Fool For You by Rina Gray


Fool For You by Rina Gray
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (126 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Sports journalist Melanie Foster has achieved most of her goals: Bomb.com job—check. Tomboy-to-smoking-hottie makeover—check. Convince her best friend, Damien Richards, to slide a ring on her finger and father her two-point-five kids—not so much. When she activates Operation: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, she never imagines her BFF already has plans to stroll down the wedding aisle with another woman.

Damien’s in the middle of crisis mode. The non-profit for young athletes at which he volunteers is in financial trouble. He’ll pull out all the stops to rescue the organization that saved his life after his career-ending injury—even if it means sacrificing his personal happiness.

But when he finally wakes up to love and the very non-brotherly feelings he’s long held for Mel, it just might be too late. Damien must convince her that he’s worth the risk and turn the tables to show her he’s the one ready to be a fool for love.

Operation: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me is in full effect, but will it really bring Melanie the love she seeks?

I thought it was weird that Melanie Foster waited all these years to confess her love to her long time friend Damien Richards. The timing couldn’t be more off since Damien is in a serious relationship and just recently got engaged. Melanie is all in when it comes to getting Damien to love her. With his fiance Vanessa in the way it may not be as easy as Melanie thought.

Melanie is a smart and career minded woman that knows a lot about sports. From tomboy to heels and lady-like attire, Melanie came off as self centered in her timing to reveal her feelings to Damien. She tried once back in college to tell Damien how she felt but to no avail. Damien is a caring and likable guy that has his hands full. Refurbished Dreams, a mentor organization that helped Damien from a troubled path when he was younger, is now being closed down. Damien, a volunteer at the center, offers his help to keep the center open along with being pressured to marry his girlfriend Vanessa. With secrets, jilted love and friends that have your back and others that do the stabbing this makes for a interesting read.

The author has a good writing style with humor and up to date jargon. The plot is interesting, but has a few slow parts. At first I thought it was a little predictable but I was glad to see there are a few surprises at the end. A recommendation to readers that enjoy a quick read that delivers a happy ending to a woman set on getting her man.

The Heart You Need by Diane R Jewkes


The Heart You Need by Diane R Jewkes
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Historical, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (95 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

When society reporter Adeline Ellsworth’s cousin, a police inspector, is murdered in 1896 San Francisco, she immediately sets out to uncover the truth. This could be her chance to leave frivolous fashion gossip behind for a career reporting on important issues. But her investigation leads to danger—and she wakes up tied to Alec McCairn, Lord Peyton.

In California to set up a new office, the Scottish peer definitely wasn’t looking for a romantic entanglement, especially with an independent, opinionated reporter. But he suspects the beguiling Adeline is in over her head and too proud to ask for help. He vows to protect her, no matter how hard she balks.

A widow, Adeline guards her heart carefully and doesn’t want Alec ruining her chance to expose this corruption, no matter how attractive or charming he is. But then the main suspect kidnaps her younger brother and demands Adeline’s research as ransom. To save him and crack the case, they must work together. But the biggest mystery they end up solving might just be how to capture each other’s heart.

Set in the latter part of the Victorian era, this romance has danger, excitement and mystery all wrapped into one. In a time when women are emerging as independent from the men in their lives, Linnie is a widow and a journalist with a leading San Francisco newspaper. Although she only deals with social and fashion issues, she longs to be an investigative reporter and her efforts in this regard lead her into danger. They also lead her into love when she meets Lord Alec MacCairn.

This book has it all. Spicy love scenes, dangerous adventures and even a kidnapping. Threaded through the story is a hint of humor which makes it believable and enjoyable to read. For most of the story I was wondering how on earth their love could survive when he lives on one side of the Atlantic and she lives on the shores of the Pacific. Linnie obviously wouldn’t leave her widowed mother and young brother, but Alec had responsibilities as the heir to a dukedom in Scotland. Very intriguing storyline with the two main characters accepting their love for each other, but wondering how they can make their love continue across the distance of two oceans.

