoming involved in the small town Tuck calls home. But despite valiant efforts to keep her walls up, her affection for Tuck is growing into something much stronger. With a life built around work alone looking less appealing by the day, Karen will have to take a leap of faith—and trust that Tuck will leap with her.  

So, hear I go jumping into a series 3 (and a half) books in, but I suppose if I was going to do it, a novella about a new couple in the Calling It series was the perfect place to start. It gave me a taste of Jen Doyle’s writing and  a glimpse of Inspiration, the small town where the series takes place.

I kinda love small town romances and this one worked for me. Karen was not a small town person, but she cared about her patients and their families. Being part of a close knit community wasn’t a bad thing, but she planned to keep her distance. Falling for the local cop was most definitely not part of the plan – which was easier said than done given the connection and attraction that there was between Karen and Tuck.

Tuck wasn’t sure he was ready for commitment either, but he couldn’t deny the attraction and he was just as stubborn as she was. Being part of a small town though also meant that EVERYONE knew EVERYTHING about EVERYONE else and given his position, he wasn’t a fan of that aspect.

I really enjoyed their story and even though it was short, it wasn’t really lacking. They had a couple of missteps and they didn’t always communicate as well as they should have, but they both had big hearts and deserved the HEA more than either one of them realized.

I’ll probably be back tracking with this series or at least keeping an eye out for what comes next. Stay tuned. 😉 

Catch My Fall (Falling #4) by Jessica Scott

Former Army Sergeant Deacon Hunter is trapped. Trapped in the friend zone. The woman who captured his heart when they were deployed in Iraq has never looked back at the time they stole.
Former Army Sergeant Kelsey Ryder has scars, the kind of scars that no one ever sees, no one ever knows about unless she tells them. Working around the guys at the Pint, she’s reminded of everything she lost when she left the Army behind.
But some scars refuse to stay hidden.
One fateful night changes everything and neither of them know if their relationship will ever be the same.
All Deacon knows is that he’ll be there to catch her when she finally falls.

I’ve been looking forward to Deacon’s story since Jessica Scott gave readers a preview a the end of After I Fall, the 3rd book in her Falling series. Catch My Fall was everything I expected and then some.

Deacon and Kelsey weren’t just soldiers who were trying to get used to being civilians, they were soldiers who had served together. They had a history and because of that they knew things about each other that no one else did, but not even Deacon knew everything that Kelsey kept hidden. Kelsey desperately wanted to keep it that way. Deacon knew that he should just leave Kelsey alone, but she drew him closer the harder she tried to push him away. These two pretty much broke me by the end of their story.

I’ve really fallen in love with this series for a lot of reasons. I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to books written by this author, but it has to be mentioned. She has a unique POV when it comes to portraying her characters because she’s been there and it comes through in her writing. I love the perspective and the “realness” that comes through. It’s not always easy to read, but it’s important. Coming home is always as easy as just coming home… some things aren’t easy to leave behind and the support that these soldiers should have is frequently lacking. The approach to that topic was handled uniquely in Catch My Fall and I really enjoyed that little twist. Things weren’t perfect for Deacon and Kelsey by the end, but they were getting there.

Another thing I love is the sense of family that runs throughout each book. Not all of the former characters have as strong a presence, but there are enough that it’s hard to miss. I love seeing how they’re all doing and getting glimpses of what’s to come. Speaking of which, the character featured in the next book has been around for a while and he’s actually kind of growing on me. Until We Fall promises to be interesting. 😉