REVIEW: Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken

Curious Liaisons Book One; Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…

 

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

If you’re a reader whose hard limit is cheating, don’t be scared away by the title nor the blurb. This story is not what you think it is; it’s actually quite fun and sexy with none of the kind of cheating you think there is. RVD’s brand of humor and playfulness is present as always, and it’s a unique tale of a man and a woman, the most unlikeliest of matches, finding their way to one another.

Cheater details a man made up of his choices–one choice in particular. His consequence for that night plays out daily with his schedule of women. But with the addition of Avery into his life, things become muddled and covered in static. It’s an unusual plot to a love story with these characters mired by the past and what connects them, but it works. The hilarity that ensues from a quick snowball of the situation gets funnier by the moment. Underneath the humor, though, lies the soul-deep connection these two share and I adored the way RVD carried us through their past and present.

I love stories of redemption and of true love, ones that have wry and witty characters, that ultimately show that faults or shortcomings aren’t what make you you. Cheater had all of that and more. I know fans of RVD will love it, and everyone will love Lucas Thorn and the impossible situation he’s in.

 

♦SERIES♦

23 - Cheater's Regret

Curious Liaisons Book Two; Standalone

Release Date: May 23, 2017

PreOrder: Kindle | Paperback

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

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Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

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REVIEW: If You Were Mine by Melanie Harlow

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Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

Theo MacLeod wasn’t supposed to be the one.

Tall, dark and handsome suits me just fine, but the cocky grin, know-it-all attitude, and mammoth ego? No thanks. I only hired him so I wouldn’t have to sit at the singles table again. It was just pretend.

He wasn’t supposed to kiss me.

My heart wasn’t supposed to pound.

We weren’t supposed to spend the night together—the hottest night of my life.

One night turns into a snowed-in weekend away, and even the blizzard of the century can’t cool the fire between us. I can’t get enough—of his smile, of his body, of the way he makes me feel.

We’re nothing alike. He’s a daredevil, and I’m a nervous Nellie. He’s a drifter, and I want to put down roots. He’s an opportunist with a checkered past, and I’m a Girl Scout volunteer.

But none of it matters when I’m in his arms.

I know he’s made mistakes. I know his wounds are deep, and he doesn’t trust easily. I know he doesn’t believe he could ever be enough to make me happy, but he could.

All he has to do is stay.

 

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

Some novels are just all around enjoyable in every way. If You Were Mine had the perfect mix of sexy and sweet with incredible depth into the characterization of both main characters. Harlow included humor in her typical fashion which made the story pop along with the always-present sizzle of the scorching sexual chemistry. All of which created a fast, inhale-able read.

Claire and Theo were polar opposites, but they came together beautifully; both had what the other lacked, most especially when it came to hope. For every downtrodden man comes a woman who can only see his potential–and she was that for him. Her light was inspirational and something he quickly became enamored by. Their playful banter and wild sexual attraction made this novel unputdownable.

It was fun. I love how Harlow makes her stories fun. But under the fun is the beauty of the emotional healing that is always so heartwarming to read. If You Were Mine is a standalone novel (featuring mild spoilers and character crossover for Man Candy and After We Fall) that will both excite and enthrall. Melanie’s writing is, again, something that will do nothing but keep you glued to the pages.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

A guy in a black leather jacket set a coffee cup down on the table and sat opposite me.

I looked over at him, feeling slightly awkward since I’d have to tell him he couldn’t sit there. He was handsome, with warm brown eyes and short dark hair, but he wasn’t Fred. “I’m sorry, I’m waiting for someone,” I said. “But I can move.”

To my surprise, he smiled confidently. “Claire, right? I’m Fred.”

I screwed up my face. “You can’t be. Fred has blond hair and blue eyes. I saw his picture.”

He laughed, almost condescendingly. “I don’t use my real picture, Claire. People are crazy.”

What? This made no sense. “I don’t understand. How can you advertise yourself with someone else’s photo? Don’t women get mad when you show up?”

He shrugged, his grin turning a little cocky. “Haven’t had any complaints so far.”

Actually, he was more attractive than the photo he’d used online—more rugged and masculine, with his scruffy jaw, big shoulders, and brawny chest. Meeting the real Fred was kind of like ordering the chicken piccata and being brought the Porterhouse, which hadn’t even been on the menu.

But that wasn’t the point.

(And I’d described someone completely different to Elyse.)

