Hard Justice (Body Armor #2) by Lori Foster

Playing it safe has never felt so dangerous…
Justice Wallington knows how to harness his strength and intimidating size—skills he put to good use first in the MMA cage, and now as a bodyguard at the Body Armor agency. But no opponent has ever left him feeling as off balance as his new client, heiress Fallon Wade. Far from a spoiled princess, she’s sweet and intriguingly innocent. It’s a risk-free assignment, until he’s required to fake a relationship with her in order to blend in. 

Sheltered from the world after a family tragedy, Fallon longs to experience life—going to bars, dancing, talking to strangers. Not easy with a huge, lethal-looking bodyguard shadowing her every move. Justice seems like her polar opposite, but pretending to be a couple stirs undeniable heat. And when danger strikes again, it’s not just her safety in jeopardy, but a passion that’s real, raw and absolutely against the rules…

So, I’ve almost forgiven Lori Foster for ending her Ultimate series. You see, I loved those guys and gals and I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them yet. Turns out that Ms. Foster wasn’t quite done with them yet either because they made appearances a couple of times in Leese and Cat’s book (Under Pressure) and readers got to spend even more quality time with them in Hard Justice. That ended up being just an added bonus for Justice and Fallon though because as much as I loved Under Pressure, I think I may have liked Hard Justice even more.

The last thing he expected when he was assigned to protect Fallon was to fall for her. No, he really did expect a spoiled princess and Fallon was anything but. On the flip side, Fallon expected another cookie-cutter body guard who stuck out like a sore thumb. Neither one of them got what they expected. Fallon was down to earth and wanted to be ‘normal.’ Justice was a powerful presence that was hard to ignore. Watching them tip-toe around their mutual attraction was fun.

What was even more fun were the guys’ reactions to Fallon and Justice. He couldn’t hide his true feelings from those who knew him best and they couldn’t resist ragging him about it. They also couldn’t resist Fallon’s charm any more than Justice could. Loving Justice’s friends was a given because readers had already been introduced to most of them, but Justice’s grandmother was a hoot and his mother was amazing. His interaction with both of them just made me fall in love with him more (and it had the same affect on Fallon 😉 ) Fallon’s parents even won me over little by little.

Beyond the characters and the romance, the ‘who-dun-it’ mystery was pretty good too. It was one of those mysteries where you thought you had it figured out, but then there was a twist, and then another one and characters you thought you despised turned out to be not so bad and… you get the picture. Basically, Hard Justice was a great read (not a surprise) and it left me wanting more (also, not a surprise.) I can’t wait to see what this author has in store for the rest of the series because there is definitely more to come.

Finding Our Forever (Silver Springs #1) by Brenda Novak

The search for her birth mother brought Cora Kelly to the New Horizons Boys Ranch. Getting a job there was easy enough, but confiding in Aiyana, the ranch’s owner, that she’s really her daughter? Cora’s not sure she can do that, not unless she’s confident the news will be welcomed. And once she gets to know Elijah Turner–Aiyana’s adopted son and ranch manager–that decision becomes even more difficult.
Although Elijah can’t deny his deep attraction to Cora, he’s always struggled with trust. Anyone with his past would, and there’s something about the ranch’s newest employee that isn’t exactly as it seems. But if the feelings she awakes in his guarded heart are any indication, she might be just what he’s long been waiting for.

Yet another confession… Finding Our Forever is the first book by Brenda Novak that I’ve read. Although I do have a short list of favorite authors, I’m not a huge contemporary M/F reader for the most part. I do like to sneak one in from time to time, so hen I saw this offered for review, I thought I’d give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t blown away either. Don’t let that deter you though because it was a sweet story.

Actually, one of the reasons why I picked this one up was because of the description. I thought that I could relate to Cora. No, I’m not adopted, but I didn’t know my father. To me, he was, and still is, just a name on my birth certificate. The only thing that I was ever told about him was that I really didn’t want to know anything about him. (Try telling that to a teen and see what happens.) I’ve gotten over the curiosity, to an extent, but there’s always that nagging little voice that just wonders… I may never have followed through or pushed the issue, but I still knew exactly what drove Cora to jump at the chance to find her birth mother.

