Wait For It

Wait For It by Molly O’Keefe

3.75 stars!

“Whatever this is…this impetus you have to help me right now, I know it’s a lie. You’re not kind, Blake, and I’ve had more than enough lies in my life. I don’t want any more.”

Even though I have enjoyed the majority of this series, I shamefully did not really recall the main characters in this installment. Luckily we got a bit of a reminder at the beginning, and I honestly believe this book can be read as a standalone novel.

Wait For It is about a woman named Tiffany, who has three kids and an abusive husband. She had a very bad past encounter with her brother in law Blake, and now a year later when she needs help he’s the one who wants to step in. But Tiffany doesn’t trust easily, especially the man who paid her off and treated her like trash. It’s up to Blake to figure out a way to help Tiffany and do the right thing.

“Listen to me,” he said. “I will never hurt you or touch you. I won’t put my hands on you unless you ask me. Beg me.” I gasped and fell back against the door, strength leaving my legs. “And I want you to beg me,” he said, still closer. “And I think someday you will.”

I found the best part about this book was the main characters and how flawed yet beautiful they both were. Both very much wanted someone to see through their hard exterior, and to be loved for who they truly were within. Granted, it took them both a while, because both of them had spent so many years building protective walls around their hearts.

O’Keefe delivers an intense, complicated romance filled with sensitive characters trying to change their lives for the better. You can’t help but root for this couple, they’ve dealt with so much crap in their lives and they deserve the best.

If you haven’t picked up a book in this series yet, make sure to buy this one!

“She was the miracle I was trying to hold on to.”

ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Defy

Defy by LJ Shen

4 stars!

^^^This is me, throwing all my reservations up in the air. It was helpful going into this novella knowing it was smutty fun with instalove/instalust because I knew what was to come.

Defy is a prequel novella to Vicious centering on the teacher/student affair between Melody and her student Jaime. Melody hates her job at an elite high school, and her boss the principal seems to hate her too. One day Jaime accidentally crashes into Jaime’s car, and from that encounter he makes it clear that his sights are set on Melody.

What ensues is a hot lusty romance that’s a lot of fun to read. I had seen a little bit of this couple in the book Vicious and wanted to know more about their story, so I was very much satisfied with this novella written for them.

I cannot wait to read more about the rest of the Hotholes!

ARC was provided by author in exchange for honest review

Infini

Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie

5 stars!

“The love we carry for each other is the strongest and most vulnerable place in us all.”

There’s one thing I always know when I start reading a KB Ritchie book: I’m going to fall in love with the characters. All of them, main characters or side characters, strong or silent, outspoken or timid. No one does character development like Krista and Becca Ritchie.

Infini tells us the story of Luka and Baylee, two performers who work for the same aerial company. The two were friends when they were teens, and they were in love. But harsh circumstances ripped them apart and still keep them apart in the present. The company wants to revamp one of their current shows and Luka finds himself working with Baylee once again. What follows is an emotional and angsty journey between two people who never really got over each other.

“He wants me beside him. Just like I want him beside me. More than anything.”

Infini is a book I have been dying to read, and it can be read as a standalone but I encourage you to read Amour Amour, if only to meet and get to know some of the characters. Amour Amour is a story that touched hearts and told the reader to follow their dreams. Infini to me is about not losing hope and to never give up on love. Baylee and Luka invoked the rawest emotions in me, I found myself at times either holding my breath or exhaling with relief while I was reading.

And for my angst junkies out there like me, BUY THIS BOOK! Those of you who don’t love angst? Everything that caused the angst was not unnecessary and was not added to the book solely to manufacture drama. It all makes sense, it all fits together and the characters and their actions will not frustrate you. I PROMISE.

Side characters, I almost always address this when I review a KB Ritchie book but I will again. I LOVE THEM!!!! We don’t get disposable one dimensional characters, nuh uh. We get believable and lovable and relatable and flawed AND wonderful side characters. They make the story so real and I find myself always wanting to know more about them. They add to the main characters and refine the world building in the books. Obviously I want to see more of ALL OF THEM. But for now can we pretty please have a Katya book? And a Sergei? And a Dimitri? AND a Timo/John?? You callin me greedy? NEVER.

