Release Blitz : The Crown Prince’s Bride by Donna Alward

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Summary:

A Crown Prince gets a second chance at love with the woman who’s always been there – in the next book in the prince duology from Donna Alward!

The Crown Prince of Marazur is suffering from a broken heart. After losing his wife and future queen, he knows he’ll never find love again with a partner as wonderful as her. He’s thrown himself into his duties and is trying to be a better father to his two children, but he’s lonely. Even though falling in love seems impossible, so does spending the rest of his life alone.

Stephani has been Raoul’s assistant for years. Smart, loyal, and discreet, Stephani is fantastic at her job. Except for the fact that she’s been in love with her boss since her first week of employment, not that she would ever act on it. Besides, Raoul is first in line to the throne and she’s his assistant. If Raoul ever marries again, it’ll be with someone who can be a future queen. Not someone like Stephani.

When Raoul’s date for a state dinner is unable to attend, he invites Stephani. She’s well-versed on the issues and castle protocol, and Raoul’s always been comfortable with her. But when Stephani arrives, Raoul hardly recognizes her. Is this stunning woman the same one who’s run his office for years?

The Crown Prince’s Bride is the ultimate fairytale for readers looking for Cinderella to get her prince—and be able to keep him past midnight.

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My Review

Rating : 3.5 out of 5 Stars

This book is a charming, moving and bittersweet story of new beginnings. The way the story started drew me in immediately. I loved the hero, Raoul Navarro, he is a man who has been going through a lot. He is grieving the loss of his wife and the pressures of his responsibilities as Crown Prince are weighing him down.

Stephani Savalas is Raoul’s wife’s cousin and his efficient personal assistant. Stephani has had a thing for Raoul since she met him but she is conflicted about the idea of a relationship with her cousin’s widow. They both need time to explore their mutual feelings and deal with their attraction to one another. The story delves into their emotions and mixed feelings. The conflict within both of them was very strong, there was a lot of push and pull and insecurities to overcome. Both are honorable, considerate and loyal but they tend to bottle up their feelings. Their story is sweet and touching, the author did a great job of keeping me engaged, as they start acknowledging that they are drawn to each other. I loved seeing them slowly open up to each other. Although I enjoyed this beautifully written story, the author introduced a final twist I was not so keen on.  Overall, despite a somewhat rushed ending, this story was definitely worth reading.

ARC generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.

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Excerpt

Late August

Stephani surveyed the ballroom, ensuring everything was running smoothly and to her satisfaction. As the executive assistant to the Crown Prince of Marazur, it was her job to make sure that Raoul Navarro’s birthday party went off without a hitch.

So far the dinner had been delicious, the traditional almond cake devoured, and the music and dancing had begun. She started to breathe a bit easier now.

“Señorita Savalas? Champagne?”

She turned to the footman who carried several full glasses on his silver tray. “Sí, gracias.” She smiled and took a flute from the tray,then sipped gratefully. The dry, fizzy liquid delighted her tongue. By royal standards, the party was small, but no expense had been spared. Including this particularly fine vintage.

Raoul deserved a wonderful party after the year he’d had.Considering this was the first real event at the palace since his wife,Princess Cecilia, had tragically died, Stephani had pulled out all the stops.

It was her job. And it was more than just a job, too.Because for the last seven years, she’d been in love with her boss.

Her boss, who had been married to her cousin.

Her boss, who was now a widower with two small children.

Right now Raoul was mingling with a group that included the finance minister and the gentleman’s twenty-something daughter. The girl looked up at Raoul with something like hero worship, and Stephani smiled to herself.He was at least ten years too old for her, but he was extraordinarily handsome with his black hair and dark, soulful eyes. New lines had appeared at either side of his lips, but Stephani thought they only added to his allure.

She joined the group and smiled at everyone, then spoke briefly before turning her attention to the Italian attaché. There was also a representative from the French tourism ministry and she switched languages effortlessly.

“You’re exceptionally good at that.”

Raoul’s deep voice vibrated at her ear and she suppressed adelighted shiver. She pasted a platonic smile on her face and turned around.“Oh, hello. Having a good time?”

“More than I expected. And what about you? Are you enjoying yourself? Or just working the room?” He lifted an eyebrow.

“Just making everyone feel welcome.”

“And showing off the fact you can speak . . .” He counted silently on his fingers. “Five languages? Six?”

“Five,” she confirmed. “My Russian and German are more of a danger than an asset. I could ruin diplomatic relations in two sentences.”

He chuckled, and she let herself enjoy the sound. Raoul didn’t laugh much at all recently, but the wine pairings at dinner and the open bar had loosened him up considerably.

She hadn’t seen him this relaxed since . . .

A confusing wave of grief swept over her. Maybe she’d had a secret thing for Raoul for ages, but she’d also loved her cousin deeply.Everyone had loved Ceci. And Stephani missed her. Ceci would have loved a party like this. She would have sparkled like the diamond she was. Stephani was far better behind the scenes. It had always been that way, even when they were kids.

“It’s good to hear you laugh, Raoul.”

His eyes met hers. “It’s good to laugh again. It’s been awhile.”

“Of course.” She didn’t want to dampen the mood of the evening, so she smiled instead and nodded toward a woman skirting the dancefloor. “Look. Rose has come back. The children were lovely at dinner, don’t you think?”

