Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance / NA
Release Date: 25th October, 2016
There’s a first time for everything.
Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.
When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.
Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.
Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.
Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.
READ THE FIRST CHAPTER HERE
Kindle Friends Forever: ✸✸✸✸✸ Stars
Reviewed by Rachel & Sharon Thérèse
This book is truly a labour of love in all aspects and we can’t praise the author enough for offering us such an extraordinarily well-written book. It warms your heart, makes you smile, plunders your hopes only to pick you up and give you back everything you’ve ever wished for. It’s difficult to put down but at the same time, this is a read to be savoured. Don’t rush it; turn the pages as if it were the last one and simply sit back and enjoy. Can it be read as a standalone? I think we’re going to be adventurous and say yes! As the saying goes, “Every book tells its story” and it couldn’t be more true in this series.
“Your fine here, Lark. Everything is fine.”
Sometimes we love so much and are so concerned for the well-being of others that we have to take a step back and give them space and time to heal. Zachariah has the patience and faith to do this. Even though he’s innocent, he’s old beyond his years and has an acuity we could all learn from. A tough start in life doesn’t stop the poor lad from making an effort to better his position. The simplest of things we take for granted were for him, huge. But he’s astute, picks things up quickly and to say he’s hard-working would be putting it lightly. In fact, he wore us out just reading about his willingness to help everyone who had been so kind to him since he’d found his sanctuary. Zach is a thinker. He keeps his feelings to himself, every move he makes is calculated and not one of them was disputable. And listen to this. . . he’s built like a freakin’ brick-house! But that isn’t the reason we fell head over heels for him. His generous heart won us over.
“I’ll be your Apostate Farm.
Lark Wainwright isn’t the ‘Wild Child’ she used to be. The support and love her parents have for her isn’t enough to overcome a traumatic experience. She’d lost her self-confidence for reasons to be revealed in the story; nonetheless, she’s desperately trying to get her old sassy-self-back. She puts on a brave face and goes to visit her bestie. Her destiny’s place is her refuge. But is it? If we’d had the opportunity to land where she did, we’d be in our element and we thought it had the perfect ambience for her recovery. However, all is not what it seems.
“I was such a perfect wreck.”
Lark is surrounded by the most comprehensible family that anyone could ask for. They’re all delightful, so damn lovable and don’t ask questions. We have to include the man who runs the show with the precision of a Swiss watch and whose grumpiness never outweighed his concern for Lark. Or for that matter, the love of his life, his family or his workers. Griffin. Ooh, for the likes of our mere souls, this guy is in the whole of the series, our man!
“Have fun Wild Child. Stay loose, Zach.”
Since every single one of Griff’s family have their own well-developed characters and their own day to day problems exquisitely described by the author, you must read this book to appreciate the utter beauty of it. All the goings on at Shipley farm which for us, was paradise, is much more than we could have imagined. The scenery, orchards and the process of picking, distilling and getting the end product to the market is a lesson in itself. Reading this series will provoke your taste buds to try such as is the variety of apples grown on Griffin’s farm. You’ll want to taste the scrumptious apple tarts, mouth-watering cakes, jelly, jam or better still, their finest cider made from the best apples on the planet!
“What’s on the agenda today”
Now then, we have to mention how delightful is was watching Zach and Lark’s relationship blossom. Oops, pun unintended! It’s not an easy-peasy ride for these two young adults. Zach has trust issues and Lark is afraid she’ll break the most beautiful man who has ever entered her world. They have to find themselves, learn to reach out to each other and while the clock is ticking away, make some life-changing decisions. Their chemistry is undeniable, though. We were so grateful that the author held back on the passionate scenes. If you like reads where the protagonists jump into the sack and wham bam thank you ma’am, you might be a tad disappointed. That being said, their constant eye contact blinded us and we loved how the sexual tension simmered just below the surface. Wait for it though. . . it’s coming. When it does explode, we were left breathless! We never expected ugly cry moments which consequently reduced us to a babbling mess, so get your man-sized tissues ready!
“Sex is ten percent skill and ninety percent listening. Who’s a better listener than you?
“What am I listening for?”
“You’ll know as soon as you hear it.”
