June #TBR Challenge- Favorite Trope

Sleeping With The Enemy- Tracy Solheim

 

 

It’s June for another hour, so I still have time to post this month’s TBR challenge book- favorite trope. I chose Tracy Solheim’s Sleeping With The Enemy because I had the pleasure of meeting her at this year’s Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation weekend. For a Packers fan, she was lovely. (just kidding, she was lovely anyway)  I purchased one of her books, and when I pulled it off the top of my TBR pile, I was delighted to find it combines sports romance with one of my favorite tropes, reunited lovers. Oddly, it also combines two of my least favorite subgenres and tropes: Billionaire romance and enemies to lovers.

So which won? I’m glad to say that the elements I liked in this book far outweighed the things I didn’t.

Bridgett and Jay met in Italy as summer interns during college, fell in love, and then had their lives turn upside down in a matter of weeks, as Jay’s wealthy stepfather died, and Bridgett discovered she was pregnant. Through a series of misunderstandings, and the devious  actions of Jay’s vindictive ex-roommate, each believed they had been dumped by the other. Thirteen years later, Jay is a dot-com billionaire and owner of the Balitmore Blaze football team. Bridgett is hired as his attorney when the team and Jay are sued by a disgruntled cheerleader, and hounded by a mysterious blogger.

I won’t go into a detailed explanation of the plot, because it’s twisty and there’s only an hour left in June.  Suffice to say, while it contains a few (too) lucky coincidences, for the most part, it makes sense. I liked that the action played out over a week and culminated at a football game, though much of the action took place away from the field.

I liked Bridgett, who was strong but vulnerable, after losing both Jay and their baby. Jay has dealt with his pain by focusing everything on business, and approaches every facet of his life (Bridgett included) as a deal he must close. While this was kind of off-putting, Bridgett’s reaction to him now, versus the man she once knew, as well as Jay’s gruff tenderness toward his wild-child young sister, showed he was more than a young Donald Trump clone with good hair.  By the end of the book, I wanted this couple together and was satisfied that their HEA was the real deal.

I’m glad I gave Sleeping With The Enemy a read, and will look forward to reading more of Tracy’s books.

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RITA Nominated Authors Best First Book Giveway

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Would you like to win one of 2 $50 Amazon gift cards? Or win a collection of the eight amazing books which are the  2016 RITA Finalists for Best First Book…(including Pairing Off!)

Read on!

Today we are sharing an incredible giveaway hosted by the 2016 ‘Best First Book’ RITA Nominated Authors! They are giving away 2 $50 Amazon Gift Cards, and a copy of each of the nominated titles. There will be 3 winners total. Be sure to sign up below and check out the authors who are participating and their incredible titles. Contemporary romance, historical, paranormal, suspense, and YA. There’s something for everyone!

 

 

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PARTICIPATING AUTHORS

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NO BETTER MAN by Sara Richardson

Book Blurb:
When it comes to business, Avery King always comes out on top. So after a very public breakup, work is the perfect excuse to flee the Windy City for the gentle breezes of Aspen, Colorado. Her mission: acquire the land of a rundown mountain ranch. Avery expects an easy win . . . until she meets the rugged and irresistible rancher who won’t give up his property without a fight.

Bryce Walker is stunned by the stubborn beauty determined to get what she wants. But what she wants is his last connection to the life he used to have. Bryce has plans to return the ranch to its former glory and no way will he sell his family home. Yet the more time he spends with Avery, the more her sweet touch makes him forget his painful memories. Now Bryce must decide whether living in the past is worth losing his future . .

PURCHASE HERE

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | GooglePlay | Kobo | BAM | IndieBound

FIND THE AUTHOR

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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NIGHT HUSH by Leslie Jones

Book Blurb:

Night Hush is a 2016 RITA® nominee for Best First Book, and the winner of the New England RWA’s Reader’s Choice Award.

In this gripping and action-packed debut, an Army Intelligence officer and a Delta Force soldier must race against the clock to stop a catastrophic terrorist attack …

When Army Intelligence officer Heather Langstrom’s military convoy is ambushed and she’s taken prisoner, she knows she’ll need all her strength and courage to survive, escape her captors, and report the whispers of unrest brewing in the Middle East.