His gaze followed the new nanny. “You helped with her dress for the evening?”

“I did.”

“My brother can’t take his eyes off of her.”

“I think Diego has finally met his match. Do you approve?”

“Yes and no?” He shrugged. “My first priority is the children, and they seem to adore her.”

“Of course.”

“But she is also a lovely person.” He sent her a sideways smile. “Better than Diego deserves.”

She laughed a little. “You don’t really believe that.”

“No, I don’t. He’s been . . . different. Especially the last few months. Since . . .”

His voice trailed off, but she knew what he’d meant. Since Ceci died.

Everything was different since Ceci had died.

He nudged her elbow. “I don’t want to drag down the party.Do you want to dance, Steph?”

Did she? She’d only imagined it a million times.Particularly at every palace function when she’d stood on the sidelines with her clipboard while Ceci held Raoul in her arms. The perfect couple, a prince and princess, utterly in love.

She hesitated long enough that he stepped back. “Lo siento.I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

“You didn’t,” she hurried to assure him. “I’d love to dance.” It might be her one and only chance. She put her champagne down on a nearby table and smiled up at him. “Shall we?”

The band had switched to a slower song, and he led her to the polished parquet and took her in his arms. She swallowed tightly . . . ohmy. He was smooth, effortless, and his hand was warm against the hollow of her back. His fingers tightened over hers and she bit down on her lip. Raoul, she thought, wondering why on earth she insisted on torturing herself day in and day out. Why couldn’t she manage to shake this silly attraction? Besides, he only ever saw her as his assistant. If he had any idea of her feelings . . .Ugh. Work would be unbearably awkward.

“You look lovely tonight,” he said, his lips only inches from her ear. “The little black dress was a good choice.”

“It’s Versace.” She strangled out the words.

Their feet kept moving, and their bodies seemed to drift closer, until the lapels of his jacket brushed against her breasts. She could feel his heat, smell his cologne.

She should resign. Find another position somewhere, away from the longing for what she could never have. Except this was the perfect job. Wonderful pay, wonderful perks, and . . . well, the family relied on her.She knew that. It was more than a job, and more than just Raoul. She cared about them all. King Alexander, Diego, the children . . . they were her family now that Ceci was gone. She had no immediate family of her own. What remained of the Savalas family was spread out over Greece and Spain. She didn’t even know half of them. Ceci had been her anchor, and in her absence, the Navarros had become her surrogate family.

The song ended and Raoul stood back, but his face had lost the relaxed easiness of before, and a small furrow had appeared between his brows. “Is everything okay?” she asked, suddenly panicked that maybe she’d been the one to drift closer and inadvertently created an awkward moment between them.

“Diego danced with Rose, and she’s just left him standing in the middle of the floor,” he said quietly.

“Maybe there’s trouble in paradise.”

“You should talk to him.”

“I know. It’s never been easy, though. We’re so different.We always seem to cross swords.”

“That’s because you’re more alike than you think. You have to start giving him a chance. He’s more reliable than you give him credit for.”

Back to business. She felt on solid ground when she could focus on business.

She patted his arm. “I’m going to check on the kitchen staff. Señora Ortiz is planning a smaller buffet close to midnight.”

She went to leave and he reached for her hand. “Stephani?”

She focused on his face, because the fact that he was holding her hand was doing funny things to her insides. “Yes?”

“Thank you, for all this. I know I’ve been difficult the last few months. Tonight, having people and music in the house again . . .”

The butterflies in her belly grew heavy. “It must be difficult.”

“Yes. No. I mean, it’s been good. I can’t live my life being gloomy and unhappy all the time. This wouldn’t have happened without you.”

She smiled. “The people need to see that you’re still okay.”

He squeezed her fingers. “I need to know I’m okay. Thishelped. Thank you.”

And he leaned forward and kissed her cheek.

His breath was warm against her skin, and she might be mistaken but she would swear his mouth lingered there just a moment longer than necessary. Heat rushed to her face and she muttered a hasty “you’re welcome”before darting away. She didn’t want him to see her blush. Or the fact that his casual touch had the power to make her normal unflappable reserve desert her completely.

* * *

Raoul downed his fourth—or was it fifth?—Scotch and put the cut crystal glass down on a table. The midnight buffet had been set out, a light meal for those partygoers working up an appetite on the dance floor.Diego had disappeared ages ago, chasing after Rose.

His brother was in love. The real thing. And Raoul had congratulated him and wished him well, when all he could think of was how horrible it felt to have his heart ripped out of his chest in the actions of a moment. That perhaps love wasn’t worth it. He might actually believe that if it weren’t for Emilia and Max. The children were all he had left of Ceci, and he wouldn’t trade his marriage with her for anything.

Not even the pain of losing her.

They hadn’t let him go to the scene of the accident, but he didn’t have to. The news had shown the mangled wreck in full detail. A leaked phone video had shown the paramedics taking Emilia and Max from the car, and their driver, Marco, sitting with a white bandage on his uncommonly pale face.And there’d been a glimpse of the body bags, too—Ceci’s, and Mariana’s, the royal family’s nanny.

He went to the bar and got another Scotch. He was a year older, and life did go on. He even had moments of happiness. Tonight had been fun, but now that the evening was winding down, he was missing Ceci more than ever.