The companionship, light-hearted ribbing and overflowing banter in a solid plot sold us lock, stock and barrel. The story is told in past tense which isn’t one of our fave narrative techniques. Nonetheless, never once was our reading enjoyment hindered by it. The dual point of view used was a real plus as we had the opportunity to delve into the thoughts of Zach and Lark.
“Is it egotistical of me to ask whether I’ve ever made it into your best dreams?”
“They’re all about you.”
After getting to know all members of this family so well, one of us was a bit concerned at the ending. There isn’t a cliffy as such but she felt there was space for more revelations and would’ve liked to have seen the celebration of an important event. With a sigh of relief on her part, a little dicky bird whispered in her ear and now she’s a happy bunny! Ms Bowen, this offering is a true KEEPSAKE! Keep on writing ‘cause we’ll definitely keep on reading. . . BRAVO!
A couple of our fave quotes:
“Maybe you had pleasant dreams after four thirty. But after treating the rest of us to basically a porno sound track, it was woody city in the bunk room.”
“I’m so sick of being of afraid.”
“You don’t have to be anymore. If anyone wants to get you, they’ll have to go through me.”
The True North Series
Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and New Adult fiction from the wilds of Vermont.
Her Ivy Years and Brooklyn Bruisers books are hockey romance novels. These two connected series began breaking hearts in 2014 with The Year We Fell Down. See http://www.sarinabowen.com for updates.
HIM and US are the bestselling, hockey LGBT novels co-written with Elle Kennedy. HIM is also a finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award.
For lovers of angsty snowboarders, Sarina also writes the Gravity series, featuring snow sports heroes.
Sarina enjoys skiing, coffee products and a nice glass of wine. She lives with her family, six chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.
She would be honored to connect with you at http://www.sarinabowen.com.
Author’s social site media links:
Why not get in touch with Sarina? She’d love to hear from you!
The whole world might be in love with him. But all he’s ever loved is her.
Grant Turner’s name is synonymous with football. The fans and media can’t get enough of the player known as The Invincible Man, a nickname he earned while growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country and the nickname he’s kept by being one of the best players in professional football today. No one can take him down. He’s unstoppable.
But even a suit of armor has its weak point, and Grant’s has always been Ryan Hale.
They were a couple of kids when they fell in love, and just when it looked like the happy ending neither expected was within reach, Ryan disappeared. No explanations. No good-byes.
Grant coped by throwing himself into the game for seven years, and he’s finally moved on. Or so he thinks.
When she walks back into his life, all of those feelings come crashing back, despite the warnings in his head that tell him she’ll leave him again. Grant can withstand the league’s toughest defensive line, but he’s always been weak where she’s concerned.
No man can take Grant Turner down.
But one woman certainly can.
One woman will.
Kindle Friends Forever
5 ★ Review by Sharon Thérèse
And this is what it is! A truly touching read. My heartstrings were pulled on to the limit, I cried, laughed and fell head over heels with two absolutely gorgeous characters that had me enthralled from chapter one to the very last page. Ms Williams has told their story with such sensitivity and feeling making this standalone novel a very difficult one to put down. In fact, interruptions were frowned upon and while drying my tears or chuckling to myself, funny looks were thrown my way!
I couldn’t find fault with this read. The storyline flows constantly, it has just the right amount of witty banter and believe me, touching scenes made me want to jump into my Kindle and give them both a hug. My first one would have been for Ryan Hale. My heart went out to her. After seven years away from her hometown, she goes back to say goodbye to someone very dear to her and explain to her childhood sweetheart why she’d disappeared into thin air. She can’t find the right words though. The boy she was in love with, her hero, is now a strapping young man and has no wish to listen to the girl who broke him.
“Where did that troubled, hot-headed boy I grew up with go?”
Actually, I got a tad annoyed with Grant Turner to start off with and gave him a proverbial telling off. When the opportunity arises she plucks up the courage and ooh my, what he hears provokes such an emotional response that I couldn’t help but feel sorry for both of them.
“That was another lifetime, Ryan. Another fucking life. We’ve moved on, and that’s behind us now. Let’s leave it there, okay?”
