Archives for July 2016

** Book Review ** CARRYING THE KING’S PRIDE by Jennifer Hayward

Carrying the King's Pride

4 1/2 STARS!

Royalty at it’s finest!  Royal scandals, family discord, kingdom feuds, impetuous flings, and an innocent babe on the way!

Manhattan fashion boutique owner Sofia Ramirez enjoyed her fling with Prince Nikandros Constantinides of Akathinia, but decided it was time to walk away before she became too attached.  After one last night together, Nik discovered his brother had been killed in a horrible accident and returned home to his Mediterranean island.

Nik never expected to be King, but now that his brother is gone and his father is ill and ready to step down, that is exactly what happens.  He finds out that he is set to wed for political gain, but when he hears that Sofia is pregnant, he immediately returns to Manhattan and fetches her to his home instead to become his wife and give him his heir.

Will Nik be able to bring peace to his Kingdom against strong adversaries?  And will Sofia be able to get through to him and bring down his walls to make theirs a relationship that will last?

Copy received via the Author

** Book Review ** A MOMENT TO CHERISH by Jennifer Faye

A Moment to Cherish


Another fun stop in Whistle Stop, New Mexico!

The town is up in arms because the election for Mayor is only weeks away.  Mason Noble was making inroads, but now that he and Bella Nez have ended their engagement, the townsfolk are looking at him less favorably.

Bella is suddenly in need of help that only Mason can give her, but he has high demands in return … come back to his side and help him win this election!  When Bella learns that she’s pregnant, it just muddies the waters even more!  Will they be able to find their way back to each other for real, or will it all just be a game that they play before going their separate ways in the end?

ARC received via the Author

** Book Review ** DISCOVERING HARMONY by Melanie Shawn

Discovering Harmony


Small town sweetheart Harmony Briggs has always gone after what she wanted in life and hasn’t let anyone else’s opinion stop her, but the one thing she always wanted and never could have is still out of her reach … or so she thinks!

Sexy cop Hudson Reed has secretly wanted Harmony for as long as he can remember, but she’s always said that she isn’t cut out for marriage and kids, and that’s all he’s ever dreamed of, so he’s kept his distance from her for years.  When they are thrown together and both finally give up the fight to stay away from each other, they are combustible together!  Will she be able to convince him that it’s a girl’s prerogative to change her mind about what she wants out of life?

ARC received via the Author

** Book Review ** PLAYING HARD by Melanie Scott

Playing Hard

4 1/2 STARS!

A sexy, sweet baseball hunk!

New York Saints 1st baseman Oliver Shields has lived and breathed baseball since he was just a kid.  He’s worked hard for everything he’s received and he isn’t ready to hang up his glove yet!

Amelia Graham has a “no jocks” dating policy because of family history, but she just can’t resist flirting with Oliver when they meet at a party.  There’s just something different about him!

The night they meet, partying a little too hard just might have ended Oliver’s career!  Amelia can’t stay away, and they slowly get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company.  Previous life plans jump in to come between them though, and Amelia has to decide whether to go after what she’s always dreamed off, or stay and get the guy!


** Book Review ** BLAME IT ON THE KISS by Robin Bielman

Blame it on the Kiss


Finding love when you least expect it!

Honor Mitchell doesn’t believe she’s cut out for happily ever after, and she’s okay with that … or at least she’s convinced herself she is!  She has lived with guilt and regret for a long time, and doesn’t want to let anyone else down, so when she sets out to complete her best friend’s death bed bucket list, she’s determined to finish it!

Bryce Bishop is thrown together with Honor on best man, bridesmaid type duties when two of their friends are getting married.  He’s happy to see her again, but she’s not so much.  They almost had a one night stand several months ago until she realized he was her BFF’s ex!

Will Bryce be able to convince Honor that she should be hanging out with him?  And as time goes by and they both start feeling more than they wanted to, will it lead to a happily ever after or only to two people being hurt again?

Copy received via Publisher

** Book Review ** BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors


A quick read that will have you intrigued from the start.  I’m not a fan of going back and forth in time, but I did stay with it to see what would happen in the end.  I didn’t put it down once I started it, but I would have liked a little more at the ending.

Grace Harrington meets and marries Jack Angel … and to the world, they lead the perfect life.  A gorgeous, successful man with his charming, accomplished wife.

They never stop to look at the facts … Grace is never seen without Jack by her side.  She cooks brilliantly, yet is slimmer every time they see her.  She doesn’t work, has no kids taking up her time, yet can’t manage to meet for lunch.

Is it really the perfect marriage?  Or the perfect lie?

