Hi there Today I’m sharing my review for a new contemporary romance series, The Ludzecky Sisters, from Kathryn Shay. I’ve had the chance to read the first book, and enjoyed it.
There’s a whole lotta extras in this post, and a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card, so keep reading!
About the book:
BEGIN AGAIN tells the story of Paulina Ludzecky who, since her husband died three years ago, runs a contracting business with her twin, Antonia. She’s ready to dip her toes in romance, when she meets Adam Armstrong, the architect on the new music hall her company is building.
For Adam, opposites attract and he’s drawn to this no-nonsense, down-to-earth girl next door. She’s equally interested in him though he’s too different from her to settle down with. But alpha male Adam has other plans for Paulina and isn’t about to let her go, even when Paulina has trouble with committing to him. Sex, yes! Love, no! This second chance at love story will tug on your heartstrings.
And a taster!
The Ludzecky family was well acquainted with tragedy, but none as horrific as this one.
The matriarch, Donuta Ludzecky, affectionately known as Matka, sat in the front pew of a Catholic church next to her best friend, Rosie Pettrone. The woman had suffered the worst loss any mother could have visited on her—losing a child or, in this case, losing two. Twin boys. Twenty-eight years old. The driver of a truck had barreled through a red light and crumpled the front of the car. The boys were killed instantly. They had been married to Paulina and Antonia, Donuta’s two daughters. Like the good Polish woman that she was, Donuta sat stalwart, holding back any display of her own emotions. Of course, she suffered with and for her friend. But she also could not help thinking of the effect this obscene event would have on her eight children.
Her gaze traveled first to her twin girls, dressed in black, shoulders hunched, sitting on either side of Rosie. Antonia had dissolved into tears the moment they had walked into church and had not stopped crying. Lukasz had to take care of her two-year-old son, who cried into his uncle’s chest. Paulina, stronger both physically and emotionally than Nia, had slid her arms around her boys, and remained stone-faced. The crying would come later for her, Donuta knew. And their lives would never be the same without their men. Donuta had learned that fact from the death of her own husband when she was in her forties.
This is the first book in a series about a Polish-American family and the love they share. Adult contemporary romance.
Paulina is the youngest of a long line of Ludzeckys. Well, she and her twin, Antonia. She and “Nia” shared more than the womb; they married twin brothers, their high school sweethearts, who were tragically killed in a car wreck three years ago. Since then Paulina and Nia moved into their childhood home with their mother, raising their three children together. And, after three years of grief and celibacy, Paulina is branching out. Beginning to date.
This is a hurt/comfort story about a family that is moving past tragedy. Paulina likes a colleague, Adam Armstrong, who is the architect of a new structure Paulina and Nia’s construction company are building. That’s right these ladies are builders–they shared the company with their husbands and continue to run it on the day-to-day. Paulina is attracted to Adam, and they agree to a no-strings relationship. Mostly because Paulina doesn’t want to get involved. Adam agreed, never suspecting he’d fall hard for the competitive tomboy who’d much rather a picnic and a beer than champagne at a gala. She’s nothing like the women he usually dates, and it blows his mind how strong he feels toward her.
Of course, Paulina is protective of her twin sons, and won’t let Adam meet them–or any of her family. They develop a nice bond, always at arm’s length–until Adam wants more. Much more.
This is a bittersweet story, with a solid resolution. There are some ensemble aspects, with the POV mostly centered on Paulina and Adam, but occasionally shifts to Matka (matriarch of the Ludzeky family) and Nia. Nia is a woman who cannot let go–she desperately mourns her lost love, and it’s affecting both her young son Sal and Paulina. I was touched by the constant love of Paulina’s large and boisterous family. They are really so sweet, and Adam is a likable guy. I ached for his frustration with Paulina’s reticence.
There’s a bit of sexytimes, but nothing too graphic. I think I’d have liked a bit more story, but there’s more to come with this series, so I’ll likely learn more about them in the future.
Interested? You can find BEGIN AGAIN on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.
