Review – Until Harmony by Aurora Rose Reynolds

 REVIEW:

Holy craziness, Batman!  This books was freaking fabulous!  I do believe it’s my favorite in this series.  Harmony and Harlen are stunning as a couple.  Harmony has been skirting her attraction to Harlen for quite some time and when she gets a job that moves her back to town, Harlen is there, ready to make his move.  Harmony is motivated, sweet, and has a fiery spririt….all things that trip Harlens triggers.  I adored her.  Harlen is an alpha bad-a** who decided the best approach with a girl like Harmony is to woo her slowly, in a decidedly friendly matter.  I loved him. He is a mans man, fiercely protective of his woman and not afraid to kick a little a** when need be.  Personally, I wanted to crawl in my Kindle just so get my hands on his luscious body.   They are two peas in a pod and Harmony is convinced Harlen doesn’t feel the same way about her that she does about him.  However, forces around them change all of that and once Harlen’s beast is outta the box…you better watch out!  Their chemistry is amazing and the sex scenes are out-of-this-world erotic.  I loved it when Harlen finally let his dirty mouth do all the talking.  YUMMY!  The plot was fun and fresh and had the utter charm that is associated with all of Ms. Reynolds books.    I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and I really like seeing characters from previous books make an appearance.  And Nico….*sigh*.  That man still makes me swoon.  We’ve got a creepy bad guy who just can’t take a hint that Harmony doesn’t want him and make no mistake, Harlen handles that business like no one else can.  This book was full of emotion, sex, and love and I’m dying to read the next book in this series.  Aurora Rose Reynolds is a queen and when she brings on the “BOOM” she does it like no one else can. 5 stars!

 

Title: Until Harmony
Series: Until Her #4
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 6, 2018


Blurb
Harmony Mayson isn’t the kind of girl to take unnecessary risk, but after meeting
Harlen MacCabe, she starts to wonder if maybe she should be. The more time she
spends with the wild and free biker, the more she starts to crave the freedom
he gives her… And even more, she starts to crave him.
Harlen lives his life on his own terms. After losing both his parents at an
early age to a robbery gone bad, he knows how precious life is, and he’s
determined to get as much out of it as he can. When he runs into the beautiful
Harmony and finds out she’s moving to town, he knows it’s time to take his
shot. She thinks he only wants to be friends, but she couldn’t be more wrong.

What Harmony and Harlen don’t know is that their time might be cut short.
Revenge is in the air, and someone won’t stop until a debt is settled.

 

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Author Bio

Aurora Rose Reynolds is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose wildly popular series include Until, Until Him, Until Her,
Underground Kings and Shooting Stars.
Her writing career started in an attempt to get the outrageously alpha men who resided in her head to leave her alone and has blossomed into an opportunity to share her stories with readers all over the world.
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Review – Hard Crush by Mira Lyn Kelly

REVIEW:

Oh my goodness!  This was the first book I have ever read by Mira Lyn Kelly, but I can guarantee you it will not be the last.  Hard Crush blew me away!  From start to finish, this book was emotional, poignant, and so erotic I am surprised by Kindle didn’t spontaneously combust (because I know my panties sure did)!  It’s been ten years since our heroine, Abby, walked away from the love of her life so that all of his dreams could come true.  I freaking ADORED Abby!  I can’t explain in enough words how highly I thought of her having given up her shot at happily-ever-after with her soul mate so the world could share in his brilliance.  Abby is kind, sweet, and determined to live her life on her owns terms and most of all, she craves the family she never had as a child.  She is so inspiring and amazing in her own right and she has the perfect blend of sense of humor mixed with compassion and understanding.  As for Hank, he is just as perfect as Abby but with a special brand of sexiness only he can pull off.  He knows how he has always felt about Abby and once he sees her again after a 10 year absence, he knows that she was the one thing in his life that made him feel complete.  Hank is so hot, every single time he opened his mouth, I about fainted.  I adore a nerdy but alpha man and Hank fits this description to a “T”.  I love how he pursued Abby, not like a wrecking ball demolishing a building, but with a subtle grace that eventually swept her off her feet.  The path to happily-ever-after was not easy.  Nope, it was honestly gut-wrenching but every second I read, was a cherished second.  The chemistry was like nothing I have ever imagined but the sheer emotion between Abby and Hank was what really put this book over the top.   Let’s not forget the sex scenes.  They were decadent and erotic.  Make sure you keep water and a fan nearby, because that’s about the only thing that will cool you down.  Overall, from start to finish, this book was sublime with no flaws, very little angst, wonderful secondary characters and a love that was so beautiful, everything else pales in comparison.  My advice is to run, walk, skip, fly….whatever your mode of transportation, use it and buy this book. I for one will be getting my copy in print because it’s one of the best I have ever read and has earned it’s spot in my library right along with my other favorites.  I can hardly wait to see what Ms. Kelly has in store for us next but I know I will definitely be looking for previous books written by her.  5 stars (but I’m giving it an extra 5 because it’s my blog and I can)!

