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When Friends become Sisters

Three Sisters
(Blackberry Island, 2)
Susan Mallery
Fiction, American Fiction
Mira Books; Reissue ed. edition
(17 May 2016)

In this heartwarming and celebrated Blackberry Island novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery introduces us to three women whose friendship is about to change their lives forever.

After Andi Gordon is jilted at the altar, she makes an impetuous decision--buying one of the famed Three Sisters on Blackberry Island. Now the proudish owner of the ugly duckling of the trio of Queen Anne houses, her life is just as badly in need of a major renovation as her new home.

When Deanna Phillips confronts her husband about a suspected affair, she opens up a Pandora's Box of unhappiness. In her quest to be the perfect woman, she's lost herself...and could lose her entire family if things don't change.

Next door, artist Boston King thought she and her college sweetheart would be married forever. But after tragedy strikes, she's not so sure. Now it's time for them to move forward, with or without one another.

Thrown together by fate and geography, and bound by the strongest of friendships, these three women will discover what they're truly made of: laughter, tears and love.

So perhaps this intended as a story for female entrepreneurs to not lose sight of family and friends - to not get too engrossed in your business? Or not a morality tale at all? The reader must judge for themselves.
BlackBerry island is another of those mythical small USA places where everyday knows everyone and it's all good. Part of the American mythology. Do I sound cynical? Maybe. I just don't believe in them and find too many authors do.
Initially I failed to see the added value of Clandestine Kitty until they started adding unique touches. My guess is that the Internet is less widely used in America than England where Amazon and a host of online retailers can provide direct from manufacturing to users.
But a nice read despite the above.

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Heart owning: our author explains

He Owns My Heart Genres: Book Cover He Owns My Heart Genres:
(Owned Heart, Body, & Soul #1)
Evie Drae
Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
Clandesdyne
Publication date: August 11th 2020

Only true love can free a captive heart. Landon Jenks, retired four-time Golden Glove-winning shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, is lonely, heartbroken, and in desperate need of simple human contact. Trapped in the sticky fine print of an ironclad contract that forbids him from revealing his very-much-single status until the season finale of his reality show airs, he calls an elite male escort service that caters to the rich and wretched. Accustomed to servicing his often less than savory clients at more upscale locales, twenty-six-year-old Toby Carmichael is surprised when his handler sends him to a run-down motel off I-55. But “surprise” doesn’t come close to describing the shock that rocks his system when a delightful stuttering mess covered in tattoos and nearly ten years his senior stumbles into the room—and right into his heart. For the first time since Toby was forced into the life of prostitution, a kiss sparks a desire that has nothing to do with money and everything to do with genuine chemistry and the faintest beginnings of something so much more. But Toby’s dark past and troubled present make it impossible to see a future with Landon. And when the truth comes to light, a horrified and helpless Landon is determined to save Toby at all costs. Content Warnings: Discussion of childhood verbal abuse by an adult survivor, homophobia from a close family member, discussion of previous self-harm/cutting behaviors by an adult survivor, prostitution with dubious consent (all interactions between the main characters have full consent and there are no on-page depictions of dub-con situations), consensual and experimental Domination/submission play between mostly-novice characters, mild violence between a main character and antagonist, and human trafficking associated with illegal drugs (nothing explicit on-page, only discussions related to and psychological/mental ramifications of addressed in moderate detail).  

Once upon a time, I used to consider myself a pantser. The idea of outlining gave me the writerly heebie jeebies. However, it was this story in particular that turned the tides on my aversion to plotting and planning. When I first set out to write Toby and Landon’s story, it was following a “dare” of sorts from a writing friend of mine who was trying to help me get out of a slump. She had recently discovered the joys of authoring short stories and challenged me to write one of my own. I agreed and decided to use a couple of characters who had been banging around my head for a while at that point. I thought their story could be told in a simple linear fashion without too much diversion into deep emotion or side plots. At the time, neither of them had spoken to me beyond the idea of a hot hotel tryst between a celebrity trying to maintain anonymity and the escort he hired for an evening of company.

The problem came once I really got to know the characters and realized, quite quickly, that their story couldn’t be told in the breadth of a short story. In fact, the deeper I got into their world, the more they had to say. By the time I’d wrapped up the very poorly paced short, I realized—for the first time ever—that I had to start back at the beginning… and actually do an outline. A few months of stress and overthinking later, and my short story had turned into a highly detailed and planned out trilogy, complete with an overarching story arc that I positively cannot wait to share with the world.

Toby and Landon were originally going to have a pretty easy go of it. I was going to follow the prostitute-finds-love-and-quits-his-job trope with minimal tension or conflict. You know, the necessary level of angst associated with novella-length stories. However, their journey has taken a much different path now that it’s been stretched into three books with distinct and involved storylines all their own. Above all else, I’m most excited about depicting Toby and Landon’s voyage into the world of BDSM. As a member of the lifestyle myself, I’m thrilled to portray a relationship where domination and submission plays a role in not only building their bond, but also in providing a place for healing, communication, and personal as well as relationship-based growth.

