Slaughterhouse by K.A. Lugo

Slaughterhouse by K.A. Lugo
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

It’s the anniversary of the date he lost his family and Jack doubts he’ll ever find those responsible. Depression has taken hold, and he pulls out his Beretta for the last time. As he fingers the trigger, Ray shows up with the identity of the man who’d killed himself in Jack’s house weeks before, leaving a note simply saying, ”I’m sorry.”

Jack soon finds himself dragged into San Francisco’s underbelly and his life threatened at the hands of the city’s deadly Chinese gang, the Jade Dragons. When things become more dangerous, Jack must keep pushing forward, even knowing it could mean his death because the gang’s leader, Li Zihao, may have the answers Jack’s looking for—who destroyed his family and what happened to Leah.

Is Jack ready for the truth?

This is the 3rd book in the Jack Slaughter Thriller series (you can see our review of book one here. If you haven’t read the first two books, don’t worry…there are plenty of clues that let you know what happened in the previous two books and, if you are anything like I am, you’ll soon remedy that situation and go looking for the first two books. I missed book two, but it is already on the way from Amazon. I see a Jack Slaughter weekend in the future where I can read straight through the series. If you can read the books in order, though, you will have a much fuller understanding and appreciation of the characters and their relationships.

Jack has been through a lot with the death of his daughter, the disappearance of his wife, and the appearance in Jack’s house of a suicide and a note saying just “I’m sorry.” He’s reached the end of his rope and doesn’t see any sense in going on.

The characters are a big part of what makes this series work. I absolutely love the relationship between Jack and Ray, and the rest of the supporting cast also add a special spark to the book (not to give away any spoilers but I absolutely loved the 666s!)

The action is nonstop…with twists and turns I definitely didn’t see coming… and just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, you find out differently. This book will literally keep you reading just so you can find out what is coming next!

I’m looking forward to the next installment in Jack’s story. Thank you, Ms. Lugo, for a wonderful character.

Designed by Destiny by Maya Tyler

Designed by Destiny by Maya Tyler
Fairy Godmothers Incorporated, #1
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Confirmed bachelor Nicholas Grey is more than the playboy perpetrated by the tabloids. Now his position as CEO of the architecture firm Grey & Company is on the line, and his mother’s interference is making things more difficult. Nick’s committed to his work, but, in order to be taken seriously, he needs to land a huge project. A stable personal life will help guarantee the contract.

Fairy Godmother Faye Delmore hears Nick’s plea and steps in to help. Posing as a publicist, she suggests a strategy to polish his public image, which includes convincing Beth to play his wife. Faye knows Nick needs the huge project to save his job, but she also knows he needs Beth in his life.

What happens when you add a fairy godmother who loves playing matchmaker into the equation? A future designed by destiny.

If readers enjoy the fake fiancé trope, then this is a fun story to try. Bethany Clark and Nicholas Grey accidently meet during a meet and greet at an architectural conference. What I found interesting is that there is a fuzzy thread of ‘love at first sight’ though that’s not the theme of this romance tale. Nevertheless, their initial contact frankly screamed attraction and interest. The author wasted no time in creating a situation of desperation, the catalyst that starts a series of events Nicholas could never have conceived. It quickly snowballs out of control and he and Beth have to navigate it as a team.

The thing about two strangers coming together in this manner means that there’s a lot of vulnerability that can easily be taken advantage by unscrupulous characters. And boy oh boy did the author create some whackos. Poor Nick was surrounded by them, and it shocked me that one of them was a member of his own family. Even though it’s a common kind of wrinkle in fledging relationships, Ms. Tyler used it to good effect. I kept hoping for a fairytale ending, and I kind of got one, but not in the manner I expected.

This book, though touted as paranormal, wasn’t heavy with it. It’s a light touch via the gentle guidance/inference of a fairy godmother, Faye. What was unexpected is the sub-story of Faye’s own doomed romance also getting a second chance. While I wasn’t thrilled with the ‘interruption’, Faye’s character grew on me. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with hoping for two ‘happy ever afters’, right?

I really liked Cara, Beth’s best friend. Everyone should have a friend like Cara. In a way, Nick had his best friend, Greg, to rely on as well, but I was ambivalent about him for most of the story. I was worried he would end up like Jason Alexander’s character from Pretty Woman – there were subtle similarities and it preyed on my mind in the background every time he was on scene. I don’t know if it was accident or design by the author, but it provided a heightened sense of worry for both Nick and Beth – I really wanted them to be happy. I became 100% engaged in their journey to a happy ever after that I felt they both deserved. I am relieved to report that this romance story satisfied my optimistic hope for the couple – after a very scary encounter with an enraged and vengeful secondary character. I didn’t expect that and was properly stunned.

