Cephalopod Coffeehouse April 2017 MEAN MARGARET–A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I’m featuring a book I read with my kids, so it’s middle grade fiction. If you’re interested in more adult-type of literature, I’d recommend IF NOT FOR YOU (chaste contemporary romance) by Debbie Macomber, or STARTING FROM SCRATCH (transgender romance) by Jay Northcote.

I live in a town close to Chicago–we share a border with the city in fact–so we’re often lucky enough to be a stop for children’s authors and artists on tours, especially because we have a charming indie bookstore which organizes school visits. That’s how we met Jon Agee who happened to illustrate MEAN MARGARET, a National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature (1997) written by Tor Seidler.

About the book:
Question: What do a pair of newlywed woodchucks, a squirrel, a testy snake, a skunk, and a couple of bats have in common with a family of pudgy human beings named Hubble? Answer: Their lives are all turned topsy-turvey by a tyrannical toddler named Margaret.

Question: Will Margaret ever realize that there’s more to life than being mean? Answer: Read this touching comedy and find out.

My Review:
Truly, this book wouldn’t have been in my usual pick-ups, but Mr. Agee is an engaging artist, and my son begged to see him up-close and personal, and the cover was good, so I said what the heck and got him to sign it for us. (With a few other picture books he’s written and illustrated and this kids adore.) I couldn’t embrace the title–MEAN MARGARET–which was why I didn’t think I’d like it.

So, the story, at it’s heart is about changing one’s behavior. It’s mostly a story about Fred, a fussy woodchuck, who really doesn’t like to get dirty, or dig in the dirt, or be much like other woodchucks. But Fred can’t deny his nature, not when his cold shoulder keeps him from sleeping and he believes the only way to ease the ache is to find a wife. Not just any woodchuck will do for Fred, however, and after much searching, he finds Phoebe, the kindest, sweetest woodchuck who is also shy, and neat, like Fred. And they’re living a mostly quiet, happy life until one day human children abandon their demanding toddler sister in the woods outside Fred and Phoebe’s den–and Phoebe decides she must adopt the human. Fred, because he loves Phoebe, goes along on this madcap adventure, forsaking all his earlier pretensions, and being fussy and tidy, in order to appease this voracious, crabby, ungrateful being–and make Phoebe happy. And Margaret, named by Phoebe, is a brat who must learn to behave. Or else.

My boys laughed a good bit, and the story–though it started slow for me–becomes very engaging. Margaret is the ninth child of a slovenly family and the living embodiment of adage “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Her constant clamoring for more attention and more food have driven Six, Seven, and Eight to the desperate measures that lead to Margaret meeting Fred and Phoebe. Soon, Margaret outgrows the woodchuck den–not before mostly destroying it–and Phoebe and Fred must move into a dank cave with a menagerie of forest folk who assist with Margaret’s care, until she wears out her welcome by, yes, being a brat. The humor is sweet, and wry, especially because Fred is such a deadpan wit of a narrator, so I relished those moments where I got a joke that was lost on the kiddos.

For a book I wouldn’t have borrowed from the library, it’s now become a cherished part of our own collection, and I’m sure I’ll read it again in couple years when my 4-year old will enjoy it more. So, yeah, the title was a turn off for me, but the book as charming and I totally get why it was a finalist for a National Book Award.

Interested? You can find MEAN MARGARET on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and libraries everywhere.

Thanks for popping in, and hop on over to my see what books my fellow Coffeehouse Reviewers found most interesting this month.

Sifting Through the DARKNESS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recently published M/M contemporary police romance from Kate Sherwood. DARKNESS is the third book in her Common Law series, and was a fab follow up to LONG SHADOWS and EMBERS. This small-town epic is tense and filled with intrigue between local law enforcement, federal agents, friends, neighbors and criminals.

About the book:
A murdered prostitute. An obvious suspect. Clear evidence. For once, Jericho Crewe has a straightforward crime to investigate, and Wade Granger isn’t involved.

It all seems so simple, but Jericho’s instincts won’t let him rest. As he investigates, he finds troubling suggestions that the murder is a part of something larger and more sinister. But working within the boundaries of the law may keep him from finding the truth. If Jericho doesn’t break the rules, an innocent man may rot in jail while a killer remains free to strike again.

