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review 2017-05-18 08:05
Virtual Tour w/Review – Betting The Bad Boy
 
 
He's an expert at breaking the rules…
 
 
 
BETTING THE BAD BOY
Behind the Bar #3
Stefanie London
Releasing May 8th, 2017
Entangled Lovestruck
 
 
Self-confessed perfectionist Paige Thomas isn’t used to failing. But when a critical error in romantic judgment sends all her big city career dreams crashing down, she scrambles to find a job—any job—to make ends meet.
 
 Noah Reid may as well have “trust issues” tattooed on his forehead. Being raised in the foster system didn’t give him a positive outlook on relationships, but now he’s looking after his best friend’s bar for one month, and he can’t do it alone.
 
Things get steamy when Noah hires Paige, but she’s determined not to repeat her mistakes and she bets Noah that she can keep her hands to herself while they’re working together. Too bad for her, Noah is an expert at breaking the rules…    
 
 
 
 
 
 

She held the blindfold while trying to ignore the flutter of excitement in her stomach. Her fingers toyed with the elasticated band meant to hold the mask in place.

 

Both partners are going to get a turn at being blindfolded,” Libby said from the front of the room. “Between yourselves, pick who’s going to go first.”

 

Noah looked down at her, a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips. He ran a hand along his jaw, catching the reddish-gold bristles of his burgeoning beard. For a moment, Paige was totally captured with the idea of how the bristles might feel on her skin. Would they be smooth or rough? Would she shriek if he brushed them along her inner thigh?

 

What do you say, new girl?” He cocked his head. “Would you rather do the blindfolding or be blindfolded?”

 

At that point she would have been happy to go all in— blindfolded, tied up, and held down.

 

Holy crap, would you listen to yourself? This is a work function, not a goddamn re-creation of

Fifty Shades.

 

Blindfolded,” she squeaked, thrusting the mask into his hands and spinning so quickly that she almost lost her footing.

 

You know, I’ve never done this before.” His hand steadied her, the reassuring warmth of his touch seeping into her skin. Her bones felt like jelly.

 

Blindfolded someone?” she asked, cringing at how shaky her voice sounded.

 

Ah, no. I meant the taste test.” He chuckled as he slipped the mask over her eyes.

 

Heat rushed up to Paige’s cheeks. Of course he meant the taste test. What an idiot she was. Just because her brain was earning an R-rating tonight didn’t mean his was, too. She fought back a tremor as he brushed some loose hairs from her neck so he could adjust the strap on the mask.

Everything went dark, and Paige gripped the edge of the table for support.

 

Warm breath whispered over her ear, and she could tell he’d leaned in a little closer. The scent of coffee and faded cologne tempted her to turn her head toward the source.

 

I’ve definitely blindfolded someone before, but it wasn’t for a taste test.”Her breath hitched, and she was grateful that she’d had the presence of mind to hold on to something.

 

Oh.”

 

He chuckled. “Yeah, that’s what she said.”

 

Holy. Freaking. Shit.

 

 

 
Betting the Bad Boy (Behind the Bar)Betting the Bad Boy by Stefanie London
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is book #3 in the Behind The Bar series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.

Paige has no luck getting a job in the field of her own choosing. The problem with her previous employer probably not helping. Now she just needs a job anywhere or she will have to go home.

Noah has no idea she is not the candidate he was going to interview for the position. After the whole mess, he just is glad he has someone competent to the job. Now if he can just stop wanting her for himself....

I found this to be a fun and sexy read. I liked the banter between the characters. I think this series is fun and I hope there are more stories to come.


***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews
  
 
 
 
 
 
Stefanie London is the USA Today bestselling author of over ten contemporary romances with humour, heat and heart. Growing up, Stefanie came from a family of women who loved to read. Thus, it was no surprise Stefanie was the sort of student who would read her English books before the semester started. After sneaking several literature subjects into her ‘very practical’ Business degree, she got a job in Communications. When writing emails and newsletters didn’t fulfil her creative urges, she turned to fiction and was finally able to write the stories that kept her mind busy at night.
 
 
Originally from Australia, she now lives in Toronto with her very own hero and is currently in the process of doing her best to travel the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, lipstick, romance novels and zombie movies.
 
