Review: Blood and Blade by Lauren Dane

Review: Blood and Blade by Lauren DaneBlood and Blade: Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane
Format: eARC
Source: supplied by publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: paranormal, urban fantasy
Series: Goddess with a Blade #6
Pages: 384
Published by Carina Press on December 30th 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Rowan Summerwaite is ready to finish what she started in
Blood and Blade
, the next installment in the Goddess with a Blade series by
New York Times
bestselling author Lauren Dane.

It’s been only days since Rowan and her friends eliminated the immediate threat to magic users and Vampires, but they’re already back on the hunt. Rowan’s out for vengeance, and she’s never been more driven—or angry. But she’s up against a being stronger than any she’s ever fought. To bring it down she’ll need more than the powers the goddess Brigid gave her…

This time she’ll need her friends, too.

She knows her husband will always have her back. As an ancient Vampire and Scion of North America, Clive has more clout and dominance than almost anyone. Rowan’s small but trusted inner circle insist they’ll join her in the thick of the battle, even as she argues it’s too dangerous for them. She’s also got a new dog. Familiar. Whatever. Star is a magical being put in Rowan’s path to help and protect her.

The hunt for ancient evil takes Rowan and her team to London and back to Las Vegas, bringing with them an unexpected alliance. Fortified by their rage, grief and determination, Rowan and her friends will stop at nothing when they track their enemy to the high desert in a final, deadly showdown.

This book is approximately 77,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the
Carina Press Romance Promise
: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

My Review:

This is the last day of 2019 and this is my final review of the year. It seemed fitting to close out the year with this book, the sixth book in the Goddess with a Blade series. Why? Because the first book in this series, the book for which the series was named, was the first book I ever reviewed from NetGalley back in 2011 when Reading Reality first started as Escape Reality, Read Fiction.

I still remember not just the book, but the whole scene, sitting at the table in the house we were living in at the time, racing through Goddess with a Blade accompanied by a glass of iced tea and being completely sucked into the world that the author had created.

(As an aside, the cover on the left is the original cover for Goddess with a Blade. I much preferred the original cover aesthetic for the series and wish that they’d continued in that direction. My 2 cents.)

So this is a series that I read and review pretty much as soon as the next one appears on NetGalley. And here we are, six books in and Rowan Summerwaite is very much still going strong. Goddess strong.

But this is the sixth book in an ongoing series, and the events in Blood and Blade are the direct consequences of the shit that went down in the previous book, Wrath of the Goddess. And the story in Wrath of the Goddess is a consequence of what went right and wrong in the previous books.

So this one is the end of the chain. It doesn’t feel like the end of the series, but it is definitely the end of the long arc. As someone who has read the whole thing – although not nearly recently enough, it felt like I could hear the thud of one door closing echoing throughout the entire book – along with the whisper-creak of the next door being wrestled open at the other side.

In other words, this is no place to start the series. It would be like watching Avengers: Endgame without watching any of the movies that led up to it. The endgame has no resonance without knowing where the game began.

But if you’re looking for a fascinating and compelling blend of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, this series has all the mysterious mythology, arrogant but romantic vampires, ugly political infighting and kickass heroines you’ll ever want to meet.

Start with Goddess with a Blade and watch Rowan Summerwaite kick ass, take names and bring down corruption with a load of snark, a lot of deeply hidden heart, and one really big-ass sword.

Escape Rating B+: You can’t start the series here. Period. Exclamation point. It just won’t make any sense whatsoever. That being said, there is so much that still needs cleaning up that has been festering for so damn long that it was a bit difficult to get back into exactly where Rowan was at the end of Wrath of the Goddess and what’s left to clean up.

What I loved about this series from the very beginning is the depth of the worldbuilding. One of the things that I’ve always loved about urban fantasy is the way that it twists on the world we know and adds so much depth, both in its mythology and in its politics. Immortal beings tend to hold immortal grudges and I really dig on watching that play out in the modern world.

Another thing I love about this series in particular is the way that Rowan in particular, as well as her relationship with Clive, reminds me very fondly of Eve Dallas and Roarke in the In Death series. Rowan and Eve have a LOT of traits in common, to the point that if their worlds ever collided they’d either adopt each other as sisters or fight to the death because they are too much alike. But they both have the kind of no-nonsense attitude with full snarkitude, that I adore along with the brains and strength to back it up.

I compare their relationship to Eve and Roarke because Rowan and Clive also start out on what look like the opposite sides of a barbed-wire fence and work out their relationship early in the series. Dane, like Robb, does an excellent job of portraying a romance that is still sweet, hot and occasionally barbed between two strong-willed alpha personalities and that’s always fun to watch.

This series has been a wild and marvelous ride from the very beginning. It is obvious from the way that Blood and Blade ends that there are more stories to be told in Rowan’s world – and I can’t wait to read them.

Review: Wrath of the Goddess by Lauren Dane

Review: Wrath of the Goddess by Lauren DaneWrath of the Goddess by Lauren Dane
Format: eARC
Source: supplied by publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: paranormal, urban fantasy
Series: Goddess with a Blade #5
Pages: 336
Published by Carina Press on June 10th 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Rowan Summerwaite is back—and more than a little pissed off—in
Wrath of the Goddess
, the fifth installment in
New York Times
bestselling author Lauren Dane’s Goddess with a Blade series.

You can’t keep a vengeful woman down for long.

Rowan Summerwaite, elite hunter and human vessel to the goddess Brigid, has returned home to Las Vegas—and she’s mad as hell. It seems someone thought they could eliminate Rowan and everyone she holds dear.

That someone was dead wrong.

With tensions between paranormal factions at an all-time high, Rowan and her crew, along with her sexy Vampire Scion husband, Clive Stewart, have their work cut out for them. The Vampire Nation has at least one traitor in their midst, leaving them extremely vulnerable…but if it’s a war they want, Rowan’s prepared to bring the pain like never before.

Rowan knows her duty is to those she’s sworn to protect, but it seems the harder she fights, the more barriers she hits…and the more friends she loses.

With even her closest alliances in question, Rowan will have to accept that sometimes the path toward the greater good means making heartrending sacrifices along the way…

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the
Carina Press Romance Promise
: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

And see how Rowan’s fight began in Goddess with a Blade, Blade to the Keep, Blade on the Hunt and At Blade’s Edge, available now!