I teared up near the end, my eyes burned with emotion for these characters. Luka makes an amazing hero and Baylee a stunning heroine. I would gladly read more about them and the world they live in any day of the week.

“Circus is family.”

ARC was provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review

The Queen of All That Lives

The Queen of All That Lives by Laura Thalassa

4.5 stars!

^^^That’s what sums up this series for me!

“It’s easy to love the dream. It’s much harder to love the reality.”

What an epic series. I am floored by how quickly I read all three, I loved them all so much. I can’t think of much more to say other than what I have said in my reviews for book 1 and 2. Basically I loved this series, it’s unique and thrilling. The characters aren’t perfect but they are raw and they are real.

If you are intrigued, take a chance on something new. And for all you KU readers, all three books are on kindle unlimited!

“I didn’t marry you because you were a pretty thing. I married you because you were a wicked one.”

The Queen of Traitors

The Queen of Traitors (Fallen World #2) by Laura Thalassa

5 stars!

All I gotta say is I am so glad all the books in this series are done or I would be losing my shit right now.

I don’t want to get too spoilery, but this book picks up where we left off at the end of the first book. Some things are cleared up fairly quickly and we resume the everyday struggle it is for Serenity and Montes to survive. Serenity seems to be quite the target for attacks and I was completely riveted the entire time I was reading this book. A part of me wants to say “fuck it” and stay up until dawn finishing the last book but you know, life and stuff. And work. And sleep. Gosh darn those things.

It’s been a LONG time since I have found a series that sucked me in like this, and I can already tell that this book hangover coming up will possibly kill me once I finish the series. Hold me.

And to book 3, I am coming for you, SOON.

The Queen of All That Dies

The Queen of All That Dies by Laura Thalassa

5 stars!

“Once upon a time we were innocent, and then we were not.”

In the future the world is at war and America is losing the fight against the king. Serenity has only known fighting and horror since she was a kid, and is among the soldiers in the WUN army. Her country is losing the war, and Serenity is sent with her father to make peace agreements with the king. From there it becomes clear she is meant to be an offering to the king, and he likes what he sees.

“What you choose to do with all that anger is your business. But you can’t control the world; someone will always be there to wrong you. It’s your choice to let it go.”

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read forever (sorry I took so long Christine) and now finally did. I loved it! An incredibly compelling story, I fell in love with this book right away. It’s just so refreshing to read something different than everything else that’s out there. I had been in a huge book slump before reading this, and this wonderful book pulled me out of it!

It’s rare when you find a near future dystopian romance that completely sucks you into its world. I felt like I was really there, in the barracks, in the palace. Like a movie playing before my eyes. Giant high five to the author for world building, it’s not an easy feat and she completely nailed it.

And now I get to the man who makes me and Serenity question our morals and sanity. Montes. The King.

But like seriously, I do. Ruthless, cunning, evil. And yet the compassion he showed Serenity, the love he had for her. Damn I wish I could marry this crazy messed up dude LOL.

Anyways, this book was amazing and unlike anything else I have ever read. If you find yourself intrigued, take the plunge and read this book!

“It should never have been this way. My comrades turning on me, my enemies saving me. But worst of all, I should never have felt anything other than hatred for this man, the king, Definitely not this, this warmth that thaws my soul.
I stare into the king’s eyes. I am Isolde, I am Juliet, I am Guinevere.
I am every one of those idiots because I’ve fallen for the king.”

Vicious

Vicious by LJ Shen

4.5 perfect a**hole hero stars!

“He’d treated me horribly in the past, but right now…he brought color into my life.”

Vicious is the story of Emilia and Vicious. In high school her parents worked for his family, and Vicious made her life a living hell. Now ten years later Emilia is living in New York when Vicious approaches her and offers her a job. She’s not stupid, she knows there’s more to this offer than he says there is, but Emilia is desperate and needs the money for her and her sister.

As they work together, Vicious continues to be the awful jerk he was before, but Emilia also sees a new side of him that he kept hidden from her years before. But she dreads what he’ll make her do and she scared of her heart being broken by him again.