Title: Hard Crush
Author: Mira Lyn Kelly
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 6, 2018

 

Blurb
HARD CRUSH is a sizzling standalone romance from  USA TODAY Bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly.
A jaded billionaire.
The girl who got away.
A second chance has never been so sexy.
ABBY
Technology has it out for me. And I’m not  talking about my ever-ailing phone or the temperamental Smart Board in my classroom. I’m talking about the internationally hailed “Tech Genius” formerly  known as the boy I used to love.
It was bad enough seeing that cocky smile staring back at me from my newsfeeds, the gossip sites, and—fine—the scorchingly hot men’s fitness magazine I bought in a moment of weakness. But now he’s back home, teasing me with the memories I’ve tried to leave behind, crowding into my space and taunting me with the kiss I can’t resist. I know it’s only a matter of time before I lose him again. He’s already told me he isn’t staying, warned me he’s changed. I know better than to let him get too
close, so why can’t I push him away?
HANK
They call me a visionary. An innovator. Hell, last week a headline touted me as the billion-dollar geek keeping Silicon Valley’s panties wet. Try living that down. Strip away the media BS, and I’m just a tech-minded guy with my eyes on the future and no time for a past I can’t change. So what am I doing following the sweet sound of its laugh back to the woman who passed on our chance at forever?
I tell myself all I want is to say hello. To see her smile. Just a few minutes to pretend we’re still the “us” I thought would never end. But once I’ve had a taste of the too tempting woman she’s become, a few minutes isn’t enough.
The man I am today is used to getting what he wants, and I want her.
The problem? She wants the guy I used to be.
Ten years later, all that’s changed is… everything.
 

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Excerpt

I take her hand and remember the thousands of times I’ve done it before. “I’m glad we got to talk. It’s been too long.”
A few strands of her hair catch in the breeze and I tuck them behind her ear. Only
just like with hearing my name and holding her hand, the tactile sensation from the soft strands between my fingers stirs up memories I thought safely put to bed. It gives me ideas I shouldn’t be considering.
“Hank?”
Abby whispers, quiet and confused. “What are you doing?”
Losing my mind. “Giving us a better goodbye.”
My fingers curl in so the backs of my knuckles stroke her soft cheek. This is so messed up. I know what I’m doing is wrong, but she’s looking up into my eyes.
I kiss her.
By adult standards, it isn’t much of a kiss. A single brush of my mouth against hers and a lingering contact I’m not quite ready to give up. And yet that barely-there
kiss has my heart slamming against my ribs and fire racing through my veins.
It’s like I’m fifteen again. Except instead of this being my first kiss with Abby, it’s
our last, and I don’t want it to end.
I’m not talking about not wanting it to end like I didn’t want all the other Abby stuff  to end before.
No, this is different.
I. Don’t. Want. This. To. End.
But too soon, that soft clinging contact is gone, leaving only the warmth of her breath
against my lips.
One breath.
Two.
Three.
I open my eyes, realizing I’m not the only one still holding on. Abby’s free hand, the
one that isn’t still trapped in mine, is wrapped around my tie.
She hasn’t let go.
A shadow passes over her eyes. “You’re not in Chicago for good.”
She isn’t really asking, but she wants to hear me say it anyway. She wants to remind us both that fundamentally nothing has changed. That we need to stop this before
it goes too far, and hell, I know she’s right.
“I’m not. Tomorrow’s just a business trip, but all indications are I’ll be out of Chicago
in a few months if this deal goes through.” And even if it doesn’t, there will be something else. There’s always something else.
It’s the deal breaker that lost me this woman ten years ago. After the way Abby grew up, she couldn’t watch me leave and she wouldn’t wait for me to come back. I didn’t
understand until it was too late the first time around, but now I do.
And with her in my arms, it’s good that neither of us loses sight of the fact that this
fundamental difference between us hasn’t changed.
She nods her understanding, and I wait for her to take a step back, for the shake of her head and quiet laugh. Only it doesn’t come. Instead, her eyes drop back to my
mouth and the world around us starts to slow. Because I know that look. I fucking love that look.
But this has to be a mistake. We aren’t teenagers. We aren’t starting something new.
So what am I doing, uncurling my fist to sift my fingers into the dark silk behind her
ear? Using that hold to tip her head back? Waiting until her heavy-lidded stare finds mine again?
What am I doing?
Only it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, because then Abby is the one tugging at my tie to bring me closer. She’s the one murmuring her agreement that this is a much better goodbye a scant inch from my mouth.
She’s the one short-circuiting my brain, and now the only thing I’m thinking is that I
can do much, much better.
This time when my lips meet hers, there’s nothing barely-there about it. I kiss her hard,  gathering her close, then closer still as she opens beneath me with a  shuddering gasp I feel all the way through me.
Her fingers knot in my hair, then race over my shoulders and neck. Christ, her touch is electric, building the charge in my chest by the second.
We’re breathless and frantic. Devouring each other with a hot need that edges the
line of control.
Just another minute and we’ll stop.
Just another taste.
My hand wraps in her hair and she moans around the thrust of my tongue.
Yes.
The part of my brain that’s still functioning is rolling through the data… 
We’re in a parking lot.
The press is camped out on the other side of the school.
I don’t do serious, and this is the girl I learned how to love with.
We should stop. No maybe about it.
But Abby’s breasts are pressing into my chest as she wraps her arms around my neck, and now there’s another part of my brain speaking up… and this is the part I know better than to listen to. It’s the part that dirty-talked me into climbing up
the old oak outside Abby’s bedroom window… when her parents were home. It’s the
part that swore up and down security wouldn’t notice if I let myself back into the lab at MIT after hours just to finish my experiment. And right now, it’s casually noting the parking lot is empty.
It’s asking me why, if the press knew we were back here, they aren’t calling my name to score a frontal face shot.
“Hank,” she gasps, and there’s no more mental chatter. I press her against the car, pinning her with the weight of my body.
Author Bio
Hard core romantic, stress baker, and housekeeper non-extraordinaire, Mira Lyn Kelly is  the USA TODAY bestselling author of more than a dozen sizzly love stories with over a million readers worldwide. Growing up in the Chicago area, she earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University and met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy… only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her back home.
Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, she’s now settled with her husband in rural Minnesota, where their four amazing children and two ridiculous dogs provide an excess of action and entertainment. When she isn’t reading, writing, or running the kids around, she loves watching the Chicago Blackhawks and action/adventure movies, blabbing with the girls, and cooking with her family and friends.
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Review – Tap That by Jennifer Blackwood & RC Boldt

