*Love Me Like You Do by Erika Kelly


*Love Me Like You Do by Erika Kelly
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

How did the hottest hockey player in the NHL wind up braiding hair and hosting tea parties?

Because someone was foolish enough to name him co-guardian of their children. That’s how.

Cole Montgomery’s living his best life–until he gets a call from an attorney letting him know he’s been entrusted with the care of two little girls. He can’t imagine why anyone would think he was a good role model. He can’t even keep a plant alive.

Lingerie designer Hailey Casselton grew up with a free-spirited mother. So, when she finds out she’s the temporary co-guardian to two children, she’s determined to give them the best Christmas they’ve ever had. Unfortunately, she has to live with the jerk from high school who ruined her senior year.

But she gets a glimpse of the man behind Cole’s larger-than-life persona, and she likes what she sees. He might be used to living for himself, but he works hard to change his ways and meet the needs of these lost and scared girls. It doesn’t take long for her to enter dangerous territory–falling for a guy who’s never going to settle down.

Except…as much as Cole keeps saying he can’t wait to get his freedom back…he can’t deny these girls–and okay, even Hailey–have become the very best part of his life.

And he’s not quite sure what to do about that.

Erika Kelly is one of my favorite authors because she knows how to paint a picture. In her newest book, Love Me Like You Do, she writes an emotional story about two people going through some heartbreaking circumstances and falling in love along the way.

I loved reading Cole and Hailey’s story. They knew each other in high school and circumstances brought them back together again. Cole and Hailey have to deal with tough issues and make difficult decisions, not only about their lives, but the two little girls that have been entrusted into their care.

Cole and Hailey are both careful with their hearts. They yearn for a home and family, something neither one of them grew up with. The small town of Calamity is the perfect place for them both to heal, love and live.

Cole is a professional hockey player whose whole life revolves around hockey, and he is shocked when he discovers his best friend has died and left him in charge of his two daughters. Cole is such a great guy; he deserves to have everything. He is successful and charming, yet he is insecure when it comes to Hailey. Cole loves everything about Hailey, but she is clueless.

Hailey is working every waking minute trying to make it as a designer in New York when she rushes back to Calamity after being told she is now co guardian of two little girls.

Cole and Hailey have unresolved issues from the past that they slowly resolve as they spend time together. They are perfect for each other, and I easily fell into this wonderful story and kept reading because I needed to know what would happen next. I highly recommend this one.

*Princess and the Player by Isla Madden-Mills


*Princess and the Player by Isla Madden-Mills
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Levelheaded Francesca Lane never thought she’d miss her own wedding. But when her fiancé betrays her, she puts on her wedding dress and ditches the altar for a masquerade ball—at an exclusive lifestyle club.

There, she meets unknown-to-her NFL star Tuck Avery, dressed as a prince and hiding behind a mask—he’s there to celebrate his birthday. For one night, Francesca and Tuck indulge in a wickedly incognito affair. No names. No strings. And the masks don’t come off.

Unfortunately, Francesca realizes quickly that her masked prince is the wealthy jock who lives in the penthouse of her apartment building. His hobbies include parties and supermodels—or so the tabloids say. Getting tangled up with a shallow jerk is the last thing Francesca needs right now, so she vows to keep Tuck from recognizing her (not that she’s his type anyway).

But fate has a teeny-tiny trick up her sleeve…a plus sign on a pregnancy test. Can this tormented prince accept love, or will he push his princess away forever?

I loved reading Tuck and Francesca’s story. When they meet there is an immediate connection, and they have one incredible night together. After that night, neither one of them has any expectations of ever meeting again, but fate has other ideas.

I found Tuck easy to like. He Is successful in football, but unfortunately, his personal life is a mess. At thirty-five he is the oldest wide receiver in football, and he is not sure what he will do when his football career is over. Tuck’s life seems to be going downhill and he isn’t sure what to do about it. When Tuck meets Francesca again, he wants to spend time with her, but he has a hard time convincing her it’s a good idea.