Designed by Destiny is a really good read and a wonderful romance story. It includes variations of the tropes of the genre that fans will recognize, but Ms. Tyler uses them to create an engaging and entertaining tale of two unlikely people who share a passion for architecture and discover a new passion, for each other. Its ending shows a promising future for both Nick and Beth as they both open themselves up to trust, love, and the realization that together, they could conquer anything. I think the only thing that could have made this story even better would have been adding an epilogue showing the fruits of their new dream. Alas, I have to use my imagination – which isn’t too much of a stretch. The author laid a solid foundation that pretty much guaranteed their solid HEA. I definitely recommend this book and if you do decide to pick up your own copy, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

A Magical’s Gift by Maya Tyler

A Magical’s Gift by Maya Tyler
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Rose

The feud between fairies and wizards is an ancient threat in the magical world. Yet peace is possible. The child of a fairy and a wizard could reunite the factions of The Annunaki and end the unrest.

Niall Warde had been a carefree soul trapped in the rigid, ordered life of a wizard apprentice when he discovered the girl of his dreams was a fairy. He would never know if their forbidden love could survive because she disappeared without a trace. Unable to find her, Niall blamed his father for Amelie’s disappearance and left home without looking back.

Amelie Ricard knew she had to protect the baby she and Niall created. The fairies don’t want peace and her mother, their leader, would stop at nothing to prevent armistice, including killing her own grandchild. So, she must leave her son Kurtis with his father to be raised as a wizard. She left the infant on the steps of his father’s cottage then disappeared, also leaving behind the only man she’s ever loved.

Thirty years later, Niall is called home for his father’s funeral where he reunites with Amelie. When Kurtis’ life is put into danger, Niall and Amelie must face the demons of the past to protect him.

Neither can bring back the past, but can they have a future together? Will their son unite their people in peace?

Technically this book can be read as a standalone – the story is complete in itself. I have not read the other books in the series, and I was never lost. Saying that, however, I believe this series should still be read in order, as there are undercurrents in the book that I think I would have understood better had I read the earlier books.

With that, I quite enjoyed this story of Niall and Amelie. They certainly fall hard and fast. I would have preferred a bit more set up in the development of their romance, but that’s just a personal preference.

The background concept itself is intriguing – fairies and wizards at odds with one another. It was interesting to see this take of that, and I’m interested in getting the earlier books in the series and then re-reading this one…. I would love to see more information about what happens during the years Niall and Amelie are apart, and I feel like those earlier books will help fill that time in.

Looking forward to reading more from this author.

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Witness to Slaughter by K. A. Lugo

Witness to Slaughter by K. A. Lugo
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, LGBTQ
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Jack has coped through previous holidays, but this one feels different. It’s been four years since he lost his family, and clues to finding those responsible have dried up. Hopelessness has him so tightly wound that he’s often driven out of his claustrophobic apartment before the ever-present black dog of depression drags him to a place where there’s no coming back from.

Jack wants to be left alone with his sorrow, but when he’s offered double his fee by the wife of one of the city’s most elite families, how can he refuse? She wants him to follow her husband, Franklin, as she suspects he’s cheating and needs photos to get around the strict prenup. Franklin leads Jack across the city to The Majestic Lounge, the Castro District’s most popular gay nightclub. By the time he finds Franklin, Jack is forced to break up a heated argument between him and club owner, Chad Lucas.

Lucas approaches Jack the following day, wanting to hire him for added security during the club’s popular annual Drag Queen Extravaganza. The event’s usual excitement is marred by the deaths of several of Lucas’ friends that authorities are calling suicides. Lucas convinces Jack something more nefarious is going on and agrees to the job.

Does the city have another serial killer on its hands, one who’s targeting the LGBTQ community? Can Jack find a witness? Surely in the crowded nightclub, someone must have seen something.

I enjoyed this installment of the Jack Slaughter series. The plot was engaging and intensely moving. The twist in the story was unexpected. I enjoyed the friendship and love between Jack, his previous partner Ray and Ray’s wife.

