Tag: Romance (page 1 of 42)

EXCERPT: Loverboy (The Company #2) by Sarina Bowen

I'm so excited to share an excerpt from Sarina Bowen's latest book, Loverboy, out December 1st. I loved Gunnar and Posy's bickering and banter and both their steamy tension and the constant mention of lattes and pie left hungry for more!

EXCERPT: Loverboy (The Company #2) by Sarina BowenLoverboy (The Company #2)
by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Secrets, desires, and exquisite pie. It’s all in a day’s work at The Company.

Growing up, I was the rough guy from the wrong neighborhood who couldn’t catch a break. Posy was the pampered girl I tried to impress. But all she gave me was a single kiss before I had to skip town.
Now I’m back, and the tables are turned. Posy runs a struggling pie shop. I’m the VP of a secretive billion-dollar security company.
Not that I can tell her.
There’s a murderer on the loose in New York, and he seems to spend a lot of time at Posy’s shop. It’s my job to identify him before he can harm a hair on her pretty head.
Going undercover as Posy’s new barista wasn’t my idea. I don’t even drink coffee. But now I have to call her “boss,” and do everything the curvy perfectionist asks of me. I’d forgotten how much we infuriate each other, and that she somehow fills me with both irritation and desire in the same breath.
There’s nobody more skilled at stealth ops than me. I can bring this killer down. Right after I take a cold shower. And just as soon I figure out how to make a skinny peppermint latte with milk poured in the shape of a kitten...

Excerpt

Earlier, I’d spotted him even before he came into the bar. I watched him get out of that cab and then check the time. I saw him look toward the pub, weighing his choices.  

My heart had thumped along with only one word. Please.

Fine—not my heart. It was other parts of me who were doing all the begging. Silently, of course. Speaking up seems impossible right now. What if he laughs in my face? Or—this might even be worse—what if he says yes? And then we get naked and I can’t satisfy him? 

You’re not very adventurous, Spalding said. You’re not very good in bed.

My ex is the only person I’ve ever been naked with. And thanks to him, I’m afraid to try again with someone else. If another man tells me I’m no fun, I don’t know how I’d come back from that.

On the other hand, if I don’t get out of this rut, then Spalding wins. Maybe I sound melodramatic, but I don’t want to die before I experience terrific sex. 

It’s really no surprise that my drink disappears quickly. 

“Look, you don’t have to tell me what’s on your mind,” Gunnar muses, and I realize I’ve been silent for some time. “But something has you deep in thought.”

“Rhubarb,” I blurt. “It’s, uh, something I’ve used in springtime pies. But, um, I wonder if I could do better than strawberry rhubarb—that’s been done, you know?” 

His smile widens. “Is that an occupational hazard? You can’t eat or drink anything without reconfiguring it in your mind?”

“Yep.” I wave at the bartender. “Another round of these if you wouldn’t mind.”

“Are you trying to get me drunk?” Gunnar asks. “Please say yes.”

My pulse picks up, because it’s hard to miss the innuendo there. But I dodge the question, because I’ve never been brave. “As if two cocktails and a beer would put you under my spell.”

“Oh, I’m easy,” Gunnar says, giving me an intentionally sleazy wink. “Besides, your pies have already made me slow and agreeable. That key lime and Thai basil pie was amazing. That stuff is dangerous.”

“You like my key lime and Thai basil?” I ask, hearing pleasure in my own voice. It never gets old when people tell you how much they like the product. “And I guess it figures that you’d be one of those.”

“One of what?”

“You have an adventurous palate.” I prop an elbow on the bar and try to explain. “People fall into two distinct groups. There’re the ones who always order the weird flavors. And the Dutch apple pie crew, who always stick to the basics. They don’t cross over. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.”

Thanks to Spalding. He basically accused me of being a Dutch apple pie in bed. The whole reason I’m reading my sister’s romance novels is to try to learn what the other flavors are like. 

“Huh,” Gunnar says. “So, you can just guess which other pies I’ve tried?”

“Sure, I can. Did you try the pine nut and salted honey?”

“Oh, hell yes.”

My smile grows wide. “How about the matcha green tea tart?”

“Well,” he shakes his head, “I gotta say I haven’t quite gone there yet. But I did enjoy the vinegar date pie.”

“Ah! And the ginger mango cream, right?” I press. 

“Yeah. Does that make me predictable?”

“A little bit,” I say, enjoying myself immensely. “Have you started doing that thing where you try to guess each customer’s guilty pleasure?”

