Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Rocking Thin Ice by Z. Allora

Can a sexy rock star show a relationship-phobic ice skater that there’s more to life than gold medals?

When ice-skating’s bad boy Blaze first glimpses Drake, every fantasy he’s ever had flares to life. Not only is rock star Drake sexy as sin, his songs awaken a longing in Blaze that he’s denied for years. But Blaze Parker doesn’t believe in relationships—at least not those that last more than twenty minutes.

Drake Keys has dreamed about the sensual ice skater for years. When Drake is kicked out of his band because of his bisexuality, he drives across the country to finally see the man he’s had a crush on skate live.

Though the attraction is instant and intense, both Blaze and Drake have baggage that puts any relationship on thin ice. Blaze is driven by a long-ago betrayal to prove himself a champion, and Drake, uncertain about the future, hopes to resurrect his music career. As they take a road trip together, Drake romances Blaze, hoping to melt his heart and show him that love is possible… but not without some tough decisions.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is a sweet, slow, and angsty story about the relationship between a rock star and a figure skater. As the bad boy of figure skating, Blaze sacrificed his privacy and any kind of a personal life in his quest for Olympic gold. It’s only after he achieves his lifetime dream that he starts to realise how much he’s missed out on. Rock star Drake has had a crush on Blaze since he was a teenager. When his band kicks him out, Drake drives cross country for a chance to see his favourite skater perform live.

Blaze and Drake are fantastic characters. When they meet, Blaze’s cocky on-ice persona hides his insecurities and fears while an accidental pot-brownie overdose leaves Drake a little bit too honest and vulnerable. I loved the instant connection between these two and I love how much they actually have in common with each other. There is some heat in the story, but the focus is on the intimacy that slowly builds between Blaze and Drake.

My only reservation about this story is the pace and the lack of action. This is a slow read and the connection between the two men is full of angst and hesitation. Considering they both have fascinating jobs, I find it hard to understand the lack of excitement in the story. Most of the story happens while Blaze is on a break from training after the Olympics and Drake has been dumped from his band. The men have way too much time to talk themselves round in circles, analysing every detail of their lives and relationships. Some relief comes in the form of a short road trip and a family wedding, but I did find this a bit tedious at times.

I enjoyed this story overall, but it is a slow read. I love the characters – both Blaze and Drake are wonderfully complicated and beautifully written.

Given how much I enjoy sports romances and ones involving rock stars, this was always likely to be a win for me! Interestingly, both leads are taking downtime from the heights of their career commitments when they meet, so we get to see them without most of the usual thrills and frills. This makes it a fascinating combination of public figure off duty, but still with all the hang-ups that come from being used to the superficial life that they normally lead.

We get Drake, a rock star who is ready for commitment, and Blaze, whose trust was broken young and who is only prepared to rely on his brother, Luke. Somehow, following a rather funny laced-brownie affected introduction, these two start something. Neither dare define the something, but somehow it is enough to keep them testing the waters for more. It makes for some degree of slow burn, although they are pretty much inseparable from day one, so it is a confusing relationship for us as well as them!

I really enjoyed the side characters, from Taylor to Anna, they all contributed to helping each man recognise what they could see so clearly. If you like seeing behind the fame, the glory, and the hard work, then this will be a book for you.

Z. Allora thinks everyone deserves a happy ending, and she makes sure they get one. Her stories are about love and romance and are tied together with erotic sex. She utilizes her time overseas and travels to bring you to places you've yet to visit. She introduces you to cultures you've yet to explore. But with every word she writes she tries to convey love is love.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Rocking Thin Ice by Z. Allora to read and review.

Broken Scars by J.M. Walker Blog Tour

Ruined. Tortured. Broken.

What could have been the perfect childhood, turned into a hell that the devil himself would shy away from. I was forced to deal with an evil that would make the darkest of souls cringe.

Lily Noel was scarred but beautiful. She was perfectly flawed and everything that I needed.

Attraction bordered on obsession.
Passion bordered on ecstasy.
Addiction bordered on insanity.

Nothing could get in the way of our love.