I easily connected with Tuck and Francesca, and I was rooting for them because they both deserve some good in their lives. I felt sorry for them because neither of them has had an easy life, they are both flawed and have baggage from their pasts.

This is a wonderfully written story and it left me with a good feeling. Tuck and Francesca are perfect for each other.

They are interesting, easy to connect with and I enjoyed all of their encounters. I also enjoyed the odd assortment of friends in this story. They add a lot of laughter and entertainment. I highly recommend the Princess and the Player.

*Strip: A Bargain with the Boss Romance by Elisabeth Caldwell


*Strip: A Bargain with the Boss Romance by Elisabeth Caldwell
Spice Up the Night Book 1
Publisher: City Owl Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Sage Cashman’s sister suffers from a terrible illness and Sage will do anything to help her, including dancing at a gentleman’s club to support the two of them. Every night, she puts on a show for the customers, and the naughtier and more flirtatious she acts, the better her tips. Sage is just going through the motions until she gets closer to the dark, silent Adonis who lurks in the shadows during her performances. When Ryker Madsen is in her orbit, she doesn’t have to pretend she’s a woman easily seduced.

Ryker Madsen turns out to be more than Sage’s boss—he’s the owner of the club. He’s also involved with the company producing the experimental drug that might be her sister’s only hope. Ryker is as arrogant as he is rich, and it’s no secret that he wants Sage and is determined to have her. He’s intrigued when Sage proposes a deal: companionship for connections. Preferring uncommitted and unemotional relationships, Ryker sees Sage’s proposal as the perfect way to get her out of his system. What Ryker doesn’t know is that Sage, jaded from a string of betrayals, has many secrets. Including her identity.

The hotter their relationship gets, the closer the truth comes to the surface. When the skeletons in Sage’s family’s closet start tumbling out, they threaten both her plan to save her sister and her future with Ryker.

This passionate, emotional story about Ryker and Sage had me hooked from the first page. The plot is riveting, and the characters are engaging and easy to relate to.

I found it easy to like Sage and I admired her courage and determination. She is willing to do anything to help her sister and that is how she ends up working in the strip club that Ryker owns. Sage is playing a game pretending to be a seductress when she is really innocent.

What I liked the most about this story was the strong connection and sizzling chemistry between Sage and Ryker. Ryker is a successful businessman and is completely taken with Sage from the moment he meets her. He is a self-made man who is ruthless and honorable, with a soft spot in his heart for Sage.

I loved reading Ryker and Sage’s story and thought they were perfect for each other.

They are two good people afraid to open up their hearts. They find it difficult to trust, but they are loyal to those they care about. I enjoyed this intense story; it held me spellbound from start to finish.

*Vanishing Hour by Laura Griffin


*Vanishing Hour by Laura Griffin
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

When a cold case in Texas leads to a sinister string of disappearances, a newcomer to the small town helps a detective piece together the clues in this new romantic thriller from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

Corporate lawyer Ava Burch has had enough of the big city and the daily grind. She grew up with her father, who raised search-and-rescue dogs, in rural Texas and has moved to the small town of Cuervo to spend time in the dry, rugged wilderness near Big Bend National Park. When she and her dog, Huck, discover an abandoned campsite on a volunteer search-and-rescue mission, she’s perplexed, but she carefully photographs it all the same.

All Grant Wycoff can see when he looks at Ava is a city slicker—with her designer jeans and shiny car—who has no business on a serious team made of seasoned outdoorsmen and retired cops. But when she tells him of her findings on the trail, he sees there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Ava’s discovery reminds Grant of the unsolved case of a young woman who went missing two years ago. As they look into the campsite further, another woman disappears under odd circumstances. With time running out, Ava and Grant must work against the brutal heat from both the Texas sun and their own electric chemistry to solve the case.

