Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis


Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (353 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

There’s no such thing as a little in love…

Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer . . . which should only take a lifetime . . .

There’s no such thing as a little in lust…

Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . .

There is such a thing as…

As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…

I enjoy Ms. Shalvis’s alpha heroes because they are so capable, contained and confident, except when it comes to the women who are able to get under their skin and turn on that emotional switch that flips them upside down and sideways. It never ceases to amuse and entertain me and that’s because Ms. Shalvis writes them so well. Archer is another wonderful hero for readers to fall in love with. We don’t get to keep him but Elle does – but what is she really going to do with him? Keep him or push him away? Love him or leave him? Only way to find out is to read the latest wonderful romance in the Heartbreaker Bay series.

The bulk of the novel’s conflict comes from Elle and Archer’s personal conflicts. They have a shared moment in history but they remember it differently and it colors their relationship in the years that follow. What neither realizes is that there was something that sparked between them back then and it’s powerful. Yet both characters needed to mature, find their own places in life and make choices that make them the people they are when the novel begins. The question then becomes – can they stop looking at each other through the filter of the past to realize that what they have now when they gaze into each other’s eyes in the present is what they both have been searching for? It’s a bumpy ride to the revelation. The high points are when their bodies are smarter than their brains, when passion explodes to show just how compatible they are, giving readers hope Elle and Archer will come together sooner rather than later.

My only complaint is that Elle took too long to come to her senses. I mean, the techniques Ms. Shalvis used to extend the heroine’s decision making process was cute (temporary truces when she had her ‘mad’ on) and it did bring a smile or two but I simply couldn’t understand why she was at that level of stubborn. Perhaps it needed the book length to give time for her sister to show up so there could be another quasi-HEA to round out the happiness factor. From there a domino effect captured Archer’s dad in its influence. I guess it could be said that the end justified the means. Still, I think the book could have been a chapter shorter if Elle could have gotten out of her own way just that little bit. Maybe it’s just me being impatient.

I really liked the sparks between Elle and Archer. I wanted them to figure things out sooner before there was an ‘oops’ that endangered the hero. Being in the business that he was, and Elle by her association with his crew, I knew someone was going to be in jeopardy. So who was going to be the hero or heroine to the rescue? That depends on interpretation. You decide. I thought it was a great external conflict because it affected the internal conflicts. A two-fer.

Accidentally on Purpose is definitely worth taking the time to read. Why? Not just because Ms. Shalvis wrote it. No, because it’s really that fun, entertaining and satisfying and the plot is engaging. For anyone who is following the series, I think they’re going to be happy and for new readers, I bet it’ll be a great discovery. Whichever you are, pick up a copy and get lost in the romance. It’s solid.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James


When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Historical
Length; Full Length (270 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Miss Linnet Berry Thrynne is a Beauty . . . Naturally, she’s betrothed to a Beast.

Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, lives in a castle in Wales where, it is rumored, his bad temper flays everyone he crosses. And rumor also has it that a wound has left the earl immune to the charms of any woman.

Linnet is not just any woman.

She is more than merely lovely: her wit and charm brought a prince to his knees. She estimates the earl will fall madly in love—in just two weeks.

Yet Linnet has no idea of the danger posed to her own heart by a man who may never love her in return.

If she decides to be very wicked indeed . . . what price will she pay for taming his wild heart?

I like this version on the theme of Beauty and the Beast because it’s not so much about the outside, but the inside of a person. Believe it or not Piers and Linnet took turns at being both beauties and beasts. It wasn’t all about personalities as it was about emotional scars from their past. They both took different paths in dealing with the adversity that life threw at them. The hero’s was to be sarcastic, cutting and grumpy, the heroine’s was to don an emotional mask, wielding flirtation like a sword in order to keep her heart protected. They are more similar than not but different enough to make things interesting.