Review:

What a fantastic way to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Tap That was both hilarious, moving, and sexy and each second of the banter between Callie and Reid kept me entertained and engaged.  Reid, our hero, just knows he is going to be the new manager at the bar in which he works.  What he didn’t know, or expect, was the owner bringing in an outsider for the job…one in which he both hates and lusts after.  I liked Reid, when he wasn’t acting like a jilted bride (for lack of a better description).  But, he really redeemed himself by manning up and attempting to show Callie ropes.  He’s sexy, sweet, and more giving than anyone even realizes and he truly does  have a heart of gold.  Now Callie….this girl is in way over her head but it doesn’t stop her from trying to do her new job, and doing it well enough to get past her probationary period.  The situations she finds herself in to “prove” herself are downright hysterical.  I laughed until I cried during one scene!  And Reid, the makes these situations even more comical.  The back and forth between these two is like wickedly brutal foreplay in the sense that they can’t stand each other, but they can’t stop putting their hands all over one another either.  Their chemistry is blistering and soon they find they are more perfect together than they ever thought to consider.  There is plenty of angst and a few maneuvers made by Reid that had me practically crawling into the book and kicking his butt!  And Callie, I loved her and her feisty attitude and my heart broke for her when I saw the way her parents treated her.  I loved her and she was perfect in all ways, but most important, she was perfect for Reid.  You can expect an engaging plot, some well-meaning friends, hilarious bar patrons who have hearts of gold and some smoking hot sex that will leave you panting for breath and in need of fresh panties.  Overall, this was a wonderful book and I hope the authors have more planned in this series because there are more stories I would love to be told!  4 stars!

Title: Tap That
Authors: Jennifer Blackwood & RC Boldt
Genre: Romantic Comedy
 Release Date: March 6, 2018
Blurb

 

The beer’s not the only thing getting tapped.
 
CALLIE
 
I have a secret. It’ll get me fired if my boss ever finds out…which shouldn’t be a problem except for one thing: my coworker, Reid Morgan.
 
He’s cocky, aggravating, and that hot-as-sin mouth simultaneously makes me want to slap him and melt into the mattress.
 
Now that he’s discovered my secret, he’s doing everything in his power to take my job.
 
REID
 
I have a problem: my pint-size spitfire of a coworker who’s primed to take my promotion.
 
She’s infuriating, sexy as hell, and I just can’t seem to keep my hands off her.
 
Now we’re both vying for the same position…and only one of us can come out on top.

 

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Jennifer Blackwood
Jennifer is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary
romance. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black
lab puppy. When not chasing after her kiddo, you can find her binging on
episodes of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural, and locking herself in her office
to write.
RC Boldt is the wife of Mr. Boldt, a retired
Navy Chief, mother of Little Miss Boldt, and former teacher of many
students. She currently lives on the southeastern coast of North Carolina,
enjoys long walks on the beach, running, reading, people watching, and singing
karaoke. If you’re in the mood for some killer homemade mojitos, can’t recall
the lyrics to a particular 80’s song, or just need to hang around a
nonconformist who will do almost anything for a laugh, she’s your girl.

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Review – Paradise Found by Sarah O’Rourke

REVIEW:

I am always utterly charmed almost every time I read by book by the writing duo known as Sarah O’Rourke, and Paradise Found is no exception.  Samantha, our hero, is charming and graceful and beautiful and has ventured her way to Paradise in search of a wayward friend gone missing.  I really liked Samantha, but her reasons for breaking up with our hero many years before simply tore my heart right outta my chest.  I hurt so much for this woman!!!  Now, normally the super-model behavior I would anticipate with this type of character would be a huge turn-off for me but she was written so well that it was more comical and snobbish and mean.  I genuinely really enjoyed her.  Now her hero, Ben, he is wonderful! Samantha has wandered into the town in which he has relocated and built a new life for himself after Samantha destroyed him.   I adored Ben so much that I will even overlook his horrible potty mouth and boorish behavior when Samantha dumped him years ago in light of the fact he made up for it in huge ways.  Ben was sexy and romantic and so alpha in his behavior, I half expected him to club her over the head to win her compliance.  Now that Ben has been made aware of why Samantha broke up with him, he is will to do anything he has to show her that they belong together and his life is complete without her.  These two have a rocky reunion when they come face-to-face for the first time in 4 years but don’t worry, the good citizens of Paradise help them out in all sorts of funny and charming ways.  The plot was fun and fresh and the secondary characters from previous series brought the right amount of laughter to a very emotional reunion.  The sex scenes were erotic but heavy with emotion (and lots of dirty-talking, which is a huge plus).  I loved every second of their reunion and it was quite clear that there is no one else in the world more perfect for each other than Samantha and Ben.  I can’t wait for the next book in this series.  Seriously, I want to live in Paradise. 4.5 stars!