Inevitably, it all comes back to Wade. Because who else knows as much about breaking rules? And who else knows Jericho the way Wade does—not wisely, but far, far too well?

My Review:
This is the third book in a series and best enjoyed when read in order.

Jericho Crewe is still working as Undersheriff in his small border hometown of Mosely, Montana. It’s only been a few months since his return and everything’s been mostly a mess. His father’s murder is still unsolved, though Jericho isn’t losing too much sleep over taht fact. He held no love for his abusive, criminal, estranged father. Learning he has two half-siblings has been a trip, and tangling with his shady step-mother and even shadier ex-boyfriend, Wade Granger, has been an exercise in minefield transit.

This time, however, Jericho’s unwilling to hide his relationship with Wade from those who matter–and he’s tired of worrying that the Feds who have a constant tap on Wade’s phone lines will out him. Besides, his boss knows all about Jericho and Wade’s complicated history.

The police work in this book doesn’t involve Wade or smuggling. A local prostitute has been murdered, and all the evidence–a whole lot of it in fact–seems to point toward a local brain-damaged man. Will Archer went to high school with Jericho and Wade. He was injured in a car wreck and has been largely non-verbal since. How this gentle man could be responsible for the violence at the crime scene Jericho can’t fathom. And, the investigation leads to an outsider to town, a man who seems particularly interested in the case, and peculiarly aware of the details not released.

I really liked how Jericho worked through the angles of this case, and how he kept looking for the truth, even though it was super hard to find. It was also an interesting look at small town justice, and how dedicated some law enforcement officers are to doing their job right–people beyond Jericho, btw. It always strikes me that Jericho has such a sense of right v. wrong, and yet is startlingly in love with Wade Granger, the (alleged) definition of a career criminal. This book really does draw their romance into the open, and causes issues for Jericho and his job–though he’s getting worn out as an undersheriff and is open to exploring his career opportunities yet again.

I’m anxious to pick up the fourth book in this series and see how Jericho reconciles his open love for Wade, and his life in Mosely.

Interested? You can find DARKNESS on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble iTunes, and Kobo. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Catch up with Kat on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Happy Book Birthday WELL-TAILORED Book Blast and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m spreading the word on a new contemporary M/M romance from Silvia Violet. WELL-TAILORED is a spin-off from her Thorne and Dash series, but easily enjoyed on its own. Having read all three Thorne & Dash novels, I’m really looking forward to diving into this one!

I’ll be sharing my review in a couple weeks, but you can get in on the release week giveaway below.

About the book:
Marc longs for a grand romance, but he doubts he’ll ever be that lucky. Then he meets Darius, an arrogant tailor who pushes all his buttons. When Darius offers him a job, Marc hesitates—he needs a direction for the future, not another man who doesn’t believe in relationships.

Darius lives by a few unbreakable rules: never sleep with employees, fashion should be simple, and romance is for fools. Marc, with his shimmery-sweaters collection, makes him want to break every single one.

They quickly give in to desire, but Darius wants to protect himself and Marc refuses to repeat past mistakes. It’s only when they let go of assumptions, that love has a chance to take hold.

Well-Tailored is a companion novel to the Thorne and Dash series. It can be read as a standalone.

Interested? You can find WELL-TAILORED on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK), Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of three audiobooks of PROFESSIONAL DISTANCE or PERSONAL ENTANGLEMENT.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Silvia Violet writes fun, sexy stories that will leave you smiling and satisfied. She has a thing for characters who are in need of comfort and enjoys helping them surrender to love even when they doubt it exists. Silvia’s stories include sizzling contemporaries, paranormals, and historicals. When she needs a break from listening to the voices in her head, she spends time baking, taking long walks, curling up with her favorite books, and spending time with her family.

Catch up with Sylvia on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or sign up for her Newsletter.
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New Beginnings in RIDE ROUGH–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review for a new contemporary romance from Laura Kaye. RIDE ROUGH is the second book in her Raven Riders series and find the club VP, Maverick Rylan, reconnecting with his first and only love-Alexa Harmon-right when she needs him most. If you want to catch up on the series, check out my review for RIDE HARD.

About the book:
Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.

Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.

Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.

How about a little taste?