The Sweet Spot by Elley Arden


The Sweet Spot by Elley Arden
Arlington Aces Book 2
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (116 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Once a Mets draft pick, Arlington Aces outfielder Giovanni Caceres never thought he’d be stuck playing in an independent league in small-town Pennsylvania. If he works hard and steers clear of trouble, he has a good shot of making it back to the majors. Until the team owner recruits him to give her niece hitting lessons and her repressed sister dance lessons…

Helen Anne Reed is being pulled in a million different directions, dealing with a struggling bookstore, her father’s Alzheimer’s, a controlling ex-husband, PTA madness, and now her daughter Macy’s desire to play baseball with the boys. Helen Anne is far more comfortable with pearls and aprons than cleats and gloves, but then sexy ballroom dancer-turned-baller Giovanni unexpectedly comes to her rescue.

When he reluctantly agrees to be Helen Anne’s dance partner for a school fundraising event, things heat up quickly between them, much to their surprise. Amid salsa lessons and ballpark bonding, can this vibrant charmer teach Helen Anne how to quit worrying and just let go? Or will Giovanni’s big league dreams bench this relationship before it even begins?

A divorced mother of one, Helen Anne runs a failing bookstore. Her sister Rachel has taken over the baseball team and her daughter Macy has decided to switch from softball to baseball. When Helen Anne needs a partner for a fundraiser for the school, her sister sets her up with one of the baseball players, Giovanni Caceres. Giovanni is desperately trying to return to big time baseball, but Rachel has other ideas for him.

This is a time of discovery for Helen Anne. Not only does she learn to dance the salsa, but she learns more about her daughter’s inner feelings and also how to love again. In fact she realizes she’s never really been in love before. I liked how Helen Anne went from a timid mother and bookseller, to a strong woman who was not afraid to stand up for herself. The development had its ups and downs, but the story flowed and developed in a totally believable, but also exciting way.

I won’t spoil the end for future readers, but I will say I enjoyed how the ending made me feel satisfied with the whole book.

Valor Under Siege by Elizabeth Boyce


Valor Under Siege by Elizabeth Boyce
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (224 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

All’s fair in love and politics…

When ambitious solicitor Norman Wynford-Scott is ousted from his legal studies due to a holiday revel spun out of control, he adapts a new plan of running for the Parliament seat of a local village. Only trouble is, the same irresistible woman who ruined his good name is thwarting his campaign at every turn.

Widowed and drink-addicted, Lady Elsa Fay has retreated to the family village of Fleck to regain her sobriety. She’s distracting herself from her troubles—and her memories of the one passionate night she shared with Norman—by organizing the Parliament campaign of her husband’s cousin. Until Norman arrives intent on winning the seat for himself.

Shamed and determined, Elsa will do all she can to send her former friend and now adversary packing—even if it means breaking her own heart in the process.

1817 London … and the punch catches fire. Yes, the party punch. On fire. Elizabeth Boyce’s new historical Valor Under Siege sets off in a surprising manner, and if curiosity did not at once envelope the reader, her style would undoubtedly beguile them.

If flouncing gowns, sharp-heeled shoes and wandering flames do not do-in poor old Norman Wynford-Scott, his urge to ‘leave a mark’ on the school might well.

Wynford-Scott captures the readers’ sympathies at once. Events, intended to be enjoyable Christmas revels, have gotten out of hand. Though we’ve scarcely met our main character, he’s plainly being pushed out of his comfort zone.

Lady Fay is quite a different character, all in all. She might feel shame, but she knew what she was about. We readers are still back, feeling for poor Norman. Lady Fay’s predicament seems well-deserved. We’re thinking maybe he should have … but no giveaways here! Valor Under Siege is full of the quirk-ily unexpected, and I don’t want to spoil a minute of it. Although there are laugh-out-loud moments, there is the surprisingly heartfelt as well. Occasionally the book might wallow in Lady Fay’s outlook a tad more than strictly required; my one and only complaint.