There was a lot more to the story though. Eli was easy to fall for, especially for the way he rose above everything he had gone through as a child. Even the supporting family and friends were great. There was a lot to admire about Aiyana and the life that she built for herself and the boys that she helped. Basically, this was a feel good story that I did enjoy, but things got wrapped up a little too easily. I’m not usually a fan of drama, but there was a lot of build up and tension centered around what Cora was hiding and how she was going to reveal it to everyone. The actual moment was kind of anti-climatic. Regardless, I’m glad I read Finding Our Forever. I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the rest of the Silver Springs series, but you never know. I might even check out some of Brenda Novak’s other series. 😉

After I Fall (Falling #3) by Jessica Scott

Her entire life has been a lie. Being with Eli is the most honest thing she’s ever done. 
Parker Hauser lives the perfect life and knows exactly where she’s been and where she’s going. Parker has to be perfect. Perfect grades, perfect body, perfect life. 
Until she meets Eli Winter. 
Eli throws her entire life into chaos when he denies her the one thing she wants from him. 
One chance encounter stokes her desire for the man who refused to touch her and left her questioning everything. 
When Parker tries to help his new business, the spotlight turns on Eli’s military record. And sins from the war he’s tried to forget may come back to destroy them both. 

If you’ve read the first two books in Jessica Scott’s Falling series (Before I Fall & Break My Fall) you’ve already met Parker and Eli. You could probably read After I Fall without reading the beginning books in the series and be fine, but I don’t recommend it. Part of the magic of After I Fall is going into it not being a fan of Parker and wondering how Jessica Scott is going to turn her into a likable character. I even mentioned that fact at the end of my review of Break My Fall when I realized who the couple in the next book would be. By the time I was done Break My Fall, I wanted Eli to find his HEA, I just didn’t see how he could find it with Parker. I’m really glad (and not too surprised) that Scott found a way to change the way I looked at Parker and it really didn’t even take long at all. 😉

Parker’s life wasn’t as easy as it seemed. There were a lot of reasons why she acted the way she did and didn’t let people get too close. She wasn’t an angel, but she wasn’t the spoiled princess that she seemed to be either. No one saw through that though… until Eli. He knew from the beginning that there was more to Parker than the front she put up, but even he didn’t know her whole story. He just knew that she didn’t deserve the treatment she was receiving from those who claimed to care about her.

Eli wasn’t an angel either, but like most of the characters in the Falling series, he was a product of his war experience. He wasn’t quite as broken as the soldiers he tried to help and support, but he wasn’t damage free either. He had his secrets and he carried a guilt around with him that he couldn’t shake. His bar, The Pint, was more than a business, it was a haven for his ‘band of misfits.’ He couldn’t risk losing it, but falling for Parker was risky for both of them.

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice how much I admire authors who can change my opinion about a character. It’s almost as if they’re giving readers a gentle reminder not to judge a person, especially if you don’t know their story. Everyone has one and I’m really glad that readers got a chance to discover Parker’s and watch her gain the strength and courage to rise above it.

There’s more to come in the Falling series and I don’t have the same reservations about the next couple that I did with Parker and Eli. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but Catch My Fall is going to be interesting. 😉

 

 

Deliciously Smooth (Naked Brews #1) by KB Jacobs

deliciouslysmoothMy parents were conmen and I was their tool. I learned how to cheat, connive, and charm my way out of any circumstance. But now I’m respectable…kind of. Yeah, my life is still a lie, but that’s because I have no choice. My best friend, who’s also my boss, needs me to lie to keep our billion-dollar charity going. It’s complicated.
But all the lies are about to end. I just have to finish one final task…taking over a brewery. Easy, right?
Not so much. Because that brewery is part of a custody battle between mother and daughter. The mother owns it. The daughter thinks it should be hers. I’m caught in the middle. Not normally a bad place to be when it comes to two feisty women.
But I’m falling for the daughter and when my lies come to light, everything is going to unravel. And then my future with the brewery and the girl will be shot to hell.
My boss probably won’t be too happy with me either.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1KB Jacobs is a new author… well, they are new authors, who have combined forces. They are self described as two women who are “in swift pursuit of cold beer and hot men…not necessarily in that order.” After reading the first book in their Naked Brews series, I haven’t quite decided whether this writing duo plan on using those combined forces for good or evil.