Delta Force Captain Jace Reed isn’t one to throw caution to the wind, but when his team stumbles upon beaten and weak Heather fleeing the terrorist training camp they’ve been dispatched to destroy, he’ll risk everything to get her to safety.

Once back on base, they learn her convoy’s ambush was no accident … she’d been targeted. As the evidence of an impending attack mounts, Jace and Heather uncover a deadly terrorist plot that could kill hundreds of civilians.

But Jace’s protective instincts and Heather’s fierce independence put them at constant odds. And as they close in on the extremists, they must learn to trust one another in order to save innocent lives … even if it means sacrificing their own.

PURCHASE HERE

Amazon | B&N | HarperCollins

FIND THE AUTHOR

Website | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Tumblr

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THE STRONGEST STEEL by Scarlett Cole

Book Blurb:
“An incredible story about healing, pain, and trust…you don’t want to miss this one!” –New York Times bestselling author Jen McLaughlin

“I know what you’re up to,” she said.
“And what would that be?” he asked with a devious smirk.
“You know.”
“Is it working?”
She looked over her shoulder to where he was still reclining against the wall, watching her patiently. All the reasons she’d vowed to stay alone, to remain uninvolved, fled as he grinned at her.
“Maybe.”

In Scarlett Cole’s The Strongest Steel, Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning. The scars that decorate her back are just one more reminder of things she’d rather forget, the past she wants to leave far behind her, but before she can move on, she needs him.

Trent Andrews has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And there’s no way in hell he’s going to turn Harper away. Not when a swirling mix of tenderness and desire slams into him every time he sees her. Being with Harper is like going ten rounds in the ring―exhilarating, powerful, and dangerous. She stirs feelings in him he thought were long gone… if he can only get past her carefully constructed defenses.

Running was the only thing that saved Harper last time, but each session at Second Circle Tattoos brings her closer and closer to Trent. His lingering touches seduce her, making her believe in a life without fear, where she can be happy, whole, in love. But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper’s phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. She ran from her past once before; this time will she have the strength to fight back?

“This book gave me so many feels! Angst, passion, and love all set in Miami, my favorite city. I can’t wait for more from this author and I can’t recommend this book enough.” – Sidney Halston,USA Today bestselling author of Against the Cage

PURCHASE HERE

Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Chapters Indigo | iTunes

FIND THE AUTHOR

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

ALTERED
ALTERED by Marnee Blake

Book Blurb:

When “normal” ends, survival begins…

The sickness came on suddenly and violently. When it was done, waitress Blue Michaels was different in a really strange way. And the entire town of Glory was dead…except for her.

Only that’s not exactly true. A handful of people made it, including U.S. Army Specialist Seth Campbell, who was caught in the wrong town at the worst time. He’s fierce and protective, and way too good-looking. As much as they need a leader—as much as Blue wants to trust him—there are too many questions and not enough time for answers. Now they are hunted. But what their pursuers don’t know is each of them has strange new powers. And they’ll use their “gifts” to survive…no matter who stands in their way.

PURCHASE HERE

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | GooglePlay | iTunes

FIND THE AUTHOR

Website | Twitter | Facebook

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VIKING WARRIOR RISING by Asa Maria Bradley

Book Blurb:

Immortal Vikings are among us.

Leif Skarsganger and his elite band of immortal warriors have been charged to protect humanity from the evil Norse god Loki.

Under attack from Loki’s minions, Leif is shocked to encounter a dark-haired beauty who fights like a warrior herself. Wounded and feverish, the Viking kisses her, inadvertently triggering an ancient Norse bond. But when Naya Brisbane breaks away and disappears before the bond is completed, Leif’s warrior spirit goes berserk. If Leif doesn’t find her fast, he’s going to lose himself to permanent battle fury.

But Naya doesn’t want to be found…and he’ll do anything to track her down. Because they’re both running out of time.

PURCHASE HERE

Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | iTunes

FIND THE AUTHOR

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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A NOBLE MASQUERADE by Kristi Ann Hunter

Book Blurb:

Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.