This book is approximately 82,000 words

My Review:

I feel as if I’m in a pre-existing relationship with this book that I need to disclose – even though I only just finished it. I know that sounds a bit (possibly more than a bit) odd.

You see, the first book in this series, Goddess With a Blade, was one of the first books I ever got from NetGalley, eight long years ago. I still remember sitting down at my kitchen table to read it, and finished it in one sitting. (To be fair, it’s only 200 pages, for me that’s not a long book.) Goddess With a Blade was also one of my picks for “Best Ebook Romance” of 2011 in Library Journal.

A couple of years later, after we’d moved to Seattle – and after Blade to the Keep was published – I was riding the bus home from work and saw an ad for Goddess and Keep on the side of a city bus, and as it flashed by I realized that I was being quoted on the side of the bus! It was one of those total “squee” moments.

I mean, I was a fan of the series before – but WOW!

I do love this series. Very Much. And I would even without the side-of-the-bus squeeing.

But it’s been FOUR very long YEARS since the previous book in this series, At Blade’s Edge. A book that left series readers hanging over the edge of a nasty and brutally epic cliffhanger. A cliffy that feels like it has only just begun to be resolved by the end of Wrath of the Goddess.

That Goddess is plenty wrathful – and she has every right to be.

Wrath of the Goddess begins where At Blade’s Edge left us hanging – with Rowan Summerwaite, vessel of the Goddess Brigid, in Europe for her wedding to the Vampire Scion of North America, Clive Stewart. One of her friends back home in Las Vegas is sending her congratulations, live over the Internet, when seriously evil dudes break into her headquarters and kill the man – on camera – then taunt her with the information that they are coming for everyone she loves.

From that gruesome point, the story is off to the races. Rowan, with a little help from her friends and a lot of help from Clive, rushes home to Vegas to investigate the death of one of her family-of-choice – as well as the disappearance of another.

Only to discover that both her own organization, Hunter Corp., and Clive’s, the Vampire Nation, still have traitors at the very top who have betrayed them both to some nefarious someone who is out for his – or her – own evil ends.

It’s up to Rowan – and her Goddess – to stop them. Again. Because the evil that Rowan has battled before is a multi-headed beast and it’s her duty to lop off all the heads. In order to save her friends, her family, and perhaps humanity itself.

Escape Rating A-: I loved this, and found it a great read from beginning to end. But, and at this point it gets to be a bigger “but” all the time, this is no place to start this series. (Also not the end of this series, but I’ll get to that in a minute.)

The world created in this series has become intensely convoluted. There’s Rowan, and her Goddess. There’s the Vampire Nation, to which Rowan has multiple ties, and not just her new husband. Rowan’s foster-father Theo is “The First” of the Vampire Nation, the oldest, the most dangerous, and the most ruthless of them all. And he’s the one in charge.

Rowan works for Hunter Corp., an organization that defends humans without magic or paranormal abilities. That defense is wrapped around a Treaty between the Hunters and the Vampires. Preservation of that treaty is a big part of Rowan’s job. In spite of the number of times that Hunter Corp has misused and betrayed her. Repeatedly and often.

There are also witches – one of whom plays a big part in Wrath of the Goddess, and other paranormal beings. It’s a big world, as big as our own non-magical world, and it has layers within layers – layers that a newbie coming into the series at this point will probably drown in.

If this all sounds fascinating, start back at the beginning with Goddess With a Blade, because this is a series that is building on each book – they don’t stand alone.

If this is your jam, and you get to this point, this particular entry in the series adds more of those layers, both in the form of the witch who joins with Rowan and in the sense of Rowan’s character development.

Readers who are also fans of J.D. Robb’s In Death series will find a lot of similarities between Rowan Summerwaite and Eve Dallas. Both are blunt to the point of rudeness, have little patience with fools or bureaucrats, and hide their soft gooey centers under layers and layers (and layers) of epic snarkitude.

Back to Wrath of the Goddess – before she gets more wrathful. In spite of Rowan’s extreme distaste for bureaucracy, there’s a lot of, not exactly bureaucracy, but certainly a lot of “hurry up and wait” in this one. It makes sense for the story, as a huge piece of it necessarily follows the investigation into the murder that Rowan and Clive witnessed online.

That investigation turns out to be much bigger than merely “whodunnit” as Rowan discovers that someone staked out her headquarters for weeks before the hit, and timed it “just so”, to make it perfectly devastating for Rowan.

So there’s lots of magical forensics in this one, and lots of unraveling layers and unspooling of possibilities of suspects and traitors on all three sides – Hunter Corp, the Vampire Nation and the witches’ Senate, because there are traitors in the (high) ranks of all three.

In the end, there’s plenty of kickass action for everyone – along with the heartbreaking realization that the rot that Rowan thought she weeded out in At Blade’s Edge has already spread farther than she wanted to believe.

Her job is not over, and neither is this series. Book 6, Blood and Blade is scheduled for release in December. I have ALL my fingers crossed that we really won’t have to wait longer than that to see what happens next!

Review: Under Control by Shannon Stacey + Giveaway

Review: Under Control by Shannon Stacey + GiveawayUnder Control (Boston Fire, #5) by Shannon Stacey
Format: eARC
Source: supplied by publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: contemporary romance
Series: Boston Fire #5
Pages: 384
Published by Carina Press on August 28, 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

When faced with the opportunity to change shifts while staying in the same house, veteran firefighter Derek Gilman jumps at the chance. His new schedule means not working Saturdays, which means more time to spend with his two kids. His divorce may have been amicable, but being a firefighter and a single dad is a lot to juggle. And when fate brings a gorgeous, wealthy woman into his life, he’s pretty sure he can’t handle more than he already is.

Olivia McGovern loves plans. She planned to start her own business and planned its growth. It’s earning her seven figures now, but her personal life simply doesn’t exist. Getting trapped in a broken elevator figures in exactly nowhere, and freaking out in front of a sexy firefighter definitely isn’t on the agenda. Especially not one with two kids and an ex.

