I love to read. Started blog, Cocktails and Books, to share my love of books.

Grey's Lady (Carte Blanche)

Grey's Lady  - Natasha Blackthorne I picked up this book after reading a first chapter post around christmas time. That first chapter was hot, but the rest of the book was even hotter!!! Phew...I still fan myself thinking about it.

I loved Beth and Grey together. She the impulsive girl with the big heart who's trying to find a place where she fits in the world, while he is the older, wealthy shipping magnet from New York who is cold and calculating in order to get what he wants. When they two of them get together, they seem to combust of the page.

What neither of them see is how perfect they are for each other. When you get past Grey's need to possess Beth, you see that he's been completely thrown for a loop by this girl and his need for possession is really his love for her. Beth's running is out of fear that she's unloveable and that Grey will leave her, just as everyone else has.

For all that happens in this story, it is a quick one. But it's hot as hell with two characters that come to life on the page.

Wait For Me: Romantic Suspense

Wait for Me - Elisabeth Naughton 3.5 star rating.

This was a fun read. It had a little bit of everything with a cast of secondary characters that were just over the top (but in a good way).

Rhiann Taylor was a mess. She lost her childhood sweetheart, best friend and lover the day his car crashed into a ravine. Everything that she had planned on doing when Reed was alive fell by the wayside as she mourned and exiled herself from the spotlight. Instead, she worked on designing her own line of clothing and business. But once she starts coming out of hiding, she fighting off the papparazi, story hungry tabloid reporters determined to make Reed her brother, an over-zealous model determined to play house with her and trying to figure out what to do with all these feelings she has for a certain band's lead singer every time she sees him.

It takes each and every one of Rhiann's quirky family to help her let go of Reed and start living her life. That was the hard part for Rhiann and it didn't come easy, but when she was finally able to let go of him she was able to move forward.

In case you're wondering about those family members. Aunt Genie is my favorite. Every scene he was in it was Nathan Lane in Birdcage speaking those lines to me. Aunt Genie was priceless!

The MacGuffin: A Mystery

The Macguffin: A Mystery - Michael Craft loved it. review to come

Crash Into You

Crash Into You - Roni Loren For me, BDSM books are like a Cracker Jacks never know what you're going to get. Crash Into You feel into the, "Yay! I love this prize," category. The BDSM is light, compared to some of the other books I've read, but this book is about so much more than the alternate lifestyle our hero and heroine engage in. It's the emotional journey they took to finally embrace what they enjoy and letting go of the past in order to move forward.

Told from both the present day and past, we get the history of Brynn LeBreck and Reid Jamison from their summer fling, to broken hearts and spirits, to solving the mystery around Brynn's mother's murder and her sister's disappearance.

Brynn and Reid have a lot of history. They met while she worked as a receptionist at his uncle campaign office one summer. They both fight their inner demons with their budding relationship (he fears his sexual desires mean he's more like his rapist father than he wants to be and she's from the wrong side of the tracks with a prostitute mother), but once they open up with each other they begin to explore their sexual desires in BDSM and be who they truly are.

But outside forces have a way of ripping people apart and that is what happens with Brynn and Reid.

Move forward ten years and fate pushes Brynn and Reid back together when he starts working at the women's advocacy group where Brynn is a therapist. All their old wounds open up, perhaps the biggest the fact that Reid represents the man who was convicted of killing her mother. But those get pushed to the side when Brynn's sister Kelsey disappears after a pleading midnight phone call for Brynn to meet her.

Brynn and Reid soon find themselves at a BDSM retreat posing as a Dom and his sub in hopes of finding Kelsey. What they get instead is the realization that what abruptly ended ten years ago still burns between the two of them. The problem is, the two of them have so much emotional baggage over their perceived sexual hang ups along with their mistrust of each other, you wonder how they are ever going to get passed it all.

It's Brynn and Reid's story that kept me engaged. I didn't so much care who really killed Brynn's mother or what they had to do with her sister, I just wanted the two of them to realize what they had. There was the old little twist of who Brynn's biological father was and how that lead to the mother's murder, sister's kidnapping, Brynn's abuse....but it was still Brynn and Reid that I wanted to read about on each and every page.

Waltz of Seduction

Waltz of Seduction - Natasha Blackthorne Who would have thought that waltzing lessons would lead to a husband overcoming is sexual hang ups regarding his wife, but that is exactly what happens in this very quick, very sexy read.

Lord Lockhart learned at a young, impressionable age that a man should never engage in any type of passion with one's wife and promised his sister that he would treat his wife with the upmost respect. Of course, when a man finds himself in love with his wife and wildly attracted to her, it does pose a problem when you try to keep that promise made when you had no clue what happened between a man and a woman.

Here is were waltzing comes into play.