“I used to think of you as a villain, but you’re not my villain. You’re your own villain.”

This was my first book by LJ Shen and I can honestly say it won’t be my last. She’s an author I’ve always been meaning to read and never made the time for, and I regret that now. Asshole heroes are not normally my favorite trope, but I loved Vicious so much! I think having his POV helped us as readers see his more vulnerable sides and made him so much more human.

The other thing that made this book great is Emilia. When it comes to asshole heroes, there is a fine line for the heroine in which she can become the victim and let the hero walk over her, or she can be the perfect counterpoint and deflect the harmful things they can say. Emilia was perfect! She knew what to let slide, she didn’t take his crap, and she saw past his asshole exterior and saw the vulnerable man beneath.

This was a book that was hard to put down and a story I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come. I am eager to read more by LJ Shen in the future!

“I loved her when I hated her. And I loved her when I didn’t want anything to do with her. I was so crazy about her, the lines had blurred together. Feelings were mixed, emotions twisted together.”

Good Boy

Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

4.5 stars!!!

Receiving this arc was like getting a Christmas present! It came at the perfect time during stressful holiday season.

Good Boy is a spin off of the Him series, which is two MM books before this one, BUT this can be read as a standalone and is MF. Jess Canning is planning her brother’s wedding to his boyfriend and it has to be perfect. Too many times she’s let her parents and family down with her restless spirit. The only thing that can get in the way of that is Blake, friend of the groom’s and a mistake Jess won’t make again.

Blake is the guy no one takes seriously, always happy and a fun guy to be around. And the more time he spends with Jess, the more and more he likes her and wants to see her. And little by little Blake begins to grow on Jess.

First thing I want to say is BLAKE IS MINE! That’s right ladies (and possibly gents), he is mine!!!! I called it!!! LOL

Ever since these characters were introduced I was excited to read their story so this book was a mother-frickin delight! I love that we got a back story of what happened when Jamie was sick, we got to see the wedding, and then a beautiful romance between two unlikely people.

One of my favorite parts about this book was the layers we saw behind both characters, this wasn’t just another romance. We got character development (and for those of you who know me well, I drool over character development). There’s more to Jess and Blake than meets the eye, and in the two of them discovering that about each other, we got a beautiful romance.

Full of laughter, feels and some seriously hot stuff, Good Boy is the book you need to escape reality and have a great time!

ARC provided by authors in exchange for an honest review

Bad Mommy

Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher

3.5 stars!

“How can you love someone who, in their essence, was a miserable, destructive wretch? We love ourselves, don’t we? We’re obsessed with ourselves, in fact. No? What you hate you also value.”

This is the second book I’ve read by Tarryn Fisher (if I don’t include Never Never) and it was quite the thought provoking read!

Bad Mommy is the story of Fig, a woman who believes that the soul of her miscarried child is in the body of the daughter of Jolene. Fig begins to fixate on Jolene and her family, even moving next door. At first it’s the daughter she wants, but as time goes by Fig turns her attention to Jolene’s husband Darius as well.

I think this was a very compelling read, one of those books where I read it straight through and was sneaking it in real life situations where you aren’t supposed to read. A part of me was wondering if there were people out there in the world that were really this fucked up, but I also believed it. All three main characters were an enigma, and it was hard to pin them down because their perspective and what they thought of each other were obviously unreliable sources.

Anyways, I really did like this book. Is it my normal go to kind of read? No. But I am still glad I read it. I know Fisher’s style is unique, and I went in not expecting rainbows and happiness. But at the end of the day I want finality with the books I read, I want closure. I want my questions to be answered instead of left open. And ultimately I didn’t get that from this book. But you know what? That’s on me. I’m sure there are so many people who will love this book and if you are curious about it, give it a shot! You may love it.

“She toyed with his loyalty to me by siding with him and painting me as the big, bad wolf. I was starting to wonder who was in control of our lives at this point. It most certainly didn’t feel like us.”

Wait For It

Wait For It by Mariana Zapata

4 stars!

“You can’t always wait for someone else to do the right thing when you can do it yourself.”

