Dear Aaron

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis: 

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

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4 Stars

This may be the looooooooooooooooongest slow burn I’ve ever read. Holy hell! I’m a huge fan of Zapata’s writes and can usually handle her slow burn method… this brought it to a WHOLE new level. The amount of time we had to “burn” just to get an “I like you revelation” tested my sanity.

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That’s actually fitting because it didn’t happen until the mid 80ish%. Still, I’m not mad… just lost a few brain cells from all that burning while I waited for a kiss hug  an “I like you, too.”

I’m not going too far into the plot but Ruby volunteers to be pen pals for an adopt a solider type program and gets paired with Aaron. Aaron is on a long deployment and looks forward to hearing from his pen pals to break up the monotony in the desert. They form a friendship and oh so slowly it becomes more.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s not my favorite book by this author and that’s ok. The slow burn tested my sanity, it was a long read (485pg), and Ruby could be long winded in her thought process at times many times. Still, another enjoyable read and I look forward to the next book about her sister.

I did audio as well as Kindle with this one. Both narrators were a great fit for this book but as I’ve said before, Teddy Hamilton can read the phone book and I’d pay to listen.

Definitely recommended.

New Release & Giveaway

One fiery American woman and one hot British guy? The language of love knows no boundaries…

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes the hot, new romance guaranteed to sweep you away while scorching the sheets, WANDERLUST! A brand new, sinfully sexy romance, WANDERLUST is now available on all retailers! Get your copy delivered now!

 

 

✮✮✮WANDERLUST is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

From #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a sexy new standalone romance!

The first time I met him, his sexy British accent almost talked me into giving him my number on the spot. The second time, he nearly charmed the panties off me with his wit. Then I learned he’s the key to success in my new job in Paris. The man who tempts me into fling-worthy dirty daydreams has turned out to be my personal translator, and his accent is the hottest thing I’ve ever heard.

My mantra is simple — Don’t mix business with pleasure.

I do my best to resist him as he teaches me how to converse with my co-workers, navigate the metro and order the perfect bottle of wine at dinner. But I also figure out how to tell the charming and clever man what I most want to say — that I want him to take me back to his flat — tonight.

Except there’s a catch…

***

One more assignment before I take off on my big adventure…

And it involves the toughest work ever — resisting the fetching American woman I spend all my days with. But you know what they say about best intentions. Soon, we’re spending our nights tangled together, and I don’t want to let her go. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and before we know it I’ll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.

What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing…unless one of you is leaving.

 

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EXCERPT ONE:

~JOY~

Forget oysters. Screw candlelight and champagne. A sexy accent is the truest aphrodisiac. I’m talking a weak-in-the-knees, flutters-all-over, fast-track to euphoria.

I’ve tried to analyze precisely why the sound of a man’s words can elicit this reaction in, frankly, millions of women. But when I break down an accent and study it like a chemical reaction, it’s nearly impossible to draw a logical conclusion. The ingredients in and of themselves don’t seem swoontastic enough.

And yet, accents have been known to induce major swooning.

That’s why, in my professional opinion, the sounds aren’t the rocket fuel for the tingles. Instead, it’s the associations evoked. Italian is food, wine, and days drenched in the pleasures of the senses. Australian is the laid-back twang of a surfer. A Southern drawl says a man will take his sweet time. Oh, yes, darlin’, will he ever.

But British? Dear God. A delicious British accent to my oh-so-American ears triggers wave after wave of goose bumps across my skin. My knees wobble. My stomach swoops. My skin heats. All the turned-on centers in my body are cranked to high.

A British accent is James Bond in a bottle. It’s sex, it’s style, it’s sophistication, and it’s the man who’ll find his way out of any jam, save the damsel, and do it all with silver cuff links on.

Wait. Make that platinum.

Charmed, indeed.

