Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Hero to Love by Gail Chianese

A military police officer on the verge of a new beginning. A beautiful woman devoted to her career and her dream of putting down roots. The hardest thing they’ll ever do is to take a chance on love...

Navy Chief Master at Arms Jackson “Jax” Faraday is at a crossroads. He has to decide whether to reenlist or get out while he’s young enough to make a difference in the civilian world. Either choice could mean leaving behind his girl: his K-9 partner, Bella. But when she’s injured during a training session, Jax’s only concern is making sure she’s okay.

As the Navy base veterinarian, town local Risa Reynolds is right where she belongs: close to her parents in a farmhouse full of animals—with room to grow. She’s seen enough to put military men are on her “not happening” list, because they always leave.

But when a tall, hazel-eyed sailor arrives in her clinic with his dog in his arms, Risa finds herself falling hard. And all kinds of rules will get broken when Jax, a man who sticks to the straight and narrow, learns that there’s no predicting the twists and turns of the heart...

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars

I love a good romance and when it involves a hot military soldier and his dog, it doesn't get much better.

Jackson "Jax" Faraday is trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life: stay in the Navy and accept his next posting or try to find a job in law enforcement that lets him stay in New England. One of the main sticking points is that he doesn't want to lose Bella, his K-9 partner. He knows that she's not his dog, but she has saved his life and the lives of his friends on more than one occasion.

When Bella is hurt, local vet Risa Reynolds is on hand to treat her and soothe the ruffled feathers of her handler. Problem is that Risa finds herself wanting to soothe Jax as much as Bella.

Risa has a rule about dating military men but she never really explains why. Risa also seems to have a deep seated fear of being left behind or not being loved enough for people to stay.

Jax has a hard time understanding Risa at times, but he truly is the ultimate book boyfriend.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance
Triggers: Unrequited love

This was a sweet story. There are some communication issues, but it's mostly because both Jax and Risa are scared of the feelings that they feel for each other.

Jax is at a crossroads with his career. I'm unsure why he is seen as being some kind of trouble, but his superiors believe that he needs to get his act together or be sent to a base that, apparently, nobody wants to be sent to. When his dog, Bella, is acting strange with her new handler, Jax needs to find a way to reach her.

Risa is doing her best to prove herself to the owner of the vet clinic that's on base. She has worked very hard to get where she is and loves it there. She has great friends and even though her best friend has questionable taste in men, she sticks by her.

When Jax and Bella are out playing and Bella is injured, Risa comes to the rescue. It's over Bella that Risa and Jax take a chance on each other. Their relationship is somewhat juvenile, but the relationship progresses quite naturally. I think that the animals helped create the story.

I can't wait to see what happens next.

The only thing better than a man and his dog has to be a military hero and his K-9 partner. At the end of his naval career, Jax is devastated when his K-9 partner, Bella, is injured during training. Risa is the vet who cares for Bella and sparks immediately fly between Jax and Risa.

It is impossible not to fall for Jax. The man would do anything for his dog, even spending his nights at Bella’s kennel when she’s injured. Where Risa is settled in her home and her job, Jax is conflicted and struggling to secure a life beyond the Navy. He is an alpha protector for Risa but he is also able to accept her help and care.

Risa is a fantastic female lead. She is passionate about her work as a vet, she lives with a menagerie of rescued pets and at times, she struggles with her human relationships. I love well developed women in romance and Risa is pretty amazing.

As much as this is a very sweet romance, there is also a suspense angle to this story when Risa finds herself the target of vandalism and stalking. Jax helps Risa stay safe as he tries to identify the person who wants to harm her. There are some quite frightening scenes as Jax and Risa evade her stalker.

I really enjoyed this story but I do have to complain about the cover – the story fits best in a romantic suspense category and I’m not sure we ever see these two frolicking on the beach with a dog. The story has quite a bit more grit than the sunny cover suggests.

Also Available in the Changing Tides Series

Books 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our Love Runs Deep post.

Gail Chianese's love of reading began at the tender age of three, when she'd make her grandpa read Fourteen Country Rabbits over and over and over again (and correct him when he skipped parts). While she's branched out over the years by reading mystery, women’s fiction, and urban fantasy, she always circles back to romance in the end. That's probably because she's married to her real-life hero. Her wonderful hubby has served in the US Navy for the past twenty-two years and he’s done things he can’t tell her about. But it doesn’t stop her from being extremely proud of him and the sacrifices he makes for her, his family, and his country. He’s also uber-supportive of her dreams and of their three children. Living in Mystic, CT and a member of Connecticut Romance Writers of America, Gail loves to hear from readers.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of A Hero to Love (Changing Tides #2) by Gail Chianese to read and review.

Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: firefighter Luke Elliott, a known player who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan, but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly... except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆
This modern day twist on the runaway bride follows the story of a man who left three brides at the altar. Jordan is the TV producer who is bound and determined to find out why he’s ditched three women just minutes from saying “I do” and to get him to star in the next big thing Jilted, where they will try to find him the love of his life.

All Luke wants is to be left alone. He’s not proud of his past, of the way out of towners look at him, he just wants to put it behind him. When Jordan comes to town, he’s quick to shut her down and give her a firm “no” to all of her suggestions.

It was a nice premise, but it seemed that the story got bogged down at times and it made for a reading lag, at least for me. The sparks between Jordan and Luke are there, but it took some time to warm up and start smoldering.

3.5 Stars

I found this was a sweet and funny read but fairly predictable and I just wasn’t sucked in – it actually took me a few days to finish this one and that’s pretty unusual for me. I had trouble getting into the story at the beginning.

Jordan is working on the “next big” reality TV show, she’s just missing one thing, a man who’s left a few brides at the altar and needs to find his one true love. Jordan discovers Luke Elliot, a small town fire fighter who, if rumors are to be believed, has left three brides at the altar. Jordan is determined to convince Luke to be a part of her show but Luke wants nothing to do with it, Jordan isn’t willing to take no for an answer and moves into town to do whatever it takes to convince Luke to do the show. Luke can’t stand Jordan… or so he says; really he can’t fight the crazy attraction he feels for her and the more time the two spend together, the more mutual that attraction becomes.

I love the interactions between Luke and Jordan, it’s hilarious how Jordan handles Luke’s stubbornness and Jordan’s reclamation with small-town life is entertaining as well. Jordan getting to the town and meeting Luke was a bit drawn out and I found the first few chapters of this book boring. Once Luke and Jordan get to know one another though, things heat up and I love the way the story ends. I would definitely be interested to read more from this series by Lauren Layne.

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride is how you would explain this story, except it is the groom who does the running not the bride. And that is why Jordan Carpenter has come to small town Montana, for a new TV show idea and they want the runaway groom.

Jordan can't believe that Luke Elliott has ditched three women at the altar. She has to find out why and get him to agree to do the show, Jilted. But when she meets the strong-willed, bull-headed, hell-bent on saying no man, she has her hands full. But there is something about Luke that she is missing and she is going to find out the truth and what really happened with all three women.

Luke Elliott can't believe the TV lady is in his hometown and wanting him to do a show about his love life. And the worst parts of it. He thought ignoring her calls, emails, and messages would tell her he wasn't interested in doing the show, but no, she shows up anyway. And she is gorgeous in all her New York flare and those damn stiletto heels. All he has to do is keep telling her no and maybe she will leave, yeah right.

Will Luke give in to the idea of being on reality TV? Will the town push him to do it? Will Jordan see that he isn't really the bad guy she thinks he is? What happens when the sparks fly between Jordan and Luke, who will get burned?

This is a great story, I didn't want to put it down. It is funny, heartfelt, and heartbreaking at times. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book. Hope you enjoy it too.

I have yet to read a book by Lauren Layne that I haven't enjoyed and Ready to Run was no exception. This was exactly the fun and light hearted read I've come to love from Layne. I can't wait to read the rest of this series and anything else Layne writes because I'm convinced she's got the perfect recipe for writing these romance novels.

Jordan Carpenter is a TV producer in NYC for a new show called Jilted, which is essentially The Bachelor, but with runaway grooms. Jordan is certain she has found the perfect candidate to star in the show if she could get him to bother to respond to any of her emails or phone calls. Luke Elliot has zero interest in doing the show, but Jordan is sure she can convince him if only he'd give her a chance, which is how she ends up on a plane to Lucky Hollow, Montana – to win him over.

I really liked Jordan’s character, she was a successful independent woman with a witty personality and just the right amount of sass! Plus, who wouldn't be won over and swoon for sexy firefighter Luke Elliot? Ready to Run was a quick enjoyable read for any rom-com fan. A solid four-star read for Ready to Run by Lauren Layne.

