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ARC Review: That Cowboy of Mine by Donna Grant

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Thank you St. Martin’s Paperbacks and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! That Cowboy of Mine releases April 26, 2022.

"That Cowboy of Mine" by Donna Grant (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Is he an enemy?

Dillon Young is proud that she inherited her aunt’s ranch. The problem: someone is trying to run her off and is willing to do whatever it takes. Strange, dangerous things keep happening. Dillion suspects her no-good neighbor and fellow wealthy rancher Hank Stephens. Never a man to get his hands dirty, he sends others to get the job done. So, when the irresistible Cal Bennett is found passed out drunk on her property, Dillion is on high alert. Until someone takes a shot at her and Cal springs to her rescue. When the hard-bodied, no-nonsense-talking cowboy points out that she may need some help, Dillion is inclined to reluctantly agree.

Or a lover?

Waking up on a stranger’s property with a shotgun in his face is not Cal Bennett’s idea of a good time. Never mind that the person on the other end of the barrel is one of the most fiercely beautiful women he has ever seen. Things get more interesting when he finds himself shielding her from flying bullets. It’s clear that this smart, savvy woman could use a hand and Cal is all too happy to lend any part of his body she requires. His proposal: pose as lovers until they find out who is after her ranch. As the danger rises and secrets are revealed, the passion explodes between them and there is no turning back.

 

REVIEW: Donna Grant outdid herself creating such a captivating mystery with a nice spicy layer of romance on top. The suspense was real! Who to trust was the big question that plagued the entire novel in all the right ways.

Dillion never expected to find home on her late aunt’s ranch nor did she expect to inherit the ranch. Ranching may be considered a man’s world but Dillion is determined to not let “accidents” or a greedy neighbor stop her from keeping the ranch afloat forever. Her determination makes you sit up and take notice. Her loyalty to home and family is endearing. I wanted so much for her to succeed (and maybe find love in the arms of a kind-hearted cowboy).

Love at first gunpoint? Odd but it adds to the overall conundrum since even Cal has no clue how he ended up blacked out drunk on the ranch.

Beforehand, Cal was still feeling down about not qualifying at the rodeo. He begins to find a new purpose in protecting Dillion from unknown dangers and possibly exploring the attraction between them. Cal is a sincere and honorable man. His protective instincts kick in after someone tries to kill Dillion. BUT since even he doesn’t know how he ended up on the farm and considering his surprise connection to Dillion’s situation, it’s understandably difficult for Dillion to trust Cal.

I like that we get Dillion’s, Cal’s, and the bad guy(s) pov! I loved the way Grant wove the plot and built up the tension between all of the characters and the romance between Cal and Dillion. The scene at the town dance? So many feelings! And the twists later on? Did not see coming (though I should have)!

I really enjoyed That Cowboy of Mine from the start to its thrilling conclusion.


More by Donna Grant

Heart of Texas
A Cowboy Like You (#4)
Looking For A Cowboy (#5)
A Cowboy Kind of Love (#6)

Reaper
Dark Alpha’s Awakening (#7)
Dark Alpha’s Redemption (#8)
Dark Alpha’s Temptation (#9)

A Dark Kings Novel
Fever (#16)
Flame (#17)

Home for a Christmas Cowboy


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Summer Nights with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

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Thank you to St. Martin’s Paperbacks and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Summer Nights with a Cowboy is OUT NOW!