Mariana Zapata is the queen of the slow burn!

Wait For It is the story of Diana, a young aunt who is raising her two nephews after the death of her brother and his wife. Moving into a new neighborhood, Diana meets her neighbor when she rescues his brother from being beaten up. From this point, their lives mix between family and friends and little league games.

Dallas is a grumpy guy across the street, and while he warms up to her nephews, he doesn’t seem to like Diana very much. Over time the two reach a friendly agreement, and then become friends. But Dallas is married, pursuing a divorce, and Diana may want more, but she won’t go after it.

“Only thing cover model about Dallas was his resting bitch face that was too aggressive to be on the cover of anything other than a survival guide magazine.”

The moment I saw this puppy was live early, I one-clicked it so fast! I love this author, her slow burn romances are exactly what I needed in a world of instalove and women accidentally falling on men on page 2. I loved how much this book was about daily family life and Diana raising the kids more then it was about romance.

The slow burn, it’s more glacial than slow in this book but I honestly didn’t mind. But for those who you who want stuff to happen, we don’t even really get to know the hero until after 39% into the book. BUT like I said, I really enjoyed the daily life of Diana with the boys. I’m not a parent but I was laughing so hard at moments like Diana’s dread at hosting a sleepover and stress eating pop tarts. This book actually made me crave pop tarts and I don’t even eat them!

Dallas was a great hero, he was supportive and understanding and once he got to know Diana and her intentions he was good to her and her boys. This book made me like the strong and silent type.

“Because no one else was as kind or selfless, as giving or as patient, as loving in all the little and the big ways, as he was. I’d never really known what I wanted most of my life, but this—him—was it.”

Fire in You

Fire in You by J Lynn

4 stars!

“Scars, whether physical or emotional, could be not just a representation of survival but also a story of hope.”

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Reading a J Lynn book always feels like coming home.

The sixth book in this series, Fire In You, follows the characters Jillian and Brock. When Jillian was younger she was in love with Brock, following him around everywhere like a puppy dog. But one night of tragedy changed that, and Jillian hasn’t been the same since. Now, about six years later, Jillian has agreed to go to work for her dad, and Brock enters her life once again. But Jillian has changed, immensely, and she refuses to go back to the way things were between them while Brock is insistent on being in her life again.

“What in the actual hell of all nine circles of Hell was this?”

There isn’t a book in this series I haven’t enjoyed or loved. This one started out very strong, I like how JLA develops her heroines so we get a sense of who they are before we get more of the story. I could totally see where Jillian was coming from, her insecurities and bewilderment at Brock’s sudden interest in her. But I think his big brotherly feelings did develop into something more, I just wish we saw more of his journey than hers.

I devoured this book beginning to end. I’ve been in a romance slump lately and was wary of reading this, but JLA delivered a story that sucked me in and wasn’t the same as everything else. There’s a reason she’s one of my favorite authors, she almost never lets you down. If you’re in the mood for a romance to make you smile, this is the book for you.

“I love you because you have this fire in you that you don’t even recognise, but I do. You’re strong and you’re a survivor.”

Hold My Breath

Hold My Breath by Ginger Scott

3.5 stars!

“The hurt is almost good. It reminds me that something real was in my heart once, and as much as I want to run away from it, in this moment, I also want to hold onto it.”

Hold My Breath is the story of two swimmers, Will and Maddy. Growing up Maddy was in love with Will’s brother, until a tragic accident happens and Will survives and his brother dies. Four years later and Will wants to reenter the swimming world and he’s been training for it. This brings Will back into Maddy’s life, and all of his feelings for her from years ago return. The more time they spend together the more they ease back into their old friendship.

Ginger Scott knows how to pack an emotional punch into her books, I always know I can expect a good drama from her. This was a good slow burn romance, a bit slow at the beginning but it picked up pace near the end. Good for fans of sports romance and emotional romance.

”I’ve wanted Maddy since she dared me to beat her when we were kids racing in the pool. I’ve wanted to kiss her since I wrapped my hands around hers on the rope swing, and I know in my gut that I loved her first. I loved her more…and I loved her first.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for review

The Hating Game

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

4 IHATEJOSHUA4EV@ stars!!!

“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them.”