When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

PURCHASE HERE

Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound

FIND THE AUTHOR

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

FINAL COVER

FORGET TOMORROW by Pintip Dunn

Book Blurb:

Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.
It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision-a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.
Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.
In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo-a hellish prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes.
But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all-Callie, herself.

PURCHASE HERE

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FIND THE AUTHOR

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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PAIRING OFF by Elizabeth Harmon

Book Blurb:

American figure skater Carrie Parker’s Winter Games dreams were dashed when her philandering partner caused one of the greatest scandals in skating history. Blacklisted from competing in the United States, her career is over…until she receives a mysterious invitation and is paired with the most infuriating, talented—and handsome—skater she’s ever met.

Russian champion Anton Belikov knows sacrifice. He gave up a normal life and any hope of a meaningful relationship to pursue his dream. And he’s come close—with a silver medal already under his belt, the next stop is the gold. All he needs is a partner. While he’s never forgotten the young American skater he seduced one long-ago night in Amsterdam, he never expected to be confronted with their past…never mind share the ice with her.

When what starts as a publicity stunt grows into something real, Carrie and Anton’s partnership will test their loyalties to family, country and each other. With only a few months to train for the competition of a lifetime, can they master technique and their emotions, or will they lose their footing and fall victim to the heartaches of their pasts?

PURCHASE HERE

Amazon | B&N | GooglePlay | Kobo | iTunes

FIND THE AUTHOR

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

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This week at Rosedale Cottage…#RomanticIdeas from author Rachael Kosinski

Reblogged from: Elizabeth Harmon’s Ramblings of a Writer-girl

No, climate change hasn’t hit Rosedale Cottage THIS hard, but this photo of our neighbor’s 12-foot snowman is a perfect way to introduce our newest guest, historical romance author Rachael Kosinski, who is going to share her winter-themed release with us. But first, a summertime #RomanticIdea. Rachael, what’s yours?

“I find anything lake-oriented can be really, very cute. Walk along the shore, go swimming, have a lakeside picnic—go jet skiing, or boating or both! I live right next to a lake, and on weekends my family will explore this little town that everyone flocks to during the summer; it’s the perfect place to grab some ice cream and just wander as the sun sets. Have you ever seen the sun set across a lake, dappling the surface? Pretty romantic, if you ask me. It’s a thing you can watch for a long time. Then you can just hold hands and meander around all the little shops, or plunge off into the foliage if your lake of choice has parkland right next to it like mine does. Nothing feels more adventurous than anchoring the boat and swimming to shore, then wandering the quiet forest down a worn dirt path until you dry off. I’ve never actually done this date-wise, but it’s on my list!”

I love this idea Rachael. I live near a lake too, and love heading over there late afternoons when my workday’s done. It’s a great way to come up with story ideas. Speaking of… tell us a little about your latest release, The Christmas Lights.

 

“This is a short book, half a book, really. A novella. But please, don’t let that make you shy away. Short can be good! Short can have you straining your eyes against your Kindle, Nook, iPod or laptop (it’s only in electronic form as of now) because some serious plot conflict is afoot. Short can mean cuddling up on a couch with a mug of coffee and having a book snuggle. And who doesn’t like book snuggles? If you like intense deadlines, the nooks and crannies of European cities, eccentric artists, nearly blind fiancés, London factory boys, Faberge eggs, the power of love and its ability to withstand literally ALL obstacles, and if you’ve ever been even the teensiest bit curious as to why we hang colored lights from our houses during the winter, I strongly suggest you give ‘The Christmas Lights’ a try.”

OMG, you had me at eccentric artists and London factory boys! I’m definitely intrigued by your description. Care to share an excerpt?

“Because your father requires…a dowry, of sorts. A guarantee you’ll be well taken care of.” 

Emmy’s hand turned sweaty. “Oh, Louis. What does that mean?” 

I swallowed the sour taste at the back of my mouth, nerves trembling in my fingers. “Our engagement lasts until December twenty-fifth. If by that time I’ve not returned—” 

“Returned?” Emmy’s gaze burned me. “Louis, where are you going? Won’t my father give you a job?” 

I didn’t move and barely opened my mouth to let the words escape. “He’s got me a job.” 

“What?” 

I loosened my shoulders and shrugged. “Marks Brothers pays their floor workers very well.” 