He laughs. “Get out of my head. It’s my new favorite game.”

“How’s your accuracy?”

“Pretty bad. I started off trying to use clothing as a clue. I expected somebody wearing a navy blue suit and boring shoes to order the apple crumble. But that theory bombed. And then I tried to assume that people in workout clothes wouldn’t pick something sugary. But they totally do.”

“You have to look deep inside their souls,” I tease. “If you look at the shell of a person, you’ll never get their pie order right. In fact, you have to look at their auras.”

He snorts. “What color is my aura?”

“Indigo, like tattoo ink. But with a streak of red because you’re contrary.”

He narrows his eyes. “You’re just fucking with me now.”

“Maybe I am.” 

“Okay, lady. But I have an issue with something you said earlier.”

“What?”

Guilty pleasures.” He lays a hand over my wrist. “I don’t believe in those. I don’t think pleasure should make you feel guilty.”

“Oh.” He’s barely touching me, but goosebumps run up my arm anyway. Now would be a great time to make a joke and diffuse all the tension I’m suddenly feeling. But I feel too tongue-tied to pull it off.

Gunnar removes his hand, which is a disappointment. But the next thing he says stuns me back into goosebump territory. “You know, I always had it bad for you.”

“You … what?” I ask stupidly.

“Back when we were tending bar, I had a big crush on you. And sometimes I thought you were on the same page. I usually have good instincts about these things. But not that time. You ended up with Mr. Pretty Boy Preppy instead.”

My heart is thumping wildly now, and I take a sip of my cocktail to steady my nerves. The truth is that I don’t really trust this little revelation. We used to annoy each other, for one thing. But maybe that didn’t matter to Gunnar’s libido. He was a horny college boy. He probably had it bad for all the girls. 

Still. “What if I’m the one who has terrible instincts? Did you ever think of that? And did you miss the part where I divorced Mr. Preppy?”

“Mmm,” he says thoughtfully. “I suppose that might explain a few things.”

“You’re the one who left, anyway.” 

His eyes narrow. “Do you really think if I’d stuck around, things would have turned out differently? I spent three months giving you the fuck-me eyes, Paxton. But you didn’t take me up on it.”

Oh mother of God. His gaze is turning hot, and I think it might incinerate me. And then I remember why we never hooked up in the first place.

 

Vendors

🗝️ Amazon https://geni.us/Amazon-LB 

🗝️ Apple https://geni.us/Apple-LB 

🗝️ Kobo https://geni.us/Kobo-Lb 

🗝️ Nook https://geni.us/Nook-LB 

🗝️ Google (soon)

🗝️Audio: https://geni.us/LoverboyAudible

BOOK REVIEW: A Cowboy State of Mind (Creedence Horse Rescue #1) by Jennie Marts

BOOK REVIEW: A Cowboy State of Mind (Creedence Horse Rescue #1) by Jennie MartsA Cowboy State of Mind (Creedence Horse Rescue #1)
by Jennie Marts
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Scarred and battered loner Zane Taylor has a gift with animals, particularly horses, but he's at a total loss when it comes to knowing how to handle women. Even though he's sworn off love, he can't seem to stay away from Bryn Callahan. He's known for being a horse whisperer, but can't seem to find his voice at all where Bryn is concerned.

Bryn Callahan has a heart for strays, but she is through trying to save damaged men. She vows to only date nice guys, which is a category that does not include Zane Taylor. Too bad he's the only one who sets her pulse racing every time she's around him.

Starting a horse rescue ranch wasn't in Bryn's plan, but try telling that to the assembly of abandoned animals that have found their way to her doorstep. And when a chance encounter with a horse headed for slaughter brings Zane and Bryn together, they find themselves given a chance to save not just the horse, but maybe each other...

Review:

With small town charm, characters that were easy to love and a story line that melted my heart, A Cowboy State of Mind had it all!  I laughed, cried and swooned hard.  So if you love cowboys and romance, then you definitely need to look at adding this one to your tbr!

“It was nothing.”
It hadn’t been nothing to her. It had been everything.

I had already fallen hard for Zane Taylor in Wish Upon a CowboyHe was quiet and loyal.  And I loved that he stepped up and helped when needed.  He was such a good person.  Plus I adored his border collie, that he claimed wasn’t his, but he still let her sleep in his bed at night ha!  But my heart bled for Zane.  Other judged him by his scar.  And his upbringing and current situation with his dad made my heart hurt for him.  Thankfully, there was lots of brightness in his life.  Especially anytime he was around Bryn.

