Monday, November 30, 2015

Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North

Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.

Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.

Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.

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Riptide  Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The Blueberry Boys was a bit of a surprise for me. I wasn't sure what to expect, but was hooked from the get-go. I enjoyed the author's voice, the easy flow of the story, & the emotional depth and character development.

I received a much-needed dose of warm & fuzzy, a side of angst, ending with believability.

What I enjoyed the most was the realistic feel to the story. Even the romance was fluid, not forced, & never entered over-the-top territory. Built over time, there was no insta anything.

Without the bells & whistles, overused tropes, & the addition of eroticism, Blueberry Boys was a solid, well-written storyline that was as realistic & wholesome as it was scorching hot.

I look forward to reading more by this author.

Genre tags: M/M Romance | Small town boy vs city boy | Strong family roots | Artist (photog) vs laborer (farmer) | Realistic | The feels |

Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North to read and review.

Tryst by S.L. Jennings Blog Tour

From New York Times bestselling author S.L. Jennings comes another scandalously sexy, incredibly hot story about a woman who knows what she wants...and the two men who are dying to give her what she needs.

Heidi DuCane is a tough-as-nails publicist with a passion for success and her husband Tucker. While they’re polar opposites, what they do have in common is a fierce love and commitment to each other. But their relationship—in and out of the bedroom—will be put to the ultimate test.

Rock superstar Ransom Reed is every woman’s fantasy, including Heidi’s. When she meets Ransom, she shares a wild night with him where Heidi gets to play—and Tucker watches, and enjoys, the pleasure Ransom gives Heidi. Though Tucker was a willing participant, Heidi still can’t help reeling with guilt. There’s no doubt that she loves her husband. While Tucker is the perfect lover—generous, attentive and gentle—she needs much more. She needs the mind-blowing ecstasy Ransom offers.

Tucker isn’t blind to the fact that Heidi has unconventional needs which he can’t satisfy. He loves his wife and will do anything to please her. The night he watched her and Ransom was so scorching hot that Tucker can’t stop thinking about it. He decides he wants to join Ransom in pleasing Heidi. But as Tucker and Heidi soon realize, it’s not just the sex that is enticing. Heidi felt something within her awaken, and she felt so deliciously sated and loved by both men. Tucker felt it too, and he finds it impossible not to want that feeling again.

Ransom and Tucker satisfy a need within Heidi. And now that she’s had them, she can never go back to the way things were before.

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“I dare you…to let me touch your wife.”

An audible gasp escapes my kiss-swollen lips and turn to Tucker, awaiting his wrath. He returns Ransom’s intent stare, his expression unreadable. Yet, the younger man doesn’t back down, cocking a challenging brow at Tuck’s silence. He remains unmovable, a master at the art of restraint from his years as a shrink. No doubt he’s had to answer some odd questions, but never any involving his wife.

“I don’t let Heidi do anything. She has her own mind…her own body.”

“So maybe I should be asking her.” A sinister smile on his lips, Ransom angles his focus on me. “Heidi, would you let me touch you?”

My first reaction is to say no—hell no. But Tucker quickly grasps my knee, capturing my attention.

“This is what you want,” he whispers. “He…is what you want. And I can accept that. This is your fantasy, baby. Let me help you make it come true.”

I search his face, waiting for him to break into laughter, but he’s completely serious. My husband is telling me to let another man put his hands on me—his wife. This isn’t right. This isn’t what married people are supposed to do. But even as that rational part of my brain lists all the reasons why I shouldn’t allow this to go any further, my body is already tingling with anticipation. My face and chest are flush. My nipples harden in exhilaration. And my mouth waters with the prospect of tasting Ransom’s skin.

Oh, God. I do want this. And now the decision is mine and mine alone.

“So?” Ransom asks, awaiting our fate.

Say no.

Say no.

Grab Tucker’s hand and get the fuck out of here. Go home and make love to him. Let that kind, good, gentle man be enough.

Once again, Ransom Reed steals the truth from my lips, forcing me to abandon all decency and sanity. Making me take the sanctity of my marriage and soil it with my own slick arousal.

In one single breath, I shatter ten years of devotion, trust and love. And although I know what I’m destroying by lighting this fire, I can’t do much more than stand back and watch it all go up in flames.


Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Writing this review while that ending is still fresh in my mind may not be the best idea. This is the second book in the Sexual Education series. We are in the life of Heidi DuCane. The almighty publicist of Justice from book one, Heidi is one tough lady! Then we meet her husband, Tucker.