 

button-synopsis

Samantha “The Body” Dixon had once been a famous runway model who’d walked every catwalk from Paris to Milan and back again. When her career abruptly comes to a screeching halt, this leggy blonde sets out to prove she’s got a whole lot more to offer than just a pretty face and killer rack – especially when fate lands her back on her former fiancé’s radar.

Benjamin Atkins might have once been the most in demand photographer in the fashion industry, but times have changed, and he’d learned the hard way to value substance over style. Now, he’s built a new life doing what he loves in the beautiful town of Paradise, Tennessee. That is, until the woman he could never forget struts back into his life.

When these two ex-lovers reconnect after a bitter break-up, can they overcome their heartbreak and find a way back to their own personal paradise found?

Paradise Found Teaser She Wanted Him

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Ben shrugged negligently. “Can’t help it. It’s a really great ass. Always has been,” he complimented her easily as he eyed her body appreciatively.

It ought to be, Sami thought wryly as her body heated under the weight of his stare. She’d certainly worked hard enough to maintain it over the years. For all the good it had done her, she thought bitterly. Even after all the dieting and exercising, she’d still lost her modeling contract to a younger, shinier version of herself. Of course, that wasn’t Ben’s fault and being a bitch to him now wouldn’t get her job back. “Thanks,” she muttered, “It’s not quite as perky as it once was, but I try to keep it in shape.

“Trust me, babe, your ass is as gorgeous as it ever was,” Ben assured her with a playful wink.

God, was she imagining things or was he actually flirting with her? Mentally giving herself a sound slap on the back of her head, Sami knew she couldn’t let her thoughts wander in that direction. She needed to cut this painfully familiar banter off now. “That doesn’t answer my other question, Ben . Why are you following me?” she questioned impatiently as she stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and turned to face him.

“I’m following you because I think you and I have some things to discuss,” he answered evenly. “In fact, we’re long overdue on having a chat, don’t you? It’s time we hash some things out between us.”

Automatically shaking her head, Sami backed up a step, wholly unprepared to go down that road with Ben. “Uh, I don’t think that’s a good idea, Ben. I think we said everything we had to say to each other three years ago, didn’t we?” she asked before turning and resuming her walk down the street.

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Paradise Found TEaser Vixen

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Sarah O’Rourke is actually TWO besties who live three states apart and write at all hours of the day and night! Born and raised in the Southern United States, they are overly attached to their one-click accounts, can’t make it through the day without copious doses of caffeine, and spend way too much time on the phone with each other.

Between them, they have four children and twenty-five-plus years of marriage. They hate empty chocolate wrappers and writer’s block, love to talk to readers . . . and oh, by the way, they write about strong, kick-ass women and hot alpha heroes!

Contact Sarah today . . . she loves to chat!

Buy Paradise Found today! Click here!

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Release Blitz – Tussle by Jacob Chance

 

Title: Tussle
Author: Jacob Chance
Genre: Sports Romance/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: March 2, 2018

 

Blurb
“Why haven’t we had sex?”When Jesse Gunn one of the biggest stars of World Class Wrestling voiced that
million dollar question, yet again, I was stunned. After countless times of
turning him down, I thought eventually he’d give up.

Unexpectedly thrown together for a work project, my mind went to places I’d
never allowed. Dirty places where sweaty, naked bodies take center ring and
names are rasped out in the heat of the moment.

Now, my time is spent wondering if a certain part of him could possibly live up
to his last name, distracting me from my full time job – as his boss.

Can I continue to keep things professional or will I give in and tussle?

 

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Author Bio
Jacob Chance grew up in New England. He’s a martial artist, a football fan, a practical joker and junk food lover.

An author of romantic suspense and sports romance, he plans to write many more sexy, suspenseful stories.
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Review – Baby Daddy by Kendall Ryan

Review:

I love Kendall Ryan’s books and Baby Daddy rates right on up there as one of my favorites! From the moment our heroine, Jenna, meets sexy playboy Emmett, she is intrigued by him.  Especially when she spills the beans about her visit to his office building (which she doesn’t know is his office building which causes quite a bit of tension later) and he jumps at the chance to lend a helping hand.  I loved how plucky and ballsy Jenna was. She definitely knows what she wants and she will stop at nothing to make her dreams of having a baby happen.  Her complete nonchalance about the whole “baby-making” scenario was a mixture of complete naiveté and hilarious comedy-of-errors.  I was utterly charmed, especially in the business-like way she attempted to get “the business”.  Emmett was delicious.  He likes his life, and his women, just how it is…fast, loose, and easy and he wants no woman or children.  Jenna’s proposition catches his attention because he doesn’t want a baby but he desperately wants to get in he pants.  Once these two come to an agreement…prepare yourself for some down and dirty sexy times.   Of course, it doesn’t start off that easy, and again, I laughed so much at Jenna’s antics.  Crazy woman!!!  Soon all that baby-making becomes something more than they expected and reading how they navigated the waters of friendship, sex, and feelings was refreshing and honest.  I truly enjoyed the adventure.  Jenna is also facing a business crisis, one in which she has no idea that her baby-daddy is playing a role in.  When all these hidden feelings and career secrets come to light…prepare yourself for some pretty explosive fireworks.  Remember, Jenna is funny, sweet, but cray-cray (but in the very best of ways) so her reaction is pretty sensational.  This books incited numerous episodes of belly-rolling laughter and sex scenes so hot my Kindle was smoking by the end.  Jenna and Emmett’s journey from singles in the elevator to co-parents was emotional, humorous, and wickedly erotic.  I’m sure you will love this book as much as I did.  I can’t wait to see what Ms. Ryan has up her sleeve next.  She rarely ever disappoints! 5 stars.