ARC received via the Publisher

** Book Review ** CHALLENGING THE DOCTOR SHEIKH by Amalie Berlin

Challenging the Doctor Sheikh


I really enjoyed this story!  A sweet take on a Prince finding his forever love!

After years of enjoying his freedom from his royal life by living, working and going to school in England, Prince Dakan Al Rahal is sad to have to return home and perform his royal duties by overhauling his kingdom’s healthcare system.  He is however, quite taken with the architect he’ll be working with!

British-born Nira Hathaway is thrilled to be venturing to the middle east for her work with Dakan’s brother Zahir because she wants to use the opportunity to trace her past heritage.  When she meets Dakan, they quickly strike up a friendship … with a good bit of attraction on both sides!

Will she find the answers to the past that she’s been hoping for?  And will they find any future together?

ARC received via the Author/VA

** Release Day Blitz / Book Review ** ULTIMATE COURAGE by Piper J. Drake

Drake_Ultimate Courage_MM

4 1/2 STARS!

Lots of intrigue & romance!  It was nice to see the old gang from Book 1 and to get to know more about some of the others.  I connected much better with the main characters of this book than I did with the first one … I felt satisfied with the depth and dialogue.

Elisa Hall is on the move to get away from a controlling relationship when she happens to run into Alex Rojas and his daughter Serena.  They are kind to her at a time when she needs the comfort, and it makes a lasting impression on her.

Alex Rojas is still trying to get his feet back underneath him here in the real world after his former life as a Navy SEAL and adjusting to life as a single father takes a lot of adjustment.  He and his daughters have settled in with friends at Hope’s Crossing Kennels where he trains dogs with former military pals, but it’s still a work in progress to get used to life again.

When Elisa shows up at the kennel to return something Serena dropped when they met, Alex sees she needs friends to help her, and the gang rallies around to be that for her.  As she and Alex tread softly into the attraction they feel for each other, will there be a happy ending here, or will her past life come in the middle of it?

ARC received via the Publisher





Title: Ultimate Courage
Author: Piper J. Drake
Series: True Heroes, #2

On Sale: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Formats: Mass Market & eBook
Price: $6.99 USD (MM) / $5.99 USD (eBook)

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Retired Navy SEAL Alex Rojas is putting his life back together, one piece at a time. Being a single dad to his young daughter and working at Hope’s Crossing Kennels to help rehab a former guard dog, he struggles every day to control his PTSD. But when Elisa Hall shows up, on the run and way too cautious, she unleashes his every protective instinct.

Elisa’s past never stays in her rearview mirror for long, and she refuses to put anyone else in danger. But with Alex guarding her so fiercely yet looking at her so tenderly, she’s never felt safer . . . or more terrified that the secrets she keeps could put countless people in grave peril. The only way for both to fully escape their demons will take the ultimate act of courage: letting go and learning to trust each other.




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You’ve got to be insane.”

Elisa Hall took a prudent step—or two—back as she observed the standoff brewing in front of her. A tall man stood between her and the emergency room reception desk, glaring at the woman in scrubs behind it. He stood at an angle to Elisa, so he could see the reception desk to his right and the entirety of the waiting area in front of him.

He clenched his fists.

Elisa retreated farther back toward the entrance, releasing her throbbing rist and letting her hands fall to her sides. Harmless. Nothing to see here.

“I’m sorry, sir, but ambulances take precedence over walk-ins,” the nurse repeated. She was braver than Elisa would’ve been in the face of rage on a level with the man’s at the counter.

He was dressed in loose fitness shorts and a close-fitting black tee. His hands were wrapped in some cross between tape and fabric.

“Fighter” might as well have been printed across his very broad, muscular shoulders.

Actually, now that she was looking, his tee said Revolution Mixed Martial Arts Academy.

Well, then. Maybe she should just take more ibuprofen and forget about seeing a doctor for her swollen wrist after all. Getting her injury examined wasn’t worth staying anywhere near this guy.

The nurse glanced quickly at Elisa then returned her attention to the man, her expression softening with sympathy. “As soon as an examination room opens up, we’ll get you in to see the doctor. Please, wait right here and fill out these forms while I help this young lady.”

Wait, what? The man’s face, and his focus, turned toward her. Oh, great.

Usually she envied nurses their ability to sympathize with so many patients and make such a difference in their lives. Now was not one of those times.

Elisa squashed the urge to bolt. Never ended well when she tried it. Better to hold very still, wait until the anger in front of her burned itself out, and pull herself together afterward.

Instead, she fastened her gaze on the floor and tried to keep her body from tensing visibly. Silently, she sang herself an inane nursery rhyme to take her mind

off the weight of the man’s intense glare. Please, please, let him walk away. They were in public, and even though the emergency room waiting area wasn’t packed, it still had a dozen people scattered around the seats.