"Summer Nights with a Cowboy" by Caitlin Crews (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Kittredge Ranch #3
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: He doesn’t believe in love…

Traveling nurse Janie Atwood has come to Cold River to uncover old family secrets and maybe, if she’s lucky, find a new home. That the gorgeous, glowering sheriff next door thinks her caring for his elderly neighbor is a nefarious scheme is a bonus. Having never been anything but a good girl, Janie finds Zack Kittredge’s simmering suspicion an excellent reason to try being a little dangerous instead…

She doesn’t believe in squandering it…

Sheriff Zack Kittredge is okay with being… intense. He takes his loner status as seriously as he takes his responsibilities to protect Cold River. And he thinks cheerful Janie might be a threat to the town. But the more he gets to know her, the more he faces the truth—she’s brighter than sunshine and he’s like a moth to her flame. When Janie suggests he could use a few charm school lessons, he surprises them both by accepting. He doesn’t need help. But it’s clear he might need her…

Because the only thing hotter than the summer sun in the Rockies is the forbidden passion that burns between them…

 

REVIEW: Families are complicated. I loved how the author juxtaposed different family dynamics and relationships within in all its messy, beautiful, loving and sometimes painful ways.

Zack lives a carefully built life as a loner after leaving his family’s ranch to get away from his father. While he may seem content with his life in the town and with the family he loves, it’s clear the burdens of the past and a deeply guarded secret still weigh heavily upon him. Janie moving next door disrupts Zack’s world. He’s immediately suspicious of her and her peculiar interest in Cold River’s history, suspicions that surely explain his unusual feelings for her. I loved seeing Zack slowly loosen up and relax some and see things from a different point of view.

Janie is a complete opposite to the gruff cowboy sheriff. She’s delightful, funny, but adorably clumsy when it comes to Zack. Accidentally tripping and spilling her coffee on Zack is the best worst thing to ever happen to her. I liked how the story basically starts off with this rather cute moment as Janie laments lustfully about Zack in her head. And I love how she plays into Zack’s belief that she’s up to no good. I was pleasantly surprised as we learned what brought Janie to Cold River because it contrasted so well with Zack’s story.

All the family histories uncovered were interesting, heartbreaking, and exquisitely interwoven. Love is a profound, complicated matter in this story/series. Understanding it all and how individuals expressed their love made for a captivating read.

Crews really outdid herself with Summer Nights with a Cowboy. I really enjoyed Janie and Zack’s passionate story.


More by Caitlin Crews

Kittredge Ranch
Secret Nights With A Cowboy (#1)
All Night Long with a Cowboy (#2)


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Bet on It by Jodie Slaughter

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Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Bet on It is set to be releases July 12, 2022.

"Bet on It" by Jodie Slaughter (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: The first time Aja Owens encounters the man of her dreams, she’s having a panic attack in the frozen foods section of the Piggly Wiggly. The second time, he’s being introduced to her as her favorite bingo buddy’s semi-estranged grandson. From there, all it takes is one game for her to realize that he’s definitely going to be a problem. And if there’s anything she already has a surplus of, it’s problems.

In Walker Abbott’s mind, there are only two worthwhile things in Greenbelt, South Carolina. The peach cobbler at his old favorite diner and his ailing grandmother. Dragging himself back after more than a decade away, he’s counting down the days until Gram heals and he can get back to his real life. Far away from the trauma inside of those city limits. Just when he thinks his plan is solid, enter Aja to shake everything up.

A hastily made bingo-based sex pact is supposed to keep this…thing between them from getting out of hand. Especially when submitting to their feelings means disrupting their carefully balanced lives. But emotions are just like bingo callers—they refuse to be ignored.

Jodie Slaughter’s Bet on It is a heart-stoppingly fun, emotional romance that will have readers falling in love until long after the last page is turned.

 

REVIEW: Bet on It was an earnest and entertaining summer romance.

Aja wants to put down roots in a quiet town and be more social and less anxious. Walker wants nothing to do with his hometown beyond his short return there to take care of his grandmother.

I liked how open they were with each other about their mental health, the cause and how it’s impacted their life. I also loved that Aja (who has Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and Walker (who has Complex PTSD) find another safe space with each other. Any time they discussed their mental health I felt like that safe space extended to me. This feeling is testament to how well the author did depicting mental health, life with anxiety, and discussions that need to be had about mental health. I wholly appreciate all of the secondary characters whose patience and understanding allow Aja and Walker to work through their emotions. That kind of support is so important to have.