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text 2017-05-18 08:03
Excerpt Reveal - Black Tie Optional
 
 
The Proposal meets Two Weeks Notice in Ann Marie Walker's 
new standalone romantic comedy, Black Tie Optional!
 
 
 
BLACK TIE OPTIONAL
Wild Wedding #1
Ann Marie Walker
Releasing May 30, 2017
St. Martin's Press
 

 

The Proposal meets Two Weeks Notice in Ann Marie Walker's new standalone romantic comedy, Black Tie Optional, which New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst calls, "a fun, sexy romp that will keep every reader entertained!"

Everything about Coleman Grant III oozes power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart stopping, gasping for air after you’ve screamed so loud you can’t breathe kind. From his dark wavy hair that stands in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that sear your skin, to his full, sensual lips - on the surface he’s pure perfection.
 
Too bad he's an asshole. An arrogant, uptight corporate raider hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time.
 
Everything about Olivia Ramsey screams hippie humanitarian. From her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonnaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots still splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.
 
So it makes perfect sense that they would get married. In Vegas. Stone-cold sober.Cole needs a wife. Olivia needs to save an endangered species. But what starts as a marriage of convenience soon turns into a battle of wills and sexual tension. Love is a game, and Olivia and Cole are ready to win.
 
 
 
Chapter One
 
Just like clockwork, Olivia thought. She watched the gas-guzzling SUV roll to a stop alongside the curb, its hazard lights blinking as if some sort of justification for bringing a full lane of Chicago’s morning rush hour to a grinding halt. Every day the sleek black car stopped in exactly the same location so the almighty Coleman Grant III could get the same extra hot, double shot Americano from the same big-chain coffee shop, bypassing the smaller, neighborhood establishments trying to stay afloat as corporate America runs them into the ground.
 
 
            A mountain of a man in mirrored aviator shades jumped out of the front seat to open the rear door, giving Olivia a clear view of the luxury vehicle’s interior. Two leather captain’s chairs with fold down keyboards and armrest tablet holders sat facing several television monitors mounted above what appeared to be a full-service bar.  Forget running a business, it looked as though Coleman Grant ran NASA from his back seat. Honestly, what could possibly be so important that it couldn’t keep until he got to the office? The commute from his Gold Coast penthouse to his Loop headquarters was less than two miles. Hadn’t the guy ever heard of just chilling out with some tunes?
 
            Olivia approached the car just as Grant climbed out of the back seat. He paused to button the jacket of his navy blue Tom Ford and for a moment she forgot he was an arrogant, self-righteous prick hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time. For a moment, she allowed herself to take in the physical perfection standing in front of her. From his dark wavy hair that stood in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that seared her skin, to his full, sensual lips - everything about Coleman Grant oozed power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart-stopping, gasping-for-air-after-you’ve-screamed-so-loud-you-can’t-breathe kind. But then his eyes narrowed and his lips curved into a knowing smirk and Olivia remembered exactly who she was dealing with.
 
            “Mr. Grant,” she began.
 
            The bodyguard moved to step between them but Grant waved him off. “Ms. Ramsey, what a surprise,” he said, not at all surprised since this was the eighty-third day in a row she had approached him. Not that it mattered. She had no plans to stop these sidewalk sessions until he either agreed to her demands or filed for a restraining order.
 
            He made his way toward the coffee shop with Olivia tight on his heels. “You know, most people simply make an appointment with my assistant.” 
 
            “I’ve tried that, Mr. Grant. But for some reason your schedule is always full.”
 
            “Pity,” he said, his voice void of all emotion. When he reached the glass doors, he yanked one open. “Please, after you.” 
 
            Bastard. Normally he charged in like he owned the place, never mind if she or anyone else got a face full of door. How dare he try to throw her off her game by acting chivalrous. As if the man had a courteous bone in his body. Olivia stood frozen in place, debating how best to handle this latest twist in their balance of power. As she did, Cole’s gaze raked her from head to toe, from her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.
 
            She hated to admit it, but the scrutiny of his gaze was unnerving. And it wasn’t just the laser like focus. There was something about his expression, as if he wasn’t looking at her fully clothed in a shop brimming with customers, but rather undressing her with his eyes. She shifted in place, debating if she should call him out for his piggish behavior or simply stick to the topic at hand.
 
