Monday, August 31, 2015

Blog Tour - Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne - #Review & #Giveaway!

Blurred Lines by Lauren Lane
Random House - Loveswept
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Date Read:  August 20, 2015

In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?

When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.

The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.

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When I saw some of the mixed reviews that this book was getting on Goodreads, I have to admit that I was a little nervous about jumping into it.  As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about.  I liked this book a lot.  Something about the way that this story was told just worked perfectly for me.  

The main idea behind this novel isn't really original.  Friends with benefits who end up wanting to be more than friends.  If you are a fan of romance, I know that you have read a book with that general idea.  You probably saw the movie too.  This isn't even the first friends with benefits book that I have read this year now that I am thinking about it.  Let's just say that there weren't a whole lot of surprises in this book but who cares because I really enjoyed the way that the story was told.

This book is told from alternating points of view.  I don't always like that method of storytelling but I think it worked really well in this case.  I liked Ben and Parker and I really liked knowing what each of them were thinking.  I think that this book would not have had the same impact if only it had only been told from one of the character's point of view.  Each character had a wonderfully distinct voice and I never had to stop and think about who was telling the story.  
I liked the chemistry that the pair had together.  Even at the very beginning of the story when they were both firmly in the friend zone, their interactions were comfortably fun with an underlying chemistry that they were keeping under control.  Once the benefits portion of the book began and the need for control was gone, I really enjoyed watching the pair realize that what they had was different.

When they came across the big problem in the story, I did want to sit both of them done and smack them.  I don't know why they didn't just tell each other what they were feeling instead of making assumptions.  They did talk things out fairly quickly and I liked how the book ended.  

I would recommend this book to contemporary romance fans that enjoy a good friends to lovers story.  I am so glad that I discovered Lauren Layne's books.  I just love the way that she tells a story and I am always left with a huge smile on my face.  I am wondering if she sleeps because she seems to have a new book out every couple of months.  I can't wait to get my hands on more of her work.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

One Loveswept Mug
One Flirt Mug
Ebook copies of:
·         JUST A LITTLE CRUSH by Renita Pizzitola
·         CRUSHED by Lauren Layne
·         AGAINST THE CAGE by Sidney Halston
·         POSSESS by Laura Marie Altom
·         AFTER MIDNIGHT by Kathy Clark
·         MAKE YOU BURN by Megan Crane
·         MY HIGHLAND LOVER by Maeve Greyson
·         BREAKING NOAH by Missy Johnson and Ashley Suzanne
·         A FASHIONABLE INDULGENCE by K.J. Charles
·         FORBIDDEN by Jacquelyn Frank

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Review - A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Broadway Books
Publication Date: July 28, 2015 (Movie Tie In Edition); First Published: May 4, 1998 
Date Read:  August 30, 2015


Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.

For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods has become a modern classic of travel literature.

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I am terribly disappointed by the fact that I did not fall in love with this book.  When I was choosing a book to read, I took one look at the ratings for this book on Goodreads and knew that I had to read this book right away.  Seriously, every single one of my friends on Goodreads gave this book either a 4 or 5 star rating.  And they said it was funny.  I love funny.  I knew that I would just love this book.

I didn't love it.  I was actually bored for most of this book.  I do admit that this isn't the kind of book that I usually read but a humorous non-fiction story about hiking the Appalachian Trail sounded fabulous.  I really did enjoy the parts of the book that focused on Bill and Stephen's adventures on the trail.  I just wish that the focus of the book would have stayed with Bill and Stephen.

The problem was that there was just too much other stuff crammed into this book.  I sometimes felt like I was reading a textbook....a well-written textbook...but a textbook nonetheless.   In this short little book, I learned about the history of the Appalachian Trail, some geology, information about bears, trees, the National Park Service, birds, and various other things.  A lot of the time the book just felt dry and information packed.  I was glad that some of this information was shared in a fun way that actually put a smile on my face.  All too often, I felt like skipping entire sections of the book so that I could get back to the actual hike.