That’s why I say it’s a damn good thing I’m moving to a country that won’t be chock full of my personal vocal kryptonite, since I don’t have the time or inclination for distractions in my life right now. Look, I don’t have a single problem with the French accent whatsoever. A hot French man can voulez-vouscoucher avecmoi, if you know what I mean.

But it’s a British accent that turns me to Silly Putty, so in Paris I’ll be mighty fine.

Then, I meet him.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS TODAY!

 “Wanderlust is the love story to end all! I laughed, cried, dreamed, and hoped. To say I was transfixed by this story is to underrate its power. I am a romantic at heart and this book spoke to me like no other.”
-Gloria Herrera for As You Wish Reviews

“Packed with flirty banter, a slow-building, yet scorching hot romance, and characters that are enchanting, voracious, and delightfully unreserved, Wanderlust is a hopelessly romantic, heart-meltingly sweet love story from Lauren Blakely.”
-Yvette for Nose Stuck in a Book

“Loved this! Wanderlust is a delightful and utterly romantic read.”
-ShawnaLovesRomance

 

 

✮✮✮ Enter to win the ultimate gift for anyone who has a little WANDERLUST! ✮✮✮

This prize pack includes a Kate Spade Travel Bag ($500 value), along with a $50 gift card to Bath and
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https://laurenblakely.com/wanderlustgiveaway/

About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 90 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In March she’ll release WANDERLUST, a sexy new standalone romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

 

FREE Sarina Bowen Serial

Study Period by Sarina Bowen

  Male bodybuilder reading book on sofa
Synopsis:
She’s a brilliant writing tutor. Too bad she’s tongue-tied every time he sits down in front of her…

There are 1016 people in the freshman class at Harkness College. I can’t be the only socially awkward nerd girl virgin among them. Right?

It’s time I learn to talk to guys without blushing and stammering. So I take a confidence-building job at the student tutoring center. Twelve bucks an hour, plus human interaction. What could go wrong?

A fun-loving French Canadian hockey hunk, that’s what.

When Pepe St. George sits down at my tutoring table, my brain shuts off and my mouth goes right into hyperdrive. Even the sound of my name on his lips—Josephine—gives me a mini orgasm.

I want to hand him my V-card. But all I manage to hand him is…my thesaurus. And my dignity. All seems lost, until I hatch a plan to get him alone…

 

How This Works:

Beginning on Tuesday, March 20th, you will get one chapter each week, straight to your email inbox! Anyone who signs up midstream will immediately receive links to previous chapters. No reader will be left behind!
Studly-Hour-Excerpt

“Bonjour.” The deep voice—from right above me—startles me so badly that I jump. My phone goes clattering to the desktop as I whip my chin upward to see whomever snuck up on me. 

Désolé!” he says. “I should come back later?”

“No,” I say, fumbling my phone back into my bag. “Please sit down.” 

My heart is banging against my ribs, and not only because he startled me. If possible, I’m even more awkward with men than with women. It’s worse if they’re attractive.

And this guy? Very attractive. Wow. He has a wide, handsome face and coal-dark eyes ringed by impressively thick lashes, and a broad face. Broad shoulders. 

Broad everything. Wow. He must eat a lot of protein. And now I’m staring as he arranges himself in the chair opposite me and draws out a folder. He’s really handsome. One of the BPs, for sure. 

I can’t stop staring. There’s something rugged about him that’s hard to describe. There’s color in his cheeks—at least the part that’s not covered with dark scruff. And his biceps bulge from the sleeves of his T-shirt. He reminds me of a superhero going incognito, concealing his identity among the ordinary college students. 

Though the muscles can probably be explained by the logo on his T-shirt—Harkness Hockey. 

It’s always the jocks who need tutoring. I swear. Nadia I have a disagreement about this. She says that jocks are used to coaching, and thus accept tutoring help more readily than the general population.

“I think they’re just not as smart,” I always tell her.

She just shakes her head. “You say that, but you’re still intimidated by them. So which is it?”