The Hating Game is a sleeper hit, it feels like it came out of nowhere and everyone seems to love it. After dragging my feet for a long time, I finally got my rear in gear and checked out this lovely from the library, and it was the perfect escape.

Lucy and Josh work in the same company in the same room. The two have hated each other since they first laid eyes on each other and every day at work is a semi hostile one with glares and witty barbs fired at each other. Now they are both up for a promotion and everything comes crashing together as they do their best to be the winner.

“It’s a corporate truth universally acknowledged that workers would rather eat rat skeletons than participate in group activities.”

While this book may be a tad predictable and full of stereotypes, I enjoyed every second that I spent reading it. I’m not normally one for the “I hate you but I love you” kind of trope, but Thorne nails it in her delivery of the book. I was blown away by the layers to the story, having only Lucy’s perspective the more I learned about Josh, the more I grew to love him. This book also had those little angsty tidbits that I just ate right up!

“You’ve broken me down so completely, I can’t even handle it when a guy tells me I’m beautiful.”

I found myself giggling while reading this. Lucy was a fantastic balance of intelligent, work wise, and naive when it came to interpreting Josh and his feelings for her. My favorite part of the entire book is when Lucy got sick (and that’s all I’ll say because I don’t want to spoil it for you).

Lately I haven’t been able to read romance because it all seems the same to me, and I am happy to say this book stands out amongst the sea of books that all sound alike to me. Bravo to Ms. Thorne for her debut novel and I eagerly await more of her books in the future.

“I’m probably not good at a lot of things, but I will try to be.”

Heat Wave

Heat Wave by Karina Halle

4 stars!

“There are moments if your life, people in your life, that when they cross your path and meet your eye, you know.”

Heat Wave is the story of Ronnie, a chef who was fired from her last job and traveling to Kauai, Hawaii to the only job that will have her. But it’s even more complicated than that. Her parents got her the job as the owner of the resort restaurant where she’ll work is that of her brother in law. He was married to her sister who passed away two years before. And the man Ronnie fell for before he fell for her sister.

Logan’s not an easy boss to work for, he’s angry and grumpy. But it only makes Ronnie want to prove herself more that she can pull her weight at the hotel. The more time she spends with Logan, the more she begins to feel for him. But at the same time, her guilt grows as well.

“You reap what you sow. I chose what I thought was the lesser of two evils and not a moment goes by that I’m not reaping it.”

Karina Halle delivers an emotional and angsty romance readers everywhere will love. I used to travel to Kauai a lot when I was younger and this book felt like an escape back to an island that I love, Halle obviously knows this island well.

Ronnie and Logan are an unforgettable couple, caught in an unescapable web that was created by a mistake made years before. I felt for Ronnie for much of the book, her family was so horrible to her and I just wanted to give her a hug. I loved that Logan was always supportive of Ronnie, even when they weren’t together.

If you’re looking for a story of second chances and righting past wrongs, this is the book for you. Just be prepared for the feels about to come your way.

“You’re like…. a hurricane. And she was the….”
“Calm before the storm?”
“No. She was the underground bunker. The shelter. Could withstand anything and come out looking clean while everything around her is destroyed. She could hide and avoid damage.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

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Synopsis

They say when life closes one door, another one opens.

This door happens to lead to paradise.

And a man I can never, ever have.

 

Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica “Ronnie” Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it.

 

The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy:

Logan Shephard.

It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl.

What does matter is that he’s a grump.

Kind of an asshole, too.

And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else.

 

But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating.

 

There’s just one major catch.

 

The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from.

 

Forbidden, Illicit, off-limits – sometimes the heat is worth surrendering to, even if you get burned.

 

 

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31835516-heat-wave?ac=1&from_search=true

AMAZON: http://bit.ly/HEATWAVE-KH-Kindle

Paperback: http://www.bit.ly/HEATWAVE-PB
Preorder iBooks: http://bit.ly/HEATWAVE-iTunes

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heat-wave-karina-halle/1124593528?ean=2940153728636

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ABOUT KARINA HALLE

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit http://www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.