She was done saving others. She wanted security and stability. Safety. And when it came to being around Zane Taylor, her heart was anything but safe.

Zane was already head over heels in lust with Bryn, and I couldn’t blame him.  I adored her too!    Bryn Callahan was a kind hearted, quirky, lovable woman who I instantly connected with.  She truly had the biggest heart ever and took in strays without a second thought.  When she saved a horse’s life, that brought Zane back into her life.  And while you could tell that they both liked each other, Bryn tried her best not to get attached.  Zane was supposed to leave the state for work.  But the heart wants what the heart wants.

He didn’t know what to say, how to put into words what her words meant to him. All he could do was show her. He pressed his lips to hers and kissed her with everything in him.

Their love of animals brought Zane and Bryn together again and again.  And I loved that we got to hear both of their thoughts!  Their romance was sweet and slow, but the sexier moments were oh so hot!  But they had a lot of obstacles in their way, besides Zane leaving town.  Like Bryn’s past, her family to Zane not having the best faith in himself.  I just wanted to take all of the distractions away and push them together.  Because anytime they were around the other, it was fabulous!

“That’s the thing about love. We don’t ask for it, but sometimes we get it anyway.”

A Cowboy State of Mind should have easily been a 4.5/5 Star rating for me.  But I struggled with this book.  I’m overly sensitive to animals being in dangerous situations or hurt.  And don’t worry, spoiler alert, all the animals ended up perfectly fine.  But my little girl dog had been sick for months.  So I struggled greatly reading about hurt animals while she was snuggled up next to me extremely sick.  I truly couldn’t handle the animal parts at all, and would put this book down for days to even weeks at a time.  Many, many times.  I’m sure I’m an anomaly, but I wanted to explain why my heart couldn’t fully be in this story.

He brushed her hair back from her forehead, his gaze intense and deep as he stared into her eyes. “The fallin’ is easy, darlin ’. It’s the jumpin’ that takes the strength of will.”
She swallowed, emotion suddenly thickening her throat, as if her body knew that he wasn’t just talking about the ledge. She was already falling, and falling hard, for Zane Taylor, but was she really ready to jump headlong into this thing with him?
He dipped his head and kissed the side of her neck, the scruff of his whiskered chin scraping the delicate skin. She tipped her head back and sighed as she fell.

A Cowboy State of Mind had a happy ending for all, four and three legged animals included.  And I adored Zane and Bryn.  If you love romances that have sexy cowboys in them, heartwarming characters and animals and a story line that will make you root for HEAs, then definitely check this one out.  Jennie Marts is always a huge hit for me, I was just too sensitive with the topic of this book, to make this one a favorite.

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: Always Be My Baby by Mary Ting

BOOK REVIEW: Always Be My Baby by Mary TingAlways Be My Baby by Mary Ting
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Cammy is so furious when she catches her boyfriend kissing another girl at a frat party that she storms out of her own apartment. Letting go of your first love is not an easy thing to do, and he makes it harder by swearing he’s innocent and trying to win her back. But when Cammy meets Grayson Parker, he shows her how different some guys can be. Can Cammy trust her boyfriend and give him another chance? Or will she allow Grayson to heal her wounds and erase the scars?

Review:

Always Be My Baby was absolutely adorable and an enjoyable quick read!   This story took place in the 90s and from dating, to first love, to waiting for someone to page you lol, I felt like I was back in time!  Even the songs had me humming while reading.  I kept finding myself smiling with all of the nostalgia and charming story line.  So if you’re looking for a cute, quick romance then definitely add this one on your list!

I suddenly forgot his name. I forgot how to breathe. I forgot who and where I was. – Cammy

Right away I liked Cammy and felt all the sympathy in the world for her.  The story started in college with Cammy breaking up with her boyfriend, Lucas.  She had walked into a party and saw him kissing another girl.  But there was so much more to her then a girl with a wounded heart.  As we got to know her, I loved that she was kind, smart, unsure at times, stumbled over her words and even made silly little mistakes.  She was so relatable and I could easily see myself doing those things when I was her age.

He left, leaving me breathless and my heart soaring to the sky.