Depending on what angle I looked at Ryan’s reasoning, I think her decision not to tell Grant before must have been a difficult one. On the one hand, she was selflessly concerned about how it would have affected his future. On the other, he had had a right to know. Between a rock and a hard place, now she’s got no choice but to divulge what she’s been hiding from him. So Grant’s reaction to the news didn’t surprise me in the least. Knocked sideways, I felt his frustration, his hurt and his resentment. Regardless of so many years apart, he can still read her like an open book. And he wants to know what else she’s keeping back from him.
“You were the one person in the world I never wanted to hurt, and I was the one who hurt you more than any one person ever deserves. I’m so sorry.”
If there’s anything more crystal clear in this read, it has to be their undying love. It had never wavered. Not. For. One. Second! Now they’ve found each other again, he welcomes destiny with open arms. Grant realises forgiving her isn’t an issue, literally grabs the bull by the horns and accepts what happened, happened. He knows the consequences will change his very existence but wait for it, something much bigger than he could ever have imagined sends this professional footballer built like a tank and invincible into a tailspin. Yep, she drops another bombshell!
“What are you trying to tell me?” “Just give it to me. I can take it. You don’t need to ease me into this.”
Grant is the best team member, the best player and the fastest. I loved Grant’s inner-strength. Never once did he shy away from problems or responsibilities and tackled them like the brilliant sportsman he is. Confronted with the hardest game of their lives, these two lovers fight it together to win. Losing is not an option. Grant knows he’s going to have to be stronger than ever because there’s too much at stake.
“Despite whatever’s come between us, you have always been and will always remain the closest thing to family I’ve ever had.”
I had the immense pleasure of meeting one of the most unforgettable characters ever in this read. If I say any more about them, I would undoubtedly spoil this book for you which I have no wish in doing. Just one-click and you’ll find out for yourselves who I’m talking about. My sista-in-arms, Rachel, asked me whether she should buy it or not. My answer was simple. God yes, it’s a masterpiece! I was so invested in Ryan and Grant’s story that stopping to highlight quotes or jot down notes was totally overlooked. After finishing, I went back in and virtually reread it. Ms Williams, you have written a gem of a book. I. Loved. It! The epilogue . . . WOW! I’ll most definitely be reading Touching Down again. Another thing I’d like to mention is the author is donating ten percent of the net proceeds to charity. How cool is that! What can I say that I haven’t already except BRAVO!
“I like your book, Grant Turner.”
“That’s good. Since you’re on every page in that book.”
“How many men after me?” His forehead creased as he asked his question, setting down his fork.
His question surprised me. “What?”
“How many men have you been with since you were with me?”
I swallowed the bite of onion ring and set down what was left of it. Wolfing down fried food didn’t pair well with this type of conversation. “Like how many guys have I dated? Had as boyfriends?” My weight shifted on the counter stool I was situated on. “Had sex with?”
Grant’s jaw tensed, but he relaxed it right after. He answered me by lifting a shoulder.
The longer I took to answer, the more he looked like he was bracing himself for a full-on dissertation. Little did he know my answer to his questions could be summed up in one breath.
“I haven’t had any boyfriends since you,” I admitted, feeling kind of silly admitting it. At the same time, I felt strong. I’d never felt the need to fill a void in my life with a man. I’d never needed a man to define me. What Grant and I had had was special, and what we’d created together was even more special. I wasn’t about to let some shmuck looking to get a little piece of ass cheapen my whole experience with relationships.
The corners of Grant’s mouth were twitching, but he didn’t let the smile form. “What about dates?”
I leaned toward him. “Same story.”
He let the smile form then.
“And I thought we’d agreed to move on from the dating topic earlier tonight.” Giving him the look didn’t faze him—it never really had. Even my most impressive Look.
“Fine. No more talk about dating.” He lifted his hands in the air and pretended like he was getting back to finishing up the last few remnants of our gluttonous feast. When he just kept twirling the same fry in a gob of ketchup, I knew he hadn’t moved on yet. “How many have you had sex with?”
“Grant . . .”
“I need to know, Ryan. I know I don’t have any right to know. I also know you had a right to sleep with whoever you wanted.” He paused, his face looking like he was being tortured. “I just need to know.”