Aja and Walker were spectacular main characters with delightful personalities and wonderfully developed storylines that show the power of finding your people. Their friends with benefits pact through bingo made for several entertaining and red-hot scenes oh my goodness!

Even though they’re exactly what the other needs, they are understandably afraid to give up all the progress they’ve individually made. Not to mention Walker is adamant about leaving Greenbelt he hates for treating him badly and avoiding anything to do with his father. Knowing all of this slowly chipped away at my heart because the more time Aja and Walker spent together the closer and more clearly in love they became. The tension and inevitable downfall approaching loomed like darkening clouds before a storm.

I enjoyed reading Bet on It with each passing page. It took my emotions on a thrill ride. The plot twisted and turned in all the right places. I love the cover – it’s so cute and perfect for this story! The mental health rep was great and relatable. I felt a connection to both main characters in big and small ways. A few of my favorite moments were at the bingo hall with Walker’s grandmother, Ms. May, and Aja and Walker’s trip to the drive-in movie. And the romance was sweet fire! A lovely read for summer.

CW: anxiety, panic attacks, drug abuse, child neglect


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Currently Reading – February 14, 2022

What are you reading and what do you think of it so far?

New week, new book. Just the way I like it. I finished both my previous reads over the weekend. They were both fantastic and I can’t wait to share my reviews with you later this week.

I’m starting the week off reading Bet on It by Jodie Slaughter (arc). Only a few chapters in but I feel invested in the story and the main characters. It’s gonna be a heavy story but worth it in the end. Aja and Walker (MCs) both suffer from panic attacks. They have a lot more issues to work through. I think together and separately they’ll be able to bring out the best in each other and then some.

This is a new-to-me author, so I’m excited to continue on.


"Bet on It" by Jodie Slaughter (cover)
Image via NetGalley

ABOUT: The first time Aja Owens encounters the man of her dreams, she’s having a panic attack in the frozen foods section of the Piggly Wiggly. The second time, he’s being introduced to her as her favorite bingo buddy’s semi-estranged grandson. From there, all it takes is one game for her to realize that he’s definitely going to be a problem. And if there’s anything she already has a surplus of, it’s problems.

In Walker Abbott’s mind, there are only two worthwhile things in Greenbelt, South Carolina. The peach cobbler at his old favorite diner and his ailing grandmother. Dragging himself back after more than a decade away, he’s counting down the days until Gram heals and he can get back to his real life. Far away from the trauma inside of those city limits. Just when he thinks his plan is solid, enter Aja to shake everything up.

A hastily made bingo-based sex pact is supposed to keep this…thing between them from getting out of hand. Especially when submitting to their feelings means disrupting their carefully balanced lives. But emotions are just like bingo callers—they refuse to be ignored.

Jodie Slaughter’s Bet on It is a heart-stoppingly fun, emotional romance that will have readers falling in love until long after the last page is turned.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Book Reviews

Book Review: Falling for Zeke by Sara Blackard

25 Days of Book Reviews logo.

DAY 11

Cover of "Falling for Zeke" by Sara Blackard.
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Adult Fiction
Series: Stryker Security Force #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: An ex-Army Special Operations member burned once by love. A single-mom stalked by a powerful enemy. Can he risk his heart for her safety?

Zeke has everything he could want.
A multi-billion dollar inheritance allows him to protect others…
… and with the camaraderie of his brothers-in-arms.
He spends his time growing his security firm and keeping his head down. Love is the last thing on his mind, until Samantha and her daughter are in need of his help.

Samantha used to have a comfortable life.
Now she waits tables to put food on her own.
Forced from the life she had built, Samantha works to restore what was lost. With her daughter in tow, she begins a new life in the Colorado mountains. It’s not perfect, but it’s all theirs. But when the tempting Zeke offers to help her, she begins to wonder if love could heal her shattered life.