What would have been a random incident with an attractive stranger becomes something more when a charity event brings them back together. They’re from different sides of the tracks, literally—with friends, family and careers to consider. But as Derek and Olivia are discovering, chemistry doesn’t allow for plans, and love doesn’t bother with logistics.

My Review:

This was fun. And sometimes that’s just what a girl needs.

Not that Olivia doesn’t need a bit more – even if she doesn’t know it. And it’s both a surprise and not that she doesn’t – because Olivia is all about knowing what she’s doing, what she’s going to do, what she has to do and what she ought to do to keep her life on the track that she’s set it on.

In other words, Olivia is all about the thinking and planning, and not so much on the living. She’s too much in control of her life to actually enjoy it or even just live it.

Derek is not so much about control. Not at all. But it’s reasonable from where he sits. Or stands. Or runs towards the fire.

Derek is a firefighter, just like all of the heroes (and his friends, neighbors and buddies) in his ladder company and the Boston Fire series. He’s good at his job – very good – but his job is to deal with whatever happens when he’s on shift. As a firefighter he never knows what that will be from one day or even one hour to the next.

And while he believes he’s not very good at planning the other parts of his life, he actually is. Because he’s juggling divorced parenthood with his ex and handling volunteer efforts with a local charity that helps parents and siblings of critically ill children. He also has friends and family and a life that he lives to the fullest.

When Olivia and Derek get stuck in an elevator together, neither of them has any clue that the other is the missing puzzle piece in their life. Even their sizzling chemistry can’t completely disguise the fact that their lives just don’t seem to fit.

They live and work at least an hour apart – in good traffic, which Boston never has. They’re also from, not exactly different sides of the tracks, but different socioeconomic strata. Olivia is clearly somewhere at the upper end of upper middle class. She’s earned every penny of it with hard work on her own business, but she lives a completely different lifestyle from working class firefighter Derek and his friends.

She’s also the scarred survivor of her parents’ acrimonious divorce. Even years later she’s still stuck in the middle playing peacemaker between two people who just can’t seem to let go of the grudges that ended their marriage.

Derek is the very participatory father of his two children. He and his ex are not merely cordial, but actually good friends. His ex and her new husband are still part of the neighborhood and part of Derek’s life.

But Derek’s life is chaotic, both because of his work and because of the other people that he is determined to keep a part of it. Olivia’s life is ordered above all, because that’s her business and because that’s how she took care of herself during her parents marital wars.

Can they meet somewhere in the middle?

Escape Rating B: In a lot of ways, this is a quiet kind of a romance. While the initial meeting between Derek and Olivia qualifies as a “meet cute” and their second meeting feels like a bit of divine providence, most of what happens between them seems both quiet and cautious.

As it should be. They are both grown-ups. Not merely 20 somethings but mid-30-somethings – or perhaps a bit more. They have lives, careers, families and friends. Neither of them has been waiting for their life to happen.

What that means is that they both have a lot invested in their lives before they meet. And while they certainly fall in lust at first sight if not love at first sight, that doesn’t necessarily change the rest of their lives.

So what we see is Olivia and Derek negotiating the steps that could turn their intense chemistry into a whole lot more. But it is a negotiation, and that’s where they realistically almost fail.

We always want to see the hero and heroine, or at least one of them, give up everything for each other. And that’s even possible for people just starting out. But Olivia and Derek aren’t just starting out in life, and in order for any relationship between them to work they have to be able to fit into each other’s worlds.

Derek, on the one hand, has a lot of people. He rightfully wants to be there for his kids. His fire company is more of an extended family than a work crew. Olivia needs to be able to both fit in with those groups and find a way to handle the stress of his job – along with the danger that comes with it.

Olivia is a self-made woman. She seems to have started out in the middle class, but her own drive and determination have made her into a high-powered and highly paid business efficiency consultant. She’s the author of a best-selling book and is working on a second book. She has a plan for her life and that plan has brought her both success and wealth – and she shouldn’t be ashamed of either.

While Olivia needs to make adjustments in her plan and her life in order to fit anyone else in at all, Derek needs to adjust his attitude. He keeps thinking that Olivia is out of his league, without ever asking what she thinks in that regard. If he keeps listening to that voice, he’ll decide it’s right, and lose the second best thing that ever happened to him. (His kids are the first best thing, after all).

It is surprisingly interesting, as well as heartwarming, to watch them take two steps forward and one step back, figuring out how to blend their two very different lives together.

~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

To celebrate the release of UNDER CONTROL by Shannon Stacey, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!

LINK:   http://bit.ly/2LyyGp5

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Carina Press.  Giveaway ends 9/11/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted.

Review: Hot Response by Shannon Stacey + Giveaway

Review: Hot Response by Shannon Stacey + GiveawayHot Response (Boston Fire, #4) by Shannon Stacey
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Series: Boston Fire #4
Pages: 288
Published by Carina Press on April 24, 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

The men of Boston Fire are back and hotter than ever! Don’t miss this brand-new novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey.

Gavin Boudreau lives for the job, but he also believes in “work hard, play harder.” As the youngest guy in Ladder 37, he figures he’s got plenty of time before settling down becomes a priority. Soft, pretty women who aren’t looking for promises are exactly his type, and he’s comfortable with that. Working with a gorgeous EMT isn’t going to change who he is.

The last thing Cait Tasker needs in her personal life is a firefighter whose challenges on-scene have been a thorn in her side from minute one. Her plate’s too full for a man anyway. Back in her childhood home to help her family cope with an unexpected tragedy, she’s got enough to handle without throwing a hot, testosterone-laden fireman into the mix.

As long days on the job lead to long nights together, Gavin and Cait will discover how far temptation can take them—and what happens when the one you thought was all wrong for you turns out to be the person you can’t live without.

My Review:

Hot Response is the fourth book in the Boston Fire series. I read the first book, Heat Exchange and was not nearly as impressed as I expected to be. But I’m happy to say that Hot Response reminded me of all the reasons that I loved this author’s earlier series. Multiples of them. To the point where I’m thinking about going back and seeing where I left off.

The Boston Fire series, unsurprisingly considering the title, is centered around the men and women who make up one shift at one particular firehouse in Boston, as well as the people who are part of their lives, usually in multiple ways, between the firehouse and their regular bar, Kincaid’s. After all, Kincaid’s is owned by a retired member of their company and the owner’s son is a member of their team. There are a lot of ties, including family ones.

