Archive | July, 2014

Arms Deals, Hot Romance and Lizard Penises Make Tawna Fenske’s Latest, Fiancee for Hire, One of the Best Romance Novels of the Summer

21 Jul

Fiancee for Hire (Front and Center #2 – Kelli and Mac) by Tawna Fenske (Entangled: Lovestruck, July 21, 2014)

I’ve been reading a LOT of romance novels this summer and I have got to say that Tawna Fenske‘s latest release in her Front and Center series, Fiancee for Hire, has wowed me so much that it’s throwing elbows in the top three novels of the summer to date.

It was easy to love former Marine MacArthur Patton when Mac was busy hiring a friend to look after his sister and her new twins in the first of the series, Marine for Hire, but this overbearing brother has fully lived up to my expectations of his hotness. I loved not only the incredibly tender moments in the first novel of the series but also Fenske’s trademark brand of humor, which has me coming back to her novels again and again. Fiancee for Hire is her best novel to date, with a combustable couple, side stitch-inducing funny scenes and two protagonists you can’t help but love.

When Mac’s sister Sheri (of Marine for Hire) is tasked with finding him a demure, biddable fake fiancee for his latest covert op in Mexico, she feels a little payback for his interference in her life is in order. Enter her longtime friend, Kelli Landers, a blond pixie of a veterinarian whose knockout good looks bely her take-no-prisoners attitude and ability to wrestle mastiffs into submission. Kelli has had the hots for Mac since puberty but he’s never noticed her except as part of the furniture in the Patton household. Helping him broker an arms deal that will help fight terrorism while possibly tapping the hottie who has played a large role in her fantasies sounds like her patriotic duty. There’s no danger of Kelli’s heart coming into play because she’s actually an even worse commitmentphobe than Mac.

Marine for Hire (Front and Center #1 – Sheri and Sam) by Tawna Fenske (Entangled, February 2014)

Mac vaguely remembers seeing Kelli but he’s never really taken much notice and he’s wondering how the hell that’s been the case. One look at her blond curls and blue eyes and he feels like he’s taken a punch to the gut. Her sweet looks are in direct opposition to her appealing intelligence and devilish sense of play and Mac quickly realizes she’s not only a huge asset but a woman who matches him in the bedroom to a T. That T might stand for trouble however, as Mac begins to feel emotions that he’s closed off his entire life since having something to live for means having something to lose.

Oh. My. God. Kelli and Mac both have a decent amount of damage and guilt in their past, hence their almost identical outlooks on keeping relationships at bay, but the two of them together might very well short out your e-reader as this is one smokin’ hot combination. Even better, straight-laced Mac is the perfect foil for Kelli, who is as hilarious as they come and both the lizard penis episode and the Williams Sonoma registry scene will permanently live in my memory as stellar examples of Tawna Fenske’s fantastic humor. As usual, her secondary characters are outstanding, and getting to meet Mac and Sheri’s mother as well as one of the Patton brothers (perhaps the two remaining Patton’s will be our future heroes in the series?) added dimension and perspective to the story. The veterinary medicine and animals were outstanding in the research accuracy and detail, so much so that I want to take my animals to Kelli’s clinic!

The only problem with Fiancee for Hire is that now I’m chomping at the bit for the next book in the series. With Entangled’s amazing $.99 deal for new books, I’d get this puppy now and give yourself the present of a great romance (and some serious laughter). I guarantee that you’ll find it on the top of your summer romance list.

Happy reading!

You’ll Be Signing Up For This Dating Service After Reading Meeting His Match by Katee Robert

21 Jul

Meeting His Match (Match Me #1 – Addison and Caine) by Katee Robert (Entangled: Lovestruck, June 21, 2014)

Last month, I raved (justifiably so) about the multi-author Wedding Dare series, so I was thrilled to see that Katee Robert took a minor character from her contribution, Seducing the Bridesmaid, to form a spin off series, Match Me, the first novel of which features professional matchmaker Addison St. Claire, the good friend of New York headhunter (and nature-phobe) Regan Wakefield. In Meeting His Match, Regan has gotten her happily ever after with the gorgeous playboy Brock McNeil, but – worried about Brock’s older and more tightly wound brother Caine – she asks Addison to travel to Tennessee and do what she does best, namely find Caine a soul mate so he can find a little happiness.

Addison has not been feeling the joy her work previously gave her so a change of scenery is pretty appealing although she gives Regan the caveat that she can refuse the work after meeting Caine if she thinks it’s not going to work. One look at the gorgeous, harried CEO and she recognizes the loneliness she sees in herself. Installing herself in the McNeil mansion, Addison doesn’t hesitate to enact changes in Caine’s life and give him some home truths about the choices he’s making and how they can lead to a lifetime of emptiness if he doesn’t get his priorities straight.

Caine doesn’t know if he wants to strangle the gorgeous redhead bent on helping him or kiss her senseless. Her holding a mirror to his life shows him that he’s unfortunately closer to his father’s constant work and no play ideal, and it’s not a pretty picture. Her flying in one beautiful woman after another just proves to him the obvious truth – that the only woman who can divert him from his early heart attack path is Addison herself, but as Caine realizes that the feelings he’s developing go way beyond lust, he’s also aware of a major obstacle. Addison believes in one soul mate per person and she’s already had hers.

It’s tough not to fall for Komondor puppies, particularly when they are named for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Katee Robert cannot be beat for outstanding storylines and compelling characters. While a knowledge of the characters in Seducing the Bridesmaid certainly aids in understanding the McNeil family background and some of the characters, it’s hardly necessary to enjoy every page of this wonderful novel. Addison is so firm in her belief that her dead husband was her only soul mate that she’s unable to see Caine for what he is – the perfect counterpoint and partner for her. Seeing Caine grow and change as Addison resuscitates his zest for life is heartwarming and those fantastic Komondor dogs don’t hurt either! The heat between them is exactly what you expect from Robert’s writing, and I guarantee you won’t be looking at the dining room table the same way again.