I actually enjoyed watching their relationship grow – their dialogue, their exchanges of personal information, their conflicts and their resolutions. I especially liked when Piers finally seduced Linnet because the heat and passion was off the charts. I relished the idea of her lust being awakened to the point that it overpowered Piers’ resistance to her and he succumbed as well. It was rather beautiful to see. It wasn’t all sunshine and flowers, however. There was a dark side to the relationship which was exacerbated by an external conflict that really tested their fledging association.

This novel is told in the third person from both Piers’ and Linnet’s point of view. There is a small section that tells part of the story from one of the secondary characters POV but it is sort of a resolution of a secondary romance. It was rather sweet and it tied in perfectly to the main love story.

I despaired of Piers ever getting out of his own way though. I liked him, I truly did but sometimes he was just too sarcastic and afraid. Yes, for all his brave talk and manliness, he was fallible. I guess that made him approachable in a way but a few times, not.

There is a very intense and emotionally nerve wracking chapter or two that completely engaged me and had me at the edge of my seat. I’m happy to say that I survived the reading but what an effective bit of writing! It was at that point that Piers showed how much of a true hero he was.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast is a wonderful historical romance that satisfied me because the happily ever after was perfect and thorough. I was entertained, engaged and I turned the last page with a smile on my face. I have no problem recommending this novel to other historical romance readers. It’s a treat.

You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne


You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (289 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

In an unforgettable debut, Lisa Berne introduces you to the Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.

Wealthy and arrogant, Gabriel Penhallow knows it’s time to fulfill his dynastic duty. All he must do is follow the ‘Penhallow way’: find a biddable bride, produce an heir and a spare, and then live separate lives. It’s worked so well for generations, certainly one kiss with the delectable Livia Stuart isn’t going to change things. Society dictates he marry her, and one chit is as good as another as long as she’s from a decent family.

But Livia’s transformation from an original to a mundane diamond of the first water makes Gabriel realize he desperately wants the woman who somehow provoked him into that kiss. And for all the ladies who’ve thrown themselves at him, it’s the one who wants to flee whom he now wants. But how will he keep this independent miss from flying away?

A rags-to-riches story, You May Kiss the Bride is not a happy story much of the time and love seems an impossibility. How the author weaves love in among all the manipulation, gossip, conflict, and intrigue makes page-turning reading.

This is especially true since Gabriel Penhallow does not hold women in high esteem and is not looking for love. He just needs a suitable woman of society–intelligent, has substantial wealth, and in good health—to produce his heirs.

His managing grandmother met Lady Glanvilles and daughter, Cecily in Bath and declares Cecily to be good wife material for Gabriel. The two of them attend a house party at the Glanvilles, with Gabriel intending to ask Cecily to be his wife.

To escape the vacuous activities of the house party, Gabriel Penhallow rides out alone and gets lost in the forest. He sees Livia Stuart. He is entranced. She looks like a ragged but beautiful wood sprite. But his haughty elite self surfaces and he tosses coins to her for information on how to get back to the Glandvilles. BIG MISTAKE!

Livia Stuart, the poor orphan relative sent home to Ealdor Abby from India when she was very young,expects and gets nothing.more than food and shelter from her wastrel Uncle Charles and her “medicine” addlepated Aunt Bella. She has no money, no education, and no prospects; even though she’s now of marriage age. She is Lady Glanvilles and Cecily’s charity case. They, snobbish and snide, give her Cecily’s hand-me-down clothes and invite her to events at their home.

How Livia and Gabriel become betrothed and plan to use each other sets up conflict, rejection, loneliness, and heartbreak. Not until Gabriel and his grandmother come to recognize their self-centeredness and entitlement attitudes almost destroyed what they hold dear, do they come to recognize the value and joy of having Livia in their lives.

Lisa Berne creates a compelling story with great pacing that is an early nineteenth century rollercoaster ride. GOOD ENTERTAINMENT!

Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands


Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands
An Argeneau Novel
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (251 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Ever since Domitian Argenis recognized Sarita as his life mate, he’s been waiting for the perfect moment to claim her. Those fantasies did not include him being chained to a table in a secret lab or both of them being held hostage by a mad scientist. Somehow, they have to escape…

Sarita has seen some crazy things as a cop, but nothing to rival Domitian. A vampire? Seriously? But his healing ability, incredible powers, and their mind-blowing physical connection—none of it should be possible, yet her body knows differently. Now, not only do they have to save each other, but other innocent lives are at stake. Failure is not an option, for Sarita intends that Domitian show her exactly what an eternity of pleasure feels like…

I realize it’s a cliché when a reviewer says that the storyline grabbed them from the first page but that really happened to me. Right off the bat, the novel opens up with a dramatic prologue where Domitian is in a heated discussion with Lucian and it’s a shocking exchange. I had no idea so many Immortals had disappeared, especially people who I’ve ‘met’ in previous books; characters that I’ve come to adore and love it whenever they are on stage. To think that someone has the ability to overpower my favorite descendants from Atlantis boggled my mind. How? What powers do they have? Yes, those first few pages lay the groundwork for an amazing, mind blowing and stunning adventure that raises the bar in the Argeneau saga to new levels. Readers, buckle up. Immortal Unchained is a wild ride and is nothing you’ve seen before. Ms. Sands has a true winner on her hands and it’s stunning.

The first full chapter introduces Sarita, the heroine. It starts off so benign and innocuous. Don’t let it fool you. The heroine isn’t a helpless damsel; she is a cop and she has good instincts. Something doesn’t add up so being the good officer she is, she investigates. What follows propels the plot and story forward at a dizzying speed. Sarita is abruptly thrust into the world of the Immortals and their fight to survive in what turns out to be a hellish captivity. What the villain does to them is truly horrifying. Ms. Sands’ writing makes that very vivid and clear to a reader. The good news is that the disturbing, dark and insane goings on does not overwhelm a reader. Ms. Sands walks a fine line between horror and dramatic adventure while keeping the growing romance between Domitian and Sarita front and center. This novel has a hefty plot that is amazingly intense. The pace is furious and gripping; I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough because revelation after revelation left me astonished and dumbfounded. How could the villain do what he did for so long? The hero and heroine stumble upon their answer and once again the truth is jaw dropping. There is no way I could have guessed the true scope of what Domitian and Sarita are faced with. The big question, will they escape? How? There doesn’t seem to be any allies to help them and there’s no way to contact the outside world to send out a cry for help to Lucien and the rest of the Immortal Hunters. It looks so hopeless. Help comes but from a quarter that a reader can’t even guess or fathom. I remember sitting there, staring at the pages in astonishment. This book is awesome!!!

There are a lot of important new secondary characters, some of which I suspect will show up again in the future because they have a certain …edge which could really help the Immortals. They’re going to need all the help they can get because the final showdown closed this story arc but effectively opened up a new one. Yes, there is a solid and satisfying happy ever after that is as sexy and romantic as a reader could wish, and many loose ends are tied up but the biggest loose end is a new beginning. A new threat has emerged and I bet it’s going to be unpredictable, challenging and diabolical. Just you wait until you get to that part of the book then you’ll understand why the next book in the series can’t come fast enough. There are new characters to sympathize with and I want to know what happens to them. The world as they knew it is no more, so what’s going to happen now? Ms. Sands has made me care for these new characters and I expect them to be an asset to the series. Certainly these people help breathe new life into what is already an awesome and riveting succession of novels. I don’t know how Ms. Sands does it but she’s getting better and better and readers and fans reap the benefits.

Run, don’t walk, and grab your own copy of Immortal Unchained. This novel is going to find a welcome and permanent spot on my keeper shelf. It’s that marvelous.