Reader Advisory: This book contains dark themes including sexual assault and past child abuse.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Lily and Lucas both have baggage and scars that run deep. Something immediately draws them to each other. Lily sees Lucas for who he is, and she may be the first to see what's underneath the tattoos. She's willing to take the good and the bad, nightmares and all. Their relationship is passionate and fast. But there is such a rawness to it. They strip each other bare, no hiding behind the scars.

Broken Scars is an emotional rollercoaster for sure. It will rip your heart out and leave you gasping. The ending was freaking perfect for them!

J.M. Walker is an Amazon bestselling author who loves all things books, pigs and lip gloss. She is happily married to the man who inspires all of her Heroes and continues to make her weak in the knees every single day.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Broken Scars by J.M. Walker to read and review for this tour.

Million Dollar Marriage by Katy Evans

From New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans comes a hot romance about two strangers and their race to fall in love.

If someone had bet Nell a million dollars that she would be saying “I do” to a complete stranger on national television, she’d have called them crazy, but with her crushing student loan payments sending her deep into the red, she’s out of options. This should be nothing more than a business transaction—until she sets eyes on her groom, and everything changes.

The game is on the instant Luke spots Penelope “Nell” Carpenter. He’s out for the money, yes, but getting a little dirty with Nell doesn’t sound too bad either. Everyone knows he’s not the marrying kind, so it’s a good thing it’s just for show. God knows he’s the worst guy his pretty wife should pick for real.

They have nothing in common, but if they want the grand prize, they’ll have to beat out eight other couples. Proving that total opposites attract should be easy enough… as long as they don’t fall in love in the process.

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Book 2
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

4.5 stars

Nell is about to graduate with yet another degree, but with the college debt she needs to find a job or some way to make money quickly. When her roommate tells her about an audition she is going to, Nell decides to tag along. She doesn't know anything about the audition because she doesn't watch reality TV.

Luke needs to find some money fast or lose his grandpa's bar. When Jimmy suggests he go to the audition for a reality TV show, Luke knows he doesn't have anything to lose.

Luke is attracted to Nell/Penny the moment he sees her standing in line with her textbook and reading glasses but Nell thinks he is a thug. While Nell's friend and boyfriend do not make the cut, Nell and Luke make it through. Nell can't believe she was picked, while Luke knew he was a shoo-in.

Funny how opposites attract, Nell and Luke are paired together and part of the game is they have to marry to be contestants for the show.

While Luke is the brawn, Nell is the brains, can they get along long enough to win in the end? Will the attraction between them run its course before the show ends? Can Nell trust Luke in the end?

I liked the first story but loved this one. Luke and Nell/Penny were perfect for each other even though they were opposites and that, to me, made the story perfect. I don't think you have to read the first one to understand this one but it does have characters from the first book in this one, so read it and enjoy Jimmy and Lizzy before you read Luke and Penny.

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
This book was not what I expected, but in a good way. A new take on the reality show genre, which was a great basis for the romance between Nell and Jimmy.

Jimmy is not exactly happy about having to try out for a reality show, but does in order to save his grandfather's bar. Nell's in the same boat. She's trying to figure out how to pay for her student loans that are about to come due. She's graduating with her PhD and unless she tries to find another degree, she's going to have to deal with the real world and the loans that are coming due.

Nell doesn't think she'll make the cut for this reality show, but when she does, she's not exactly thrilled but she's willing it give it a try for the money.

Imagine her surprise when she's paired up with Jimmy and in order to collect the million dollar prize, they have to finish the competition as a married couple.

The way the characters were written was amazing and the adventures made for Jimmy and Nell (or Penny as Jimmy calls her) really allowed them both to get to know each other in ways that many couples don't for a long time in a traditional dating relationship.

I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next book in the series.

3.5 stars

This is the second book in the series – I have not yet read the first, but I enjoyed this as a standalone.

If you like reality TV shows, then this is definitely a book you should add to your list. It is not too cynical about the whole process, but enough to be fun. The premise of the show is pretty good, and although it is not as detailed as you might hope, it gives a good idea to the ethical issues and the crazy challenges.

Although the two leads, Luke and Nell (Penny) are miles apart in terms of the level of education that they have pursued, they are actually far closer than you might ever expect in terms of their level of mucked up childhoods – and lack of positive parental attention. Luke was lucky enough to have caring grandparents, and Nell has a very loyal best friend, but their views of love and happy ever after are seriously tainted. Add to that Nell's terrible ex-fiancé and her lack of experience, and they are a complicated couple, that's for sure!