He's a pretty but bland and predictable psychiatrist, she met while in college. I did not really care much for Tucker. Yes, he seemed devoted enough to Heidi but he never really did a thing for me. Which I’m assuming the author intended, because bring in hot rock star, Ransom Reed. Let's just say, I forget all about Tucker. So, Ransom is on Heidi's "do" list, the one where if they were to ever meet she'd get a hall pass. Turns out Ransom is in need of a new publicist. The stoic, boring, doc Tucker, ends up engaging in quite a hot little tryst involving him, Heidi & Ransom when Heidi meets her new client for the first time and Tucker insists on joining her. Things get hot & heavy quick. Ransom can be what Tucker isn't for Heidi, a little rough and a lot passionate. Turns out Heidi likes things a little rougher since her attack long ago in college and Tucker just can’t seem to accommodate her. I couldn't put the book down while Heidi and Ransom struggle to keep their libidos, their passion and their attraction to one another in check, especially after the threesome that rocked their worlds! Heidi is trying to stay true to her husband Tucker and professional to Ransom. The angst and longing were so amazing I was on the edge of my seat most of the book, praying for Ransom and Heidi to break and give in to their longing. Then all sorts of things flew to hell. Heidi finds out Tucker is keeping secrets and so is Ransom! Then BAM, everything changes in one fell swoop and next thing you know...Tucker and Heidi live happily ever after? WHAT??? HOW? After all that happened? I was left reeling. WORST. ENDING. EVER! Where is Ransom? Then we get this lame epilogue that did nothing for me?! All I can hope is that Ransom's book is next, cuz that was horribly anticlimactic.

4.5 Stars
Wow. Okay. I was only semi excited to pick this book up to be honest. I didn't particularly care for the first book... but I can say I'm SO glad I did. It was AWESOME. I looooved this book... until the end.

First though, there were so many roller coaster emotions in this book. I was all over the place with the character as she tries to figure out what to do with her love life between her stoic, boring husband who can't give her what she needs and the hot as hell rocker she's had a thing for, for a long time who gives her EXACTLY what she needs.

I seriously couldn't put this book down. It was so great and well written. There are a lot of secrets and holy HOTNESS. Like seriously the hottest book I think I've read all year.

And then came the ending.... I didn't like it. Not at all. Seriously felt like a HUGE let down and that took away half a star. Almost a whole star because it felt like after everything we were back at the beginning with so many issues not fixed.

3.5 Stars
Tryst is the second book in the Sexual Education series. Heidi is running the show on this one with appearances from Justice.

I was so completely frustrated with this one!!

There is something taboo and hot about getting that "free pass" on the celebrity you've been crushing on. When Heidi's sex life is lacking, she deals with it. She loves her husband Tucker and can't imagine her life without him. Does he satisfy her? No, but it's something she is willing to deal with. When she lands the PR gig with Ransom she's placed in the company of the man who tops on her "hall pass" list. Tucker knows about the list and when the opportunity presents itself, they take it.

I was so digging the story. I was so pulling for Ransom the whole time. Then secrets were revealed on both sides and then the ending happened. One of the worst endings I have read recently. Not because I didn't agree with the outcome, it was just so....BAD. The epilogue didn't really give you anything either. It wasn't a cliff hanger or a HEA, it just was.

Told entirely from Heidi's point of view, the story starts with Heidi talking about her marriage to her perfect husband. I took an instant dislike to her and I never warmed up to her. Whinging about being married to a guy who would do anything for you – I wanted to slap her. It didn't matter because I was still fascinated by her relationship with her husband, Tucker. When addict and rock god Ransom is put into the mix things become more complicated. Heidi and Ransom are pulled to each other in a way that isn't healthy for anyone.

Heidi's marriage and life quickly become a disaster but I couldn't stop reading. While I felt more for both Tucker and Ransom I never felt emotionally invested with Heidi so when the story came to an end I was content. It felt right although even now I'm not sure Heidi deserved what she got.

The second in a series, although probably could be read as a standalone.

I am conflicted about how I feel about this book – because it doesn't follow convention. This is good, very good, and yet my brain had expected differently, so it is trying to pick fault! When it comes down to it, Ms. Jennings is an excellent writer, and her style is such that she can break the rules and surprise the reader, and get away with it successfully. It is the writing that draws you into the book – it is addictive. Other than the epilogue, everything is told from Heidi's point of view, which I think we soon work out may not be entirely accurate – but actually it is an essential part of the plot. If you have any doubts, please read on, as it does become clear why. To me the story is about the arrogance of man in believing that he can control the emotions of another – i.e. that he can play god. And about how life is not in constrained borders.