My lungs felt like limp bags when I thought about answering his question. Not because I was embarrassed or ashamed or anything like that, but because he’d know once I told him. He’d know the reason why, and he’d know he was that reason why.
He’d know I’d never really moved on from him, and I couldn’t have him knowing that because I needed to keep a careful distance between us. I needed to protect him, not from himself this time, but from me.
But even though I knew all of that, I also knew that the truth had never been optional when it came to Grant and me. Never a choice. The truth wasn’t what we picked when it was convenient. It had been the standard from the beginning, and if I had anything to do with it, it would remain the standard to the end.
The truth. I’d told him almost everything I had to. Almost. The one last thing I was withholding would have to come out soon.
“You were the first person I had sex with, Grant Turner.”
He slowly twisted toward me, his legs spreading wide, tucking around the outsides of mine. His hands lowered to my kneecaps, like he was trying to show me that no matter how I answered, he still wanted to be here with me—eating greasy food in an old diner that had already locked its doors.
One of my hands covered one of his. “And you were the last person I had sex with too.” It came out in one long exhale, my fingers braiding tighter through his with each word.
He was quiet for a minute. And then another. When his silence continued, my eyes lifted to see what was the matter.
His forehead was folded in half a dozen creases, his eyes narrowed in confusion. “Are you saying . . .?” He leaned in closer, confusion settling deeper.
“You’re the last person I had sex with.” I thought I’d spelled it out pretty solidly before.
His face ironed out, blinking like he was just waking up. “Does that mean . . .?”
I sighed. “I haven’t had sex in seven years? Yeah. That’s what it means.”
Glancing behind the counter, I made sure the owner and cook, who’d generously agreed to let us stay late, were still way in the back and preoccupied with something other than the conversation happening at the two end counter stools.
Grant leaned closer, his head moving just outside of mine. His breath was just rushed enough to notice. “Are you saying I’m the last man you’ve had inside you?”
His words surprised me, sending a shiver winding down my spine. I didn’t want him to know that his question or his proximity or his labored breaths were affecting me, but they were. I was feeling very, very affected in certain locations of my body.
“I think that’s the general definition of sex, yeah,” I answered, glancing down to make sure nothing too obvious was showing through the thin material of the dress. Thank god I’d gone with the thicker lined bra, because Grant’s eyes followed mine a moment later.
When my gaze dropped to a certain spot on his body, I found his own arousal not so easily disguised. It made the inhale I’d been taking sound more like more of a gasp than a breath. He knew what I was looking at, he knew what was on display, and he didn’t do anything to adjust or hide it. He wanted me to know. He wanted me to see.
Realizing that sent a rush of pleasure through my body, pooling between my legs.
“I’m going to kiss you, Ryan.” His head nuzzled my neck. “I should probably ask permission, but fuck, I don’t want to, because I have to kiss you. Whether you think it’s a good idea or not.”
My arms went limp, my legs following, from the sickness I had for this man. The one that crippled me. The one that paralyzed me. My eyes squeezed closed when his face came around in front of mine. “You don’t want to kiss me, Grant.”
He pulled me closer. “Like hell I don’t.”
Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.
Title: Roman Crazy
Authors: Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci
Series: Broads Abroad #1
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: 13th September, 2016
Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy, licking her wounds—and perhaps a gelato or two. But when her American-expat friend throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop when she sees a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.
Marcello was the man—the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious! And so is Marcello…
Slipping easily into the good life of summertime in Rome, Avery spends her days exploring a city that makes art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over her unexpected what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could this really be her new life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twin-set cardigans and crustless sandwiches?
A celebration of great friendship, passionate romance, and wonderful food, Roman Crazy is a lighthearted story of second chances and living life to the fullest.
ROMAN CRAZY EXCERPT
What other authors are saying about ROMAN CRAZY
KINDLE FRIENDS FOREVER
4 ★ Review by Rachel & Sharon Thérèse
There was always this nugget of hope that somehow, someway our paths might cross again and I’d be granted the privilege of seeing this man once more, to remember what I knew so well, what I loved so dearly.