 

LINKS:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karina-Halle/140649372629593

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetalBlonde

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4785031.Karina_Halle?from_search=true

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Karina-Halle/e/B0050KE63C/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1407546895&sr=8-2-ent

 

 

Muscular back and sexy torso of young man with perfect abs

Muscular back and sexy torso of young man with perfect abs

 

EXCERPT

I saw him first.

It shamed me to think it then, it shames me to think it now.

But that’s what the truth does to you sometimes. It shames you because it’s only in the truth that you realize how human you really are. What a raw, devastating thing that is, to embrace your humanity and learn to live with all your sharp points, the hollow places, the cracks and the crevices. To be utterly real. To be terribly flawed.

Those cracks had always been forming inside me, slowly making their way to the surface over the years. In my family, there wasn’t much you could do but try and hold yourself together, to stick glue on your wounds, to paste over the imperfections. But the cracks still grew, until all of us were held together by crumbling cement, just statues waiting to collapse.

That was years and years ago. I was just twenty-two at the time. A baby. I’m still a baby in the grand scheme of things, but there’s something precious about your early twenties, where you think you’re so much older, bigger, than you are, where life is just about to deliver the crushing blows that will knock you off your feet for the rest of your days. The small things become the big things and the big things become the small things and you aren’t quite sure when they made the switch.

But in the end, I saw him first. He was mine, even before he knew it. He was mine in some strange way that I still don’t understand. The only way I can think of to explain it is…

You just know.

There are moments in your life, people in your life, that when they cross your path and meet your eye, you know. Maybe it’s all in the chemistry, certain pheromones that react when they mix together, maybe it’s a smell that triggers a memory, maybe it’s a glimpse at a future you don’t recognize or a hint at the past, a life you’ve lived and forgotten. Whatever it is, you know that moment, that person, is going to shape you for the rest of your life.

That’s what it was like when I saw him. Standing over by the windows and staring out Lake Michigan, like he was wishing he could be anywhere but there.

I wished the same. My mother’s the deputy mayor of Chicago and this was another one of her fundraisers I felt obliged to attend. It was tradition in my family, for my father, for me, for my sister, to show up and wave the flag of support. It didn’t seem to matter that the stuffy politicians that surrounded these events never paid me any attention. And if they did, it was the wrong kind of attention, always the sixty-year-old man leering after the young thing with the nice smile.

Luckily I didn’t smile all that often. My resting bitch face took over whenever I was deep in thought, which was pretty much all the time.

But this guy…I felt a kinship with him. I felt like I knew exactly what he was thinking, feeling, and that it was completely wrapped up in and connected to everything that was going through me.

I don’t know where I found the nerve to go over and talk to him. He seemed so much older, not quite the sixty-year-old politicians I was used to seeing, but maybe in his early-thirties. More than that, there was some kind of aura around him. Sounds stupid, I know. Whatever it was, it was like he belonged in some whole other universe than here, a star on earth, permanently grounded and yearning to be in the sky.

It was usually Juliet’s job to go around and make everyone feel warm and comfortable at these events—hell, in every event—but she wasn’t here yet. And though I could have easily stayed in the shadows, I was pulled to him, like he had a wave of gravity whirling around him.

I remember what I was wearing. Strappy flats because I hated wearing heels, a knee-length cocktail dress in emerald green, sleeveless, high-neck. It made me look older and I wore it because my mother always wanted me to look like a lady.

With a glass of champagne in hand, I made my way over to the windows, my heart racing the closer I got to him. He looked taller up close, well over six feet. His shoulders were broad, like a swimmer’s, and suddenly I had a vision of him diving into the lake. The navy blue suit he was wearing looked well-tailored but he seemed uncomfortable in it, like he couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

I stood beside him for a moment, following his gaze out the window. He seemed lost in his thoughts but out of my peripheral his head tilted slightly and he brought his eyes over to me while I kept staring at that wide expanse of water, stretching out to the horizon.

“Can’t wait to get out of here?” I asked, but though my tone was mild, my delivery was bold. It was as if someone else had taken a hold of my body, forcing me to speak. I slowly turned my head to meet his eyes.