Thank you Ms. Jennings for making me really think.

Also Available in the Sexual Education Series
Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Taint Blog Tour.

S.L. Jennings is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance, reality TV junkie, obsessive coffee drinker and collector of crazy.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Tryst (Sexual Education #2) by S.L. Jennings to read and review for this tour.

Splendid Isolation by Helena Maeve

Old spies make dangerous hostages.

A prisoner at the tender mercies of the British Secret Intelligence Services, Manuel has to believe that trading freedom for protection was his only hope of avoiding payback for his crimes. Yet his chequered past is neither forgiven nor forgotten. Every day, Manuel is tasked with providing his handlers new intelligence about the bloodthirsty power players he once served. And if he refuses, there are consequences.

In charge of Manuel’s debriefing is Cole, a high-ranking Section officer whose history is intimately intertwined with Manuel’s misdeeds. He has made it his mission to unearth Manuel’s secrets, however long that takes. He will break Manuel because it is necessary. Avenging a broken heart has nothing to do with it.

But time is not on their side. When Manuel’s former employer targets the safe house where he is imprisoned, his usefulness as an asset is called into question. As old passions awaken, both Cole and Manuel discover that letting go of the past may not be as easy as they’d hoped.

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Book 3
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Pride Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I have read all three of the series, and can honestly say that this is the most confusing, but also the most interesting. I really enjoyed the first two, and the genre of spy, counter spy, etc. worked well, and I could see the possible exit points, etc. After reading this, I wanted to know more, and to know why, and ... well I guess they just got under my skin!

It is always very interesting when the main protagonist is ‘in theory’ the bad guy. Once you read how he is treated, and what his expectations are ... well it is difficult to decide who is good and who is bad – let alone why! That a long ago denied love affair somehow infiltrates the story ... well it is ... complex. I love the detail, the little things which ground the events in a plausible reality, and which make it all the more disturbing.

I shall be pondering this one for a while! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Also Available in the Shadow Play Series

Book 1
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Pride Publishing

For reviews & more info, check out our Best Kept Lies post.

Book 2
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Pride Publishing

For reviews & more info, check out our Price of Freedom post.

Helena Maeve has always been globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she's collected in her excursions. When she isn't writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Splendid Isolation (Shadow Play #3) by Helena Maeve to read and review.

Cowboy Kisses by Kandi Silvers

A stubborn cowboy, a meddlesome friend and a bachelor auction for charity—Kimberly Moore’s plans for a relaxing weekend away from the stress of her job as Executive Producer of a hit television show were quickly sidetracked when the man she’d fallen in love with through phone calls and email went up for bids.

Lucky in love was never a phrase associated with Austin Tyler, not until his cousin introduced him to Kimberly. Over telephone calls, Skype and email, he found himself falling for a woman he’d never touched. Just when he believed she might be the one for him, she moved thousands of miles away.

Will Kimberly’s bid for love be successful? Or is the price too high for both of them?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is an entertaining read, with a couple who have some reasonable hang-ups about romance – I found it funny that everyone seemed to have an entourage of ex-spouses and were planning on the next one. The links between the characters seemed somewhat complicated, sometimes just to further the plot – but overall I enjoyed the story. It was a simple set up which included some moments of angst, plenty of good chemistry, and two people who recognised what they had was special, just not whether they could risk their hearts again.

I started out doing a couple covers for some romance author friends and listened to them bounce ideas off me. Finally, after some convincing from friends and some family members I decided I might as well follow my dream and write. What can I say? When my fingers hit the keys, sexy came out and though some of the relationships I write about are unconventional, I truly hope to make them strong, believable characters that readers will care about.

Writing is not something I simply do, it's something that produces a change both in myself and my readers. I have yet to finish a story and not look at the world, people and relationships in a new way. The written word captures what the eyes can't always see, brings fantasy and often escape from the obstacles and struggles of daily life.

​To those of you stopping by and checking out my bookshelf and learning more about me, keep in mind I write hot...very hot. Sexy and sinful are not misleading.

Happy Reading!

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Cowboy Kisses by Kandi Silvers to read and review.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Given by Kelli Maine

The emotional rollercoaster of the USA Today bestselling Give &Take series by Kelli Maine continues!