Would it be very bad form for him to leave the party before his guests? He suspected it would.

As he took a drink of his Scotch, he spotted Stephani across the room. She didn’t look tired at all, even though he knew she’d been here since about seven this morning and hadn’t stopped all day. He wasn’t sure where she got her stamina, but she was the best assistant he’d ever had. She’d been working for him long enough that she anticipated his needs. Hiring Ceci’s cousin had started out as a favor to his wife. Stephani had graduated from university but was working as an event server at a resort in Barcelona to make ends meet. She hadn’t had the resources Ceci did—she’d been the poor cousin who’d had to work her way through. Ceci had known Stephani wouldn’t take a handout, and Raoul had reluctantly agreed to give her a chance. It turned out to be a brilliant business decision.

He sipped again. Didn’t hurt that she was gorgeous, either.Her silky hair was the same inky color as her black dress and she wore heels that showed off her very fine legs. Stephani worked the room like the greatest of ambassadors and hostesses rolled into one. She was so like Ceci in that regard,warm and generous. But different, too. Focused, sharp. Ceci’s biggest quality had been her capacity for love and kindness. Stephani’s was to take that warmth and use it to its best advantage—while staying out of the spotlight.

She laughed and he swore he heard it across the room, above the music and the chatter. His body tightened in response, an uncomfortable and yet somehow welcome experience. He was thirty-seven, for God’s sake, and heir to the throne. Unlike his brother, he didn’t have the luxury—or the inclination—to play the field. But he was still a man. A young man, really.What was he going to do, stay a widower for the rest of his life? Stay celibate? It was utterly unrealistic.

Maybe he shouldn’t have had so much Scotch. He should go. No one would miss him now, would they? Particularly not Steph. He’d thanked her and kissed her cheek, and she’d literally run off. What had he been thinking?

He left the ballroom and headed for the stairs, then reconsidered. He’d rather get some fresh air and clear his head after all the alcohol.

The hall to the back entrance of the castle was narrow and once he descended the steps, he reached a stone-encased alcove. Fresh air filtered in, moist and balmy in the summer heat, and he shrugged off his jacket and dropped it in a corner. It would be dusty but he didn’t care. Instead he leaned back against the cool stone and closed his eyes. His head swam instantly and he opened them again, seeking equilibrium.

And there she was.

“I brought you a bottle of water,” Stephani said softly. She uncapped it and held it out. “You need to rehydrate.”

He took it and drank deeply. “How did you know I was here?”

She met his gaze evenly. “Your Highness, it’s my job to know where you are at all times. Even more than your security.”

“Thass right. You’re my right hand.” He heard the slur andwas mortified. He never got drunk. Never. But he had tonight. It was definitely a good thing he’d left the party.

She smiled at him. “Oh my. You did hit the Scotch ratherhard, didn’t you?”

He didn’t answer. Didn’t know how to answer.

“Slurring in front of the finance minister wouldn’t be a smart move.”

He looked over at her. “Really? I doubt he’d notice.”

“Oh, he’d notice. Rumor has it he addressed his own alcohol issues a few months ago and has been dry ever since. I watched. He didn’t take any wine at dinner.”

And this was one of the reasons Steph was so valuable. She always had her ear to the ground. Always seemed to know what was going on and with whom.

Which made him look at her a little more closely. “So, Miss Observant, how long did you know about Diego and Rose?”

She laughed. “Almost from day one.”

“I like it when you laugh.”

Her smile faded. “Sir?”

“Don’t ‘sir’ me, Steph. We’ve been past that for years.You’re family.”

A strange look passed over her face and he wondered what it meant, but then she was smiling again and he thought he might have imagined it.“I’m Ceci’s cousin, that’s all. We’re not blood relatives.”

“No,” he said quietly. “We’re not.”

And the strange feeling he’d had while dancing with her returned. Like his skin was somehow shrinking, taut with . . . damn, he couldn’t be feeling attraction. That would just be wrong.

And yet . . . he dropped his gaze to her lips. They were plump and red, fuller than Ceci’s had been, and right now they opened just a little as Stephani inhaled sharply.

“Raoul,” she cautioned.

He dragged his gaze back up to her eyes, expecting to see disapproval, but instead they were wide with what he could only figure was equal awareness. He stepped closer, testing her, and watched as her pupils dilated.

“Raoul,” she repeated, an edge of desperation in her voice.But not fear. He was clear-headed enough to recognize that wistful sound of longing, and when he lifted his hand and placed it along her cheek, her breath came out in a rush against the pad of his thumb.

And then he kissed her.

She tasted like dry champagne and a trace of almonds and citrus from the cake earlier, plus a darker flavor that was sultry, sexy woman.The little dress she wore was utterly appropriate, even conservative, but the woman inside it was so very alive and responsive. Her tongue met his as he deepened the kiss, and with a sigh of surrender she curled her arms around his shoulders and melted into him.

His body responded, and he was just man enough—just drunk enough—to be grateful. For the first time since Ceci’s death, he was happy he hadn’t died with her.

Ceci.

He stepped back from Stephani, breaking the kiss and putting a few feet between them. Her chest rose and fell rapidly, her lips were slightly swollen and parted. It would be so easy to step forward and take her in his arms. Press her against the stone wall, feel her body beneath his.

