Monday, 15 January 2018

REVIEW - Fire (The Mermaid Legacy #2) by Natasha Hardy

The Book
Release Date: 15 April 2014
Goodreads Link

In order to save the one she loves, she will have to start a war... Just when Alexandra was getting used to the fact that she is half-mermaid, her beloved Merrick is captured by ruthless Oceanid Neith. Neith will stop at nothing to crush Alex to his will and has only one condition of release: She must start a war against humans who are destroying the ocean so that he can become ruler of land and sea. If not, Neith promises to destroy the underwater world Alex has grown to love. Alex is torn. She cannot fight against humans, but risks bring the fire of hell to her underwater home. Desperate and alone she roams the ocean, until she discovers that other Oceanids are prepared to fight against cruel Neith. Now Alex must become the leader she is fated to be and train an army to fight for their own freedom and that of the entire human race, before it is too late... The second book in THE MERMAID LEGACY Book 1 Water is out now

My Review  3 STARS
This is the last book in the series and is the concluding part.

We get a lot more of the almost preaching of the error of human ways in regards to the pollution of the ocean along with the slow draw up to the big fight.

Alex finds more talents speedily, is accepted far too easily by adult Oceanids and her 'wisdom' accepted and her leadership hardly questioned.

Considering that Merrick and Alex have only been together for a few days, i find that her missing him as much as she does unrealistic.

Looking back i also see that the first book has not been review too well or very much at all.  This book hardly seems to have any reviews either.

Alex seems exceptionally lucky with everything she does and almost everything falls into place too easily.

This book certainly answers all the questions we had from book one, however we are left wondering who the spy was and if Nasrim was ever found and brought to justice.

REVIEW - Water (The Mermaid Legacy #1) by Natasha Hardy

The Book
Release Date: 16 August 2013
Goodreads Link

Surrender to the power of the water... Alex knows she is different. She’s plagued by nightmares that feel shockingly real and an intense restlessness she cannot explain. As the long hot summer holidays stretch before her, Alex seeks out adventure in the rugged mountains of Injasuthi. But during a camping trip to the mystic jade pools, Alex meets Merrick, a boy who tells her the shocking truth about herself, and Alex's nightmare is about to become reality. Because Alex is no ordinary teenager...she is a half-mermaid and her adventures are only just beginning.


My Review  3 STARS

**My thanks to NetGalley and Montlake Romance, for providing me with a free copy for an honest review**

I think the best part about this book is the cover.  The colours pop, and pull you in, the write up sounds intriguing and pulls you in too, however the thing that pulls me short in this book is the amount of times humans are lambasted for the ocean pollution and deaths we cause in the sea for all sea life and the fact that as a race we do not seem to care about it.

In some ways this book is just preaching that we as a species need to change our ways with the resources we consume and the rubbish that we produce.

Alexandra is based in South Africa and it starts with her on holiday after her father has abandoned her.  After some folk tales two boys and her head off into the mountains for adventure and she certainly finds more than that.

Merrick is an Oceanid, a merman in other words and has been looking out for Alex in secret for the last three years.  It is now that she gets to meet him and the world that he comes from.

The book can be long winded at times and you almost wonder if anything is going to happen, then the book finishes and you are left with so many questions as nothing has been resolved but everything is still to come.

REVIEW - Man Card (Man Hands #2) by Sarina Bowen

The Book
Release Date: 15 January 2018
Goodreads Link

Nothing ventured, nothing banged...

Ash
I still don't know how it happened. One minute I was arguing with my arrogant competitor--our usual trash-talk over who deserves the larger commission. But somehow I went from throwing down to kneeling down... 
It can never happen again. I don't even like Braht. He's too slick. He's a manipulating mansplaining party boy in preppy clothes.
So why can't I get him out of my head? 

Braht
There are two things I know without question. One: Ash and I are destined for each other. Two: never trust a man with a unibrow.
Ash is my missing my piece. She's the sweet cream to my gourmet espresso. And nothing gets me going faster than her contempt for me. They don't call her the Ashkicker for nothing. 
Eventu

My Review  5 STARS
**My thanks to the author for providing me with a free copy for an honest review**

This is another laugh out loud book from the brilliant duo of Sarina and Tanya.

The first book in the series introduced the best friends Ash and Braht who definitely had chemistry.  In this book they sizzle together they are so hot.

Ash has ex-husband baggage and does not trust men too easily and Braht is hiding something from his past.  However Braht proves himself to be a wonderful individual who goes for what he wants and protects it.  He proves he is a true man, even if he does like mansplaining and manicures.

Ash is loyal to her friends and finds herself softening towards a man who proves that not all men are bastards and that they is a man out there for her.

I really hope that there is a third book for Sadie and that she gets a happy ever after and it was nice to catch up with Brynn and Tom too.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

REVIEW - Claimed (Club Sin #1) by Stacey Kennedy

The Book
Release Date: 5 August 2013
Goodreads Link

Presley Flynn is ripe to experience her secret fantasies . . . and Dmitri Pratt wants nothing more than to fulfill them. Once inside the elite Club Sin in Las Vegas, Presley is nervous but excited—and determined to surrender to her every desire. Dmitri is her Master, and his touch is like fire. With each careful, calculated caress, he unleashes her wildest inhibitions, giving her unimagined pleasure.

Presley is different than the other submissives Dmitri has mastered. The BDSM lifestyle is new to her, and so are the games they play at Club Sin. From the start, Presley stirs emotions in him far beyond the raw purity between a dom and the perfect sub. For the ecstasy they share goes beyond the dungeon igniting a passion that claims the very depths of the heart.

