ARC REVIEW ~ Cinderella and the Geek (British Bad Boys), by Christina Phillips

#newadult #romcom #contemporary #romance

Blurb

From Christina Phillips a sexy, new romance with a hero you won’t forget…

I’m not looking for love or a Happily-Ever-After because I know how that ends. I just need to concentrate on my degree and look after myself. But there’s something about my boss, Harry, I can’t resist. It’s crazy since he’s so hot and smart it should be illegal.
And then, just like Cinderella, I have my night at
the ball and a midnight kiss, and for a week all my sexy daydreams come true. That fake date changes my life in a way I could never imagine. It turns out, Harry wants me too.

But I’m off to pursue my dreams, and he’s taking his business to the next level. There’s no way this fairytale has a happy ending, but that doesn’t keep me from wishing for it.

My Review

Enchanting twist on the Cinderella story ~ 4 stars

I loved this sweet new adult romantic comedy by Christina Phillips. It’s a perfect feel-good read with a distinctly British flavour which re-creates perfectly the excitement and angst of a new relationship between two young people who are very much in love.

Alice has been attracted to her boss Harry as long as she has been working at his high tech gaming firm. However, she has never had the courage to let him know her true feelings and is soon to leave his company and attend university hundreds of miles away. She is desperate to seduce him at some point during her remaining weeks at the firm, after all what does she have to lose? However, it never seems to happen, until  Harry invites her to a ‘fake date’ which sees her accompany him on an unforgettable night at an awards ceremony.

The night is a game changer for them both and afterwards they begin to spend time together. It becomes clear that Harry does not just see Alice solely as his irreplaceable office administrator, but as something more… However, has their relationship got staying power or is it just a quick fling before Alice begins her studies?

Both Harry and Alice are thoroughly likeable characters and it is obvious to the reader that they are destined for each other. Harry is the quintessentially handsome geek – in his case an expert in computers, but a man who is not so good at letting his true feelings be known. Alice’s’s experience of relationships with the opposite sex is a big fat zero, her lifelong ambition before meeting Harry being to gain a degree and embark on a stellar career. She also has her own insecurities – what young person doesn’t?

The story is told in their dual POV and there are are some very funny scenes and internal and external dialogue as the couple navigate around each other, their colleagues and family. The physical scenes between them are sweet, funny and romantic at the same time and are beautifully depicted, although at times I did feel like banging their heads together!

Between them the path to lasting love is fraught with ups and downs, as they deal with intense feeings and situations they have not experienced before and issues arising from their past. The reader is left wondering whether their fragile bond will last.

All in all a cute and sexy feel-good read!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

An ARC of this novel was given to me by the publisher for the purpose of a fair an honest review.

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*REVIEW* – Captive Beauty, by Natasha Knight

#fairytaleretelling #romanticsuspense #eroticromance

Blurb

Cilla

The Beast had Belle.
Killian Black has me.

How I got here doesn’t matter, even though he says it does. Says it was my choice. He doesn’t get it, though. It wasn’t ever a choice for me.

And now, he’s changing the rules.

The agreement was one month. For thirty days, I’d be his. He’s no longer satisfied with my body alone, though. He wants my soul, too. Wants every part of me. And even though I can pretend I’m safe when I lie beneath him, this man does something to me. Something wicked.

A thing that will break me.

Killian

Cilla made the choice. She offered the deal. I just took her up on it. So what if I changed the rules half-way in? I’m not apologizing for it.

See, Cilla and me, we’re the same. She’s dark. As dark as me. Something happened to her. Something bad. It damaged her.

But it’s not a hero she seeks. It’s an avenging angel. A dark knight. That, I can do. I’ll slay her dragons, but it’ll cost her, because in return, I want everything. And I’ll take it.

She’s mine.

Author’s note: Captive Beauty is a standalone romance. Think Beauty and the Beast, but twisted and dark in the best, dirtiest ways. 

My Review

Freaking Fabulous – 5 Stars ***** TOP READ

I just loved this latest release Captive Beauty, by Natasha Knight, one of my go to author’s when I want to read about exceedingly dark alphas and complex and damaged characters. It was not only a delicious panty melting read, but it was based on one of my favourite romance tropes – Beauty and the Beast. I one-clicked and devoured it with gusto at the first opportunity.

To save her brother from a serious kicking (and possibly worse) for daring to cross mob boss Killian Black, Cilla feels compelled to offer herself instead as recompese. She soon finds that she has signed herself over to the devil for 30 days to do exactly what he wants to her… For this woman who likes to keep men at an emotional distance she soon finds herself challenged by the darkness and intensity that Killian personifies. Killian is one hell of a dominant and likes very much to keep Cilla in her place. They are so well matched. as Cilla is feisty and certainly no pushover however, and I hugely enjoyed their battle of wills and the sex scenes truly sizzle!