The way that their relationship develops works really well, and I was so glad that there was an epilogue which gave us everything we could have hoped for!

Also Available in the Million Dollar Series

Book 1
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~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Million Dollar Devil post.

Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut Real shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 10 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Million Dollar Marriage (Million Dollar #2) by Katy Evans to read and review.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

New York Times Bestselling Author Sarah MacLean returns with the next book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series about three brothers bound by a secret that they cannot escapeand the women who bring them to their knees.

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly… until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure... on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires… for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power... and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything... including their hearts.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

5 Banterific Stars

First, I'll preface this review by stating that I'm a Sarah MacLean fanatic. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this novel. At the end, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next novel. With that being said, I'll also admit it was definitely worth the yearlong wait, as will be the next in the series. It was that good.

It's the year of Hattie.

On the cusp of being twenty-nine, Hattie is ready to take life into her own hands, the natural romantic accepting that marriage and babies are not in the cards for her. Her father was made an earl due to his business savvy, but it's a life legacy, where the title dies with him. Which is for the best, because Hattie's brother, Augie, isn't smart enough to rub two sticks together, always getting up to some mischief that causes Hattie problems.

Curvy and far too cerebral, Hattie is the son her father wished he had, with the only issue that she is a woman. In this era, with women treated as second-class citizens, their future contingent on whether or not a man wishes to marry her. Hattie's business smarts in the shipping trade are contingent on her father humoring her and her brother's disinterest in working.

The frustrated woman declares it's the Year of Hattie, with the helpful assistance of her zanny, brave bestie, Nora.

The Beast of the Bareknuckle Bastards, Whit wakes bound and tied in a moving carriage, while being poked and prodded by a curvy lady. No doubt it's one of the most original meetings both of them have had, especially when he's shoved out the door of a moving carriage.

Four Bastards, one title. Whit was the runt of the litter, grown large and imposing, with a will to survive and revenge fueling his mission. The Devil is married to Felicity. The Beast has been humiliated by bumbling idiots. Grace is on the run, hiding from the one with the title. The false duke is out for his own revenge, never allowing his three siblings any peace.

To the backdrop of the continuing plot (make sure you read Wicked and the Wallflower), Whit and Hattie spar, using banter and biting barbs to fuel sexual tension, while ignoring their very real connection. With a slight love-hate, enemies-to-lovers vibe, this couple was a decadent treat I couldn't seem to get enough of. Page after page, I wanted more of their humorous, blush-inducing interactions.

Hattie was an independent, frustrated heroine, who represented a little shown faction of us plus-sized ladies. There was so much there for Hattie to resonate with most of the readers, truly rooting for her to have the best Year of Hattie, and a happily ever after.

The Beast, our Whit, there is something in all of us who wishes to heal the broken little boy within strong, grown men, and Whit manages to trip all of those triggers, in both Hattie and the readers. There's an infectious quality that sticks its claws in us and doesn't let go.

Then there is reckless Nora, who I was thrilled to see has a taste for ladies, which I hope we will get to see more of her budding relationship.

But then there is Grace and Ewan, the past two novels seeded with their destiny, to the point where I am quite ravenous to find out what happens next, but not too quickly, as I never want it to end.

Also Available in the Bareknuckle Bastards Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our Wicked and the Wallflower post.

Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Brazen and the Beast (Bareknuckle Bastards #2) by Sarah MacLean to read and review.

All It Takes by Kristen Proby

In Kristen Proby’s second novel in her Romancing Manhattan series, a playboy vows never to commit—until he meets the one woman he’s tempted to break his promise for.

Quinn Cavanaugh doesn’t do anything halfway. He drives fast, works hard, and plays even harder. And the word “commitment” doesn’t exist in his dictionary. He has no plans of settling down with one woman for he needs to be free to move on to the next big thing—whatever or whoever that may be. Each party knows the score going into it, and it’s all been working out fine. That is, until a sexy new colleague enters the scene.