About the Author

Evie Drae is a registered nurse by day and an award-winning male/male romance writer by night. She has won first place in seven Romance Writers of America® (RWA®) competitions, including the prestigious title “Best of the Best” in the 2018 Golden Opportunity Contest. She is a double finalist in the 2019 Golden Heart®, in both the Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense categories, and finished as a second-place runner-up in four additional RWA contests.

One of Evie’s favorite things to do is encourage her fellow writers. To that end, she started the #writeLGBTQ and #promoLGBTQ hashtags on Twitter to support and promote LGBTQ+ authors and allies while providing a safe space to connect and grow as a community. She is married to the love of her life, is the mother of three wonderful fur babies, and runs almost entirely on coffee and good vibes.

Evie loves to link up with fellow writers and readers. You can reach her directly at EvieDrae@gmail.com or find her on her social media accounts listed below. Twitter is where she’s most active but be sure to check out her blog too. She focuses on reviews for LGBTQ+ authors and allies with the occasional quirky advice/recommendation post just to toss things up.

https://www.facebook.com/eviedraeauthor

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Starting the Burn

Ignite You: A Second Chance Mafia Romance Book Cover Ignite You: A Second Chance Mafia Romance
(Cole Brothers Series, #1)
Diana A. Hicks
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Hicks Media Group, Inc. (2 Nov. 2019)
Publication date: November 1st 2019

Dom Moretti.
Former mafia hitman.
God’s gift to women.
Brilliant lawyer.

Those were just a few reasons why I hated Dom in law school.

Tonight…

I hate his panty-melting stare, his wicked smile, and that loose-hip stride of his.
I hate the way his biceps stretch the sleeves of his tailored suit.
I hate that after two years, I can’t stop thinking about the almost kiss in the library.

So when he sits at my bar, acting like he doesn’t remember me, I do what any woman would’ve done in my position.

I agree to a midnight hookup with the great Dom Moretti.

Ignite You is a steamy, slow-burn mafia romance that can be read as a standalone. It is book one in the Cole Brothers series. Previously released as Love Over Logic

I have read this book now twice but I still found it less interesting than the rest of the series.

I think it is because of the scene setting that is done for the Cole Brothers and their backgrounds.

For me, Diana Hicks is one of those authors whose writing gets better the further into a series she goes.

And also, I guess, Mafia Doms are not in my ‘hit’ list!

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How to have love AND £

The HER BILLIONAIRE Series Book Cover The HER BILLIONAIRE Series
– Kindle Unlimited Launch
Author: Julia Kent
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Kindle

The New York Times bestselling Her Billionaires series combines the stories of Laura, Mike, Dylan (a committed threesome with a growing family by book 3) and Josie and Alex (a committed twosome) with strong cameos from Darla, Trevor, and Joe from the Random series (another permanent threesome) and Lydia, Jeremy and Mike from the Obedient series (yet another permanent threesome) for a madcap spectacle that yields one universal truth: love is a journey and not a destination, but people will drive you crazy along the way. Half a million words of hot, hilarious, heartwarming romantic comedy, all in Kindle Unlimited for you to read now!

The Her Billionaires Series includes:

Her Billionaires (Book 1)

It’s Complicated (Book 2)

Completely Complicated (Book 3)

It’s Always Complicated (Book 4)

Covid has meant that I have had a lot of time to read as I ‘shelter’ (from the storm?). Being unwell and only operating on a partial brain, I took a rest from my usual fare of thrillers, murders and suspense novels and went for novels and authors who could cheer me up. Julia Kent certainly does this. Reading her stories makes me giggle. I am also acquiring an education in linguistics and millennial language, and technically functional items that were unknown to me, and yet some can apparently be purchased on Amazon!

I really like her heroines. They are snarky, snippy, funny, and take no prisoners.

They come in all sizes from 6 foot to under 5 foot, with fuller Rubenesque figures, to Twiggy-alike.

The males, at least, tend towards the stereotypical alphas, with physiques of 6 – 8 packs. (I just had to look up what a man with an 8 pack looks like, and found that to my eyes at least, it looks really weird and unattractive).

But they are also human – they have emotions and often empathy – and as each of these series develops, they also grow up.

So I have worked my way through 3 of her series now. And working on the 4th.

This was the first of this set I have read this year (I’ve previously read the ‘Shopping’ series).

Some of Julia Kent’s books are very explicit, and this is one. They also often feature ménage a trios – 2 men, 1 woman. With variations on how this is managed.

Whilst not my own fantasy, I can see how it could be. So long as the men are ok with it – and she does get into the whole jealousy bit when men don’t ‘share’ equally for whatever reason.