A hot and hilarious new standalone from New York Times bestseller Kendall Ryan.

We met in a trapped elevator.

Emmett was on his way to work, sophisticated and handsome in his tailored suit and tie.

I was on my way to the sperm bank. Awkward, right?

At thirty-five, my life hadn’t taken the path I thought it would and I was tired of waiting—I wanted a baby. And I was ready to take matters into my own hands to make it happen.

After our ill-fated elevator encounter, Emmett insisted on taking me to dinner—he also insisted on something else—that I ditch my plan involving a turkey baster and let him do the job. He would be my baby daddy. He was a wealthy and powerful CEO with little interest in diapers or playdates. And since he didn’t want kids, I’d be on my own once his bun was in my oven, free to go my own way.

But once his baby was inside me, it was like a switch had been flipped, and I got a whole lot more than I ever bargained for.

This full-length standalone contains a hot, swoonworthy hero, lots of playful banter and some hot baby-making ! Enjoy.

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A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras

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Blog Tour – Collision Point by Lora Leigh

Collision Point cover.jpg

From #1 bestselling author Lora Leigh comes Collision Point, part of the thrilling Brute Force series—packed with powerful men, steely women, and explosive passion.

SHE’S NOTHING BUT TROUBLE

Riordan Malone is more than a bodyguard. As an Elite Ops agent, he’s ripped, raged, and ready to rumble—a true warrior, inside and out. But no war zone can compare to the battle in Rory’s heart when he lays eyes on the only woman he’s ever loved—and thought he had lost forever. . .

 

HE’S EVERYTHING SHE NEEDS

As the daughter of a crime lord, Amara Resnova has endured the cruelty of her father’s enemies—and has tried to escape that world ever since. Now, she must reach out to the one man who saved her life, even if she’s never forgiven him for breaking her heart. But Amara is tougher today than she was then. She’s also more desirable to Rory—and dangerous to love. Can he protect her from her father’s enemies without surrendering to his own passions…or will love seal their fate for good?

Chapter one

Six months later

She’d been told that West Texas in the spring wasn’t much different from West Texas in the fall, but as Amara Resnova pulled in the driveway of the small house outside Alpin, she felt she had to disagree with that summation.

Stretched out in front of the house with its wraparound porch was a lush green valley fed by a lazily running stream winding through it. Sunlight speared from the cloudless blue sky, bright and warm, spreading its heat in a comforting embrace.

And the charming little house sat just beneath the warming sunlight. Spreading out in front of it was the picturesque valley; behind it, the normal West Texas part-grass, part-scrub, potential-desert landscape that never failed to amaze her.

On a rising knoll stood a lone tree, thickly branched and heavily leafed, shading what appeared to be a small cemetery. Rather than looking desolate and lonely, that little plot of land with its surrounding black iron fence, appeared instead to keep watch over the land below it. As though those buried there kept a gentle eye on those who came after them.

As isolated as the property was, it should have appeared stark. Instead, an air of contentment and peace lay over it. As though the land, the house, the vibrant green of the valley, and the cemetery that overlooked it all, knew all there was about life and love and had locked all those secrets within it to sustain it.

Drawing in a deep breath to steady herself against the fears she hadn’t been able to push behind her even in such a lovely setting, Amara turned off the engine, forced her hands not to shake, and opened the door before stepping into the warmth that filled the valley.

It wasn’t a blazing heat, but rather a gentle wave that filled the air and wafted around her. And in it there was a strange sense of familiarity. A “been there before” feeling that had her heart racing, her mouth drying as she stared around and drew in the sights and whispered sounds of a land as yet untouched by civilized life.

Here, a person could see the stars at night rather than the city lights. The sound of the lonely coyote rather than the rush of traffic. Peace rather than a hectic race.

Here, perhaps, she could find some answers. And maybe there was a chance to find everything she’d lost.

Tugging the hem of her tank, she straightened it over the band of her jeans beneath the light denim jacket she wore as she walked slowly from the car to the stone path that led to the porch. The thick carpet of grass stretched from the valley to surround the house, but she’d noticed as she parked that it became sparser at the back. As though that carpet of green with its lazy stream could only struggle so far to embrace the weathered home.

The dark blue pickup parked at the side of the house attested that someone lived there. And she knew the vehicle belonged to the man those in town called Grandpops Malone.

Riordan Malone Sr. was grandfather to Riordan Malone the younger, she’d been told, when she stopped at the gas station and auto repair garage outside town that bore the name MALONE AND BLAKE—SERVICE AND REPAIR. There, she’d learned Riordan the younger was part owner but currently out at his “grandpops’” place.

Riordan.

That name haunted her dreams, her fantasies. Though the man in those dreams wasn’t an old man. The one who came to her in those nightly images was tall, strong, impossibly sexy.

As Amara forced herself to walk to the porch, she looked around, searching for the face, listening for the voice of a man she knew only in those dreams. The man she’d escaped her father’s protection to go search for.

Was he friend or foe?

Even she couldn’t answer that question, not fully. But for some reason, she couldn’t seem to help the need to learn which he would be.