Mama mia! ‘Vivere la vita’ is an Italian way of life and how better to experience it by reading this book. It will take you on a journey set in summer in one of the most historical cities in the world, Rome. A strong sensation of déjà vu hit us and lingered from the beginning of Avery’s voyage to the very last page. Since we’ve both been fortunate enough to have visited this amazing place on more than one occasion, we truly felt like we were walking on the cobblestone streets alongside the story’s characters. Vespa scooters whizzed past us, cars hooted constantly and the smell of delicious food wafting through the air reached our taste buds. Mouth-watering, eh? The authors certainly built up our appetite when explaining the necessary ingredients for making such delicious dishes. In other words, the descriptive writing is meravigliosa!
“Mr. Pickpocket did get my favourite lipstick and a starlight mint.”
“A starlight mint huh?”
“I wanted to have fresh breath when I arrived.”
“I hear that. There’s so many hot men in this city, sometimes you just never know when you’re going to fall on one of their mouths.”
The first chapter stunned us. Well, we weren’t the only ones to be left with our mouths wide open and although Avery tried to take it lightly, she couldn’t! So she did what most women would do under her situation—face the music. Ooh boy, sorry mums-in-law but Avery’s takes the cake. Avery’s handling of such a delicate issue had us in fits of laughter, her decision to do something about it, we applauded. Actually, both of us discussed as to whom wrote this scene and many others and despite us having our suspicions, we’re not letting on!
“I always forget how funny you think you are, Avery. Daniel always was fond of your sense of humour.”
Our feelings for the man who caused her to take the initiative was what the heck! A wimp with a capital W! In the blink of an eye, her life with him had become a sham, had to be sorted out and opened our eyes as to how the other half lives. Hmm. . . we didn’t care for it a bit.
“So what’s up? Seriously what’s up?”
“What else do you want me to say? What can I do for you? How can I help you? Are you lost? Sorry I left you hanging about the dry cleaning?”
“What’s up is that I wanted to see you. To talk to you, and make sure that we’re doing the right thing here.”
Avery had chosen the life she lived for reasons to be divulged well into the book. Only then did we understand why she didn’t carry on with her passion. Her true colours shine brightly in Rome though. How could they not? Rome awoke her senses; she’s artistically in her element, hungry to know more…, and of course, being with her bestie Daisy was just what she needed. Ooh, and we have to mention Daisy’s generous heart. Inquisitive and witty, she encourages Avery in every possible way. We couldn’t help but adore how she brought out her friend’s sassiness; teases and more important, gives sound advice. Even so, neither of us argued about who our favourite character was. The joy of seeing Avery find her bearings in her new surrounding was what made this story.
“Hairy is never a good word to describe anything. Unless it’s a redheaded prince of England.”
Marcello and the ambience he is in shows Avery that you can be happy and don’t have to be surrounded by luxury or live a charade. We adored the friendly and working relationship he has with Daisy who had absolutely no idea that he and Avery have history. What we didn’t care for was one of his actions; nonetheless, this is real, what happens and wasn’t candy-coated over.
“Turn around so I can fix my shirt.”
“You know I have seen you. All of you. Many times.”
“That was college-age Avery. Before things started shifting and sinking like your Colosseum.”
We really enjoyed the flashbacks which put us in the picture regarding past events, but we felt some of them could have been enhanced a tad. However, we did learn that Avery missed the boat and regretted it. Now she has a second chance and doesn’t want miss it again. Not everything is what it seems and she takes a long while to come to grips with what she’d done. How it comes to light gave us the tension we yearned for. She eats humble pie, puts her big girl panties on and deals with it!
“Do I pick one of the ninety-five thousand churches to confess in, or is Rome just so holy that you yell your sins outside at the sky and wait for judgement to befall you?”
The build-up is slow boil. What we were offered beforehand was a sightseeing tour of all the most symbolic monuments in a city that doesn’t sleep. And it’s not in the slightest bit exaggerated. We have to put emphasis on the fact that whatever hour of the day or opportunity the Romans have to meet up with friends, there is always time to savour their wholesome cuisine washed down with a glass of wine.
“Come, let’s go home. I’d thought a nice walk through the gardens would be a nice way to end the day, but ….”