Vanishing Hour is an intense and exhilarating story filled with unforgettable characters, intricate plot weaving and intrigue. Laura Griffin is one of my favorite authors; she knows how to make romantic suspenseful stories come alive.

Ava is an attorney, and she is also a search and rescue volunteer. While Ava and her dog help to search for a young woman who is missing, she meets Grant. Grant and Ava have an immediate connection and they share tons of chemistry as they work together to try to find the woman.

I immediately connected with the two main characters, Grant and Ava and I enjoyed all of their interactions. They work tirelessly trying to uncover clues to solve the case they are working on and also try to find time to spend with each other. This spellbinding story kept me on the edge of my seat, and I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this one.

*The Decoy Girlfriend by Lillie Vale


*The Decoy Girlfriend by Lillie Vale
Publisher: Penguin Group, Putnam, G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Writer Freya Lal has a huge secret: she’s a dead ringer for It-girl actress Mandi Roy. Her second novel is due in a month, but inspiration is nowhere to be found. Desperate to shake off her writer’s block, Freya leans into her look-alike abilities and indulges in some mistaken identity for simple perks, like scoring a free mimosa or getting into a trendy nightclub.

Actor Taft Bamber appears to have it all: gorgeous, talented, and Mandi’s love interest both on- and off-screen. But what nobody knows is that their relationship is a PR stunt, and after years of playing make-believe, he’s yearning for something real.

When Freya’s latest impersonation of Mandi goes viral thanks to Taft’s accidental interference, rumors of a breakup threaten Hollywood’s golden couple. To make amends, Freya is forced to give Mandi a little time off: she’ll pretend to be the actress for a month, move in with Taft, and squash the rumors by acting completely in love. But as Freya and Taft play house, it becomes impossible to ignore that their instant chemistry isn’t just for the cameras. While faking it, they might have just found the real thing.

Decoy Girlfriend is an intoxicating story about a fake Hollywood romance. The story is engaging and the characters are realistic. Even though the two main characters, Taft and Freya are successful, they are filled with self doubt and insecurities, just like all of us.

Freya has written one successful book but she is having an impossible time trying to write the second one. She resembles Mandi Roy, a famous movie star and people often stop Freya thinking she is Mandi.

Taft is a famous movie star who meets Freya while buying a book for his mother and he is instantly smitten with Freya. I loved all the bantering between Taft and Freya. From the moment they meet, they enjoy needling each other, but behind all the bantering is an instant attraction that they both have a difficult time ignoring.

I enjoyed this upbeat story, it has sparkling dialogue and entertaining characters.

*Reckless by Aurora Rose Reynolds


*Reckless by Aurora Rose Reynolds
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Contemporary, Mainstream Fiction, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Jade has always been the reckless type. But after her relationship implodes and her business goes under, she realizes it might be time to change her ways. She decides on a fresh start in a new place: Montana.

But shortly after her arrival in Big Sky Country, she meets headstrong wilderness retreat owner Maverick, whose name, fittingly, means “dissenter.” Jade tries to convince herself he’s not the type of man she needs in her life. The problem is, she wants him in her life. She wants him more than anything.

For Maverick, his attraction to this out-of-towner is undeniable. But he’s sworn off relationships—until he gets to know the fiery-haired, fiery-tempered Jade. He can’t help but wonder if it’s worth opening himself up to her. It’s a gamble, sure. But is it reckless?

Or is love a high-stakes game of risk and reward that just might pay off in the end?

I loved every minute of this intoxicating story. I found myself immediately connected to the two main characters, Maverick and Jade and immersed in their story.

Jade is anything but reckless and after some things happen that are beyond her control, she is afraid to take chances with her heart again. Jade has just moved from Oregon to a small town in Montana to be closer to her best friend and that is where she meets Maverick.

I loved everything about Maverick. Even though he is an alpha male, he is also warm, sensitive and caring. Maverick is reserved and careful with his heart, but he just can’t seem to resist Jade.

