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The Ex Talk by Rachel Solomon was a refreshing 4 star read for me. I really liked both the heroine and hero in this book. Both are passionate about their work at a local public radio station and, as it turns out, each other.
Our heroine, Shay Goldstein, works as a producer for several shows at the station. Her life is an ordered one. She always uses the same sound booth at the station, she meets weekly for dinner with her mom, her best friend from childhood, and their respective boyfriends. Her boyfriend would join except he bolted as soon as she used the L-word. It has been several months since the break up and in an effort to move on Shay buys a house. A big, empty, lonely house. She is an adult now and has been saving up for one ever since she started working but something is still missing in her life. At this point, her choices are to either swipe right on a dating app or get a pet. Still gun shy on the relationship front she goes to the shelter and picks a wily Chihuahua to cuddle up with on those cold Northern Pacific nights.
The only thing or person left disturbing her peace and using HER studio in her time slot is the new kid in town. Domenic Yun, fresh from earning his masters degree in journalism, is eager to be at the top and covering only real news items. He probably can see how miffed she is whenever he does wrong, which is often. But he just shrugs his broad shoulder and unfolds his tall, lanky body from her chair. So smug, so sure of himself and so good looking but Shay has no time for any of that now.
Especially now when management calls a meeting to brainstorm ideas that will attract a larger audience to their fledgling station. It seems that fundraising drives are no longer doing that trick. Somehow they could possibly make the show into a podcast reaching an even bigger audience. Someone suggests a show based on the new digital dating scene and how to navigate it which somehow becomes a show featuring two people who are no longer dating to talk about dating other people. Their boss suggests Shay and Domenic host the show. There’s just one problem - actually several problems - but most importantly, they never dated. They barely know one another outside of work. Never mind any ethical issues like they would be lying to their audience.
The other problem is that Domenic is dead set against it! He’s a serious reporter not some talk show co-host. It takes a bit of convincing on Shay’s part. After all, their jobs are on the line. He finally agrees and in an effort to seem somewhat sincere they get to know one another better. They become closer and get to know one another’s vulnerabilities and hurts. Domenic, a Beta hero in the finest sense, has always been attracted to Shay. They fall in love in a sort of reverse order of what the show is all about. However, deceit has its price and a betrayal all but crushes their relationship. It will take a great deal of work for one of them to be brave enough to fight for their love.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes an enemy to lovers story, You will cheer for them as much as I did.
The very air in the room altered when August entered. She was simply stunning wrapped in her Worth gown and her confidence. She pulled the door closed behind her, her chin parallel with the floor and her shoulders squared to face him. It was almost as if she had been born to be a duchess.
“You are angry with me.” Noting the way her small hand kept a secure hold of the doorknob as if she intended to leave at the first sign of trouble, he stayed where he was so that he would not frighten her. He wanted many things from the woman before him, but her fear was not one of them.
Eyes bright with her fury, she said, “Of course I am. Do you have any idea what you have done?”
Even though he knew that it would only goad her, he could not stop the smile from twisting his lips. “I presume you mean the waltz?”
“You know precisely what I mean. Everyone thinks that you intend to propose to me now instead of Violet.”
It was terrible of him, but he could not resist himself when it came to her. Smiling widely now, he leaned a shoulder against a shelf and said, “You did ask me to not dance with her tonight, if I recall.”
She violently let go of the doorknob, if such a thing was possible, and crossed her arms over her chest to pace the short distance to the low-burning fireplace. The library was a small but comfortable room with dark oak paneling and a seating area with several overstuffed chairs and low tables set before the fire. Aside from the bookcases framing the mantel, and the row of them at his back, they were the only furniture in the room. Had she kept the chairs between them because she feared being alone with him? A twinge of guilt made itself known that she was probably right.
“I should have realized you would make this into another sparring match. Whatever your reasoning, you have made everyone believe that you intend to propose to me. Why would you do that?”
She could not look directly at him when she asked that. Her gaze had settled somewhere along his ear. Interesting. Also of note, the color on her cheeks was higher than when she had walked into the room. Partially due to her anger but, he would be willing to bet, also because she was as attracted to him as he was to her. Watching the myriad of expressions on her lovely face during their waltz had made him suspect as much. Now he knew for certain.
Tipping his head slightly to attempt to force her to meet his gaze, he explained, “Perhaps because I do mean to propose to you. Have you considered that?” He was surprised to find that his heart was pounding with those words.