There was so much to love about Deliciously Smooth. I loved Lake’s dedication to her father’s memory, his business, her employees and her friends. I also loved Walsh’s dedication to his fallen team and his boss. The POV switched between the two, which I love. However, with these two it got complicated. There were things that the readers knew about Walsh that Lake didn’t. Like his HUGE secret. So, when Lake spent so much time trying to avoid Walsh, I wasn’t a ‘Lake Fan’ – I know that’s not fair, because from her POV her response was totally understandable. But Walsh was so… broken… *sigh*

Walsh was way too hard on himself and Lake took her time trusting anyone and lying was a total deal breaker. They both had their reasons, but the results of their miscommunications were heartbreaking.

Then there were the parents on both sides that I wanted to throttle. It’s a good thing that these two had such amazing friends… who I can’t wait to get to know better. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna like hanging out at Naked Brews. Between the smexiness and the witty characters, what’s not to love? ❤

Then, just when things seemed to FINALLY be on the right track… yeah, get ready for it. If I was keeping track of #evilauthors – this duo would be at the top of my list. It probably goes without saying that the next installment of Naked Brews needs to be released sooner, rather than later. Rumor has it that the next book is slated for a Spring release. Stay tuned…

DragonFlyRating5

Embers (Common Law #2) by Kate Sherwood

embersSmall town—big problems. Jericho Crewe is back in Mosely, Montana, trying to deal with police corruption, interfering feds, his newly discovered family members, and, of course, Wade Granger.
He doesn’t really need a biker war on top of it all, but as the bodies start to pile up, it becomes pretty clear that’s what he’s got. Not only that, but Wade’s involved somehow, and as soon as Wade is a part of something, things that seemed clear become cloudy.
With the feds breathing down his neck, Jericho has to find his way through Wade’s maze of half truths and manipulations. It would all be so much easier if Jericho could think straight in the other man’s presence. So much easier if their passionate past could be forgotten, and if he could be sure he’s strong enough to resist the temptation of a passionate present.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I love it when the second book in a series is just as good as the first – in this case, maybe even a little better 😉

In Embers, Jericho has agreed to support Kayla (his best friend from youth and the current sheriff) as her under sheriff. If things aren’t complicated enough, the FBI is back along with Jericho’s favorite DEA agents. All of them are locking Kayla and Jericho out of their investigations, so of course, Jericho takes things into his own hands. As expected, it all goes pretty much down hill from there.

There are so many twists and turns in Embers, it’s hard to keep up. Unexpected allies are made, secrets are revealed and even more mysteries are thrown into the mix. And as expected, Wade is in the middle of it all, as well as Jericho’s new found family.

There was even more sexual tension between Wade and Jericho in Embers. At times it seemed like they were taking two steps forward and five steps back. Sometimes it was hard to tell who was playing who. Since readers were only let in on Jericho’s POV, it’s hard to tell. My guess is that there is more to Wade than meets the eye, but that’s just a guess… a hopeful one. 🙂

The next book in the Common Law series is Darkness. There were enough things left unsolved at the end of Embers, I can’t wait to find out where things go from here.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

Working It (Ringside Romance #1) by Christine d’Abo

workingitNolan Carmichael is getting a fresh start—new career, new company, new life. The only problem is, he liked his old life just fine . . . until an accident robbed him of his health, his job, his self-confidence, and his ability to go out in public without having anxiety attacks.
Zack Anderson has scared away his last four administrative assistants. So when he hires Nolan on a whim, he’s not too worried, since Nolan will be gone within the week anyway. Two weeks later, Nolan has made himself indispensable, completely reforming Zack’s schedule, life . . . and libido.
But in a company already torn by internal politics, one wrong step could ruin both their careers. And not only are they working to reopen Ringside Gym, Zack’s retreat when he was a troubled teen, but they also can’t help themselves falling for each other. If only the rest of their lives could go as smoothly as things do when they’re alone together.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I think I’m gonna like this series. Anyone surprised?

