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Review: The Heat is On (Out of Uniform #6) by Elle Kennedy

The Heat is On

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As a Navy SEAL, Matt O’Connor specializes in Bad Boy. At least, that’s what he thinks…until he finds himself face down on the floor during a bank robbery, arguing with a sexy, bad-girl blonde who wields her sharp tongue with surgical precision.

Just like that, Matt begins to wonder if maybe the idea of settling down with one woman isn’t as crazy as he thought.

Savannah Harte is addicted to first kisses and whirlwind romances. Once the thrill is gone, though, she’s outta there. She’s eager to follow the adrenaline rush she feels with Matt into the nearest bed, but when tangled sheets begin to feel like tangled heartstrings, her first instinct is to cut him loose. There’s only one problem: Matt’s not going anywhere. And not even a steamy threesome seems to dull her growing feelings.

Which leaves Savannah having to decide what she wants more. The casual thrill of now…or the scary thrill of forever.

Product Warnings: This title features a hot threesome with explicit sex, a bad-girl heroine, and two Navy SEALs guaranteed to make you sweat.

Meh.

There was a lot to like about The Heat is On…but there was also a lot I didn’t like. And frankly, I’m going to chalk part of it up as a learning experience.

The Heat is On is one of those rare romance books where gender roles are slightly reversed. Savannah, the heroine, doesn’t like relationships – her drug of choice are relationship firsts: first kisses, first dates, first fucks, etc. As soon as a guy Savannah is dating starts getting serious, she starts packing her bags. This works for her until she meets the hero, Matt.
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Review: Dating Cupid by Eve Langlais

Dating Cupid

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Roxanne knows where she’d like to shove Cupid’s arrow.

Tired of cheating men and false promises of love, Roxanne launches a campaign against Cupid’s Dating Service. But it’s hard to smear a company when you’ve got the hots for the owner.

Maverick Eros is more than the CEO of CDS, he’s Cupid himself. However, forget the media images of a chubby diapered cherub because the god of love is actually six feet plus of yummy, muscled male.

When they meet, sparks fly–the lusty kind–but they both know from experience, love hurts. In the end though, they’ll learn that love will have its way with them with or without the aid of Cupid’s arrow.

I love this short story and I’ve read it numerous times. 😀

It’s a little cheesy, lots of fun and there are laugh out loud moments. I adored both characters and I thought the plot was adorable, as well. The book is totally a one, two punch of “insta-lust” and “insta-love” but it totally works for the book! Langlais has a very different and hilarious take on the old Greek story of Cupid and Psyche.

Roxanne, demi-goddess and daughter of Lady Luck (Fortuna/Tyche), is having a terrible time finding a mate. For years, no matter who she dates it always turns out badly. At the urging of friends and family, Roxanne signs up for the popular Cupid’s Dating Service (CDS) – but when that goes horribly wrong she ends up boycotting the service. Until the day Roxanne meets the CEO, Maverick Eros. From the moment that Roxanne and Maverick meet they are attracted to each other – love at first sight – but past hurts cause them to mistrust and miscategorize their feelings.

Roxanne and Maverick fight their attraction but the instant they see each other again, the sparks fly.

Dating Cupid is a romantic comedy but Langlais still manages to put some real substance in the characters and their situation. Roxanne has been hurt by men who were supposed to love her and Maverick was duped by his cuckolding ex-wife, Psyche. Both characters had to find it within themselves to trust that this “love” thing was actually real.

One of the more interesting aspects of Dating Cupid for me was the change to the story of Cupid and Psyche. Greek Mythology says that Cupid and Psyche were star-crossed lovers who are finally united after much trial and tribulation. Dating Cupid turns Psyche into a devious schemer who used and never loved Maverick and Roxanne stars as Maverick’s true love – and they are finally united after much trial and tribulation.

This is a short but fun story that I only wish was longer. Recommended!