What will Samantha do when past troubles come knocking? Will Zeke protect his heart or will Samantha shatter his defenses?

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

I liked this story a lot. It was kind of low-key romantic suspense with a touch of faith and winsome.

Zeke owns a successful security firm with help from military friends. They’re brave, lovable, funny, and want to help people. I love their brotherly camaraderie.

Zeke is reluctant to hire Samantha as his account despite being recommended by a friend. But feels drawn to her and an unexplainable desire to protect her. Exploring those feelings isn’t worth the risk after the downfall of his last relationship.

Likewise, Samantha just wants to do what she can to take care of her daughter, Evangeline, and keep her safe away from her late ex-boyfriend’s wickedly rich family. Despite barely scraping by, Sam is tough and hasn’t allowed setbacks to keep her from giving Eva a happy life.

Sam’s mutual attraction to Zeke also complicates things because her mother always warned her not to get involved with someone with a dangerous job – save yourself the debilitating grief. Even though Sam’s mom was physically and emotionally absent from most of Sam’s upbringing, Sam took those words to heart.

I like Zeke and Sam as a couple. Their relationship built organically and fully despite the story’s short page count. The story evokes a strong sense of what it looks like and means to be a family.

I really enjoyed Falling for Zeke and getting to know characters who have their own books in the Stryker Security Force series. This was fun and wholesome to read. A truly sweet, romantic suspense indeed.

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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Getting His Game Back by Gia de Cadenet

25 Days of Book Reviews logo.

DAY 1

Thank you to Dell and NetGalley for eARC to read and review! Getting His Game Back is set to be published January 25, 2022.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Mental Health
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Khalil Sarda went through a rough patch last year, but now he’s nearly back to his old self. All he has to do is keep his “stuff” in the past. Real men don’t have depression and go to therapy—or, at least they don’t admit it. He’s ready to focus on his growing chain of barbershops, take care of his beloved Detroit community, and get back to being the ladies’ man his family and friends tease him for being. It’ll be easy . . . until Vanessa throws him completely off his game.

Vanessa Noble is too busy building a multimillion-dollar tech career as a Black woman before age thirty to be distracted by a relationship. Not to mention, she’s been burned before, still dealing with the lingering hurt of a past breakup. Besides, as her friends often remind her, she’ll never find a man who checks all the boxes on her famous List. Yet when she desperately needs a shape-up and happens upon one of Khalil’s barbershops, the Fade, he makes her reconsider everything. Khalil is charming, intelligent, sexy, and definitely seems like he’d treat a woman right . . . but he’s not Black.

Vanessa may be willing to take a chance on Khalil, but a part of him is frustratingly closed off, just out of her reach. Will old patterns emerge to keep them apart? Or have they both finally found a connection worth throwing away the playbook for?

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

My heart is so full of love for this story! Gia de Cadenet does a magnificent job weaving together the experiences of interracial relationships, men’s mental health, and women in STEM careers into a gripping, heartwarming story. Getting His Game Back is a must-read!

It took a while for me to get into the story. Lots of short scenes with huge time skips. I wasn’t sure if this story would be for me. But once things settled, I enjoyed every single page oh my goodness! A lot of that had to do with Khalil and Vanessa’s incredibly satisfying, slow burn romance.

Vanessa and Khalil are instantly drawn to each other when they first meet in Kahlil’s barber shop. They have such great chemistry and feel more at peace within each other’s company than in past relationships they’ve had. The past is an unshakable barrier that keeps them from taking chances on something that feels so right.

As a black woman in STEM, Vanessa faces adversity in her personal and professional life despite her many successes and equal capabilities (i.e., is CEO of her own business and known as the “App Goddess”). She’s reluctant to date white men because she and her grandma (adorable nicknamed Ma-Max, short for Maxine) have had bad experiences with interracial dating. Vanessa felt she’d been treated like an object, something to “try out” than as a real person because she was black. Dealing with the sting of backhanded, polite racism and sexism from colleagues and others who don’t take her seriously. Enter good-natured, big-hearted Khalil who she struggles to separate from those who’ve spurned her.