Lady Lockhart, a wealthy merchant's daughter, never learned how to waltz. It is Lord Lockhart's desire to waltz with his wife. So he decides he will teach her to waltz, at night, in the privacy of their bedchambers. It's during those lessons that Lady Lockhart shows her husband that his unbridled passion for her is exactly what she needs.

This was enjoyable and certainly gives you an understanding of why all those uptight woman may have thought the waltz was too daring back in it's day.

Fatal Flaw: Book Four of the Fatal Series

Fatal Flaw  - Marie Force If you aren't up to speed on the magnificent Fatal Series, our central characters are Samantha Holland, Metro Police Lieutenant in the homicide division and Senator Nick Cappuano. At the beginning of the series, they were reunited during the murder investigation for Nick's best friend, Senator John O'Conner. They have spent the past three books on a whirlwind romance filled with intrigue, murder, and mayhem.

After Fatal Destiny, the wedding novella, I was convinced that Sam and Nick weren't going to have an easy transition into married life. I usually enjoy saying I told you so, but this storyline took a completely different direction than I thought it may have been going, considering the arrest that was made before the wedding in Fatal Destiny. That said, it was a storyline that had me riveted from the very beginning because there appeared to be no clear motive. With Sam and her team stumped, I was flipping (figuratively) through the pages hoping there was some clue that we were missing. Add in the mysterious cards being sent to both Sam and Nick and start wondering how everything is connected.

As with the other Fatal books, it's Sam and Nick's relationship that truly draws me in. With all the crap the two of them have had to deal with in the past three months, it was wonderful to see how completely in-sync they were with each other. It's as if a switch has been flipped with Sam since she's had that wedding band placed on her finger, she's suddenly not all about the whatever investigation she's working on. The place she wants to be is with Nick (and really...why wouldn't she want to spend as much time as possible with the Senator from Virginia???)

Not to be outdone by our main characters, Marie Force has created a wonderful group of secondary characters that intertwine with Nick and Sam both professionally and personally that round out each and every book in the series. Here's a breakdown of each of those storylines:

Scotty storyline makes me smile and gives me hope that Sam and Nick can have that family they want so much. They may not have the best lifestyle for raising a child in, but it's clear the two of them would do anything for Scotty and that he adores them. I can't wait to see where things with him go.
Freddie's storyline with his mother and Elin continues, but we get the added twist of his estranged father entering the picture. Freddie doesn't handle all of this really well, but I don't think anyone can be disappointed with the direction his character is going.
Gonzo and Christine's storyline was brief, but they're still going strong raising baby Alex together.
We got a new romance with Terry O'Conner, Deputy Chief of Staff for Nick and ME Lindsey McNamara. These two hot!
Jeanine McBride, still dealing with the aftermath of her abduction and rape, readjusts to her new life (both personally and professionally). Her's is a heartbreaking storyline, but towards the end we started to see Jeanine's old spark shine through.
I was still left wondering about Sam's dad, Skip and what really happened with the Fitzgerald investigation. Will we ever find out what Jeanine and Will found or is this the end of it? I'm hoping we get some closure to that in future books.

If you thought Nick and Sam couldn't possibly get any hotter, Marie Force moves the bar up another twenty or so notches!!! Marie Force at her best and a true example of why she is on my "Must Buy" list.

Johnny Living Dangerously (JLD)

Johnny Living Dangerously - C.J. Ellisson So taking a drunken co-worker home, having sex with her and her then saying the experience was "more than tolerable" is not the best way to start a relationship. Unfortunately, this is what happens with our hero Tommy. What makes things worse, is having to Candy determined that she would never have a relationship with a boring accountant. She wants thrilling and exciting and knows it will never be Tommy.

Tommy takes that as a challenge and decides to enlighten Candy through some tying up and blind folds to show her how "unboring" a relationship with him will be.

My only issue was Tommy having to use sex to get Candy to finally see him. Seemed kind of shallow...but hey, it's fiction. Right?

This is an extremely hot, short read, which will have you looking at those working in the accounting department a little differently.

Falling for Love: McCarthys of Gansett Island, Book 4

Falling for Love  - Marie Force I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about Grant. He was a man that was hung up on the woman who left him a year ago and was determine to get her back. He didn't listen when Abby repeatedly told him they were over, instead became more adamant that he'd get her back. But as Falling for Love opens, you can see that Grant is truly a lost soul and he's simply hanging onto the one lifeline he thinks will keep him above water. He doesn't anticipate anything changing his course of action, especially not the red-headed spitfire who manages his families restaurant. It's seems only one a certain appendage (below the waist) of Grant's seems to recognize Stephanie as the one who can pull him out of the slump he's in.

