Friday, September 28, 2018

His Best Man by Elle Keaton


Rod Beton and Travis Walker have known each other almost all their lives; since the second grade when Rod was the new kid in town and Travis befriended him with Pokémon trading cards and a fruit snack. Apparently Rod’s easy. Since that day they've had each other's back's, bread and butter, biscuit and gravy... and so on.

Along the way, Rod fell in love with Travis. He's been hoping for some kind of signal from Travis that he returns Rod's feelings. When Travis announces his surprise engagement over Thanksgiving dinner Rod decides he's done waiting for the impossible. He packs his belongings and heads for Skagit and a new life. Even if Travis suddenly decided Rod was the man for him would Rod be able to put aside his insecurities?

Travis always knew he was destined to take over the family business. As the only boy he’s expected to take the helm of the Walker farming operation, and he’s good at it. An engagement to a local girl he’s pals with seems like the perfect solution, gets him mom off his back and ensures the family line -- eventually. When his best friend abruptly leaves town Travis’s eyes are finally opened to the difference between what is expected of him and what he could expect for himself.

His Best Man is a standalone in the Accidental Roots series, a friends-to-lovers mm romance with an HEA. Bisexual/gay.

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Book 7
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A Note from the Author


Thank you for having me today!

Sexy or sweet? Can it be both?

His Best Man is definitely one of the sweeter romances in the Accidental Roots series. For crying out loud there is barely the whiff of a mystery! This is the first *almost* pure romance in the series – obviously there is a little teaser for the future but there is no mystery solved in the writing of this book. I feel like this is some kind of warning label 😊 .

The writing process is different for every writer and for every book (in my humble opinion). In general I am a pantser starting with only a vague outline and two characters who flesh out as they go. When I started His Best Man I knew what the beginning had to be but… the end was wrapped in mystery. Hah, I see where the mystery was now, it was meant for the author not the reader.

Anyway, back to His Best Man. For both of these guys the second scariest thing was *the first kiss*. What if they both had been fantasizing about something for ages and it turned out to be… meh? Ugh, as a writer I absolutely worried about this. To the point where I had a hard (haha) time actually writing the sex scenes. I don’t normally have trouble writing those scenes, and I write all kinds but these two… sheesh.

Obviously, I got it done and yes, His Best Man is both sexy and sweet. As are Travis and Rod. But the end still eluded me. Often the last chapter is written first or at least early on so I know where the story is heading but even that took a little while to form. Once it finally did things got a little easier, thankfully.

As an author I’m extremely proud of His Best Man, it’s something I’d never tried before. The writing was difficult and a lot more internalized characterization than in earlier novels – but it’s done and now Travis and Rod are released into the big bad world for everyone to meet. I hope you enjoy meeting them!

Cheers,
Elle




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Veronica☆☆☆☆
I’ve been looking forward to Rod and Travis’ story since the first time they popped up in this series, and it was worth the wait. Rod has been trying to work up the courage to tell his best friend, Travis, that he is in love with him. But when Travis suddenly announces his engagement to the girl next door, Rod pulls away from Travis and tries to get over him.

At first I loved how clueless Travis was. Everyone seems to be aware that Rod is in love with Travis except Travis. Travis is a really intelligent guy, but when it comes to people he is clueless, and it did start to bug me a little because I was getting impatient waiting for Travis to man up, clue in, and go after what he wants.

On the other side of this friendship, Rod is a good guy. Firefighter during the summer and now driving a school bus, he is great with kids and a really good guy. I was torn between cheering for him to move on from Travis and find someone new and wanting him to run into Travis’ arms and confess his feelings. But going in, I knew that there was only one ending to this story, it was just a matter of how we got there.

His Best Man is a really lovely story and I enjoyed all the journey of seeing Rod and Travis work themselves out as a couple, but also as men by pursuing a future that they want, making a life for themselves, and fixing straining family relationships. I think the ending of the story is really sweet and I was left wanting to spend more time with this couple. Hopefully we will see them again.


Also Available in the Accidental Roots Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our Storm Season post.


Book 2
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For reviews & more info, check out our No Pressure post.


Book 3
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For reviews & more info, check out our Spring Break post.


Book 4
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For reviews & more info, check out our As Sure as the Sun post.


Book 5
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For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the River Home Blog Tour.


Book 6
Buy Links

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For reviews & more info, check out our Unforgivable post.



Author, photographer, rare Pacific Northwest Native, Elle grew up in Seattle, WA., with the Cascade Mountain range to the east and Olympics to the west. Less than two hours northwest lie the majestic San Juan Islands. To the northeast is the Methow Valley and the scrub deserts of Eastern Washington. Geography ripe with material.

A graduate of Western Washington University, Elle has a BS in biology which taught her to be tenacious. The closest she has come to biology since then is having two kids. Like an experiment or something. She’s lived in four states (none of which were gaseous), London England, and Hong Kong; always knows what time it is, and has no problem finding parking even in the most difficult places. Cannot balance a checking account.

