The Shore Thing
BY: Annette Mardis
Gulf Shore Book 1
Heat Level: 3 FLAMES (Erotic Sensual)
Reviewed by: Charity Chimni
The Shore Thing was a slow burning romance filled with lots of different characters and sub plots. I really enjoyed the educational aspect around the aquarium. Evan is the ideal gentleman who has already been burned. In comes the sweet Dani to turn his world upside down. They both learn and grow so much throughout the book. They encounter speed bumps along the way and always find their way back together. I look forward to seeing what comes from the rest of the series! A great read especially for someone with an interest in aquarium life.
Danielle “Dani” Davidson vows to just say no to workplace romances after her first post-college job is soured by a messy breakup with a manipulative coworker. That’s just one reason she doesn’t trust any man with her heart, let alone one who swims with sharks for a living. So why can’t she get Evan Sanders out of her mind? Evan is twice shy, too, after an alluring but self-absorbed colleague takes a bite out of his heart. Though he’s dead set against dating anyone else he works with, he’s still intrigued by Dani’s intelligence, shyness, and low-key sexiness. Their attraction smolders until an unfortunate encounter with a stingray sends Dani to the emergency room and Evan steps up to help her through her recovery. The two also bond over the rescue of an orphaned baby dolphin. But will Evan’s vindictive ex-lover, his career ambitions, and Dani’s inhibitions tear the young lovers apart?
Captivated in Cancun
By: KaLyn Cooper
Heat Level: 3 FLAMES (Erotic Sensual)
RATING: 5 STARS
Reviewed by: Kristin Arpin
This is the best novel in KaLyn Cooper’s Cancun series to date. I loved Lily Girard. She was spunky from the moment we met her in the first novel and she is even better as we get to know more about her in this one. A single parent after her ex cheated on her and left her for a younger version, Lily is not fragile doll. She is a butt kicking lawyer for her family’s company and she is not easy to push around. It is enjoyable to watch her take back her life after her ex and after the brief relationship she started at Christmas failed because he was still married and neglected to mention that. She is not sitting back and feeling sorry for herself. She wants the best for her boys but also for herself. This is a woman you want to root for. She is down but not out.
Then there is Josh. What isn’t to like about a career SEAL who retired and moved into Homeland Security. And he thinks a 5 mile swim is short? I can just picture him based on that alone. Given that all the boat captains and pilots in the area reported to him at one time or another, he is used to looking after people as if they were part of his family. Even though he knows Lily doesn’t need him to, given what she and her son Preston go through in this book, he can’t help himself. He has to take care of her too.
Their relationship is a given reading the elements that lead up to it. That is not a surprise. What is a surprise are all the interconnected plot lines and twists that keep you guessing which way the story will end. The suspense goes on throughout the story even when you think it is over. Character development and suspense are definitely a forte of this author. I love all her books but this one really grabbed me. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves their SEALs romantic and their damsels strong with a suspenseful edge throughout.
In Cancun for a wedding is the perfect cover for Josh Madden, retired SEAL and the new Director of Anti-Terrorism at Homeland Security. Intel believes Mexican human traffickers are smuggling terrorists into the USA on cruise ships. What he really wants to uncover are the repressed desires of the groom’s sister.
The discoveries Lilly made about herself after her recent divorce solidified her resolve to never allow a man to mold her into the woman he wants her to be. Focused on raising her two young boys, launching her family’s fledgling cruise line and rebuilding her self-esteem, she’s tempted when her brother’s former boss offers to make her bedroom fantasies come true.
When their worlds collide, Lilly needs a super hero. Will Josh choose the mission over a woman in trouble?
Fireworks at Midnight
by Tara Quan
A Witch’s Night Out
Heat Level: 4 Flames (Erotic)
RATING: 5 STARS
Reviewed by: Kristin Arpin
This book was unexpectedly hilarious and sexy and warm all at the same time. It was a pleasant surprise. The goofy, nerdy, neat-freak closet warlock (even to himself) would have been boring except with Cat the cat as his counterpoint, it works perfectly to have me roaring with laughter and eagerly wanting to read more of this book and more in this series. Once Leo gets to work, his nerdy nickname “comma hitler” at work for his constant insistence that the paralegals put commas in the right places and his friend Jack Frost III as a rich, entitled, misogynist combine to make an equally hilarious pair. It should be sad when a paralegal gets up to march to HR after overhearing their conversation but it was so funny because you can tell Jack is only doing it to bother her.