For me, there was one thing missing in this series – when they all learnt that not only was Laura pregnant again, but it was twins! and how they got through the first months – this should prove totally chaotic and great fun to read about.

Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three children in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down

Tropes: Threesome/Ménage (in a committed relationship), Billionaires, BBW, Rock Star Romance, Wedding, Pregnancy, Medical Doctor

HER BILLIONAIRES EXCERPT:

“Luscious, curvy financial analyst seeks friendship and more. Financially independent and self-assured, I’m a fit woman who wants a man (or, more than one! YOLO!) for stimulating conversation…er, yeah. Conversation. Message me (or massage me!).”

Something fierce and hot inside him came to life. From that description it sounded like she…seriously? No way.

“Mike! Hey, Mike! Get in here!” If there were a chance— any chance at all, here, then he had to act fast. Someone this amazing was about to get inundated by messages from needy weirdos.

And he needed to be the first.

His roommate wandered in. Where Dylan was all muscle and brawn, Mike Pine was tall and sleek, a marathoner’s body of long, lean tissue. Dylan’s dark, thick, Italian, looks made him popular with women, but Mike was the golden boy, with blonde hair and blue eyes—the long-distance runner with a soft heart, the guy women turned to and poured their hearts out, Mr. Sensitive to Dylan’s Mr. Conquest.

Dylan tapped the screen. “Take a look at her.”

He smiled smugly as Mike’s eyes raced across the screen. They’d been waiting for a long time. Too long. His roommate’s expression told him everything he needed to know. Score! It might finally be time.

IT’S COMPLICATED EXCERPT: 

Either a fireball entered the elevator and exploded in her body or she had just met her equivalent of Laura’s two soulmates in a single man. With one touch, Alex—just another resident, just another doctor in a hospital working a twenty-four-hour or forty-eight-hour shift, the kind of guy she’d met hundreds of over the years—had transformed everything. Transformed the air in the elevator, transformed the entire experience of bringing Laura in to L & D into…transformed something about Josie herself.

His touch had seismically split her in two, tectonic plates altering her emotional landscape. How could one person do that? she wondered as their eyes locked and he shook her hand slowly, the tactile sensation of his palm pressed against hers like some sort of a battery recharging every cell in her body, warming her, making parts of her throb with a frequency that she hoped he could feel with his tongue someday.

Or now. Now would work.

Very, very naughty thoughts flashed through her mind as they locked eyes. And then a second series of thoughts berated her, guilted her over thinking about anything but her poor best friend, who was about to have her vagina split open by a speeding eight-pound flesh ball, all the nibbly parts on display for a crew of eight or nine people, not including the dads and Josie.

This was a teaching hospital, after all, and the only way the interns, residents and the nursing students going through clinicals could learn was to watch people like Laura, to make notes, to get the queasiness over with and to learn by doing.

Right now she’d like to learn some really nice hands-on sexual lessons, lessons involving his hands on her naked ass, his mouth on other parts, her body entwined with Mr. Alex Derjian here—Dr. Alex Derjian, she corrected herself. Ever since a very messy failed affair her first year of nursing—an entangled, sweeping disaster that involved two doctors at work—she’d had a pretty firm rule: no dating doctors. But rules were made to be broken, right?

COMPLETELY COMPLICATED EXCERPT:

“Are you a Sybian expert now?” Mike asked as he returned from the kitchen, chomping on an energy bar.

Dylan shifted himself in a way that made Mike laugh. “Oh, you laugh, but you know exactly how I feel right now.”

“Yup.”

“That Sybian…”

“Yup.”

“I’m thinking about ordering one.”

A cocked eyebrow was Mike’s calm response. “You are?”

“You in?”

“I say order one of everything from those books and see what happens.” The devilish gleam in Mike’s eyes was so different from his droll manner that even after ten years together, Dylan was amazed the man could surprise him.

“You realize you’re talking to a guy with nearly unlimited money and zero impulse control?”

“You realize you are talking to a guy who has had sex twice and exactly one blow job in six months?” Mike’s face was serious, eyes gone dark and smoky. Mischief was gone. This was a man determined.

Dylan’s jaw dropped. Thank God they were in agreement. Whatever it took to unlock the passionate woman they’d met fifteen months ago and to regain the intimacy they all seemed to crave—but couldn’t quite find their way to—was what they needed to do now. Something had to give.

“What are we wasting time talking for, then? Let’s start clicking.”

Crreak. The telltale sign of their bedroom door opening made them both freeze.

“Shit!” Dylan hissed. Mike put a finger to his lips and stopped chewing on the energy bar. Both stood there, ears cocked. The sound of footsteps, and then the baby began to babble.

Mike looked at the eReader. “It’s been nearly two hours!”

“No way!”