Breath lodged in her chest as she jerked to meet his gaze. “What? No.” Her lips parted as she appeared to struggle to form her next words. “I . . . I do not accept.”
Not yet, but she would. “I have not proposed to you, yet.”
Having overcome her apparent shock, she drew herself up. “That hardly matters. I won’t accept when you do, so you shouldn’t bother.”
“Thank you for the fair warning, but I rather hope to change your mind.”
She laughed at that. Laughed as if he were a lowly servant asking for her hand rather than a duke. “Impossible.”
For the first time that night, a glimmer of anger burned in his chest. “I am a respected peer with four estates and—since I lack the requisite excessive weight and want of hair of others in my position—more than a passing attractiveness.”
She took in a breath and closed her eyes briefly before catching him with that directness he found both enticing and unsettling. “The fact that you believe those are the only things that recommend you as a spouse is both troubling and sad.”
He could only stare at her, taken aback by her opinion. “As troubling and sad as they may be to you, they are very sound reasons for marriage. Why would you not want to marry me?”
Crossing her arms over her chest again, she asked, “Why on earth would I ever marry you? You truly cannot fathom a woman turning down your offer of marriage, can you? I do not intend to marry you, because I like my life as it is now. You have absolutely nothing to offer me.”
“Nothing is such a strong position.” He heard himself saying the words and moving forward without ever consciously thinking of what he was saying. “You like kissing me. The marriage bed will be no hardship for either of us.”
As he wove around the chairs separating them, she took a step back until she came up against the bookcase. The soft flames of the fire lit up the rose of her cheeks and the interest in her eyes. They had fallen to rest on his mouth, much as his own gaze was eating up the sight of her soft lips. It was amazing how the simple reminder of their kiss had changed them both so fast.
Dear God, to have her in bed beneath him would be one of the greatest accomplishments of his life.
“That is hardly . . . That is no reason . . .” Her gaze moved back and forth between his eyes and his mouth as he came to a stop in front of her. Near enough to touch, but he did not dare take that path yet. “Are we like horses to you, then? Choose the mare you would prefer to breed and we all simply go along with your choice?”
He managed to swallow down his laugh, even as her words made heat pulse in his veins. “That is not at all how I see this, and it is hardly fair to assume as much when I am willing to negotiate.”
“Not fair?” The softness that had crept into her eyes was burned away by a new wave of anger. “You have some nerve speaking to me about fair play. None of this is fair. You decide you need money and then decide to marry to get it. Now you’ve decided that I will be your convenient bride, no matter how I feel about it.”
This time he could not hide his laughter. “I assure you that you are anything but a convenient bride. You are the most stubborn and infuriating woman I have ever met.”
Ashamed of a decision he made in battle that cost good men their lives, the dark Highlander Bane Morgan escapes to Edinburgh to forget his past. But the more time he spends away from his Highland home, the more he's filled with regret and despair.
Lucia Symington knows something about despair. Forced to work off a family debt for a clan with little moral compass and a particular hatred for her, Lucia loses herself a little more each day. When a chance meeting with Bane gives them both a glimpse of what their future together could be, Bane pledges himself to the Ludus Caledonia, the warrior training club where he can reconnect to the fire for justice that still burns within him. The Highland Defender has returned...only to discover that his quest to free his lady could cost them both everything...
A grouchy mountaineer, a Hollywood starlet
Former Hollywood darling River Lane's acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River's going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.
Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.
Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that's a big if. The wildlife's wilder than usual, the camera crew's determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton's job tougher, but there's only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it'll take all of Easton's skill to get them back home safely...and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.
When Maze returns to Wildstone for the wedding of her estranged bff and the sister of her heart, it’s also a reunion of a once ragtag team of teenagers who had only each other until a tragedy tore them apart and scattered them wide.
Now as adults together again in the lake house, there are secrets and resentments mixed up in all the amazing childhood memories. Unexpectedly, they instantly fall back into their roles: Maze their reckless leader, Cat the den mother, Heather the beloved baby sister, and Walker, a man of mystery.
Life has changed all four of them in immeasurable ways. Maze and Cat must decide if they can rebuild their friendship, and Maze discovers her long-held attraction to Walker hasn’t faded with the years but has only grown stronger.
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-
Connect with Jill
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Meet Kimberly Kincaid
When she’s not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber”, she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book.
Kimberly is a USA Today best-selling author and a 2016 and 2015 RWA RITA® finalist and 2014 Bookseller’s Best nominee who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love.
Kimberly resides in Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.
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