I had hoped that this was going to be one of those side splitting funny kind of books.  It had its moments of humor but nothing that made me do anything more than crack a smile.  There was no laughing out loud and the parts that were funny seemed to be rather sparse.  Don't get me wrong, I can tell that Bill Bryson is a very funny guy but I need a lot more of those kind of moments to offset the parts of the book that were dry. 

I did notice that there is a movie based on this book that is soon to be released.  I actually am looking forward to that movie because I suspect that it will focus on the parts of the book that I really enjoyed....the actual hike.  I don't think that there will be too many geology or history lessons found in the film.  I am thinking that I actually want to go an see the movie when it comes out and I never go see movies.

I am not going to be recommending this book but I am seriously in the minority with this one.  I would tell readers to pick it up if it sounds interesting to you.  You may be one of the many who really love it.  I still really wish that I was one of the many readers who love it. 

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Blogging for Books for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author

Bill Bryson’s bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent, Neither Here Nor There and Notes from a Small Island, which in a national poll was voted the book that best represents Britain. His acclaimed book on the history of science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Royal Society’s Aventis Prize as well as the Descartes Prize, the European Union’s highest literary award.

Bryson has written books on language, on Shakespeare, and on his own childhood in the hilarious memoir The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. His last critically lauded bestsellers were on history – At Home: a Short History of Private Life, and One Summer: America 1927.

Another travel book, A Walk in the Woods, has now become a major film starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. Bryson’s new book, The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island comes out in Autumn 2015.
Bill Bryson was born in the American Mid-West, and is now living back in the UK. A former Chancellor of Durham University, he was President of Campaign to Protect Rural England for five years, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society.

Author Links: Website | Facebook

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Review - Friction by Sandra Brown

Friction by Sandra Brown
Grand Central Publising
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Date Read:  August 27, 2015

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a gripping story of family ties and forbidden attraction.

Crawford Hunt wants his daughter back. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Crawford, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral that left him relegated to deskwork and with his five-year-old daughter Georgia in the custody of her grandparents. But Crawford has cleaned up his act, met all the court imposed requirements, and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer.

Holly, ambitious and confident, temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Every decision is high-stakes. Despite Crawford's obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the custody hearing. Crawford reacts instinctually, saving Holly from a bullet.

But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large . . .and a threat.

Catching the real culprit becomes a personal fight for Crawford. But pursuing the killer in his customary diehard fashion will jeopardize his chances of gaining custody of his daughter, and further compromise Judge Holly Spencer, who needs protection not only from an assassin, but from Crawford himself and the forbidden attraction between them.

FRICTION will keep you on the edge of your seat with breathtaking plot twists and the unforgettable characters that make Sandra Brown one of the world's best-loved authors. It is an extraordinary novel about the powerful ties that bind us to the ones we love and the secrets we keep to protect them.

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I liked this book quite a bit.  As a long time fan of Sandra Brown, I am always excited anytime a new book is released.  I can't think of another writer of romantic suspense that can even compare to Sandra Brown.  This book really grabbed a hold of me from the very beginning and I could not wait to see how everything would come together in the end.  This wasn't my favorite Sandra Brown novel but it is a very entertaining and solid story.

Crawford Hunt is in court in an attempt to regain custody of his daughter when the unthinkable happens...a gunman enters the courtroom and opens fire.  Crawford immediately jumps into action protecting the judge and chasing the suspect.  He soon finds himself in the middle of an investigation where every one of his actions is met with suspicion and criticism.

Holly is the judge that was hearing Crawford's case when the gunman entered the courtroom.  She is grateful to Crawford for protecting her during the ordeal.  Holly is in middle of a campaign in the hopes of holding onto her position as judge.  She knows that she should stay away from Crawford but keeps finding herself being pulled to him and the search for the gunman.