And, if you like the first one, guess what? There’s a whole lotta Ludzecky to go around…
Primary Colors (Ludzecky Sisters Series, #2)
In PRIMARY COLORS, Nia Ludzecky Pettrone is stuck in her grief and can’t find a way out of her sorrow over the untimely death of her beloved husband. Then she meets famous modern artist Rafe Castle, and she’s intrigued by his gentle demeanor and lack of arrogance. When he shows interest in giving her son the confidence and skills to nurture his budding art talent, she starts falling for him. Still, she finds it hard to leave the past behind and embrace love after loss.
Rafe is definitely interested in a relationship with Nia. If he has his way, she’ll come to love him and he vows to be patient. But when she rejects him in the most elemental of ways, can he control the comparison to past hurts she resurrects for him?
Nia glanced up to see Rafe Castle approaching them. Before he greeted any of them, he knelt down so he was eye-level with Sal. How thoughtful. “You did good, Salvador. Just like your namesake.”
“What’s a namesake?” Ben asked.
Sal announced proudly, “Who you’re named after.”
“Our Uncle Salvador?”
A male chuckle from the artist. “Nope. I told him I bet he has roots going back to Salvador Dali, the famous twentieth-century artist.”
“Like you, Rafe.” Nia noticed Sal used his first name. “You said maybe you got roots to…who was it?”
“A painter from the Renaissance time period. Raphael Sanzio da Urbino.”
“Yeah, that’s him.”
Standing, Rafe turned his gaze to Nia. “Mrs. Pettrone?”
Nia cleared her throat. Though she’d seen pictures of him online since the school chose him for this position, his physical presence was daunting. Those navy eyes focused on her, increasing their effect. “Yes, I’m Sal’s mother.”
“You’re son’s very talented.”
“So you said.”
This one’s going to be a heart-tearer, I’m sure!
Interested? Find PRIMARY COLORS on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes.
Risky Business (Ludzecky Sisters Series #3)
Magdalena Ludzecky is a career woman extraordinaire. A child prodigy, she’s worked her way into a successful private equity firm by the time she was twenty-four. Seven years later, she’s still the gentle, good-hearted sister who hasn’t forgotten her roots, but in business she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s a woman who has everything, including Logan Price, her coworker and her best friend outside of the family. They support each other through tragedy and loss, vacation together and make million dollar deals together.
But suddenly, they find attraction growing between them. And no, they both think, this can’t happen! They like the status quo. An office romance is unthinkable. It doesn’t seem to be up to them, though, as fate intervenes and brings them together as lovers. Yet fate can be cruel, too, and pulls them apart when Logan’s circumstances change dramatically. Does this friends to lovers romance have a chance or are Logan and Magdalena going to lose each other forever?
Magdalena stomach knotted. “What’s most important to me is to have you in my life, Logan. I don’t want to lose that.”
“Yeah, kind of like that saying you use. ‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.’”
“Right. Things are great now between us. I’m afraid that will change.”
Straightening, he faced her. “Then I don’t think we should let this go further. I don’t want to take the chance.”
The disappointment was almost overwhelming. Still she eked out, “All right.”
“You sure you agree?”
“I do, Logan. I promise, I’d tell you the truth about something so important. I am disappointed. More than. But this is the right thing to do.”
He stood. “I’m going to take a shower.” He shook his head. “A cold one. When I return, we start over. Let’s not ever mention what happened.” He held out his hand. “Deal, partner?”
“It’s a deal, Logan.” She meant it, though she held on to him a little longer than she should.
And as she watched him leave, she knew she hadn’t lied to him. She did think this was for the best. She just wished she didn’t feel sad about it.
Interested? You can find RISKY BUSINESS on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.
The Way We Were (Ludzecky Sisters Series #4)
Ana Ludzecky had it all—a sexy husband, a beautiful daughter, her dream house and the best extended family in the world. Then, tragedy strikes them and her life turns upside down. Unable to bear the suffering of her sisters, she makes some bad choices that eventually lead to the dissolution of her marriage.
Dr. Jared Creswell, a professor at Mount Mary College, always believed he and Ana would last forever. He’s never loved anybody like he loved her. But a year after the tragedy, she’s still suffering because of the horrific events her family suffered. Jared weakens and makes the biggest mistake of his life.