“Who?” 

“I’d stack inventory outside, in the clean air, and I’d work with a few fellows who’d watch out for me…” “Louis!” 

“…I hear factories in London are much safer than here.” 

“London! Louis, Louis, what are you talking about?” Emmy grabbed my face. 

I squinted at two sparkling brown orbs. Was she crying? 

“No.” Emmy covered her mouth with a hand. “No, you aren’t going to London. How could you? No one loves you there. No one knows you there…”

Your father seems to think it is my home country. 

“Emmy. Emmy Emmy Emmy.” I held her close, stroking her hair. “I don’t plan to work there.” 

She sat back. “What?” 

“I’ve heard Mr. Godfrey talk about them. A London factory is the last place I should work. Your father means well, but I can’t do that. They wouldn’t take a blind boy.” 

“Wh-where will you go, then? How on earth will you make money?” 

“I have family in Paris. Mother says they have wine vineyards. I’ll work for them.” 

“That…” Emmy’s fingers traced the veins on the back of my hand. “That’s much safer.” She was silent for the longest time. “You’ll be safe? And come home quickly?” 

I pulled her hands away and stood, playing with the ring on her finger. “I will. I love you.” 

“Louis…” 

“Emmy. I don’t have a choice. You want to marry me, don’t you?” 

“Of course I do. But, Louis…” 

“Yes, love?” 

“How long will you be gone?” How long? How long to board a ship, to find a place I’d only heard about, to earn and save an impossible amount of money? How long, indeed. 

I set my expression. “I’ll be home by Christmas.”

Hey, we’re half-way to Christmas. Why not indulge in a little holiday cheer? Where can we buy a copy of “The Christmas Lights?”

Where to find the book

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OMFS0S8

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-christmas-lights-rachael-kosinski/1120609560?ean=2940046293258

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/the-christmas-lights/atAzy8BDVUOzqfSxguMmlg?MixID=atAzy8BDVUOzqfSxguMmlg&PageNumber=1

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/museitup/romance/historical-romance/the-christmas-lights-detail

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/486267

 

When she was little, Rachael Kosinski wanted to be a paleontologist, an astronaut, a nature photographer, a writer for National Geographic, an Egyptologist, and the next Jane Goodall. Instead of being a new link between man and chimp, or discovering a planet suitable for sustained human life, or maybe even winning renowned fame by stumbling across an undiscovered dinosaur, Rachael finally decided that, if she never became a writer, she would simply die. Nine years later, she now possesses a quirky knowledge of world mythology, an addiction to coffee, and a penchant for making over-expressive faces at her laptop.

Connect:

Social Media:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9856335.Rachael_Kosinski

Website: http://the-girl-who-draws-with-words.tumblr.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rachael-Kosinski/e/B0151WRFMC

 

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This week at Rosedale Cottage…#RomanticIdeas from author Barbara White Daille

Reblogged from: Elizabeth Harmon’s Ramblings of a Writer-girl

 

Welcome to Rosedale Cottage, where we’ll be talking about great summer reads all summer long and sharing #RomanticIdeas to make this summer special.

This week’s guest is contemporary romance author Barbara White Daille, who will share a tunefully #RomanticIdea, and a little bit about her newest release. Thanks for stopping by the cottage, Barbara!

Glad to be here. My #RomanticIdea?

Check your area for summer music festivals.

They’re sometimes held in local parks, which gives you fresh air, beautiful surroundings, and of course, some great music. (As a bonus, they’re often offered at no charge.)

That’s a great suggestion, Barbara. I’m a big fan of outdoor music, and of free! Put the two together and it’s a winner.

Tell us a little about your new release, A Rancher’s Pride.

Sam Robertson’s life just changed. In one short day, he found out that he’s a daddy; that his beautiful little girl, Becky, is deaf; and that her aunt, sign language teacher Kayla Ward, intends to fight him for custody.

There are plenty of reasons Sam shouldn’t fall for Kayla. A city girl like her has no place on his ranch, particularly when she’s his ex-wife’s gorgeous sister. But thanks to the judge’s orders, Sam’s spending a lot of time with Kayla, trying to give Becky the stable home she’s never known.