Khalil, who is half Algerian, has previously faced similar objectification but in a different way. Most notably during his college years. He attended an HBCU school (if I’m remembering correctly) where he was sometimes an outcast or other to experiment with because he was white. It took him a while to realize that and his mental health seeming to decline compounded those feelings of being less than a person and a man.

I appreciate the mental health rep in this book and how it deep dives into the stigma surrounding men’s mental health. The signs and symptoms of depression are depicted within raw, heartbreaking scenes where you can feel alongside Khalil his harsh self-loathing about not being good enough, not man enough. There’s no sugar-coating what Khalil is experiencing. And while some of these scenes may be to read (see content warning), it shines a bright light on the fact that mental health is nothing to be ashamed of and the importance of asking for help and having a support system.

There’s so much to love about Vanessa and Khalil as individuals and together. They are down-to-earth, hard-working, good people. Vanessa helps out with small businesses. Khalil’s barber shops operate in black communities. They support each other’s career and life goals in encouraging ways. They click in a way that’s so beautiful and inspiring, seeing each other for who they truly are as a person.

Getting Back In the Game was evocative, sweet, well-written, and relatable. I highly recommend adding this book to the top of your tbr list!

CW: depression, thoughts of suicide (see below for 24/7 resources)


24/7 Support That’s Here For You

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, self-harm, or harm to others, please seek help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line
www.crisistextline.org
US and Canada – Text HOME to 741741
United Kingdom – Text HOME to 85258
Ireland – Text HOME to 50808

National Alliance On Mental Illness
https://nami.org/Home
NAMI Helpline – Call 800-950-NAMI
Or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741

To Write Love On Her Arms
https://twloha.com/

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#PubDayTuesday: “All Night Long with a Cowboy” by Caitlin Crews

Image via NetGalley

“How Harriet and Jensen come to be together made this book a 5-star read for me. The growth of their relationship and as individuals was enthralling. The story wrapped up nicely with a big beautiful bow. Loved it!” (read full review)

 

ABOUT: If you play with fire…

One of the most notorious cowboys in Cold River, Jensen Kittredge always has willing women with sweet smiles vying for a place in his bed. So when the prissy high school librarian sidles up to him in the most disreputable bar in town with a scowl on her face, he has no idea what to make of it. Much less the attraction he feels toward the bespectacled creature who wants something from him… but not that. Yet.

Someone gets burned…

Harriett Barnett doesn’t care for dens of iniquity— or the insolent cowboy she certainly shouldn’t find attractive. But one of her students needs her help, and if she needs to corral the infamous Jensen to save him, she will. Trouble is, the town’s favorite Kittredge brother is a lot more than she bargained for. Harriett’s happy little life is orderly and neat, just how she likes it—until Jensen blows it all apart with his particular brand of addictive passion. Can a modern-day schoolmarm really tame the wildest cowboy in town? Or is Harriet headed for a terrible fall?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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ARC Review: All Night Long with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! All Night Long with a Cowboy releases August 24, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Kittredge Ranch #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: If you play with fire…

One of the most notorious cowboys in Cold River, Jensen Kittredge always has willing women with sweet smiles vying for a place in his bed. So when the prissy high school librarian sidles up to him in the most disreputable bar in town with a scowl on her face, he has no idea what to make of it. Much less the attraction he feels toward the bespectacled creature who wants something from him… but not that. Yet.

Someone gets burned…

Harriett Barnett doesn’t care for dens of iniquity— or the insolent cowboy she certainly shouldn’t find attractive. But one of her students needs her help, and if she needs to corral the infamous Jensen to save him, she will. Trouble is, the town’s favorite Kittredge brother is a lot more than she bargained for. Harriett’s happy little life is orderly and neat, just how she likes it—until Jensen blows it all apart with his particular brand of addictive passion. Can a modern-day schoolmarm really tame the wildest cowboy in town? Or is Harriet headed for a terrible fall?