Hot moments are indescribably hot, thoroughly described but not overdone, not out-of-place. The backdrop is perfect; from Gray’s Inn to the grand home, Norman’s preference for riding to traveling in the carriage, and Fay’s trust in and reliance on her servant. The historical setting is well done but not intrusive.

Valor Under Siege is a clever, quick, unexpected and genuinely hot . Its a case of drawing-room valor to be certain, but valor nonetheless.

Ready Or Dead by PM Kavanaugh


Ready Or Dead by PM Kavanaugh
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (59 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Fans of TV’s Quantico and Alias will love this sizzling prequel to the thrilling spy caper Die Run Hide.

New recruit Anika Washington has barely adjusted to the difficult training regimen at a global counterterrorism agency when she’s prematurely called up to complete her first mission. If she succeeds, she’ll become a field agent; if she fails, Anika’s out of the program. Abandoned at birth to a federal orphanage, Anika never wants to feel the pain of rejection again.

Complicating matters is the fact that she’ll be going undercover at a black-tie gala with Gianni Brambillo, the gorgeous and enigmatic Level 2 agent who seems to have taken a special interest in Anika. Armed with high-tech spy gadgets and quick thinking, the two of them will need to rely on each other to complete their plan successfully. It’s go time, and Anika must prove to everyone, including herself, that she’s mission-ready—or die trying.

Anika is a first-year recruit and at the end of her extensive training. With nowhere else to go, she’s determined to make the cut and become an operative. Can she pass the impossible odds?

I found this to be an interesting and fast-paced read. The shadowy “agency” training the special operatives puts Anika through her paces and makes for quite the adrenaline rush. I enjoyed watching Anika during her various, rigorous training and start her first mission. The author’s style of writing – along with the characters and situations – really made me think of an episode of the tv series “Alias”. There’s lots of action, a fair bit of cloak-and-dagger suspense/mystery and that whole “let’s save the world” spy/thriller action all through the book. While the plot wasn’t exactly fresh or new, I found the story itself compelling and interesting enough to retain my interest all the way through.

I thoroughly enjoyed the main characters – Anika and Gianni. I found both characters to be complex and interesting people with multiple layers. Curiosity about them both kept me happily turning the pages to discover what would happen next. I also liked how there were so many interesting secondary characters – other recruits both new ones at Anika’s level and Level One and Two’s with more experience and clearly more knowledge about the shadowy government organization that they were training and working for.

While there is a fair amount of chemistry between Anika and Gianni, there is no actual romance in this story (no kisses or any physical affection). I feel it’s important to note though that the story does end with a potential happy ending for these two characters. I’d be very interested to read any further stories set in this world and particularly about any further stories about Anika and Gianni.

Readers who like spy-type novels or action based stories should enjoy this short story as much as I did. I found the plot interesting and I greatly enjoyed the complexities of the characters and the agency they found themselves in. Recommended.

Tokyo Love by Diana Jean


Tokyo Love by Diana Jean
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (169 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual, F/F Interaction
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

When Kathleen Schmitt is promoted to project lead at Mashida INTL for the Personal Love Companion (PLC), a life-sized, hyper-realistic dating doll, she must relocate to Tokyo. Trying not to get lost in translation is quite the culture shock for this born-and-bred Midwesterner.

She’s surprised when her boss asks her to beta test the new dolls—an assignment that requires having her brain scanned so the company can fashion a personalized doll based on her innermost desires. But most surprising of all: her test PLC turns out to be a woman—one who looks and acts remarkably like her neighbor and coworker, Yuriko Vellucci.

American-born Yuriko is a former transplant herself and is sympathetic to the difficulties of adjustment—to a point. Kathleen is about the most pathetic foreigner this engineer’s ever met. She clearly needs Yuriko’s help and expertise if this transition—and the PLC project—is to be a success.

With Yuriko to show her the way, Kathleen will learn to socialize at an izakaya, find the best onsen in Nikko, party at a matsuri, buy doujinshii in Akihabara, and fall in love with a country so very different from her own.

But can she also learn how to confess her love for the person who showed it to her?