Sienna Hendricks doesn’t give much thought to Quinn and the revolving door leading to his bedroom. She’s way too picky about who she shares her time or her body with and screwing around with a colleague isn’t part of her plan either. Quinn doesn’t intimidate her. And unlike most other members of her sex, she doesn’t melt into a puddle at his feet whenever he’s near. Most importantly, she has no issues telling him no.

But for a man who has the world at his feet, Quinn isn’t accustomed to being rejected. And he’s not about to let that change—no matter how persistent Sienna is. To his surprise, Sienna is everything he thought he’d never find. Pursuing her, and convincing her he's changed, is going to be the biggest challenge of his life. One he’s completely up for…

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Also Available on Audiobook

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance

Sienna is a great attorney. Encouraged from a young age to follow her dream, both her father and her uncle have always been her biggest cheerleaders. When her grandfather passes away, the reading of the will uncovers a century old mystery and, despite being attracted to opposing counsel, Sienna is determined to prove him and his client wrong.

Quinn loves his job. While at a will reading, he has to step forward and expose that what was bequeathed to the city might not be legal. The spitfire who stands up to him, Sienna, is intriguing and attractive.

Both Quinn and Sienna are trying to find the truth. However, secrets and their job can sometimes be hard to handle. Despite being opposition, Quinn and Sienna find that they are having a difficult time fighting their attraction.

Secrets are never a good thing in a relationship. But when secrets expose what is truly behind their case, Quinn and Sienna have to decide if they can put aside their differences and if their relationship will survive.

Proby, once again, shows that a true relationship is one of mutual respect and admiration. I love how these characters developed and evolved throughout the story and hope that we get to see more of them. I also really hope that we get to see a story for Sienna’s sister, because it seems that she has a lot of layers to her.

This is the second book in the series, and I absolutely loved it. I would recommend that you read book one first as it is an ongoing story, and getting the background on the Cavanaugh men is helpful – it is also an excellent story, so why miss out? Quinn is the troubled brother, still hurting from his father and sister's death, he is very close to his mother, fearing she will be next. He is very family centred, even if he has playboyish ways! Seeing Finn settle down has definitely changed his attitude about life though, and he will do anything for his niece, Gabby.

Whilst this is a dreamy, sexy, and wonderful romance – one can guarantee that Proby will deliver on this score every time – it is also a really exciting mystery, with a brilliantly unexpected and rather shocking twist! I absolutely loved the sorting through old boxes to find evidence scenes, even though as I write it, I question how that can possibly be exciting!! We are drawn into the mystery from the very beginning, and as I say, be prepared to have your expectations overturned!

Quinn and Sienna may be on opposing sides legally in the case, but thanks to a court ruling, they are bound to work together. This clears up a lot of the ethical issues that any of us, and they may have of starting a relationship – although I am not sure that Quinn ever expected the dilemma that he faced. As they fall further into a meaningful love affair, one inevitably waits for the problems that will arise, and they do, but these two articulate, intelligent people are able to communicate about the issue and see it for the obstacle that it is rather than the end of something so special. This was very pleasing, and gave credence to the characters that were written.

A hugely satisfying and enjoyable read – I cannot wait for the next installment and to find out what further treats are in store for us.

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
I love Kristen Proby's books. Each book has a way of making you invest in the characters to the point that you stay up all night just to see how the story ends. Then you are disgusted with yourself because its 3 a.m. and you have to get up in four hours AND you have to wait for the next book in the series.

The characters of Quinn and Sienna are very well written and I was pulling for them from the beginning. I loved the way the judge assigned them to work together to get the information together for the sake of both of their clients.

The way Quinn cares for Sienna and wants her to succeed is amazing. He doesn't care if his client wins or loses, he just wants Sienna's happiness. Sienna is grateful for the support that Quinn has given her. He respects her abilities as an attorney and as a woman.

When Sienna's world crumbles around her, she withdraws from Quinn and it crushes him. Knowing that she needs time to come to grips with what's going on in her world, he gives it to her, but Quinn is not a man to give up. Sienna knows that it’s not Quinn's fault that her family fell apart, but she's not ready to embrace her happily ever after.

Luckily for her, Quinn is a patient man.

This is such a great series and I think this second book might be even better than the first. This time, the story is all about two New York lawyers forced to work together to discover who actually owns the land Sienna’s grandfather bequeathed to the city.

