In Erin’s Kiss by Lora Leigh, ex-Marine Turk has become Erin’s sworn protector. The consistent target of her CIA-operative brother’s deadly foes, Turk is the only port Erin has to cling to in a storm. He promised her brother long ago never to touch her—but how can he resist a woman who aches to be with him as much as he burns for her?
In misTaken by Laurelin McGee, Jaylene Kim is a strong independent woman whose feminist values run deep. Even though attractive men are her weakness the last thing she wants is one telling her what to do. Until she meets her mysterious new neighbor. He makes her realize that you can still be strong and relinquish control . . . in the bedroom. But as their passion consumes them both Jaylene isn’t so sure he is who he says he is.
In Burn for Me by Shiloh Walker, Tate longs to spend his nights with Ali, a woman he’s loved for years. But while Ali’s heart pines to be with Tate, her head has reservations. Ali knows that Tate has never forgiven his father for the fight he had with his mother right before she left the house—and was never heard from again. Tate’s unresolved anger is a force to be reckoned with . . . but the heat that blazes between them is undeniable. Now both Tate and Ali are left to wonder: Can love really conquer all?
In Tangled by Kate Douglas, Nate shows up to work at Tangled Vineyards ready to do all the things he loves best—work with his hands, grow the grapes, and craft award-winning, full-bodied wines. But when something better comes along in the form of Cassie, the winemaker and former owner of the vineyard, Nate becomes completely love-drunk. Getting involved with Tangled’s number-one mixologist is a bad way to start off a new job, but with Cassie as a constant temptation, Nate doesn’t stand a chance…
Hot Alphas proved to be a great anthology and while I have my favorites among the novellas included, I enjoyed them all immensely.
ERIN’S KISS (Wounded Warriors #3) by Lora Leigh – 5 stars
Erin’s Kiss was a hot and steamy read that I flew through. The chemistry between Turk and Erin is intense and that translates into one freaking hot bout of wall sex the first time Turk finally gives in to his desire for Erin. But Ms. Leigh is not only skilled at crafting hot sex scenes, she also applies her considerable talent to creating tension-filled romantic suspense plots and this novella was no different. I loved how well she weaved the cloak and dagger elements with the romance and that in the end our big bad alpha was willing to do whatever it took to get his woman. I look forward to reading more from this author and this series.
MISTAKEN by Laurelin McGee – 4 stars
misTaken was a great combination of sexy and funny. While I felt awful for Jaylene as she recounted her disastrous blind date, I laughed my butt off and was delighted when Ms. McGee continued to deliver the same level of humor throughout the novella – pea zombies and F-bomb dropping squirrels were among my favorites. Even better was how Jay shed the negativity of the date and managed to befriend Noah as she was leaving her friends’ apartment. During their conversation, Noah and Jay discover they have a lot in common and while each finds the other physically attractive, it is their intellect and mutual interest in literature that really fans the flames between them. While I really liked Jay, I was so glad when Noah and Lacey called her out over her judgments regarding women who enjoy D/s books or are sexually submissive – I loved how the author used the novella for a little “preaching,” even if it was to the choir. As Jay and Noah spend time together, the author drops hints that helped me figure out what Noah’s profession was long before Jay did. But thankfully by the time Jay found out, she was already head over heels for him and reconciling what she’d been taught she should believe as a feminist and how she actually responded to Noah’s dominance in the bedroom. This was a great little read and I’ll be checking out more of Ms. McGee’s work.
BURN FOR ME (Secrets & Shadows #0.5) by Shiloh Walker – 5 stars
Burn for Me is the reason I signed up to review the Hot Alphas anthology. I actually started reading the Secrets & Shadows series with the second novella, Break for Me, and never got a chance to go back and read Burn for Me (although apparently I bought it and didn’t remember doing it). Having read all of the other two novellas and three novels in the series, it was nice to go back and read Tate’s story to find out just how he and Ali got together. While Break for Me got me hooked on the series and Ms. Walker’s writing, I have no doubt that Burn for Me would have done the same had I read it first – especially with that ending.
Truth be told, I’m actually glad I didn’t get to see this version of Tate and met him after the healing had already started. However, knowing the man that Tate becomes did not make this story any less emotional for me. The chemistry between Tate and Ali is apparent and not just because the novella starts with a sex scene (one of several seriously hot sex scenes). The story is written in such a way that the author gives us a little time in both Ali and Tate’s head, so we find out rather quickly that Ali loves Tate and has for years. Because Tate has put restrictions on their relationship to keep it at the friends with benefits level, she knows she can’t tell him how she really feels or she’ll lose him. But three years is a long time to love someone and only have part of him and Ali is beginning to question whether or not her heart can take it. I liked that while it was not an easy decision to come to, when Ali finally admitted that she was never going to have all of Tate and could no longer live that way she didn’t play games and give him an ultimatum. No, she told him straight out that she couldn’t see him anymore and why and didn’t give him a chance to change her mind. It was heartbreaking to watch because Ali didn’t do it expecting that Tate would suddenly profess his love for her, she did it knowing she was ripping her and his heart out and that it would end their friendship as well.
While it may not have been her intent, her breaking up with him forced Tate to reexamine his life and what he believed about his mother’s disappearance. This was the other big revelation for me as I was unaware of just how much Tate had blamed his father for his mother’s disappearance, how long their estrangement lasted, and how it affected everyone in his life that he was close to (his sisters and Ali). Witnessing the reconciliation between Tate and his father left me a blubbering mess both because it was good to see them reunite, but also because of the hard-learned and heartfelt advice his father gave him about love. Burn for Me was a great book and one I am so glad I finally got the chance to read. I really hope that Ms. Walker is planning to write more books in the Secrets & Shadows series because it’s one of my favorite romantic suspense series.
TANGLED by Kate Douglas – 4 stars
I do believe that this is the first book by Ms. Douglas I have read and boy is that a shame because if Tangled is representative of her writing, I’ll be adding her to my watch list. Normally I don’t like being told about the conversations that take place between characters, preferring to read the dialogue instead. But Ms. Douglas did it in a way that I didn’t feel cheated out of the experience and she provided enough detail that I connected with Nate and Cassie rather quickly. It was easy for me to understand why they both agreed to spend the night together before embarking upon their professional relationship. The author presented the story in such a way that I not only felt the passion they felt for one another, but also the passion they had for winemaking. I enjoyed the romantic suspense angle that she included as it ramped up the action and did so in believable way. Despite how quickly the relationship seemed to progress, it didn’t feel rushed. I really enjoyed the romance between Nate and Cassie and would love to read a follow-up about these two or see a series developed around the vineyard.