In the not so distant future, will robots make the perfect companion-both in conversation and in love?

Tokyo Love is a deep story the looks into the depth of society and human nature and takes into account that modern technology can find a replacement for almost anything. In fact the main character, Kathleen Schmitt, is the head of a project designed to produce Personal Love Companions (PLC)-essentially robots that can tend to our every need that look, act and learn just like humans. With a rushed timeline and her job on the line, Kathleen is tasked with testing the very first PLC released. The companion, built after a specialized cortex scan is supposed to be everything that Kathleen finds attractive in the human species.

The twist, the PLC looks and acts just like Kathleen’s neighbor! But it doesn’t end there, her neighbor happens to be female causing a mess of emotions and confusion for Kathleen. Kathleen is convinced there must be a glitch in the cortex scan and the gender was wrong with the PLC. Since only a handful of people know about the PLC test, when issues with the PLC arise, from technical complications to severe errors in data processing there are only a few individuals that Kathleen can call on for help-with one of them being her neighbor.

This is a great story that takes into consideration the direction of technology, cultural traditions and human nature. The author, Diana, does a fantastic job at creating real emotions and stirring up conflict. The actions and conversations of the PLC named Ai, and Yuriko, the neighbor are humorous and the constant struggle with Kathleen’s identity and perception of self add to the plot and depth of the story.

The plot is smooth and works in the concerns and stress of work, life-balance, and even how a simple cold can throw everything into a tailspin. Diana does a great job at making the world of the characters-a world in a not too distant future-feel like it is happening right now. The overall questioning of human nature and the capacity to love are the pivotal questions that the author works to answer.

I highly recommend this book if you want to add some technology to your romance reading!

What the Gambler Risks by Kristina Knight


What the Gambler Risks by Kristina Knight
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (160 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Twenty-something ice queen Sabrina Smith enjoys the fame and fortune she’s found writing self-help books for a largely female audience. Her readers hang on every word of how the Vegas Virgin—an unflattering and inaccurate moniker given to her by a local shock jock—juggles dating, working, and friendships in Sin City.

And that’s why Jase Reeves spells trouble.

Jase knows Sabrina’s secret—that she’s not nearly as cold as she would like people to think—and he’s through keeping it. He didn’t intend to have a one-night stand with the Vegas Virgin, but now he can’t get her out of his head. And he can’t keep living this lie.

With Jase back at the tables in Vegas, Sabrina has one goal: stay away from the handsome gambler before he melts her career—and her heart.

I’ve always wanted to go to Las Vegas and I always thought it would be cool to be an author. I wish I was Sabrina Smith, the heroine in this story, just to experience a day in her life with the hero, Jase Reeves. How awesome would that be? To be an author like Sabrina and date an amazing card player like Jase in Las Vegas!

This book is part of a trilogy, however it can stand on its own. I haven’t read the other two books before this one but I am seriously considering getting them to read. If Jase’s brothers are anywhere as near as HOT as Jase was then I need to read their stories. I saw a glimpse of the humor among the three siblings and would love to read more of that brotherly bantering that made me laugh out loud.

The chemistry between Sabrina and Jase is quite spicy. The book was listed as sensual but the love scenes between Sabrina and Jase were borderline spicy/hot. Which, when considering the setting is Las Vegas, what can one expect? I thought it worked perfect because Sabrina Smith was labeled the moniker “Vegas Virgin” by a local shock jock and Jase was labeled the typical player. Their relationship held true to the stereotype “hot Vegas nights”.

Sabrina and Jase have similar hurts from their own childhoods to overcome before their relationship can fully have that happily ever after ending. I expected Sabrina to have been the more logical one to get past her childhood trauma since she became famous for writing self-help books. Yet, how could she with her mother still around to inflict the craziness. In fact, I would have given this book 5 stars if not for the annoyance of Sabrina’s mother. Sabrina’s mother irritated me beyond belief – a major frustration. Fortunately the mother was redeemed before the ending and Sabrina and Jase helped each other to see the future was with each other.