My Review  3 STARS
**My thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group, for providing me with a free copy for an honest review**

This book follows on from the Fifty Shades craze, however i feel that the characters in this novel have a better connection and find something in each other that they did not know was missing from their lives.

Presley is a person who wants to make everyone happy, however it can lead her to heartbreak.  Dmitri however has been a Dom for many years and when he see's Presley he senses something in her that calls to him.  Her sub nature and the person she is is something special that needs to be nurtured.

The supporting cast are great and Cora proved herself a true friend and the other Doms stick to the rules.  The ex boyfriend Steven certainly has a screw or two loose.

Things do progress fast between our couple, however some people just know what is going to work for them and make them happy.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

REVIEW - Hooked on a Phoenix (Phoenix Brothers #1) by Ashlyn Chase

The Book
Release Date: 6 March 2018
Goodreads Link

LOCKED IN A BANK VAULT TOGETHER...
THEY MIGHT REDEFINE THE MEANING OF 'SAFE' SEX

Misty Carlisle works as a bank teller in Boston's financial district. She's had more rotten luck in her life than most, except when her childhood crush shows up to cash his paycheck. Then her heart races and her mouth goes dry.

Gabe Fierro is a firefighter―and a phoenix. Like his brothers, his biggest challenge is finding a woman open-minded enough to accept a shapeshifter into her life. When his boyhood friend asks him to watch over his little sister Misty, he reluctantly agrees. But when the bank where she works gets held up, Gabe does everything he can to protect her. The two of them end up locked in the bank's vault...where things get steamier than either of them ever imagined.

My Review  3 STARS
**My thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing me with a free copy for an honest review**

This was a decent book and the second book that i have read from this author, although it is in a different series it is still about the same family of Phoenix's.

Gabs is the more sensitive brother and has decided he never wants a wife or a family of his own, however after his best friend Parker asks him to look after his little sister, a girl he has not seen for years, things take on a different turn.  It takes Gabe having his life turned upside down to realise the mistake he has made, it also takes a special woman.

Misty is a strong woman who has a hard time just as she is seeing Gabs for the first time in ages, with health concerns that worry her.

The family shows a strong sense of loyalty and kinship and welcome Misty with open arms, helping her without question.

The author gives a good view of the modern world with a paranormal twist that is believable without sounding silly.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

REVIEW - Seducing Her Brother's Best Friend (Tea for Two #3) by Noelle Adams

The Book
Release Date: 10 January 2018
Goodreads Link

After too many years being overlooked by men, Carol is ready to take action. She wants a man, and she knows which man she wants. Her brother’s best friend, Patrick Stevenson. 

Patrick is funny and brainy and the sexiest man she’s ever known, but he has never looked at her as anything except his friend’s little sister. That’s going to change. 

Carol isn’t good at flirting. Or seduction. Or anything that requires putting herself out there. But she’s going to make sure Patrick sees her as a desirable woman—and one he wants for more than one night—even if it turns her whole world upside down. He already likes her a lot. He just needs to open his eyes to how good they’d be together. 

After all, how stubborn can he be?

My Review  4 STARS
**My thanks to the author for providing me with a free copy for an honest review**

This is the concluding part to this trilogy and can be read as a stand alone book, however i suggest reading them all in order so you get a better measure of the other characters.

In this book, Carol has finally decided that she is going to try and get what she has always wanted, one of her best friends brother, the slightly geeky, awkward Patrick.

Carols friends help her seduce an unknowing Patrick and a light comedy evolves in the push me pull you department, until Patrick finally admits its Carol that he wants and realises that she wants him too.

A really good ending to this light-hearted and fun series.

Monday, 8 January 2018

EXCERPT Reveal - Sky's the Limit (Doomsday Preppers #1) by Elle Aycart




Release Date: 16 January 2018
The Book

Tired of waiting for her big break in the fashion industry, Sky Gonzalez, eternal part-time student and overworked retail drone, quits her job, sublets her New York apartment, and embarks on a semester abroad study program in Paris. Paris! Time to throw caution to the winds and jump-start her dreams. What’s the worst that could happen?

How about getting sent to the wrong Paris? As in Paris-frigging-Minnesota?

Bye-bye career dreams. Bye-bye glamour and haute couture. Hello flannel shirts, mind-numbing cold, zero bars on the cell phone, and socially challenged mountain men with tons of unruly facial hair.