But she was Ceci’s cousin.

And she was too valuable . . . no, too important for him to treat her in such a cavalier, self-indulgent way. She was Stephani. The person he counted on most.

“I’m so sorry,” he murmured, shoving his hands into his pockets. “Steph, I . . . I have no excuse. That was so wrong of me.”

Her lips closed and she lifted her chin, though he thought,for just a fleeting second, that her lower lip quivered a bit. “Think nothing of it, sir,” she said firmly. “It was the Scotch talking, that’s all.”

“Yes, the Scotch . . .” His voice trailed off for a moment.“Forgive me, Steph.”

“There’s nothing to forgive.” Her voice sounded oddly thick,but he thought maybe it was because they were still ensconced within the stonewalls of the alcove.

“You put together this wonderful party. You always have my back. You must know how I appreciate all you do.”

She met his gaze and smiled a little. Was she sad? Why wasn’t she angry? He took a breath, then remembered the little sound of acquiescence she’d made as she wrapped her arms around his neck and the word she had been going to say stuck in his throat.

She had welcomed the contact. Wholeheartedly. What the hell did this mean?

He wasn’t sure how to ask, and after too long of a hesitation, she put her hand on his arm and gave a little squeeze. “It’s my job,” she said softly. “Try to sober up. I’ll see you in the office tomorrow.”

Then she slipped away, her footsteps echoing on the stone steps.

Raoul had no desire to go back to the party. Instead he picked up his dusty jacket, made his way into the garden—Ceci’s garden—and found a vacant bench.

Then he took the little silver flask from his jacket pocket,unscrewed the cap, and took a big swig.

Stephani was off-limits. Tomorrow he’d reset the boundaries and they’d go back to normal. And if he ever did decide to . . . have a romance again, it wouldn’t be with his assistant.

No matter how alluring she’d turned out to be.
Copyright © 2018 by Donna Alward in The Crown Prince’s Bride and reprinted by permission of Swerve.

About the Author:

Donna Alward_Marti Corn Photography

A busy wife and mother of three (two daughters plus the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly twelve years in Alberta where her romance career began, writing about cowboys and the west. She is the author of Somebody Like You, Somebody’s Baby, and Someone to Love.

Social Links:

Twitter: @DonnaAlward

Author Website: http://www.donnaalward.com/

Facebook: @DonnaAlwardAuthor

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Blog Tour : The Duke of Ice by Darcy Burke

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The Duke of Ice, an all-new historical standalone from USA Today bestselling author Darcy Burke, is available NOW!

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Title: The Duke of Ice

Author: Darcy Burke

Genre: Historical Romance

Publishing Date: December 26th, 2017

Synopsis

Everyone Nicholas Bateman ever loved has died. Except Violet Caulfield, which must mean he never loved her. Eight years after she threw him over to marry a viscount, Nick is a widowed duke who prefers isolation. When a friend convinces him to leave his lair of self-imposed solitude, he considers taking another wife, provided she agrees to his terms: no emotional attachment of any kind.

Now widowed, Lady Violet Pendleton hopes for a second chance with the man she’s always loved. But she isn’t prepared for the desolation in his soul or the animosity he still bears toward her. Despite those obstacles, it’s clear their passion hasn’t dimmed. However, the heat between them isn’t enough to melt the Duke of Ice, and this time Violet may find herself the jilted party. Can love, once so tragically lost, finally be found?

My Review

 Rating : 3.5 out of 5 Stars

This book was well-written and entertaining, although I never particularly rooted for the hero of the story, I just couldn’t relate to him. Nick Bateman, The Duke of Kilve, has been nicknamed the Duke of Ice, and is indeed aloof, cold and distant. Tragedy has deeply affected him and he has banished himself from society. He is a loner and a recluse mourning the death of his wife and son. His life is ordered and without upset, his emotions are managed. His best friend is determined to help him come out of the darkness with the help of his former love, Lady Violet Pendleton.

Both Nick and Violet have to overcome conflicting emotions, turmoil and fears of failure. There are painful, heartbreaking parts in their mutual past.

Nick is still incredibly angry with Violet. She disappointed him and he has not forgiven her. I was happy to see both of them eventually work things out slowly but surely. I loved how persistent and patient Violet was, because Nick was afraid to feel again.

While overall I wished for more, the story climax and ending won me over. This was my first book by Darcy Burke and I’ll definitely read Simon and Diana’s story “The Duke of Ruin”.

ARC generously provided by the author and Social Butterfly PR.

Excerpt:

“Looks like it’s you and Lady Pendleton,” Simon said. His voice carried a hint of something.

Nick snapped his head toward his friend and detected the glimmer of a smile in his gaze. He was enjoying this. He was playing matchmaker. And he had his sights set on Nick and Violet. Bloody hell.

Nick wanted to be angry, but his pull toward Violet was too strong. He’d felt it last night and again today when Simon had asked if it would be odd for him to pursue her. Nick had been jealous. Shockingly, blood-boilingly, desperately jealous.

The realization shook him to the core.

“Who’s to be the crier?” Simon asked.

“Why not Mr. Adair since he won Kiss the Nun?” Seaver suggested.