“What am I going to do? My entire life is wrapped up in him. My job. Where I live. My car. Where Mom lives. Everything. Oh, God. This is going to be a nightmare, isn’t it?”

Maverick grasped Alexa’s hands. “One thing at a time. You’re out. You can stay here as long as you need to. I have plenty of room. I’ll help you through it. That’ll give you time to figure out what it is you want. There’s no rush.”

“Okay,” she said. “Okay. God, thank you.” A shiver raced over her skin.

“You don’t have to thank me. I’m so relieved for you that I might fall the fuck over,” he said, his thumb rubbing over her knuckles. She almost managed a little smile. “Your hands are like ice, Al. I shouldn’t have made you stand her all this time when you’re soaking wet.”

Alexa shook her head. “It felt good to get it out, Maverick.”

“Glad to hear it. Would a hot shower make you feel better? I can find you a T-shirt and a pair of boxers to change into while your clothes dry.”

All the TLC and understanding he was giving her reached right inside her chest. When was the last time someone had taken care of her this way?

The last time you were with Maverick. The truth of that thought made her breath catch. “Yeah. I’d like that,” she managed.

He gave a tight nod and stepped back, and she missed his heat immediately. “Uh, good. That’s good. You remember your way around?”

“Of course,” she said. How much time had she spent here over the years? Even before they dated? At one point, Maverick’s place had practically been a second home.

“You okay?” he asked, watching her.

She pushed off the door. “I don’t know yet,” she said, coming to him. “But what I do know is how grateful I am to you. For everything. For being there when I told you not to. For listening. For just . . . being you.”

“Always.” He crossed his big arms and ducked his chin, like something about the exchange made him uncomfortable.

“I mean it,” she said, and then she pressed onto tiptoes and kissed his cheek, his stubble tickling her lips. “You saved me tonight.”

“No,” he said, eyes flashing, one brow arched. “You saved yourself, Al. I was just your getaway driver.”

Staring into one another’s eyes, the tender moment stretched out, morphed, suddenly flashed hot. Being so close to him set her body on fire, and finally she could actually consider acting on it. Need roared through her, a living, breathing thing. “Maverick,” she whispered.

“Fuck, Alexa, I think you better go take that shower,” he said, his jaw ticking. “Now.”

She released a shaky breath and nodded. He was right. Of course, he was.

So, showering. She could handle that. Afterward, God only knew what she was going to do.

My Review:
Alexa Harmon is caught in a dangerous bind; she’s due to marry her fiance, Grant, who happens to be one crack away from physically abusive. He’s certainly not the nice guy who wooed Alexa over the past several years–and Alexa isn’t sure when that all changed. Grant’s a wealthy real estate developer, and he’s the owner of the construction company Alexa works for. If she pulls out of the wedding, what will happen to her job? Or, her hoarder/invalid mother living rent-free in one of Grant’s properties.

Thing is, Alexa’s beginning to recognize that Grant’s temper and mood swings aren’t normal, and pose a very real threat. She’s scared and has few close friends to seek shelter from, but one man in her life was once her rock: Maverick Rylan. Mav was her elder brother Tyler’s best friend–and her boyfriend–until Tyler died in a motorcycle wreck. Alexa freaked out that Mav would be next and broke things off. Now, she turns to Maverick to see if she’s just got jitters, or the dread she’s sensing in her gut is justified.

Maverick never thought he’d see Alexa again, but he’s not about to let her walk out of his life a second time, and especially when he’s not sure who is responsible for the bruises on her face. Maverick’s MC, the Raven Riders has been in a land battle with Grant for the better part of a decade, and Grant’s tried every dirty trick in the book to claim the prime real estate the Raven Riders own. Even if Mav can only have Alexa’s friendship, he’s willing to accept it–but he’s more than a friend. He’s able to cajole Alexa’s mother into a better living situation, as she trusts him from so many years of acquaintance. And, Mav’s even smitten by Alexa’s hairless cat. When Grant gets word that Alexa’s been seen in Mav’s company, well, it’s a rotten experience for all, but Mav’s there to help her pick up the pieces.