Elle's series Accidental Roots, mostly set in the Skagit Valley of Western Washington, will make its debut spring of 2017. Storm Season is tender, sometimes irreverent, full of nosy neighbors and help when the hero didn’t think he needed it. Writing has always been a passion but not something she was able to take seriously until recently. Now her head is full of ideas and not enough time in each day.


Connect with Elle

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of His Best Man (Accidental Roots #7) by Elle Keaton to read and review.

Perversion by T.M. Frazier Blog Tour


The USA Today bestselling author of the King Series, T.M. Frazier, brings you an all-new trilogy with an anti-hero you're going to love to hate and a ballsy heroine with more than just tricks up her sleeve.

Love is supposed to be a fairy tale.
Ours is a death wish.

I'm the executioner for the Bedlam Brotherhood.
She's a con artist working for my greatest enemy.

I use her.
She manipulates me.

We find ourselves on opposite sides of a bloody war.

My heart and head tell me I have to stay away.
My lust for her doesn't give a sh*t.

Nothing's fair in love and gang war.

Add to Goodreads –


Book 1
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Emma Jean

When I was younger, I fell in love with magic. I learned every card trick there was from library books and unmasking magic TV specials. I used to put on shows for Gabby that included escaping from complicated knots and trick handcuffs. But what’s magic besides a sleight of hand?

It’s a lie.

And lying is what I’m damn good at.

My ability to spin a tall tale or two lead to stealing wallets and conning people into taking stray pets for the thrill of it. Now, I’m using it to earn for Marco. The thrill is there, but it’s muted, hindered, lost under his pile of mounting threats.

The inside of the casino smells like stale cigarettes, spilled beer, and burnt coffee. We’re not supposed to be in here. It’s Bedlam territory. But that’s also why it’s perfect.

It isn’t like anyone would recognize us here.

We’ve made friends with a few of the cocktail waitresses by giving them a small cut, and they don’t ask questions or ring any alarms when they see us working. I’ve also been straightening my hair over the last few years since my crazy curls stand out like a reflector on a dark highway. I’ve dyed it a few shades darker than my normal honey blonde to help blend in.

Tonight is starting off well. Gabby and I are working a con we’ve run a few times before.

Gabby walks away, her long dark hair swooshing behind her. She gives me a nod as she passes me by on the slot machine I’m pretending to play. She’s just faked losing an expensive engagement ring at another slot machine. I watched out of the corner of my eye as she frantically looked around for it, then loudly announced a thousand-dollar reward would be waiting at the casino cage for whoever returned it.

She is flawless. She should be an actress. And in another life, she would be.

But we don’t live in another life.

We live in Lacking and belong to Los Muertos.

Our lives are not our own.

A few people casually look around the area, then return to their machines when they don’t find the ring Gabby was ranting about. They won’t either. Because it’s not there.

Yet.

It's go time.

I strut over to the area Gabby just left and put a dollar in the machine. While the wheels spin, I pretend to pick up the dime store ring I already have in my hand. By the time the machine dings to tell me I’ve lost my dollar, I’m turning the ring over, inspecting it like I don’t have half a dozen more just like it in my drawer back at the apartment.

“Would you look at that?” I mutter to myself loud enough so others around me can hear.

A man in an Adidas jumpsuit with a potbelly taps me on the shoulder. “I’ll take that. I saw the woman who dropped it. I’ll go return it to her.”

Liar. You just want the reward.

“That’s so nice of you,” I say. I hold it out, about to drop it into his hand when I pull it back. “I bet there’s a reward for something this valuable.” I start to walk around the man. “I’ll take it up to management. Maybe, they know…”

“Here,” the man says, holding up a hundred-dollar bill. “Take this. I’ll take it to her. I just… you know, as I said, I want to make sure it gets back to the right person.”

You’re not even a good liar.

Sometimes, it’s just too freaking easy. And this scam wasn’t even an Emma Jean and Gabby original. We saw it a long time ago in a movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Doesn’t anyone else watch movies?

I shrug and pass him the ring. Plucking the bill from his hand, I tuck it into my bra. “Thanks,” I say before quickly making my way toward the large glass front doors. It’s Thursday. Marco’s money is due in two days, and we’re short this week.

Really short.

I walk slowly and wave goodbye to the valets with a smile on my face. “Any luck, tonight?” One asks me.

“I think so,” I answer with a smile. Once I’m down the sidewalk and out of view, I scramble to the side of the casino where I kick off my heels and change from the sequined dress I’d stolen from a dry-cleaner into a pair of cut-off shorts and my yellow Keds.

Now, all I have to do is wait for Gabby.

I don’t have to wait long.

“Run!” Gabby yells, darting from the doors of the casino with two large men wearing tight black security t-shirts close behind. Running from security is terrifying enough, knowing that we’re running from members of the Bedlam Brotherhood kicks it up a notch.

I grab my backpack and sling it across my shoulders. I move as fast as I can until I’m running right alongside her. We race through the gates, cross the street, narrowly avoiding being hit by two cars. We duck into a hole in a fence and run through one backyard after the other.