The hero, or rather the anti-hero Killian Black is such a worthy beast: a remorseless mob boss with no scruples, a deliciously dark alpha. Yet Killian has his own inner demons to slay, feeling tormented that he could not protect an innocent from his past. The connection he forges with Cilla is profound and I loved that Killian is drawn to the darkness that he senses in her. He is determined to peel away her layers and discover what she is hiding. Yet Cilla is determined to keep her secrets at all cost, even when she enlists him to avenge a past wrong. As for Cilla, I loved that even as she struggles to submit to him she begins to enjoy his wicked attentions and very wicked they are too – cue serious hotness Natasha Knight style! My heart bled for what both these characters had endured.

I adore how this author delved deeply into their respective characters and slowly revealed their respective pasts. The attraction between Killian and Cilla was palpable from the off and increases in intensity as the read progresses.  I was glued to the pages as I waited to find out whether their darkness would tear them apart or whether together they could slay their respective demons and together find resolution. It was unclear whether Killian’s actions would help Cilla find closure or somehow destroy them both.

The book contains a number of triggers, as you would expect with a dark romance, but they are integral to the plot and the character development. The writing, narrated in dual POV, flows beautifully. The book is an intense, emotional rollercoaster for Killian and Cilla and I enjoyed accompanying them on the ride.

This thoroughly addictive and sizzling dark romance, is without a doubt a superb read for lovers of the genre.

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*Release Blitz for Rory by Saskia Walker*

Get Coded for Love with RORY #newadult #romance #stepbrother from @saskiawalker

RORY. New Adult Romance, book one in the Coded For Love series.

Three guys who want to leave their hacker days behind.
Three women who may or may not stand in their way.

A chance encounter on the London Underground brings Sky Vaughn face to face with her stepbrother, Rory Rattigan, the guy she had a passionate teen crush on back home in Wales. Sky’s vowed to stay out of trouble. She’s already been thrown out of one college and she’s desperate for a second chance to study art in London—but she never could resist sparring with Rory Rattigan.

Rory is trying to break with his computer hacker past. His sexy stepsister turns up just when he needs to hide his hacker kit, and she’s more than willing to help him out. But Rory soon realizes the desire he’s always had for Sky is going to complicate his plans to play life by the rules. He left home because he couldn’t have her, and now here she is.

The chemistry between Rory and Sky is about to change their lives forever—because trouble and danger can’t keep them apart, and they attract both, in spades.

Excerpt:

Once the door swung wide, Rory found she wasn’t where he’d left her, standing with the sad, almost resentful look in her eyes when he declined her invitation. From beyond the bathroom door he heard the sound of a shower.
She was in there. Presumably naked. The sound of the shower drummed in his brain. The door to the tiny bathroom was ajar, just slightly, and steam wisped out as he watched.

Okay, he told himself, get the USB stick and go. It would be the right thing to do and he wanted to do the right thing. But his feet were fixed to the floor like cement blocks were holding him there. His mind presented a picture of her, naked in the shower. It wasn’t hard to imagine. He’d seen her flitting about the house in a towel back at home in Cadogan. She’d always been a provocative little Madam. She’d told him she wanted him.

Then he thought he heard her voice, and it sounded as if she was cursing.

Unable to resist, Rory moved quietly around the futon and over to the bathroom door. The sound was muffled, but she was definitely mumbling to herself.

With one finger, he pushed the door a little wider, straining to hear what she said. He didn’t intend to actually look, but steam billowed over the top of the shower curtain and — with it — the sound of a frustrated moan.
The sound was so incredibly sexy, he couldn’t move.

Again a breathless moaning sound came from inside the shower curtain.
The sound of it made him harden. He should leave. It was wrong to be standing there, listening to her. Should he try to warn her? Yeah, sure. He could shout out while she was in the middle of showering, naked. That would be a good way to announce his presence.
She had invited him to stay, after all.

The scent of musk filled the steamy atmosphere.

Maybe he should have turned away, but instead he saw her red painted fingernails as she pulled the curtain aside to put the shower gel on the nearby shelf. Then the sound of the water ceased.

One hand grasped the edge of the shower curtain and pulled it back. She reached for the towel rail, pulled the towel free and wrapped it around herself as she stepped out onto the bathmat.

It was too late to walk away, even if he’d wanted to.

The towel was too small and barely covered her damp outline, the curve of her bottom showing beneath its hem. He’d just about processed the information when all the blood left his brain.

Sky turned his way.

Gasping audibly, she stepped back and butted up against the sink. Reaching around with one hand, she steadied herself. As she did the towel began to slip free.

“I’m sorry” he blurted, hands lifted in a guilty plea. “I didn’t know you were having a shower.”

Rory half expected her to scream, or at least tell him to stop staring — because he couldn’t help staring right then. No man in his right mind could help staring then. Mascara smudged beneath both eyelids. Her red-streaked black hair clung to her head and neck, the tips trailing across her chest, dripping water.

But she didn’t scream. Instead she laughed softly, as if at some private joke. “You came back.”