The chemistry between Sienna and Quinn is fabulous. Sparks fly between the two lawyers from the start, and as their case becomes murkier, chemistry turns into trust, friendship, and something more. While the first story in this series was all money and glamour, Sienna brings a refreshing sense of normality to this second book. Her work as a city lawyer doesn’t bring in much money, but it allows her a healthy work-life balance. While I enjoyed London in the first book, Sienna feels more real and more relatable.

I love the way Quinn and Sienna work for each other in so many different ways. Sienna adds some balance to his life while still challenging him intellectually. I also enjoyed getting to know the Cavanaugh family better. This is a fun, easy read that I read in a single sitting.

Also Available in the Romancing Manhattan Series

Book 1
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Also Available on Audiobook

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Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our All the Way post.

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 All It Takes (Romancing Manhattan #2) by Kristen Proby to read and review.

Cold Heart, Warm Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

A game of pretend with the highest stakes of all in the latest novel of breathtaking romance from USA Today bestselling author Caitlin Crews

Ty Everett ran off to the rodeo when he turned eighteen and has been riding bulls ever since… until his last fall causes partial amnesia and he must return to Cold River Ranch to figure out what comes next. But how can he pick his next move when he can’t remember how he got here in the first place—much less the beautiful woman who appears at the ranch, claims she knows him, and warms his cold heart for the first time since he woke up in the hospital?

Rodeo Queen Hannah Monroe gave up her crown for Ty Everett, and her innocence. What she wants from Ty now is a divorce. But Ty can’t remember her—or their secret wedding, or even the son she never meant to hide from him—and Hannah is torn. How can she leave the man she can’t forget and still loves despite herself? And even if she’s willing to start over, what will happen when the truth comes out?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

This is the second book in the series, although I have to admit this was the first that I have read. There was enough detail to ensure that I knew enough of the romance from book one, but I may have got more in-depth knowledge of the death of the brothers' father.

I found this story to start very slowly, and as the two leads both tell us the story through their inner voice a lot, it got a bit frustrating at times. However, with Ty that made a lot of sense, given his hidden memory loss. And the confusion which a lot of thoughts can create worked really effectively.

The storyline was clever, once we got to the crux of the abandonment and hurt that Hannah had felt – and seeing her rise above the expectations that she has had placed on her was satisfying. It was an interesting insight into the loneliness of the rodeo queen role – which is not one that is often examined in cowboy romances. With cowboys it is all about friendship, so that was a rather sad thought – but now she has a chance to have girlfriends and it was rather sweet to watch.

After a slow start, I think this had an interesting and satisfying conclusion.

USA Today bestselling, RITA-nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Caitlin Crews has written more than ninety-five books – and counting. She’s won fans with her Harlequin Presents, Harlequin Dare, and contemporary cowboy books as well as the romance, women’s fiction, chick lit, and work-for-hire young adult novels she writes as Megan Crane. She loves contemporary romance in all its forms, from cowboys to military heroes and beyond – including her take on futuristic Vikings, outlaw bikers, and fairy tale princes. She has a Masters and Ph.D. in English Literature, has taught creative writing classes in places like UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, and is always available to give workshops (or her opinion). She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her comic book artist husband, though, at any given time, she is likely to either be huddled in a coffee shop somewhere or off traveling the world. Preferably both.

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The Clan: Megan Crane & Caitlin Crews's Books Facebook Group

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Cold Heart, Warm Cowboy (Cold River Ranch #2) by Caitlin Crews to read and review.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Resist by K. Bromberg Blog Tour

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Driven series comes a powerful romance about reaching great heights through low depths.

Who says you have to play by the rules to get what you want?

Agreeing to meet Ryker Lockhart is my first mistake. Rich, handsome, and more than intriguing, he thinks blackmail will bend me to his will.

But he’s wrong.

I may have done a few things that weren’t exactly legal, but I have my own reasons for that. The last thing I’m going to do is let some high-powered divorce attorney come into my life, have my body, and rule my heart. Not to mention ruin everything that I have carefully built in just a short amount of time.

But as much as I try to resist him, and against my better judgment, there is something about him that has me agreeing to his proposal.