Ms. Layne has done it again – giving us a really fun, character full, and sexily romantic read! I am really looking forward to the future books in the series.

Jordan is a woman on a mission – sadly, her prey is genuinely not interested in being made famous, but he can't help but be attracted to her. As we witness Jordan getting to know the people of Lucky Hollow, and most especially the pursued Luke, we know that there is a yearning there that needs exploring. Their chemistry is not in doubt, but as it turns out both Luke and Jordan are hiding secrets that may affect their future even more than geography.

Engaging from the first page, I found it impossible to put it down until I had read to the end – thank goodness it was a Saturday!

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL's ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Ready to Run (I Do, I Don't #1) by Lauren Layne to read and review.

A Sinful Tune by Wendi Zwaduk

Two hot rockers and one girl… what could go wrong?

Robbie thought when he formed his band he’d get the girls, the gigs and the money. He’s got the gigs, but the money is a little slower in coming. He’s also got more than a few secrets. He wants the band to succeed, but even more, he wants to find the one woman who can accept him—warts and all, but also with his best friend Dillon involved.

Dillon loves Robbie like a brother. Robbie’s his other half in the music world. He handles the words while Robbie writes the music for the band. But all the music in the world isn’t enough if they don’t have their perfect third—Jess. She hits all the right notes for him and Robbie. The only issue? She may not accept their love in return.

Jess has followed the band for years and worked her way up to selling their merchandise. She knows their music almost as well as they do, but doubts they’d want to be with her. She’s so unlike the other women they’ve had—she’s short, curvy and a purple-haired Goth. When Robbie and Dillon hang out with her after one of the gigs, she has a choice to make. Either head home and wonder or let go of her fears and give the two men of her dreams the chance to make her fantasies come to life.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of double penetration.

Publisher's Note: This book has previously been released as part of the
Three's a Charm anthology with Totally Bound Publishing.

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Totally Bound

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I'm all about a rock star read but this story fell a bit flat for me. Maybe because it's just a super short novella and I wanted more backstory to this trio? I'm not sure... I never connected to the characters much, so the sex was very anonymous to me. But it had some good ménage scenes and musicians, crazy exes, and unsure-about-their-body-type leading ladies. The makings of a good book.

This is a short story, so there is not a lot of time for character development. The trio have known each other for a couple of years, yet the guys have never before tried to persuade Jess to give them a chance before. We don't really have an explanation of why – instead we know that she has been belittled by their previous girlfriends and is again, which is difficult to understand. There are further complications which I feel distract the reader from the core storyline, rather than add value – but others which would surely be worth investigating, such as her musical ability. It seemed odd that had never come up in conversation.

I really wanted there to be more, so that the questions that didn't make sense to me could be explained – let alone the desire to know how they moved forward together. I guess that is the danger of a short read.

I always dreamed of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favourites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line.

I earned a BA in education at Kent State University and currently hold a Masters in Education with Nova Southeastern University.

I love NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals. You can also find me at my blog.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of A Sinful Tune by Wendi Zwaduk to read and review.

Sidebar by Carsen Taite

Judge Camille Avery, newly appointed to the federal court, is finally back on her dream career path. She’s determined not to let any mistakes, past or future, get in her way, but a complex murder case and undeniable attraction to her rebellious law clerk threaten Camille’s carefully planned future at every turn.

Attorney West Fallon is a social justice crusader, reluctant to put her career plans on hold to clerk for a federal judge, even if the judge is the man who saved her life. When he’s suddenly forced to retire, West is stuck clerking for Judge Camille Avery, an infuriatingly stubborn—okay, brilliant, intense, and sexy—law-and-order jurist who seems just as unhappy to be saddled with her.

As Camille and West explore their growing desire and challenge the boundaries of their work and personal relationships, a big case threatens to destroy both their careers. Can their love survive?

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Bold Strokes Books

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I really enjoyed the legal detail in this courtroom drama. The impact of judicial decisions on cases is fascinating. The two women in this story are also interesting. Federal judge Camille and newly qualified lawyer West are at different places in their careers and I enjoyed learning about both jobs.