But the expected explosion, shouting, other things . . .never happened. Instead, the man had quieted. All of the frustrated aggression seemed to have been stuffed away, somewhere.

She swallowed hard. Relief eased her constricted throat, and she breathed slowly for the time being. Leaving remained the best idea she had at the moment.

But he stepped away from the counter and farther to her right, motioning with a wrapped hand for her to step forward. As she forced her feet to take herself closer to the reception desk—and past him—he gave her room.

Belatedly, she realized his movement also happened to block her escape route toward the doors. He couldn’t have done it on purpose, could he? But Elisa took a step up to the reception counter and away from him anyway.

“Yes, dear?” The nurse’s gentle prompt made Elisa jump.

Damn it. Elisa’s heart beat loud in her ears.

The nurse gave her an encouraging smile. “Don’t mind him. He’s been here before. I’ve already asked another nurse to bring ice packs as fast as possible. I don’t

mind if he blows off some hot air in my direction in the meantime. I would be upset, too, considering today’s situation.”

Elisa bit her lip. She could still feel the man standing behind her, his presence looming at her back. He couldn’t possibly appreciate the nurse sharing some of

his private information. And he didn’t seem to need ice packs or any other medical attention. He appeared very able-bodied. “It’s none of my business.”

The nurse placed a clipboard on the counter and wrinkled her nose. “Oh, trust me, the entire waiting room knows what his concern is. Tell me what brought you here.”

This might be the most personable emergency room reception area Elisa had been to in years, not counting the extremely angry man standing behind her. They were either not very busy—not likely if all the examination rooms were full up—or extremely efficient.

Efficiency meant she could get in and out and decide what her next steps would be.

“My wrist.” Elisa held out her left arm, her wrist obviously swollen. “I thought it was just a bad sprain, but it’s been more than a few days and has only gotten worse. I can barely move it now.”

And if she could have avoided it, she definitely wouldn’t have stopped in to get it treated. An emergency room visit, even with the help of her soon-to-be nonexistent insurance, was still an expense she didn’t need. It’d been six months or so since her last significant paycheck, and she could not afford to extend her insurance much longer. Plus, it might be better not to. One less way to track her.

“Is that your dominant arm, dear?” The nurse held up a pen.

Elisa shook her head.

“Oh, good. Leave your ID and insurance card with me so I can make copies. Take a seat over there to fill out this form and bring it back to me.”

Okay, then. Elisa took the items and made her way toward the seating area, thankful the nurse hadn’t asked her to give her name and pertinent information verbally. It was always a risk to share those things out loud.

She’d learned over and over again. There was a chance a slip of information in the unlikeliest of places would find its way to exactly the person she didn’t want

to have it. No matter how careful she’d been over the last several months, it hadn’t been enough yet.

But it would be. This time. She was learning, and she was free. Every day was a new chance.

Nodding to herself, Elisa looked for a seat. It might not be crowded, but just about everyone in the room had decided to sit with at least a chair or two buffer between them and the next person. The buffer seats were all that were left, and most of the other people waiting to be seen were either men, or women sitting with men.

Then she caught sight of a young girl sitting with her legs crossed in the seat next to the big planter in the corner. Slender, but long limbed, the girl had a sweet face and the gangly look of a growing kid. Elisa guessed the girl was maybe eight or nine, could even be ten. Hard to pin down age when the kid had such an innocent look to her. The seat next to her was open, and she was waiting quietly, hugging a big, blue, plush . . . round thing. Whatever it was.

Elisa walked quickly over, and when the girl looked up at her with big, blue eyes, Elisa gave her the friendliest smile she could dig up. “Mind if I sit next

to you?”

The girl looked around, her gaze lingering on the reception area behind Elisa for a moment before saying, “Sure.”

Elisa took a seat.

After a few silent moments, the little girl stirred next to her. “Are you sick?”

Well, paperwork didn’t take much of her attention, and it’d been a while since Elisa had been outside of her own head in a lot of ways. Conversation would be

a welcome change and a good distraction from the constant worry running in the back of her mind. “Not sick so much as hurt. I won’t give you the plague.”

A soft, strained laugh. “Same here.”

Elisa took a harder look at the big, plush toy. It wasn’t for comfort as Elisa’d first assumed. It was supporting the girl’s slender left arm, which was bent at an impossible angle.

“Oh my god.” Why was she sitting here alone?

“Don’t worry.” The girl gave her a quick thumbs-up with her right hand. “The doctors are really good here, and I’m in all the time.”

Such a brave face. She had to be in an insane amount of pain. And here she was encouraging Elisa.