It’s the holiday season and Jack is trying to live a normal life participating in the yearly toy drive and attending holiday functions but unfortunately, he is still coping with the loss of his wife and daughter. It’s been 3 years since his wife Leah has gone missing and Jack is no closer to solving the mystery. The story here didn’t allow time for Jack to investigate his daughter’s death and wife’s disappearance. I would liked to have read more about Jack’s personal case. It’s understandable the case he was hired to do took priority but since hardly anything was mentioned about Jack’s personal case until the very end it makes me think this series could drag on forever. Jack is a nice guy and he deserves closure, but would closure for Jack mean an end for Jack the private investigator?

I don’t like that Jack contemplates suicide. I would hope he would fight and search until the very end to know what happened to his family and that he’ll be able to heal by helping other families that this may happen to. I see Jack as a strong guy that has a lot of fight and him giving up doesn’t fit his character. Helping people is what he does and I hope someone can offer him the same help.

It’s an interesting coincidence that I read this book during LGBTQ Pride month, June. Ginnie, the wife of Franklin Whitney-Cumming, the Third, hires Jack to follow her husband for proof that he is cheating as evidence that he broke the prenup agreement. It’s during this investigation that he meets the club owner Chad ‘Marilyn’ Lucas who hires Jack for security during the Drag Queen Extravaganza.

I got a little confused when the author switched names during the second half of the book. The first part of the book the name Chad was used and then during the 2nd half, the name Lucas was used.

I like how the fellows on the police force work together, and I enjoyed their humor, especially dealing with cases that could work on their mental health in a bad way. The author allows readers to see that we all heal in different ways and in various time spans and that some require a little more patience for healing after a loss. Jack’s strength to carry on each day despite how heartbroken and hopeless he feels is uplifting. I like that the author gives the details of the investigation but still leaves the reader with questions and suspense. Book 2 is an enjoyable read and I can’t wait to read book 3.

A Fairy’s Quest by Maya Tyler

A Fairy’s Quest by Maya Tyler
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Paranormal Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by Dryas

A century ago, the fairy crown was stolen from Alina Lehrer’s clan, but now the usurper is dead and it’s time to reclaim what’s theirs. Rylan Jackson, codename Orion, is The Court’s most trusted assassin who always gets the job done. Until his target is Alina, the one woman he can’t resist. Fate has placed them on opposing sides for the crown, but Alina soon learns Fate isn’t set in stone.

Before I start, let me share this warning: this story contains issues concerning Post traumatic Stress Disorder, if this will trigger you, please do not continue with this review.

This story starts with an explanation of how fairies became to be. They had come from another world and were sent to Earth as a punishment. Yet, they contained their mystical abilities and they turned into two factions, the fairies and wizards. As you can imagine one side tends to rule over the other, which happens with the fairy’s treating the wizards as servants. As history has taught us all this never turns out well and, as expected, the wizards waged war against the fairies. The feud is still going on during the present day and the fairy’s court has hidden itself in London a long time ago that has now faded into legend.

In Chicago we meet our main character, Alina Lehrer, her older brother Atlas, and his wife Lucie whose mother, Gina DeLafontaine was part of the royal family. Alina has had far too many expectations on her shoulder as a young child since Gina, who has the ability to see in the future, believes that her daughter will be the one who brings back their family’s glory.

Alina is a wonderful character that is dealing with the world she has been thrust into as best she can. She had enough of the pressure that was forced upon her and rebelled by canceling her engagement to another strong fairy family that had been set up since her days in the crib, and instead started her own business.

Alina uses her business to hide away from herself, refusing to deal with her past which makes it worse. You see, she had been captured, tortured, and was forced to watch a good friend, Kurtis being tortured in front of her. This caused her to experience flashbacks and anxiety attacks at any time when she is triggered by something or it could come upon her without notice. These attacks are horrible for anyone that has gone through a trauma as she is transported back to the room where she had been tied up in and expecting to die.

I have to admit that her business fits her like a glove as her gift allows her to feel emotions and auras that allow her to help her patience make the best decisions in their life. Too bad that she can’t use her gift on herself when she thought that her friend Kurtis was attracted to her and she thought they could make a life together. Unfortunately, this goes horribly wrong as she misunderstood his signals, which caused Alina to place an icy boundary around her heart. Like most of us that have gone through the first pangs of a crush that blows up in our face, she can’t see him without feeling embarrassed. Her pain is real and as she had watched him being tortured this also affects her ability to be in the same room with him. The only good thing that came from her mistake was to receive a book that was in Kurtis’ father’s secret library that was supposed to belonged in her family for many generations and proved their lineage to the fairy court.

