Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Concierge Mikelina Presley works for a luxurious resort club in sunny South Beach, Florida. She’s thrilled to land a two-week booking for a bachelor party at one of the resort’s most expensive villas—not least because the fiery chemistry between her and best man Bastian Ainsworth is deliciously tempting.
When the groom-to-be suddenly disappears, Mikelina and Bastian team up to find him, bringing them closer together. Their irresistible desire for each other is dangerously distracting, but the stakes are high for both of them: if they don’t bring back the runaway bachelor, Bastian’s little sister will have her heart broken. And Mikelina’s resort stands to lose out on the group’s lucrative booking—which would be devastating for her career.
As the search takes them all over South Beach’s sexiest hideaways, their racy fling becomes something much deeper and Mikelina finds herself falling for Bastian. But she hasn’t told him everything about her past, and a shameful secret weighs heavy on her mind… Can their passionate affair survive the truth?
Friday, June 26, 2020
- TEMPORARY WIFE TEMPTATION by Jayci Lee (Harlequin Desire, February 2020)
- BLAME IT ON THE BILLIONAIRE by Naima Simone (Harlequin Desire, February 2020)
- WITNESS PROTECTION WIDOW by Debra Webb (Harlequin Intrigue, February 2020)
- HER HOMECOMING WISH by Jo McNally (Harlequin Special Edition, February 2020)
- THE AMISH TEACHER’S DILEMMA by Patricia Davids (Love Inspired, March 2020)
- COPYCAT KILLER by Laura Scott (Love Inspired Suspense, April 2020)
- THE FLAPPER’S FAKE FIANCÉ by Lauri Robinson (Harlequin Historical, April 2020)
- SEDUCED BY A STEELE by Brenda Jackson (Harlequin Desire, April 2020)
AN FBI AGENT WITH SECRETS
FBI Linguist Angela Hoffman’s expertise and previous experience send her undercover on a critical operation. Only when her mission converges with the target of the Bad Karma Special Ops team, she is recognized by Tony Vincenti. A joint task force is formed to track a dangerous terrorist, and, as they work together again, Angela’s prior attraction to Tony escalates. Only her past work and betrayals eliminate any chance of her having a serious romantic relationship--even with the enigmatic soldier who makes her long for the kind of family she never had.
AN ELITE SOLDIER WANTING TRUST
Undercover operations are Sergeant First Class Tony Vincenti’s specialty. He previously played Angela’s lover. This time, he’s hoping after they wrap this mission to see what can happen between them for real. However, when they learn of a potential attack, all hopes for a romantic interlude are put on hold while they race to find the target of a dirty bomb.
A FUTURE WORTH RISKING EVERYTHING FOR
Tony is certain Angela is everything he wants in a woman, but first he has to earn her trust and convince her that, despite her past, they can have a future. When Angela’s fears become reality and she’s targeted by a deadly threat, she has to trust him with her secrets so he can protect her life. But will that trust run deep enough to convince her once and for all he’s a shot worth taking?
Thursday, June 25, 2020
I've been looking forward to this book for two years, ever since I turned the final page of Couldn't Ask for More, the story of Maxwell's younger sister, Alexis and his best friend, Bryan. Now it's Maxwell's turn to find love and we only have two more months to wait. Is that not a gorgeous cover?
Never Let Me Go
by Kianna Alexander
The Southern Gentlemen - Book 3
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
E-book Release Date: September 1, 2020
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
- A grumpy local and the sunny tourist who turns his world upside down
- A rogue moose who threatens to steal every scene
- A vacation you'll never forget
- And a sweet romance that doesn't need to scald the pages to burn its way into your heart
He had a strict "no tourists" policy...until she broke all of his rules.
When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he's stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless parade of resort visitors who couldn't interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way...
Two weeks in Alaska isn't just the top item on Zoey Caldwell's bucket list. It's the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she's smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham's world, she may just find there's more to the grumpy local than meets the eye...and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.