“Is there someone you should talk to about how often you get hurt?” Elisa struggled for the right tone. It was one she’d heard more than once when people had been concerned for her. Some places had safeguards in place for . . .

Blue eyes widened. “Oh, it’s not what you’re thinking. Trust me, people ask my dad. And it’s not like that at all. I study mixed martial arts. I get bruised and

bumped all the time, and usually it’s nothing, but Dad always makes me come in to get checked.”

It was hard not to believe in the earnest tone. But monsters were everywhere.

The girl gave her a rueful smile, still amazing considering how much pain she had to be in. “This time it wasn’t just a bump.”

“Which is why they’re going to see you as soon as they can, Boom.”

Elisa hadn’t heard the man approach. He was just there. He kneeled down in front of the girl then gently tucked an ice pack around her arm while moving it as

little as possible. For her part, the girl hissed in pain but otherwise held up with amazing fortitude.

Elisa would’ve been in tears. The forearm had to be broken. Both bones. It didn’t take a doctor to figure that out. No wonder the man had been mad earlier. She’d want this girl to be seen as soon as possible, too. She dropped her gaze, unable to watch.

“Here.” An ice pack appeared in her view. “Your wrist should be iced, too. Take down the swelling while you wait.”

Speechless, Elisa looked up.

The man’s words were gruff, awkward. His expression was blank. But his eyes—a softness around his eyes—and a . . . quiet in the way he watched her made her swallow and relax a fraction. Her heartbeat stuttered in a fluttery kind of way. A completely different reaction from what she should be experiencing if she were wise. She didn’t know this man and he was probably married. The girl had a mother somewhere. Where? Maybe on her way. This man was just being nice. Maybe.

Learn from your mistakes. You never know who a person really is.


True Heroes Series


Extreme Honor, #1

Ultimate Courage, #2

Absolute Trust, #3

Series Page on Goodreads


Piper J. Drake


Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every interesting novel she could find at the library. After being introduced to the wonderful world of romance by her best friend, she dove into the genre.

PJ began her writing career as PJ Schnyder, writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk, for which she won the FF&P PRISM award as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.

PJ’s romantic suspense novels incorporate her interests in mixed martial arts and the military. The True Heroes series is inspired by her experience rescuing, owning and training a variety of retired working dogs, including Kaiser, a former guard dog, and Mozart, who was trained to detect explosives.








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** Book Review ** RANCH REFUGE by Virginia Vaughan

Ranch Refuge

4 1/2 STARS!

A book filled with lots of mystery with a backstory of friendship and forgiveness playing a big part in the plot.

ER nurse Laura Jackson is simply minding her own business when danger strikes and she’s in need of help!

Former Army ranger Colton Blackwell steps up to get Laura out of a dangerous plot, and whisks her away to his secluded ranch to keep her safe from the darkness lurking around her.  She’s not too willing to trust any man after the past she’s had with her father and the recent sticky situation he has gotten her into with his gambling debts to a dangerous loan shark, but she doesn’t have much in the way of options right now.

Colton soon has her trust as he keeps her safe again and again when something else is thrown at them, but when secrets from his past come out, will she be able to see him as the man he is now and not who he used to be?

ARC received via the Author

** Blog Tour / Book Review ** GOING DOWN EASY by Carly Phillips

Going Down Easy


Carly Phillips is on fire with the start of this new Billionaire Bad Boys series!  It’s super steamy, filled with drama, and just plain fun to read!

Quirky and demanding, billionaire Kaden Barnes can’t keep a personal assistant … until Lexie Parker walks in the door.  Organized, peppy and feisty enough to hold her own with a domineering boss, Lexie fits right in and has him organized in no time.

Kaden can’t deny that Lexie is the best PA he’s ever had … but he also can’t deny that she has been starring in his dirty, sexy fantasies ever since he first laid eyes on her!  When business, personal and family issues arise, will they be able to face them together and still be standing at the end of it?

ARC received via Rock Star PR



Going Down Easy (Billionaire Bad Boys Book 1) by Carly Phillips

Date of Publication: July 19, 2016


Billionaire Bad Boys: Rich, Powerful and sexy as hell.

Billionaire Kaden Barnes has a reputation for being difficult and always getting his way.

Enigmatic and exacting, he’s unable to keep an assistant for long. Enter his newest hire, Lexie Parker. She’s no-nonsense, efficient and all business… She’s also hot as sin and soon starring in Kaden’s dirtiest fantasies.

As their passion for each other reaches a boiling point, neither can control theexplosive outcome when they finally give in to their desires. He may think he’s calling the shots, but for this bad boy, going down easy has never felt so good.

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About Carly Phillips

After a successful fifteen year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find out more about Carly at

Find Carly Phillips Online

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