What the Gambler Risks by Kristina Knight was really a very good romance story. Jase was irresistible and like I said before, I am definitely intrigued to read the other two books about Jases’s brothers to see how their romance compares. I’m glad I read this story and I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a fun seductive read.

The Herald’s Heart by Rue Allyn

heart
The Herald’s Heart by Rue Allyn
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Gene: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (230 pgs)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Royal herald Sir Talon Quereste plans to someday settle on a quiet little estate, marry well, and raise a family. The wife of his daydreams will enhance his standing with his peers—she’s certainly not an overly adventurous, impulsive, argumentative woman of dubious background who threatens everything he values, until he meets his father’s wife.

Lady Larkin Rosham lost more than everyone she loved when her family was murdered—she lost her identity. Now no one believes she’s Lady Larkin, least of all Sir Talon, whose dreams of owning Hawksedge go up in smoke if she is, indeed, his father’s lost bride.

But when the murderer strikes again, danger and betrayal lurk around every corner. Can Larkin and Talon discover how to save their lives without risking their hearts?

A fantastic read! It hooked me immediately and I absolutely loved the mystery and suspense intertwined with the evolving yet forbidden romance between Kady Larkin Rosham, the heroine and Sir Talon Quereste, the hero.

I fell in love with the well developed, complex characters that are threaded through out the story, all of whom kept me on my toes along with the twists and turns of the well written intricate plot.

The relationship between Lady Larkin and Sir Talon consisted of witty banter mixed with sensual desires. I giggled over the song he sang to her and I still smile thinking about it! I just wish Sir Talon had believed in Lady Larkin sooner than he did. For that little annoyance I couldn’t give this book five stars.

I read this book on vacation in Hawaii and as beautiful as Hawaii is, the author, Rue Allyn, had me wanting to go visit a castle estate with tunnels underneath it connecting to the ocean!

I was pleasantly satisfied with the ending of this book. I can easily recommend this book. Just don’t blame me when you hear Sir Talon’s off-key baritone humming and your toes curl! 🙂

Sweet Texas Kiss by Monica Tillery

sweet-texas-kiss-by-monica-tillery
Sweet Texas Kiss by Monica Tillery
Sweet Texas Secrets 1
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (172 Pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Myrtle

Small town. Big secrets. Welcome to Sweet Ridge.

The Cooper brothers receive the shock of their lives when their deceased father, owner of the lucrative Guac Ole company, wills away their inheritances to three random women.

No one’s more surprised when Jack Cooper leaves the family estate to music superstar Macy Young than his oldest son. Seeing his childhood memories being handed over to his high school rival – the first woman to break his heart – stings, especially when Gavin is left only a pair of old reading glasses and a cryptic note. Luckily, Macy can’t sell the house for one year – plenty of time for Gavin to find a way to get it back.

Living in the harsh spotlight of country music fame has cost Macy, and a little hometown peace and quiet just might heal her soul. But giving up and giving back Gavin’s greatest prize may not be the tune she plans to sing.

Can a country star and a country veterinarian find a way to bury their animosity and rediscover their first love in the process?

Knowing what your inheritance is long before the fateful day arrives has its comforts, but can you ever be sure of what an aging and ailing father might do in his last days?

Jack Cooper built a successful guacamole company called Guac Ole with his middle son primed to take over. Grayson had worked at Guac Ole since he was old enough to earn a paycheck. Older brother Gavin became the local Veterinarian while taking on the job of caring for their father in his declining years. He was there until the end amid promises that the family home now belonged to him. Youngest Gage had nothing to fret, because Dad was leaving him oil-rich land. Jack Cooper was definitely the family patriarch and he was leaving his three boys well set.

Or so everyone believed…

On the day of Jack Cooper’s death, family friend and attorney Rodney has a bombshell for each of the three boys: Gavin’s house has been left to his high school rival, Macy Young, a television star and hit country singer. The oil-rich land Gage expected was willed to Charlotte Wilkinson, an environmental scientist, and Guac Ole, the company Grayson had worked to build, now belonged to Rebecca Nash, a floor supervisor at the same company. It seems the world has been turned upside down!