While this book has lots of plot points just on the edge of abuse, the climax is a tense and emotional scene. Mav and Alexa make a good pair, and their reunion is really tender. They had a good love way back when, but it was raw and young, and they’ve both grown a lot in the meantime. Grant’s a Class A Jerk, and he’s no less than lethal by the end. The Raven Riders get several tests to challenge them when they are still suffering the loss of members in the past few weeks and months. I liked how Alexa was humble, and made amends with Mav’s dearest friends and family. It’s an interesting read with a good love story, but could be a trigger for fans with a history of domestic abuse.

Interested? You can find RIDE ROUGH on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

***GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of THREE $10 GC to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice!)
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

LauraKayeAbout the Author:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Out Today! TOO HARD TO FORGET–Book Blitz and Giveaway!

Hi there! Sharing another book birthday, this time for a contemporary romance from Tessa Bailey. I’ve read the first two books in her Romancing the Clarkson’s series, TOO HOT TO HANDLE and TOO WILD TO TAME, and really enjoyed them. TOO HARD TO FORGET is out today, and features the youngest Clarkson–Peggy–finding her ‘one that got away’…and bringing him back.

Catch and excerpt below and be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway for one of 10 paperback copies of TOO HARD TO FORGET, too!

About the book:
The third book in New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey’s Romancing the Clarksons series about four siblings on a cross-country road trip, perfect for fans of Gena Showalter and Julie James!

This time, she’s calling the shots.

Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.

In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.

How about a little taste?

“I don’t know, Peggy.” He whirled on her, closing in until she was forced back onto the desk. “I had an All-American on my squad this morning and now I don’t. That’s all I know.” He pointed a finger toward the window. “I solve problems down on the field. Saving people isn’t my job.”

Saving people. God, there was such a wealth of regret and pain in those two words. But he couldn’t hear it and she couldn’t address it. Letting him know she saw right through his façade to the hurt beneath might force Elliott to close himself off. “You didn’t always limit yourself. Why are you doing it now?”

“Accepting things that can’t be changed isn’t a limitation. It’s realistic.”

“But how will you know if something can’t be changed unless you try?”

“When it comes to certain things, Peggy, trying leads to losing.” He was in her face now, the mint from his toothpaste familiar and inviting where it slid over her lips. “And I don’t lose.”

No one ever stood up this man but her, and she wouldn’t be cowed now. “No? You’re out a receiver.” She hitched herself up on his desk. “I’d call that a loss.”

The tips of his shoes met Peggy’s, his hands gripping the furniture on either side of her hips. “Who do you think you are, little girl? Coming into my office and telling me what I’ve done wrong?” His eyes were brilliant in their vexation, the attraction he was trying so hard to fight. “Where do you get the goddamn bravery?”

“The bravery is what you liked best about me,” she breathed, heat sizzling in a downward V toward her thighs. “Isn’t it?”

“No. That bravery is what almost led to my downfall.” His hands found her bottom, jerking her to the edge of the desk. “I resented it. Still do.”

“Liar,” Peggy whispered, easing her thighs wider. “You’re dying for an excuse to head for another downfall.” When her legs were as open as she could spread them, she leaned up to Elliott’s ear and let her breath shake loose. “One thrust.”

Elliott’s right hand came up out of nowhere, molding over Peggy’s mouth as his hips crowded into the notch of her legs. With a quick maneuver to recline her halfway back, Elliott’s erection found the apex of her thighs, delivering an aggressive pump against her underwear that sent a scream climbing up Peggy’s throat, only to be trapped by his hand. Knees jerking up out of reflex over the rush of sensation, an orgasm almost—almost— broke past the surface, sending her waters rippling out on all sides. Her legs wanted to hug Elliott’s waist, her voice wanted to beg for one more, one more, one more, but he shook his head, denying her, even though his gaze was hot, a low groan issuing from his harshly masculine mouth.

He leaned in and nipped the lobe of her ear. “Next time, ask for two.”

I really can’t wit to read this one!

Interested? You can find TOO HARD TO FORGET on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iBooks, Kobo Books-A-Million, and IndieBound.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of 10 paperback copies of TO HARD TO FORGET.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

TOO HOT TO HANDLE - coverInterested in the first book, TOO HOT TO HANDLE? Watch shy Rita get wooed by a man working hard to turn his lady-killer reputation around.
It is both sweet and sexy…

And the second book of the series, TOO WILD TO TAME, was a surprisingly tender book that featured the jaded political analyst, Aaron, falling for a girl suffering years of PTSD. Catch my review for more deets.