Despite their ongoing custody battle, Sam and Kayla’s love for Becky brings them closer than they ever expected, and Sam knows that no matter who wins in court, he could still lose—Kayla or his daughter.

 

In this excerpt, Kayla believes she can convince Sam to learn American Sign Language, but her student is having trouble staying on task…

 

 

“N-no fair,” She protested. “You’re not holding a blue crayon.”

 

“I was talking about your eyes. They’re blue. Very blue. And your cheeks are bright pink all of a sudden.” He smiled and leaned closer. “I can learn all my colors,” he murmured, “just by looking at you.”

 

Her heart thumped heavily. She wanted to lean back but couldn’t. She should get up and walk away. Somehow, she couldn’t do that, either. “There are more signs than just colors, you know.” Her voice cracked on the last word.

 

He smiled. He knew just what he was doing to her. And darn him, he was enjoying it.

 

“True.” He nodded. “How do you say ‘I’?”

 

She pointed her index finger at herself.

 

“And how do you say ‘want?’”

 

“You…do this.” She held both palms up and crooked all her fingers as she pulled her hands toward her body.

 

He leaned even closer. “And how do you say ‘a kiss?’” he whispered.

 

“Uhh…” She paused. “I forget.”  She had to draw the line somewhere.

 

Didn’t she?

 

Chuckling, he shook his head. “Well, maybe this will help your memory.” He slid his arm around her waist and held her close.

 

Before she could react, could close her eyes or even take a breath, Becky’s high-pitched laughter rang out. She stood in the kitchen doorway, her shoulders hiked up near her ears and her hands trying to cover the huge grin splitting her face.

 

A gesture that could probably be understood in any language.

 

Then she put the fingertips of each hand together and pursed her lips.

 

“Saved,” Kayla said, gently pushing Sam away. “You’ve just seen the sign for ‘kiss.’”

 

 

Where to find the book

Larger Print re-issue

Publisher: Harlequin http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=64731    

Original e-book version

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Ranchers-Pride-Barbara-White-Daille-ebook/dp/B004U73TFC

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ranchers-pride-barbara-white-daille/1100382659?ean=9781459202337

Books-A-Million http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Ranchers-Pride/Barbara-White-Daille/Q805260264?id=6631563407959

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-rancher-s-pride 

 

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom.

The first of her Flagman’s Folly stories, A Rancher’s Pride, is available in Larger Print from Harlequin. You can also find the original version at most major e-tailers.

The next book in Barbara’s popular The Hitching Post Hotel series, Cowboy in Charge, releases July 2016, with other books in the series to follow. In November 2016, she begins a new sweet romance series for Entangled Bliss.

 

Connect:

Website  http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com Blog  http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com/blog Twitter  https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/barbarawhitedaille Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002J6B0QQ

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#RomanticIdeas This Summer at Rosedale Cottage

 

Summer and reading go together!

Blame it on the Bookmobile, which used to park a block from my house when I was a kid, but when the temperatures soar, that’s my favorite time to read.

Though I’m grown-up and the Bookmobile is long gone, I even moved to a house with a reading-friendly front porch, that’s just a short walk from the library.

To celebrate the best reading season of all, I’ll be transforming my blog into a virtual summer cottage and welcoming some writer friends to share a little about their newest releases as well as a favorite #RomanticIdea to enjoy this summer.

I’ll also share photos of a few of my favorite places to kick back with a cold drink and a hot romance…the perfect summer combo.

See you at the Cottage!

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May #TBRChallenge Something Different

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Kickstart My Heart- Autumn Jones Lake

May’s reading didn’t go quite as planned. I had a different book in mind, but because I’m taking a class on novellas, and because that book wasn’t a novella, I had to switch things around.  I chose something from this anthology, which I’ve been using as a textbook of sorts for the class.

‘80s Mix Tape is definitely the most fun textbook ever! A collection of seven New Adult stories set during the 1980s, each uses an eighties song as its title. When I saw that one of the stories was a motorcycle club romance, it was a perfect choice.  While the subgenre is hugely popular it’s not one I’ve read, so in the spirit of Something Different month, I decided to give it a try.

“Kick Start My Heart” turned out to be a mixed bag, but not for the reasons I expected.