Indeed.

“How can I help you,” I whisper up at this handsome giant. 

He frowns, and then folds massive hands onto the desk between us. “Excusez-moi?” 

People always tell me my voice is soft. That I’m hard to hear. He must agree, because he leans forward, those big, dark eyes blinking in close proximity. It doesn’t help the knee-knocking, teeth-rattling nerves that overtake me whenever a beautiful man looks at me.

Get a grip, Josie. “How can I help you today,” I ask carefully.

Bon. I have the paper due for English. And my English is not so excellent. So I hope you will help me find all the places I fuck it up. I bring it…” He opens a folder and rifles through some papers.

For a long moment I just blink at him. “Your English…” Did he just say that he didn’t speak the language?

“When I come to Harkness last year? I don’t speak much English at all,” he says, dropping a rough draft of an essay on the table between us. “Please help me find zhe places where I fuck up the grammar.” 

His honesty has stunned me. The Harkness students I’ve met so far would never admit to any kind of weakness. In fact, they tell me that most students wait until their grades are in jeopardy to find the tutoring center at all. 

And I don’t blame them. Struggling? That’s shameful. Harkness is a top-notch school where everyone worships at the alter of intellectual exceptionalism. With an admissions rate that hovered around nine percent, having a big brain is the only way to get in. 

Or at least I thought it was. Every year, something like a thousand valedictorians get rejections from Harkness. Who would dream of implying that he isn’t as qualified as the next student? 

This guy.

Studly-Period-Sarina-Bowen-free-download

More In This Series:

The Ivy Years novels are a series of inter-connected stand-alone stories. The first book is The Year We Fell Down, available at:

read-Sarina-bowen-free-online

Make Me Want

Make Me Want by Katee Robert: Review by Cupcake

Synopsis:

“I want everything.”

She’s taking control. And it’s driving him wild!

Lucy Baudin’s ex did a number on her self-esteem, but it’s time for her to regain control. In her job as a lawyer she’s bold, confident. But in the bedroom she needs inspiration to reawaken her inner seductress. Asking her friend Gideon Novak for help seems wrong…yet so deliciously right!

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3.5 Stars

Helllllooooooo Katee Robert.

Welcome! Glad to meet ya.

Sorry for the serenade but… THIS GIRL IS ON FIIIIIIIYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Still. While reading this I considered dialing a friend, because HHHHHAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!!!

Reading Make Me Want I more than once wished for a warning label and maybe my own personal freezer. Someone should put a blast chiller option on kindles. I needed one.

What prompted me to click the request button are:

(a) The dude on the cover kinda looks like Carter Dane so my first thought was, “why is CD on the cover of some MF smutticilicicousness?” which quickly segued into a brief episode of wish fulfillment along the lines of, “has CD decided to widen the playing field?” Then I expanded the photo and realized my mistake.

*epic sad face is epic*

Congrats, Alex Mecum!

*fake smile*
*grumbles*

(b) The main character’s name is Gideon!

What? I have a name kink. Don’t judge.

This Gideon is eerily reminiscent of another (also slightly Neanderthalish) Gideon I’ve lusted over read before and while Sylvia Day might take exception to the similarities, my thoughts are more akin to…

The story itself is not groundbreaking and rife with non/miscommunication with a heaping of martyr syndrome that I loathe. Lucy is up for a promotion at her good ole boys law firm and won’t get it unless someone puts a ring on it. Gideon’s a friend of her ex-fiancé and was once hers too, so that coupled with his reputation as a skilled headhunter, leads her to hire him to find her a suitable husband. His reputation as a sex gawd leads her to ask him for “lessons” on how to have the HILLY DILLY amazingly since her ex told her she was a bad lay. Can you say projecting, boys and girls?