 

Tessa Bailey - headshotAbout the Author:
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

You can catch up to Tessa online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Happy Book Birthday to FALLING FOR THE BILLIONAIRE WOLF AND HIS BABY

Hi there! Just wishing a Happy Book Birthday to a new paranormal romance from Sasha Summers. FALLING FOR THE BILLIONAIRE WOLF AND HIS BABY is the first book in the Blood Moon Brotherhood Series and looks to be a interesting read.

About the book:
When Jessa Talbot’s boss offered her a promotion, she agreed—no questions asked. Her family needed the money, but fighting the attraction she feels for her brooding employer is tough. Worse, she instantly bonds with his infant son she’s caring for. But this is a temporary solution and she can’t get attached to either of them

Finnegan Dean is cursed. He’s a nicely dressed monster, the wolf inside always looking for a way out. But there are two things he and his wolf agree on. They must protect baby Oscar and Jessa—his mate. While the wolf hungers to seal their bond, Finn fights the instinct. After all, if he really cares for her, he’d never doom her to the life he lives.

How about a little taste?

“Congratulations, you’re the father.” Hollis sounded like he was announcing time of death, not the birth of a child.

Finn stared blindly out the window, anger and frustration warring with utter disbelief. “You’re sure?” He couldn’t keep the razor-sharp edge from his voice. Hollis was just the messenger—one of the few people Finn could trust, one of the few that stood by him no matter what. He was the asshole who knocked up a long-forgotten one-night stand. How was the question. He was always careful. Extra careful when it came to sex. He had to be. “I met her four months ago, Hollis. Are you sure?” His grip on the phone tightened.

“I’m sure it’s yours. A full-term, healthy baby. I can’t guarantee much more.” Hollis’s voice remained calm, almost detached, as always. “Cara didn’t make it. She has no family, no one to challenge custody of the baby.”

Cara. She’d been so full of life, so hungry for the next big adventure. What they’d shared had been fast and furious. When they’d parted, it had been on good terms, no expectations or regrets. How could she be dead?

Hollis’s words grabbed his attention. “Looking at the body—I’m not sure what happened.”

“So, not a car accident?” Finn had wondered. Guilt and sadness kicked him in the gut.

“That would be the easy explanation. One that will be her official cause of death.”

“But?”

“But I think there’s more to it.” Hollis sighed. “There’s always more to it when we are involved. I’m going to have a look at her records, see what needs to be taken care of. I hate to point this out but…this isn’t going to go over well with the others.”

“No shit,” Finn growled. “It’s not exactly making my day, either.” Hollis hadn’t said it, but Finn knew the truth. Cara’s death was on him. His fucking fault.

“No, I don’t imagine it is.” He paused, the silence loaded until he added, “As unfortunate as that is, he can’t stay here.”

“He?” Finn repeated, his brain already assessing damage control.

“Your son,” Hollis finally snapped. “This is dangerous, Finn.”

Because there was nobody or nothing like his…son. This boy could jeopardize everything they’d been striving for the last ten years. Words wouldn’t come. His son. He might be a baby now, but what the hell would he become? What would he be capable of? Self-loathing, hot and bitter, flooded Finn’s mouth.

“Jesus, Finn, are you listening?” Hollis paused. “He can’t stay in the hospital. I’ve been handling tests, all his bloodwork, but I can’t be here twenty-four seven. You must come get him. He’s your responsibility.”

Hollis was right. And there wasn’t a single thing he could do about it. “Fine.” The word was clipped.

“Today,” Hollis added.

Meaning Finn needed to work faster on finding help. The initial call from Cara’s agent the night before had given him a heads-up, but he’d known the kid wasn’t his. It had been too soon, an impossibility. Now… He ran a hand through his hair, wanting to hit something. “Give me ‘til noon. I’ll be there.” He sat in his tall-backed leather chair, slammed the phone onto the desk, and pressed his fingers to his temples.