What nobody knows is that she has a hit out on her because of the broken engagement although that happened five years ago, which is strange since if any fairy rebelled against the court, they were often taken care of right away. Rylan Jackson, the spymaster, and assassin of the court where the current leader, Monoceros sent him out to complete the hit.

Rylan is an interesting and complex character with his own moral guide that sometimes can make his life difficult. When he sees Alina for the first time, he is struck by her beauty and as they talk, he enjoys her witty responses and the strength that she doesn’t realize she has herself. He charms Alina and offers to be a guide in Paris. As you can imagine this goes against all the rules of his profession.

Paris is where Alina really becomes into her own. I love how she decides to throw everything that she was in Chicago and become a completely different person. It was fun watching her grow and allow herself to do whatever she wants with no expectations from her mother and the joy of exploring a beautiful city. A wonderful example of her feel free to express herself is when she goes and gets a Henna tattoo of a butterfly. It’s a great symbol for her as she is trying to go through a metamorphosis and hopes to bring back her new courage.

The relationship between Rylan and Alina is almost instantly full of lust, but also tenderness. Alina she has never felt for a man that she feels for Rylan, the protection, the willingness to spend time with her and actually get to know the person behind all her masks. This is a book that shows just how, when you’re suffering from unresolved trauma, that love, help from a professional and letting those that are closest to you in will help you work through the flashback and anxiety attacks.

There is so much strength and tenacity in these two characters that it draws you in. Yes, the plot is well constructed but it’s the characters that really carry it off. Each one has a wonderful personality and a history full of sorrows and happiness.

This is a good book with some wonderful characters that have had to grow and face betrayal, and a past that has ruled life far too long. We see fate take its hold on both Rylan’s and Alina’s lives as you can tell almost right away that they are made for each other. I absolutely enjoyed it.

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Lacey Goes to Tokyo by C.H. Lyn

Lacey Goes to Tokyo by C.H. Lyn
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/suspense
Length: Full Length (253 pg)
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

International travel means international danger.

Lacey Devaine is a four-year veteran of a spy ring which fronts as an exclusive escort service, Miss Belle’s Travel Guides. Maintaining her cover is Lacey’s number one priority to protect the integrity of the operation she works for.

While on assignment in Tokyo, a nosy newspaper reporter threatens to blow the lid off a scandal that will put dozens of innocent lives at risk. To protect her cover, Miss Belle is called in to act on intelligence Lacey has uncovered.

Can these beautiful, intelligent, and deadly women complete this assignment in time and emerge unscathed? Or will this mission be their last?

What a great start to a new series!  Told in alternating fist person POVs  (Miss Belle and Lacey), this is an exciting introduction to Miss Belle’s Travel Guides and their undercover missions.

The premise of the story is intriguing. Miss Belle and her partner own an exclusive escort service (as a cover for her girls traveling, she writes travel guides), and the escort service serves as a front for their real job.

In this first book we learn some things about Lacey and Belle’s backgrounds and the way the business works. There are other women that I hope will be featured in future books. The characters are all three dimensional, and I love the fact that the book also deals with serious subjects in addition to being fun.

The descriptions are wonderful… I felt like I was actually there (and I would love to have Lacey’s wardrobe.. just saying).  There is non-stop, page turning action that had me stay up way too late finishing the book. I could absolutely see this as a TV series!

This series is definitely going on my auto-buy list.



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The Change by C.V. Leigh

The Change by C.V. Leigh
The Wolves of Faol Hall #1
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Kincaid pack Alpha, Alistair, has called his family back to their ancestral home in the Scottish Cairngorms. His wife, Megan, is losing control of her ability to shift and it has him rattled. When it comes to light that Nathan Trevell, Megan’s ex and the lycanthrope who turned her, has travelled from the States and is in the UK, closing in on his family, Alistair is even more determined to keep everyone safe.

Nathan isn’t deterred by the Kincaid pack. He’s in the UK for a very specific reason, a reason that threatens to turn the lives of the Kincaids upside down – and possibly endanger them.

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The Kincaid family needs each other now more than ever.

The Change is an intriguing story filled with lots of diverse characters. At first, the number of characters seems overwhelming. However, Ms. Leigh has done an excellent job of defining each character. I had no problems keeping them straight in my mind as I read.