“One of those cunt waitresses must have tipped them off!” Gabby says, through shallow breaths. She’s barefoot in a black mini-dress hiked up to her ass to give her long legs room to run. Her long thick hair is wrapped around her face, sticking to her mouth.

We hit the sixth backyard. Without another word, we separate behind a clothesline. We’ve mapped out this escape plan a thousand times, but this is the first time we’ve ever had to use it.

When I make it into the central part of town, to the Los Muertos/Bedlam border, I can no longer hear the shouts of the security guards. I lost them.

Hopefully, Gabby did, too.

I use a tower of stacked-up wooden pallets on the sidewalk like a ladder to scale a concrete wall, then drop down into the alley.

I grow more panic-stricken the longer I wait for Gabby. I bite the inside of my lip, pacing back and forth along the high wall. The Bedlam Brotherhood runs the security at the casino. If they catch her and find out who she is? Or worse? Who her brother is? They'll... I shake the thought from my mind. She’ll be fine.

She HAS to be fine.

Please be okay, Gabby. Please.

I’m trying to catch my breath and pull myself together when I hear a clink echo through the alley as if someone dropped some spare change, followed by the sound of something heavy dropping to the asphalt.

“Gabby?” I ask into the darkness. Thinking it’s her, relief washes over me like rain on a barren desert.

My only answer is the flickering of a fluorescent light mounted high on the roof’s edge of the adjoining building. And the hiss of what sounds like a cat behind a dumpster.

I walk over and peer around it. “Gabby? Are you hurt? Say something!” I whisper-shout.

Someone moves from within the shadow. “Get out here, Gabby. We’ve got to go before Mar…”

The light flickers again, for just a second. That second is all I need to see that the someone slowly stalking toward me is not Gabby.

It’s a man… twice my size.

“Who are you?” I ask, shuffling backward as the man cloaked in a black leather hood emerges from the shadows. The front of his jacket is open. Underneath, he's shirtless, covered in a sheen of sweat, and more tattoos than visible skin all the way up the front of his throat. His muscled chest and abs flex with each step he takes. The hood shadows most of his face, but when the lights flicker again, yellow eyes glow from within.

And they’re locked on me.

My ‘save your ass’ mode kicks in.

The man is blocking the only exit. My only other chance of escape is to scale the same wall I used to drop into the alley.

I keep moving backward as he approaches until my back hits the wall. I look left and right for something to use to climb on.

There’s nothing but emptiness.

My stomach sinks, but surrender is not an option.

I swallow hard as the alarm bells scream in my head for me to run. Somewhere. Anywhere.

There’s nowhere to go!

My legs tremble. Fear crawls like a million spiders along the backs of my legs. I push myself further against the wall as if I can squish the feeling away, but it’s useless.

Fear consumes me. Swallows me whole.

He continues toward me. As he gets closer, I realize it’s not just sweat glistening on his skin. There’s something else splattered across the tattoos on his chest and on his stubbled jaw.

It almost looks like wet paint.

My breathing stops when he’s close enough that I can make out the tattoo on the front of his throat.

A bleeding black rose.

The symbol of the Bedlam Brotherhood.

I’ve heard stories about Grim. The man in the hood. The executioner for Bedlam. They were all terrifying, but not nearly as terrifying as the reality of coming face to face with the man himself.

“We didn’t do anything,” I blurt. “I mean, we did, but it wasn’t a big deal. I’ll… I’ll give the money back. Just tell your men not to hurt my friend. It was all my idea. Let her go, and you can take me.” “Who the fuck are you?” he asks. His voice is so thick and deep I feel it more than hear it. Shivers erupt all over my body.

He raises his arm, revealing a long curved blade.

For the first time in my life, I can’t seem to be able to hide my fear with my wit or sarcasm. My throat tightens. I can’t swallow, never mind speak. I’ve lost my words completely, along with my nerve.

The man’s blade drips red onto the pavement from the serrated tip.

Every fear response I didn’t even know I had runs rampant. I’m holding my breath. My muscles tense as if running was still an option. The hairs on my arms and the back of my neck prickle my skin as they stand on end. I raise up to my tip-toes and push back, trying to make myself disappear into the wall.

I glance from the knife back to his chest, then back again. The splatters across his skin?

It’s not fucking paint.

Before I can process what the hell is happening, he switches from slow-stalking mode into hyper-speed, pinning my wrists above my head. His hard, bloodied chest pushes against me, smearing blood across my white tank top, forcing the back of my head to connect roughly with the wall.

“I’ll only ask you this one more time. Who the fuck are you?” His low guttural growl rattles my bones.

His unblinking, angry, golden eyes lock onto mine. Without the fluorescent light, they’re more golden brown than a glowing yellow. As much as I want to, I can’t look away. He could be the last person I ever see.

The thought is just the spike of adrenaline I need.

“Let me go,” I say, finally finding my words. I try and jerk my wrists from his grip with no luck. I’m trapped. My fear and anger rise to the surface, but I shove it back down. Fear won’t get me out of this situation, so it will have to wait for its damned turn.