The tension that makes this particular romance so fraught and so realistic at the same time is also about family ties. Particularly about the difference between the ties that bind and the ties that strangle.

Our hero, Gavin Boudreau, is a member of Ladder 37. He grew up in the neighborhood and is regularly on call for his parents and his nearby siblings. But for Gavin, it’s a two-way street. Sometimes they need him, and sometimes he needs them, and what goes around definitely comes around, all of it good.

Cait Tasker, on the other hand, seems to be on a one-way street with her family. She gives, and they take, and take, and take. The reasons for it make complete sense, but the result isn’t actually working for anyone, and particularly not for Cait. Her stepfather died suddenly, her mother couldn’t get herself out of the well of depression after losing a husband to early death for the second time, and Cait’s 16-year-old half brother is rightfully frightened but not able to keep his mother going on his own. And he has his own grief to process along with all the normal teenage angst and hormones and attitudes. Cait came home to help out, and she’s still helping. But she’s also helping to keep her mom and her brother from learning to stand on their own two feet. Or their own four feet together. Meanwhile, Cait’s older sister is far away and wants absolutely nothing to do with this mess until it’s fixed. And I can’t blame her. In this scenario, I’d probably BE her.

The last thing Cait needs in her life is a relationship. But it’s also the thing she needs most. Getting involved with Gavin is the first time since she came home that she’s done anything besides work, mediate between her mom and her brother, and crash. Especially since as an EMT she really can’t afford to crash.

The deeper Cait and Gavin get into their relationship, the happier they both are. At least until Gavin delivers some home truths that Cait just isn’t ready to hear. He may not want to make her choose between her family and their relationship, but he’s right that she needs to make some choices of her own. Is she propping up her family because they need her to keep doing it, or is she propping up her family because she’s afraid of what will happen if she lets go?

And is Gavin willing to wait for her to figure it out?

Escape Rating B+: First of all, I liked Hot Response a whole lot more than I did the first book in the series, Heat Exchange, a few weeks ago. You could say I had a much hotter response to this one, especially considering that my feelings about Heat Exchange were lukewarm at best.

One of the things I always loved about this author’s earlier series, something that was missing in Heat Exchange, was the way that the dramatic tension in her romances felt real and not contrived, and that was also true in Hot Response.

Cait and Gavin have chemistry together from the very beginning, even if Cait is trying to pretend it isn’t there.

But as strong as their pull towards each other are the forces that are keeping them apart – even when they’re together. It’s unfortunately all too realistic that the issue between them isn’t really between them so much as it is between Cait and her family and Gavin’s eventual loss of patience with the way things are. And not because anyone is a terrible person or because of anything evil, but just because Cait as well as her mother and brother, are just plain too scared to let go of each other – even when they should.

Both Gavin and Cait are interesting characters with high-pressure and occasionally dangerous jobs who are fun to watch and certainly deserve their fair share of happiness. I think it’s fair to say that they are likeable people who would be fun to hang out with, and we want to see them get their HEA. The things standing between them and that HEA feel all too real, situations that could happen in anyone’s life no matter how much they might wish differently.

Cait’s fear for her mother is understandable, as is Gavin’s decreasing level of patience in the way that Cait deals with that fear. This is one of those stories where the real-life answer is probably counseling for everyone, but that can’t happen until the “everyone” in question is ready for it. And Gavin is correct that they all seem to be holding each other back from reaching for the future by holding on too tightly.

In short, I really liked the hero and heroine, I “bought into” both their relationship and the reasons they had problems in their relationship, and was happy for their HEA. I’ll be looking forward after all to the next book in this series, Under Control, because I bet the situation will be far from under anyone’s control. That always makes for great reading!

~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

LINK:   https://goo.gl/tm4d11

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR.  Giveaway ends 4/30/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per person. Duplicates will be deleted.

Review: Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey

Review: Heat Exchange by Shannon StaceyHeat Exchange (Boston Fire, #1) by Shannon Stacey
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Series: Boston Fire #1
Pages: 336
Published by Carina Press on August 25th 2015
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Lydia Kincaid's shipping back to Boston, but she's not happy about it. She left to get away from the firefighting community—her father was a firefighter, her brother's a firefighter and, more important, her ex is a firefighter. But family is number one, and her father needs her help running the pub he bought when he retired. Soon, Lydia finds it hard to resist the familiar comfort and routine, and even harder to resist her brother's handsome friend Aidan.

Aidan Hunt is a firefighter because of the Kincaid family. He's had the hots for Lydia for years, but if ever a woman was off-limits to him, it's her. Aside from being his mentor's daughter, she's his best friend's sister. The ex-wife of a fellow firefighter. But his plan to play it cool until she leaves town again fails, and soon he and Lydia have crossed a line they can't uncross.

As Aidan and Lydia's flirtation turns into something more serious, Lydia knows she should be planning her escape. Being a firefighter's wife was the hardest thing she's ever done, and she doesn't know if she has the strength to do it again. Aidan can't imagine walking away from Boston Fire—even for Lydia. The job and the brotherhood are his life; but if he wants Lydia in it, he'll have to decide who's first in his heart.

My Review:

I plucked this out of the towering TBR pile because I’m reviewing the fourth book in this series, Hot Response, for a tour next month. While I don’t have time to read the middle books before my tour date, I did want to take the opportunity to see where it all began.

The series features the firefighters in one particular Boston Fire company, as well as some of the regulars at the bar that most of them use as a second home. That the bar is owned by a retired member of their company probably has a lot to do with that.

Lydia Kincaid has kind of run away from home, and from that home-away-from-home known as Kincaid’s Bar. Between the bar and the firehouse, it’s a very close-knit community, and Lydia was tired of everyone knowing her business – especially since that business includes a divorce from a firefighter. Not to mention that Tommy Kincaid, the owner of the bar, is her father. His expectation that both Lydia and her sister Ashley would work at his bar and nowhere else is just the beginning of his attitudes.

He still seems pissed that Lydia divorced her lying, cheating ex-husband instead of giving him yet one more chance. Dear old dad is a bit locked into 1950s.