While I really liked both Camille and West, I struggled to invest in their relationship. Both women are crafted as clever, driven, and inherently good characters. Pursuing a sordid office affair hurts both of their moral authority and makes Camille just as bad as the corrupt individuals and institutions she rails against. How does she fairly evaluate or choose between her two clerks when she is snogging one of them? And while West isn’t a typical victim, her career is beholden to Camille and she is bound by the older woman’s professional decisions without recourse. The relationship left a bad taste in my mouth. I did like the emotional and mental connection between Camille and West but I didn’t feel any real physical chemistry between West and Camille. However, I will admit that my reaction to the judge/clerk relationship tainted my response to their personal relationship.

There is a suspense element to this story that didn’t completely work for me. Camille starts receiving threats quite early in this book but the storyline isn’t followed up very consistently. Some clues are a bit too obvious but I’m not sure readers are ever given enough information to figure everything out for ourselves.

I’m conflicted about this story. I love the strong women and I enjoyed the legal drama but if Camille were a male judge, this would be a story about workplace sexual harassment and abuse of power. It wouldn’t be a romance.

3.5 Stars

Judge Camille Avery is newly appointed to the federal bench. Having nothing but respect for the shoes she is filling, she agrees to keep the law clerk the judge whose seat she is taking was going to hire, West Fallon. West and Camille have a small "moment" before they realize that Camille will be West's boss. The attraction between them is something that is being hard to ignore. Camille has been so driven in her career, relationships were the least of her worries. West feels that she should be working to help people and using her law degree instead of clerking for a judge. West and Camille are complete opposites and maybe that’s what draws them toward each other. The chemistry is palpable.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the attraction and chemistry between West and Camille until about 85-87%, then it went downhill for me. The ending felt a bit rushed, but I did enjoy the overall story.

This is a first read from this author. I do intend on looking for more law and/or judicial based stories.

This is the first book I have read by Ms. Taite, but it won't be the last. This is a very rich story, both legally and romantically.

It could be that this story could skirt along a dangerous path, as one lead has significantly more control of the situation than the other. However, it is made very clear at all times that West is doing the clerk job due to a promise, and is at least as invested in the connection she feels as Camille is. This evens the field considerably – and at times I would argue that West is in the driving seat. This makes the nascent office romance much more exciting and alluring.

The way that we are given information feels just like the reveals in a courtroom, peeling away the layers, until we get a really good view of these two women and their lives and careers. Add in the delicious tension whenever they are together, and this makes for a very enjoyable read. The legal issue that is to be heard in Camille's court and the double dealing going on in the background form a wonderful backdrop for the romance, which is on a super slow burn.

Thank you, Ms. Taite, for a fresh look at the danger and promise of a workplace romance.

Carsen Taite’s goal as an author is to spin tales with plotlines as interesting as the cases she encountered in her career as a criminal defense lawyer. She is the award-winning author of numerous novels of romance and romantic intrigue, including the Luca Bennett Bounty Hunter series and the Lone Star Law series.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Sidebar by Carsen Taite to read and review.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Beauty of Us by Kristen Proby Blog Tour

New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby delivers another sizzling novel in her delectable and sexy Fusion series.

Riley Gibson is over the moon at the prospect of having her restaurant, Seduction, on the Best Bites TV network. This could be the big break she’s been waiting for. But the idea of having an in-house show on a regular basis is a whole other matter. Their lives would be turned upside down, and convincing Mia, her best friend and head chef of Seduction, that having cameras in her kitchen every day is a good idea is daunting. Still, Riley knows it’s an opportunity she can’t afford to pass on. And when she meets Trevor Cooper, the show’s executive producer, she’s stunned by their intense chemistry.

Trevor’s sole intention is to persuade Riley to allow Best Bites TV to do a show on her restaurant. But when he walks into Riley’s office, he stops dead in his tracks. The professional, aloof woman on the phone is incredibly beautiful and funny. But can he convince her that he’s interested in Riley for himself? Or is he using the undeniable pull between them to persuade her to agree to his offer?

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Riley walks out of the bar and glances up, spotting me.

“Hi.” I offer her a smile and motion for her to join me. She sits, sets her iPad aside, and squares her shoulders.

I love a woman with grit.

“Why are you here?” she asks.

“I’m having lunch,” I reply, and gesture to the salad sitting in front of me. “It’s delicious. Adding the brussels sprouts is smart.”

“I’ll pass that along to Mia,” she says, and then laughs. “I guess you heard the part where I asked the girls to not swear.”

“I did,” I reply, and patiently butter a piece of warm bread. “Don’t worry about that stuff. They’re adults.”