            “Suit yourself,” he finally said, stepping through the doors and leaving her alone on the sidewalk. 
 
            Not so fast. She took a deep breath and joined him at the service counter.  “Mr. Grant, as I’m sure you’re aware, the northern long-eared bat was recently granted protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.”
 
            “Rather difficult to forget given your daily reminders. Although I must say, Ms. Ramsey, you disappoint me. No visual aids today?” He turned away from the counter with his extra hot, double shot Americano to find Olivia standing behind him with an 8 x 10 glossy in her hand.  “Ah, it seems I spoke too soon.”
 
            “This particular species of bat has been the most impacted by white-nose syndrome and the resulting decline in their numbers is what—”
 
            “Those really are the most vile creatures,” Grant interrupted. “Have you ever considered taking up the cause of a more appealing animal, say a manatee?”
 
            “There aren’t any manatees in Lake Michigan.”
 
            “Precisely.” He smirked. “Perhaps you could move? I’m sure you could find some poor, unsuspecting Floridians worthy of your attention.” He raised his left hand and for the first time Olivia realized he was holding a second cup. He thrust it in her direction and without thinking she took it, dropping the photograph as she did. “You seem like the type who would order your latte with a hundred and one specifications, but hopefully skinny vanilla will do.”
 
            Olivia blinked. He bought her a coffee? What the actual fuck? Did he really think he could charm his way out of the hot seat? She had spent her entire adult life and most of her teens speaking on behalf of those who couldn’t. It was going to take a lot more than a few random acts of fabricated kindness to get her off his back.
 
            She was about to tell him not only where he could stick his latte but how in her twenty-eight years on earth she’d never ordered a “skinny” anything, when he turned toward the door. She bent to scoop up the photo then hurried after him, fast talking her case all the way to the curb where his bodyguard stood waiting with the door already open. As usual, Grant didn’t say a word, much less defend his stance. Instead he simply flashed a grin that would have made her drop her latte, not to mention her panties, if she didn’t find him to be lacking in not only morals and ethics but quite possibly a soul.
 
            He gave her a quick nod before ducking into the car.  “Until tomorrow, Ms. Ramsey.”
 
            With that, the door slammed shut and the SUV pulled into traffic to the sound of protesting horns.
 
            “Asshole,” Olivia muttered under her breath. “Gorgeous asshole, but still.” She turned on her heel and started down the street with her head held high. Coleman Grant III might have been trying to make a mockery of her attempts to persuade him, but their standoff was far from over. A slow grin curved her lips as an idea began to take shape. She’d just pulled her smartphone out to send herself a reminder when it began to vibrate in her hand.
 
            “Are you bringing your swimsuit?” her best friend asked before Olivia had even managed a hello.
 
            “To the desert? You’re joking, right?”
 
            “I wasn’t sure.”
 
            “Cassie, I know you’ve had your head buried in cookbooks for the past few years but surely you can remember how a vacation works…lounge chairs, suntan oil, blended drinks with tiny umbrellas that make you say ridiculously inappropriate things to cabana boys.”
 
            “I have never said anything inappropriate to a cabana boy. And that’s sexist by the way.”
 
            “Cabana person?” Olivia laughed at her own joke. “I’m playing. But you’ve got to lighten up a bit. We’re headed to Vegas, Sin City, what happens there stays there and all that.”
 
            “You sound like a tourism ad.”
 
            “All I’m saying is you better be ready to party Hangover style.”
 
            Cassie snorted. “Yeah, cause that worked out so well for them.”
 
            “I promise I won’t leave you stranded on a hotel roof.”
 
            “This is a bad idea. I should be staying here and looking for a job.”
 
            “You’re the sister of the groom. You can’t very well ditch out on the
bachelor/bachelorette festivities. Besides, if I can break my ‘Harass Coleman Grant’ streak for a few days, then you can certainly give the stand mixer a rest.”
 
            “How’s that going by the way?”
 
            Olivia groaned. “New day, same story. ”
 
            “Maybe it’s time to—”
 
            “Move on? No way.” While it was true that working freelance allowed Olivia a certain amount of latitude, she prided herself on never giving up. There was no way Coleman Grant was going to blemish her perfect record. “I’ll just have to double my efforts.”
 