So yeah, let the truck barreling her way hit her, please. Less painful.
~~~~~~
Logan should have dodged the little lost waif and kept on driving. Who in their right mind walked in the middle of the road, dressed in white from head to high heels, during a snowstorm? Clueless city girls, that's who. Sky is all that Logan has gladly left behind: stylish, cosmopolitan, and a massive pain in the butt. He wouldn’t trade a single day in his quirky little corner of the woods for all the high-maintenance beauties the city can offer.

Too bad this beauty has been deemed a health hazard and quarantined in his house. Damn his doomsday-prepper neighbors and their paranoid emergency protocols. Now he has to keep Sky in and the pandemic squad out until the roads are clear. The question is, will that happen before or after Sky realizes she's under house arrest?

Ah, the best-laid plans...


Somewhere in the back of beyond, Minnesota

SOS. Car broke down. Stuck in snowstorm. Check my location and alert troopers.

Sky Gonzalez pressed Send and threw her cell in the air as high as she could. There was nothing but trees and snow around, no cell coverage to be had where she was standing. Maybe another six feet up, the situation was different.

She caught the phone on its way down. Checked the screen. Nope. Jesus Christ, the whole country was infested with butt-ugly, fake-tree cell towers, and she had to get lost in a place where all the damn trees were real.

Turning against the gusts of wind and brushing flakes away from her face, she gave it another go, tossing as far as she dared. Which wasn’t far, really, because she wasn’t the most coordinated person in the world. If she dropped the phone and it smashed into a million pieces, or she lost sight of where it landed, that was it for her last lifeline to the outside world. She’d never find her cute, sparkly cell again—slick and thin and white.

In hindsight, going for that color had been a very poor decision.

Still no dice. Squinting, she tossed the device up again. Hopefully her message would eventually go through, and Lola would contact the authorities. After all, it was Lola’s fault Sky was in this bind. Of all the crazy shit her sister had pulled over the years, this stunt trumped every one of them.

Every. Single. One.

She caught her cell a third time. Nothing. Well, practice made perfect, right? Besides, she didn’t have much else to do except throw that stupid phone into the sky and continue walking. The road must lead somewhere. Sooner or later she’d arrive there. Or she’d get lucky and her cell would catch a signal. Or she’d freeze to death and become a cautionary tale to stupid girls. Whatever came first.

She looked back to where her car was being buried under a steady fall of big flakes. Steam was still coming from the hood. How a car could overheat in the middle of a snowstorm, she didn’t know. That annoying little red light on the dashboard that had flashed at her for the last twenty miles might have had something to do with it. Not that she could have done shit about it, seeing as the last person she’d crossed paths with was at a gas station a hundred miles away. Or so. She wasn’t great at calculating distances or reading maps.

Orienting herself wasn’t one of her fortes either, evidenced by the embarrassing fact that her destination should only have been about fifteen miles from the regional airport and she’d still managed to miss it. She’d tried backtracking, but she’d only succeeded in getting more lost. And that was hours ago. The car’s GPS had stopped working right after she left the airport, and her cell had been without a steady signal for a long while before the car itself died. For all she knew, she’d crossed state lines. Heck, she might be in Canada. Or in frigging Alaska.

Great way to kick off the New Year. Best first of January ever.

Eyes on her airborne cell, she tripped and fell flat on her face, the useless device landing on the back of her head.

Coordinate colors? Forecast fashion trends? Put together a knockout outfit from a thrift shop? All that she could do, no problem. But apparently, throwing an object up in a straight line and catching it on the fly were not in her skill set.

Aggravated, she got up, patted the snow from her pants, and burrowed her hands under her jacket. The wind wasn’t too strong, but the constant bee stings of flakes on her skin, along with her shitty clothes, made her feel like she was freezing. The extremely fashionable hand-me-downs from her boss were not designed for off-road snow trudging.

Then again, she should have been strolling around Paris’s Golden Triangle of luxury boutiques and haute couture labels. Or sitting in a cute little café, watching the sun set over the Champs Elysées, enjoying the mild chill of the French winter—which this year was supposed to be warmer than usual—sipping red wine, and munching on a baguette slathered in gooey cheese. For that, she was perfectly dressed.

Thank God she’d gotten that ridiculous white bunny-ear hat at the airport, ugly as it was, and the white bunny-paw mittens. The snowstorm must have caught other travelers off guard, because those had been the only winter garments in the tiny store. High heels and a bunny hat. Hell of a fashion statement. On the plus side, she was color coordinated down to her underwear. White pants. White jacket. White boots. White hat.

She should have stayed in the broken car. No heat and a cramped space were a thousand times preferable to walking in the open, but she was so tired, she couldn’t afford to sit idle. She’d fall asleep in a second and wake up a Popsicle. Or, more to the point, not wake up at all.

That she’d been awake thirty hours and counting wasn’t helping. But why would she have wasted her last night in New York City sleeping when she thought she had a transatlantic flight ahead of her? Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sky was infamous for drifting off in the weirdest places and the most impossible positions. Tourist class, no leg room, screaming babies? Bring it on. Heck, once she’d zonked out in a jumper seat and snored there for hours, back in the day when she flew standby, courtesy of a friend’s industry-discount tickets.

Looking forward to a cozy nap in coach, she’d gone partying with friends instead of resting—and checking her flight details. Now she was stuck in the middle of nowhere, sleep-deprived, knee-deep in snow, freezing her butt off, and probably catching the mother of all flus.

Minnesota. Where the heck was Minnesota? She was an East Coast person through and through. She hadn’t been this far west since that time she took the wrong train and ended up in Newark. That had been traumatic enough, thank you very much.