“So, what, you use a fake photo to lure potential clients and then you set up the coffee meeting to check them out first?” I asked indignantly.

“Wouldn’t you?” He shrugged out of his jacket. “It’s a scary world out there.”

I crossed my arms, sitting up tall. “No! That’s a scam. I don’t like scammers.”

“No, it isn’t. I don’t take any money from them. I don’t even talk to them, I just leave.”

Frowning, I said, “That doesn’t seem right to me. These people are willing to pay you to hang out with them and probably feel bad enough about themselves already, and you just walk out without even giving them a chance?”

He shrugged. “Look, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve only walked off a job once, and that was because I thought I recognized the woman. I prefer to keep my personal and professional identities separate. That’s fair, isn’t it?”

Professional identity? He was a rent-a-date! I shook my head in disbelief. “Is your name even Fred?”

“Does it matter?”

“Yes,” I snapped. “How am I supposed to know what to call you?”

He grinned as he leaned toward me and lowered his voice. “Call me anything you want. You’re the boss.”

Was he flirting with me or making fun of me? I cleared my throat and pressed my knees tighter together. “I’d like to call you by your actual name, please. Bad enough I have to pay someone to play my fake boyfriend. I’d like something to be real, at least.”

He held his eyes steady on mine for a moment. I felt like he was sizing me up, trying to decide if he could trust me, so I stared right back without blinking. If anyone at this table was trustworthy, it was me.

“Theo,” he said quietly, his eyes dropping to my lips for the merest fraction of a second. “My name is Theo.”

There. Was that so hard? I smiled at him before picking up my latte.“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Theo.”

“What, you’re just going to believe me? You’re much too trusting, Claire. I bet people take advantage of you.”

I set the cup back down on the saucer with an angry clank. “Is your name Theo or not?”

“Shhh, it is, it is,” he said, laughing. Then he glanced over his shoulder like he was in the fucking CIA. “But I don’t give that out to just anyone. You should feel special.”

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Harlow Headshot Color

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.

Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

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BLOG TOUR w/ REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Blackbird by Molly McAdams

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28 - Blackbird

Dark Romantic Suspense

Redemption Book One

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♦BLURB♦

From New York Times bestselling author Molly McAdams comes a powerhouse romantic suspense that will have you questioning your morals and second guessing your view on love.

I live in a world few know exist. I’ve trained for this. I know what to say, what to do, and how to act. I’ve perfected the lethal calm required for this life.
Now it’s time to buy my first girl. But all it takes is one look at the brave girl who starts singing mid-auction for that calm to slip.
Briar Chapman is going to be the death of me, and I don’t care. I’ll take every day with her until that death comes, and I’ll welcome it when it does.

On the outside, Lucas Holt is what nightmares are made of. A man cloaked in darkness, with sin-filled eyes and an enticing grin. A devil so devastatingly beautiful and cruel that his very presence instills fear.
But beneath his terrifying, ever-calm exterior is an affectionate man haunted by a past that refuses to stay buried. And Lucas looks at me as though he’s finally found the only person who can make it all go away.
We’re a battle of the brightest day and the darkest night–and I want to lie in the wake of our war.

 

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

Soooo…how do I even review this book? I’m honestly speechless and a bit…unsettled?…blown away? This is a completely dark romance that has elements that will cause you to hem and haw and oddly feel things for people (well, one in particular) that you really shouldn’t feel, things that you can’t help but feel. It’s reminiscent of the kind of situation or feelings that Tears of Tess or Captive in the Dark provoke, but it’s completely its own devil.

With a heroine sold into sex trafficking and a hero as her new master, things aren’t peaches and rainbows. Our little blackbird isn’t one to acquiesce to any man, certainly not him. His need for control and her unwillingness to relinquish control created a wild electricity between them both that continued to grow and grow to a fever pitch. I know this is a Molly McAdams we’re not used to seeing, but I love that she went for it. It was gripping and twisty and a bit crazy and, yeah, I can’t say much else without giving anything away. Blackbird was a wild, racy ride on the dark side and it was handled with the best of intentions for these characters. It’s one that will surprise you to the very end.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

She closed the distance between us, each step slow and calculated. Once she was close enough, I slid one hand around her waist and the other around the back of her neck, using her hair to tilt her head back so I could study those eyes that captivated me.