When Jack Cooper became too ill to take care of himself, Gavin moved home. He had been his father’s caretaker and companion in his final days. So after his father’s death, he planned to stay and move into the master bedroom, and most importantly, keep the home in the family. But now that his high school rival owns the home, what is a handsome, single man to do? It isn’t until lovely Macy Young arrives to check out the home left to her that the two clash—again.

Country singer Macy openly wonders why Jack Cooper, the nice father of her high school rival, would leave his house to her, but lately she is feeling the need to get away from the Hollywood rat race. She shows up to pay her last respects and check out the house. Gavin and Macy clash big time—he blames her for the death of his best friend (her singing sidekick) and she thinks he is still mad about her beating him out of the valedictorian seat in high school.

The two had several run-ins soon after Macy arrived. To me, it was unrealistic that the fact never came up that Gavin lives in the house willed to Macy. In fact, it never comes up until Macy decides to use her key and bunk there for the night! Yet when Macy realizes Gavin is living in the home, she becomes outraged. Seriously, the guy’s dad just died, his childhood home was given to you instead of him, and you’re going to barge into his house and plan to live there without any remorse?

Here’s the funny thing … I actually liked the story! It was well written, although character flaws and plot holes abound, but I can’t help but recommend it to you. There is a love scene (okay, who didn’t expect that?) between Gavin and Macy that had me fanning myself while still being clean enough to read and re-read, which is why I rated this “spicy,” albeit mild. It was tasteful and well done. By the way, the cover is so NOT this story!

Surely, stories of the other brothers must be in the works, right? Yeah, I’ll be watching for them. If you enjoy unexpected and out-of-the-ordinary romance stories, maybe you should be watching for more, too.

Seduced by the Outlaw by Apollonia Lord

seduced
Seduced by the Outlaw by Apollonia Lord
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (104 pages)
Heat level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

It’s 1896, and Tamar Freeman is a respectable citizen of Kansas City, maintaining her family legacy, running the local newspaper, and caring for her sisters. The last thing she expects is to fall for an outlaw. But the lonely hearts ads that Deadwood Dick takes out in the Advocate stir something unexpected deep within.

Lawman Amos Tanner went deep undercover for the Pinkertons months ago to bust a burglary ring on the lam, wreaking havoc across the Western states. The coded ads he’s been placing with his Pinkerton boss in local newspapers have laid the trap expertly for the gang’s capture, and soon he’ll pull off his last heist as Deadwood Dick and be free to return home to Oklahoma. But a wildfire of an attraction has roared to life between him and Tamar. Walking away from her will be the hardest thing he’s ever done.

When the final heist doesn’t quite go off as planned, a shocking turn of events threatens to split Amos and Tamar forever. Will she find the strength to give up her safe world and risk a chance at the life she’s long desired?

This was a well written, nicely paced, realistic love story. I enjoyed reading this story while sitting on a 9 hour plane ride. Only problem is I still have 5 more hours before this plane lands and I’m sitting here smiling like a goofball thinking about Amos Tanner & Tamar Freeman.

The story quickly drew me in on the first page. Tamar is a strong, intelligent independent, mid 30’s respectable lady. Amos’ character is complicated but that is the intriguing part of the story that kept me glued to turning the pages. He is an ethical, honor bound gorgeous and strong. He’s the kind of hero that is more than capable of filling my dreams, oh, I mean, he met my ideal “book boyfriend” expectations. The chemistry between the two made it a bit awkward to be sitting near a stranger on a plane!

The plot is clever and unique in a couple of ways that I can’t share without spoiling the surprises. It was refreshing to read a story that was skillfully written by an obviously talented author. This story made my heart swell and brought a genuine smile to my face. It was a fully satisfying happy ending that came sooner than I wanted it to.

I could see a story in the future for Tamar’s sister, Delia that I’d be interested in reading.

I am glad I chose to read this book and I can easily recommend it to others.