“But now all I can think about is getting you into bed. Or up against that cabinet in the entryway. I am not picky.”
When Marcello and Avery go to the next level, steaminess abounds. Gosh, there is nothing like a Latin lover and no wonder they have the reputation for being so chivalrous, hot and totally into keeping their loved ones close to them.
“What do you want Avery? Tell me.”
“You know what I want.”
Told in past tense from Avery’s point of view, we’re crossing our fingers that in follow-up we’ll see what Marcello has to say. This gorgeous guy certainly deserves to be heard and if not, well, we can’t wait to go back into town and find out what’s on the cards for Daisy. Bravo Ms Clayton and Ms Bocci for offering us a fun read and for making us laugh out loud.
For more super-sexy-gorgeous teasers click HERE
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
ALICE CLAYTON worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read laptop).
She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her.
Now, about that Bernese Mountain dog.
NINA BOCCI is a novelist, publicist, eternal optimist, unabashed lipgloss enthusiast, constant apologist, and a hopeless romanticist. She has too many college degrees that she’s not using, and a Lego addiction that she blames on her son.
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Title: The Protector
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 6th September, 2016
THE NEW STANDALONE NOVEL FROM
THE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF
‘THIS MAN TRILOGY’ AND ‘ONE NIGHT TRILOGY’
People think they have Camille Logan nailed: daddy’s girl; beautiful, spoiled young woman with her father’s bank balance to fund her lifestyle. But Camille is determined to have a life free from his strings. Out on her own, she’s made mistakes, including one that found her clawing her way back after a stint in rehab and plenty of bad press. Now, after fighting so hard to be independent and happy, she finds her life threatened as a result of her father’s ruthless business dealings. Caught between resentment and fear, Camille prepares herself for the measures her father will take to protect her. But nothing could prepare her for the ex-SAS sniper who crashes into her life.
Jake Sharp resides in his own personal hell. He was distracted from duty once before, and the consequences were devastating–both personally and professionally. He vowed never to let that happen again. Accepting the job of bodyguard to Camille Logan isn’t the kind of distraction from his demons he should take. Women and Jake don’t mix well, yet protecting the heiress seems the lesser of two evils. But Jake soon discovers that she isn’t the woman she’s perceived to be. She’s warm, compassionate, her presence settling, and his duty to protect her soon goes deeper than a well-paid job, no matter how hard he fights it. He needs absolution. He comes to need Camille. But he knows he can’t have both.
Kindle Friends Forever: Reviewed by Rachel & Sharon
**ARC kindly received by Orion Books via NetGalley for an honest review**
We’re both huge fans of Jodi’s books so when were invited to read and review her new offering, we jumped at the chance. Different from what we’ve read before since all previous books have been trilogies, our delight was tenfold seeing that this is her first standalone. Told from dual points of view in present tense just happens to be at the top of our list, too! So what more could we possibly have asked for? Well, there’s no doubt Ms Malpas has delivered. Her words have a way of getting under your skin, draw you into the story to such an extent that we were left overwhelmed and wanting more. The banter isn’t overflowing though. We thought we’d miss it; however, the authors’ modus operandi which isn’t her usual one, effectively allowed us to get inside the protagonists’ heads giving us the opportunity for an in-depth look into their personal issues. Putting it lightly, we have to say that we were taken aback by them.
“Does it swallow you up like it does me? Does it consume you so much you think you might never break free? Tell me you feel the same. Tell me I’m not alone.”
Jake Sharp and Camille Logan’s backgrounds aren’t at all comparable. Not an insta-love by any means, the chemistry kicks in almost instantly. It’s a very hands off situation they’re in. Neither of them are over the moon about spending 24/7 together for reasons to be divulged, although we couldn’t help but love the friction this caused. The age gap. This detail didn’t concern us in the slightest. In fact, it gave a depth and realism to the story which we easily related to. Albeit the plot being an extremely well-thought-out one; strong and perfectly structured, it took us a while to really get into it. That being said, the element of surprise is there and shook us. The blurb. We read it before reading the book but would suggest that future readers don’t do the same so as not to be influenced. Regardless, it only scratches the surface of a really complex love-entangle. One factor which swayed us was the metaphorical phrase, ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Taken in its pure sense, it couldn’t have been more fitting when a scene kicks in depicting this outstanding couple. Jump for joy, we did! And if it were ever possible to fall even more head over heels for Jake, we did, too!