I’m hoping that some of the women flown in for Caine’s perusal (part of Addison’s desperate bid to deter him from his pursuit of her) are going to meet their match in future books in the series as they were fascinating in the few pages in which they appeared. Katee Robert has hit another home run with this new series and these fabulous characters, so be sure to take advantage of the introductory $.99 price for the first couple of weeks to get this book at a bargain price.

Another great point to note is that this novel is one of the first on Entangled’s new Lovestruck line, it’s new category romance line that provides great contemporary stories longer than a novella but still a quicker read. If Robert’s newest novel is any indication of the quality we can expect, I’m looking forward to devouring future publications.

Happy reading! 🙂

Tango Into Love With Two New Releases from Audra North and Amanda Byrne!

14 Jul

The tango is without question the sexiest dance and two of Entangled Publishing’s newest releases feature it. I agreed to review them both, the first title because I’ve loved all of Audra North‘s Stanton Family novellas and wanted to read about the youngest sibling, Julie in A Lesson in Temptation (Bruno and Lily’s story, One Night in Santiago is my favorite but Adam and Meredith’s book, Falling for the CEO, is a close second). The second book by new author Amanda K. Byrnes, One Night in Buenos Aires, was a must-read because I love friends to lovers novellas. Both were excellent, so I wanted to showcase them for you in case they fit your romance reading beach pile.

A Lesson in Temptation by Audra North

Julie Stanton is the baby of the family, but she’s no less talented or driven than her older siblings. Having had a rough high school experience, she promised herself that she was going to chose to be happy and have fun, even while she accomplished all the goals she set for herself academically. A stellar finance student, she’s graduated with honors and landed a prestigious job at a financial firm where she was just promoted to senior analyst. But she’s resolved to not let go of playing, hence her signing up for tango lessons. Just milling around with the other people before class is enjoyable but her heart stops when she spots the man she had a huge crush on during college – hunky teaching assistant Adam Harkness.

Newly minted Columbia professor Adam Harkness cannot believe that he let his friends rope him into taking this tango class. He’s under enormous pressure to publish or perish plus he’s still supporting his family and their struggling farm back in North Dakota. Adam hasn’t had “fun” of any type since he started working at age 12 and he doesn’t want to start now. Tempted to turn on his heel and head home, he stops cold upon spotting Julie Stanton, the gorgeous student he almost kissed during a study session when he was her TA a few years ago. She’s not his student now and her smile has him drifting over to talk to her. She’s just as full of life as he remembered, and when they are partnered for the duration of the course – and when Julie proposes a drink and something more after class – Adam wonders if he can loosen up enough to have a no strings fling each week with the woman he couldn’t forget.

Julie is a delightful heroine, someone who experienced the loss of a parent and an episode of horrible bullying and decided to commit herself to getting the most out of life as a result. Her gamut of emotions dealing with not only her attraction to Adam but his stubbornness in resisting anything more is honest and natural. Adam is a little uptight and dickish in his one-track mind, but you understand why even while not loving the result. It’s great to see him loosen up slowly (and realize that his work doesn’t suffer) and he ends up having quite the messy epiphany at the end of the book about how much he might lose if he can’t win Julie back. His attitude turnaround seemed quick to me, but his is a brilliant mind, so I think when he finally got it, he GOT it. I loved hearing tidbits about the other Stantons and just wish we could have seen a few of them in person. Love those Stantons!

One Night In Buenos Aires by Amanda K. Byrne

I make no bones about how I adore the friends to lovers trope in romance fiction. Two people, already acquainted with the best and worst of each other who have enough in common to be friends, giving into a suppressed lust for one another is a recipe for heat in my book. Add to it a gorgeous foreign location, and I’m there.

That’s exactly what debut author Amanda K. Byrne gives us in her first book, One Night in Buenos Aires. Drea and Joe have been friends for years, working at the same firm and hanging out outside of the office, both with their significant others and with each other. Having landed a hotel chain client, they are given an all expenses paid trip to Argentina to check things out in person, but the trip goes awry when after an interminable series of flights, they arrive at the hotel to find that they have only one room, not the two bedroom suite they were promised. Dropping into the same bed from exhaustion, they awake to hot kisses and hotter caresses, before they both come to their senses. But the cat is out of the bag now, and there is no ignoring the lust between them.

Byrnes does a couple fascinating things with this story. Most friends to lovers have one or both parties as a playboy/playgirl type who don’t get involved in relationships, but Joe and Drea have had successful long-term relationships (which break up for various reasons) and more importantly they’ve seen each other in them. Drea is so hesitant about engaging in an affair with her best friend that she blows hot and cold, allowing her lust for Joe to take over one minute and then having her heart and head – which both know that sex means something to her and she doesn’t just want to be a hook-up – assert their good sense. Joe is a complex character who sometimes felt too much like a pitch-perfect guy to me (he isn’t a strong communicator and he said a few jackass things which he actually forgot until Drea brought them up again). Yet both characters are incredibly real amidst all their flaws and the emotion and heat they feel for one another is palpable. I loved that Byrnes brought this relationship back to their hometown and even gave us an outstandingly touching epilogue, all challenging to do within the page confines of a novella. She’s an author to watch, for sure!

It’s always great when an established author gives you yet another great book AND you get to discover a new author worth reading, but when both their novellas are priced at $.99 and there is a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $25 gift card, well, that’s pretty damn awesome. These are two novellas which provide a fun, quick read for your summer romance pile. 🙂

Happy reading!

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