Later though, the goofy nerd gets all serious and determined to seduce his mystery date on his one night stand courtesy of Madame Eve set up by his friend Jack. Cat, however, is not so pleased that her sister set her up for a one night stand and is not pleased that it is her boss Leo who still doesn’t realize she is his familiar and he is a warlock. Sparks fly, literally, whenever Leo becomes excited at seeing Cat’s curves or touching her hand. Their chemistry is amazing and the sexual tension builds slowly over the evening as they first get to know each other and later as they decide how the evening should end. Both characters are somewhat opposites as Cat is a very strong woman who knows exactly what she wants and tends to be impulsive. Leo is methodical and particular. As they talk though it is obvious they have more in common than it seemed and much to share. They both have an opportunity to grow a little.
Recent college graduate and part-time cat familiar Dulcina “Sweets” Gato is having the worst New Year’s Eve in living memory. End of year expenses trigger serious cash flow problems, and her microwave just went up in smoke. To make matters worse, her best friend’s overprotective big brother is back in town, and his return threatens to put a huge crimper on her nocturnal activities. The only thing she can look forward to is Madame Eve’s 1-Night Stand service. After all, she’s sick and tired of being a 21-year-old virgin.
Enforcement Agent Mikal Knight is a warlock on a mission. Having finally scored a transfer to Washington, D.C., he’s now at liberty to pursue the object of his desires—his baby sister’s best friend. But first, he has a vigilante to track down and a mysterious matchmaking service to investigate. Sent on an undercover operation, he resigns himself to a pointless 1-Night Stand on New Year’s Eve. As luck would have it, his mystery date’s identity might let him kill several birds with one stone.
By: Marianne Rice
Book 1: McKay-Tucker Men Series
Heat Level: 2 FLAMES (Mild)
RATING: 3 STARS
Reviewed by: Kristin Arpin
High school principal Meg Fulton and her daughter are looking for a fresh start in a small New England town near where Meg grew up when she is offered a great opportunity at a high school known for its football team whose stars graduate without the basic reading and writing skills necessary to survive after football. Her new plans for the school conflict with ex NFLer, high school football coach, Connor McKay and his winning football team. Meg unknowingly befriends Connor’s sister who also has a daughter the same age as well as Connor’s mom who owns the horse stable where her daughter has been riding since moving to town. Connor’s mother, the town matchmaker, sets them up on a blind date together, neither knowing who they were going to meet at the restaurant. Finding they enjoy each other’s company outside the school and Connor enjoying the challenge of getting past the mile high emotional walls Meg has set up, they agree to spend more time together as long as no one at the school knows. Eventually and with the patience of a saint, Connor finds out about her tragic past and why there is no father in her daughter’s life but Meg makes him work for everything.
This novel had a lot of potential but I felt that there was too much time spent on every day activities and interactions that did not help develop the plot or the characters and not enough time explaining why a muscular and intelligent former NFL star would work so hard to pursue well-dressed but frumpy sounding woman. It was understandable why she would find him attractive but early on in their relationship, Meg treats Connor poorly by making him wait to show up at his own parents’ Christmas party to ensure no one knows they are together and then ignoring him the entire time making it hard to understand what he sees in her to put so much effort into pursuing her. There should have been more focus on him possibly realizing she was hiding something big from him and the intellectual enticement that provided him kept him going.
That said, the story had several very touching moments and entertaining relationships such as Meg’s relationship with her daughter or her friend in New York with a unisex name who turns out to be a gay man with access to many expensive designer clothes who keeps Meg and her daughter well-dressed that make the story worth reading. It also provides a good back drop for the other 2 stories in these series that are better written. Reading this novel first is not necessary but does help explain who all the people in the town are and their relationships with each other. I do still recommend this novel because it is nice to see someone who has gone through so much in her life get what she deserves.