I’m putting everything on the line for him. I just hope I won’t lose everything when this is all over.

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~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

A Pretty Woman With Power by K. Bromberg

Ryker Lockhart: Powerful. Unrelenting. Stubborn.

Vaughn Sanders: Defiant. Strong. Unyielding.

With those two sets of characteristics, Ryker and Vaughn are definitely oil and water one moment and then an ember met with gasoline the next. That dynamic is what made writing them and their story so much fun in my latest book, Resist. Their tale was a delicate dance though because the push and pull of the chase better be worth the reward for readers.

I often enjoy taking characters and painting them with broad strokes (i.e. Vaughn’s profession) so that readers initially question them. Then over the next 100,000 words, I love to smash their preconceived notions so that they root for the heroine. So that they are right beside her cheering her on and falling in love with the hero just like she is.

It’s not often an easy task to write a heroine, because women are often harsher on female characters than they are males. Heroes can be over the top alphas who are dominant and say all the wrong things, but once they show vulnerability, we somehow forgive them. Heroines on the other hand, are judged more fiercely. She’s too weak. She’s too strong. She’s too wishy- washy. She’s being a b*tch for pushing him away. Making a reader like a strong-willed female character isn’t always an easy task. So when you put two characters together who embody all of these things, it’s a delicate balance to have enough push and pull. Enough sexual tension. Enough redeemable qualities so you can love them despite their faults.

This challenge is one of the reasons I loved writing Resist (and its sequel Reveal). I don’t quite remember where the storyline came from, but I recall the furious scribbling on paper as Ryker and Vaughn’s story came to life in my imagination. Take a strong-willed woman with a risqué job and give her a real reason to need that job. Take a domineering divorce attorney who deals with love gone wrong day-in and day-out, and force him to see that there can be more than just sex between a man and a woman. That love is, in fact, possible.

Challenge accepted.

Is Resist a subtle nod to the Pretty Woman trope? I never really thought of it that way, but I can see the similarities being drawn. Vaughn (my character) and Vivian (movie character) have names that both start with the letter V. They both wear a red dress in a scene. The both work in fields that deal with selling sex for profit... but that’s where the comparisons stop.

Vaughn Sanders is a force to be reckoned with. Sure, she’s a madam, but once you get beneath the moniker, readers find a strong-willed woman taking measures into her own hands for the benefit of someone else. Readers will find a woman with a strong backbone and a take no prisoners attitude. A woman they can’t wait to see succeed. Sure, we throw in our hero—Ryker, a senator you know is dirty somehow, an adorable niece, and whole cast of other characters and situations and we’re left trying to figure out how it’s all going to play out... but the one thing we know for sure, is that we want Ryker and Vaughn to end up together.

Because hopefully when you finish Resist, like Ryker and Vaughn, you start to believe true love does in fact exist.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

When I saw this book come across my computer screen up for review in the group, I automatically requested it because of the author. I have loved each and every book I have read that she has written. I didn't really know what this book was about because I didn't even read the synopsis beforehand.

Vaughn is trying to do the right thing in her life and pay off her sister's medical bills. To do that, she starts Wicked Ways, an escort service for the rich and powerful. And at night she works at an elite club. When a new client wants one of her girls to be at his beck and call, she knows which girl would be perfect. But when Lola has a rough time with a client, she can't meet the new client and Vaughn goes instead. Knowing all along that it is a big mistake.

Ryker needs a woman to be at the ready when he needs her, and Wicked Ways escort service was recommended to him. When he calls the madam and she tries to refund his money because the girl isn't going to be available, Ryker wants to meet the woman on the phone. He likes the way she sounds and the way she tries to control the situation. And he wonders how she would be in his bed.

While Vaughn and Ryker clash most of the time, they also sizzle the pages even more. I wanted to thump them both on the head at times because they were so frustrating to me. She wanted to control all aspects of her life and he wanted her to let go and then he wanted to be in control all the time.

While I loved the story and the idea of Ryker and Vaughn, their pain from the past was hard to read but it was part of the story and made sense after learning what they went through. And the ending and cliffhanger had me throwing my hands up and screaming NO! YOU CANNOT END THERE!

So I cannot wait for book two to see what happens between these two and find out if they get a happily ever after.