But that tendency of the bar regulars to know and be up in the Kincaid’s business is currently more than her sister Ashley can handle. Ashley and her firefighter husband Danny are separated, and she can’t cope with every single bar patron commenting on her life and her choices.

Sister to the rescue! Lydia comes home and takes Ashley’s place behind the bar, as well as her guest bedroom. It’s all supposed to be temporary, until Ashley and Danny either figure out how to fix what’s gone wrong, or figure out that it can’t be fixed. Then Lydia will run away again, as far from Boston as she can stand.

Lydia’s plans are derailed when Aidan Hunt happens to them. She’s known Aidan forever – he’s her younger brother Scotty’s best friend. And he’s Scotty’s partner in the fire company, which means that he should be off limits to her. From the perspective of the story, it’s much more that she should be off limits to him. Both as his best friend’s sister and because any relationship drama will ruin the cohesiveness of a fire team that has to have each other’s backs every moment.

But their chemistry can’t be denied. And instead of fighting it, they give in, both believing that the whole thing is only temporary, and that nothing good will happen if they tell either her brother or her father that they are seeing each other.

Of course, they’re only half right.

Escape Rating C+: I loved many of Shannon Stacey’s earlier books, including her Kowalskis series, and I really wanted to like Heat Response more than I did. Instead, I have a lot of mixed feelings.

The overall feeling I got from this story is that it is a “bros before hos” story, to put it bluntly. Lydia and Aidan are both single and completely unencumbered. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the two of them getting together, whether it’s just a hookup, a friends with benefits relationship, or something more.

But they both know that her brother Scotty and her father will be pissed that Aidan and Lydia are seeing each other, so they keep it secret. And, of course, when the lies are finally exposed it makes the situation exponentially worse. The problem for the story is that it feels as if all the tension created by their relationship and its secrecy is false. It feels unneccessary, especially as there are plenty of real sources of tension between Lydia and Aidan without adding a fake one.

Lydia left Boston because she found the close-knit atmosphere of the firehouse and the bar stifling. Her relationship with her father is contentious at best, and her previous marriage to a firefighter was disastrous. Her ex was a lying, cheating jerk who used his uniform and his job to find more opportunities to cheat and more ways to hide his cheating from Lydia. Her dad seems to have put his job and his brotherhood ahead of his family. Lydia is tired of playing second-fiddle to a fire company, and has no desire to get into any kind of relationship with any more firefighters than she already is between her dad, her brother, and her currently estranged brother-in-law.

Her vow to stay away from relationships with firefighters along with her frequently stated plan to leave Boston as soon as Ashley is back on her feet, provide enough reasons for Aidan to be wary of a relationship with her, because she’s clear from the beginning that she’s not planning to stick around.

That means that there were plenty of problems to provide conflict for their relationship without adding the lying and the eventual fighting between Aidan and Scotty. Or at least that’s my take on it.

I found the secondary romance between Ashley and Danny to be much more interesting, and wish we’d seen a lot more of it. They’re separated, not because either of them did anything wrong, but because Danny suppresses all of his emotional reactions. Ashley feels lonely all the time, because Danny just isn’t emotionally present. It is a big and very, very real problem, and it takes them most of the book to finally start talking with one another. I loved seeing them start working things out, and I wish I’d seen more of their story.

Review: Reluctant Mate by Lauren Dane

Review: Reluctant Mate by Lauren DaneReluctant Mate by Lauren Dane
Formats available: ebook
Series: Cascadia Wolves #0.5
Pages: 50
on December 12th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo
Goodreads

"I can't touch you yet. Once I do, it's over."

As daughter of the ruling Pack family, Layla Warden is under pressure to settle down. Find a nice wolf mate from a nice wolf family and have nice wolf babies. Layla has other plans, but when you're a werewolf, biology trumps plans. And when Layla meets Sid, the sex is so intense, so hot, so consuming, it's more than just a connection. It's a mating bond.

Sid Rosario wasn't expecting to find his mate so soon—some wolves never find theirs. Now that he's found Layla, he's never letting her go. But lust and desire alone aren't enough to secure their bond. If they want this incredible happiness to last, there's one more thing they'll have to do…

My Review:

reluctant by lauren daneReluctant Mate is a re-issue of Reluctant, the prequel novella for Lauren Dane’s Cascadia Wolves series. Which I somehow managed never to read, so when the first two books in the series, Reluctant Mate and Pack Enforcer, popped up on NetGalley, I decided it was time to give the series a try.

Reluctant Mate is a terrific teaser for the series, so I’m glad that I grabbed it.

This introduction is short, and has its sweet moments, but it is a sex-into-love story that is very heavy on the sex, and light on the romantic angles. And that makes sense in this particular world, as this is also a fated mate story, and it does some nice things with what is otherwise an often tried trope.

Layla Warden is not looking for a mate. She’s not looking for love, either. A few hot nights between the sheets, on the other hand, is what she has on her mind when she meets Sid Rosario. And that’s all she has on her mind.

Layla is way more invested in her ten-year-plan to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s just received a promotion to a corner office, and the raise to go along with it. But keeping her head above water with her new responsibilities has been all work and no play.

Her best friend drags her to a werewolf only club for a girls’ night out, and that’s where Layla meets Sid. He’s an artist from Phoenix, visiting Seattle for a few weeks to carry out a commission. A brief fling is all he has in mind, until their mating bond kicks in. And Layla, literally, heads for the tall timber.

This is so not what she wants. She wants to focus on her career. She’s seen what happens to the other females in her family when the mating bond kicks in, and she’s not ready to let a man take over her life.

So she runs. Instead of dealing with the issues, she runs far and she runs fast. But she can’t outrun the bond that will kill her if she doesn’t give into it in time.

Escape Rating B: This is a hot and steamy little teaser for the rest of the series. The reissue wasn’t updated much, and doesn’t seem to suffer for it. The story is so tightly focused on Layla and Sid and the bond she can’t escape that the differences in the world between the mid-1990s and now don’t really register.

Except for the mullets. Thank goodness that hairstyle went out of fashion in a hot minute, and stayed that way. I’d forgotten just how ugly they were.