The only other book I’ve read by Christine d’abo was a holiday novella, Rebound Remedy, which I really enjoyed. I almost passed this one up, but then a couple of trusted reviewers/readers read it and liked it so much I decided to pick it up. Needless to say, I’m glad that I did.

I loved Nolan from the start… Zack, not so much. The description should clue you in to the reasons why. On the surface, pairing these two should equal disaster. The more readers got to know Zack though, the easier it was to really hope that Nolan could see through the gruff exterior and know the true Zack. The one who deserved Nolan’s trust and more importantly, needed him.

My heart broke for both of these men when things inevitably imploded. This was one of those books where I wanted to jump in and beg the characters to slow down and just talk… *sigh* There were supporting characters that I loved and those that I loathed, which kept things more than interesting.

The next book in the series features Max and I can’t wait. He was one of my favorite supporting characters in Working It and from the sounds of it, I’m going to adore him in Faking It. 🙂

DragonFlyRating4

 

Rough & Tumble (Haven Brotherhood #1) by Rhenna Morgan

roughandtumbleA self-made man with his fingers in a variety of successful businesses, Jace Kennedy lives for the challenge and he always gets what he wants. From the start, he sees Vivienne Moore’s hidden wild side and knows she’s his perfect match, if only he can break it free. He will have her. One way or another. 
Vivienne’s determined to ditch the rough lifestyle she grew up in, even if that means hiding her true self behind a bland socialite veneer. Dragging her party-hound sister out of a club was not how she wanted to ring in the New Year, but Viv knows the drill. Get in, get her sister and get back to the safe, stable life she’s built for herself as fast as humanly possible. But Viv’s plans are derailed when she finds herself crashing into the club’s clearly badass and dangerously sexy owner. 
Jace is everything Vivienne swore she never wanted, but the more time she spends with him, the more she starts to see that he loves just as fiercely as he fights. He can walk society’s walk and talk society’s talk, but when he wants something, he finds a way to get it. He’s proud of who he is and where he came from, and he’ll be damned if he lets Vivienne go before showing her the safest place of all is in the arms of a dangerous man.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I wasn’t sure about this one at first, but the more I read the harder it was to put down.

Rough & Tumble had the ‘feel’ of a motorcycle club novel, but it wasn’t. Yes, there were motorcycles, and the males were about as alpha as you can get, but they were much more. They were ‘brothers’ who ran and helped run more than a few businesses, supported charities, skirted the law and got a bad rap no matter what they did. They would do anything for family and had firm rules about who was let into their inner circle, no exceptions. Jace wasn’t one to play by the rules… even though he made most of them.

I gotta admit, I skimmed a couple of reviews before I read Rough & Tumble and I noticed that more than a few didn’t really like Vivienne. In the beginning, I kind of agreed with them. Once I got to know her though, I really sympathized with her. It’s a good thing Jace was as stubborn as he was or their relationship wouldn’t have stood a chance. The thing was that Vivienne had no real sense of family or what it meant to be a part of one. Jace’s life revolved around family and he was determined to show her what she was missing by closing herself off and not being true to herself. He had his work cut out for him.

Besides a strong sense of family, there was plenty of smexiness, suspense, interesting twists and humor shared between these witty, smart characters. I think I’m going to enjoy getting to know the rest of the Haven Brotherhood. The next book in the series is Wild & Sweet and it’s Zeke’s book. I really liked his character. Of course there weren’t any of the Brotherhood that I didn’t like 😉

DragonFlyRating4

Under Pressure (Body Armor #1) by Lori Foster

underpressureHe can protect anything except his heart
Leese Phelps’s road hasn’t been an easy one, but it’s brought him to the perfect job — working for the elite Body Armor security agency. And what his newest assignment lacks in size, she makes up for in fire and backbone. But being drawn to Catalina Nicholson is a dangerous complication, especially since it could be the very man who hired Leese who’s threatening her.