As her foot lifted to the first step, the front door creaked, causing her to pause, to wait with bated breath as it slowly opened to reveal an aged, gray-haired gentleman she suspected was Riordan Sr., Grandpops.

In his worn loose jeans, well-washed white shirt with sleeves folded neatly back below his elbows, scuffed leather boots, and with that serene expression, the man looked as old and wise as the mountains themselves. And there was no doubt he was just as damn stubborn.

“Well, hello there.” The smile that lifted the corners of his mouth was reflected in his dark blue eyes. “Can I help ya, young lady?”

There was a whisper of a lyrical accent. Irish. Just a whisper though, not the full, male lilt she sometimes heard in memories that never fully revealed themselves.

“I’m looking…” She swallowed nervously. “I’m looking for Riordan Malone.”

His head tilted to the side, his thick graying hair neatly trimmed but giving a hint of the rogue he must have been in his youth.

“I’d say you’re looking for my grandson rather than myself,” he said gently. “He should be along in a bit. His da just called to say he’s done stole that wild pony again and headed this way.” A chuckle filled the air. “Come along up to the porch and sit with me till he arrives. That wild beast always gives a show when he comes barreling through the valley.”

Moving gingerly up the steps to the porch, she followed him to the comfortable-looking cushioned rockers that faced the valley.

“Does he steal ponies often?” She frowned as she sat down, feeling more off balance than she’d felt in her life—which was saying something considering the past six months.

“Just that wild-assed black son of a satan that took a liking to him.” He grinned back at her, his gnarled hands gripping the arms of the rocker loosely. “His da threatens to kill the beast every time Riordan takes it out. He swears it’s gonna kill the boy.”

Boy.

That didn’t sound like the man she was searching for. But, everything she learned assured her this was the one place she was certain to find him.

“Ahh, here he comes now.” Fondness filled the old man’s tone as he motioned to the valley.

He appeared at first as no more than a storm of dust rising beyond the verdant green of the valley.

Amara watched, her heart racing as that trail of dust grew steadily closer.

It was an imposing sight, she had to admit.

A sensual, exhilarating sight.

The horse, black as midnight, neck extended, flying across the deserted landscape, was enough to hold the eye. But the sight of the man, bent low to the horse’s neck, black hair flying back from his face, riding without a saddle, was a bit more than simply imposing.

It was exhilarating.

Imposing and savage and wildly erotic.

Amara could feel her body responding to the sight, weakening, filling with a sensual lassitude she couldn’t combat.

“Be watching this now. That horse loves ta take him on a wild ride he does,” Grandpops said softly.

The horse flew over a gully as though he had wings, before jumping the stream, neck and legs extended as it went airborne for precious seconds. The animal then took a series of fences as though they were nothing, and as she stared, she felt she knew how those women felt from centuries past as they watched a conquering warrior bearing down on them.

When the horse flew over the fence that enclosed the house yard, Amara was certain there was no way it could pull up before slamming headfirst into the porch itself.

With no more than a few yards to spare, the beast came up on his hind legs, a triumphant equine scream filling the air before landing again and prancing about with pure high-spirited joy before finally settling.

And Riordan sat firm on the animal’s back the whole time, holding onto the horse’s mane rather than a bridle, thighs gripping the animal’s heaving sides as he stared at her with blazing, furious blue eyes before turning them on his grandfather.

The younger Riordan dismounted smoothly, the soles of his moccasined feet hitting the ground as he slapped the beast on the rump. It came up on its hind legs once more in another display of savage beauty as it reared up, pawed the air, then shot off back the way it came the second it landed.

Flying like the wind, strong legs launching it over the fence, the gully, then the stream before a trail of dust followed it around the bend of the mountain.

So much beauty, she thought. A display of savage male temper and strength, and no less showed in Riordan’s expression as he propped his hands on his lean waist and glared up at her where she sat next to his grandfather on the porch.

Well-worn denim encased his hips and legs, and the moccasins that covered his feet weren’t fringed or fancy, just well made. A black T-shirt stretched across a broad chest, emphasizing his muscular abs and making her fingers itch to remove it.

Yes, this was him. The savage who invaded her dreams, the fury who slashed at her nightmares. Vivid sapphire eyes, daunting features, proud, imposing. A man who knew his own demons as well as those that inhabited other men. Or women.

She rose slowly to her feet, aware of Riordan’s “grandpops” as he sat comfortably in his rocker, watching in interest.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” the words that passed from his lips caused her to flinch; their icy tone caused her heart to sink.

The tender tone, the edge of lust and hunger she’d dreamed of, was nowhere in sight.

His gaze raked over her and there was none of the sensual promise she’s seen in his eyes when he’d invaded her dreams, none of the dominant sensualist who tormented her with his touch in her fantasies.

She hadn’t expected this. This wild fury and enraged demand. He didn’t seem the least bit glad to see her, she had to admit. What made her think he would be? she wondered.

Was she wrong? Did she not know him?

She was certain she had to have known him, certain that somehow, someway, they must have meant something to each other. Could she have been so wrong?

“Riordan!” Grandpops’ surprised tone had a grimace contorting Riordan’s face.

Evidently the grandfather thought little of the grandson’s language.

“Grandpops, perhaps you should go back to Grant’s.” He turned to his grandfather, his voice firm. “Noah, Sabella, and the babies will be there in a bit.”

Grandpops continued to glower at him.