“I hate that you have so much money that you buy women. I hate that you bought me at all, but mostly that you bought me because I started singing. I hate the circumstances that brought me to you, but I love you and am thankful I’m here with you all the same.”

My chest ached and filled with warmth. I wanted to kiss her and thank her for trusting me with her past. I wanted to erase every bad memory and replace them with ones of us now, but she didn’t realize what she’d just said . . .

As much as I wanted what she was saying to be true, it wasn’t, and it never would be. It couldn’t.

“You don’t,” I said thickly, forcing the words out through the tightness in my throat.

Confusion covered her face and her brows drew together. “I don’t what?”

“You don’t love me.”

I felt the shock that went through her body, but she didn’t try to pull away from me. Instead, she gripped my shirt in her hands like she was pleading with me in her touch alone.

“Lucas . . .”

My eyes slid shut, and I released a slow, weighted breath. “You don’t, Briar.”

“I know you think you don’t know how to love someone, but you do, you have been. You know what love is, and I have never been more aware of how loved I am by someone than I am by you.”

I ground my jaw and finally looked at her again. Instead of disagreeing with her, I said, “You can’t love me, because you don’t know me.”

I hated the hurt in her eyes. I hated that I was putting it there. I hated everything I was, hated that I would never be enough for the girl I didn’t know how to let go of. Couldn’t let go of.

“Yes, I do,” she choked out. “I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it, I’ve experienced your darkness and your monsters, and I’m still here. Haven’t I proven myself yet? Haven’t I proven I am not going anywhere? That you can’t make me run?” Her gripping hands flattened and moved up to curve around my neck. “I knew to fall in love with you I had to fall in love with the devil, too. I am not as naïve as you think I am.”

“But you have no idea exactly how heartless your devil is,” I said darkly.

“Then let me see—”

“I won’t let you into that part of my world,” I said on a growl. Just the thought of her being in a situation to see me like that—to see that part of my world—chilled me in a way that made me feel sick. “All of thiswill change the minute you see it. Trust me when I say you’ll never be able to look at me the same, and I won’t be able to live with myself if that day ever comes.”

“You can’t know that,” she argued, her words still sounding like a plea.

“Think of your worst memories with me, Blackbird,” I ordered gently. “Think of what I told you about the shootout with my brothers. Think about what William did to you. Now try to grasp that all of that is nothing compared to what I have done, and what I do, without feeling a thing.”

I waited for it to sink in, and after a few moments, it did. And there was that look in her eyes I’d come to dread and hate—fear and uncertainty. But I could still see her love for me.

Unfailing and undeserving.

“Didn’t you hear me the first time?” she finally asked as tears filled her eyes. “The darkest part of your soul terrifies me, but, Lucas, I’m not going anywhere.”

♦PLAYLIST♦

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

MOLLY MCADAMS

Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornadoes. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.

Come be my friend!

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♦GIVEAWAY♦

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NEW RELEASE: A Boy Like You by Ginger Scott

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Standalone; Contemporary Young Adult Romance

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♦BLURB♦

They say everyone’s a superhero to someone. I’m not sure who I’m supposed to save, but I know who saved me.

We were kids. His name was Christopher. And up until the day he pulled me from death’s grip, he was nothing more than a boy I felt sorry for. In a blink of an eye, he became the only person who made me feel safe.

And then he disappeared.

Now I’m seventeen. I’m not a kid anymore. I haven’t been for years. While death didn’t take me that day, the things that happened left me with scars—the kind that robbed me of everything I once loved and drove me into darkness. But more than anything else, that day—and every day since—has taken away my desire to dream.

I wasn’t going to have hope. I wouldn’t let myself wish. Those things—they weren’t for girls like me. That’s what I believed…until the new boy.

He’s nothing like the old boy. He’s taller and older. His hair is longer, and his body is lean—strong and ready for anything. I don’t feel sorry for him. And sometimes, I hate him. He challenges me. From the moment I first saw him standing there on the baseball field, he pushed me—his eyes constantly questioning, doubting…daring. Still, something about him—it feels…familiar.

He says his name is Wes. But I can’t help but feel like he’s someone else. Someone from my past. Someone who’s come back to save me.

This time, though, he’s too late. Josselyn Winters, the girl he once knew, is gone. I am the threat; I am my worst enemy. And he can’t save me from myself.

Shot of young woman being carried by her boyfriend in grass field. Couple having fun on their summer holiday.

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

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Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, and Hold My Breath.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns.

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