With everyone in agreement, Violet and Nick moved to the center of the room.

“Is this awkward?” she whispered.

“No.” His pulse quickened. Should he kiss her or should he fail?

His mind screamed the latter. And really, that was for the best. Jealousy aside, he and Violet had no future, not when their past was so painful.

And yet when they knelt with their backs to each other, he caught her scent of rose and an earthy spice. It was wholly feminine yet slightly wild. He hadn’t smelled a rose in the past eight years without thinking of her. His body reacted, heating at her proximity.

“Make ready,” Adair said.

Nick looked over his right shoulder and felt the air move as she looked over her left.

“Present.”

Nick leaned close to her cheek. He could feel her warmth, and his skin tingled.

Fire.”

He moved closer, but she sprang up. Instinctively, he reached for her, his arm curling about her waist. He pulled her back down. To stop her from hitting the floor, he spun to his back and sprawled, bringing her down on top of him. He cupped the side of her face and kissed her, his lips sliding over hers for a brief but delicious moment.

“The cheek,” she murmured, her gaze locked with his.

He leaned up and brushed his mouth against the soft flesh of her cheek. His lips lingered perhaps a second too long, but he didn’t care. Desire coursed through him, and for the first time in years, he felt alive.

AN

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The Forbidden Duke (The Untouchables Book 1)

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About Darcy:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Join her reader club at http://www.darcyburke.com/readerclub. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit.

Darcy Burke

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Website: http://www.darcyburke.com

Review : No Place Like You (Cloud Bay #3) by Emma Douglas

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Published December 5th 2017 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Blurb

Leah Santelli always knew that Zach Harper, son of a rock legend and her best friend’s brother, was painfully out of reach. Then, on the night of her eighteenth birthday, Leah shocked herself by asking for–and receiving–the gift she wanted: one night of passion with Zach before he left town to pursue his rock star dreams. Now, years later, Zach is back in Cloud Bay to record his first solo album. His return could also be Leah’s big chance to step up her own music career. But getting the producing credit she needs means spending long hours with Zach in the recording studio…and falling back into the habit of longing for him, for better or worse.

Zach used to believe that a man must put his past behind him. But coming back home for Cloud Bay’s famed music festival has allowed him to finally make amends with his family and, much to his surprise, reunite with Leah. He might have left her once but now it seems he can’t stay away. Trouble is, even though the heat between them burns hotter than ever, Leah has old wounds in need of healing before she can give Zach a real chance. Can he find a way to convince her that they can make more than just great music together–and that she’s the one that he wants for all time?

My Review

Rating : 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Zach Harper has been trying to fight his way out from under his rock star father’s shadow. He has a burning desire to prove himself. His relationship with his sister Faith has been strained since he let her down during the rock festival she was organizing. Zach and Faith are unable to see eye to eye and often butt heads. Although they both know the downside of celebrity, Zach has chosen the spotlight. Leah Santelli is Faith Harper ’s best friend. Zach was her teenage crush, but they went their separate ways. Years later, Zach’s touring career is on hiatus and he is back in Cloud Bay. He is thinking of recording a solo album on the island, produced by Leah.

Although he is flawed and self-absorbed, something is slowly changing in Zach, he is determined to prove to the women in his life that he is willing to reform his ways. I loved watching that change occur. Even though he was cocky and egotistical at times, he was also very sweet and charming. Leah was lovely. She is a great heroine, she is not afraid to take chances in life and to stand up for herself. She and Zach were perfect together, they truly complement each other! They had a great connection, and there was some definite steaminess.

And yet there is a lot of residual anger and continued insecurity that keep them apart. Leah doesn’t want to mess up the job she’s been given and so she’s determined to keep her relationship with Zach strictly professional. She is convinced that trusting him would be stupid and has a whole list of reasons why they can’t be together.

It doesn’t take long for Leah to recognize her attraction to Zach. However, despite their growing closeness, Zach is a much slower learner. He wants the big dream, fame and glory. And yet, he doesn’t want to let Leah go, but is it enough to keep her in his life?

I enjoyed this book, it is well-paced and well-written. It’s an easy and entertaining story of second chance, and while it doesn’t pack the punch of some other rock star romance books out there, it kept me engaged enough to read it in one sitting. It is the third installment in the Cloud Bay series, but can be read as a standalone.

An advanced copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.

The series

Blog Tour : Deal Breaker by Tara Leigh

Today we have the blog tour of Deal Breaker by Tara Leigh! I am so excited to share this with you—check it out and grab your copy today!
Title: Deal Breaker
Author: Tara Leigh
Genre: Contemporary Romance
About Deal Breaker:
Nixie Rowland is having a bad day. Rushing home to drown her sorrows in ice cream and reality television, she decides to take a shortcut to the subway where things take a turn for the worst. But Nixie’s bad luck doesn’t end there—the white knight who comes to her rescue is none other than the Dark Knight of Wall Street, a cocky Manhattan mogul whose ego barely fits inside his penthouse. To her horror, Nixie discovers the sizzling attraction between them is off the charts, and rising fast. Spending the night in his bed does nothing to lower the heat… And everything to set her heart on fire.
Nash Knight doesn’t have room in his life, or his heart, for anything beyond one-night stands or casual flings. And he certainly doesn’t make a habit of rescuing damsels in distress. Except that this particular damsel slips beneath his armor, the vulnerability she covers with a false show of bravado hitting him somewhere deep. Nixie is everything he never wanted… And exactly what he needs.
With Nixie on the run from a controlling ex, and Nash trying to salvage a business deal at risk because his conquests in the bedroom are overshadowing his wins in the boardroom, there’s one simple solution for them both: a marriage in name only. But when lust becomes love, will their untamed emotions be a deal breaker?
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My Review