Dangerous Games by Tess Diamond


Dangerous Games by Tess Diamond
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (369 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Maggie Kincaid left the FBI two years ago and didn’t look back . . . until now. A senator’s daughter has been abducted, and the nightmare set in motion isn’t just familiar to Maggie, it’s personal. She’ll need all the help she can get to bring Kayla Thebes home alive—even if that help comes from a hot-as-hell ex-soldier who plays by his own rules. . .

For Jake O’Connor, negotiation equals weakness. But he’s immediately drawn to the sexy former agent who epitomizes strength. It isn’t long before he and Maggie are working together 24/7, learning to read each other’s signals and wanting much more.

But for Maggie and Jake, letting their guard down—even around each other—may be dangerous. Now, as they close in on a kidnapper with nothing to lose, their first mistake could shatter a young girl’s last chance…

“I-got-your-back” secret service story, Dangerous Games, is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. My anxiety level skyrocketed every whip stitch. The “bad guys” who have power, money, and connections in high places that the “good guys” have to outsmart is mind boggling.

Maggie Kincaid, ex-FBI and overloaded with emotional baggage, is coaxed back to the FBI to negotiate for the release of fourteen-year-old Kayla, Senator Thebes’ daughter. IF you happen to be a woman who has succeeded in a male-dominated profession, you can empathize with Maggie. Many of the male agents that are not as good at their jobs as she is at hers make her life miserable—adding to her load of grief, anger, and guilt that she has lived with for years.

Jake O’Connor, former Army Ranger, now best at his job of handling sensitive D. C. political issues, becomes part of the mass of people at Senator Thebes” house. He is to see to the senator’s interest. His self concept is in good shape, even though, he too has nightmarish past events in his career that haunt him. He is not threatened by Maggie’s abilities. He can see her expertise in negotiating and gravitates to her. What a team they make!

Tess Diamond does a superb job of outing the “bad guys” one by one. Cold chills made me shudder as she brought their values to light. The kidnapper really surprised me. How Ms. Diamond makes it all so believable is a masterful bit of writing. Even better is the way she reveals Maggie’s dedication and determination to save Kayla, even when the odds are sky high against her.

There are characters one loves to love and many others one loves to hate. Oh, yes, even a sex scene gets worked in amid all the chaos. A gripping story!

The Switch by Lynsay Sands


The Switch by Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical, romantic comedy
Length: Full Length (362 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When they first met Lord Jeremy William Radcliffe, Charlie and her twin sister, Elizabeth, were escaping from their uncle-taking turns acting the young gentleman to avoid detection. But Charlie couldn’t help falling head over heels – and out of a window – for the handsome lord. Of course, that was only the beginning; Lord Radcliffe insisted on showing “him” and her lovely sister to London.

But how could he do that? With every touch, Radcliffe seemed unknowingly to incite indecent desires in Charlie, and his fraternal intent was certain to land her in a fine mess. Though it was a great game to play a boy, there was more fun in being female. And after one brush of his fiery lips when her guise was gone, Charlie swore to be nothing but his woman forevermore.

This is the perfect book to read when recovering from the last vestiges of the flu. Granted, the volume of pages was initially daunting but if anyone is a fan of Ms. Sands, they well and truly know just how quickly and easily her books can grab a reader’s attention and entertain all the way through. The Switch did that and more.

The idea of ladies running away from the prospect of horrible marriages isn’t a new idea. Neither is putting on a disguise in order to facilitate their escape, and that includes a lady dressing up as a man. What the author did with those historical romance tropes is another matter entirely. Ms. Sands made them her own by virtue of some hilarious twists, complications, escapades, memorable characters and hysterically funny internal dialogue from the hero.

One side effect of my flu was the unique, raspy snicker a la Muttley, the cartoon dog from the 60’s cartoons, Wacky Races. Yes, I’m dating myself. However, that sound effect was me to a T and I employed it surprisingly often during the course of the book. I couldn’t help myself. Poor Charlotte had to turn into Charlie, the male fraternal twin. Posing as a male was quite a stretch for a gently bred lady of the ton, but she sure got into the swing of things. And the scrapes she got into! ‘Charlie’ found all sorts of amazing, comedic, daring and madcap adventures awaiting her, all the while dragging a bemused and confused Lord Radcliffe into some very dicey escapades.