For Merrick and Rachael, Turtle Tear Island has become their own private paradise with days of unimaginable bliss and sizzling nights in the bedroom-and beyond. But Rachael and Merrick's happiness is shattered when his daughter, Nadia, suddenly becomes increasingly demanding of his time and devotion. It soon becomes clear that Merrick will have to make an agonizing choice: the woman whose love saved his tortured soul or the daughter he never knew existed…


Rachael can't stand the thought of losing Merrick after everything she's sacrificed to be with him. She had thought she and Merrick were done with secrets, that the passion that burned so brightly between them had forged an unbreakable connection, but she begins to wonder if she ever really knew the man at all. Now the love they've fought so desperately to protect may not be enough to save them…

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Phew! What a relief to read this recent installment to the story of the Rochas. I do hope it is not the last, as there are always more tales to be told!

This was a tightly crafted book, which switched fluidly from Merrick and Rachael's point of view. It was fast paced and full of insight and intrigue. In short, it was a fabulous read – thank you Ms. Maine for an entertaining saga.

USA Today bestselling author of Taken and its sequel, No Take Backs: A Taken Novella, Kelli Maine watches entirely too much reality T.V., which led to her compulsion to write dramatic romance novels. Blessed with a unique ability to bond with difficult people, she's convinced she could win Big Brother. Her deathly fear of heights would keep her from completing half of the detours on The Amazing Race, and she's shocked nobody has ever penned The Survivor Diet Plan: Eat one cup of rice for thirty-nine days and lose fifty pounds!

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Given (Give & Take #3) by Kelli Maine to read and review.

Bound and Unbroken by Skye Callahan

Lena is about to discover pleasure in the things she can’t control.

To get even with her roommate for dragging her to a sports bar on a Friday night, Lena begins flirting with the handsome stranger who sits at the bar next to her. Their anonymous conversation leads to a shared cab ride, but Lena’s conscience puts a damper on the evening—leaving the near-fling to become a memory. Until she finds him roaming the halls of the school where she teaches.

Will she submit to his desires?

Eric’s only reason for returning to his hometown is to care for his recently orphaned nephew. He knew the return would involve dredging up his past with family and friends, but he didn't expect a lone girl to capture his interest and offer an escape within his new life.

Will his binds be enough to keep her?

Note: This book contains explicit content and situations that some readers may find objectionable.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I have VERY mixed feelings on this book. I liked the beginning, Lena sitting at a bar and being "chatted" up by Eric (or Loner and Rusty, if you prefer). Their banter was entertaining and it just felt like it could really happen!

As the story progresses, though, I felt like many parts were rushed (including many of the "erotic" scenes). I didn't really empathize with either character. I understood that she had a rough life (although this wasn't really developed until late in the story), and he's a "control" freak – but I didn't FEEL this by reading the story.

Which made it unbelievably difficult to believe the D/s angle. He never explained what he expects from a "subbie," and she just blankly followed his lead. I think I was expecting a bit more substance from this part of the book, in particular.

Overall, it was a quick story full of romance (general & erotic).

If you read the blurb about the book you know that you are in for a roller coaster ride. Eric has issues, Lena has issues. How they meet and give each other nicknames is cute and when they actually start their relationship the nicknames are still used, which I found to be heartwarming for some reason. This book covers some touchy subjects for some people; there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the book warning you. Honestly, I wish every book came with one, not that I will or will not read them because of it but because then people can’t complain when they do read it and get upset. These are books people, just like a movie but only in print. The fact that Lena has a secret and when Eric find out he goes about helping her in an unconventional way, I thought it was brilliant the way the author wrote that, it made it seem so real to me. Certain things weren’t really touched on too much that you would have thought would have been, like the accident that killed Eric’s nephew’s parents but that is ok for me. Who knows, maybe it will eventually be brought up in another book? I loved this story, it was touching.

Characters: I connected with Lena instantly and I loved Eric and Cade.
Sex: Yes and BDSM
Religious: No
Would I recommend to others: Yes
More than one book in the series: I hope there will be another one
Genre: BDSM/romance
Would I read more by this author: Yes

Skye Callahan is the bestselling author of Irrevocable a dark romance that ran away with her emotions and led her on a whole new writing journey. She enjoys exploring the darker sides of life through her fiction, whether through paranormal creatures or the depraved underbelly of human nature. Her other works include the follow up to Irrevocable, Bend Don’t Break, The Redline Series, The Fractured Legacy Series, and Bound and Unbroken.

