NEW RELEASE & REVIEW: The Fortunate Ones by R.S. Grey

A Standalone Romantic Comedy

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♦BLURB♦

At Twin Oaks Country Club, there are the fortunate ones, and then there are the rest of us: the waiters, the caddies, the valets, and in my case, the cabana girls. Most days, I’m poolside in a pleated skirt, dishing out margaritas to tycoons and titans. It’s not exactly my dream job, but it does come with one perk…

James Ashwood.

He’s my silver lining in a custom black suit.

Besides being a legacy member at the club, he’s a tech mogul and Austin’s most eligible bachelor. Oh, and those dimples? Yeah, they make my stomach dip too.

On good days, I catch his sleek Porsche winding down the tree-lined drive. On better days, I steal a glimpse of his handsome profile as we pass in the hall. And on the absolute best day, I find him alone at the bar, looking for company.

“Come have a seat.”

Those four little words set me down a path I never could have imagined. Private planes, penthouse suites, and temptations around every corner make it impossible to keep my distance. His world feels decadent and wild—but overindulgence comes with a cost. Every kiss comes with strings. Every erotic encounter is a promise I’m not ready to keep.

When I pump the brakes, he hits the gas. James doesn’t want to go slow—he wants a commitment.

And the thing about the fortunate ones?

They’re used to getting what they want.

 

♦5-STAR REVIEW♦

Filled with humor and an enchanting romance, The Fortunate Ones had the perfect blend of elements to satisfy any reader. In what I consider her best novel yet, Grey captures the vulnerable moments vividly and with honesty, but also with a certain sense of self-deprecating humor. The romance was strong, steamy, and filled with things left unsaid. The resulting push-pull between them evoked great sexual tension throughout the novel.

Though I may not be at all like Brooke, her ballsy nature being so very strong, I couldn’t help but admire her even when she took steps I wouldn’t dream of doing myself. Her initial hesitance on her plans, her love life, soon gave way to bullheaded determination and there was nothing that was going to stop her at that point. She was brave, but inherently so very vulnerable, and it was easy to get a sense of that while reading–to empathize with her reasons for being that way. She and James suited one another easily, complementing and contrasting in equal measure, creating a combustible attraction between them, and I was instantly charmed by both of them.

With a my-face-hurts-from-smiling-so-much reaction to reading this story, along with a good feeling in my heart, I can say that The Fortunate Ones was an unputdownable, romantically charming story. Fast-paced but fully plotted, there wasn’t a moment where I was pulled from their journey. Grey excels at mixing witty humor with romance, and here she created another wonderful story for readers to truly devour.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

“I missed you today,” he says, his heated gaze lingering on my body.

I step back, and he follows.

He looks like he’s cornering his prey.

“Apparently not enough to make it to dinner,” I point out icily.

“I called the restaurant and told them I’d be late. Didn’t they tell you?”

I cross my arms and glance away.

“Brooke.” He steps closer and gently lifts my chin, forcing me to look back at him. “Fight with me tomorrow.”

I narrow my eyes, angry with him for shelving this discussion so casually. To him, it doesn’t matter that I sat in that restaurant alone, looking like a fool for nearly two hours. He’s brushing off my anger, stepping closer and forcing his way past my defenses.

“I think I’d like to talk about it now.”

I catch the beginning of a smirk just before he leans in to kiss my cheek.

“Are you sure there isn’t anything you’d rather be doing right now?”

He uncrosses my arms and brings them up over his shoulders then steps closer, towering over me. My arms tighten around his neck, but still, I turn away, keeping my mouth from him. His breath hits my neck and he pulls me taut against his hard body, growing more impatient with every moment I try to resist.

“Brooke,” he whispers huskily.

My eyes flutter closed as he bends and presses a kiss to my cheek, my chin, then lower, tipping my head back so he can reach the smooth recess at the nape of my neck. I shiver and he groans, obviously aware of what his touch is doing to me.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

author

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com

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NEW RELEASE & REVIEW w/ GIVEAWAY: Touch of Red by Laura Griffin

Tracers Book Twelve; Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

When crime scene investigator Brooke Porter arrives at the home of a murdered woman, the only thing more shocking than the carnage is the evidence that someone escaped the scene. But where is this witness now? A thorough search of the area yields more questions than answers, and before Brooke even packs up her evidence kit, she’s made it her goal to find the witness and get them out of harm’s way.