Oh, this is a really good start to what is no doubt going to be another fabulous Bromberg series. As soon as I reached the last page I was looking at when the next book is released... because... yep, there is a cliffhanger!

There are some serious boundaries pushed in this book – Ryker pushes Vaughn and she pushes her own. Sometimes you have to believe that the end justifies the means, and here, you will have to be patient and believe in Bromberg's skill as an author to bring you around to her way of thinking. I had every confidence and certainty that she would achieve that sweet spot. For me, the vulnerability of Vaughn is matched by her absolute devotion and strength for her niece. Once Ryker gets that, the whole scenario changes... or does it?

I love the mystery, and in fact had a couple of theories which didn't quite pan out as I expected and have a few which probably will... in September. (How many days away is that exactly? Just asking for a friend!) Oh, I need the next book, like yesterday!

Highly recommended, but if you really do dislike waiting for the next book, you might want to delay a few weeks – me, well I have made sure that I treat myself to a reread of this just before Reveal is due, so that I get a repeat of the goodness herein and the next stage of the saga.

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

So, let me just start out by saying that this is a cliffhanger.

Vaughn is a madam who is trying to earn enough money to get out of that business and just care for her niece. A niece who is in the foster care system because Vaughn’s sister committed suicide and her niece’s dad is a drug addict who will stop at nothing to extort the system and Vaughn.

Then you have Ryker. He is a ruthless divorce attorney who only represents men. His family life was less than fantastic growing up and he represents the men in the relationship, no matter if they are deemed good or bad.

This started out quite rocky for me. It was full of uncomfortable situations, blackmail, and so much arrogance that you couldn’t fit it on to the pages. It almost made me stop reading... almost.

Vaughn lets Ryker into her world and in return, Ryker shows a less ruthless side. Seeing the chemistry between these two is a lot like in Driven. There is a push and pull between them and you can’t help but want them to both succeed and fail at their relationship.

I am very interested in what happens next, because right now, I want to throttle a few people. Let’s hope the questions are answered and love wins out.

The lobby is elegant, with its large chandeliers, but they’re kept dim so as to allow each of its patrons some privacy. Almost as if they know I’m trying to hide some from the rest of the room for a bit. Soft classical music flows from the overhead speakers as people mill about in evening wear. There are hugs given among people, and laughs echo off the walls and marble floors.

I stand in the corner, surveying the crowd as nerves I don’t want to admit to run a riotous act within, and my mind tries to grapple for the nth time with what I’m about to do.

You’re keeping your reputation intact.

That’s how I have to look at this. That’s how I have to justify this.

Just like that, my breath catches when Ryker Lockhart waltzes into the lobby. I’m rarely affected by a man—sure, I can say one is handsome or sexy or gorgeous, but rarely does a man really catch my eye.

But there he is... standing in the middle of the lobby, surveying everyone around him, making my pulse race.

This is a bad idea.

He’s tall, his shoulders are broad, and there’s an air about him that screams authority while a magnetism about him makes people look his way.

And he hasn’t even spoken a word to anyone yet.

Such a bad idea.

He’s in a well-tailored tuxedo, everything black save for the crisp white dress shirt beneath it. His hair is styled, and an expensive watch glints at his wrist when he holds it up to look at the time.

Of course, that’s my cue that I’m not there exactly on time, but I give him a few more seconds to make him wait.

It’s all about power, even when I’m in a different pair of shoes.

With a deep breath, I walk toward him, shoulders square, head high, and remind myself that I’m not Vee right now. I can’t act like we’re on an equal playing field.

He has hired me. I am his.

New York Times bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary romance novels that are sweet, emotional, a lot sexy, and a little bit real. She likes to write strong heroines and damaged heroes that readers love to hate but can’t help loving.

Since publishing her first book on a whim in 2013, Bromberg has sold over 1.5 million copies of her books across eighteen different countries and has repeatedly landed on the bestseller lists for the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal. Her Driven trilogy (Driven, Fueled, and Crashed) is currently being adapted for film by the streaming platform Passionflix, with Driven available now.

You can find out more about this mom of three on any of her social media accounts.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Resist (Wicked Ways #1) by K. Bromberg to read and review for this tour.