Rating : 3.5 out of 5 Stars

The premise of this story was interesting and once I got to know the characters of this story, I really understood where they were coming from. The heroine, Nixie, is struggling with the aftereffects of 9/11. She lost her parents and her best friend betrayed her. The hero, Nash Knight, is a corporate shark who made a fortune on Wall Street thanks to daring investments. He is ruthless and shrewd, but when it comes to Nixie, he seems to have a white knight complex, saving her from bad situations. Nash is a walking contradiction, he has a reputation of heartless tycoon and yet he is a philanthropist, a champion of at-risk youths.

Nixie is guarded and can’t handle drama or unnecessary complications. Nash’s intensity, drive and ambition are not what she needs in her life. She feels that they are incompatible and don’t belong together. And yet, they both want more in their relationship.

This book was an emotional, enjoyable read. I loved Tara Leigh’s debut, Penthouse Player, and I really, really wanted to love this one also, but I had a few issues.  I didn’t “buy” Nash and Nixie insta-attraction, I needed more substance, more feelings and more connection. The story lost a bit of momentum at times, with a forced wedding trope that felt contrived.  Because of that, I struggled to stay connected to it.

Overall, this book is a good read with some flaws and the author certainly knows her way around a beautiful romance. I’ll definitely follow her in the future.

Thanks for visiting and happy reading!

An advanced copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.

 
Catch up on the series now!
PENTHOUSE PLAYER
About Tara Leigh:

Tara Leigh attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York, and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before “retiring” to become a wife and mother. When the people in her head became just as real as the people in her life, she decided to put their stories on paper. Tara currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with her husband, children and fur-baby, Pixie.

Connect with Tara:
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Release Blitz : Wish You Were Mine by Tara Sivec

WYWM_ReleaseDayBlitz

WISH YOU WERE MINE by Tara Sivec (November 14, 2017; Forever Yours eBook; $3.99)

Five years.  I would have stayed away longer if I hadn’t received the letter.  Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about her, haven’t missed her smile, haven’t wished that things were different.

The last time I saw my two best friends, I vowed to not stand in the way of their happiness, even if that meant I couldn’t be a part of their lives.  Cameron James and her emerald-green eyes were too much of a temptation and I couldn’t stay and watch them together.  Cameron deserved better than me.  She deserved him.

But now that I am back, things are different.  I’m not going to stand by and watch the woman I’ve always loved slip away again.  I’m done living my life with regrets and I’m ready to tell her the truth.  And I’ll do whatever it takes to show her that I always wished she was mine.

Sivec_WishYouWereMine_ebook

Buy the Book!

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My Review

Rating : 3.5 out of 5 Stars

“Wish You Were Mine” is a beautiful story of friendship and love, with a prologue that had me in tears! For years, Aidan, Everett and Cameron were the Three Musketeers, living by the motto “all for one, one for all”. But things haven’t been the same since Everett accomplished what he had set out to do and became a doctor in poverty stricken countries with Doctors Without Borders. He hasn’t been home for more than four years and has lost touch with Cameron. But he has finally come home after Aidan’s death.

Cameron is angry and heartbroken, Everett left and never looked back. Despite his feelings of guilt, Everett knows the time has come to restore their friendship. His dreams took him away from Cameron, but she is very dear to him.

Everett first struck me as incredibly complicated and insecure, but he was also sweet, hot and honorable. Cameron was independent and stood up for herself. Despite Aiden’s efforts, she hasn’t figured out how to be happy since Everett left. She hates that she missed Everett so much and she is convinced he will eventually push her away again.

Emotional scars and life choices work against them but some things are just worth fighting for. Their bond hasn’t died in all those years, but now they’re adults and mature enough to be in a relationship built on mutual trust and respect.

Flawed, complex characters make this book an interesting and poignant read. It dragged in a few places but, for the most part, progressed to a satisfying conclusion. Even though it was not my favorite book by Tara Sivec, it was definitely worth the read.

Thanks for visiting and happy reading!

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

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About the Author

SivecTHESTORYOFUSTaraTara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author, wife, mother, chauffeur, maid, short-order cook, baby-sitter, and sarcasm expert. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children and looks forward to the day when they all three of them become adults and move out.

After working in the brokerage business for fourteen years, Tara decided to pick up a pen and write instead of shoving it in her eye out of boredom. Her novel Seduction and Snacks won first place in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards 2013 for Best Indie First Book and she was voted as Best Author in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards for 2014.

In her spare time, Tara loves to dream about all of the baking she’ll do and naps she’ll take when she ever gets spare time.

Social Media Links

http://www.tarasivec.com

https://www.facebook.com/TaraSivec.authorpage

www.twitter.com/TaraSivec

Follow Tara Sivec on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rEiOus

Follow Tara Sivec on BookBub: http://bit.ly/2qkXVkk

Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 15 free ebook downloads of The Story of Us!