What Catalina knows could get her killed. But who’d believe the sordid truth about her powerful stepfather? Beyond Leese’s ripped body and brooding gaze is a man of impeccable honour. He’s the last person she expects to trust — and the first who’s ever made her feel safe. And he’s the only one who can help her expose a deadly secret, if they can just stay alive long enough…

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I have to admit, I was really sad when Lori Foster ended her Ultimate series. Four books just didn’t seem like enough. It did help a little knowing that the characters weren’t being totally abandoned though. Under Pressure not only featured Leese, a member of the Ultimate crew, but readers were treated to tiny glimpses of the rest of the gang. I feel MUCH better now 😉 It’s the little things, really.

So, how was the first book in the Body Armor series? I think I’m going to like this series… really, is anyone surprised? Ex-fighters who aren’t afraid to put themselves on the line to protect. Strong women who will go to any length to stand up for those they care about. Friends who step up without being asked. Witty and smart characters and plenty of heated tension. Bad guys who think they’re above the law and can pretty much do anything they want. What’s not to love?

Needless to say, I loved Leese and Cat and their story. I can’t wait to see what Foster has in store for the rest of the Body Armor crew. Justice is next in Hard Justice. Stay tuned 😉

DragonFlyRating4

Joshua (Male Model Chronicles #3) by Christi Snow

joshuaDecember is the time for romance, twinkling lights, and roaring fires in the fireplace. It’s also time for the annual Holiday Fantasy Lingerie show. This year, the show has a masculine twist with the introduction of male models who were once soldiers.
Joshua Scott Brown has made quite a name for himself as a male fitness model since he got out of the Air Force. But nothing prepares him for the media circus that occurs after he catches one of the female lingerie models during the live show, preventing her from a ten foot fall. Now the lingerie company wants to turn that media coverage into holiday profit by pairing him up romantically with the model. Unfortunately, he only has eyes for Autumn Layne, the publicist who keeps pushing him into another woman’s arms.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1My only complaint about Joshua is that it was short and sweet. Well, the short part, not the sweet part. My first thought when I started reading this last installment in Christi Snow’s Male Model Chronicles series was how absolutely adorable Joshua was. He was funny, sweet and not exactly comfortable in a room full of half-naked women. He was also totally infatuated with Autumn from the first moment he saw her.

Autumn was strong, hard working and deserved far more credit for everything she did than she received. She was crazy about Joshua but was determined not to rock the boat with her sister because of misplaced guilt. I admired her for her loyalty almost as much as I disliked her sister.

As is this author’s style, she didn’t make things easy for this couple. There was danger, a little bit of mystery, plenty of heat and a meddling overbearing relative thrown into the mix. I’ve almost forgiven said author for all she put these two through, almost. 😉

I’m sorry that this series is over, but I’m sure that Christi Snow has more in store for readers to fill the void. In the mean time, I may have to go back and get reacquainted with Justin and Lance.

DragonFlyRating4

The Assignment (Lessons in Control #1) by Jade A. Waters

assignmentWhat would you do if someone offered to fulfill your wildest fantasies?
Seductive.
Charming.
Dominant.
Dean Sova is everything Maya Clery craves. From the first touch, their connection is intense. After leaving her troubled past behind, Maya thought she was happy—she is happy—but meeting Dean forces her to acknowledge dark needs she longs to explore yet has never had the courage to face.
Her perfect match, Dean encourages Maya to set loose the submissive urges inside her in a series of assignments intended to open her mind and test the limits of pleasure…but Maya isn’t sure she can fully let go of her inhibitions.
What would you do if someone offered to fulfill your wildest fantasies?
The answer seems obvious. You take the offer and hope the price isn’t too high.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1The description pretty much says it all, but The Assignment was still more than I expected.

Maya wasn’t looking for a relationship when she met Dean at her friends’ party. She definitely wasn’t looking for a fantasy lover, but Dean was more than she bargained for. The heat between these two was combustible.

The ‘assignments’ that Dean gave Maya gave this story a unique twist that definitely kept things interesting. Dean wasn’t exactly a Dom, but he was the one in control… until things spiraled out of control. At one point I got kind of aggravated with both characters. Dean because he was a little irresponsible with his control and Maya for not being totally honest. Dean’s obvious worry and devotion finally won me over though.

Jade A. Waters has a great start to her Lessons in Control series and Dean and Maya’s story continues in The Discipline. I can’t wait to see where their story goes…

DragonFlyRating4