            Cassie laughed. “I’m actually starting to feel sorry for the guy.”
 
            “Don’t be fooled by the looks. He might be hotter than Ryan Reynolds and Ian Somerhalder combined, but underneath that perfect exterior beats the heart of an ogre.”
 
            “Sounds like someone has wet panties.”
 
            “Why Cassandra Miller, is that smutty talk I hear coming out of your mouth? There may be hope for you yet.”
 
            “Don’t change the subject. You’ve got the hots for this guy.”
 
            “Hardly. He’s eye candy all right, but he’s also a spoiled, self-centered asshole who think it’s his way or the highway. Not this time though.” Olivia nodded to herself. One way or another he was going to give in to her demands. Coleman Grant III had finally met his match. He just didn’t know it yet.
 
 
 
 
 
Ann Marie Walker writes steamy books about sexy boys. She's a fan of fancy cocktails, anything chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an episode of Friends and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl. If it's December she can be found watching Love Actually but the rest of the year you can find her at AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to talk to you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.
 
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review 2017-05-17 14:56
Virtual Tour w/Review - Betting The Bad Boy
 
 
He's an expert at breaking the rules…
 
 
 
BETTING THE BAD BOY
Behind the Bar #3
Stefanie London
Releasing May 8th, 2017
Entangled Lovestruck
 
 
Self-confessed perfectionist Paige Thomas isn’t used to failing. But when a critical error in romantic judgment sends all her big city career dreams crashing down, she scrambles to find a job—any job—to make ends meet.
 
 Noah Reid may as well have “trust issues” tattooed on his forehead. Being raised in the foster system didn’t give him a positive outlook on relationships, but now he’s looking after his best friend’s bar for one month, and he can’t do it alone.
 
Things get steamy when Noah hires Paige, but she’s determined not to repeat her mistakes and she bets Noah that she can keep her hands to herself while they’re working together. Too bad for her, Noah is an expert at breaking the rules…    
 
 
 
 
 
 

She held the blindfold while trying to ignore the flutter of excitement in her stomach. Her fingers toyed with the elasticated band meant to hold the mask in place.

 

Both partners are going to get a turn at being blindfolded,” Libby said from the front of the room. “Between yourselves, pick who’s going to go first.”

 

Noah looked down at her, a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips. He ran a hand along his jaw, catching the reddish-gold bristles of his burgeoning beard. For a moment, Paige was totally captured with the idea of how the bristles might feel on her skin. Would they be smooth or rough? Would she shriek if he brushed them along her inner thigh?

 

What do you say, new girl?” He cocked his head. “Would you rather do the blindfolding or be blindfolded?”

 

At that point she would have been happy to go all in— blindfolded, tied up, and held down.

 

Holy crap, would you listen to yourself? This is a work function, not a goddamn re-creation of

Fifty Shades.

 

Blindfolded,” she squeaked, thrusting the mask into his hands and spinning so quickly that she almost lost her footing.

 

You know, I’ve never done this before.” His hand steadied her, the reassuring warmth of his touch seeping into her skin. Her bones felt like jelly.

 

Blindfolded someone?” she asked, cringing at how shaky her voice sounded.

 

Ah, no. I meant the taste test.” He chuckled as he slipped the mask over her eyes.

 

Heat rushed up to Paige’s cheeks. Of course he meant the taste test. What an idiot she was. Just because her brain was earning an R-rating tonight didn’t mean his was, too. She fought back a tremor as he brushed some loose hairs from her neck so he could adjust the strap on the mask.

Everything went dark, and Paige gripped the edge of the table for support.

 

Warm breath whispered over her ear, and she could tell he’d leaned in a little closer. The scent of coffee and faded cologne tempted her to turn her head toward the source.

 

I’ve definitely blindfolded someone before, but it wasn’t for a taste test.”Her breath hitched, and she was grateful that she’d had the presence of mind to hold on to something.

 

Oh.”

 

He chuckled. “Yeah, that’s what she said.”

 

Holy. Freaking. Shit.