Actually, the confusion of Jeremy, Lord Radcliffe is a guaranteed giggle producer. The poor guy seriously thought there was something wrong with him because he’s attracted to Charlie AND Elizabeth. How can a man’s lust flip between a male and female? Why does he sometimes feel like Charlie is like a brother and other times, uncomfortably so, his body reacts like it would to a female? Talk about playing mind games! Ms. Sands employed her comedic skill with the laser focus of a chess master.

Charlie’s sister, Beth, had her own mild adventures and romance to pursue, but every now and again they crossed over with what Charlies was trying to do and that generated more laugh out loud moments for a reader to enjoy. I can’t even give a reader a hint about some of those moments because not only will it will ruin the effect but actually reveal pivotal plot points.

Readers will adore the secondary characters as they pop up, especially the puppies. How the puppies came into the Radcliffe household was dramatic but what happens afterwards is pure genius. I also found the villains to be villainous and surprising. The surprise came from not even suspecting who one of them was. I was completely shocked and because of that, thrilled. I love it when an author pulls off a Ta-Dah! moment.

I truly can go on and on about what I liked about this novel, which is everything, but I hope I gave you some teasing tidbits to whet your appetite so you might check out this story. There’s lots of romance, great dialogue and humor. The pace is fast but the character development is complete. When the time comes for Charlie to discover the joys of being a woman in Jeremy’s arms, it’s sensual, sexy and delightful. Every single thing in The Switch worked for me. This is a keeper, a winner and a book to cherish and re-read when life seems a bit overwhelming. It’s a cure for the blues, and a smile in the making. I highly recommend reading The Switch and I hope it will grace your keeper shelf too.

My Fair Duchess by Megan Frampton


My Fair Duchess by Megan Frampton
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (274 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

The unexpected duchess

Archibald Salisbury, son of a viscount, war hero, and proficient in the proper ways of aristocratic society, has received orders for his most challenging mission: Genevieve, Duchess of Blakesley. How she inherited a duchy isn’t his problem. Turning her into a perfect duchess is. But how can he keep his mind on business when her beauty entices him toward pleasure?

It was impossible, unprecedented…and undeniably true. Genevieve is now a “duke”, or, rather, a duchess. So what is she to do when the ton eyes her every move, hoping she’ll make a mistake? Genevieve knows she has brains and has sometimes been told she has beauty, but, out of her depth, she calls on an expert. And what an expert, with shoulders broad enough to lean on, and a wit that matches her own. Archie is supposed to teach her to be a lady and run her estate, but what she really wants to do is unladylike—run into his arms.

“Trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” is how Genevieve feels when she inherits a neglected duchy and becomes Duchess of Blakesley.

She is the neglected daughter of a wastrel duke. She has been raised by servants. She’s had no training in how to be a duchess much less in how to tend to the business of the duchy that has been shamefully neglected. However, because of a special dispensation granted generations earlier, the direct heir, regardless of gender, inherits the duchy of Blakesley.

Though neglected by her father, she has a grandmother who has confidence in Genevieve, and she also has a godmother who sends her own steward to help Genevieve maneuver through the quagmire of the ton and the business of owning and managing of the duchy.

The steward, retired army captain Archibald Salisbury, estranged third son of a viscount, is not all that happy about having to go where his family might see him, but he arrives in London to do the task Genevieve’s godmother sent him to do.

Straight away, he sees a strategy is needed. His army training kicks in. He sees Genevieve as a raw recruit with no ammunition–she has no suitable wardrobe; she does not know how to be haughty, act grandiose, or give terse orders to the servants; she has no clue about how to do duchy business, last, but not least, she draws him like a magnet. She’s beautiful, sensible, kind, honest, direct, sensitive, resilient, and has a delightful sense of humor. Consequently, even though they are in the same house, he communicates with her by letter if possible rather than be in her company—great way for the author to move the story along.