“I’m certain I can handle whatever language he wants to use, Mr. Malone,” she assured the older man. “I’m not exactly a stranger to it these days.”

Her father cursed more often, brooded more often, and Amara knew the situation she’d found herself in was weighing on him. If she didn’t do something, didn’t fix things, then she was terrified of what may happen. Of what her father would do to fix things himself.

“But can his grandmother?” The old man sounded disappointed rather than angry. “Remember whose home your using that language in, boy.”

Rising from his chair, Grandpops moved to the steps stiffly and made his way down, casting his grandson yet another warning glare.

“Drive carefully, Grandpops. No more racing with those Brickford boys,” Riordan stated as his grandfather passed by.

And Amara could have sworn she saw a gleeful grin tease at the older man’s lips. But he merely grunted as he passed.

A few moments later the truck started, and they watched Grandpops ease around the circular drive and onto the road that led to the small valley.

The silence that stretched between them was heavy—with his anger and her uncertainty.

As the truck took the curve around the rising hill, she turned back to Riordan and tucked her hands into the pockets of her light jacket, her fingers curling into fists.

She’d faked the last six months with friends and most of her family. Taking cues from her father and his assistant Nikolai, she’d smiled and faked her way through every damn meeting and gathering she’d been forced to attend until she slipped silently from her father’s estate the week before and, in essence, ran away from home.

Not that he was letting her run without giving chase. He and his men weren’t far behind her and she knew it. They’d almost caught up with her the night before, outside Houston. If she didn’t do something, if she didn’t find a way to eliminate the threat shadowing her, then her poppa could do something she may not be able to live with. And it was that decision that sent her running to Alpine and the man who shadowed her dreams.

She was here now. She’d found the man she’d gone searching for, and she knew the days of lying and pretending to be who she’d been six months before were over.

She lifted her head, straightened her shoulders, and stared up at him in determination.

“Whatever I did to you, I’m sorry,” she told him, miserably aware that if she’d offended him in the past, angered him, then there was the possibility it couldn’t be fixed with an apology. She hadn’t been the nicest person she could have been in the past.

His eyes narrowed on her before once again moving to sweep over the landscape. There was a tension that surrounded him, a steady watchfulness she’d noticed her father and Ilya always carried as well. That prepared and ready-for-action thing strong men always seemed to carry with them.

“Go home, Amara,” he told her when those brilliant eyes turned back to her. “Go back to daddy. This is no place for you.”

He knew her. He was angry, but for a second, she swore she saw something more in that flash of heat in his expression.

“No. Riordan, please.” He couldn’t make her leave. Not yet, not until he knew what was coming, because what was coming didn’t affect just her. She could sense it, her dreams assured her of it.

Turning, Riordan dismissed her just that easily and strode up the steps to the porch, leaving her to stand alone as the storm door slammed behind his retreating back.

Alone.

Strange, but this feeling of “alone” didn’t seem nearly as unfamiliar as it should have.

Inhaling deeply, she followed him rather than doing as ordered. Not that she often did as she was ordered. That was probably how she found herself where she was now. Opening the door quietly, she stepped into the house, her gaze taking in the homey atmosphere of the large living area.

A comfortable leather couch, recliner, and matching chairs were grouped around a cold fireplace. The mantle held a variety of family pictures that she would have loved to have time to check out. The wood floor was smooth, aged with a sheen of time and caring.

There were more family pictures in frames on the wall, many appeared old and passed down through the years, the frames lovingly polished, the photos a bit faded from time.

As she stepped into the room, Riordan watched her silently, leaning against the wide doorframe into the kitchen, his arms crossed over his broad chest as he simply stared at her, his expression still and remote.

“What the hell are you doing here?” he asked, that rumble of his deep voice sending a stroke of sensation up her spine.

What was she doing here?

Trying to survive, to live.

“I need your help.” She had to force herself to say the words, and still they came out as barely more than a whisper. “Please, Riordan. I need your help.”

* * *

Six months.

For six bloody months this damn woman had tormented his dreams while asleep and his thoughts while awake. He’d given his life for her on a dark, blood-filled night, then again on an operating table, only to be told she never wanted to see him again when he’d been released. And now, two months after he’d returned to Texas, here she was.

Son of a bitch. Just when he thought he could get through a night without being tormented by her, she just showed up out of the blue. And it was all he could do not to touch her, to jerk her to him and show her exactly what she was dealing with in coming to him.

But, she’d been his weakness from the moment he’d met her, hadn’t she? From the second his gaze touched hers, she’d been the one woman he couldn’t get out his head. And God knew he’d fought it.

Tiny and delicate, she made a man want to wrap her in cotton and hide her away from the world. Resilient, stubborn, and independent, she made a man realize fast that she wouldn’t allow him to do so.

Her once-long, straight silky black hair was shorter now, courtesy of her abductors. At first jagged and close to her scalp, it had grown a good six inches or so and feathered around her delicate face becomingly. Piercing gray-blue eyes stared back at him, somberly.

Frightened.

Riordan straightened from the doorframe, his eyes narrowing on her. That was fear in her eyes, along with the uncertainty and the heat he always saw there.

“You need my help?” he couldn’t help the mockery that tinged his voice simply because it flooded every corner of his mind. “Strange, two months ago you never wanted to see my damn lying ass again. What changed?”

What had changed? For a moment, that question had her pausing.