I loved this book so much! It's fresh, original, charming, heart-felt, and an utter delight from beginning to end. I adored grumpy local, Graham and endearing outsider, Zoey, cheering them on to an inevitable, but seemingly impossible, happy ending. They're fully developed characters I couldn't get enough of. Here's hoping we'll see a lot more of them in the next two books. The author surrounds them with an interesting cast of secondary characters, both human and animal (the lovesick moose steals every single scene he's in), amidst a changing landscape not eagerly embraced by locals. It sets up great conflict that makes the unexpected relationships forming that much more interesting. And I am here for all of them.
There are two more books to come and I can't wait to once again visit Sarah Morgenthaler's Moose Springs, hang out with the quirky locals, explore all the natural beauty Alaska offers, and lose myself in another laugh-inducing, heart-tugging romance. Watch for book two: Mistletoe and Mr. Right (10/6/2020) and book three: Enjoy the View (1/19/2021).
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Beatrice Goodwin left Manhattan a duchess and has returned a divorcée, ready to seize control of her fate and the family business. Goodwin’s Department Store, once the pinnacle of fashion, has fallen from favor thanks to Dalton’s, its glamorous competitor across the street. But this rivalry has a distinctly personal edge…
And a self-made tycoon…
For Wes Dalton, Beatrice has always been the one—the one who broke his young heart by marrying a duke, and now, the one whose cherished store he plans to buy, just so he can destroy it. It’s the perfect revenge against a family who believed he’d never be good enough for their daughter—until Beatrice’s return complicates everything…
Find happily ever after at last?
While Goodwin’s and Dalton’s duel to be the finest store in Gilded Age Manhattan, Beatrice and Wes succumb to a desire that has only deepened with time. Adversaries by day, lovers by night, both will soon have to decide which is sweeter: winning the battle or thoroughly losing their hearts…
This book is AMAZEBALLS. You guys, the Gilded Age Girls’ Club series is a brilliant series; and I think Maya’s best series. But this series has it all: the era of women coming into their own and taking their power, the start (or so it feels) of all the best stuff women love being loved and appreciated, and happily ever afters.
And yet there is something subversive about this particular story (and perhaps the whole series). Mind you, romance novels are already subversive in that they are books written by women for women for their pleasure and enrichment. (It’s why romance novels tend to be so maligned.) But Maya takes it a step further. Generally in a romance novel, the hero, as all rabid romance readers know (and I do, I’m a rabid reader), the hero is always someone rich, powerful, preferably titled so the heroine can be safe/truly loved. After all, you can’t believe in a happily ever after if you’re poor as church mice. Or can you?
Wes Dalton--the love Beatrice, the heroine, left behind--is now the rich, powerful, most important man in New York City. He is clearly now Romance Novel Hero material, which he wasn’t sixteen years ago. Beatrice has just returned from England in a scandal because she just divorced a rich, powerful DUKE (the epitome of Romance Novel Hero material) to come back home. All Beatrice wants is to run her father’s store, to bring it back to its glory again. Wes wants to ruin the business of the family that destroyed the one wish he ever really had: to marry Beatrice. Revenge is always a delicious plot conflict device, yes?
Yet it soon becomes clear that even though Wes is now worthy Romance Novel Hero material, it is not enough to win fair Beatrice. Why? Because as it is revealed in a humble few paragraphs right before Beatrice chooses love, a modern romance heroine needs to own her heart and mind, to know her heart and mind; and above all, she needs to be able to leave at any time and support herself respectfully because only then can she know she is choosing to stay because of Love and not anything else.
Dude. Maya Rodale is my new romance author hero. I grant you the more modern romance novels from my favorite authors have given me similar themes and words of wisdom, but this particular story spoke to me. I could relate to Beatrice’s hesitancy to leap into another marriage, even for love, out of fear of losing herself. Women do it everyday. We’re even expected to, I believe; and we even expect it of ourselves. But this book...WOW. And in the end, Dalton becomes a modern day feminist in the best way. He truly is Romance Novel Hero material, all while trying to give all his wealth away. SUBVERSIVE. Well played, Maya, well played.