Regardless, the boning is top-notch! On the couch, on a conference table AT A FANCY SCHMANCY CLUB, a naughty video chat, in a lingerie dressing room and they did make it to the bedroom a couple times. Gideon’s also on the bossy/toppy side too! I mean…

Seriously, this thing should come with a complimentary box of wipes, a pack of cigs and some Gatorade.

I will most definitely be reading the next in this series. One-handed, but still. Now that I know what I’m in for I will be prepared like the devoted Girl Scout I am to see Roman getting his swerve on!

Recommend to… hells bells, you know who you are.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley.

Audio Release by Lauren Blakely

Available exclusively in audio TODAY and for the first six weeks – narrated by Richard Armitage and Grace Grant – comes a breathtaking new romance from #1 New York Times best-selling author Lauren Blakely that will sweep you away! Get an exclusive interview with Lauren with your Audible purchase! Grab your copy of this swoony and romantic Audible Original today!

ABOUT WANDERLUST:

They say Paris is always a good idea…

You know what I say? Paris would be a much better idea if I spoke the dang language. I can’t even board the metro to visit the Louvre without ending up at the Moulin Rouge, and let’s not even mention how I’ll ever make it through a day at my new office.

Fortunately my company hooks me up with my own personal translator. Ooh la la. Or should I say bloody hell? Because he’s charming, witty, and British, and he brings the city to life for me. Soon, I can order a croque monsieur hold the ham, discuss perfume with my co-workers, and barter at the outdoor market. I can also tell the sexy Brit by my side how much I want him to kiss me under the streetlamps.

Except there’s a catch – Paris might be all we have.

***

One more assignment before I can take off on my big adventure…

And it’s a good farewell gig too since my newest client is a fetching American who loves to explore the cafes and cobbled streets while I teach her the language of love. We fall into a fast and flirty friendship, but Paris has a way of making lovers out of friends, and soon we’re spending our nights together too – très risqué. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and soon I’ll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.

What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing…unless one of you is leaving.

*Includes a special bonus interview with the author!*

GRAB YOUR AUDIBLE COPY HERE!

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 Don’t miss this message from Richard Armitage about Wanderlust!

 

 

 

 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS TODAY!

 

About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 85 times, and in March she’ll release WANDERLUST, a breathtaking new romance that will sweep you away. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

 

 

Brooklynaire

 

Reviewed by Cupcake

4 So, Cat tacos Stars!

O Fluff Queen! My Fluff Queen!

I’ve been waiting for this story since Rookie Move where Nate and Becca leapt off the page. Through the first three books their story has evolved but always maddeningly in the background. Until now.

“Everything worthwhile is complicated.”

If you’ve not read the first three, no worries! You’re probably better off than the rest of us, because much of this I already knew thus I found myself getting impatient for them to just be together already! Were there another 10-20 chapters after they got together, I would’ve been happy as a clam. I know they’ll show up in the rest of the series, but if there were to be another Nate and Becca book I would not be mad about that. At all.

Brooklynaire is a bit Cinderella with a dollop of opposites attract and a recurring fairy tale vibe.

Billionaire tech genius Nate Kattenberger has been pining for his office manager Rebecca Rowley for years! YEARS! She’s seemed oblivious and uninterested. Turns out she’s been sublimating her attraction. A head injury sets the wheels in motion triggering all of Nate’s protective instincts. Once he opens his heart and house to her in an effort to help her recover, he can’t seem to stuff everything back inside the box he’d put all his feelings.

I love love LOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEE Nate!! A geek who has a tendency to get lost in his own head, loves Sherlock and palindromes, he’s levelheaded, scary intelligent and generous. He’s a billionaire who hasn’t lost sight of what really matters, cares about his employees, is forthright and hasn’t lost the ability to identify with people far removed from his tax bracket. Is he too perfect?

Just look at that cover! Would you look at that cover? Don’t we all want that dude to be perfect? I admit it. I swooned. Sorry. Nope. Not sorry.