As I have come to expect in a Sandra Brown novel, this book was fast paced with a lot of action.  The book opens with a bang and the excitement only increased from there.  I thought the second half of the book was very strong and the ending was wonderfully executed.  The characters in this book were colorful and interesting, with a couple of individuals that meant to be hated.  I didn't really feel the chemistry between Crawford and Holly at first but by the end of the story I was won over.

I really had some trouble understanding why everyone in this story had so many issues with Crawford's actions.  Yes, he chased the gunman to the roof of the building.  What was he supposed to do?   Let him get away?  It seemed like he couldn't do anything right.  If he hadn't chased the gunman, he would have been criticized for that decision.  I just don't like the parts of the book that focused on tearing his actions apart.

I did like Holly and Crawford together by the end of the book but this was a couple that I had some trouble with at the beginning.  Holly was very focused on maintaining her ethical code so I find it a bit of a jump that she would get involved with Crawford in the first place.  I really didn't feel that much chemistry between the pair in the beginning of the story either.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense.  Sandra Brown is an author that is not to be missed and I cannot wait to read more of her work. 

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author
Photo by Andrew Eccles

Sandra Brown is the author of more than 60 New York Times bestsellers, including MEAN STREAK (2014), DEADLINE (2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL(2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006),CHILL FACTOR (2005), and WHITE HOT (2004).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into thirty-four languages.

A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English.

She is much in demand as a speaker and guest television hostess. Her episode on truTV’s Murder by the Book premiered the series in 2008. She appeared in 2010 on Investigation Discovery’s new series, Hardcover Mysteries.

In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University where she and her husband Michael Brown, have instituted the ELF, a scholarship annually awarded to a student pursuing a fiction writing career. In 2008, she was named Thriller Master, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011 she and four colleagues went on a week-long USO tour to Afghanistan, meeting with service members on numerous bases.

Sandra is the past president of the Mystery Writers of America in 2012. She lives in Arlington, Texas, with her husband, Michael Brown.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Friday, August 28, 2015

Guest Post: Men in Uniform by Sara Humphreys

Guest Post: Men in Uniform by Sara Humphreys

Who loves a man in uniform? ME!!!  I also love a band of brothers and that’s why I simply had to write The McGuire Brothers series. These five sexy bros are all men in uniform and they are as devoted to each other as they are to their jobs.  When the guys introduced themselves to me (I know that sounds weird but that’s kind of how it feels when the characters come to life in my head) one of the first things they told me about themselves was which uniform they wore.

Gavin, the hero in Brave the Heat is the oldest and the fire chief in their hometown. Ronan, the second born, is a K9 officer in New York City and a die-hard ladies man. His longest relationship, outside of his family, is with his partner, a bloodhound named Bowser. Tristan is the middle son, and admitted bad-boy. A former Navy SEAL, he is now freelancing as a gun for hire and bodyguard. The twins, Finn and Dillon, are the youngest of the bunch. Finn is an armed first responder in Miami and Dillon is an Air Force pilot but is on leave due to PTSD.

What I love most about these heroes—and all men in uniform—is their unwavering commitment, fiercely protective nature, and a clear sense of right and wrong. They are devoted to family and their mission—whatever that may be. All uniforms are sexy, except for maybe the UPS or mailman gear. If you find a hot mailman or UPS guy…please share.

To celebrate the release of my McGuire Brother series, I’m here to count down my fave men in uniform from movies:

1.       Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D.: The movie sucked. That is true. However, Ryan Reynolds was in it…so….
2.       Clint Eastwood in any Dirty Harry movie: Tough. Alpha. Take no prisoners attitude. All of that and more. Plus, his gravelly voice flips my switch.
3.       Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon: What I loved most about Riggs was how damaged he was by the loss of his wife.  The man was totally devastated and clung to the shredded remnants of his sanity. What saved him? Love. But not the love of a woman. It was the love of the Murtaugh family that brought him back from the brink.
Gavin, and all of the McGuire brothers, wear their uniforms proudly and like most men in service, they are as devoted to their families as they are to their duties. I think it’s that quality which stands out above all the rest—devotion. Isn’t that what all of us want? We want to be loved, cherished, and protected and no one does that better than a man in uniform.