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Release Blitz : Seducing The Defendant (The Conflict of Interest #2) by Chantal Fernando

Title: Seducing the Defendant
Series: The Conflict of Interest Series #2
Author: Chantal Fernando
Publisher: Gallery
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Blurb

New York Times bestselling author Chantal Fernando returns to her latest, steamy Conflict of Interest series with this electrifying tale of murder, justice, and intense attraction.Jaxon Bentley is a hardnosed criminal lawyer whose entire life revolves around his work. He’s been asked to represent Scarlett Reyes, a woman accused of murdering her police officer husband in cold blood. All the evidence points to Scarlett being guilty and Jaxon is sure it’s an open and shut case.

But when he meets his client, he can’t help but feel that she’s innocent and that there’s more to the story than meets the eye. With a bit of digging, he uncovers a connection to the notorious Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club and realizes that Scarlett’s case is a complicated and difficult one. It certainly doesn’t help that the two share an immediate and passionate attraction. Will Jaxon be able to prove Scarlett’s innocence or are the two doomed to fail both in court and as a couple?

MY REVIEW

Rating : 3.5 out of 5 Stars

This story was intriguing and well written. It tells the story of Jaxon Bentley and Scarlett Reyes. Jaxon is a top flight criminal lawyer, who will do whatever it takes to win. He always goes above and beyond, giving each case his all. His life is turned upside down when he takes on the case of Scarlett Reyes. She is charged with the murder of her husband and the gun used to commit the crime was found in her home. Jaxon believes her to be innocent. Her husband was abusive and married her for her money, but she didn’t kill him.

Scarlett brings out Jaxon’s protective side and he intends to make sure the truth about her husband is revealed in court. Scarlett is a romantic at heart, but she is also a loner with no friends. Jaxon is her only ally, she feels safe and comfortable around him. This heroine has been going through a lot and I felt for her.

This story was suspenseful, well-written and I enjoyed the unexpected twists in the plot. But unfortunately, I could never connect with the characters, I never felt their emotions or their chemistry. The suspense managed to overshadow any semblance of romance that developed between them. Overall, this is a book I definitely don’t regret reading for its suspense driven plot.

Thanks for visiting and happy reading!

An advanced copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher and Give Me Books.

  Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Also Available

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Coming Soon

Releasing February 19, 2018

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B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS

Releasing April 17, 2018

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

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Author Bio

New York Times, Amazon & USA Today Bestselling Author Chantal Fernando is thirty years old and lives in Western Australia.Lover of all things romance, Chantal is the author of the best selling books Dragon’s Lair, Maybe This Time and many more.

When not reading, writing or daydreaming she can be found enjoying life with her three sons and family.

Chantal loves to hear from readers.

Author Links

Blog Tour : Prince Roman by C.D. Reiss

From New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss, comes the sexy and passionate title…PRINCE ROMAN, a new novella brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights! Grab your copy of this amazing novella today!

About PRINCE ROMAN:

Rules for my new job:
1) Do not have sex with a man in the office (again).
2) Do not break Rule #1

I’m playing it cool, clean, and professional…until I meet Roman Bianchi. He’s not an insecure nerd or an ego-hole like the other kings of Silicon Valley. He’s charming and handsome. He’s fun, funny, and smart.

He’s also in the office across the hall.

Two broken rules waiting to happen.
I can’t lose this job over some guy.
But Roman’s not just some guy. Under that suit and cocky smile, he’s a prince.

 Grab your copy of PRINCE ROMAN today!

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MY REVIEW

Rating : 3.5 out of 5 Stars

This novella was an easy read that had some drama but was still lighthearted. I like CD Reiss’s writing style and, as usual, it was on point. It’s a story about ambition and life priorities, with some intriguing legalese (lol), the hero being a hot shot lawyer. Roman Bianchi is a natural-born seducer, confident, ambitious and charismatic. He is a top-flight attorney with a perfect track record, hired to oversee an equal pay review.  I liked that this character was both fantasy material, and also very realistically flawed and vulnerable. The heroine, Raven Crosby, was smart and honorable, and a character I could easily empathize with.

I enjoyed the time they spent together and the way we got to see their relationship blossom. The chemistry between them is there from the beginning, but the circumstances are complicated. The heroes are good at their jobs and have interests and goals in life outside of the romantic. But their connection is real and choices need to be made.

Overall, this novella was a quick, cute and entertaining read set in the corporate world of Silicon Valley.

An advanced copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher and Inkslinger PR.

EXCERPT

If Raven Crosby hadn’t picked up some hacking tips from QI4, I’d eat my shoe.

She’d left as they were growing. Kept her stock options. That never happens. She was also still friendly with Taylor Harden, the hacker brain behind QI4’s quantum system.

I figured they’d parted on good terms. Maybe with something hanging over Taylor’s head.

My team ended up with a few folders on her. I told myself I was a lawyer. Collecting data on people was what I did for a living.

But this was different.

A week in, I was obsessed with her ebony hair and eyes. Lashes drawn on with black Sharpie. Her voice was hypnotic in meetings, and was only heard after long stretches of listening. The night before, she’d tipped her hand, showing me that she’d peeled the curtain back to get intel on me. I didn’t feel violated as much as vindicated. The attraction was mutual. She wouldn’t have done it for any other reason.