On top of hearing Cammy’s thoughts, we also got two different POVs.  To say I didn’t expect to get Lucas’ POV would be the hugest understatement ever lol.  My mind was shocked and I was so nervous.  Lucas swore he didn’t kiss her back, and the girl had kissed him first.  Were we supposed to believe him?  Like him?  Forgive him?  I didn’t know what to feel.  But we also got another POV, Grayson.  And Grayson was such a surprise.  He could be so cold and cocky.  But he seemed to know exactly what he wanted.  And that was Cammie.  So of course my heart was nervous with how this was all going to unfold.

“I-I tend to bite my pencil during tests or when I get nervous,” I confessed.
His eyebrows lifted and his lips spread wickedly. Leaning closer, his shoulder touched mine and his leg brushed my knee, and he whispered, “I think we’d go well together. I like to bite, too. I’d like to see what else you can do with your teeth.”

I loved how the romance played out in this story!  I can’t say much, but it was about finding confidence in yourself and figuring out what you truly want.  Learning to trust your instincts and relying on those that have your back and heart’s best interest.  From first kisses, to figuring out people’s feelings, to being nervous of the unknown, I enjoyed every minute of this story!

You deserve someone that cares about you when you’re sick. You deserve someone that walks you home.
Leah’s words echoed in my mind.

And I just have to say that this is the second Mary Ting book where female relationships were such a gem!  I loved the friendship between Cammy and Leah. They were the truest of beasties who loved each other with their whole hearts.  They took care of each other and were thoughtful and loving to one another.  They reminded me of the type of relationship I have with my bestest of friends.  It was such a breath of fresh air seeing this type of relationship portrayed in a college aged story!

“…I’m just a guy hoping maybe one day we can be more than friends.” I should have punched myself, or I should have let her punch me. I was an ass. She was hurting and I sprung my words on her as if she didn’t have anything else to worry about. – Grayson

Always Be My Baby warmed my heart!  And I saw so many parallels to my college experience – the chicken noodle soup, walking me places, someone showing you how people can truly be, having your heart on the line and being nervous to take a step, I saw my college years in Cammy’s life!  I even found myself clapping out loud for something Cammy did later on in the story.  While this was a novella, it sure didn’t feel like one.  I had become attached to her and was proud of what she had done!  So with 90s nostalgia, feelings of first love, and friendship, this book was so much fun to read! 

BOOK REVIEW: When the Wind Chimes by Mary Ting

BOOK REVIEW: When the Wind Chimes by Mary TingWhen the Wind Chimes by Mary Ting
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

SOMETIMES ANGELS COME IN HUMAN FORM.

Kaitlyn Summers is heartbroken.

When she receives an invitation to spend Christmas with her family on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, she feels it may be the perfect medicine.

She throws herself into helping her sister’s struggling art gallery, even taking a temporary job for extra money by looking after a little girl from her nephew’s school. She also begins to paint again, something she’s been unable to do since her breakup. It’s tempting to stay on Kauai, but she has obligations back in Los Angeles.

Life gets more complicated when circumstances keep putting her close to Leonardo Medici. Not only is he drop-dead gorgeous, he’s a local celebrity. But Kaitlyn can’t shake the feeling he’s hiding something.

Should she believe the rumors that he’s romancing half the island’s single women?

Or is the random sound of wind chimes when he’s close-by a sign that an angel is near and the secret to her happily ever after?

Review:

When the Wind Chimes was a cozy feel good read!  Sprinkled with Christmas, family and love, this book had all of the feels of a Hallmark movie.  I loved that I kept finding myself smiling and I even had to wipe a few tears away while reading.  With low angst and an ending that had my heart happy long after I finished that last page, I absolutely adored this book.  If you’re looking for a Christmas story that will warm your heart, then definitely pick this one up!

I was oil; he was acrylic, and we could never mix on the same canvas.

The story started off with Kaitlyn Summers, aka Kate, landing in Kauai to spend the holidays with her family.  But not long after arriving, Kate had an interesting run in with Leonardo Medici aka Lee.  And they continued to run into each other, quite literally at times, as the story unfolded.  Each time seemed to shake one of them up.  So when it felt like fate intervened, I loved sitting back and watching where it took them!

I promise with all the unicorns, rainbows, and all the sparkling things.

I loved Kate!  She was an artist who lived in LA and was kind, caring and thoughtful.  But one of my favorite things about her was how fiercely she loved her sister, Abby.  They were the bestest of friends and loved each other with their whole hearts.  They helped one another out, picked each other up and even messed with the other.  But sometimes their intervention was exactly what the other one needed.  Their sisterly love felt like a hidden gem in this book!  So I was rooting for Kate to stay in Kauai.  I also loved the relationship she had with her nephew, Tyler and another little child that easily stole her heart.