Brave the Heat by Sara Humphreys
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

The only fire he can't put out...
Jordan McKenna is back in town, and Fire Chief Gavin Maguire's feelings when he sees her after all these years are as raw as the day she left. Then he was just a kid wearing his heart on his sleeve. Now he spends every day trying to atone for the tragedy he couldn't prevent.
Is the torch he carries for her
Jordan's life has not exactly worked out the way she expected. A divorced mother of two with a failed acting career, Jordan's biggest concern about coming back to Old Brookfield was seeing her first love. But when a series of suspicious fires breaks out, Jordan and Gavin realize that dealing with the sparks between them may be the least dangerous of their problems.

Author Biography

Sara Humphreys is the award winning author of the Amoveo Legend series. The third book in the series, UNTAMED, won two PRISM awards--Dark Paranormal and Best of the Best. The first two novels from her Dead in the City series have been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award. Sara was also a professional actress. Some of her television credits include, A&E Biography, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns and Rescue Me.

She loves writing hot heroes and heroines with moxie but above all, Sara adores a satisfying happily-ever-after. She lives in New York with Mr. H., their four amazing sons, and two adorable pups. When she's not writing or hanging out with the men in her life, she can be found working out with Shaun T in her living room or chatting with readers on Facebook.

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Cover Reveal - Keeping What's His by Jamie Begley - #Giveaway!

Hide Your Daughters,
The Porter's are Coming...

Porter Brothers Trilogy #1
Jamie Begley
Releasing Fall 2015
Young Ink Press

The Porter Brother's were raised to live and die by Three Rules 
One, a Porter stands his ground 
Two, a Porter leaves no enemy standing

Sutton Creech was a cheat and a liar. Tate Porter had found that out when he was eighteen, and he had no intention of letting her make a fool out of him again. He didn’t care how much pain he saw in her eyes or how old memories tugged at his unforgiving heart until, the night a hidden secret is revealed and everything Tate had believed about their past is shattered, proving he had let the woman he loved get away.

Between trying to protect his family and running their pot growing business, Tate doesn't have time to play the "Nice Guy". He'd just have to remember the most important rule his father had given them: A
Porter always keeps what's his.

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"I was born in a small town in Kentucky. My family began poor, but worked their way to owning a restaurant. My mother was one of the best cooks I have ever known, and she instilled in all her children the value of hard work, and education.
Taking after my mother, I've always love to cook, and became pretty good if I do say so myself. I love to experiment and my unfortunate family has suffered through many. They now have learned to steer clear of those dishes. I absolutely love the holidays and my family puts up with my zany decorations.
For now, my days are spent writing, writing, and writing. I have two children who both graduated this year from college. My daughter does my book covers, and my son just tries not to blush when someone asks him about my books.
Currently I am writing five series of books- The Last Riders, The VIP Room, Predators MC, Biker Bitches, and The Dark Souls.
All my books are written for one purpose- the enjoyment others find in them, and the expectations of my fans that inspire me to give it my best.”

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review - My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Series: My Life Next Door #1
Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 14, 2012
Date Read:  July 28, 2015

"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

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I can't believe that I have waited nearly a month to review this book!  For some reason, I just have not felt compelled to put my feelings about this book into words as of yet....maybe because I don't have a lot of feelings about this book.  I expected it to be great.  Everyone seems to love this book so I expected that I would love it just as much.  I was very wrong.  I didn't hate it but it was nothing special in my book.  In fact, I would have most likely given the book a lower rating except I kind of enjoyed the last section of the story.