But Stephanie has her own issues to deal with. She's spent fourteen years trying to free her stepfather from prison. Every dime she has goes towards appealing the conviction he was wrongly given after he rescued her from her abusive mother. So while she works to right a wrong, she find herself attracted to the last man she should. She doesn't think she's good enough for Grant, but she can't seem to stay out of his business either. Grant's actions, whether it's verbally sparring with her or making love to her, slowly chips away at the barriers she's built around her heart. But she's still left with that one nagging being with her worth giving up Hollywood and the career Grant loves or will he leave her like he left Abby?

I think what makes Grant and Stephanie stand out to me as a couple in this series is that they both fought their coupling so hard. Sure they were great in bed, but it was all the other "stuff" that seemed to get in the way. They had to really dig through all that to get to their HEA.

Loved the continuation of Mac and Maddie's storyline. I think the best part of the book was when Mac told Maddie it was time to meet their daughter and when she questioned why he thought they were having a girl he said "Only a woman would create this kind of drama." I guess deciding to be born two months early during a tropical storm with no doctor (that they knew of) on the island constitues drama!

Another great addition to the series. Looking forward to more.

Seduction Creek (The Layton Family)

Seduction Creek (The Layton Family) - Avery Flynn Hank Layton, who is still dealing with the aftermath of a messy divorce, is doing everything possible to avoid his mother's marital trappings. Enter Beth Martinez. Beth is Hank's sister's best friend and he's known her since she was a little girl. But he can't seem to get his body under control whenever he's around her. Deciding Beth is worth it, he starts chasing her certain he can break through her defensive walls. But Beth isn't an easy catch and Hank has his work cut out for him. Hank was one of those men that like to make people think nothing gets to them, but they end up being big softies inside. He didn't really know how to deal with Beth's continued rejection and came off like an ass at times, but he always immediately regretted...which made you like him more.

Beth hasn't had the easiest road to happiness. She was orphaned as a young girl when a drunk driver hit her family's car, killing her parent and leaving Beth stuck in the wreck watching her mother take her last breathe. She's scared to give her heart away because everything she loves is taken from her. When Hank starts pursuing her, she does her best to avoid being caught. She can't give Hank what he wants. But when Hank steps in and helps save her when the threats against her escalate, she has a hard time keeping those walls around her heart. Beth was a woman that you just wanted to hug. It just jumped off the pages that she need that comfort because she kept so much of her heartache and distress to herself.

I liked this one. Especially because of the you're my best friend's sibling/my sibling's best friend and we can't do anything romance. But the suspense around the developing casino and the threats our heroine is receiving was engaging too.

Although this is the second book in the series, you can read this as a stand alone (I haven't read the first one and wasn't completely lost...and that's always a plus). If you're looking for something quick with a suspenseful plot with evil old ladies and a hot sheriff, pick it up. You'll enjoy it.

On the Rim of Love: A Contemporary Romance Novel

Smitten at First Sight: A Contemporary Romance Novel - Marie Astor I wasn't sure I was going to like this one when I first starting reading it because I disliked Jeffrey immediately. And as the characters in the story, I had to question any Maggie's sensibilities when she let herself get forced into an engagement she wasn't really sure she wanted and then flown off for Vancouver for two weeks under the guise of an engagement trip only to learn mid flight it was actually for Jeffrey's work. WHAT?!?!?

My feelings towards Maggie change once you see her and Taylor together. Taylor saw there was much more to Maggie than what was at the surface. He encouraged her to pursue her dreams, where others would brush it off as a silly hobby. He encouraged her to be her own person and be honest with those close to her. Once Maggie stopped doing things to please everyone else, she became someone that I liked. She could be stubborn and set in her ways, but it wasn't because she was fighting everyone telling her what to do, but instead to try and get her point across or prove that she could do something.

Taylor seemed bigger than life. He was this daredevil skiier who wanted to have someone film him skiing an impossible pass in the mountains. But he was also a man who, would do anything for his friends, his family and his community. Even this filming wasn't about him, but to prove to naysayers that what his grandfather had done many years before could be done again.

I enjoyed the book until we got to the 30 pages or so. Then it got kind of hooky with the whole tunnel, the light and the fog. But if you can let those last pages go, it was a perfect book to read on a Sunday afternoon.

No Turning Back

No Turning Back - Tiffany A. Snow I liked the story, but I really wanted to love it. The potential was there, but at times I felt like I was missing some important piece of information that was crucial to understanding what was happening.

The whole back story with Dan and Rebecca played a huge role in their relationship, but we only got brief glimpses of that. And their romance had me scratching my head at times. She hates him, he's cautious. Suddenly their engaging in a sexual relationship and just as quickly she's back to hating him (and in my opinion unjustly so) but he's in love with her. I like a little drama, but this was a bit much.

Then with the cult, that was so much a part of the small town, it was like there should have been some kind of sign of what was happening with so many members of the community being involved. To go 3/4 of the way through the book and then find out just about everyone Rebecca trusted was involved kind of made you wonder who this was missed.