God, if only she could tell him. She was damned if she knew herself what had changed. All she knew was that now, six months after she’d awakened, she was unable to remember what had happened or who had abducted her or what they had wanted. The nightmares had grown worse, the sense of imminent danger and panic that fueled them had become overwhelming. In each one, this man stood with his hand outstretched, his voice whispering to her, urging her to find him. To come to him.

She swallowed tightly, uncertain what to say, how to explain. She didn’t trust him, not by any means. But she didn’t trust anyone now. She didn’t know who to trust.

“I’m sorry.” But she was damned if she could remember telling him he wasn’t wanted.

No doubt she’d had a good reason. Savagely hewn, rough and sexy, and a cowboy to boot. No doubt he had a wandering eye and hands that had no idea how to be faithful. The one type of man she despised. But personal fidelity and the ability to protect weren’t always intimately acquainted, she’d since learned. The man who cheated on his wife and walked away from his children could also be the very man willing to give his life for that same woman, or those children.

Men had never made sense to her, even from an early age. But she didn’t need him to make sense to her, she needed him to fulfill the promise he made in her dreams and help her figure out who was determined to see her dead and why she was so certain it was someone she knew and loved.

“You’re sorry?” he snorted, flashing her a look filled with disgust. “Fine, go home and be sorry there. I don’t have time for it here.”

The panic was beginning to build inside her chest. It thundered through her veins and raced to her heart. If he made her leave, if he threw her out and forced her to run again, she was going to die, and she knew it.

“You promised you’d help me,” she snapped, her tone more demanding than she would like despite her uncertainty and the fact that the words tore from her almost involuntarily. “You swore it. You can’t renege now.”

Had he really promised, or had she just dreamed it? Was the memory of that dark little hole and the pain that filled her just another nightmare? Had he really been there, swearing he’d always save her, or had she just imagined it?

“Did I now?” Softly voiced, the question held that bit of Irish sexy, lyrical sound that she often heard in those fantasy dreams filled with pleasure rather than pain. “And when did that happen?”

She shook her head. Memory or nightmare?

“You swore you’d always be there if I needed you.” She fought to believe it was memory. “All I had to do was reach out to you. Well, dammit, I’m reaching out. Do you want me to beg too?”

She could see his hand outstretched, his expression somber, demanding. He wouldn’t come to her, she had to go to him.

Riordan felt as though his world had narrowed, that nothing existed but this moment, this woman, and the dreams that had haunted him. Dreams of her cries, her pleas that he come to her. And no matter how desperately he tried to reach her, she was always but a touch away. No matter how often he’d urged her to take his hand, to come to him, just reach out to him, she never did.

The dreams had become so insistent over the months, he’d actually contacted his former security team members who still worked for her father to check up on her.

All was well, he’d been told. Princess Resnova was still the princess, and the czar still protected her like the cherished daughter she would always be. And still, he dreamed, reached out to her, and urged her to take his hand.

I’ll always be here for you. Just reach out to me.

He hadn’t told her that, he’d whispered those words in a dream.

And son of a bitch if that wasn’t enough to make a man force himself not to shake in his boots.

“Why?” he demanded. “Why the hell do you need me when your father has over fifty protection agents, and every damn one of them is on call in case they’re needed to protect you? What the fuck do you need with me?”

Damn her. She’d waited six months to come to him. She’d let him lie in a hospital out of the country, half alive for weeks, and hadn’t once called or reached out him. Why the hell was she short circuiting his brain now?

“I need you to help me,” she whispered again. “I need someone I can trust with my life, Riordan, before I die because I don’t know anymore who’s a friend and who’s the enemy. But you might know. I need someone I can trust to watch my back while I figure out who the hell is trying to kill me and why.”

Kill her?

According to every source he had in her father’s organization, she was safe. The men at the farmhouse where they’d found her were all killed. The bodyguard they’d identified as being behind the abduction and her beating was dead as well.

“Your father’s men can protect you.” God help him. If he even tried, he’d get them both killed—because he wouldn’t be able to stay out of her bed.

She was shaking her head even as he spoke. “I don’t trust them. I don’t trust anyone.” Desperation filled her expression now. “You don’t understand, Riordan. All I have are these crazy dreams of you. Every nightmare I have you’re at my back, protecting me. That’s all I have because I don’t remember what happened before my abduction or the abduction itself. I’ve lost a year of my life and I don’t know why and I damn sure can’t force those memories back,” she cried out, fury filling her tone. “All I have are the nightmares and dreams, and the only person I can see, the only person I can trust in them is you. And by God, I want to know why.”

She faced him, fists clenched, anger flushing her face, but that was heat in her eyes. It wasn’t just nightmares she had, it wasn’t simply dreams.

It was this bond he could sense between them even as she stared back at him, furious, frightened.

And he’d waited long enough.

Taking the steps that separated them, he jerked her into his arms, his lips stilling her cries, his arms tightening around her, holding her to him.

Her lips parted in shock, and he took full advantage of it. He tasted her. Lips and tongue possessed her kiss, and he let his senses grow drunk on her.

Because somehow, someway, she’d shared not just her dreams with him, but those incredibly erotic fantasies that filled his head as well.

And now, he wanted a taste of all that passion, that feminine hunger and need he hadn’t nearly had enough of before her abduction.

Then they could discuss the rest.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Lora Leigh in Collision Point and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

 

 

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#1 New York Times bestseller Lora Leigh is the author of the Navy SEALS, the Breeds, the Elite Ops, the Callahans, the Bound Hearts, and the Nauti series.

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