 

 

 
Betting the Bad Boy (Behind the Bar)Betting the Bad Boy by Stefanie London
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is book #3 in the Behind The Bar series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.

Paige has no luck getting a job in the field of her own choosing. The problem with her previous employer probably not helping. Now she just needs a job anywhere or she will have to go home.

Noah has no idea she is not the candidate he was going to interview for the position. After the whole mess, he just is glad he has someone competent to the job. Now if he can just stop wanting her for himself....

I found this to be a fun and sexy read. I liked the banter between the characters. I think this series is fun and I hope there are more stories to come.


***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews
  
 
 
 
 
 
Stefanie London is the USA Today bestselling author of over ten contemporary romances with humour, heat and heart. Growing up, Stefanie came from a family of women who loved to read. Thus, it was no surprise Stefanie was the sort of student who would read her English books before the semester started. After sneaking several literature subjects into her ‘very practical’ Business degree, she got a job in Communications. When writing emails and newsletters didn’t fulfil her creative urges, she turned to fiction and was finally able to write the stories that kept her mind busy at night.
 
 
Originally from Australia, she now lives in Toronto with her very own hero and is currently in the process of doing her best to travel the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, lipstick, romance novels and zombie movies.
 
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review 2017-05-16 09:10
Release Blast w/Review - Trying It All
  
 
Riley’s brain tells him she’s a ticking time bomb—
but his body doesn’t want to play by the rules.
 
 
 
TRYING IT ALL
Naked Men #4
Christi Barth
Releasing May 16, 2017
Loveswept
 

 

Order. Attention to detail. Never leaving anything to chance. These are the qualities that make Riley Ness such a terrific federal agent . . . and a pain in the ass to everyone else. The only time Riley lets loose is when he’s hanging out with his closest pals. So when he’s thrown together with gorgeous, flighty Summer Sheridan, Riley’s brain tells him she’s a ticking time bomb—but his body doesn’t want to play by the rules.
 
Riley has to be the most irritating man Summer has ever met. The brooding hunk thinks he needs to teach her a few lessons about real life, while she’d rather show him how to enjoy it. But her BFF’s all but engaged to Riley’s best friend, and besides, their intense physical chemistry is all too real. Summer just needs Riley to try to meet her halfway and take a chance with the one thing that matters: his heart.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Living forever’s only fun if you truly live.”

 

That jab stung. Because it was the same riff the guys threw at him, over and over again. “I live. I just follow the rules. Obey the speed limit. Turn off my phone before the plane starts to taxi.”

 

Summer tossed her cloud of hair back. Gave him a knowing look. No, a knowing smirk. “Oh, I get it now.”

 

What?”

 

You’re not uptight. You’re chicken.”

 

The woman had crossed a line. He’d gone through wilderness training and survival training. He’d climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Become a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He’d pushed himself to physical and mental limits most men wouldn’t be able to attain. Being sensible? In no fucking way was it comparable to being scared.

 

Riley’s long strides ate up the distance between them. Furious, he spat out, “You want me to try something risky?”

 

Yes. Just once. But I don’t think you’ve got the balls,” she taunted.

 

Riley grabbed her face with both hands. Her lips parted in surprise. And he swooped right onto them.

 

Her lips were soft. So soft and pliable it almost deterred him. But then . . . they were so soft and pliable that he couldn’t possibly stop. Instead of holding her still, his hands curved to cup the back of her head, his thumbs caressing those impossibly high cheekbones that gave her the look of someone made to walk a runway.

 

Riley nipped at her wide bottom lip. Soothed it with a stroke of his tongue that savored the sweet, lingering tang of the orange cream cheese icing on the cinnamon rolls from brunch. He wanted to keep going. To nip and bite and lick down her neck, over the side of the breasts she flashed at him all day. To gobble down her sweetness and spice just like he had those rolls.

 

Her moan refocused him. This wasn’t just following through on a dare anymore. This was a real kiss. A real moment of pure, physical pleasure. So he dropped his hands to the small of her back and hauled Summer tight against him.

 

Thanks to her ridiculous—and ridiculously sexy—high heels, everything lined up right. The notch between her thighs ground right against his dick behind the suddenly too-tight fly of his shorts. Breasts plumped against his chest. Breasts he was pretty sure he could fit entirely into his mouth . . . since he might have pictured them a time or ten since meeting her in the spring. Tight nipples insistently poked at his pecs.