What the fuck was he supposed to do? Babies weren’t dogs—you couldn’t put them in a kennel for the day. He wasn’t equipped for this. His assistant, Marjorie, had pulled employee files for him last night—right before she’d quit. And this time, he didn’t think she was coming back.

He’d met with two of the three assistants he deemed acceptable this morning. Neither was suitable. Nor did they act as if they could deal with the sort of surprises that might come with this baby. Contestant number three was his only hope. It’s not like he could just call a nanny service, not yet. He’d have to wait a month. If this baby… He sighed, rolling his head and easing the tension in his neck.

Hollis was right – this was dangerous for them. Too many unknowns, too many variables, to turn over to a stranger.

Interested? You can find FALLING FOR THE BILLIONAIRE WOLF AND HIS BABY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes.

32df2-sasha2bsummers2bauthor2bpicAbout the Author:
Sasha Summers grew up surrounded by books. Her passions have always been storytelling, romance, and travel. Whether it’s an easy-on-the-eyes cowboy or a hero of truly mythic proportions, Sasha falls a little in love with each and every one of her heroes. She frequently gets lost with her characters in the worlds she creates; forgetting everyday tasks like laundry and dishes. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and helpful.</

You can find Sasha online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.
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Unexpected Strength IF NOT FOR YOU–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary romance from Debbie Macomber. IF NOT FOR YOU is the third book in her New Beginnings series, but easily enjoyed as a standalone. I did read A GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON, the second book, and I liked it too.

About the book:
An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it’s absolutely right

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she’s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not and her parents worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who’s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn’t exactly Sam’s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.

But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both.

Before long, Beth’s strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam’s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she’s come to love.

My Review:
Beth is a 25 y/o sheltered woman, striking out on her own to build a career and life outside of her mother’s stern grasp. She’s relocated to Portland, Oregon to be near her dear Aunt Sunshine and take a position as high school music teacher. Her meek, but kind, physicist father has guaranteed that momma bird will stay back in Chicago for at least six months, before she’s able to come and inspect Beth’s new life.

Beth is a delicate-looking woman, and a new colleague offers to set her up with he husband’s best friend, Sam. Sam is not delicate. He’s a bearded, tattooed mechanic, and a darned good one. Still, he’s not excited to meet Beth at his buddy’s home and the set-up date is a awkward as can be. They develop a camaraderie about being set-up, and when the expectations of “no thanks” are realized on both sides, they part with smiles. Sam and Beth take the same route home, which is how Sam witnesses Beth’s tiny car getting broadsided when a texting teen runs a red light.

Beth’s in bad, bad shape, and Sam’s, well, he’s by her side in an instant, and holds her hand while calling 911. Beth’s pain is immense, and Sam’s gruff voice and tight grasp are pivotal in keeping her from fading out altogether. This unlikely couple, who could barely spend a dinner together, soon become very good friends. Sam visits Beth in the hospital, and a rapport grows. They share conversation, at first, but soon it’s clear that they want more than just a friendship. They make music together–and I mean that in the literal sense. Sam brings his guitar, and Beth plays the rehab center’s piano. The music solidifies their bond, and Sam longs for the day Beth will walk out of rehab and into a relationship. Which is odd, because Sam hasn’t dated in more than a decade.

Beth is a cock-eyed optimist, and has her heart set on fixing everyone around her, including her never-married Aunt Sunshine and Sam, who grieves a lost child. But her well-meant efforts don’t bring about the desired results. At first.

Beth is a nice gal, but she’s so naive. It was good to see her grow and develop into a strong adult, now that her mom’s not pulling her strings. Sam’s a decent guy, and I was glad he found love–even though he was rather stubborn about it. There’s a subplot regarding Beth’s mom, aunt, and a man they both loved back in college. The one that got away, if you will. Well, that was a darker plotline clearly developed as a foil to Beth and Sam’s romance. That said, it’s nice that the family rift was healed after so many years. This book ends with an HEA, but it’s a quiet romance. Don’t expect more than some chaste kissing on the page.

Interested? You can find IF NOT FOR YOU on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other discount book outlets like Target, WalMart and your library, undoubtedly. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

about the Author:
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 990 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Sixteen of these novels hit the number one spot.

There’s so much more to know about her, but I’d suggest heading to her website, Facebook, or twitter for all that!

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!