“With potty mouths,” she says.

“And we can bleep stuff out, or ask them to rephrase. You’ve already got the gig, Riley. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. This isn’t an audition.”

“I know.” She sighs and reaches over to take a piece of my bread, surprising and delighting me. “I just want things to go smoothly.”

“Perhaps you should order lunch too.”

“I don’t have time,” she says, and then her blue eyes widen as she realizes what she just did. “I’m so sorry. I eat when I’m stressed out, and I didn’t—”

“No.” I hold my hand up to stop her. “It’s fine. I like that you’re relaxed with me. I think you need to relax more often.”

“What are you, my life coach now?”

“If you like. Did you cancel those dating sites like I suggested?”

She bites her lip and looks to the side, then nods. “I did.”

“Good.” I take a bite of salad and nod. “Are you sure you don’t want some food?”

“I rarely have time to eat,” Riley says, and checks the time on her phone. “In fact, I should go. I have to meet the roofer at my house.”

“What’s wrong with your roof?”

“It’s old,” she says with a shrug. “That’s what happens when you buy an old house. I’m fixing it up a little at a time.”

I nod, and find that I don’t want her to go quite yet. I want to talk more, to learn more about her.

“Why don’t you come to my apartment tonight and I’ll cook you dinner?”

She pauses and stares at me for a moment. “Why?”

I laugh and set my fork down. “Because I asked you to.”

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
4.5 stars
M/F Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

I want to start this review by saying that I absolutely love this author. I have read everything and was so excited!

This is a great story between Riley, a woman whom I love – she's feisty, kind, and compassionate, but doesn't take any gruff from anyone. She loves fiercely and will do anything for her girlfriends. She is also amazing at her job and brings in the TV show that will feature the restaurant, Seduction. We are first introduced to Riley's story while she regales her friends about her horrible luck in dating. She's witty and you can't help but laugh.

While she's drowning her sorrows in wine, there is a stranger at the end of the bar and it turns out, it's the producer of the cooking show, Trevor. He's kind about her misfortune, but Riley is very embarrassed.

Trevor is sweet, sexy, funny, and geeky. He has some baggage that comes with him – an ex who doesn't seem to understand that cheating breaks their relationship and a gaming friend who wants more than Trevor is willing to give. However, he thinks that Riley hung the moon and shows her in all the ways he knows how.

This book had a good development of the relationship, miscommunications to create issues, and the strong support of Riley's friends. It was sweet and funny and while it doesn't have the same type of heat that her previous books did (e.g., With Me in Seattle series), the chemistry was good and organic. I can't wait to see what comes next!

This is the fourth book in the series – and I would definitely recommend that you read them all, but I think this could be read first, as we do see the whole team, but the story concentrates strongly on Riley and her new beau.

The relationship between the five women who run the restaurant and bar called Seduction is strong, fun, and much more than just a business partnership. Sometimes that means they know too much about each other (although as is revealed right at the end... sometimes one has a super big secret!).

Three of the gang are super loved up and inevitably want the same for the two singletons – so when gorgeous TV guy Trevor turns up, they can't help but feed the attraction between him and Riley. It is great fun being along for the ride. In fact, the super smooth way it is written, the reader is quickly immersed in the story and invested in the outcome too.

Ms. Proby has written a wonderfully romantic novel about two people who have been through the mill a bit, who are not prone to drama, and who have to decide whether they can overcome various hurdles to claim each other. It is a heartwarming, sexy, and fun read, which would be as enjoyable as a beach read or as one read whilst curled up in front of the fire.

P.S. – As someone who was in the Four Brits Book Fest room when Ms. Proby accepted a marriage proposal, and who follows her on Facebook, I could not help but see some common factors and this made me smile all the more.

This is a perfectly sweet, girly romance. Riley, a restaurateur, falls hard for the producer of a television show being filmed in her restaurant. Sparks fly but Trevor is only in town for filming and Riley doesn’t want to attempt a long distance relationship.

Honestly, I don’t do girly and I almost never do sweet. Cute, white wine romances aren’t really my thing. On holiday, however, I tend to want easier, fluffier stories. So I requested this one. Once I pushed past the plausibility issues (one restaurant can financially support five women in its first year?), I did engage with Riley and Trevor’s story. Somewhat.