As I said in the beginning, I did like the story. The cult storyline was interesting and does make you wonder if you know your neighbors and friends as well as you think you do.

Blame It on Bath: The Truth About the Duke

Blame It on Bath - Caroline Linden Look for review on a href="">Night Owl Review

The Best Mistake

The Best Mistake - Kate Watterson When I read the blurb for this book, I thought accidentally kissing a man that isn't your boyfriend could be a bit of a stretch, but stranger things have happened. It's fiction, move on. But when you read the "mix up" scene, you have to wonder how in the hell you couldn't have realized that the man you are with is not the man you have been sleeping with for the past year!

Let me set the scene. Lacey, having driven from Chicago to Indy after weather delayed her flight, is tired and longs for a hot bath and bed. She arrives at her boyfriend Ran's house in search of those two things. She quietly enters the house, spies a naked male form lying asleep in the bed and enters the bathroom to luxuriate in hot water. When she's done, she decides she needs Ran before she can go to sleep so she sets about seducing a sleeping man. Seduces she does, except that man happens to be her boyfriend's cousin, Rick.

Rick has secretly been attracted to his cousin's girlfriend since he met her. So while he may have at first thought what was happening was just a dream, when he did wake up he let things continue for a few minutes before his conscious kicks in and he announces who he really is.

What ensues is Lacey and Rick feeling guilty about what happened (even though Ran was told) and awkward with each other because both can't stop thinking about it. Here comes Ran with the solution! Lacey had admitted that her fantasy was to be with two men. Ran likes to watch. Voila! Menage to the rescue.

I know this is fiction and a somewhat steamy menage can cover any plot line holes, but I was stuck on the whole mistaking one man for another "thing". I'll admit the woman was tired, but she was lucid enough to know that she wanted sex, so I would have to assume that you'd notice that certain parts of the man's body you are currently consuming might be a bit different than you were accustomed to. You'd notice if wasn't your boyfriend before the man you're riding has to shout out who he is and stop you.

It's because of that little annoyance that this very short read fell flat for me. I don't mind the sex, but I need a plot and one that doesn't hang me up.

The Tattooed Duke

The Tattooed Duke - Maya Rodale Look for review on Night Owl Review

The Fifth Woman: A Rick Morgan Mystery

The Fifth Woman: A Rick Morgan Mystery - G. William Parker Guest review by Anne:
What's an insurance auditor to do when it's discovered your company may have paid out 40 million dollars of death benefits in possible insurance fraud. For Rick Morgan, it takes you on a wild ride from Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

This was a fast paced story that keeps you interested with the strange twists and turns the investigation took. But it's not only the investigation that keeps you interested, but Rick's strange ability to attract all sorts of woman to him. It definitely kept you wondering who was next.

For someone who generally reads books written for females by females, it was refreshing and interesting to read a story written from the male perspective.

Deadly Obsession: Deadly Vices Series Book 1

Deadly Obsession - Kristine Cayne Hot Hollywood playboy, Nic Lamoureux works hard to keep up his image as Nic the Lover for his adoring fans. What they don't know is the man is alone and closed off from those that he loves due to his fame, his guilt and shame for acts in his youth and the stalker who threatens harm to any woman that gets close to him. Nic Lamoureux is a complex man who doesn't trust many people and spends the majority of the time being someone he's not. That changes when he meet the photographer who won a contest to conduct a photo shoot with Nic. Suddenly, he finds the one person that makes him feel complete and able to be the true Nic Lamoureux.

Lauren James is hoping the photo shoot with Nic Lamoureux will help open doors for her and advance her photography career. But she has a secret, she's had a crush on her photo subject since they were in high school together in Chicago. She hopes her crush doesn't show, but she can't help but be drawn to the man. Soon Nic is sweeping into her life and Lauren finds herself falling for this adult version of the boy she loved and the object of Nic's stalker who's determined to get her out of the picture.

I loved Nic and Lauren. They were absolutely hot together and clearly the other half of each other. Both of them had emotional baggage they brought into their relationship that, at time, threatened what was developing between them. How either of them reacted to that baggage could have had the story and their likeability as a couple going either way, but Kristine Cayne gave us some emotionally charged scenes as they dealt with each issue.

The stalker storyline was seriously creepy and kept me just as entertained as the romance between Nic and Lauren. I figured out early who the stalker was, but the lengths that she went to was so totally creepy and horrifying that I was riveted.

The secondary cast of characters were great and I'm hoping each one of them will get their own Deadly Vices story.

An awesome read that has found it's way on my list of books that I will definitely be rereading!

Currently reading

Her Man Flint
Jerri Drennen
Desperate Betrayal
Hildie McQueen