I was taken aback for a second. He was staring at me like he knew me, even though I’d never seen him before. Then again, I was sure I’d been staring at him in the same way. That feeling of knowing. He knew me, I knew him, and who the hell knows how that was possible.

His eyes were brown—are brown—dark with currents of gold and amber, giving them beautiful clarity. Slightly almond shaped. His brows were also dark, arched, adding to the intensity of his gaze. He’s the type of guy whose eyes latch onto you, dig deep, trying to sift through the files of your life, see who you really are.

“How did you know?” he asked, a full-on Australian accent rumbling through his gruff voice. It made my stomach flip, my core smolder. How deed you now, is what it sounded like. Funny how I stopped hearing the accent after time.

I gave a half shrug and looked back to the party. More people had flooded the room, mingling around the appetizers. My mother was in the corner, a crowd of politicians around her. She didn’t see me. She never did.

“Because I think I’d rather be in the middle of Lake Michigan too,” I told him, “then be stuck here with all these people.”

“These people,” he repeated. My focus was drawn to his lips, full, wide, tilting up into a smirk. Beneath them was a strong chin and even sharper jaw, dusted with a five o’clock shadow that seemed permanent, like the man couldn’t get a clean shave even if he tried. “How do you know I’m not one of these people?”

“Because you’re over here and not over there. How come you keep answering my questions with more questions?”

He studied me for a moment. My blood pounded in my head and I felt a giddy kind of thrill at how this was progressing. If anything, I was proud for holding my own with this handsome stranger. He was the first man I ever really felt at ease with.

He cleared his throat, offered me a quick smile before he nodded at the lake, his hands sliding into his pockets. “She almost looks like the ocean, doesn’t she?”

“Not quite the same as Australia, I would imagine.”

“No hiding this accent, is there?” He glanced at me and stuck out his hand, which I shook for a moment, warm palm to warm palm. “I’m Logan Shepard. Australian. And the reason I’m here is because I was invited by a friend of mine. I’m only in town for a few days and he didn’t want to go alone. He’s over there.” He nodded at a tall black man in the corner, listening intently to another man.

“Warren Jones,” he said, as if I should know him. Perhaps I should. He probably thought I was one of them. “He’s local and the key piece to my investment.”

I wasn’t one for business talk—I never had anything to contribute other than lamenting student loans—but I wanted him to keep talking. “What’s your investment?”

“Starting my own hotel,” he said. “In Hawaii. Have you ever been there?”

“Once. When I was eight. I think we were in Honolulu. I remember a city, anyway. Waikiki Beach.”

“This hotel is in Kauai. The Garden Isle. Went there once as a teenager and couldn’t get it out of my mind.”

I didn’t know the right things to say. I wanted to ask more about the hotel, what it means when you have an investor, but I didn’t want to appear dumb. I kept my mouth shut.

“You haven’t introduced yourself,” he said. “Protecting a secret identity?”

I smiled, close-lipped. “Not really. I’m Veronica Locke. American. And I unfortunately I don’t have much else to add to that.”

“Locke?” he repeated, eyes darting to my mother. “Are you the daughter of the deputy mayor, Rose Locke?”

“One of them,” I told him.

He nodded quickly. “I see. No wonder you’d rather be in the middle of the bloody lake. I bet you have to do this stuff all the time.”

“It’s not so bad.” I took a sip of my drink so I didn’t have to say anything more and looked away at the crowd. The bubbles teased my nose, making my eyes water.

I could feel his gaze on me as he spoke. “I’m sure you have plenty more to say about yourself though. Where do you work? Student?”

“Culinary arts,” I told him. “I’m one of those crazy people who dream of being a chef one day.”

He frowned. “Why is that crazy?”

I gave him a look, forgetting that most people have no idea how hard it is. “Because it’s a long road, long hours, and nothing is guaranteed. People think being a chef is easy. They see Gordon Ramsey or Nigella Lawson and think it’s all fame and food and money and they have no idea what it’s really like. I’m not even out of school and already I feel half-beaten.”