She glanced around. It was beautiful, though. Perfect snowflakes poured out of the sky, blanketing the whole landscape in white. Very… Christmassy. Too bad it wasn’t Christmas, and she was lost, alone, and irremediably soaked. Her hair and makeup were ruined. And let’s not talk about her brand-new manicure. Hansel and Gretel dropped bread crumbs. Her? She was dropping fake nails all over the place.

Damn the countryside. Not a single soul around to ask for directions. Where were aggressive taxi drivers when one needed them? Rude walkers, honking cars, hotdog vendors, a Starbucks on every corner—there was nothing like that here. No landmarks she would recognize.

Just snow, trees, and a back road, poorly delineated and with worse signage, all of it getting fuzzier by the second.

And that was the view in the middle of the day. She shuddered to think how all this would look when it started getting dark. Were there wolves in Minnesota? Bears? Because if her high-heeled boots were shit walking in the snow, just wait until she had to climb a tree.

Sky was about to toss the cell up again, but she stopped. Sighed. Who was she kidding? She’d need a rocket launcher to make it past the treetops. She might as well put her phone to better use before the battery died or it got buried in the snow, Fargo style, until the end of time. She pressed the recording function and started talking. “This is the last will and testament of Sky Gonzalez. This message is addressed to my sister Lola. I leave you, Lola, all my belongings, which you’ll find in a car buried under a ton of snow somewhere in the middle of Minnesota, where you sent me!” she yelled into the device. “Know that I blame you for everything, and I will haunt you from the afterlife for freaking ever! You’ll never have a good night’s sleep, I guarantee you. Damn your presbyopia! Yes, you’ve hit forty. Yes, you need glasses. Own it, for Christ’s sake!”

Screaming seemed to help, marginally. To vent her frustration, if nothing else. She knew she shouldn’t be mad at Lola. After all, it wasn’t completely her sister’s fault. Never mind how busy she’d been, Sky should not have asked her sister to fill out her application for the semester-abroad program. At the very least, she should have suspected something was fishy when the secretary in the placement department had been so glad about Sky’s choice of location, she not only arranged the flight for her, but also informed her that the position came with a voucher for a car rental. Big red flag if Sky ever saw one.

“I don’t need a car,” she’d told the woman. Why would she? Public transportation was a far better option in European cities.

The secretary had sounded confused. “Uhh, believe me, you’ll need a car. Any preferences?”

In all her years as a part-time undergrad at that school, taking classes here and there whenever she could afford it, Sky had never heard the old hag be so nice to anyone. So she went for broke. “Okay, if I can choose, a cute little Mini would work.” Driving in style trumped trunk space any day. Besides, parking would be at a premium in Paris.

“A what?”

She’d gone too far. “If it’s too much, I can—”

“No, no,” the secretary had hurried to interrupt. “It will be arranged.”

Probably she’d thought Sky was going to pull her application if she didn’t get her preferred car. Which she would have. In a heartbeat. Not because of the car, but because she had thought she was going to Paris, France. Not Paris, Minnesota. Who in her right mind would choose an internship in Minnesota when Europe was available?

Sky Gonzalez, apparently.

Entering the semester-abroad program had been an ill-omened idea. She should have accepted her destiny as an eternal student and sales clerk turned personal shopper’s assistant. Dressing in castoffs from her boss and living vicariously through others people’s pics on Instagram. Making ends meet, a big smile on her face, happy and satisfied with her lot.

But traveling to Europe in the hopes of becoming a buyer for a classy continental retailer? Not in the cards for a Gonzalez.

Sky blew warm air over her frozen fingers. Manipulating her cell with the mittens had been a no-go, so she’d stashed them in her jacket. Time to fish them out, or she was going to lose more than her nails. Rummaging in her pockets produced only one mitten. Oh, shit. She must have dropped the other one. Fantastic. Getting better and better. Her teeth were chattering. The storm didn’t look like it was lightening up anytime soon, so she put on the one mitten and picked up her speed.

She pressed Record again and spoke into the phone.“I left Arnie at the dog hotel, so you are getting your sorry ass over there and picking him up, Lola. To hell with your allergies.”

Arnie hated it there. Ungrateful mutt. Much as it pained Sky, she couldn’t take him with her overseas. She’d dished out an indecent amount of money, money she couldn’t afford, to that first-class kennel, and he’d looked at her as if she were dumping him into the pound. “If I freeze to death… which at this stage is a very strong possibility, because the clattering sound you’re hearing is my teeth… I expect you to care for him. The expensive doggie treats he likes. His massage and spa days. The whole shebang, Lola. Do not cut corners with my baby. You owe me.”

When Sky stopped yelling into the phone, she realized the screeching she was hearing wasn’t coming from her. It sounded like brakes locking. She turned around in time to see the shiny grill of a black monster truck barreling her way.

Her eyes opened wide. Holy shit.

It was a damn good thing she couldn’t feel half her body anymore, because this was sooo going to hurt.

* * *

The second that Logan saw a flash of long red hair and something resembling human eyes, he wrenched the wheel, sending the truck spinning to the shoulder, barely missing the tiny figure in the middle of the road. Jesus Christ. Who in her right mind wore white from head to toe in a blizzard? The truck screeched to a halt, the passenger side a mere half an inch from the woman. He jumped down and ran around the front. She had fallen to the ground. Fuck, had he hit her? “You okay?”

“You… almost… ran… me… over,” she said, her teeth chattering. From fear or cold, he couldn’t tell. Well, he could. It had to be cold. Her clothes were flimsy at best. Flashy, but not warm at all.

“Are you crazy? Standing in the middle of the road, all in white? I could have killed you.”

He saw a gleam of defiance in her eyes. “White’s… trendy… this… year.”

Right. “There’s nothing ‘trendy’ in this part of Minnesota, lady. Where’s your car?”

“There.” She pointed in the direction Logan had come from. “Or there,” she corrected herself, pointing in the opposite direction. “Not sure now. It all looks… white.”

No shit.