I make no secret of the fact that I am most certainly NOT a teenager.  In fact, I am the mother of a teenager (not to mention my older child that has already passed up her teenage years).  Let's just say that I am kind of old.  This is a book for teenagers.  I read a lot of books for teenagers and love talking about them with my daughter but sometimes I just cannot relate.  This is one of those times. 

The basic story is about a perfect little teenager girl, Samantha, who lives with her kind of crazy politician mother.  Her mom is running for re-election so it is really important that everything remain perfect down to the perfect lines in the carpet after vacuuming (Do people actually worry about this stuff???  I am doing good just to turn the thing on and suck up the dog hair all over the floor.)  Samantha has always spent a lot of time watching the family next door.

Jase lives next door with his family, who happen to everything Samantha's family is not.  They are loud, loving, and exciting and there are a lot of them.  Jase is one of 8 kids in his family.  Jase's family kind of took over the story at points.  When Jase and Samantha start hanging out, they end up spending most of their time together at Jase's house.  Eventually Samantha is pulled in enough to become a regular babysitter for the family.

My daughter thought Jase was dreamy.  I can't say that I share her opinion.  Of course, old ladies are not supposed to think that teenage boys are dreamy.  That is a rule.  I actually found most of the book to be boring.  Since I wasn't spending my time drooling over Jase, I wanted something to happen in the story.  Nothing did for most of the book.  I had to wait until the last 25% of the book for anything interesting to happen.  Not cool.

This book wasn't horrible.  I didn't hate it and I thought it had some good points.  I liked Tim a lot.  He was interesting but that was because he was intoxicated for a large portion of the book and spoke without a filter most of the time.  Samantha and Jase were okay main characters.  The last 25% of the book were rather exciting.  The book was easy to read and I like the flow of the novel.  This is the first book by Huntley Fitzpatrick that I have read and I plan to read other book in the future.  I actually already have the next book in this series ready to go, but only because the main character is Tim.  I like Tim a lot so I am hopeful that his book will work for me a little better. 

About the Author

Huntley Fitzpatrick grew up dreamy and distracted in coastal Connecticut. She flourished in a family of bookworms where everyone always had their nose in a book. She kept an exhaustively thorough journal which frightened her boyfriends but has proved very useful in her career as a writer. Her debut contemporary Romance, MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, was published in June of 2012 by Penguin-Dial for Young Readers. Now she laughs with and eavesdrops on her six children who provide her with perspective and material. She is represented by the amazing Christina Hogrebe of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blog Tour - Fire Me Up by Rachael Johns - #Excerpt & #Giveaway!

Fire Me Up
The Deacons of Bourbon Street # 2
By: Rachael Johns  
Releasing September 1, 2015

Can a scorching affair with a bohemian beauty tame a motorcycle man with a dark side? Rachael Johns takes the wheel in the sexy series co-written with Megan Crane, Jackie Ashenden, and Maisey Yates.

Travis “Cash” Sinclair values only two things from his days with the Deacons of Bourbon Street: his prized Harley Davidson and the man who gave it to him. But now Priest Lombard is gone, and Cash has inherited the Deacons’ clubhouse—not to mentions its unexpected tenant. She’s exactly the type of woman he tries to avoid: all incense and art, with a sharp tongue that promises trouble. So why does Cash want to push aside those flowing skirts and lose himself between her legs?

Billie Taylor fled a bad marriage to start a new life among the grit and glamour of the French Quarter. She refuses to let another man distract her from her dreams, especially an outlaw biker with nothing to offer except hot sex and an eviction notice. Cash is dangerous, with an untamed streak he tries desperately to conceal. He drives Billie wild, sending her too close to the edge for her own good. And she won’t fall under his spell—or into his bed—without a fight.

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“This room is mine,” she said, folding her arms and glaring at him with more bravado than she felt as he turned to look at her with his dark, smoldering eyes. She shivered despite herself and almost forgot to add, “If you insist on staying, you’ll have to choose from one of the others.”