He was still frowning. He did that a lot, I would soon learn. “Sounds like life to me.” His eyes dropped to my lips and something intensely carnal came over them, like suddenly I was the food, not the wannabe chef. “Did you want to get a drink somewhere. After this? When you’ve done your daughterly duties?”

I swallowed hard. I didn’t know what a drink meant. Just a drink? A date? Was it sex? I started going through my head, trying to think of reasons why it was a bad idea. My legs were shaved, did my bra and underwear match? Did I have a condom? I had taken the pill this morning, even though my last boyfriend and I had broken up months ago. I hadn’t been with a guy, let alone a man, in a long time.

Don’t flatter yourself, I quickly thought. What makes you think he’d be interested in you that way?

“Yes,” I said when I finally found my voice. “Yes, I would like that.”

A spark flashed in his eyes, lighting them up in such a way that made my toes literally curl. Damn. I was in trouble with this man. “Any way you can get out of your duties sooner?” he asked.

I couldn’t help but smile, raising my brow at his presumptuousness, while simultaneously trying to hide the fact that I was freaking out. I looked around the room and tried to judge how likely it was that someone would notice if I was gone. My mom was still surrounded by a wall of people and no one was paying any attention to us, standing by the windows, already removed.

A sad thought hit me, sliding past before I could really dwell on it: no one even notices when I’m here.

“If we’re quick and sneaky,” I told him.

“Being quick isn’t in my repertoire,” he said, “but I could give it a shot.”

Again. Damn. I wasn’t one to blush but I could feel my cheeks heating up and hoped my skin supressed the flush. He was so much older than me in so many ways, the last thing I wanted was to appear the naïve schoolgirl.

And I didn’t know what to say to that. He was staring at me with those dark eyes, a look so intense yet sparkling with charm and something…wicked.

I’d never find out how wicked they could be.

“Ronnie!” A melodic, ultra-feminine voice sliced through the moment like an unwieldy machete, causing me to flinch, my fingers tightening around the stem of the glass.

Oh no, I thought. Not now.

Logan’s head swiveled toward the sound of the voice, like a hound picking up a scent. I didn’t bother looking over, I kept my focus on him, watching his expression intently. It changed, as I knew it would.

She had walked into the room.

He saw her.

And like it was for so many men, that look of lust I had thought was for me, was now for her.

That’s when I knew it was over. Whatever thing I had felt for him, it didn’t matter anymore, not when she was in the room. Nothing ever mattered as long as she was around.

I might have saw him first.

But he was all hers after that.

A Place in the Sun

A Place in the Sun by RS Grey

4 stars!!!

I really enjoyed this book, it was my first from this author and I think it was a great one to start with. Plus, I have come to find I enjoy Italian men a lot more in books than I do in real life!

A Place in the Sun is the story of Georgie, a British girl who spur of the moment travels to Italy to escape her well meaning but smothering mother. There she travels to the seaside town of Vernazza, a cliffside beach town. Georgie makes an eventful entrance to the small down, and soon becomes friends with the locals. But she is entranced by Gianluca, a widower with so many walls around him no one can break through.

Over time Georgie worms her way into a friendship and work relationship with Luca. The two get along well, and there may be something more. But Luca still loves his wife, and there isn’t room for anyone else.

I have to say near the beginning of this book I was thinking it might now have been for me. Georgie is very much the character that went after Luca, and with my romance I prefer when the guy pursues the girl instead of the other way around. But I think RS Grey did a good job with this because Georgie wasn’t being insensitive, she knew just how far to push Luca before backing off. And then they became friends so it was no longer a chase.

Second half of the book was way more my style, with steamy parts and angsty parts. We finally got to the meat of the story with the second half, delving into Luca’s issues and Georgie’s insecurities. I like that Georgie was confident, yet she didn’t want to make a fool of herself. She was a good heroine because she showed vulnerability to the reader and it made her human to me.

This book can easily be read as a summer romance, or any other time of year! I found myself longing for a beach of my own now in the colder months of fall. This book will make you crave gelato, wine and Italian men! I cannot wait to try more books by this author, she did a splendid job with this book and left me wanting more.