Mike tapped and slid his fingers wildly, getting the machine back to the Home screen. “You order whatever we need later on from your phone. You have carte blanche. Get whatever you want.”

An evil laugh bubbled up inside Dylan as he rubbed his hands together.

This was going to be fun.

IT’S ALWAYS COMPLICATED EXCERPT:

Laura

“My dress doesn’t fit!” Laura wailed to no one in particular. Then again, no one was actually listening to her, so even if she had chosen a target for her cries of anguish, it wouldn’t have mattered.

Managing twin one-year-olds who had recently learned to walk and stumble after their three-year-old sister meant that lately, conversations were nothing but fleeting cries of caution followed by mutters as Laura cleaned messes made by humans who didn’t know any better.

And sometimes that included Dylan and Mike.

“You look like a Disney Princess, Mama!” Jillian said, stopping in her tracks. Her wide, blue eyes met Laura’s and her red cheeks turned to apples. “Can I be Elsa for the wedding?”

Laura looked down at the white dress she wore. Half her abundant boobage poured out like a tasty cupcake. The bodice dug into her ribs and the skirts made the skin on her thighs itch.

And then little Aaron came bounding around Jillian, chocolate smeared all over his hands and face.

“How did he get chocolate?” Laura asked, the words filled with an edge she didn’t want to have.

“I made him a cake in my little oven!” Jillian cried out with pride. The oven used a lightbulb for heat to cook the little cakes, and Jillian had been long warned only to use it with adults, but apparently Laura couldn’t take ninety seconds to change into her own wedding dress two days before the big day without having Jillian get into mischief.

She grimaced. Of all the days for their nanny, Cyndi, to have food poisoning.

Aaron took one, two, three steps in slow motion toward Laura. Eyes alight with conquest at learning to walk, he pitched forward and began to fall.

Instinct overrode wedding dress and she bent down to catch him before his head met the corner of the coffee table and—

Now her skirts looked like a very fluffy group of Dalmatians cuddled up against her legs. Chocolate smears everywhere, even in the tulle.

Amazon/Kindle Unlimited Universal Buy Links:

Her Billionaires Series:  https://geni.us/HerBillionairesALL_KU

Her Billionaires (Book 1):  https://geni.us/HerBillionaires_KU

It’s Complicated (Book 2):  https://geni.us/ItsComplicated_KU

Completely Complicated (Book 3):  https://geni.us/CompltlyComplicated_KU

It’s Always Complicated (Book 4):  https://geni.us/IAComplicated_KU

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Drink up and Splash!

Coffee Girl Book Cover Coffee Girl
Sophie Sinclair
Humor | Romance
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 13 Nov 2019

Mackenzie “Kiki” Forbes finds herself in a pickle.

Either become her snarky sister’s nanny, or move halfway across the country to work as assistant-to-the-stylist of a country music star. Neither job sounds ideal, although bedazzling cowboy boots may be a hell of a lot more interesting than ironing her brother-in-law’s underwear. But life on the road as the errand coffee girl for a sold-out tour leaves much to be desired. That is, until Kiki meets her sinfully sexy new boss’s boss…

Tatum Reed’s career is flying high. He’s up for country music’s Entertainer of the Year and he’s headed out on a nationwide sold-out tour. So why does he feel like it’s all about to implode? His superstar ex-girlfriend seems determined to make his life difficult, his opening act is a handful, and the new girl on his tour, the feisty brunette, is quickly getting under his skin. In this crazy world of showbusiness Tatum needs to learn who he can trust, but that doesn’t come easily, because the one person who holds all the cards may just throw them down and walk away.

Life in the public eye is never all it’s cracked up to be, which has both Kiki and Tatum questioning what they’re really doing with their careers, and their hearts.

Do you ever have one of those days? When nothing ever goes quite right? And you spill coffee over your interview clothes? [or worse – think red on white trousers ].

Well our intrepid heroine has a bad day – or two in this book and earns the nickname Coffee Girl due to her spillage.

I have to say though, I’ve never heard of such complicated orders as some people give for coffee – ‘large skinny Latte, with extra foam, light swirl of caramel, hint of shaken salt, 2.5 pumps of vanilla, splash of extra hot water, 1.5 packets of splenda’.

You have to wonder how many different combinations of all these items they had been through to be so specific.

And I love Oreo and do understand why he is a house cat. Maine Coons are often kept indoors as they are often stolen, but I’d rather have one who could go outside. I looked at the rescue sites for a Maine Coon and a Norwegian Forest cat as we may get another cat soon, and they both say must be kept indoors. So despite my love of these breeds, I shan’t be getting one.Overall this was a sweet story with the usual ups and downs of the genre and some reality about just how uncomfortable it can be touring with a rock band. That said, the lyrics never make a lot of sense to me and country music is always heart break and sad songs so not my scene at all.

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