The Kincaids are certainly a dysfunctional family with a multitude of issues, but it is clear they truly care about each other. Each of the brothers are very different, and I’m not sure I have a clear favorite at this point. Alistair is oldest. He’s the alpha always trying to do what is best for his family, but the responsibility is heavy on his shoulders. Jacob is a tough nut to crack. He’s the strongest physically, but he’s more than muscle. Derek seems to be the peacemaker of the family. He tries to smooth rough edges of his brothers, especially the constant friction between Jacob and Zane. Zane, the youngest, is still trying to prove himself as an essential part of the family, but also mark himself as different. Will the Kincaids let their differences tear them apart, or will they use their specific talents to emerge as a stronger pack?

This story opens right at the beginning of a serious family crisis. I could feel Alistair’s urgency as he calls the family home, and the pacing never lets up. The tension continues to build with each page turn! Ms. Leigh also manages to fill in some pertinent background information without slowing the pace down a bit.

I must also say I liked Ms. Leigh’s portrayal of shapeshifters. Some stories have a tendency to either romanticize the life of a shapeshifter or show it as something horrible and violent. Ms. Leigh has found the balance between the two extremes. She highlights both the beauty and the brutality of the life they live.

The conclusion is very satisfying, but definitely left me wanting to know more. I have a feeling that though the immediate crisis has passed, things are going to be rough for the Kincaid family for a while. I can’t wait to read the next installment of this series!

Fated Desires by Becky Flade

Fated Desires by Becky Flade
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Romance
Length: Full (201 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Jenna Gavin is searching for a fresh start, but more importantly, balance. Her heart, and perhaps the hands of fate, has led her and her young son to Trappers’ Cove, Minnesota. Settling in the small, quirky town, she’s not in the market for a casual relationship yet finds herself in one with the young widower next door.

Former shortstop, Gabriel Foxx, is drawn to his difficult new neighbor. The more the prickly divorcee attempts to keep him at arm’s length, the more determined he is to break down her walls. He can’t avoid the passion she inspires but he won’t allow himself to feel more.
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When friendship grows complicated by stronger emotions and mutual desire, it just isn’t enough. Will love be worth the risk?

Before I get to the meat of this review, let me say that this author is super talented. I want to make sure that’s clear up front because I struggled with this book. But it’s still very much worth the read (especially if you’ve read the previous books in the series).

I loved getting to see our previous couples and the rest of the small town of Trapper’s Cove, absolutely adored it!  I’ve gotten pretty attached to them all, and it’s worth every moment reading this book just to revisit them.  That said, I had some issues with our heroine, Jenna.  I totally get she got a raw deal with her idiot ex-husband.  I understand she’s not ready for a new relationship, especially with the younger, moderately famous, Gabe.  But I did not like her shrewish temperament.  She was horrible to him, and I really couldn’t understand why he was even at all interested in her.  Had I been him, after the first time or two of being snapped at or yelled at, I’d have moved on.

I also had issues with Finn and his relationship with her. He’s a brat. And, yeah, I get his dad’s a creep and completely removed from his life.  But I swear I wanted to put him into permanent time out.  And his mom let him get away with stuff I don’t think she should have.  That said, part of why I put up with her nasty attitude toward Gabe was her genuine, unconditional love for her son.  When I’d read about that, I could see she actually did have a heart and I tried to be patient with her until she showed it to Gabe… but boy it took patience, because it takes nearly the entire book!

Gabe’s got his own set of issues, due to his late wife and that backstory.  He has a lot of work to do to get past that trauma (and he gets help from an unexpected place!), but he’s not nearly as horrible to Jenna and he genuinely and completely fell for Finn.  Honestly, if not for Finn, I don’t think Jenna and Gabe would have gotten past their first conversation.

The fact I was so emotionally involved with these two is a testament to the author’s skill.  Additionally, I absolutely love the author’s breezy tone and the ease with which she writes the secondary characters.  I want to visit Trapper’s Cove.  I want to meet the folks there, and become part of the community.  They are the biggest reason I thoroughly enjoy these books. I recommend you grab a copy of any of the series for yourself–you can read them out of order, but I recommend you start at the start so you can fall in love with Trapper’s Cove like I have.  I hope Ms. Flade never stops writing books set there.

Wolf by Ainsley Cole

Wolf by Ainsley Cole
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (94 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Ethan ‘Wolf’ Whitefeather is a traditional man. After the trouble Black Dove Security had in Kenya, he decides to reconnect with his heritage back home in Montana.