 

My Review: All Night Long with a Cowboy was an amazing story of perception versus reality, self-worth, and letting go of the past.

Harriet is a breath of fresh air who loves reading, learning and cats. Deemed odd by societal standards of “normal,” Harriet has struggled all her life with being on par with her peers until one day she decided that it wasn’t worth it (or practical). For instance, her choice of attire is often scrutinized as geriatric for someone her age, but Harriet dresses for comfort, not appearances. She’s a practical woman who grew up having a lot of freedom and independence (as long as she could make a sound argument to her academia parents).

And then there’s Jensen, the second eldest Kittredge son who is known for being popular, fun-loving, and easy-going. He loves horses, ranching and the company of women (kept strictly at arms length!). But there’s more to Jensen than he publicly allows to be seen. He’s spent years crafting and perfecting a persona until it’s become second nature. Low expectations, high reward. The actual reason for his persona was very surprising.

In the small town of Cold River, Colorado, people have assumptions about certain characters that don’t come close to the depth of who they are as a person. Harriet is seen as undesirable or someone to feel sorry for because of the way she thinks, speaks and dresses. Jensen is a clown and kind of a heartbreaker who’s been with a lot of women and isn’t serious. A secondary character, Aidan Hall, is a teenager genetically destined to be a delinquent because of the disreputable family he was born into. I understood but disliked the town’s blanket assumptions about members of the Hall family because it traps kids like Aidan in a vicious cycle of expected bad behavior.

Harriet and Jensen are my new favorite fictional couple. I loved their unexpected attraction and the progression of their relationship. It was sweet and slow building blocks, a connection on a far deeper level than just sexual intimacy. Harriet’s frankness breaks through his carefully constructed persona. Right away, she sees him for him and not what he’s typically perceived as. Likewise, Jensen makes Harriet consider things she thought she’d long ago set aside as unnecessary or not for her. They both had to reexamine their own self-worth and decide if what they truly want is worth the risk of getting hurt or even if they’re deserving of a happily ever after at all.

How Harriet and Jensen come to be together made this book a 5-star read for me. The growth of their relationship and as individuals was enthralling. The story wrapped up nicely with a big beautiful bow. Loved it!


More by Caitlin Crews

Kittredge Ranch
Secret Nights with a Cowboy (#1)

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Book Reviews

[#PubDayTuesday] Book Review: Open Your Heart by Cheris Hodges

*advanced kindle copy won in a Goodreads Giveaway*

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Richardson Sisters #3
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Their family’s historic bed-and-breakfast in Charleston, South Carolina, is a legacy the four very different Richardson sisters are determined to protect at all costs. But sudden passion is a seductive–and dangerous–complication…

For fashion boutique owner Yolanda Richardson, coming home is a matter of life and death. Witness to a brutal crime, her family’s quiet B&B is her only refuge until she can testify against the perpetrator. But her reserved hired bodyguard, Charles Montgomery, is anything but safe. His icy cool-under-fire–and hidden intensity–is too explosive for Yolanda to resist…

Love always equals loss–Charles knows that hard equation all too well. Controlling his emotions keeps his clients from harm–and his heart safe. Yolanda’s beauty and headstrong spirit have him wanting her in all kinds of ways. But for her own protection, he has to do his best to keep her at arm’s length. Until unexpected danger and lethal misunderstandings put their survival–and any chance at a future together–on the knife-edge…

 

My Review: This is the first story I read by Cheris Hodges and I really liked it! Open Your Heart was a charming love story.

I admire Yolanda’s independence to strike out on her own and open up her own fashion boutique. She’s got a good head on her shoulders but can be incredibly stubborn when she wants to. There were small moments when she was a tad whiny and her behavior towards Charles unfounded. But I liked her character all the same and how far she’s willing to go to protect her family from danger.