Riley and Trevor are pretty typical characters for this type of romance. She has a close band of girlfriends to share drinks, break ups, and slightly saucy stories with. He has guy friends and a slightly checkered past (totally not his fault). The character development is pretty superficial, there is medium heat, no kink, and aspirations of a future suburban idyll. It is all a little bit formulaic. Conflict arises from exaggerated miscommunication. Friends weigh in on relationship ups and downs.

Ultimately, this story is exactly what I signed up for. It is sweet and fluffy with very little conflict but it’s predictable and not at all original. I’m sure I’m the problem. It would seem that even on holiday I need a little grit, a little kink, and a little bit more to my romance stories.

Kristen was born and raised in a small resort town in her beloved Montana. In her mid-twenties, she decided to stretch her wings and move to the Pacific Northwest, where she made her home for more than a dozen years.

During that time, Kristen wrote many romance novels and joined organizations such as RWA and other small writing groups. She spent countless hours in workshops, and more mornings than she can count up before the dawn so she could write before going to work. She submitted many manuscripts to agents and editors alike, but was always told no. In the summer of 2012, the self-publishing scene was new and thriving, and Kristen had one goal: to publish just one book. It was something she longed to cross off of her bucket list.

Not only did she publish one book, she’s since published close to thirty titles, many of which have hit the USA Today, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists. She continues to self publish, best known for her With Me In Seattle and Boudreaux series, and is also proud to work with William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, with the Fusion Series.

Kristen and her husband, John, make their home in her hometown of Whitefish, Montana with their two pugs and two cats.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Beauty of Us (Fusion #4) by Kristen Proby to read and review for this tour.

Chasing a Legend by Sarah Robinson

The most soulful Kavanagh brother tackles the challenge of a lifetime—with a little help from the girl of his dreams.

A topnotch manager and agent, Quinn Kavanagh pictures a life outside of his family’s renowned MMA gym. Beneath his sleek exterior, Quinn has a secret passion for sculpting. But after a nearly fatal motorcycle accident, he’s struggling just to walk again, let alone get back to the studio—and it doesn’t help that the doctor in charge of his physical therapy is his childhood crush. Quinn’s always ready for a fight, but the bittersweet sting of unrequited love has him begging for mercy.

Dr. Kiera Finley is determined to make her medical residency a success. Six years ago, she gave in and shared a single passionate night with Quinn. Now she’s just hoping the cocky lover from her past doesn’t derail her plans for the future. Little by little, though, Kiera gets to know another side of Quinn. She knew he was a family man, devoted to his parents and brothers, but he’s also a free spirit trapped in a cage—and only she has the key. To heal both Quinn’s body and soul, Kiera’s tempted to give him a special kind of medicine.

With their own heartwarming HEAs, Sarah Robinson’s Kavanagh Legends novels can be read together or separately.

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Book 4
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

The relationship between Quinn, an injured MMA manager, and Kiera, his doctor, physiotherapist, and childhood girlfriend, is sweet, angsty, and complicated.

Caring for Quinn pushes Kiera’s professional boundaries. It was hard to believe that she wouldn’t just hand him over to another doctor when she recognised him. Kiera isn’t the most convincing medical professional and her professional drive didn’t always match her actions in the story – she most often comes across as family focused and broody.

Quinn has spent his life building the family business, but his heart is in the artwork he makes in secret. In many ways, this story is about him rebalancing his life to allow him to follow his passions instead of the sense of duty that has been eating away at him.

The near decade long miscommunication between Kiera and Quinn didn’t work for me, but I did enjoy watching them reconnect after a long separation. Kiera helps Quinn’s mental and emotional rehabilitation as much as she helps him heal his body. This is a medium-heat story with lots of romantic angst and a few very steamy scenes.

I found Quinn’s family a little bit bewildering. I read this as a standalone novel and it probably should be read in series order as it was difficult to get my head around all of Quinn’s large Irish family. I really don’t understand the Irish American culture where Irish identity, language, and culture is exaggerated beyond anything I’ve ever seen or experienced in contemporary Ireland. It’s not just this series – I see it often in American books and on American television and I find it very odd.

I have loved every one of these Kavanagh brothers so far and knew that Quinn would be the one to steal my heart. Although he is the manager, agent, and promoter of the brothers that are MMA fighters, Quinn has never wanted to get in the ring. He was better behind the scenes – or ropes, as it may be. But after a near fatal accident, it was a struggle to walk again. He has one passion that no one knows about and that is sculpting. When he learns who his doctor is for his physical therapy, will Quinn be able to let Kiera help him heal without losing his heart to her again?