He tried to help her stand, but her legs buckled, so he lifted her in his arms. “Let’s get you somewhere warm, shall we?” After placing her on the passenger seat, he cranked up the heat.

“Can’t leave… without… my bags.”

He stepped outside and scouted the ground a little.

Her footsteps indicated she’d been walking in the same direction he’d been driving, which meant he must have passed her vehicle and missed it. “What car are you driving?”

She sneezed, the useless synthetic-fur hood on her jacket flopping over her bunny-eared head. Out of the whole stupid outfit, that bunny-eared hat was the most sensible piece. “A Mini.”

Great. Wherever she’d left the car, it was probably buried now.

“We’ll come back for it tomorrow,” he decided, jumping back in and revving up the engine.

“My Manolos are in there.”

Manolos. Oh, boy, wasn’t that a blast from the past? Another shoe whore. Just what he needed. “They’ll still be here tomorrow, believe me.”

She was going to object, but a sudden sneeze derailed her. And another and another. He opened the glove compartment, took out a wad of napkins, and offered it to her. “Why did you leave the car?”

“Stopped working,” she answered, grabbing a napkin and wiping her nose. “And when I began walking… it wasn’t snowing so much.”

“You aren’t from anywhere around here, are you?” Her dumb clothes were a dead giveaway. Her actions too. She shook her head, placing her hands in front of the air vent. “New York City.”

It figured.

She narrowed her dark eyes on him. “Why?”

The heat had kicked in. She must have finally felt it, because her teeth weren’t chattering as hard. She was even getting some color back in her face.

He looked resolutely forward and edged the truck into motion. “For your information—next time you decide to take a stroll in the Minnesota countryside, you need better shoes. And clothes. You don’t assume the weather conditions will improve. And you never leave your vehicle. Ever. Under any circumstances. You don’t stand in the middle of the road without wearing reflectors. And—”

A sudden move from the passenger side caught his attention. He gave her a quick glance and saw, flabbergasted, that her head had lolled to the side.

“Lady, you okay?”

A light snore was all the answer he got. “And you don’t get into a stranger’s ride and proceed to check out,” he muttered. Jesus fucking Christ. Talk about a lack of common sense.


After a colorful array of jobs all over Europe ranging from translator to chocolatier to travel agent to sushi chef to flight dispatcher, Elle Aycart is certain of one thing and one thing only: aside from writing romances, she has abso-frigging-lutely no clue what she wants to do when she grows up. Not that it stops her from trying all sorts of crazy stuff. While she is probably now thinking of a new profession, her head never stops churning new plots for her romances. She lives currently in Barcelona, Spain, with her husband and two daughters, although who knows, in no time she could be living at the Arctic Circle in Finland, breeding reindeer.

Elle loves to hear from readers!

elleaycart@gmail.com


















RELEASE DAY BLITZ (Review) - Crazy Sexy Notion by Sarah Darlington

The Book
Release Date: 8 January 2017
Goodreads Link

My former best friend...is now a hooker...

MICK
After a terrible breakup, the crazy notion hit me to look up my childhood friend. With half a country between us, I haven't seen Raven since the day my dad rushed in and saved me from the Sandy Hill Trailer Park. But I loved Raven as a boy, and now I need to find out if I could love her as a man. Only problem: her profession.
Come to find out—she's a prostitute.

RAVEN
Mickey Lawson
Yeah, I hate that guy.
Really, he's only a faint memory now, but at one point in time he meant everything to me.
My protector. My savior. My best friend.
I was ten.
Then he left.
Now he's back.
Fifteen years too late.

My Review  4 STARS
**My thanks to the author for providing me with a free copy for an honest review**

Mick plays in the minor leagues for baseball, but has eventually gone back home to where it all began in order to 'rescue' his former best friend Raven.  Raven is still there, with a daughter, but she is also a prostitute.  Not that it matters to Mick.

Raven had lost her best friend and the boy that protected her, ever since she has had to look after herself, stuck in Pecan.  When Mick rocks up, he does not give her much of a choice in the matter about going home with him, rather than staying in her trailer.

Its a friends to lovers book, only they have been apart for a good many years and have to build up the trust and friendship again.  Mick however seems the more stable of the two and quickly comes to the realisation that the reason that he has not found a suitable relationship or why he sabotages his relationships is because he has always wanted Raven.

ITs a sweet book, not too much sex and not too much angst.  Definitely well worth the read.

Friday, 5 January 2018

COVER REVEAL - Consequence (The Confidence Game #2) by Rachel Higginson

The Book
Release Date: 27 February 2018

Consequence, the conclusion to Sayer and Caroline’s epic love story 

Five years ago, I escaped a dangerous life I had always wanted to leave. I got away. I found freedom. But it cost me the love of my life. 

For five years I lived in hiding, protecting my most valuable secret while Sayer Wesley sat in prison paying for both our sins. I promised to love him forever. I promised to never leave him.  

I broke my promises.

Five months ago Sayer found me. 

Five weeks ago, I was forced to face my past. 

Five days ago, someone took my daughter. They kidnapped her in order to make Sayer and me suffer. I will do anything to get her back. Even if that means coming clean to Sayer, letting him into my life and introducing him to our daughter. 

All I wanted was to protect her from this life and now she’s right in the middle of the chaos. Sayer is the only one that can help me. He’s the only one that can get her back. 

But it might mean losing him again. 

Fifteen years ago, I fell in love with Sayer Wesley. Now I must pay the consequences for falling in love with a con man.

Preorder Links




Chapter One
Sayer
Fifteen Years Ago

Doubt niggled in my gut, forcing me to question my choices. I hated it. I hated the greasy feeling sloshing around in the pit of my stomach. Halting hesitation stilted my limbs and slowed my footsteps.
The door in front of me seemed to stretch to the dark sky overhead. The damp, ivy covered walls seemed to close in on me, trapping me in a prison I wasn’t ready to face yet.
Letting out a slow, measured breath I balled my hands into fists and reminded myself that this was my only option for survival. I’d made my bed and now I had to live in it.
For however long my life lasted.