What he finds is the land he grew up on is being threatened by oil tycoon, Gerald Moore. When Wolf and his uncle reject Moore’s offer to sink derricks in exchange for a small fee, Moore sends in his company lawyer. Wolf doesn’t expect the lawyer is Moore’s own daughter, Yasmine, and he finds himself battling with his emotions. He’s never been so attracted to anyone in his life.
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With his emotions under fire, Wolf must decide between his ancestor’s land and his heart’s desire. But when family tragedy strikes, the decision is made for him. Wolf only hopes the woman who occupies his every waking moment doesn’t get hurt in the crossfire.

Ethan “Wolf” Whitefeather has just returned from a difficult mission and wants to reconnect with his Native tribe and family. When his tribe refuses to allow drilling on their land, Wolf expects things to be clear-cut, until he meets Yasmine, the beautiful daughter of the lawyer trying to negotiate for rights. Both Wolf and Yasmine quickly discover that neither of them is exactly what the other expected. Can they find a way to work together?

I found this to be an interesting and fast-paced story. While I have read the previous story in the series – Bones – it’s not at all necessary as readers should find this tale stands really well by itself. Both Wolf and Yasmine’s characters are well rounded and I enjoyed getting to know them both before they admitted their attraction to one another. While Yasmine’s father was a little overblown, he was an excellent villain and served as a good contrast between the other characters.

I felt that the pace of this story moved a little slower than I expected. With only the one main plot – Yasmine’s father being determined to drill on Wolf’s tribe’s land – there was only a few ways that the plot could move forward so it felt like it dragged a little in places. I admit I enjoyed the numerous interactions between Yasmine and Wolf, both of them surprising and infuriating each other at multiple points. While they were definitely attracted to each other I didn’t always feel the heat or spark between them – I thought at times they really struggled to see where the other was coming from. While this really appealed to me in that it made the story more realistic and believable, I was disappointed that at times it made me question the sexiness or chemistry and compatibility between them.

I was really pleased when toward the end of the story the rest of Wolf’s team came to help him when he really needed them. While this story doesn’t show the depth or love and camaraderie as well as the first story in this series, I feel it gives a good enough indication to the reader of just how close and tightly knit together the team is. I also absolutely loved how there were a few twists and turns in the plot, so even when I thought I knew what was going on the story still managed to surprise me.

A good read and I definitely hope to read the next installment.

Fated Hearts by Becky Flade

Fated Hearts by Becky Flade
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Paranormal
Length: Full (218 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Psychiatrist Henley Elliott fled her quiet life in Cleveland for a gypsy lifestyle, trying to stay one step ahead of her painful memories. When she breaks down in quirky little Trappers’ Cove, Minnesota, she meets Sheriff Carter McAlister – a man healing from his own share of hidden heartbreaks.

At the request of a friend, Carter offers Henley a job to help her get back on her feet . . . but soon he can’t resist trying to sweep the intriguing woman off them. Breaking through her carefully built shell proves to be a near-impossible task, and to make matters worse, a dangerous new presence in the Cove seems to be targeting Henley. They must learn to trust in each other in order to keep her safe.

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I absolutely enjoyed this book! One of my favorite things to read is small town romance, and this had it all. The secondary characters absolutely shined throughout.

That’s not to say the main characters didn’t. They did. There was an ease in the way they were written that really made this book easy to read, no burps or hiccups at all. From the very start, when Henley was coaxing her old car into just one more mile, to the end when their romance was being wrapped up (and they had Maggie and Aiden as the “peanut gallery”) I just enjoyed them all.

The storyline was interesting as well and I appreciated that both characters had a traumatic past to overcome. There were times I found Carter to be a little too cocky and Henley a bit too reticent to form attachments, but they are who they are. I had to laugh at how Maggie just steamrolled Henley from the very start and completely enveloped her with her friendship. Honestly, everyone in the town did the same thing with their openness and willingness to accept her (except Aiden…and I did like that subplot as well).

It was neat getting reacquainted with Maggie and Aiden from book one, as well as the town and its people, too. However, this book easily stands on its own so don’t let the fact it’s book two in a series deter you from giving it a try. Also, even though I say this book’s heat level is “spicy”, the love scenes are present but very mild and understated.

The mystery side of this was well written as well, though as in the book before, the bad guy was a little over the top bad (to the point I could almost envision him in one of the old melodramas twirling his mustache). Still, it holds up and I loved how everyone bands together to protect Henley.

The end was perfect. I giggled every time Maggie or Aiden murmured something during the wind down of this story. A good, solid, well written and fun read. I’m looking forward to the next book.