He digs his rough fingers into my skin. “Answer me. Who the fuck are you?”

The bite of pain only makes me angrier. I throw his question back at him. “Who the fuck are you?”

He glances down at my rapidly rising and falling chest before pinning me with his stare. The corner of his mouth tugs up in a half-smirk.

“So much confidence for someone who's trembling,” he says with an amused glint shining in his demonic eyes.

I shrug. “Maybe, I’m just not a fan of enclosed spaces,” I say through gritted teeth.

“You didn’t answer me,” he says.

“Why do you have blood all over you?” I answer him with yet another question. “You know, if you were committing some kind of crime back there, you should be more careful. I recommend a bleach bath and death by fire for your clothes the first chance you get. If it’s self-harm, I’m sure there’s a helpline you can call.”

He cocks his head to the side. His nostrils flare. His face is only inches away. I can feel the heat from his body against mine. His cool breath flutters against my neck.

I’ve never been this close to a man before. My trembling grows. My inner thighs shake sending a rippling wave of something very unfamiliar coursing through the center my body. I try and press my legs together to stop it from happening again, but when he uses his knee to wedge my legs apart, caging me in even further, it only grows, uncoiling from within like a slinky being pulled apart at the ends.

I swallow hard as the stubble of his jaw presses against my neck.

“Name,” he demands, his voice raspier than before.

I shut my eyes tight for a beat, trying to gain composure, control, something that will help me as I try and reason my way out of this. “Listen, I didn’t see anything,” I blurt. “That is if you did anything. I’m not going to call the police if that’s what you're worried about. I wouldn’t anyway, even if I saw something, which I didn’t.”

His brows knit together in a harsh line. “Why?”

His question confuses me.

“Why what?”

“Why wouldn’t you tell the police?”

Because Marco owns them.

“Let’s just say that I haven’t exactly been a model citizen myself tonight. Let’s face it. If the police around here weren’t being paid not to do their jobs, half this town would be locked up.” I take a deep, shaky breath. “Especially people like us.”

He stills. There’s no more talking. Only heavy breathing and a battle of wills. He releases one of my hands. I think he’s reaching for his knife. My blood turns cold. I can feel my face pale as my heart starts beating as faster and faster as if it wants to get in as many as possible before the end.

I’m surprised when he doesn’t go for his knife. Instead, his hand travels slowly down my chest into my cleavage.

“No, don’t!” I say, but it’s too late, he’s already yanked on my locket.

“Please just give it back, and let me go,” I plead. Feeling like it’s my real heart he's torn from my chest. “It’s the only thing in this world that means anything to me. Besides my best friend, it’s all I have.”

I hate the desperation in my voice, but it’s the truth.

He’s silent for a moment. He raises his arms. I flinch, raising my arms over my face defensively. But when nothing happens, I lower them, just in time to see him push back his hood, revealing his face.

“Why?” I ask, closing my eyes knowing full well that the only time a criminal reveals himself to a witness is right before they take them out.

“Look at me,” he demands, holding my face in his hand.

“No!” I say, shutting my eyes tighter.

“Look at me!” he bellows. He’s on me again. This time, he holds my head in his large rough hands. “Open your fucking eyes so you can see me.”

With no other choice than to get my head squished like a turtle under a car tire, I do as he demands. Opening my eyes, I blink through the haze, and when it clears, I’m met with tousled, medium-length, light brown hair, slicked back on the top, shorn close to head on the sides. His nose is slightly crooked like it’s been broken a few times before. The stubble on his square, defined jaw is a few days over needing a shave. A jagged scar runs through his chin like an angry white lightning bolt.

He’s the most fucking beautifully terrifying man I’ve ever seen.

He’s searching my eyes for something, but I don’t know what.

“Why?” I ask in a whisper.

His hands release mine, but he doesn’t step back. He leans in closer, speaking against my cheek in a rumble of a whisper. The strange feeling from earlier comes back as a zap of electricity bouncing around my insides looking for somewhere to ground.

I’m breathing heavy. Our lips are so close, almost touching. He slides one hand off my face, snaking it around my neck, pulling me closer. He starts to answer in a rumble of a whisper, causing goosebumps to rise on my already prickled skin. “Because I want you to see the face of the man who’s just—”

“Where the fuck are you?” calls Gabby from the other side of the wall. “I lost them!”

The moment, whatever it is, is now broken. The man releases me so suddenly I brace myself against the wall to keep from falling. I turn my head toward her voice.

“Gabby!” I shout back.

My heart is beating out of control. Out of habit, I raise my hand to my chest, seeking familiar comfort.

I look up. The man in the hood is gone.

And so is my locket.




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Shannan☆☆☆☆☆
T.M. Frazier has started another fantastic series. The raw feel of it reminds me of King, while there is a cameo from Bear and Preppy's name is mentioned in classic Preppy style, which always keeps Frazier's readers happy.

Tristan has never had much to say so he doesn't say anything. Because of that, people think he has something wrong with him. After one weird encounter with a twelve-year-old Emma Jean, everything changes. She shouldn't mean something to him, but she does. After a few letters here and there, she disappears. Tristan will stop at nothing to find her.