He guides her through all the social and business hazards of mid-nineteenth century England. She learns well, but her faux pas in her personal relationship with him throws a spanner in the works that creates a conflict that sends him running. Now she’s very capable, titled, wealthy, but so alone—calls herself an idiot.

How Megan Frampton weaves a love story throughout the story and how she resolves the conflicts to give Archie and Genevieve their happy-ever-after is a work of art. Good reading!

Perfect for You by Candis Terry

perfect
Perfect for You by Candis Terry
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (239 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Declan Kincade has spent so much time chasing success he’s almost forgotten how to just live. Lately though, his all-business routine has been thrown into disarray. Brooke Hastings is the best employee Dec’s ever had: polished, capable, and intelligent. After four years, he’s just realized that she’s also smoking hot. But their working relationship is too valuable to stake on a fling, no matter how mind-bendingly pleasurable it promises to be.

What’s worse than never meeting the right man? Finding him, and then working side-by-side every day while he remains absolutely blind to your existence. That is, until one temptation-packed road-trip changes everything. Teaching her gorgeous, driven boss how to cut loose and have fun is the toughest challenge Brooke’s ever faced. But it’s one that could give both of them exactly what they need, if Dec will take a chance on a perfect—and perfectly unexpected—love.

Bucket lists, family-love-in-action, and delightful humor are attention-keeping threads running through this love story that sparkles.

Feeling his mortality after the death of his parents, Declan Kincade, now wealthy at age thirty-three, realizes he is lacking in matters of the heart, and he has forgotten how to have fun. His single-minded focus on his career has made him oblivious to too many things. He did get a wakeup call when his twin brother Jordan mentioned Declan’s executive assistant was “hot as hell.”

Brooke Hastings, the beautiful executive assistant with her high IQ and bubbly personality, is a buffer between him and any disgruntled client; so by the time Declan sees the client everything is pleasant.

In spite of growing up under horrible conditions, Brooke knows how to have fun. Not only that, but she fantasizes about her gorgeous boss. Her passion for life is infectious; so, when they take a fifteen hour road trip to his family’s Sunshine Creek vineyard and stay in a cabin together, she makes it her mission to help Declan learn how to have fun—my goodness, the sparkle she adds to a their working trip sweeps the reader along from one adventure to another and some of them sizzle.

As they work with his brothers to put the vineyard back in the black, emotions race along at a fever pitch, with everyone in Declan’s family offering advice and “help” on all issues from love life to business.

How Brooke and the stranger Lili MacKay influence the Kincade family includes both business and emotions in a BIG way. The changes in Declan, as he and Brooke find their way to happy-ever-after, make one smile—“gotta” love that man.

Candis Terry’s insightful development of the characters is a joy to read. The dialogue shows personalities in most unique ways.

Perfect for You is a pleasure to read!

Million Dollar Cowboy by Lori Wilde


Million Dollar Cowboy by Lori Wilde
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (290 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

The illegitimate son of a Texas ranching dynasty, Ridge Lockhart left home ten years ago with one goal: to become more successful than the father who never accepted him.

Mission accomplished, but now he’s back at the Silver Feather Ranch for a wedding—three days of best man duty until he can hightail it out. Then he spies Kaia Alzate, and suddenly leaving isn’t quite so appealing.

Kaia Alzate grew up the daughter of the ranch foreman, servants to the mighty Lockharts in the mansion. Back then, she followed Ridge around like a puppy. Now, she’s fighting the attraction she feels for this sexy CEO. She’s determined not to make a big mistake—but when Ridge takes her in his arms she’s stunned…could he be the man she’s waited for all along?