And if you’re not like me and don’t want to write a master’s thesis particular to this series about feminism and the romance novel, you can totally enjoy this story on its own merits of being a story. There are complex loveable characters, plot points keeping people apart in a valid way (and when you realize why her mother doesn’t like Dalton--WOW! Just, wow!), and sexual tension and love galore. I hope Maya writes more stories in this era and location because I think there should be more romances about the New Woman, a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go, all while finding our Happily Ever After.
Monday, June 22, 2020
For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.
After the Cuban Revolution of 1933 leaves Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position, she agrees to an arranged marriage with a notorious American. Following her wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to her new husband, his illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.
Elizabeth Preston's trip to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles after the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.
Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.
Friday, June 19, 2020
When life throws her one setback too many, midwife and young widow Tess Hartsong takes off for Runaway Mountain. In this small town high in the Tennessee mountains, surrounded by nature, she hopes to outrun her heartbreak and find the solace she needs to heal.
But instead of peace and quiet, she encounters an enigmatic artist with a craving for solitude, a fairy-tale sprite with too many secrets, a helpless infant, a passel of curious teens, and a town suspicious of outsiders, especially one as headstrong as Tess. Just as headstrong is Ian North, a difficult, gifted man with a tortured soul—a man who makes Tess question everything.
In running away to this new life, Tess wonders— Has she lost herself . . . or has she found her future?
I loved this book. It's filled with everything that I enjoy and appreciate about a Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel. Phillips is one of those authors who has the ability to create characters who are so realistically human that you forget they are the figment of someone's imagination. They have flaws, struggles, and battered dreams. They don't always make the best decisions. And, sometimes, as is the case with Tess, the best they can do is run away to a small mountain town and confront their grief the only way they can - with angry, heartbroken, dancing in the rain. Phillips imbues Tess with so many layers then sets her on a journey that tests her at almost every turn. She's not always likeable, doesn't always make the best decision, but aren't we all like that at times? Ian is. Like Tess, he also is on a journey, both personally and with his career. Phillips delves deep into his character, his history, his loyalty, and his innate kindness. He nestled right into my heart and refused to leave.
At face value, Tess and Ian seem an unlikely pair and, for a time, are adversaries. But when tragedy forces them to work together as a team, they slowly transition to a tentative friendship then, eventually, both they and the reader are awakened to the fact that these two really are a perfect match. But, of course, that awakening follows a journey filled with emotional ups and downs, plus sprinkles of Phillip's wonderfully wry humor and sarcasm, that kept me glued to the pages of this book from beginning to end.
One of the facets of Phillips' books that I most enjoy are the communities she creates within them. In Dance Away with Me, she brings us a small, rural, mountain town, filled with interesting, quirky characters who are used to their own ways and wary of outsiders. The interactions between opinionated Tess and the townspeople, as well as among the townspeople themselves, are filled with sarcasm, wit, humor, and poignant moments that nurture not only Tess's evolution but that of some secondary characters as well.
While difficult, potentially triggering, topics are touched upon in this book - miscarriage, death in childbirth, grief - the overall tone is hopeful, rather than dark. Phillips' never minimizes the impact of unexpected tragedy nor the depth of her characters' grief but allows them to work through it with the full range of human emotions, including anger, but also humor, bringing them through to the other side where hope, happiness, and new love awaits.
Have you read Susan Elizabeth Phillips? Do you have a favorite book of hers?
Have you ever danced in the rain? After reading this book, and especially the wonderful Epilogue, that's exactly what I wanted to do.
Are there any other women's fiction novels on your must-read list this summer?
One randomly chosen person who comments on this post before 11:00 PM, June 21, will receive a hardback copy of Dance Away with Me.
*Must be 18 or older
*U.S. addresses only