Maverick and Jade have a passionate relationship and I enjoyed all of their encounters. They have an immediate connection, and I could feel all the sparks flying whenever they are together, even though they try to resist each other until they just can’t. Maverick and Jade try their best to keep their relationship a secret but that just doesn’t work and it’s entertaining as they try. I loved how Jade grows more trusting and comes out of her shell with Maverick. She has been hurt and moving to Montana is the best decision she has ever made.

This is the third book in The Adventures in Love series and each story is a stand alone, but all the characters are interconnected. I also enjoyed all the entertaining secondary characters in this story. They are a fun loving, large group of friends. They gossip and get into each other’s business, but always have each other’s backs. This is another wonderful story by Aurora Rose Reynolds.

*The Billionaire’s Appetite by L. A. Day


*The Billionaire’s Appetite by L. A. Day
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

She wanted funding—he needed submission. He would give her more than she asked for.

Charity’s father pulled the funding for her research, but she may have found the perfect replacement. Silas is a billionaire and he agrees to meet to discuss her proposal. After an embarrassing first encounter with the gorgeous but elusive billionaire, she didn’t expect him to help her.

Silas Radford is intrigued by the beautiful and brainy scientist. She asks for funding, but he wants a partnership—and not just in business. Sparks fly between them the moment they meet, but there are a few issues to set to rest before he can close the deal.

But Charity doesn’t realize Silas is friends with the father she feels betrayed her. And even if they can get past that, he still has to show her the full extent of his darker appetites…

What happens when a scientist and billionaire businessman meet? That’s the premise in L.A. Day’s newest book, The Billionaire’s Appetite. This quick read is passionate, fun and entertaining.

Silas is a successful businessman with a womanizing reputation. He likes to be in control and when he sees something he wants, he grabs it. So, when he meets Charity, he pulls out all the stops to make her his. Despite his faults, I liked Silas. He is colorful and entertaining and knows what he wants.

Charity is a scientist looking for money for her project. When Silas agrees to help her, she is ecstatic, but she doesn’t realize there are strings attached. Charity is so easy to like. She is dedicated to her project and innocent.

I loved Silas and Charity together and I enjoyed all the push and pull between them. I could feel all the tension flowing between them. Plus, they have tons of chemistry. This is a fun erotic story from start to finish.

*Catching Quinn by Jennifer Bonds


*Catching Quinn by Jennifer Bonds
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

What’s a girl have to do to lose her virginity around here?

When I decided to ditch my V-card, I figured Greek Row was a sure thing.

I didn’t count on Cooper-the-cockblocking-jockhole-DeLaurentis or his misguided sense of bro code putting an embarrassing end to my hookup. After all, Waverly’s star wide receiver is the most notorious player on campus.

He’s arrogant. Infuriating. Sexy as hell.

Just ask him.

Worse? He’s made it his personal mission to scare off every guy who shows an interest in me. But I’m not about to be outwitted by a hypocritical baller with more ego than sense. I may be a hot mess, but I’m no pushover.

Two can play this game, and I’m playing to win.

This is a delightful story and I thought Jennifer Bonds did a wonderful job of capturing college life. I felt as though I was right there with Cooper and Quinn and I had so much fun being along for the ride.

While Cooper and Quinn attend the same college, their experiences are very different. Cooper is a star athlete on the football team and enjoys all the perks that come with that status. On the other hand, Quinn is studious, enjoys writing and isn’t into the party lifestyle. Even though Cooper and Quinn are so different from each other, they are perfect together, but they have to go through some ups and downs before everything works out.

This story is about growing up and learning to make important decisions in life that will affect the future. It is well written, I easily connected with the characters, and it held my interest from beginning to end. I enjoyed all the banter between all the characters and the dialogue was spot on. Cooper and Quinn have incredible chemistry, are great together and I enjoyed all of their interactions. This is another wonderful story by Jennifer Bonds.