Wrapping my knuckles against the back entrance to a Russian-run bar in the middle of downtown DC, I swallowed the lump of fear and my uncertainty. The gritty taste in my mouth remained.
“What?” a gigantic tank of a man asked when the metal door creaked open.
The opened door let out a gust of warm air that smelled like booze and sweat. It reminded me of my old man and I had to plant my feet to restrain myself from involuntarily bolting.
“I want to see the bosses,” I declared boldly.
The ogre’s mouth split into a scary smile, revealing rows of gold teeth and a fat, gray tongue. My request was amusing enough that he didn’t bother playing games with me. I obviously wasn’t an FBI informant or slimy CI. I wasn’t wearing a wire. He knew exactly where I came from—the gutter.
He clicked his tongue between his teeth and lips. “And what does a street rat like you want with the pakhan?”
His thick accent made it hard for me to understand him, but I got the gist of what he asked. “I have information,” I told him and then quickly added. “Important information.”
His smile disappeared. “Yeah? How about you tell it to me and I’ll relay the message.”
I shook my head. No fucking way. I give this guy the goods, I’ll never get another chance to get inside. This had to come from me. And it had to go straight to the top. “I tell the bosses. Nobody else.”
He spat a string of curses in a foreign language I assumed was Russian. “I’m not playing games, shithead. And you’re not getting inside. Give me the fucking information or get lost.” When I hesitated, he added, “You have three seconds.”
“It’s about the Irish,” I blurted, desperate to have him hear me out. “And a huge fucking shipment of guns.” I rubbed my tongue on the roof of the mouth. The curse word felt funny on my tongue. Up until six months ago, I wouldn’t have used it out of respect for my mom. But since I’d been living on the streets, I’d learned there were certain kinds of people in the world who only responded to a specific way of talking. If I wanted to be taken seriously I needed to get comfortable with their language.
Besides it wasn’t like I was sheltered or some shit. Thirteen years of living with my dad had taught me how to survive on the streets—I could survive the Russian mob or the fucking epicenter of hell.
The meathead’s curiosity had been piqued. “And what does a piece of scum like you know about the fucking Irish?”
I craned my neck to rub my cheek against my bony shoulder. “I know that I’ve been working with them for two months. I know that they’re expecting a container next month. I know that the guns that were supposed to be on it were delayed because their customs officer was arrested and so they were put on a separate, smaller ship, making them arrive two weeks ahead of time. I know that if you know the right place they’re coming in at you could beat the Irish and grab them for yourselves.”
His jaw ticked, revealing confusion and anger. “And how the fuck do you know that?”
“Because I know it. Now are you going to let me in to talk to the bosses? Or am I going to have to take this information to the Italians?”
“Fucking Italians.” He pursed his lips and spit. I flexed my entire body and held perfectly still. I couldn’t let this guy see me flinch. He was just the gatekeeper, but if I cringed in front of him he wouldn’t take me seriously and I’d lose my one shot at getting inside.
I was tough and I’d prove it here and now.
Caroline’s voice drifted through my head, bolstering my courage, boosting my adrenaline. “Make them realize you’re valuable.”  She’d offered the advice like a last-minute question. She’d wanted to save me from the streets. She’d wanted to rescue me from the assholes that had hired me. But she’d done something better instead.
She’d given me something to live for—seeing her again.
“How do you know any of that?” the bouncer demanded. “How do I know you’re not a little spy sent by someone else? The Irish could have sent you. The Italians could have sent you. The goddamn cops could be messing with us.”
“How about you let the bosses decide that? Pretty sure those questions are above your pay grade.”
I expected him to punch me in the face, but he threw his head back and laughed instead. “How old are you, kid?”
I had no reason to lie. Although I probably should have anyway. “Thirteen.”
“Fucking balls for a kid of thirteen.”
I shrugged. “Are you going to let me in or what?”
“Fuck it,” he grumbled, but pushed the door open so I could walk inside.
Repressing the relieved smile playing at the corners of my mouth, I inhaled the sticky sweet stench of the bar and tried not to gag. God, I had hated places like this. I hated the loud mouth men yelling at each other from across the room. I hated the pounding music that never ended. I hated the women that worked here, that dressed in as little as possible and let the drunk ass men put their hands all over them.
This bar was too close to home. And it took everything in me not to bolt. I wanted to run away from this place like I wanted to run from my past. I wanted to head back to the mission house that had given me a hot chocolate and offered a warm bed to sleep in.
Bile rose up in my throat and I banished the manipulative thoughts before they could take root. That idyllic dream would lead one place—to child services. And they would just send me back to foster care.
There was only one thing on this godforsaken planet worse than my old man and that was foster care.
Fuck that.
I’d take the Russians before I’d ever let them send me back.
Hell, I’d even stay with the Irish before I let that happen.
I followed the goon through the bar and toward a darkened staircase. Everyone we passed sent curious looks my way, but my new friend didn’t offer any explanations. I appreciated his discretion, even if he was trying to keep the number of witnesses to a minimum.
At the top of the stairs, we took the single hallway to the farthest closed door. I ignored the sounds coming from the other rooms as we walked by and the occasional screams of both pleasure and pain.
Eyes wide open, I reminded myself. I was stepping into this world fully aware of what I was getting into. I was choosing a life of crime, of immorality… of sin. This was my life, and for the first time ever, I was deciding how I wanted to live it.
My guide pounded his meaty fist against the door until someone on the other side called out a terse, “Come in.”
The door opened and the goon shoved me through it. “This kid says he can get us the next shipment of Irish guns. Says he wants to trade something for it.”
I hadn’t said that. A wave of gratitude washed through me for this nameless stranger. I knew enough about the world that I could recognize this for what it was—a future favor I would be expected to make right. I was grateful enough to be okay with owing this guy one.