Dr. Kiera Finley has always wanted to help people and being a physical therapist is the best way she can. When she comes back home to Woodlawn for her medical residency, one of her first patients is none other than Quinn Kavanagh, her childhood friend. After one night of passion with Quinn before she left for college six years ago, Kiera didn't think much about the feelings she had for him that night. But now as she spends more time with him and gets to know him, she is realizing just what those feelings were.

Can she help him heal and both follow their hearts for a happily ever after? Will Quinn tell his family about his passion for sculpting? What happens if Kiera gets the fellowship in Seattle she signed up for over a year ago? Will they both get their hearts broken in the end?

If you love a good series or even a good MMA story, you can read this one. It can be read as a series or as standalones and you will not miss a thing, but I would recommend reading them all. These Kavanagh brothers are great and the whole family is funny, loving, and the best. And I love Sarah Robinson, she can make you fall in love with these stories so easily. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

I love that though this series revolves around the Kavanagh boys and their gym, each one has such a unique and different story. I think this one might have been my favorite of the series so far, though I think I’ve said that about each book because I love them all so much!

Quinn was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident that’s left him needing a ton of physical therapy to recover. Since they were kids, Quinn has had a crush on his best friend, Kiera, and when he finally thought they were going to get a chance, Kiera disappeared to college without a backwards glance or goodbye. Now, six years later, Quinn discovers Kiera is going to be his physical therapist, and he’s not exactly happy about it. He’s not sure how to handle the only woman who has ever held and broken his heart. It takes a bit of convincing, but Kiera is finally able to convince Quinn to listen to her reasons for leaving the way she did – she’s also able to convince Quinn to face his true passion, art, and his fear that his family will think he’s crazy for pursuing it.

I love Quinn and Kiera together – their back and forth banter had me in stitches on more than one occasion. This book is definitely a 5-star on the steam scale, when Quinn and Kiera finally wind up in bed together it’s HOT. I just love the amount of emotion the author puts into this book, it made it difficult to put down, it’s a real page turner. I can’t wait for more from the Kavanagh clan!

Also Available in the Kavanagh Legends Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Breaking a Legend Blog Tour.

Book 2
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For reviews & more info, check out our Saving a Legend post.

Book 3
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For reviews & more info, check out our Becoming a Legend post.

Aside from being a Top 10 Barnes & Noble and Amazon Bestseller, Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, D.C., area and has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal psychology. She is newly married to a local police officer, Justin, who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues, including everything from mammals to reptiles to marsupials, and they volunteer and foster for multiple animal shelters.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Chasing a Legend (Kavanagh Legends #4) by Sarah Robinson to read and review.

Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain

Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.

Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?

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Book 5
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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I really enjoy this series and this book was just as awesome as the previous books. You do not have to read all the books in the series, but it would give you some background on other characters in this book. This story is about two totally different lifestyles crashing into each other and just working. Merle is a movie star and Tom is a blue collar worker. This was a heartwarming story. These two guys had it bad for each other and both thought the other deserved better. When Tom's sister joins the mix, I thought the poop was going to hit the fan, but she added to the story and helped knock some sense into these two lugs! Great story that made me shed a tear and melted my heart.

When the star of a teen vampire show is rescued from a gay-bashing, he finds himself drawn to the rescuer he initially describes as a Sasquatch. Tom is a gentle and very simple man who can’t help but want more than a friendship with the beautiful TV star.

As the odd man out in a family of important academics, Merle has always felt unimportant and slightly embarrassed by his career as an actor. In some ways, this is his growing up story as he is forced to choose between a partner who will impress his parents and a partner who will make him happy. I loved Merle’s conflicted reaction to Tom. The man is gorgeous and sweet but also very simple and childlike. He’s a refreshing change from the scheming people Merle meets in Hollywood, but Merle can’t bring himself to take advantage of someone so basically good.

I had a mixed reaction to Tom. I could appreciate Merle’s attraction. I couldn’t help but like Tom’s kind, gentle, and loyal nature. But for me, true love is as cerebral as it is physical and emotional. I struggled to see the balance in Merle and Tom’s relationship – even the sex didn’t feel quite right. I couldn’t see Merle moving beyond his role as Tom’s saviour and possibly even his caregiver. This is one of the more thought provoking romances I can remember reading because the relationship between Merle and Tom poses some interesting questions.