Rebecca, on the other hand, confused me. Through all three of the books she’s been sassy and fierce, but here she’s suddenly insecure and self-conscious about her body and her reputation within the company? Every woman I know struggles to some degree with body image issues so that felt authentic. However, she’s worked for Nate in some capacity for seven years. Seven years of proving herself invaluable, competent and reliable, so when she started freaking out about everyone assuming she’d slept her way to the top not only was a squinting but it just didn’t jive with the Becca I thought I knew. I still love her, her bubbliness and her ability to make everyone feel at ease. Ultimately she finds a way to make peace with her feelings and her reputation so it was a moot point.

Brooklynaire is sexy. My Fluff Queen is in a class by herself when it comes to bossy tops, so I should’ve anticipated it but I was still caught a little off-guard when the words started coming out of Nate’s mouth. He seemed so… sedate. Always the quiet ones, I tell ya.

There’s still a good bit of hockey happening since Brooklynaire overlaps Pipe Dreams. We learn how the playoffs actually went between Brooklyn and Dallas. The twist at the end kicked things up a notch and has me wondering if that’s going to crop up again in the future.

The secondary characters are fantastic, as always. I can’t even decide who I’d like to read about next. Castro? Heidi Jo? Silas? Stew?

Nate and Becca’s relationship is fluff magic and the last chapter plus epilogue were incandescent leaving me with a bad case of the feels and wanting more.

If you need some fluffy, swoony goodness in your life, look no further.

An ARC was provided by the publisher.

xo, Zach

2 Stars

Ok.

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**Note before getting down to business: I’m in the complete minority on my rating and thoughts for this book. We just weren’t meant to be. If Kendall Ryan normally works for you, this one may too. **

Let’s get the positive(s) out of the way. I liked the premise of the story. The advisor and a graduate student meet unknowingly at a party. I also liked the poetry major. I liked the illusion of Poppy’s strength and togetherness. I say illusion because she was a hot mess outside of her college major and her kid.

The rest hit all my no buttons in a way that I almost DNF. So what didn’t work for me?

~They meet at this house party and share some conversation and a kiss. From there, it wasn’t even an obsession- it was an odd fixation where their brains couldn’t function because everything reminded them of the other and spontaneous orgasms were a real threat each time their minds wandered. This translated to a seemingly forced connection between Poppy and Zach.

~Poppy was so hot and cold with Zach that it drove me fucking crazy. She would throw caution to the wind enough to kiss or get off and leave Zach with an epic case of blue balls. Then, after, she would run away and avoid him because she couldn’t let her desire ruin all that she has worked for. Every. Time. Rinse. Repeat.
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~Advice seeker or attention seeker? After every interaction where Poppy went hot and cold, she would go acting all sad and seeking advice about what she should do. Every person would tell her the same thing and then she would ignore it and expect a different response the next time she went to them. *Think Einstein’s definition of insanity*

~”It’s ok, I trust you and I’m on birth control.” Ummmm… what? So, you have a kid in high school (not judging, just stating story fact) and then you throw caution to the wind? *smh*

~Zach. I liked him in the beginning and then it decreased each time he put up with Poppy’s shit. In the end he was just too perfect and became a door mat.

I think it’s clear I didn’t enjoy Poppy and her brand of drama. The highlight of the story was Zach’s Mom and her lack of filter. She was OTT in the dirtiest and best way possible.

Not recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Headmaster

 

Reviewed by Cupcake

*2 Stars*

Bland

I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this author’s work that when this popped up on NetGalley I pounced. It’s not that this story is bad per se, it just wasn’t enough for me. Not enough kink. Not enough feels. Not enough zest. Not enough zhooshing.

The blurb does a good job of recapping the plot so I won’t go there. It’s a decent interpretation of fantasy rescue wish fulfillment. A little contrived, yes, but I can see the appeal.