Her love of reading and writing started at a young age and she has been blessed with a family that continues to support her dreams to be a full-time writer. She has lived in Ohio all of her life, where she enjoys taking long walks through cemeteries with her husband (when the insane Ohio weather permits), studying local history, and trying to make peace with the neighbor’s cats.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Bound and Unbroken (Out of Bounds #1) by Skye Callahan to read and review.

Loving Ellie by Lindsey Brookes

Ellie Sanders is pregnant and alone. Carrying a child she’d conceived the one and only time she’d lain with her closest friend, Jarrett Tanner. A man she’d agreed to marry for the sake of their child. A man she’d loved, but not as he’d deserved. And now he was gone.

Lucas Tanner returns home to settle his younger brother Jarrett’s estate only to discover his brother left behind a very pregnant fiancée. Having lost his own wife and their baby she’d been carrying years before, he’s bound and determined to stick around and make sure Ellie’s child makes it safely into the world. Even if it means facing the ghosts of his past.

Struggling financially and emotionally, Ellie is torn between keeping her baby and giving it up for adoption. She wants to give her child the chance she never had - to be raised by two loving parents. If only she could make Lucas understand. And, if only she wasn’t falling for a man with no heart left to give.

Lucas finds himself wanting more. Wanting Ellie. But what if he gives in to his deepening feelings and loses her, too?

One fears abandonment. The other fears loss. Can Ellie and Lucas put their painful pasts behind them and finally find true happiness? Or are the emotional walls they’ve built up around their hearts too strong to tear down?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This lovely read has two appealing characters at its heart, but a whole town's worth of extras that add to the story. Ellie, wounded by her parents' disregard for her, is flighty to say the least, when it comes to love. When her fiancé dies in a crash and his brother returns to town, it is inevitable that many truths will surface, but can they get pass the past?

Although I read this in the heat of summer, I think this is one that I will pull out again when it is cold and dark and I need some cosy romance.

Romance author Lindsey Brookes is a four-time RWA Golden Heart finalist as well as a past American Title III finalist and winner of Harlequin's Great American Romance Novel contest. She writes for Kensington Publishing, Amazon Publishing, and has indie-pubbed several of her young adult and adult contemporary romances.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Loving Ellie by Lindsey Brookes to read and review.

Essence by Mackenzie Lucas

All Haven Jameson ever wanted was to own a little piece of paradise. Now, she does, having established a successful luxury spa in St. Augustine, Florida. But when the property next door is sold to a mega developer and his pro-golf celebrity brother, who design trendy, bustling playgrounds for the rich and famous, she fears her dream could slip away. Confronted by her late husband’s infidelity, Haven learns everything she believed about her marriage was a lie; so she finally sets aside her grief and opens her heart to loving the widowed pro-golfer who is her biggest professional competition. In the end, Haven discovers that living a safe, loveless life is far worse than embracing passion and taking a chance on a man who’s vowed never to love again. And that, sometimes, the best paradise of all can be found inside our own hearts.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I really enjoyed this book, reading it in one sitting – great for the diet!

This is a well thought out and written book, which ticks lots of boxes for the reader of steamy, thoughtful romances. Both the lead characters have been through the mill and yet are still strong people. They are reluctant to try again, and one person in particular is keen to keep them apart. But they also have good family and friends who just support them through every hurdle. Delightful, relaxing, entertaining and sexy – I will never decline an offer to practice yoga again!

Mackenzie Lucas is an avid reader of genre fiction. She writes contemporary and paranormal romance, and listens to an eclectic mix of music. She loves a good story, whether it’s an erotic short, a full-length romance novel, or the narrative slice-of-life found in country music. In any story, emotional integrity and authenticity are most important to her as well as a big dose of romping hot sexual tension. She enjoys smart-mouthed, sexy heroines, hunky alpha heroes who know how to take care of their women, and plot twists that surprise her, but most of all, she just wants to experience the satisfying emotional arc of a character falling in love and finding what he or she needs most in life.

Mac is a small-town country girl with a world-traveler’s heart. She grew up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and she’s lived in Dublin, Ireland, within spitting distance of New York City in Long Island, and now in the Washington, D.C. area. She obtained her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Dickinson College and received her M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She’s currently an author, a writing coach, a mother, and a wife.

With Mackenzie Lucas—whether you’re reading her light paranormal romance or her small-town-based contemporary romance—you’ll always find a heart-warming love story about connectedness, community, and emotional authenticity. And, no, it doesn’t hurt that all her heroes are panty-melting gorgeous alphas and all their sexy, sensually aware heroines know how to stand up to them, give no quarter, and love them just as they are.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Essence by Mackenzie Lucas to read and review.