Tristan has been labeled troubled, lashes out, reckless, deviant, and manipulative – for these reasons, he had a hard time finding a fitting foster home. Tristan never expected someone to want him for those qualities, but Belly and Marci did. They brought him into their family and it was the best thing that ever happened to him. He found his home, but he was still lost without Emma Jean.

Emma Jean was sad when she found out Gabby and her sister were going to live with their brother. She was losing her best friend, until they pointed out EJ and Gabby were leaving together to live with Gabby's brother. It's not the life she would have chosen, but she had to keep her head about her. Keep her and Gabby safe. When a job goes bad and she comes face-to-face with Grim, the executioner from Bedlam, something seems familiar about him. Her body reacts in ways she's not used to.

I loved Emma Jean and Grim. I cannot wait for the second installment. The rough, raw feel of this book was exactly what I needed. Grim may be a close second to King!!


Shelby☆☆☆☆☆
What did I just read?!?!
This story was absolutely NOT what I expected.

We start this story by being introduced to two young adults (Tristan and Emma Jean, she's a pre-teen) who are in the system. You can't help but be drawn in by their interactions. You can feel the connection...

Actually, every single character that's introduced in this story is interesting. (On a side note: I want to read Marcy and Belly's story).

This is a grungy, dirty, raw story about two people who find peace in the other but can NEVER truly experience peace together. This is dark, very dark at times, but still has moments of light.

I will not give anything away, no spoilers, but I will say that if you like the King series, you will LOVE Perversion.

I need to know what happens next. Which side prevails? Who WINS? Can there be a winner?




T.M. (Tracey Marie) Frazier never dreamed that a single person would ever read a word she wrote when she published her first book. Now, she is a five-time USA Today bestselling author and her books have been translated into numerous languages and published all around the world.

T.M. enjoys writing what she calls sexy ‘wrong side of the tracks romance’ with morally corrupt anti-heroes and ballsy heroines.

Her books have been described as raw, dark and gritty. Basically, what that means, is while some authors are great at describing a flower as it blooms, T.M. is better at describing it in the final stages of decay.

She loves meeting her readers, but if you see her at an event please don’t pinch her because she's not ready to wake up from this amazing dream.


Connect with T.M.

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Google+  ~  Instagram
Frazierland Facebook Group




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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Perversion (Perversion Trilogy #1) by T.M. Frazier to read and review for this tour.

Make Me Fall by Sara Rider Blog Tour


Enemies make the worst neighbors, but the best lovers.

After losing her job, her home, and her friends in her divorce, Nora Pitts is determined not to make the same mistakes when she starts over in the small town of Shadow Creek, Washington. No more slaving away in the lab at the expense of her social life, and definitely no more men. Ever. But making friends in her thirties is so much harder than she anticipated. And when it comes to her gorgeous yet obnoxious neighbor, it’s a whole lot easier to make enemies.

Eli Hardin doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for his uptight neighbor, until he overhears her so-called new friends making fun of her un-datable status. Suddenly he finds himself volunteering for a date with a woman who’s been leaving angry hate-notes in his mailbox, and in way over his head. Because all it takes is one disastrous date with Nora for Eli to fall hard.

But falling for Eli isn’t something Nora’s ready for—not when he’s her complete opposite, and especially not when he turns out to be the best friend she’s made in Shadow Creek. But as her attraction and her feelings for Eli grow hotter, resisting him might just lead to heartbreak anyway.

Add to Goodreads –


Book 2
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B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo




Eli marked off twenty-six and three-quarter inches as precisely as he could and lifted the blade of the circular saw.

“Oh my God, I soooo wasn’t kidding,” one of the women next door said loudly. “Nora really does need to get laid.”

His shoulders tensed. This wasn’t the first time he’d overheard the women loudly shit-talking his neighbor behind her back. He had no idea why she hung out with them.

“Maybe you should set her up with someone,” another woman added.

The other two laughed. “Can you imagine Nora on a date? She’s so uptight and frigid. Who would want to date her? No lay is worth that kind of torture. Can’t you just picture her busting out her bottle of sanitizer before the poor sap tries to hold her hand?”

His jaw tensed and he felt the last of his patience snap like an icicle in his warm hands. He sliced the saw through the wood, threw his protective glasses onto the ground, and marched over to the waist-high chain link fence. “I’d do it.”

All three women turned to look at him like he was a space alien who’d just beamed down to earth. The one who’d been talking the most leaned forward in her seat. “What did you just say?”

“You heard me. I’d go out with her.”

“You can’t be serious.”

The more this woman pushed, the more he wanted to put her in her place. No, Nora was not the kind of woman he would normally ask out—mainly because she was one of the few who didn’t seem to fall for his charm. In fact, he was pretty sure she didn’t think he had any charm whatsoever, but she was attractive and smart enough to read a book every month. That alone made her more dateable than half the population in this town. “Sure as hell am.”

The woman leaned forward, smiling at him like he was freshly caught prey in her snare. “If you’re looking for a date, I could show you a much better time.”