This isn’t as fluffy as some of the Balls to the Wall and Love in Laguna books, but it is fun and it’s a pretty light read. This is the fifth Love in Laguna story and I loved catching up with the characters from earlier books. Tom works for Billy. Merle wears Ru’s clothes, he acts with Grey, and he lives in their spare bedroom. To fully follow this story, readers will want to start this series at the beginning. This has been a fun, easy series from the start and I have enjoyed each one of the unlikely pairings.

3.5 Stars

I was highly anticipating Fool of Main Beach, enjoying the light amd fluffy, stress-free series to decompress and put a smile on my face. This installment of the Love in Laguna series didn't disappoint, but a few things did make me slightly uncomfortable, one of which I used to push the boundaries of my thinking.

A major happy point is seeing past narrators grace the pages, for levity and added lightheartedness, with a dose of warmth in the heart.

Merle Justice – I've been waiting for his book since he overindulged with drink books ago. The gay actor plays a teen heartthrob in a vampire TV series, on the cusp of critically acclaimed fame. No matter how many people he surrounds himself with – the previous narrators in the series – he's alone in a crowd. Merle tugged at my heartstrings.

Tom Henry is Sasquatch in a pink jacket – Merle's savior. He's kind, compassionate, understanding, protective, a volunteer, and a dog-lover, but also suffers from a lack of self-worth due to not being book-smart and because he's socially awkward (no filter, no true understanding of the trickery the majority of all people use in any given situation).

Together, the two guys made sense, adding opposing strengths to the relationship. But this was a romance that pushed the boundaries on my thinking. Not because I didn't think someone like Tom deserved Merle's love, but because I feared it not being enough in the future for Merle, as well as being taken advantage of. I realize this is fiction, and I applaud the author for writing a book that had me questioning my own mindset. It was difficult, because I was on the boundary of whether or not Tom was able to consent. I believed Merle and Tom loved one another, but the ease of which it would be to take advantage of Tom was a struggle, as well as fearing for situations in the future, which would no doubt come to pass if they were in reality.

I smiled with a warm heart. I laughed. I cried. But I couldn't pass out a 5-star rating, no matter the gamut my emotions ran. The angst between Merle and Tom felt a bit contrived, where a simple conversation would have cleared up any and all confusion – so no matter how much I enjoyed the couple and their journey, the push-pull of their romance felt forced.

The main reason was due to the over-the-top nature of the conflicts, the villainous characters were beyond anything in reality that it forced me to accept I was reading a book, instead of falling into it and escaping. Especially when I realized it was 75%+ of all females in the book (both mothers and the sister painted in a negative light, overbearing and abrasive or abusive – for the majority of the book, anyway). I would put my Kindle down and groan at the dialogue the 'bad' characters were saying, take a deep breath, and quickly read those portions as to not lose interest.

There was a lack of fluidity to the dialogue. In regards to Tom, it made sense due to how his mind functioned. But this flowed over into all dialogue, with choppy, short sentences, and everyone addressing everyone by name in most dialogue, even if they had greeted them already. Example made up off the top of my head, but a representation of what is on the pages during conversations: "Hi, Tom!" "Hi, Merle!" "Hi, Billy!" "How's it going, Tom?" "Great, Billy. How about you, Merle?" ... and so on, even when only two people were conversing, their names were used in the majority of all dialogue/interactions. I realize I'm being nitpicky, but this actually yanked me from the story. I probably wouldn't have noticed if it hadn't been a pet-peeve of mine when watching old TV shows, where that is the norm, one where my family is always wondering how many times a specific character's name is said in each episode.

I'm thankful I read Fool of Main Beach, and felt Tara Lain did justice to a character who I was waiting to read his story – Merle Justice. I enjoyed opening my mind and meeting Tom, being refreshed by his innocence (if you remove the terror I felt, in reality knowing someone like him would be swallowed whole by the sharks in Hollywood). I highly recommend this series to MM romance fans, and do look forward to what is to come.

Also Available in the Love in Laguna Series

Book 3
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Dreamspinner Press

For reviews & more info, check out our Prince of the Playhouse post.

Book 4
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Dreamspinner Press

For reviews & more info, check out our Lord of a Thousand Steps post.

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Erotic Romance, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Fool of Main Beach (Love in Laguna #5) by Tara Lain to read and review.