Lori Wilde’s beautiful writing style, using just the right words, made me feel as if I were right inside the hearts and minds of Ridge Lockhart’s and Kaia Alzata’s.

Ms. Wilde drops the reader out of the sky into the harsh Trans-Pecos region of Texas—a place where even snakes and lizards seek shade from the sun that beats down on a thirsty land. It takes resilient people to thrive here.

Ridge Lockhart grew up and survived a harsh upbringing there. Now, after ten years, he is back, a multi-millionaire with an empty heart and hungry soul.

Kaia Alzata, called “braterminator” by Ridge in their growing up days, has truly grown up; but she is off limits. She is Ridge’s best friend’s little sister. She now has curves in all the right places and has a happy outlook on life. She chose to be happy after a life-altering accident. She’d loved Ridge ever since she could remember, but she know she can survive without him—she has for ten long years. Kaia is a nurturer and will be a doctor of veterinary medicine in a year.

Duke Locket, Ridge’s father, owns the large Silver Feather Ranch that’s been in the Lockhart family for six generations. He is hard, bitter, self-absorbed and a difficult old man who regrets much of his past but refuses to admit it. His four sons have paid the prize—Ridge most of all because of his beginnings.

Rarely do I read a book a second time, but this one I will. The first time I read for story—and a compelling story it is. It is a story of family relationships, friendships that stand the test of time, love that reaches far passed lust to touche the heart and sou. Finally, it is about redemption.

I’ll read it again and slowly savor the remarkably good descriptions, the unique expressions of emotions, the revelations that come from soul searching ,and the sensual, tender love scenes.

Lori Wilde captivates with her insightful, compelling characterizations and with a plot that fits these characters.

I recommend reading Million Dollar Cowboy.

Final Exit by Lena Diaz

exit
Final Exit by Lena Diaz
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (273 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

After a tragic mistake nearly destroyed his life, Special Agent Kade Quinn will do whatever it takes to save his career. His latest mission? Track and capture the remaining EXIT operatives to determine if they’re still a threat. But his next target—a stunning female assassin—is both elusive and dangerously appealing.

Bailey Stark has outsmarted the FBI so far, but she’s tired of running. Tired of watching her friends ambushed by government agents in tactical gear and never seen again. She suspects they aren’t being evaluated—they’re being exterminated—and she’s determined to convince Agent Quinn his mission is a lie before it’s too late. Bailey doesn’t want to rely on him. She definitely shouldn’t desire him. But she knows teaming up with the skilled, sexy agent may be her only hope.

Kade doesn’t want to believe Bailey’s claims, but he promises to keep her safe. Trusting one another is difficult. Fighting their attraction is harder. And as they uncover the disturbing truth behind his mission . . . staying alive will be nearly impossible.

Off and running from the get-go, Final Exit is a deadly, high-stakes hide-and-seek game that takes the reader on scary adventures. Who is friend and who is foe becomes extremely iffy as the story unfolds.

There is so much clandestine action going on, it is amazing how this author handles it all; all the while creating a second chance love story that reaches right in and grabs the reader’s heart.

Special Agent Kade Quinn, wanting desperately to get his career back on track after being seriously injuried, works with newbie agents he knows nothing about. His mission is to roundup the last of the reluctant Enforcers of EXIT Inc. so they can be retained to fit into normal society. Alan Faegan, Kade’s boss, is willing to give Kade information only on need-to-know bases.

Bailey Sparks, an Enforcer, eludes Kade’s team again and again. She is not convinced “retraining” is really what they plan to do with the Enforcers. She has connections with the Equalizers, agents once in EXIT Inc. but left and formed a group of their own. They want to recruit Bailey, but she isn’t sure about their mission either.

How the author weaves in intriguing back stories, unique settings, and a sizzling love story along with all the violent action keeps Final Exit racing along from one captivating adventure to another, making it a stay-up-late, adrenaline-pumping read.

The writing style of Lena Diaz is a perfect fit for this kind of thriller romance.