He shrugged, keeping his fake smile on his face. “No thanks. Backstabbing and mean isn’t my type.”

He probably enjoyed the shocked look on the woman’s face a little too much, but it was seriously fucking rude to trash-talk the hostess while sitting on her porch and eating her canapés.

The screen door slid open right at that moment. Nora walked out with a plate of decadent-looking mini-chocolate cakes that made his mouth water on sight. Her eyes darted from her friends to him and back again. “Um, what’s going on?”

He rested his hands against the old chain-link fence. “What’s going on is that your so-called friends are talking trash about your love life behind your back and don’t seem to think you can get a date. So I volunteered.”

“You what?”

“Volunteered. You and me. Tomorrow night at seven. I’ll drive.”

She slammed the cake tray onto the coffee table and set her hands on her hips. She looked around, like she couldn’t decide where to focus her anger. Of course she settled on him. “Who says I’d want to go out with you?”

He raised his eyebrow, liking the way she got flustered around him a little too much. “Got better plans?”

Even at the distance between them, he could see her suck in a breath. Her mouth hardened into a flat line, but she didn’t say no.

“Tomorrow. Seven. Dinner. Oh, and consider making new friends who aren’t so damn mean. These ladies don’t deserve any of those amazing-looking cakes.” He grabbed his plank of wood and headed into the house, wondering what the hell he’d just gotten himself into.




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
I enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next book in the Books & Brews series.

Nora and Eli meet under unusual circumstances. She moves into the rental house next door and before long, her annoying neighbor, Eli, starts renovating his house seemingly from top to bottom and at all hours of the day and night.

Eli doesn't particularly care for his uptight neighbor, but when her supposed book club friends start talking badly about her, he takes it upon himself to ask her out on date. He doesn't know who's surprised more when Nora agrees.

Getting to know Nora and what prompted her move to Washington, Eli's guilt over his mother's death brings each of them closer together. It’s Nora who still has reservations about being in a relationship and there's nothing that Eli can do to make Nora realize that with love, you have to risk the pain.


Ruthie☆☆☆☆
This is the second book in the series, and given how much I enjoyed the first, I was delighted to be given this one to review. And it is another winning read.

Once again, the male lead is part of the Holy Grale brewery and pub team – this time Eli, the genius behind the microbrewery's popular brews. He may have a Masters in Chemistry, but his forte is getting the blend and taste just right. He has always been a happy go lucky type with women, but he has realised that his best friend and partner, Jake, has something very special with Clem. Readers of the first book will be delighted at how we get to see how their relationship is developing.

Nora has already had a failed marriage and having moved away from everyone she knows to make a clean start, she is, however, finding friendships hard to make. The most contact she has with anyone is the angry messages she sends her neighbour, Eli... perfect set up for a funny, sweet, and sexy romance. Throw in some major insecurities, and issues of independence and control, and we get a really lovely story.

I love the discussions about beers, and the tour round the microbrewery was both incredibly romantic in a nerdy way, but also enlightening. To pull it round with a meeting or two in Clem's wonderful library upstairs just was the icing on the cake.

Very much looking forward to reading the next installment!


Also Available in the Books & Brews Series

Book 1
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Real Kind of Love Blog Tour.




Sara Rider writes contemporary romance full of heart, heat, and happily ever after. She lives in British Columbia with her husband and daughters. She spends far too much time in public libraries and never leaves the home without her e-reader stuffed in her purse.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Make Me Fall (Books & Brews #2) by Sara Rider to read and review for this tour.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti


Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo...

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up...

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock...

Add to Goodreads –


Book 1
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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

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

Pippa has been on the run since she was 18 years old. When she realized what her life would consist of, she took a chance and ran with her friend. Now, years later, she decides that she might want to take a chance and live a little – be normal for a little while. When she meets her new neighbor, Malcolm, she is intrigued by him. He's handsome and an ex-cop, so she's also very wary of him. She can't get too close or he could find out about her past.

Malcolm is an ex-cop who is trying to figure out where he goes next. When he's recruited for yet another undercover operation. What he doesn't expect is Pippa. He is trying very hard to be two people – both a little bit of his real self mixed in to undercover people. When push comes to shove, he will do anything to protect Pippa. He knows something is wrong but can't seem to figure out all of the pieces of the puzzle.

This was a fast-paced thriller and I especially enjoyed the secondary characters. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book.


Sarah☆☆☆☆☆
This book seriously messed with my head! I loved the twists and turns in this story and I love that I couldn’t completely trust any of the characters. When a former undercover cop moves in next door to a woman hiding from a dangerous cult, they are both being manipulated more than they know.

Malcolm doesn’t know it, but he’s been recruited to a new team charged with investigating Pippa and the cult she once belonged to. Pippa doesn’t know that her sexy new neighbour is investigating her. The chemistry between Malcolm and Pippa is crazy hot but it is impossible to know where the lies stop and the truth begins. The further Malcolm embeds himself into the cult, the more frightening it seems. The many threads of this investigation are carefully woven together. The pace is exciting and the story is structured well enough to allow readers to investigate alongside the Requisitions team. I love that while readers get to know and like Pippa, we never quite know how far to trust her.