What makes this treatment of the fated trope just a bit different, and just a bit more interesting, is what makes Layla run. She wants her job and her life, and she’s happy with them. She doesn’t want to give anything up for a man, but she wouldn’t mind including a man in that life. Sid is a great choice, in spite of the circumstances that give them no choice. His career is not location-dependent, and he’s happy that Layla has a career of her own that is a bit steadier than his. He wants to blend their lives, not take over hers.

pack enforcer by lauren daneIt just takes her a while to figure that out. She flails a bit, but she flails in the way that anyone would who just discovered that their life has been turned upside down, and can’t be turned back.

Now I’m sorry that I missed this series the first time around, but am very happy that it’s back so I have the chance to see where it all leads. Pack Enforcer looks like a much deeper, and much more interesting, dive into this world. I’m looking forward to it.

Review: The Emperor’s Arrow by Lauren D.M. Smith

Review: The Emperor’s Arrow by Lauren D.M. SmithThe Emperor's Arrow by Lauren D.M. Smith
Formats available: ebook, audiobook
Pages: 160
Published by Carina Press on July 18th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Grand Prize Winner of Harlequin's 2015 So You Think You Can Write contest
Debut author Lauren D.M. Smith delivers an epic fantasy romance in this soaring tale of a kickass warrior and the emperor she's honor-bound to defend
The bride candidates have been summoned. Their numbers are many, yet only one is an Amazzi warrior. Only one would give her life to protect him.
Evony of Aureline, warrior of her people, has no intention of becoming a hideous old man's bride. Though her people have sworn their loyalty to the legendary emperor Galen, Evony knows little of courts and intrigue. It's simply not her world.
Yet it's on the palace training grounds where Evony's archery skills gain her the respect of soldiers and legates alike. The emperor himself takes notice of the beautiful, ruthless warrior. In turn, the young, steely eyed Galen is nothing at all what Evony expected.
This man could very well conquer her heart. But does he feel the same?
As the rivalry among the remaining bride candidates intensifies and the plot for the throne unfolds, Evony must make a grave choice: fulfill her destiny and protect her people or follow her heart and pursue true love.
Either way, the honor of the Amazzi people and the future of the empire now rests with Evony of Aureline. For she is the Emperor's Arrow.

My Review:

Based on the description, I was expecting The Emperor’s Arrow to be a bit like The Champion of Baresh or The Empress Game. And there are resemblances, but not nearly as close as I expected. Instead, the slightly Roman flavor to the setting and the romance between an emperor and a barbarian remind me a bit of Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera. All books terrific company to be among.

The Emperor of this fantasy empire calls on all of the noble houses under his rule to send a daughter to compete to be his bride. And therefore his empress. While the nobility see this as a true competition, Emperor Galen has a different agenda in mind.

And, while he wouldn’t mind finding an empress, what he is really looking for are hostages. The competition is a nonthreatening way to get all the noble houses to send him a person who can become a hostage for their good behavior – if he needs one.

He knows that some of his nobles have made repeated attempts to assassinate him – one of those attempts took the life of his beloved sister. But he doesn’t yet know which one. Or even worse, which ones. Hence the bride competition.

While parts of the bride competition read like a fantasy version of The Bachelor, there is a real contest being conducted. Contestants are eliminated, not necessarily for their performance, but because it has been ascertained that their families are loyal.

Some of the contestants remain, not necessarily because they have a chance of becoming empress, but out of a need to, as the old adage goes, “Keep one’s friends close and one’s enemies closer”.

And then there’s Evony, an Amazzi warrior of the Aureline. Her people are unquestioningly loyal to the emperor, but they are also numbered among the first families of the empire, even as isolated as they generally are. Evony answers the summons to the bridal games because her people’s honor demands it.

The Emperor plans to use her unwavering loyalty to provide him with eyes and ears among the contestants. Evony plans to use the competition to find a man to sire her child.

Neither of them counts on falling in love.

Escape Rating A-: Harlequin was right, this author definitely can write. The author of The Emperor’s Arrow was the Grand Prize Winner of Harlequin’s 2015 So You Think You Can Write contest. This book shows that she absolutely can, and it is marvelous.

The story is wrapped in multiple layers. Evony is a terrific character. On the one hand, she is a fish out of water, so any necessary explanations to her of how the court works and what is going on within it, also work as explanations to the reader.

Evony herself is a great character to follow, because her perspective on court life and court intrigue is so refreshing. Evony is a warrior. She is also an extremely straightforward person, to the point of being very, very blunt. She looks at all the decorative women in the bridal competition and can’t figure out why anyone would allow themselves to be kept from learning to defend themselves, or why some of these women believe that they have no choices about their fate and their future.

She is not unusual among her people in being a warrior. Her tribe has many more female children than male children, and every person is trained in self-defense. Many, many of the women are warriors. She sees herself, her independence, her agency and her self-respect as being normal. Anyone who doesn’t have those things she feels a bit sorry for.

Her people also do not elevate their leaders above their people. So she sees the emperor as just another warrior, albeit one with more responsibility and at the center of more danger. She argues with him, disagrees with him, and calls him by his first name. She tells him things he doesn’t want to hear.

The one thing she never does is bore him. And he trusts her because it is clear from the very beginning that she does not have a political agenda. Until she falls in love with the emperor, and refuses to obey his orders to remain safe and far away. From that point on, her only agenda is to keep him safe and help him catch the people who want him dead.

And in the middle of the romance, there is also a wonderful female friendship between Evony and another of the bride candidates – the shy and somewhat diffident Admina. They discuss their lives, their hopes and their futures, and bond from two very different perspectives. It is refreshing and wonderful that their relationship is not about discussing men, but about who they are and who they want to be. It passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors.

In the end, The Emperor’s Arrow is an absolutely marvelous fantasy romance. I am looking forward with great pleasure to much, much more from this author.