. . . I haven’t a burning need to unravel the puzzle that is Jacob Sharp. I want to know so I can help him. Because I love him.
Him…Lord above! As you can see, it’s obvious that we’re enamoured with Jake. We felt ourselves melting into his arms so can you imagine you how Camille felt? Most of the time this sassy, independent and truly sensible lass had no idea what was going on around her or who would steal her heart. Hmm… Jake is cold, totally professional and has had a really daunting past he’s still having trouble coping with. Yet this drop-dead gorgeous bossy man who’s constantly punishing himself in ways you will see, has a job to do and it’s not exactly what he’s used to or to his liking. What he wants isn’t up for discussion when the carrot is dangled in front of him. He accepts the challenge by someone he has little respect for and discovers that there is much more to the assignment than meets the eye. Investing in Jake as the saying goes, was piece of cake. Investing in Camille was a yes underlined!
“I’m not going to tell you that it isn’t true. I’m not proud of it. I screwed women. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“No, I won’t. When I couldn’t distract myself with work, that’s all I had. They were faceless women, angel. I see you.”
What sold us was despite her privileged upbringing, she’s not spoilt, stands up for herself and doesn’t want to rely on anyone for anything. She’s also had her fair share of problems and only her iron-will to overcome them keeps her on the right path. She certainly earned ours and Jake’s respect. She’s so much more open with her feelings. He’s a closed book, not proud of a past happening and it’s going to take a lot of patience on Camille’s part to get through to him. The gravity of his mistake is revealed well into the read, and only then did we realise why he was so affected by it. But his confessions aren’t going to stop Camille giving him a run for his money… pun unintended! Camille’s a tad annoyed that she’s had her wings clipped and it’s not until a very unfavourable event takes place that it’s brought home to her that all this bodyguard business is not just a double-edged sword. Of course, there’s plenty of cloak and dagger goings on and far too close to home for comfort. The cause for nail-biting scenarios is right under her nose and made us squirm. To think that someone you trust could go to such lengths to cover up their tracks at the cost of someone dear we found horrifying.
“You calm me, regardless of the fact that you’ve actually made my life the most chaotic it’s ever been. You’ve found me, despite the fact that I never wanted to be found.”
As per usual, Jodi’s character development is of the highest quality. We loved how she’d entwined witty comebacks into their dialogue and Camille teasing Jake not only exasperated him, but also made us laugh our socks off! Yeh, there’s no doubt whatsoever that he needed a little distraction in his life and she was the one to give it to him. Even though she has a complicated relationship with one of the members of her family, she’s blessed with other folk who are always concerned for her well-being. But what we really have to mention is our favourite part of the book and it was the ending! Never before has a chapter evoked such strong emotions from us and we were completely blindsided by it in a truly amazing way. Up until this point, it had all been about Camille and Jake, but on the fringes of their story we were given snippets of another character that plays a very significant role; nonetheless, we didn’t get to meet them. We couldn’t possibly tell you who this person is as it would spoil the book totally. What we can tell you is that it brought us to our knees!
“Where do you want it to be?”
“You’re my home now. Wherever you are that’s my home.”
If you’re already a fan of this author’s works like us, or if you’ve yet to dip your toes into her marvellous world of alpha males, then we highly recommend you read this new standalone. We guarantee that you’ll be enthralled by this couple from chapter one to the very last page! Bravo Ms Malpas and well played!
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Buy the Book in the UK!
About the Author:
Jodi was born and raised in the Midlands town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys and a beagle. She is a self-professed daydreamer, a Converse & mojito addict, and has a terrible weak spot for Alpha Males.
Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters has become her passion – a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.
She’s now a proud #1 New York Times bestselling author – all six of her published novels having hit the New York Times bestsellers list – as well as a Sunday Times bestseller and international bestseller. Her work is published in over 20 languages across the world.
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