Mariela was strike one for me. She is a dance instructor at the RACK (cute, huh?) Academy which is run by Lennox. Her crush on him predates his relationship with Winnie and they are friends, but her attitude toward him rubbed me the wrong way. I think she’s supposed to be portrayed as a sub with a spine but she comes across as a vitriolic anger ball. She antagonizes Lennox at every turn and I could muster up little to no sympathy for her cause. I get that she wants to be his submissive but her openly hostile/bratty behavior was very off-putting.

Strike number two is Lennox who’s prone to the ole martyr syndrome. Everything’s his fault, his responsibility.

Neither one of them are fully fleshed out instead relying on constructing both of their identities as “dominant” and “submissive”. I have issues with one’s entire personality construct being comprised of one thing, in this case their sexual proclivities. Even in real life if all anyone ever talks about is this one microcosm of their world they tend to come across one-dimensional and boring. At least to me they do.

The remainder of my issues are nitpicky:

1. it’s sugarkink and as hot as spanking can be, this was halfhearted at best. There’s no depth to the kink. It’s all labels, calisthenics positions and mediocre sex (dirty talk, anal, face-fucking, spanking, non-restraint bondage, mild orgasm denial).

2. Mariela gets into a fairly serious car accident and allegedly crushes her leg yet a few weeks later she’s at a BDSM club sceneing and only wears an ankle wrap?

It does have a nice HEA that is romantic and will be appealing to some. It probably would’ve been moreso for me had I liked either of the characters.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love it but sugarkink fans will probably enjoy it more than I.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley

Thrive

Reviewed by Lost in a Book

4 Stars

I’m a fan of this Guardian series Aly Martinez. She’s one of the very few M/F authors where I’ll read whatever she writes (bonus points because she can write a damn good M/M, too). We just click and this next book in the Guardian series isn’t any different.

This angsty, suspenseful, and sexy second chance romance is set up with a long separation period. A lot of life happens in the 17 years that the MCs were separated and unfortunately for Lark and Mira, it wasn’t filled with happiness.

Seventeen years ago, Lark and Mira were in love, with stars in their eyes, and plans of a future. There was just one teeny tiny problem… Mira’s actual boyfriend, Kurt. They were young, dumb, and dysfunctional. When it came time for Mira to pick, she chose Kurt.

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It was completely evident that Kurt was a cheating (I know, pot/kettle) jackass and she STILL chose him. *Grrrr* Anyway, fast forward time and Lark is a successful badass/Mira hater working with a private security firm while Mira is living in the slums, divorced, and now scared for her life. Good thing Mira is a little Lark stalker because she knows just where to find him when her life and her friend’s life is in jeopardy.

What starts as a hesitant phone call for help sends Mira and Lark on rollercoaster of danger, action, clarity, crime, drug lords, shootings, and kidnappings. And sex. And arguing. Lark taking on Mira’s case brings them in close contact 24/7 while they piece together the reasons behind her new danger. They have a truck load of old hurts to wade through while forging a path for the future. They are hot together. Smoking. But, Mira also argued or had a “snit fit” A LOT. Luckily for her, Lark got off on all the attitude. Unfortunately for me, Mira drove me bat shit crazy when she went off. *shrug* I believed their connection and chemistry. I felt their hurt from 17 years ago and how they hadn’t *really* moved past it even as the years passed them by. I fully appreciated the road they took to get their HEA. They moved fast but they also didn’t hide the hurt, hate, frustration, confusion, and most importantly, love.

The secondary characters were awesome in this one as well as the first. The Guardians are a bunch of gossiping biddies who are quite efficient in their jobs because they have a bunch of time to interfere. At least their interference was comical and I can’t wait for the other guys to get their stories. Especially Johnson *dreamy sigh* because I just know it’s gonna be an epic M/M (or MMF). Another thing I absolutely love about Martinez’s writes is the ability to include past characters from previous books without being awkward or gratuitous. There’s a purpose as they are mentioned/connected and a new reader to her writes wouldn’t feel lost at their inclusion.