Review: Fatal Justice by Marie Force

Review: Fatal Justice by Marie ForceFatal Justice (Fatal, #2) by Marie Force
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Series: Fatal #2
Pages: 279
Published by Carina Press on January 3rd 2011
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

She looked into the dead face of the man she'd dined with the night before
Standing over the body of a Supreme Court nominee, Lieutenant Sam Holland is hip-deep in another high-profile murder case. The fact that she was one of the last people to see Julian Sinclair alive just complicates things even more. On the plus side, her relationship with Senator Nick Cappuano is heating up—but it's also attracting a lot of unwanted media attention and blinding flash bulbs.
The pressure is on for Sam to find Sinclair's killer, but a new lead in her father's unsolved shooting puts her in unexpected danger. When long-buried secrets threaten to derail her relationship with Nick, Sam realizes that while justice can be blind, mixing romance with politics has the potential to be fatal...
94,000 words

My Review:

I’m convinced that Eve Dallas and Sam Holland are sisters under the skin. And for those of us who wait with bated breath for the next installment in the lives of Dallas and Rourke and the denizens of the NYPSD, Sam Holland and Nick Cappuano make a terrific early 21st century alternative.

In this second installment of the Fatal series, Sam and Nick are still negotiating the terms of their relationship. Sam is a newly minted Lieutenant in the fictional Washington DC Metro Police Department, and Nick is an equally newly minted U.S. Senator. The book begins with their back-to-back swearing in ceremonies.

But even before the second ceremony ends, Sam is out on another homicide. And it looks like the horrific domestic disturbance gone wrong may have ties to her father’s unsolved case. Deputy Chief Skip Holland is a quadriplegic as the result of a bullet lodged in his spine by an unidentified assailant, and Sam is determined to bring the perpetrator to justice.

If only she can figure out who the hell it was. And if only she can catch a break in any of her ongoing investigations.

But life and work spiral out of control for both Sam and Nick, as their relationship runs into a few rocks. Nick isn’t sure he can handle being the significant other of someone who puts their life on the line every day. And Sam doesn’t believe that she’s capable of being a political wife.

Especially when their personal lives, his political career, and her caseload keep careening into each other. Nick has to deal with the murder of yet another close friend, while Sam finds herself investigating the death of someone they just had dinner with. The profile of the cop and the senator has risen so high that gangs have put bounties on their lives. And someone is digging into the dirt in Sam’s past in order to smear it all over Nick.

Politics is a dirty business, and seems to be getting dirtier all the time.

And Sam’s case, the murder of Nick’s friend, is right in the thick of it. Along with a story about just how deeply hate and bigotry can corrupt a system, a person, and especially a family.

Escape Rating B+: This series is absolutely fantastic reading crack. I needed something that would be utterly absorbing, and Fatal Justice completely took me away from the real world for a few much needed hours.

However, as much fun as I had with Fatal Justice, I also see that I’m going to need to pace myself just a bit. Series like the Fatal series, and also the In Death series that it reminds me so much of, are fun in onesies and twosies, but the patterns get all too clear if one attempts to read three or four very close together.

fatal affair by marie forceThat being said, this story, just like Fatal Affair, was a whole lot of fun. Sam and Nick are both very likable characters. The reader wants them to work through their problems, which are realistic and over-the-top at the same time. For example, one of their issues is that every time Nick hears that a cop has been wounded or killed, his immediate response is to drop everything and make sure Sam is okay. While that seems laudable on the one hand, on that other hand Sam seems to be in harm’s way every other minute. At the same time, she can’t stop being a cop or doing her job because he’s worried. It is part of who she is.

But in spite of the recent spate of horrible real-life events, most cops do not face as many life-threatening situations in their entire careers as Sam seems to face in an average week. Likewise, Nick’s friends are being murdered at an alarming rate. If this keeps up, he soon won’t have any left among the living.

Though it makes for terrific drama. Or perhaps melodrama.

The case that Sam has to solve in this story is a lesson about the price of hate and bigotry. And as current as it must have seemed in 2011, it seems frighteningly real in 2016. This is a story where hate and bigotry literally kills. Which it so does.

Review: Fatal Affair by Marie Force + Giveaway

Review: Fatal Affair by Marie Force + GiveawayFatal Affair (Fatal, #1) by Marie Force
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Series: Fatal #1
Pages: 294
Published by Carina Press on June 21st 2010
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Washington, D.C., Metro Police Detective Sergeant Sam Holland needs a big win to salvage her career--and her confidence--after a disastrous investigation. The perfect opportunity arises when Senator John O'Connor is found brutally murdered in his bed, and Sam is assigned to the case. Matters get complicated when Sam has to team up with Nick Cappuano, O'Connor's friend and chief of staff...and the man Sam had a memorable one-night stand with years earlier. Their sexual chemistry still sizzles, and Sam has to fight to stay focused on the case. Sleeping with a material witness is another mistake she can't afford--especially when the bodies keep piling up.

My Review:

I think the Fatal Series is going to be my new reading crack. Fatal Affair was over the top in all the best ways, and now I’m itching to read the rest of the series. Whenever I need a guaranteed good read to turn to, I have a feeling that Fatal will be it for a while.

I can’t figure out why I didn’t read this when back when it came out. I seem to have downloaded it multiple times, but just never got a round tuit. My mistake.

Fatal Affair is definitely in the romantic suspense category. There are at least three different plots boiling along in this book, all bubbling nicely throughout the story, until they make a marvelous stew by the end.

The romance is of the second-chance-at-love type. Sam and Nick had a hot one-night-stand six years ago. Nick called Sam repeatedly afterwards, but she never called back. So he eventually gave up. Which doesn’t mean that he hasn’t compared every woman since to “the one that got away”.

Sam always wondered why Nick never called back. Eventually she married the guy who provided her with a shoulder to cry on while she wondered how her judgment about what happened between them could have been so off. It wasn’t. But her judgment about the guy who comforted her certainly was.

Yes, we have entered into crazy ex territory. That thread of the story is just part of the over-the-top-ness when Sam and Nick meet again. Over the dead body of Nick’s boss, the suddenly late junior Senator from Virginia.

We have a scandal at the Watergate again!

Someone hated the Senator so much that they “Bobbitized” him and stuffed the offending appendage into the deceased’s mouth. So as much as everyone says that everyone loved John O’Connor, someone obviously did not. And with extreme prejudice.

It’s up to Sam to figure out whodunnit, in a high-profile and high-pressure case. The first item on her agenda is to clear Nick, because they are headed straight back into the relationship they didn’t have six years ago. It’s bad enough that Sam is lead investigator on a case where she has a previous relationship with one of the material witnesses. It would be a career-ending move if Nick had any involvement with the murder.