In 1987 Los Angeles, Chaser, whose father heads an outlaw motorcycle club, is a guitarist in an up-and-coming metal band. Aspiring actress Mallory is hired to play the sexy girl in the band’s video, and Chaser catches her eye.

I’ll start with what I loved about this story: Chaser. He’s a decent, honorable guy from a rough and tumble environment, who’s left it behind, at least temporarily, to pursue his true passion, music. But he knows he’ll have to return to it someday, and doubts virginal Mallory—who doesn’t even realize her best girlfriend is a hooker, would ever fit in. Chaser has no clue that Mallory is really the on-the-run daughter of an imprisoned Russian mobster. No sooner was Papa sentenced, then Mallory emptied the family safe and headed for Hollywood.

But for me, this is where things fell apart.

For a frightened girl trying to escape her old life, working as a highly-visible model on MTV seems like really a bad idea. When she’s inevitably found, Chaser has to intervene, but Mallory offers no explanation who the baddie is, beyond admitting she knows him. Nor does Chaser ask. Instead, he takes her on a three-day ride to hide out with the motorcycle club. But Chaser’s dad knows all about the runaway Mafia Princess, and isn’t happy to have her under his roof.  After all, the club has spent “the last ten years” trying to avoid deals with the Russians.

While I could be wrong, the Russian mob seems much more of a 1990s/2000s thing. The eighties were still the Cold War, and unless the MC was selling military secrets or steroids for teenage gymnasts, I can’t imagine what Russian deals they were avoiding the previous ten years. Finally, the heroine’s name, Mallory, didn’t ring true for someone from her ultra-traditional Russian background.

I couldn’t shake the feeling I was reading a contemporary story retro-fitted to the 1980s. It wasn’t bad, but too many off-kilter details kept pulling me out. Still, I found a motorcycle romance with a hero I liked, so I may have to give another of Autumn Jones Lake’s books a try.

 

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April #TBR Challenge- Contemporary

 

Party Lines/The Easy Part #3- Emma Barry

I’ve been saving the third book in Barry’s The Easy Part political series for just the right time. And what better time for a romance about two political aides working for competing presidential candidates, than primary election season?

While the primary in Party Lines is nowhere near as strange as the 2016 edition, I couldn’t help but substitute real-life players for the book’s candidates.  Republican Scott Stafford is a Jeb Bush-like moderate, whose main appeal is that he’s less crazy than the other GOP front runner.

Democrat James Randall is a charismatic governor with a reputation as a womanizer, and a politically savvy wife. No word on whether Mrs. Randall has presidential ambitions of her own.

But the real drama is behind the scenes, where political aides dig up dirt on opposing candidates, then stay up all night watching CNN and Fox as they wait for the scandal to break. 

Democrat Michael Picetti and Republican Lydia Reales meet while flying to Iowa for the January caucuses. The attraction is instant, and for Lydia, so is the hostility. Michael wrongly assumes the brainy young Latina is a fellow liberal, and though she’s socially moderate, Lydia is a true believer in the Republican hard-work-creates-opportunity ideal. Too bad her boss sees her only as the campaign’s token person of color, and overlooks her contributions.

Michael’s idealism has been crushed beneath the grind of running a campaign and mitigating routine disasters, such as when his candidate’s affair with a TV reporter goes public. His job is to put a Democrat in the White House, and he’s long since stopped caring whether Randall is the best man for the job.

With goals that couldn’t be more opposed, Michael and Lydia don’t see any possibility for a relationship. But an emotional bond grows between them, fueled by hot sex, and fiercely intelligent banter.  In a nice change-up from typical romance tropes, it’s sexy, sensitive Michael who finds himself longing for something deeper, while smart ambitious Lydia seems content to keep things casual.

Barry portrays both campaigns with an even hand, giving us sympathetic and unlikable characters on both sides. The nitty-gritty details of how a campaign works were fascinating, and I loved how she was able to create sizzling romance in such mundane settings as a hotel gym and an Applebee’s parking lot.

If you’re looking for a different kind of read that’s not only sexy, but gives a taste of what life is like on “the trail,” during “the cycle” don’t miss Party Lines.

 

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