Homicide detective Sean Byrne has seen his share of bloody crime scenes, but this one is particularly disturbing, especially because Brooke Porter is smack in the middle of it. Sean has had his eye on the sexy CSI for months, and he’s determined to help her with her current case—even if it means putting his attraction on hold so he and Brooke can track down a murderer. But as the investigation—and their relationship—heats up, Sean realizes that keeping his work and his personal life separate is more complicated than he ever imagined; especially when the killer sets his sights on Brooke.

 

♦5-STAR REVIEW♦

Full of mystery and romance, Touch of Red brought another climactic story to Griffin’s Tracers series. Written with differing sides of law enforcement (forensics versus police procedural), it perfectly marries the two genres of romance and suspense while giving readers a meaty and thrilling story to sink their teeth into.

There wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t enthralled and in need of finding the answers faster, but Griffin also kept the pace consistently steady with an enjoyable crescendo of a build-up throughout. The depth of knowledge that is put into each character and their complicated professions never goes unnoticed, and again I’m amazed at how exact and scientific every case in this series is. Brooke’s passion and hardheadedness was alive on the pages, and the steadiness of Sean’s character mixed and clashed with her beautifully, both professionally and personally. That push-pull was subtle in nature, but profound in its reverberations, keeping their connection thriving as the story progressed.

Touch of Red was an exciting and unputdownable story that will truly captivate readers who love shows like CSI or Law & Order. Griffin’s prose was easy to fall into and to be carried away with on their exciting journey. Both characters were strong and vivid, and easily someone you’d root for in real life. And I cannot help but look forward to where Griffin will take us next!

 

♦SERIES♦

Click on the cover to buy; each book stands alone.


My Review

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner (for the books Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin where she is working on her next book.

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NEW RELEASE & REVIEW: Follow by Tessa Bailey

Standalone

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♦BLURB♦

He wants her soul. Too bad she already sold it.

Family is everything to gambling den darling, Teresa Valentini. Blood comes first, especially before men. So when her brother lands himself in hot water, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to save him. And showing up topless in her unwitting savior’s motel room is turning out to be the furthest thing from a hardship…

Will Caruso is the bad boy of New York’s financial scene…and he just found out the very thing that drives his success is a damn lie. Now, he’s exchanged his high-stress life for the open road, no one but his Great Dane…and half a million Instagram followers to keep him company. When a mysterious beauty arrives, her secrecy prods his suspicions, even while she tempts his lust to the breaking point.

Teresa met Will under false pretenses, but the bond consuming them is real. They’re strong enough to overcome a little betrayal…aren’t they?

♦5-STAR REVIEW♦

Tantalizing and provocative, Follow easily became an addictive story from the first page. There will be no surprise that Bailey easily penned two complex, well-rounded main characters with a distinct and unique path for them to journey on. But what will be surprising is her ability to pull a kinked rabbit out of her dirty bag’o’tricks to make this story distinctly her own brand, and in a rare (for her) first-person written form, too.

For a story cloaked in secrecy, the depth of raw honesty between Teresa and Will was all too vivid. The confidence and badass personas they constructed to push the playing field to their benefit became a stalemate of epic proportions as sexual tensions escalated. Bailey’s rare skill of creating an erotic story different from everything else she’s written again shines brightly as she adds a new level to her game. Written with the most basic of human instincts in mind, she fleshed out the guttural aspects of a human to human emotional and sexual connection with ease and a trained hand. Their connection, in every way, spoke volumes to how beautifully the story was woven as it built higher and higher.

Follow was incredibly erotic, but only because Bailey made these characters work for that level of exposure of themselves and for the power to envelop us. I want to see more stories like this from her–stories that beg to be devoured and demand to become a part of you, and she’s been delivering on that for years. The level of heat that emits from this story is sky-high, but it had a strong plot, character growth, and a love that was earned. It’s a must-read story, and it will leave you bereft once it’s over.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

The cheers are deafening. Will hoots and rises from his chair, moving into a spot behind mine. Paula takes his place across from me. Everyone crowds in on all sides. And suddenly my world has been narrowed down to an arm wrestling arena.