Charles is a swoon-worthy love interest who takes his job very seriously. Though very good at what he does, he has his work cut out for him trying to keep Yolanda safe. I like that he’s not afraid to be real with her about how dire the situation is, though that hot and cold does cause some friction between them. It’s also a struggle at times to maintain his logic and reason around Yolanda when he’s so drawn to her. To both their frustrations Charles holds himself back but for truly tragic reasons. His path towards healing and a second chance at love was so sweet.

I love the relationship between Yolanda and her three other sisters. They argue and sometimes get on each other’s nerves. But it’s clear how much they love and are super protective of one another. The family’s close relationship is unshakable, which was nice to see within the story.

Overall, Open Your Heart was an entertaining romantic suspense. The characters were well written and interesting. The story kept my attention the entire time. And the romance between Yolanda and Charles was tantalizingly slow, sweet as can be, and steamy!

Open Your Heart is book 3 of 4 of the Richardson Sisters series. I’m looking forward to reading the other books featuring Yolanda’s sisters as I got to know them really well in this one.

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ARC Review: Her Renegade Cowboy by Lora Leigh


Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Her Renegade Cowboy goes on sale September 28, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Moving Violations #3
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: He will risk his life…

The oh-so-proper school teacher, Lily Donovan has learned, the hard way, that men are not to be trusted. Period. Until Levi Roberts, the new cowboy working at her cousin’s ranch, tempts her carefully-built resolve and awakens an all-consuming passion she thought lay dormant. But when she discovers his deadly secret, and her own secrets come to light, Lily unwittingly joins the lethal cat and mouse race between Levi and the man he’s been hunting for weeks.

To save her heart…

Former Ranger Levi Roberts has seen his fair share of deadly trouble during his years as a tough-as-nails operative. The ultimate expert in undercover investigations, he’s been tasked to find a man with a dangerous agenda in town. Routine work has been boring…until he runs into Lily, the prickly school teacher who tempts him like no other. Getting under her skin has been deliciously satisfying for his red-hot desire, but when Lily lands in the hands of the very man he’s been investigating, Levi will have to fight with every ounce of his heart and soul to save her—and to heal the heart he broke.

 

CW: abuse relationship and trauma (see end of post for 24/7 resources)

My Review: I really enjoyed Her Renegade Cowboy. It was intense, steamy, and had a great plot.

Lily is a spitfire who doesn’t trust men, especially after the trauma she endured over a year ago. Ever since she’s been secretly struggling to reclaim who she used to be. Her plans are somewhat thrown for a loop by her attraction to Levi. I like Lily’s personality and how close she is with her family, especially with her sister. She’s a tough cookie but has a soft, loving side and quick wit.

Levi is dedicated to his job, tasked with secretly protecting Lily as a new hire on her cousin’s ranch while at the same time hunting a fugitive. His fierce desire for Lily grows exponentially throughout the story, so much that he can’t seem to stay away. I liked Levi too but he really overstepped between his job and his pursuit of Lily. He’s definitely perfect for her and their romance is raging hot. But the truth was withheld for far too long because communication is key. I increasingly worried about how Lily would react just because of all she’s experienced and all she’s done to move on with her life.

There was never a dull moment that I flew through this book. Her Renegade Cowboy is a real page-turner. I liked how much Lily and Levi grew throughout. Lora Leigh really knows how to write a captivating and steamy romance. An enjoyable and satisfying read.


More by Lora Leigh

Moving Violations
Strong, Silent Cowboy (#2) – with Veronica Chadwick


24/7 Support That’s Here For You

National Domestic Violence Hotline
thehotline.org
espanol.thehotline.org
1-800-799-7233
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

National Alliance On Mental Illness
https://nami.org/Home
NAMI Helpline – Call 800-950-NAMI
Or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741

To Write Love On Her Arms
https://twloha.com/