The cool, calculated gazes of three well-dressed men turned to me. The bosses. I had never seen them in person before, but it was obvious who they were. The entire room was practically bowed in their presence.
I’d overheard the Irish talk about them enough to know there were three of them and they were brothers. Dymetrus was the muscle in the family. He controlled the enforcers and handled the punishments. Aleksander—the brains. He made the money decisions and ran the businesses. And Roman—the boss of bosses. He was the face of the family, the oldest brother and the end all be all of the Russian mafia in this city.
It was Roman I would have to convince.
It was Roman I would have to survive.
And there he sat, directly across the room from me, at the head of the table, his brothers to both sides of him, his closest men in chairs bordering the large room. He was dark-haired and slick-looking, like oil personified. He was groomed to perfection and his tailored suit was worth more than my life.
I hated him immediately.
He had everything I wanted and didn’t have. Money, power, security, a place to sleep. Something settled inside me, dropping to my gut like the first stone of a new building, the one the rest of the foundation would be built on. Or the seed of a mighty oak that took root and began the arduous task of growing, developing, of becoming something bigger, better and more permanent than what it was.
I decided right then and there that I wanted everything Roman had. Not just the money and the clothes and the material possessions—I wanted the job too. I wanted the power. I wanted his empire.
And today was the first step to getting it.
“Speak, child,” he ordered, his voice heavy with Russian influence. “Tell us your tale.”
His black eyes glinted in the low light, sparking with curiosity and mystery. I held his gaze and ignored the buzzing of nerves threatening to make me puke. “I did a job for you two months ago. It was an electronics store. I climbed up a wall and turned off security cameras, then hid in a space between two walls and jumped the driver of a delivery truck when he stepped out of the cab.”
Roman’s head tilted to the side. “I thought you were going to tell me about where I can find Irish guns.”
“I want a job,” I told him evenly. “If I tell you about the guns, I want to work for you.”
“It sounds as though you’re already working for me,” Roman countered. “And the Irish. And who knows who else.”
I shook my head, realizing I needed to slow down. “I don’t want to be a six. I want to be one of you.” I jerked my chin toward the bouncer. “I want to be bratva.”
Roman’s eyes narrowed. “You’re a child.”
“I’m about to help you take out the Irish,” I reminded him.
“What did the Irish do to make you hate them so much?” his brother asked. By his trimmed beard and glasses, I pegged him as Aleksander, but I couldn’t be sure. “Why are you here tattling on them as though we are your mother and they have picked on you at school?”
I shook my head again. They weren’t getting it. “I never wanted to be Irish,” I explained. “Since the job two months ago, I’ve only wanted to be Russian.”
“Then you should have stayed working for us,” Roman sighed. “Now we can’t trust you. Now we assume you are an Irish spy and we should send you back to them with your tail between your legs.”
“Or in a body bag,” Dymetrus murmured.
Heat rushed to my brain and I felt my face turn red. “I’m not a spy. I went to the Irish in order to find you something to take them out. That’s all. I never wanted to work for them.”
The three brothers stared at me. “Did someone tell you to do that?” Roman asked. He turned to his other brother. “Who was in charge of that job? Who would give advice of that nature to this… child?”
Dymetrus snorted. “Leon Valero ran point as I remember. We needed his daughter on the inside. He didn’t do a half bad job of it, but Leon’s not kind enough to recruit a kid.”
Daughter. I wondered if they meant Caroline. I filed that information away. “It wasn’t Leon,” I interrupted and tensed for their response. “It’s not important who told me what to do. Besides they didn’t say specifically to get work from the Irish, just that I needed to do something to prove my worth in order to stay. I want to stay, so I did something to prove my worth. That’s all. I’m not an Irish spy. They probably won’t even notice I’m gone. I was just a six for them. A six that happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
“What is your name?” Roman asked when I expected him to demand more information.
Nerves pinged through me again, my stomach tightening into a twisted ball. “Sayer.” I cleared my throat. “Sayer Wesley.”
Roman sat back in his chair. “How do I know that name?” He turned to his brother again. “Why is that name familiar.”
“His father was a cop,” Aleksander offered. “He’s dead now.”
Recognition flashed in Roman’s eyes. “Suicide.”
I scanned the room for the closest trash can, convinced I was going to puke. Thankfully, I hadn’t eaten anything today so there was nothing in my stomach. I managed to nod.
Roman shared a look with his brothers before turning his black eyes back to me. “It’s time you told us everything, Sayer Wesley. Starting with how a dead cop’s kid ends up trying to defect from the family his own dear dad used to work for.”
“My dad might’ve been Irish, but I hated him. I want nothing to do with his family. I want nothing to do with the Irish.” I spit the words out as promises. Anger bubbled beneath my skin, fury ready to be unleashed in my fisted hands.
“You say that here,” Roman countered calmly. “But what about to them? Maybe you say the same things about the Russians to them. Surely they expect you to carry on his legacy. Surely they expect another dirty cop? Or at the very least a loyal soldier.”
I ground my teeth together. “Then this will set them right.”
Something in my tone or in my eyes must have finally convinced them I was telling the truth. Roman sat back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest. “And how can we trust someone one that hates his father so much? Family means something to us.”
“Family means something to me too. I just want to be able to choose who my family is. I want to decide who I call brother and who I swear my life to. The Irish don’t get that honor. My fucking dad didn’t get that honor.”
“And you think the guns are enough?” Roman asked still calm and unruffled. “You think one ship full of guns is enough to turn your Irish blood Russian?”
I struggled to swallow past the baseball-sized lump in my throat. “Yes.”
“You’re wrong,” Roman said with a small, amused smile. “But it’s a start.”
His words were a fatal blow, a crushing disappointment that felt like total destruction. I hadn’t realized how much I had hoped that this would be easy or how desperately I needed them to give me what I wanted. I had nowhere else to go. I had no backup plan. I had no other options. “A-a start?”