His gaze slid to my lips and his eyes darkened. He inched toward my mouth, tortuously slow, as his finger brushed my cheek.
Lee, what are you doing to me?

From the first moment we met Lee, my heart was all a flutter.  He was a local celebrity and the man was as elusive as he was sexy!  Lee was kind, generous, and seemed cautious with his heart.  So of course I wanted to know all of his secrets!  There’s so much I want to say about him, but my lips are zipped.  Just know that the more I got to know Lee, the harder I fell for him.

Lee lowered his darkened eyes to my mouth, then met my gaze with intensity. His voice became rough and deeper. “I don’t think that at all, Kate. If you knew what I was thinking at this moment, you would think I wasn’t being professional.”
I had no idea how to process that as I watched him walk away.

Christmas was in the air and romance, family and charm was splashed across the pages.  The story between Kate and Lee was slow burn and beyond adorable.  And even though it felt like they were worlds apart, at the same time there was a spark between them that couldn’t be denied.  So I kept my fingers crossed!  If you adore Christmas romance stories that are sweet and have family and children in the pages, then definitely add this one to your list!  The next book will be about Kate’s sister, Abby and I can’t wait for her book!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: Loverboy (The Company #2) by Sarina Bowen

BOOK REVIEW: Loverboy (The Company #2) by Sarina BowenLoverboy (The Company #2)
by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Secrets, desires, and exquisite pie. It’s all in a day’s work at The Company.

Growing up, I was the rough guy from the wrong neighborhood who couldn’t catch a break. Posy was the pampered girl I tried to impress. But all she gave me was a single kiss before I had to skip town.
Now I’m back, and the tables are turned. Posy runs a struggling pie shop. I’m the VP of a secretive billion-dollar security company.
Not that I can tell her.
There’s a murderer on the loose in New York, and he seems to spend a lot of time at Posy’s shop. It’s my job to identify him before he can harm a hair on her pretty head.
Going undercover as Posy’s new barista wasn’t my idea. I don’t even drink coffee. But now I have to call her “boss,” and do everything the curvy perfectionist asks of me. I’d forgotten how much we infuriate each other, and that she somehow fills me with both irritation and desire in the same breath.
There’s nobody more skilled at stealth ops than me. I can bring this killer down. Right after I take a cold shower. And just as soon I figure out how to make a skinny peppermint latte with milk poured in the shape of a kitten...

Review

Good lord I loved this. How does one author consistently write so many good books? By now there are so many within her universe of places/ made up sports teams/ characters that sometimes I forget that certain aspects just aren’t actually real (like what do you mean Katt phones aren’t readily available?!). Something about this one REALLY hit my sweet spot even more than the last few, too. Maybe it was because they talked about coffee drinks and pie so frequently and caffeine is my weakness. Or MAYBE it was because Gunnar and Posey were such stellar characters. We may never know.

Having met 15 years prior tending bar, they spent a whole summer trying to beat one another out for the bar manager’s job. Posey’s father owned the bar so even if Gunnar worked his ass off and knew way more about tending bar than she did, he was never going to get the job. Because of dear ole daddy being a dick, a misunderstanding ensues and the two part ways mad for reasons they shouldn’t have been.

Fast forward to now. Max, Gunnar’s boss, bestie, and head of ~The Company~, needs intel to help catch someone from his past. That involves Gunn learning to make lattes in less than 48 hours (lol the scene when Max calls basically the entire building up to make him practice crazy ass drinks is hilarious) and locking in a job at Posey’s cafe. She is so in need of help and his latte art is so artistic that she can’t help but hire him.

The two instantly fall back into their old bantering and flirty ways and I just loved it. I loved every second of it because I’m a girl who loves a story with two people that tend to have explosive arguments over stupid shit one second to heated, passionate make outs the next! I’m glad there wasn’t a huge falling out when she finds out what he was really doing there and what his real job is. And speaking of that real job, I actually am really loving the more serious spy/action-y aspect of this series. I think the next book, which I’m assuming will feature Max and Scout, (UM THAT CHAPTER FROM HER POV HAD ME SHOUTING, UM WHAT) will be really intense and really come to a head with catching certain bad guys and exploring the demons in Max’s past. I can’t wait. For now though, this was such a good installment, as always, and had me wanting more more more from Bowen, as always.

Huge thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for my honest review! 

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