 

The kiss kept going. Ry slipped his tongue in as she let out a kittenish purr. God, it was the sexiest sound he’d ever heard. The soft, tiny mewl fired through his blood. Fired him up. His tongue tangled with hers. Like they were two swords, fencing for the win. Because there would damn sure be a winner. The way they were grappling at each other? It wasn’t just fun. It was about proving something.

 

Her mouth—made for kissing. And more. His tongue slid deep. Felt her wetness. And Riley couldn’t help imagining how all that warm wetness would feel locked around another part of his body. Summer’s hands came up to fist in his shirt. Shit—for a second, he worried she’d push him away. But then those fists pulled him even closer. One smooth calf twined around his. He wanted to walk her back ten steps to the nearest tree and just sink into her.

 

Which was crazy. Riley didn’t even like this woman. He’d kissed her to save his pride. To defend his honor. To get her off his back. And now he wanted to put Summer on hers, spread her thighs, and—

 

That was it. Riley let go. Let go of the sweet ass he didn’t even remember moving down to squeeze. Let go of those luscious lips. Yanked his head back and deliberately stepped out of the semicircle of her curved leg.

 

You and I both know that was the riskiest damn thing I could possibly do today.” Riley looked at her still unfocused eyes, her kiss-swollen lips. Proof that she’d enjoyed it every bit as much as he had. “Oh, and you also know now that I’ve got the balls. I’ve got the whole package.”

 

 
Trying It All (Naked Men, #4)Trying It All by Christi Barth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #4 in the Naked Men series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and enjoyment, I recommend reading this complex series in order.

Riley and Summer are thrown together by the fact that their best friends are a couple. This changes the group's dynamic and even how they both look at things. Summer is hot and reckless. Riley is careful and cautious. It makes for a heck of a dance.

Summer never wants to plan anything for the future. She has learned the hard way in the past that even with a good plan, things can arise. So, why is she so attracted to the ever buttoned up Riley? Why is a kiss with him so hot it rocks her world?

This story is so very emotional as well as just plain sexy! These characters are already so head over heels for one another it makes for a great read. This series just keeps getting better with each book.


***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews
 
 
 
 
 
 
USA Today bestselling author Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series.

Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.
 
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a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
 
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review 2017-05-11 08:05
Release Blast w/Review - The Magnate's Marriage Merger
  
 
The matchmaker meets her match…in one very persistent tycoon!
 
 
THE MAGNATE'S MARRIAGE MERGER
The McNeill Magnates #2
Joanne Rock
Releasing May 9th, 2017
Harlequin Desire
 

 

The matchmaker meets her match…in one very persistent tycoon! 

Secretive matchmaker to the rich and famous, Lydia Whitney prefers to stay behind the scenes. But after one mistake, rich resort developer Ian McNeill is hot on her trail, and he’s more attractive—and persistent—than ever before.
 
Ian can’t believe it when he figures out who’s messing with his family: a woman who has deceived—and seduced—him before. What’s her agenda? And why can’t he resist her? He’ll get the answers to all his questions, if Lydia agrees to his convenient marriage proposal. But once she’s in his arms again, will he let her go?

 

 
 
 
 

She was a woman of habit and that would serve him well now. He hoped. He remembered how much she had enjoyed swimming first thing in the morning when they were working together in the islands of Tahiti. He’d accused her of being a mermaid with her daily need to return to the sea, but even when he’d been bleary-eyed from working late the night before, he never missed a chance to swim with her. For safety purposes, he’d told her, and not just because he enjoyed the occasional chance to slide a hand beneath her bikini top or wind the wet rope of her hair around his hand and angle her sea-salty lips for his kiss.

 

When the elevator sounded its dull chime, he slowly looked up. The doors opened and Lydia strode into view. His gaze fell on her long, shapely legs, the hem of her black mesh tunic revealing a hint of thigh.

 

Ian?” Her voice tugged his attention higher, pulling his focus to her green eyes and creamy skin devoid of makeup.