“I came back, to prove your security was lacking,” he explained as he attempted to tear his gaze away. He tried to chill, lowering his hands.

“Is that why?” Curiosity flashed in her eyes.

And for you, I came back for you. He was past denying it now.

“I guess you wanted to check the locks in here too, did you?” Her eyes were incredibly bright, her strawberry lips curved.
He shook his head. “Sky, I can’t leave now.”

“No, you can’t.”

She wanted him too, it was there in her eyes and it was such a turn on. He had to touch her, to bring her to that moment in his arms. Closing the small gap between them in a heartbeat, he shrugged off his leather jacket and threw it out the open door behind him.
Sky looked up at him, eyes wide, lips parted.

He paused a moment, lifted her damp hair free of her cheek, easing it back. Her eyelids fluttered and she inhaled sharply.
“You asked me to stay. Is this what you had in mind, or am I interrupting your private bathing time?” She could always say no.
“The shower was your fault,” she declared. “You got me so wound up.”

Grasping the towel to her chest with one hand, she put the other on his shoulder, inviting him closer.
Rory ducked his head and kissed her, cupping the back of her head in one hand, the other finding the curve of her hip to pull her against him.

RORY is just 99c on pre-order, but the price will increase on release day (14th February), so grab yours now to lock in the bargain price!

Buy Links:

Amazon US:     Amazon UK:    Amazon CA:   Amazon AU: 

Bio:

Saskia Walker is a USA Today Bestseller and award-winning author. Her short stories and novellas have appeared in over one hundred international anthologies and several international magazines, including Cosmo, Penthouse, and Bust. After writing shorts for several years Saskia moved into novel-length projects.

Fascinated with seduction, Saskia loves to explore how and why we get from saying “hello” to sharing our most intimate selves in moments of extreme passion. Her novels Double Dare and Rampant both won Passionate Plume awards and her writing has twice been nominated for a RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. She has lots more stories in the pipeline! Saskia lives in the north of England on the edge of the Yorkshire moors, with her real life hero, Mark, and a house full of felines.

Sign up for Saskia’s newsletter to hear about her latest releases or keep in touch using the following links:

Author’s website   Twitter   Author’s blog  Facebook

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Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services

*REVIEW* ~ Deadly Lies (DI Mariner #1), by Chris Collett

#crimedrama #policeprocedural

Blurb

Journalist Eddie Barham is found dead in his home. A syringe is in his arm and a note by his side reads, ‘No More.’

Open and shut case of suicide? Not for DI Mariner. Hours before, he saw Barham picking up a woman in a bar. And then Mariner discovers Barham’s younger brother, Jamie, hiding in a cupboard under the stairs.

Jamie is the only witness to his brother’s death, but his severe autism makes communication almost impossible. Mariner is determined to connect with Jamie and get to the truth. Is the journalist’s death related to his investigation of a local crime kingpin?

What other dark secrets does Jamie hold the key to and can Mariner keep his relationship professional with Barham’s attractive sister, Anna?

In a nail-biting conclusion, Mariner races against time to prevent more lives being lost.

Perfect for fans of Peter James, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson.

My Review

A Cracking Crime Drama – 5 stars

Deadly Lies by Chris Collett is a cracking character driven crime drama which had me guessing until the thrilling denouement. The book introduces the reader to DI Tom Mariner, the central character in the ensuing series, and can be read as a standalone. It is the first book I have read that is billed as a Police Procedural, and I was unsure as to what to expect. What I did find was that I was very quickly sucked into the suspenseful plot and the relationships between the chief protagonists.

Although the death of the journalist Eddie Barham in his home at first appears to be an open and shut case of suicide, DI Mariner is determined to leave no stone unturned. He focuses his investigation on not only the woman who he saw the deceased pick up at a Birmingham bar but also on attempting to communicate with Jamie Barham, Eddie’s severely autistic younger brother, who was found locked in a cupboard at the scene.

The latter part of his investigation brings him into contact with Anna, Jamie’s sister, and the very personal connection they forge adds further tension to the novel. Both have baggage from their past and I found their ‘will they won’t they’ relationship particularly well portrayed by the author.  DI Mariner’s relationships with his colleagues are depicted in a realistic way and I found him to be a fascinating albeit flawed character. The novel is full of suspense as the investigation leads Tom Mariner into the underbelly of the city of Birmingham and to adopt some unexpected and often unpalatable leads involving drugs, prostitution and criminal gangs. I enjoyed the numerous twists and turns as he strives to solve the case.

One of the big pluses in the book for me was the complexity and humanity of the main characters, who due to their various foibles came across as very believable. It also examines the challenges faced by those with autism and their families.

All in all an enthralling start to the series. The author has created a fascinating character in that of Tom Mariner. I am curious as to how his crime solving journey and his personal one progresses and will be reading other books in the series.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

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http://www.chriscollettcrime.co.uk/

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