When their daughter is stricken with a rare kidney disorder, both Ana and Jared must come together to see her through this difficult time. Will his and Ana’s past love be rekindled or have they put it out forever? You’ll root for these two who’ve been dealt a bad hand in life and are trying to find their second chance at love.
“The dinner was awesome, Daddy.” Opal smiled at her father like she always did, as if he’d hung the moon.
“I’m glad you liked it, princess.”
“Mom does, too.” Her dark-haired, green-eyed daughter looked over at Ana. “Right, Mom?”
“Yep, my favorite of all your dad’s dishes.”
“Did you know, Opalinski”—his Polish nickname for her—“that I made this meal for Mom the first Valentine’s Day after you were born?” Opal had turned ten in October.
“How come you didn’t go out for dinner?”
Ana steeled her heart against the story and transferred her gaze to the family room, where a fire blazed in the hearth and could be seen from the table in the kitchen. Jared had been living here because Opal had to have surgery in a week and he’d insisted he be close to her. Ana had nixed the idea of Opal at his house; instead, he’d moved into the home they used to share. But it was harder than she imagined it would be. These reminiscences were as difficult to listen to as much as rereading the notes Jared, a literary man, had written to her all their lives together.
“We had a babysitter all lined up—Aunt Magdalena. But when she got here, your mother started to cry.” His expression, when he turned to Ana, was the one he used to give her when he loved her. “She didn’t want to leave you on your first Valentine’s Day. So I went out to the store, got ingredients for this dish, and we ate at home.”
And, Ana thought, made sweet love that night. Memories of how good they were together devastated her, so she stood. “I’ll clean up.”
Jared’s gaze intensified. God, it wasn’t fair that he looked better at thirty-nine than when she’d met him. He had a touch of gray hair at his temples, but it made his eyes stand out like emeralds, even when he wore his glasses. “Does that have to be done right away?”
Interested? You can find THE WAY WE WERE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.
Handle with Care (Ludzecky Sisters Series #5)
Of all the Ludzecky sisters, Sofia is the calmest one. She’s had to be. Diagnosed with leukemia at sixteen, the disease has affected her entire life. When bad things have happened to her—her father’s death, her Secret Service sister and brother getting shot, the deaths of her brothers-in-law–Sofia has gone into herself and found the strength to help them out and also take care of herself. The easy going, laid back lifestyle suits her and she likes it. Her chosen profession is as a yoga instructor and owner of Serenity Yoga, which enhances this way of living.
Football Coach Max Walker doesn’t know what to make of this sweet, demure and pretty woman who is hired by his high school to teach yoga to students. But he’s part of the Physical Education department and has to deal with her every day. Soon he comes to learn how special she is, and though he steered clear of romance with another teacher, he’s drawn to her. But she shies away from him—big time. Why? Women usually flock to Max.
Little does he know that his outgoing personality, his rabid bent for competition and his boisterous athletic family upset her. Opposites attract is not true in her case. But Max wants her, and he’s always gotten what he wants.
Sophia sighed. “I’m sorry we’re getting off on the wrong foot, Max. All I was suggesting was that you and your team could be better if you did yoga poses and breathing exercises. I was hoping some of the guys would sign up for the fall session.”
“Ain’t gonna happen.”
“Obviously not, with you as a role model.”
He sat up straight and his fist clenched on the table.
Leaning in, she put her hand over it and felt the tension. She was surprised he didn’t snatch it back. “Again, I apologize. We have a difference of opinion on this. I won’t bring it up again.”
“Yeah, sure, that’d be okay.”
“On one condition.”
Now his gaze narrowed. “What?”
“Come to Serenity Yoga, my studio. Take a few classes. They don’t have to be from me. But we’ll do it free of charge. If your experience there doesn’t convince you that you’re not in as good shape as you think, I’ll be silenced till the end of time.”