I always struggle a little bit with action stories that double as erotic romance. There are some wince worthy sex scenes in this story where badly injured characters manage to take time from their life or death missions to have passionate and inventive sex. Without thinking too hard, the sex is hot and the action is exciting – so I guess the combination works here.

I love Angus Force’s Requisitions team. The highly skilled group of misfits is full of secrets and bizarre personality quirks. I love that I found it impossible to trust any of the team members completely and I can’t wait for the series to dig deeper into each member of Angus’ team. This might be the start of my favourite Rebecca Zanetti series yet – and I’m already excited for book two.


Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
I really enjoyed this story. The premise is not something I've read a lot about and I think the author did a wonderful job of explaining how a cult lures people into the fold. I could relate to Malcolm and how he felt when he experienced the manipulations of the cult.

Pippa's story is heartbreaking. Her freedom came at a great cost and her guilt weighs heavily on her. Trying to live, learning to live is something that she has a hard time doing. Always on the run, always wondering where the next threat will come from, and the only place she feels relatively safe is her home.

Everything changes for both Mal and Pippa when Mal moves in next door and joins the Deep Ops team headed up by Angus.

There are many stories left to be told and I'm excited about reading them.




New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner – only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes contemporary romances, dark paranormal romances, and romantic suspense novels.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day—or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.

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http://www.kensingtonbooks.com


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Hidden (Deep Ops #1) by Rebecca Zanetti to read and review.

Buck Wild by Lauren Landish


From Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Landish comes a hard-riding romance of cowboys who run wild—and the women who tame them…

Bull rider James Bennett lives for those eight seconds of exhilaration. A rodeo cowboy in his prime, all he wants out of life is something to straddle. That’s why James is feeling a little restless, spending his summer off working his family’s ranch. That is, until a spirited and gorgeous veterinarian-in-training shows up and puts the cocky wild boy—and his ego—in place. Though she’s a feisty one, James is always up for a challenge.

Sophie Stone has to admit it: James Bennett is a checklist of cowboy hotness—ruggedly handsome with piercing blue eyes, a hard-muscled body, and just enough swagger to make her toes curl. She thought she was done with her bad-boy phase, but exceptions must be made.

How can Sophie possibly say no to man who makes her heart buck like a bronco? And when their summer fling comes to an end, how can she possibly say goodbye?

Add to Goodreads –


Book 1
Buy Links

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~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance

Sophie is a strong woman who knows what she wants and is working hard towards her goal of achieving it. When she decides to spend her summer before vet school working with a local rural vet, she is so excited, but doesn't expect to get a summer fling in too.

James is working hard at fixing the fence surrounding his family's ranch. After recently losing his father, James is back home during his break from the bull riding circuit. Home... James doesn't really feel like it's home yet. He is just here to help his brothers. But when a feisty vet puts him in his place and brushes him off, James finds himself intrigued.

These two have a slow burn chemistry. They continue to explore what they might have and when feelings start creeping into their arrangement, both will have to decide how to handle those feelings. The romance has almost a young adult feel to it. These are cute characters and I really hope that the other brothers get their own stories too.


Ruthie☆☆☆☆
This is the first in a new series (although with links – see below). As there are three Bennett boys, we are pretty much guaranteed some more cowboy fun – well, not sure Mark understands the concept of fun, but it will be entertaining seeing him learn!

Here we find James home from the bull-riding circuit during the off season, helping out at the family ranch. It is the first year without his father alive, and the information we get about the family and the impact of his death is very moving. James has never really felt he belonged and is looking forward to returning to competing. So when he finds himself attracted to the vet's intern, Sophie, he considers a fling a definite possibility – luckily so does she.

Of course, as they spend more time together, they take advantage of the obvious chemistry and have a lot of fun together. I really liked that they were equal in these feelings and were very open to enjoying themselves. Inevitably, as time passed, they both realised they knew each other rather well, and maybe the lightheartedness was not quite so light.

I loved the side characters in this story, most especially Mama and Doc – they added a realism to the situation and grounded the pair. The story involving their neighbours will also presumably re-emerge in future books; it was sad, strange, but hopefully cathartic.

I am looking forward to seeing what happens next, and which brother gets his turn at a happily ever after.

(As an aside – any fan of Lauren Landish will have recognised Sophie's brother, Jake, and his wife, Roxy, from her book Heartstopper, which was fun bonus!)


Lee’Anne☆☆☆
I’m usually a fan of Lauren Landish’s but this one fell flat for me. Though I really liked the two main characters, the story was just slightly boring and moved at a very slow pace without much happening. Sophie is a veterinarian student who is interning with a small-town doctor for the summer. Her very first ride along is to a farm owned by the Bennett brothers. James is immediately an ass to Sophie when he doesn’t believe she can handle the difficult birth of a horse calf and Sophie snaps right back at him. Sophie being one to stand up for herself was my favorite part of this book, she’s definitely a fierce and independent character and I really liked her. We do get quite a bit of steam from this story and James and Sophie definitely have chemistry. All in all, this isn’t a bad read, I just found the brothers a bit immature and I don’t think I’ll be reading more from this particular series.



Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Landish welcomes you into a world of rock-hard abs and chiseled smiles. Her sexy, contemporary romances—including her wildly successful Irresistible Bachelor Series—have garnered a legion of praise from her readers. When Lauren isn’t plotting ways to introduce readers to their next sexy-as-hell book boyfriend, she’s deep in her writing cave and furiously tapping away on her keyboard, writing scenes that would make even a hardened sailor blush. Lauren lives in North Carolina with her boyfriend and fur baby. For all the updates and news on her upcoming books (not to mention a whole lotta hunks), visit her website or follow her on social media.

Connect with Lauren

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Montlake –


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Buck Wild (Bennett Boys Ranch #1) by Lauren Landish to read and review.

Touch the Sky by Kari Cole


Keep to yourself. Focus on the job.

Sheriff Vaughn Ellis’s very existence as a rare double-shifter defies the natural order. It also makes it extremely difficult for him to get close to anyone. To trust anyone. It’s nothing Vaughn can’t handle, until a seductively sweet woman arrives in Black Robe, and suddenly he can’t think about anything but her.

The product of a witch/werewolf pairing, Hannah Cochran gets the odd-wolf-out thing. But when she uncovers a major threat to the lycanthrope world, she finds herself playing nice with the sexy sheriff. Abiding by the law isn’t usually Hannah’s style, but nothing catches her breath quite like the commanding attraction she feels toward Vaughn.

Working closely together only intensifies their fated connection, making it impossible to deny—or resist. Hannah fears that getting involved puts Vaughn in danger. But when she becomes the target, it’s Vaughn who’ll have to decide which rules he’s willing to break to save the woman he can’t live without.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Add to Goodreads –


Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Carina Press



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Dawn☆☆☆☆
I've loved Vaughn from the first book. I'm so glad he got his own book.

Hannah was a character that I've never really seen before in shifter books, a mix between witch and shifter. I loved that she just wanted to protect everyone, especially Vaughn.

The story is still unwrapping itself and it just keeps getting better, I really can't wait to see where it goes.

I'm not going to lie though, my favourite character is Frost and I really hope we see more of the strange little wolf in future books.


Erica☆☆☆
3.5 Stars.

My favorite character goes to Frost, who isn't a narrator. Runner-ups, the two tikes who shifted into wolves. Adorable.

Touch of Sky is the second installment of the Mated by Fate series, and I don't believe it is a good idea to read it as a standalone, as there are common ties threading the series together. There would be too much confusion.

I need to preface my review by stating the format is not my favorite, but it did not affect my overall rating. Why am I doing so? In case others read as I do, I'm giving them a heads up to decide if they wish to read the novel.

When a novel has too many narrators, my ability to form an emotional connection is lessened. My other issue, seeing inside the bad guys' machinations removes all the mystery and suspense. It becomes how the reader knows everything and the main characters know nothing. I'd much rather have the mystery unveiled organically, learning beside the main characters, as this forms a connection between reader and characters.

Also, and I'm not sure why, the only mystery I felt was via the main characters, where they purposefully withheld information from the reader, when we were literally inside their head. This made me feel as if they were unreliable narrators.

With this format, as the reader, I knew too much about the bad guys and nothing from the main characters, whom I was supposed to be rooting for. Hannah was so locked down, even during inner musings, I never got to know her.

It was hard for me to connect to Hannah and Vaughn's romance when they knew nothing of one another, other than how much they loved how the other looked or how it felt to be near one another.

The lies, evasion, never opening up and truly connecting, for the sake of 'mystery' the reader already knew, formed a disconnect between me and the main characters and the main characters with one another. By the last quarter of the book, Hannah still hadn't told Vaughn her name yet – he just revealed his dual-natured wereanimals, and that was the perfect time for her to tell him she was also a shifter and a witch. Nope. I got frustrated with the purposeful withholding of information for the sake of mystery, a mystery the reader already knew, so therefore it was just frustrating, disconnecting, and a series of purposeful miscommunications.

While I enjoy the series as a whole, enjoy what little I got to know of the characters, and look forward to what comes next, I am left feeling frustrated.

Even with the threads of mystery/suspense, I tried to read the novel in a lighthearted nature, for the sake of romance that is not too deep, and not take it too seriously.


Also Available in the Mated by Fate Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Carina Press

For reviews & more info, check out our Hunt the Moon post.



Kari Cole is an award-winning author of paranormal romances. Her action-packed stories have earned several awards, including the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®, the Kiss of Death’s Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and the Toronto Romance Writers’ Catherine. Kari lives in upstate New York with her college sweetheart, two way-too-smart-for-their-own-good sons, and a ridiculous labradoodle named for the bravest of Star Wars heroes, Artoo.

Connect with Kari

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http://www.carinapress.com


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Touch the Sky (Mated by Fate #2) by Kari Cole to read and review.