*Quarter to Midnight by Karen Rose


*Quarter to Midnight by Karen Rose
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Good cops. Bad cops. Only one will win.

After completing her tours with the Marines in Iraq, Molly Sutton knew she could take down any bad guy she met. But when a family tragedy exposes the dark side of her local police, she joined up with her former CO Burke Broussard, who left New Orleans PD to set up a private investigative service for people who couldn’t find justice elsewhere.

Gabe Hebert saw the toll that working for the NOPD took on his dad and decided instead to make a name for himself as one of the best young chefs in the French Quarter. But when his father’s death is ruled a suicide after a deliberately botched investigation by his former captain, Gabe knows his dad stumbled onto a truth that someone wants silenced.

Gabe goes to his father’s best friend, Burke, for help. Burke assigns the toughest member of his team, Molly, to the case. Molly can’t believe she’s being asked to work with the smoking hot chef whose chocolate cake is not the only thing that makes her mouth water. Sparks fly as they follow the leads Gabe’s dad left them, unraveling a web of crimes, corruption, and murder that runs all the way to the top.

New Orleans is a hotbed of intrigue in this suspenseful and delightful story. There are dirty cops, many unanswered questions and so many people dying that it’s hard to know who to trust. The two main characters, Gabe and Molly, are realistic and literally jump off the page in this wonderfully written story.

Gabe finds it impossible to believe his father has committed suicide and Gabe and Molly are brought together when he hires Molly to investigate his father’s death. Sparks immediately fly between these two from the moment they meet. Neither Gabe nor Molly has been lucky in love, until they meet. Unfortunately, they are so busy trying to solve this case they have little time for romance or getting to know each other. Gabe and Molly are running for their lives while they try to solve a crime and find the mastermind behind all the killings happening every time they turn around.

I loved everything about this story. It has suspense and romance, which is my favorite trope and Karen Rose did a wonderful job of keeping me on the edge of my seat. This story was intriguing and had me quickly turning the pages to find out what would happen next.

*Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan


*Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan
Publisher: Avon and Harper Voyager
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Women’s fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

For Sewanee Chester, being an audiobook narrator is a long way from her old dreams, but the days of being a star on film sets are long behind her. She’s found success and satisfaction from the inside of a sound booth and it allows her to care for her beloved, ailing grandmother. When she arrives in Las Vegas last-minute for a book convention, Sewanee unexpectedly spends a whirlwind night with a charming stranger.

On her return home, Sewanee discovers one of the world’s most beloved romance novelists wanted her to perform her last book—with Brock McNight, the industry’s hottest, most secretive voice. Sewanee doesn’t buy what romance novels are selling—not after her own dreams were tragically cut short—and she stopped narrating them years ago. But her admiration of the late author, and the opportunity to get her grandmother more help, makes her decision for her.

As Sewanee begins work on the book, resurrecting her old romance pseudonym, she and Brock forge a real connection, hidden behind the comfort of anonymity. Soon, she is dreaming again, but secrets are revealed, and the realities of life come crashing down around her once more.

If she can learn to risk everything for desires she has long buried, she will discover a world of intimacy and acceptance she never believed would be hers.

Thank you for Listening took me on an emotional journey.

You have to be open to the possibilities.

I loved reading Sewanee and Nick’s story. They are two realistic, flawed and complicated characters. They are both stuck in a life they aren’t happy with after their lives moved in an unexpected direction. They are vulnerable and afraid to take a chance.

This is an intriguing story that had me quickly turning the pages to find out what would happen next because I was never quite sure what direction it would go. It held me captive from start to finish. This story took me through many emotions: falling in love, family dysfunction and losing your dreams.

There are also some interesting and colorful secondary characters included in the story. I especially loved Sewanee’s grandmother, she was a hoot. Julie Whelan writes a beautiful and touching story.