“Who told you that you needed to prove yourself to become bratva?” Roman demanded in a tone I knew better than to argue with.
“A girl,” I confessed quickly.
The brothers shared another look. “Did this girl have a name?” Aleksander asked.
I licked dry lips and contemplated how to answer. “There were two girls there. It was the one with short hair.” I felt proud of myself for not giving away her name. If the Russians were like the Irish, they had a dozen or so nameless street kids working for them. The bosses wouldn’t know who they were. And I wouldn’t be expected to remember one of them after meeting them only once.
Only I did remember her. I remembered everything about her.
The brothers lapsed into Russian, their expressions growing stern and serious. They seemed to be arguing about something, gesturing toward me and the window behind them. And then they said her name. Caroline Valero. And I knew I’d turned her in.
Shit.
I swallowed and tried to pick up the repeated phrases or words so I could go to the library tomorrow and look them up, but it was impossible to understand them. I didn’t know any Russian and they were speaking way too fast for me to memorize anything substantial.
Roman had the last say and the other brothers closed their mouths, even though they didn’t look happy about it. He turned his gaze back to me once more and looked more sinister than ever. I couldn’t pinpoint it for a second, but I realized he reminded me of a cartoon cat with a mouse dangling from his fingertips. He had something he wanted.
And I was just now realizing that something was me.
“I want you to tell me about the guns, Sayer Wesley. If your information proves to be accurate and if my men are able to procure the weapons, I will in fact allow you to become bratva. Not a six, like you’ve suggested, but a brother. We will blood you so that you will no longer be Irish, but Russian. We will tattoo you so that everyone in this city knows who you belong to, so your ties with the Irish mob will forever be severed. And we will treat you as one of us. We will give you a place to live and you will work for us for the rest of your life. Is that what you want?”
The promise was too much to resist. My voice shook with dangerous hope as I answered, “That is what I want.”
“Then there will be one more task for you to complete. If you can give us the Irish and we make you bratva, then you must do one more thing.”
Reality sliced through me and I realized I had walked into the spider’s web. Willingly. It was one thing to become Russian. It was another thing entirely to owe them a favor.
“What thing?”
Roman hesitated long enough that I thought he might not tell me, that he might make me wait until after I was bratva to demand his pound of flesh. At last he said, “You must give us Caroline Valero.”
My heart kicked at my chest and I pushed up onto the balls of my feet, readying to run. “What do you mean?”
“I want her,” Roman explained. Before I could fly across the table and murder him, he added. “In the brotherhood. She has a… special set of skills I only see improving. I want to own her talent. I want her to be bratva.”
“She’s already a six—”
“She works begrudgingly to help her father,” Roman explained. “She has no intentions of getting marked. My niece tells me she has plans to go to college and leave the life completely.” His nose wrinkled in distaste. “Not only do I refuse to lose her talent, she has a certain influence over my niece that I will not abide. She must be bratva. Do you understand?”
From the second I saw Caroline, I knew she was different. This information didn’t surprise me at all. She didn’t look Russian. And she didn’t look like she belonged in that back alley. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and if she hadn’t talked to me, I wouldn’t have believed she was real. Of course she wanted to go to college. She didn’t belong with these lowlifes. She didn’t belong to this world. “You want me to convince her to not go to college?”
Roman stretched his neck impatiently. “I want you to give her a reason to stay. A reason she cannot leave.”
I shook my head. “I don’t follow.”
Roman said what sounded like a curse word in Russian and leaned forward, stretching his folded hands in front of him on the sleek table. “I want you to give me a reason to make her bratva. I want you to prove you belong here by securing her future with me.”
My heart pounded and adrenaline rushed through me as I realized what I was being asked. There were two ways to enter a life like this one. The first was to walk willingly into it. Like I was trying to do. The second was to do something that trapped you inside—usually a sin of some kind, a bargain with the devil that could not be broken. They were asking me to give them an opportunity to trap Caroline in the bratva.
“How much time do I have?” I asked, my tongue heavy and stiff in my mouth.
“You have until she tries to leave,” Roman answered, his lips twisting with a small smile. “She will work for us as long as she lives here and her father is working for our organization. I need her choice to be taken away from her. I need her loyalty. You have until she graduates high school. But sooner would be preferable.”
The tumultuous feelings inside of me started to become clearer. I realized I wasn’t afraid nor was I upset on her behalf. I was excited. Thrilled. Happy.
It turned out that Roman and I wanted the same thing—Caroline Valero. His task was in complete alignment with what I had set out to do.
“Your price is Caroline Valero?” I asked when I started to doubt what I’d heard. Could I want this so badly I had just imagined it?
“Make her mine,” Roman ordered. “And you will always belong to this brotherhood.”
“Okay,” I told him knowing that it was a lie. Knowing that Caroline would never be his. But I would do what he asked to make her mine. I would figure out how to make her bratva not so she wouldn’t leave the Russians, but so she wouldn’t leave me.
I spent the rest of the night explaining the shipment of guns I knew was on the way. I gave all the details of how many men would be there to pick it up and exactly where the guns would go. I showed them the fax for the port details and what time they could expect the ship to dock. After they had everything they needed, they called the bookkeeper over and arranged a place for me to stay. And then sent me home with him.
He gave me a place to stay, a shower, a hot meal and a bed to sleep in. I fell asleep knowing my future was secure, knowing my place in the brotherhood was as good as finalized, knowing I would get Roman everything he asked, because it was everything I wanted.
I would do anything to make Caroline Valero mine. Even if that meant making her bratva with me.