Ex-NFL player turned high school football coach Connor McKay is well loved by all…except by the sexy principal who wants to make changes to his athletic program. Intrigued by Meg Fulton’s beauty and intelligence, Connor doesn’t mind going head-to-head with her. When he and Meg are set up on a blind date, he’s finally able to open a crack in Meg’s high emotional wall and see the caring woman inside. What Connor doesn’t expect is that his buddy and ex-teammate is the one responsible for Meg’s wall in the first place. To choose between a one-time brother and the woman he’s fallen hopelessly in love with, Connor will make the riskiest play of his life.Always the misfit growing up, newly hired high school principal Meg Fulton uses a fashionable wardrobe and a sharp tongue to keep men at a safe distance. After a drunken, abusive experience in the back of a Chevy as a naïve teen, she became a single mother with a tough hide…until Connor McKay walks into the picture. She can’t stand him. He’s a sports-loving alpha male––no thanks! Meg has a good reason to hate jocks. Been there, done that, much to her regret. But as her path continues to cross with Connor’s, and attraction heats to a boiling point, Meg learns there’s more to Connor than biceps and a tight rear end. Things are heating up with them, when someone from her past threatens to tear them apart. Meg runs for cover…and from Connor. It will take a leap of love for Meg to shed the scars of her past and let love into her life.
Christmas in Cancun
by KaLyn Cooper
Cancun series Book #1
Heal Level 3 Flames (Erotic Sensual)
RATING: 5 STARS
Reviewed By: Kristin Arpin
When Jack Girard goes to the Cancun airport to pick up his paunchy, mousy-haired sister-in-law and wife to his late brother, he discovers a beautiful, curvy blonde that he is instantly attracted to even as she chases down her rambunctious toddler. As she calls out a frustrated Addison Girard to tame the little monster, he realizes this woman is his sister-in-law who is off-limits. Technically. However his niece quickly wraps him around her little finger and he can’t help feeling closer and closer to her mother as well. The fact that they have his Gramps’ and his brother Jimmy’s interest in Mayan archaeology in common and that she needs his help and connections to finish her doctorate thesis gives him ample opportunity to spend time with them both and gain her trust. As a single mom with no living family left except Addi, she does not find trust and opening her broken heart easy. Nor is it easy to put memories of Jimmy in the past where they belong. However, Jack is incredibly hot, so patient and gentle with her and Addi and so protective of his niece that Jillian’s heart starts opening to him in spite of her intentions.
There is such sweet and passionate chemistry between Jillian and Jack almost right from the beginning. Jillian is understandably broken and afraid of what she feels for Jack but he is everything she needs right now. The family she can’t give Addison, an opening to the Mayan academic world, and a way to put Jimmy and all her memories of him to rest. Jillian brings with her Jimmy’s research notes and his Gramp’s maps, giving Jack a chance to see if he can finally find the ancient Mayan statues that he spent many summers helping Gramps and Jimmy search for. The ensuing search brings an air of mystery and suspense to the novel which helps it stand out from your typical former Seal romance. The details of the local customs, language, geography and history are well researched enough that if some of them are invented, a reader will not be able to tell. Everything blends seamlessly. The only thing I would have liked to see different was for the suspense to start sooner in the plot line to give it a better pacing. Otherwise the characters are very complex and fully developed and story is incredibly realistic.
I highly recommend this romantic suspense to all fans of the genre and especially fans of hot Seals.
Busy building a new career with his catamaran company, former SEAL Jack Girard had all but forgotten about his grandfather’s quest to find the golden Mayan goddess statues until his brother’s beautiful widow, Jillian, and adorable daughter, Addison, arrive in Cancun with the research. His need to complete the family mission is almost as strong as his desire for Jillian.
Between raising her daughter alone and finishing her doctorate in Mayan anthropology, Jillian doesn’t have time for a man in her life, although, after mourning for two years, she’s ready for one in her bed.
An underwater Virgin Mary statue and centuries-old manuscripts lead the two of them through the Mayan Riviera and directly into danger.
During steamy Caribbean nights together, will they develop the ability to move on and discover the real treasure is family?