He took his time replying, his gaze sliding downward, scalding her body as if he’d actually touched her. For a moment she thought he was going to object—tell her that not only would he share her house but also her bed—but eventually he shut her wardrobe and nodded. “I always preferred the one next to this anyway.”

She swallowed. Of all the rooms in the house, he wanted to choose the one right next to hers? How would she sleep knowing he was mere yards away? Still, she was hardly in a position to argue, and if it would get him out of her personal space, well, that was a start.

“Fine.” She stepped back and gestured for him to leave. The only good thing about having Travis right next door was that she could keep an eye on him. Or was that a bad thing? Argh.

Surprisingly, he obeyed, stalking past her and smirking again as he did. She hated that she caught a waft of some raw, masculine cologne, which sent ripples of need through her body, rousing places she’d given little thought to over the last year. How ironic that the first sign of life down there had sparked because of a man who seemed intent on messing up her life. Why were the sexiest guys, the best-looking ones, always the biggest jerks?

He didn’t head straight for his room, instead going into the kitchen, and she found herself following. Her hackles rose as he opened the refrigerator and leaned inside, giving her a perfect view of his perfect butt. Oh help me, God! Had any guy she’d ever known looked so damn fine in faded jeans? Her thighs involuntarily clenched.

“No beer,” he said as he straightened.

Despite the traitorous hormones rushing through her body, she shook her head. It went against the grain of every single cell in her body not to be hospitable, but then again she hadn’t invited him to stay here with her. “Nope. Sorry. But there’s a bar next door.”

She wished he’d go back to it. He had to be one of the Deacons that had been hanging around The Priory the last few days. Sophie had given her a brief history of the motorcycle club—apparently it had disbanded around the time of Katrina—and informed her that it would be unlikely any of its members would hang around after her father’s funeral. But, dammit, it looked like she’d been wrong on that account. Billie needed to go see Sophie, make sure this guy was for real. For all she knew he could be anybody. He hadn’t shown her any proof that he owned the building, but something—maybe the way he’d leaned into her face when he told her no one tells him what the fuck to do—made her cautious. He was like a wild animal, and she didn’t want to make any sudden moves.

He smiled wickedly and leaned back against the counter, looking her over again, making her feel aroused and insulted all at once. “I know it. The bar and this place used to be my home.”

“Is that right?” She wondered about Travis Sinclair. He had the leather jacket, the swagger in his step and the don’t-mess-with-me attitude of a biker, but there was something about him that didn’t fit the image. He wore no patches like a couple of other guys she’d seen hanging around next door, but that wasn’t it. There was something else she couldn’t quite put her finger on. “And where is your home now?”

She waited for him to tell her it was none of her fucking business, but he shrugged off his jacket, hung it over one of the odd chairs that sat around her kitchen table and then pulled back the seat and straddled it. “Tallahassee,” he said as he leaned down and yanked a laptop out of his pack. It was a flashy MacBook Air—not at all the type of computer she’d expect of a biker. He didn’t even glance her way as he put it on the table in front of him, lifted the lid and tapped his boots against the tiled floor as he waited for the computer to spring to life.

No idea where Tallahassee was—geography had never been her thing—she vowed to google it later. Leaning back against the kitchen counter, she wiped her palm across her brow, feeling hot and more than a little bothered. Being warm in itself wasn’t unusual in New Orleans or in Western Australia where she came from, but the weather had nothing to do with the rise in her body temperature. And that disturbed her.

Her eyes zoned in on the bad-boy ink that traveled the length of his sculpted and tanned forearms, and the heat that had been simmering inside her boiled over.

Until this moment she’d have said she wasn’t a fan of body art—personally, she preferred her art on walls or in gardens—but Travis’s tattoos changed her opinion. And that was bad, because with her divorce only recently official, the last thing she wanted in her life was another man who thought he could walk all over her.

About the Author

Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Carina Press and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website at

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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