“All right, baby.” Will’s voice smokes into my ear. “Here’s how we get to five seconds. You’re going to top-roll.”

We? And what is that?”

I sound like a hysterical cartoon character, but Will continues undaunted, his breath on my neck, his thumb massaging me between the shoulder blades. “If we make this a bicep game, she’s got you beat, so we’re going to make it about hands, fingers and wrists, to ease the disadvantage. You’re going to work your palm upwards, along hers, like you’re trying to wrap your hand around the top part of hers. Just hold firm and focus on coming over the top of her.”

Paula is mean mugging me across the table, gum being mutilated between her teeth. “I thought you ran a hedge fund,” I mutter to Will.

“I didn’t always,” he mutters, laying a kiss on my cheek. “Five seconds. You got this.”

“I was wondering why you aren’t already married. Mystery solved. You get a lap dance from your date. Then she gets her arm torn off.”

Another kiss and this time his lips linger on my temple. “You could look at it that way. Or you could look at it mine. Thank fuck I’m not married or I’d have missed the girl who gave me a lap dance, then took on the local gator-wrestling champ. All before lunchtime.” His fingers slide up into my hair and tug, firm and gentle all at once. “Thank fuck, right?”

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

tessa bailey bio

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

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NEW RELEASE & REVIEW: Move the Stars by Jessica Hawkins

Something in the Way Book Three; Not a standalone

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♦BLURB♦

Lake
It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents’ house. If I’d known then what I do now, would I have kept on walking? Manning was older, darker, experienced—and I’d trusted him when he said the story would only ever be about us. I’d held those words close and challenged fate, but I had lost.

A part of me is still that sixteen-year-old girl squinting up at Manning, but no matter how far I fall or high I soar, I’ll always be a bird without her bear and nothing without him.

Manning
When I close my eyes, I can no longer see her. The decisions I made were to push Lake in the right direction—away from me. But now that she’s gone, would I have made those same choices?

I’d walked away like I was supposed to. I’d kept my distance. I’d bent over backward to keep Lake pure, but she’s no longer that girl, and I don’t know if I can stay away anymore. I only know I don’t want to. She’s still everything I want and nothing I should ever have, but if anyone can move the stars, it’s her great bear in the sky.

 

♦4.5-STAR REVIEW♦

Both satisfying and fulfilling, Move the Stars was a just and beautiful ending to an angst-filled trilogy. What has always been great about this series is that Hawkins doesn’t make their path at all easy; instead vividly portraying how heartbreaking and debilitating a love between two people can be. Because I refuse to spoil any part of the final piece of their story, I won’t be commenting on much other than it as a whole.

Throughout this journey, both Manning and Lake have been tormented by choices and consequences. Choices that forced distance and separation and unfulfilled desires. I was curious to how Hawkins would rightly bring it all together and I’m satisfied by how she carried it out. It still held all of the elements of angst that this story has always brought, but it leaned more on the helplessly heartbreaking side of it thus eliciting a different kind of reaction than the prior two books. The emotions were strong and hard and brutal, but very necessary. The gut punches and twisted heart responses were all too real.

The true beauty of Move the Stars was in how tough of a journey it was to get to this point, and how wonderfully it all came together to meet my expectations. Other than some slower moments in the first half, I honestly cannot complain about anything else. The poignancy of this book was spot-on–it easily written on the page and into these two characters. I’m sad to see these two go, but very happy to finally see what beauty Hawkins squeezed from their final stand.

 

♦SERIES♦

Something in the Way Ebook Cover

Something in the Way Book One; Not a standalone | My Review

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Something in the Way Book Two; Not a standalone | My Review

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♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Jessica Hawkins grew up between the purple mountains and under the endless sun of Palm Springs, California. She studied international business at Arizona State University and has also lived in Costa Rica and New York City. To her, the most intriguing fiction is forbidden, and that’s what you’ll find in her stories. Currently, she resides wherever her head lands, which is often the unexpected (but warm) keyboard of her trusty MacBook.

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