Review: Back In The Italian’s Bed by Annie West

Back In The Italian's Bed

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No woman walks away from billionaire Fabrizio Armati’s bed. No woman except Jenna MacDonald. Now he’ll stop at nothing to get her back, and keep her there.

It’s love at first sight for Jenna when charismatic hotelier Fabrizio Armati sweeps her off her feet in Venice. That chance encounter sparks a sizzling affair that lasts until she discovers Fabrizio sees her as no more than a convenient, expendable mistress. Then her world falls apart.

Six months later Jenna tells herself she’s moved on. Until Fabrizio walks into a meeting to find her working for his greatest rival. She’s about to discover just how far he’ll go to get her back in his bed.

When revenge turns to passion, will surrender be on his terms, or hers?

This is a – without a doubt – 100% pure Harlequin Presents (HP) style novella. Even the title. And I ate it up, lol. It makes sense – Annie West has written many a Harlequin Presents.

So, you have the basic structure of a category romance: millionaire/billionaire ruthless business tycoon and lots of emotional angst. What made Back in the Italian’s Bed different is that Jenna has a little spunk. Fabrizio swept her off her feet but she left him when she realized he couldn’t [wouldn’t] give her what she needed (love). When the two meet again, she falls back into his bed but is still willing to leave him and make a new life for herself. That’s not the typical HP style – normally the woman would have eaten her heart out over hero.

Back in the Italian’s Bed is a pretty short story/novella – about 65 pages – and that’s the only downside of the book for me. The shortness of the word count didn’t allow for the full range of angst that you get from HP style novels. But don’t get it twisted, Jenna spends much time castigating herself for her attraction to Fabrizio. I have to admit that while HPs aren’t really my thing now, I have fond memories of gobbling them up by the bag-full. I am intrigued to read more of Annie West’s work.

Book Review: Parlor Games Anthology – Border Lord by Julia Templeton

Parlor Games

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Fleeing an unfaithful fiancé, a nubile young lovely finds herself the prisoner of a lustful Scottish laird and must bow to his every erotic whim.

 
Parlor Games is the third book I’ve read using my Scribd trial. Scribd introduced me to Jess Michaels via the book Everything Forbidden – and suggested this title since I read Everything Forbidden. As of today this book is on sale at Kobo for $9.99.

Border Lord reminds me a lot of the book Warlord by Jaid Black. Both stories are situated in Scotland and both books contain unsuspecting time traveling heroines from the future. Strangely enough, I find that I prefer Warlord to Border Lord even though Warlord is much older and is a little more corny. There’s another time-traveling Scottish Lord story I read that was similar to this one as well but I can’t remember the title. That one also starred a cheating fiance, IIRC.

With that being said….there’s not a lot to Border Lord. It’s ok. It’s entertaining-ish. I enjoyed it for the most part but since I’ve read better with this same set up…I wasn’t as impressed as I expected to be. Border Lord is short and to the point without much more to recommend it.

2.5 Stars

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Mastered Anthology Review: Juicy (Twilight Teahouse #1) by T.J. Michaels

Mastered: 10 Tales of Sensual Surrender

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Twilight Teahouse ~ Choose something decadent from our menu…

Solie Shaw is a brilliant self-made woman. After managing a corporation by day, at night, all she wants is to not be in charge. The last man she’d gifted her heart to had smashed it to smithereens and then did the mambo on top of the pieces. Now, along comes the chance to get exactly what she needs. All Solie has to do…is choose.

 
 
This was a really cute story that I sorta enjoyed. I say “sorta” because too much of the story was taken up by the mental angst of the heroine, Solie, and her issues with her horrible ex. Time and time again – no matter what was happening – the ex-bf would pop up in Solie’s head and she’d do the “woe is me” dance of angst. It got old pretty fast – even though I realize that she only broke up with the ex-bf six weeks ago.juicy

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Mastered Anthology Review: Ink Reunited (Montgomery Ink 0.6) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Mastered: 10 Tales of Sensual Surrender

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From the streets of New Orleans and the heat of Midnight Ink, comes the happy ever after for a character whose story was begged to be told.