“I’ll be there at eight,” I said to my sister, Teagan. We had a dinner planned half an hour before, but I didn’t want to go. It wasn’t the rain that pounded on the windows. It wasn’t my sister. Teagan was fine, but the office was empty and Raven was right across the hall, working in the glow of a desk lamp.

“You better be,” she said. “I’m starving and I need to get drunk.”

“Get a head start at the bar.”

“I’m not going to sit at the end of the bar by myself with a drink. Do you even know what it’s like out there for a girl?”

I didn’t know firsthand, obviously, but I knew enough from her. Teagan was a career gamer and game designer. One of the best. She had a sweet, harmless face that made her approachable to even the most beta of betas. Regardless, even the betas tried to compete with her once they knew what she did. I was exhausted on her behalf.

Across the hall, Raven stood and clicked off her desk lamp.

“Leaving now,” I said, cutting the call. I grabbed my things and headed out, timing it perfectly so we met in the hall.

“Hi,” I said.

She nodded and gave me a non-committal smile. We spoke often, but never a word that didn’t have to do with the human resources software implementation and how it would protect Neuronet from liability.

“It’s raining,” I said. “You taking the elevator to the parking lot?”

The executive lot was underground, on the other side of campus. If you wanted to get there underground, without crossing the courtyard and getting rained on, you had to take the elevator.

“Yes.” She started down the hall and I followed.

“I’ll walk you.”

 CD Reiss’s PRINCE ROMAN – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

November 8th

A crazy vermonters book reviews – Review

Booked All Night – Review & Excerpt

Captain Reads A Lot – Excerpt

Jen’s Reading Obsession – Excerpt

Kayns Book – Review

Living In Our Own Story – Review & Excerpt

Musings of the Modern Belle – Review & Excerpt

Ramblings From This Chick – Review

Steamy Reads – Excerpt

November 9th

Alphas Do It Better Book Blog – Review

Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt

Confessions of a YA and NA Book Addict – Review & Excerpt

Love & Lavender Book Review – Review & Excerpt

Mom’s Secret Book Blog – Review

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads – Review & Excerpt

The Star Angels Reviews – Review & Excerpt

November 10th

As You Wish Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Brittany’s Book Blog – Excerpt

Escape into a Booksite – Review

My Book Filled Life – Review & Excerpt

Novel Addiction – Review

Readers Together – Review & Excerpt

Summer’s Eve Reads – Review & Excerpt

The Kizzle Kay – Review

TrashyBibloBlog – Review & Excerpt

Wicked Babes Blog Reviews – Review & Excerpt

November 11th

A Brit and a Yank – Excerpt

Book Loving Fairy – Review & Excerpt

Crystal’s Book World – Review & Excerpt

Evermore Books – Review & Excerpt

I’m A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt

K&J Book Promotions – Excerpt

Once upon a romance – Review

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

November 12th

AC Squared Book Blog – Excerpt

Bad boys and bedtime stories book blog – Review

Book Twins Reviews – Review

EDGy Reviews – Review

Francoise’s Reading Corner – Review & Excerpt

Kindle Friends Forever – Review

Lovinghotbooks – Review

Quesarasera Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

November 13th

Author Groupies – Review

Beneath The Covers – Review

Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog – Excerpt

Kt’s book blog and review – Review & Excerpt

Mustreadbooksordie – Review

Once Upon A Page – Review & Excerpt

Recommended Reads – Review & Excerpt

Sip Read Love – Review

November 14th

A Book Lover’s Emporium – Review

Bloggin’ With M.Brennan – Review

Bobo’s Book Bank – Review & Excerpt

Desperately Seeking HEA’s Book Blog – Excerpt

I’m A Book Shark – Excerpt

Love Notes Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Mile High KINK Book Club – Review

Mistress of Romance – Review

Only One More Page – Review & Excerpt

November 15th

A Sky Filled with Sparkling Stars – Review & Excerpt

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Bookgasms Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Dirty Girl Romance – Review

Jax’s Book Magic – Excerpt

OMGReads – Review & Excerpt

Read and Share Book Reviews – Review

Sweet Red Reads – Review & Excerpt

The Romance Reviews – Review

November 16th

All Things Dark & Dirty – Review & Excerpt

Blushing Babes Are Up All Night – Review

Book Junkie Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Collector of book boyfriends – Excerpt

Four Chicks Flipping Pages – Review & Excerpt

KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt

Lina’s Reviews: A Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Reading Frenzy Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

The Book Addict’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

November 17th

Amo’s Book Corner – Review

Avephoenix Naughty Readings – Review & Excerpt

Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt

Bookishly Yours – Review & Excerpt

Books2Blog – Review & Excerpt

G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt

Jackie’s Book World – Review

One-Click Chocolate Chick – Review & Excerpt

Torie’s Book Obsession – Review & Excerpt

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About CD Reiss:

C.D. Reiss is a USA Today bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up, she’s at the well, hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere, but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

Critics have dubbed the books “poetic,” “literary,” and “hauntingly atmospheric,” which is flattering enough for her to put it in a bio, but embarrassing enough for her not to tell her husband, or he might think she’s some sort of braggart who’s too good to chop a cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

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