As soon as she touched him, Max went off-kilter. He stared at their hands, her small one covering his big paw. Both strength and comfort transferred from her to him. He couldn’t explain it. He raised his head. It was a mistake. She wasn’t exactly pretty, though the long hair, hanging down her back in a braid, was probably stunning spread across a guy’s pillow. In her eyes, he saw…what the hell was that? Confidence. Security. Ah…peace. Which he longed for all of a sudden.
Interested? You can find HANDLE WITH CARE on Goodreads,
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.
Love Story (Ludzecky Sisters Series #6)
Elizabeita Ludzecky is two different women: one the risk-taking, hip, wild child in the Ludzecky family. Her other side is the Rhodes Scholar and businesswoman who works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The problem is she doesn’t know which is the real her. But what she does understand is the secret she carries inside her, and how it’s helped her survive a family fraught with tragedy.
Hardened cop Nick Casella decides to leave the NYPD because of his distaste for anti-police sentiment that developed after several high profile shootings were not prosecuted in the courts. But he’s asked to be part of a task force for the NYPD, an undercover unit specializing in unique crimes. He’s sent to the Met, ostensibly as a new employee do to set ups and other odd jobs. The famous museum has been besieged by odd emails, hackers and maybe even a stalker.
Nick works with Elizabeita when they put up a new exhibit and, at first, is not at all charmed by her winsomeness, her upbeat attitude about life or her sexy charisma. She’s a baby anyway, as he has more than a decade on her. But she’s getting the emails, too, and might be a victim, so he has to spend time with her. When she sets her sights on him, his first instinct is to run in the other direction. Soon, that changes dramatically. With secret and lies as the basis of a relationship, especially an older man/younger woman romance, does it have any chance of surviving?
Nick read further. “Passionate touching. Short bursts of energy that disarm your partner.”
“I love surprises.”
“I’ll remember that. It involves unexpected full-body hugs. Out-of-the-blue squeezes of the buttocks. Face cradling. You can do that to me anytime, babe.”
She laughed. And the devil danced in her eyes. “The next is sensual touching.”
“Of course it is. That’s what this is leading up to, right?”
“No. The last one is sexual touching. Learning your partner’s erogenous zones.”
“I think we’ve got that covered.”
“We’re nowhere near there yet. Lay flat out on your stomach.”
She straddled him and started with light pressure on his shoulders. After a while, she dug her fingers into his muscles. He hadn’t realized how tight they were. He’d been missing workouts during this assignment. “You can go a little harder.” She did, for another few minutes. Then she eased off him and the bed.
“I’ll be right back.”
When she returned, he opened one eye. “What’d you get?”
Without answering, she knelt next to him and put something warm on his upper back.
“Man, Lizzie, that’s sinful.”
“Change in temperature awakens the body.”
“I don’t think I have that problem with you, hot stuff.”
While the towel soothed his muscles, she ran her fingers down his spine. Slow at first. Then she did it quickly and exerted more pressure. “The article says to change the tempo.”
After a moment, she leaned over him and opened the nightstand drawer. “What are you doing?”
“Keep your eyes closed.”
He heard a buzz. She spread his legs and then something touched the inside of his thigh. Something vibrating. “Holy shit, Lizzie, is that…?”
“Yep. It is. Now enjoy. We have the whole weekend to spend like this.”
Nick was sure he’d died and gone to heaven. Suddenly, all he could think about was her and what she was doing to him.
And he couldn’t remember the last time he was this happy.
Interested? You can find LOVE STORY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.
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About the Author:
A NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author, Kathryn Shay has been a lifelong writer and teacher. She has written dozens of self-published original romance titles, print books with the Berkley Publishing Group and Harlequin Enterprises and mainstream women’s fiction with Bold Strokes Books. She has won five RT Book Reviews awards, four Golden Quills, four Holt Medallions, the Bookseller’s Best Award, Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year and several “Starred Reviews.” Her novels have been serialized in COSMOPOLITAN magazine and featured in USA TODAY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and PEOPLE magazine. There are over five million copies of her books in print, along with hundreds of thousands downloaded online. Reviewers have call her work “emotional and heart-wrenching.”
Find Kathy Shay on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.