 

With her hair scraped back into a ponytail, she looked every inch the part of his earthy, warmhearted lover from last summer. He had to remember that she hadn’t been the woman he thought, that he’d been wrong about her, or he might have swept her up into his arms and ridden the elevator back up to her hotel room to remind her how good they were together in at least one respect.

 

Sex. Raw, sensual, mind-blowing sex.

 

His pulse ramped up at the steamy memories, so much so that he had to shut down those thoughts and focus on the present or his plan would be doomed before he even started.

 

Hope you don’t mind if I join you.” Ian tucked his phone back into the pocket of the cargo shorts he’d slid on over his swim trunks.

 

She halted in front of him abruptly. Then, eyes sliding to the desk attendant, she stepped closer. Probably she did it to minimize the chance of being overheard.

 

Ian liked the opportunity to breathe in the scent of her—the lavender fragrance of the detergent she washed her clothes in and a subtle perfume more complex than that.

 

What on earth are you doing here?” She glanced over her shoulder. “You realize most of the consultants working on the Foxfire are staying in this hotel? What will they say if someone sees us together at this hour?”

 

They’ll think we had a whole lot more fun last night than they did.”

 

Last night, he’d paced the floor of his penthouse suite for far too long, thinking through every aspect of a contract marriage and what details he should include in the paperwork.

 

In the end, she would sign. But she wasn’t going to like him forcing her hand, and that bothered him more than it should have.

 

And that doesn’t concern you? I happen to enjoy a hard-earned reputation as a professional.” Her clipped words and the high color in her cheeks told him he’d gotten under her skin in record time.

 

If you don’t want anyone to see us together, we might as well hit the beach. Take refuge in the water.” His hand itched to touch her. To rest on the small of her back and steer her out the door, across the street and onto the soft sand. But he had to be careful not to push or she could dig her heels in about his suggestion and delay the whole thing.

 

Now that he’d made up his mind and seen the benefits of a union between the two of them, he couldn’t think of one damn reason why he should delay.

 

After narrowing her green eyes at him for an instant, she pivoted on her wedge sandals and strode toward the exit.

 

He caught up to her in two long steps, holding the door wide for her before as they headed out onto Ocean Drive, which was strangely quiet in the predawn dark. There were more joggers on the beach than bathers; a few runners kicked up sand as they pounded past them.

 

It’ll be quieter down here.” He pointed out a stretch of the shore where no beach loungers had been set up yet, a spot free from any hotel guests.

 

In fact, he’d claimed the location for them earlier when he’d ordered a cabana and sunrise breakfast. Lydia apparently didn’t notice his preparations, however, instead appearing too absorbed in her frustrated march toward the water, her feet churning through the sand at breakneck pace.

 

The horizon was starting to smudge from inky black to purple as she reached the shoreline and kicked off her shoes. Then she yanked the black mesh cover-up off and over her head. Mesmerized by her silhouette as his eyes adjusted to the light, Ian watched as she ran into the surf and made a shallow dive under an oncoming wave… She was a woman of habit and that would serve him well now. He hoped. He remembered how much she had enjoyed swimming first thing in the morning when they were working together in the islands of Tahiti. He’d accused her of being a mermaid with her daily need to return to the sea, but even when he’d been bleary-eyed from working late the night before, he never missed a chance to swim with her. For safety purposes, he’d told her, and not just because he enjoyed the occasional chance to slide a hand beneath her bikini top or wind the wet rope of her hair around his hand and angle her sea-salty lips for his kiss.

 
 

The Magnate's Marriage MergerThe Magnate's Marriage Merger by Joanne Rock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 2nd book in The McNeill Magnates series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. To enjoy the series without spoilers, I always recommend reading them in order.

Ian had set out to find who nearly ruined his brother's public image. He find out who it was and it is a shocker! Only to turn around and want to keep her for himself.

Lydia has a hot and sexy past with the intimidating Ian. She also has a secret she has not yet shared with him. Is there any kind of future for them after such a rocky start?

I found this series to be very heated and compelling so far. These characters a rich and complex. I love the interaction and the sparks flying.


***This ARC copy was provided for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 
 
 
 
Don't miss ANY of The McNeill Magnates
 

 

 
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Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn't like. The author of over seventy books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly--love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she's not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.
 

 

 

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