But he doesn’t. Only an involvement with Sam that he wants to take to the next level. The minute she lets him.

And in that minute, her crazy ex throws himself into an already complicated case. Sam hates being the focus of an investigation, yet again. But if she doesn’t dig out all the truths, she’ll never be safe again.

And neither will Nick.

Escape Rating B+: I had so damn much fun with this, but it is definitely reading crack. There’s a slight soap-opera-ish feel to the story. Too much happens to Sam personally, it feels like too many things center on her as an individual for just one book. But it was just enough to be fun while not being so much that it threw me out of the story.

It helps that I liked Sam and Nick as characters a lot. I want them to be happy together.

Sam is a Detective Sergeant in the slightly fictional Metropolitan Police Department in Washington D.C. Her father is a retired Deputy Chief who was wounded on the job and is now a quadriplegic. She grew up in the force, and her uncle is now Chief. Her Lieutenant has a vendetta against her, believing that she got where she is because of who she is. And it’s partially true. Not that she isn’t capable, but her bosses have let a couple of things slide that they probably shouldn’t.

Her ex is a whack job. And while I did not like seeing the wacky-stalker-ex trope again, at least in this book the story is resolved. I really don’t want to read about him in subsequent books – Nick and Sam already have enough going on.

A lot of the story is about the uses and abuses of power. If the Senator’s father (and former Senator)  hadn’t abused some of his, this whole tragedy would never have happened. But the need to hide long-buried secrets almost derails the entire case. And almost delivers some nearly just desserts.

In the end, the reasons for the crimes are as much sad as they are malicious, and a whole lot of chickens come home to roost, carrying the red herrings that the author successfully salted throughout the story.

As I read Fatal Affair, I realized that Sam and Nick remind me a bit of another fictional power couple, Eve Dallas and Rourke. And that’s fine company to be solving crimes in.

~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

fatal series button

Marie and Harlequin are giving away a paperback set of the entire Fatal Series to one lucky entrant:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And for those who can’t wait to get their hands on the latest entry in the series, there is also a preorder promotion giveaway for Fatal Identity

fatal identity preorder giveaway

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Valentine’s Day Blog Tour: Guest Post by Edie Harris + Giveaway

Harlequin 2016 Valentine's blog tour image_800-x-400

As part of the Valentine’s Day Blog Tour, I’m hosting Edie Harris, talking about the latest book in her Blood Money series, the very appropriately titled Crazed. Because the characters, the plot and the adrenaline-drenched story are all crazed, as a man discovers that the wife he thought was dead is alive, well, a DEA informant and about to marry a drug-kingpin in Medellin. The story is a thrill-ride a minute, and adds even more danger to the series.

How do I know? I reviewed Crazed for Library Journal, and I was thrilled form beginning to end. You will be too, especially if you start he series at the beginning with Blamed.

A Wilder Love Story

A guest post from Edie Harris, author of Crazed: A Blood Money Novel

Every time the brutally cold Chicago wind blasts me in the face as I walk to my corporate office, I have the following thought: If Laura Ingalls Wilder could survive The Long Winter with no electricity and no grocery stores, so can I. Every single time.

You’d be surprised at how much of my Midwestern life has been shaped by Laura Ingalls Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie books. I started reading the fictionalized-yet-autobiographical Little House books with my mother when I was in kindergarten. We read most of the titles together, until I was old enough to manage the narratives solo. When I reached These Happy Golden Years–the story of Laura’s courtship to Almanzo Wilder–I had no idea I was reading a romance; all I knew was that the description of Almanzo’s attentive yet subtle wooing of Laura made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I was ten years old. The next year, I would read my first two romance novels, both set in the American frontier: My Darling Melissa by Linda Lael Miller and Legend by Jude Deveraux. In fact, my first full-length romance novel was a western, Wild Burn (2013), and to-date, as an author, it remains “the book of my heart”…and it’s a romance that, indirectly, owes much to the Wilder love story.

Almanzo Wilder, who’d saved their small town during The Long Winter by traveling miles to buy wheat for starving settlers during a blizzard, was already a local hero in 15-year-old Laura’s eyes. At age 25, he began driving her from her teaching job home to her parents every weekend. Teaching ends, sleigh rides begin, followed by outings in his horse-drawn buggy…followed by calling cards, handmade valentines, and social outings. After three years of charged glances and exciting hand-holding, he offers her an engagement ring and finally, finally, they kiss.

Be still my fluttering pre-adolescent heart! As young as I was, I imprinted on that type of hero. The steady, capable man, whose quiet but unwavering love and support of his woman strengthens her in all her endeavors. The man you can’t shake or tempt away, but whom you can always, always depend upon.

My current series with Harlequin’s Carina Press is a thrilling, action-adventure romantic suspense, and, on the surface, nothing like Wild Burn–or These Happy Golden Years, for that matter. But deep down, each hero I write mirrors stalwart Almanzo in the most basic of ways, and for that, I must thank Laura Ingalls Wilder, buggy rides, and kisses on the prairie.

About the book: 

crazed by edie harrisCrazed: A Blood Money Novel: Casey Faraday was a soldier before he was a spy, but family always came first, no matter what.

When a member of the Faraday clan is snatched off the streets and dragged halfway across the world, it’s Casey who follows the kidnappers’ trail to South America. Thrust into the heart of the cartel he barely escaped during an undercover assignment four years earlier, he’s unprepared for the shock awaiting him on Colombian soil.

Ilda Almeida—the only woman to ever tempt Casey into madness, the beautiful wife he’d mourned for years—is very much alive. And keeping a secret that will forever change life as he knows it.

Casey can’t control his hands—or his heart—around Ilda, but neither can he abandon his rescue mission. When cartel violence turns the jungle into a bloodbath, he can only protect one family: his.

edie harrisAbout the author: EDIE HARRIS is the author of cinematic, compelling, James Bond-esque romantic suspense. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. During the day, she does corporate things and subsists on caffeine and pastries. Her nights, however, belong to the world of romance fiction. Edie lives and works in Chicago.

~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

Harlequin is graciously giving away a prize pack of ALL the books featured in this tour, plus a limited edition Harlequin notebook and a $50 Apple Gift Card to one lucky contestant.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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