This book won’t leave you wanting as the epilogue is *very* thorough. I definitely recommend this and will wait not so patiently for the next man up.

 Copy provided for honest review.

 

Man Card

Review by Cupcake

3.75 Nothing ventured, nothing banged! Stars

There were some great one-liners in this one but it’s less lighthearted than Man Hands. Man Card picks up shortly after the conclusion of the first and involves the hard-nosed Ash and the guy who worships her, Braht. Who also just so happens to be her biggest rival at VanderMollen Realty.

Both of these characters have suffered hardships in their past and those hardships play large roles in the narrative. How their pasts intertwine was a clever twist that I wasn’t expecting but solidified them and their coupletry in my mind.

Overall Man Card is what I would categorize as enemies to lovers lite. Yes, Ash “hates” him and puts up a decent front but she’s unconvincing in her hatred especially considering every two minutes she’s thinking about jumping on Braht’s brat. Granted, she views this as a character flaw but try as she might, she is unable to resist him. The thing is, she doesn’t trust herself anymore so she’s reinvented herself as a together, self-sufficient woman who is highly organized with her color coded… everything, planner with inspirational stickers and washi tape who absolutely, unequivocally is not interested in a relationship.

Underneath the Ash-kicker exterior though something in her seems to recognize that Braht is for her and that evidences itself in little ways that add up to everything. As they become closer over the course of the story she begins to trust him and seek him out when she needs comforting. She’s still take no prisoners when it comes to besting him in the real estate biz, but some part of her recognizes that Braht would never hurt her, never betray her.

Braht is one of those characters that’s hard to resist. He’s cocky, self-assured, charismatic and oozes confidence with his exceptional wardrobe, manscaping, excellent hygiene and constant usage of cheesy endearments. The thought that his honeybear a.k.a. Ash won’t be forever his some day never enters his mind. No matter how much she snubs him, he just keeps pounding at her gates. He is a force but he’s also intuitive particularly when it comes to her and I never expected to like him as much as I did.
 

Looking your best is 70% confidence, 20% raw material, 10% imported photographic lenses and 5% lighting. Pay no mind to the total of more than 100%, because in my case that’s what you’re getting. The poster is 105% awesome.

What these authors are really bringing to this series, aside from their chemistry, is the sexiness. If these two aren’t banging each other they’re thinking about banging each other. Braht even gets Ash’s office supplies in on the X-rated fun! If one were to fall into the judging a book by one’s cover category then one would probably believe that Braht with his penchant for spa days, mani/pedis, chick flicks and highbrow facial creams would be extra genteel when it came to visiting Pound Town for fear of mussing his hair or wrecking his manicure.

Exhibit A:

 

“I don’t like you very much,” she says in a small voice.
“You’ll like me better when I’ve tied you to the bed in your parents’ cottage.”
She makes a noise that’s half rage, half lust. Oh, I’ve got her number. I really do.
“I brought four neckties in preparation, Hermès, of course. Very silky.”

The defense rests.

He may be metrosexual but he’s also a “sex god in pastel”, so give that man a platinum man card! STAT!

As sexy as it is it does have more weight than the first in the series. It’s still captivating, not overly heavy and left me with the warm fuzzies, but I missed the levity of the first one. In addition to the evolution of Ash getting her HEA, Brynn and Sadie are still integral to the story as is Tom. There were also a couple of tertiary characters that really made an impact in Bramly and Hank. Hank who used the term “pancake sandwich” in reference to someone’s balls. Werd. Now, if that doesn’t leave an impression I don’t know what does.

I really hope Sadie’s story is next and that it’s not that far off, because that Earth mother needs some happy PRONTO! I *might* have a genuine conniption if it happens to be with Mr. Pancake Sandwich, because epic.

Recommend to enemies to lovers and contemporary romance fans who enjoy low-angst and fluffy reads.

An ARC was provided by the publisher.