Sassy Bordeaux is the Midnight Ink receptionist, honorary godmother, best friend to many, and matchmaker expert. In the past two months, she’s watched eight couples fall in love, make mistakes, and find their happy endings. Though she might have had hand in each of those, she’s yet to find the peace she’s desired. When the men from her past come into Midnight Ink, she’s forced to face what she left behind and what could happen if she lets go of her pain and finds a future she deserves.Ink Reunited

Rafe Chavez and Ian Steele remember their time with Sassy like it was yesterday, yet have worked hard to move on. Or at least try to. Now they’re both back in New Orleans for the woman they loved and for the connection they shared with each other. It will take more than the usual groveling, pleading and begging for these three to overcome their history, but once they take that step, the streets of New Orleans will never be the same.

I’m not sure how I feel about this one. Ink Reunited is the second or third book I read in the Mastered anthology and…I feel two ways about it. I enjoyed it but…it wasn’t emotionally satisfying.

When reading Ink Reunited…I had this feeling that…I had been dropped in medias res. I didn’t…feel like I was getting the full story. Everything in the book sorta reminded me that there was a lot of information about the heroine, Sassy, that I just didn’t have access to. I realize that Ink Reunited is a part of a series but it felt like a part of a series that could not stand alone. Other reviews talk about how excited they are about reading Sassy’s story…so I’m almost positive that I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the other stories set in the Midnight Ink world.
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Review: Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell

Tempting Her Best Friend

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A satisfying contemporary romance from Entangled’s Lovestruck imprint…

Alyssa Miller is tired of waiting for her next-door neighbor to see her as more than just his best friend. Ready to let off some steam, she heads to Las Vegas for a romance book convention where, if she’s lucky, she’ll get down and dirty with one of the sexy cover models.

Dillon Alexander doesn’t do commitment—especially not where his best friend is concerned. She deserves a man who can give her the world, not damaged goods. But when he realizes Alyssa intends to have a one-night stand on her vacation, he hauls ass after her to make sure he’s the one to scratch her itch.

Neither of them expects their explosive chemistry to burn hotter than the lights on the strip, but with a little help from Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, a flamboyant matchmaker, and TSA, what happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas…

I have to admit to a bias – I have a thing for “friends to lovers” romances…and I married my best friend, too. 😉 So this book is right up my alley!

This was a really cute story! I like both Alyssa and Dillon quite a bit – and both of them came across as well thought out characters. There’s not a lot of additional depth to this story – it’s all laid out for you in both the title and the blurb – but it’s a lot of fun and I really enjoyed watching Alyssa and Dillon pair up.

I enjoyed watching Dillon and Alyssa find their way to each other BUT…I have this thing against pining. Alyssa pined for Dillon in silence much too long (in my opinion) so the opening chapter was a small struggle for me. Dillon – while adorable – was a bit of the stereotypical romance hero: he’s unwilling to try to love because being a player is just in his blood. O_O Ooooookay. It was quite ridiculous – for me – for both of them to have such strong feelings but never even hinted it to each other.

But anyway.

It’s a quick and fun ride, that’s for sure. Sadly, we don’t get to spend a lot of time at the romance conference – most of the action takes place in the hotel room as the couple are screwing each others’ brains out. Which was hot, BTW. I also enjoyed the character Trent and the entire ending starting with Trent running into Alyssa. It was just a little strange, just a little unbelievable and a lot of fun.

What I did NOT enjoy was the entire scene directly prior to Alyssa meeting up with Trent at the end. Alyssa and Dillon’s actions and reactions…didn’t quite strike true in the face of their relationship. The epilogue was adorable as well. It also fit a lot better than the Big Mis.

So…it’s cute, it’s fun and it’s the friends to lovers trope. It’s only $0.99 so…recommended if you like that trope!