**ARC REVIEW** ~ Hold Me Until Midnight (Grayson Brothers, book 1), by Christina Phillips

Erotic Contemporary Romance – Coming 9th June!

18+/Adult Read

I was delighted to receive an ARC from the publishers and took great pleasure in reviewing Hold Me Until Midnight, the first book in Christina Phillips’ Grayson Brothers series. I just loved the chemistry between Jackson and Scarlett, the hero and heroine, and the book is a scorching and smexy start to the series! I’m so looking forward to reading about the other Grayson brothers and what is in store for them! Scroll down to read the blurb and review and connect with Christina. Tina ❤

Book Blurb

Hold me until midnightScarlett Ashford needs a date for her father’s wedding. Only she doesn’t just need a guy in a suit—she needs a bodyguard. The only problem is that Jackson Grayson is big and gorgeous and way too sexy. So much so that Scarlett’s tempted to let this hot bad boy ruin her oh-so-good reputation…

Jackson doesn’t do relationships and he certainly doesn’t sleep with clients. Yet he can’t fight their inconvenient attraction, or how badly he wants Scarlett’s warm and wicked curves against his body. He wants her. Now. Even if it’s just for one night, and even if walking away the next morning isn’t as easy as he thought.

Besides, one hot and incredibly intense night between a bad boy and a pampered princess could never turn into something real…could it?

My Review *****

Another scorching erotic contemporary romance from Christina Phillips! I just loved reading about what happened when ‘bad boy’ Jackson and socialite Scarlett fall hard for each other.

In an attempt to ward off potential scheming and matchmaking from her stepmother-to-be, Scarlett hires the larger than life Jackson (major hottie alert!) from a security firm to masquerade as her date at her father’s wedding. Yet as soon as Jackson and Scarlett set eyes on each other sparks fly and passion ignites in an erotic romance that combines sexual tension and scorching scenes with a lot of heart. The inner dialogue of this couple and their ensuing banter as they circle around each other and try and hide their emotions is vastly entertaining and absolutely priceless!

Scarlett is basically a ‘good girl’ and hiring Jackson is the most daring thing she has ever done. She doesn’t do one night stands or even ‘friends with benefits.’ I loved the fact that meeting Jackson challenges all her preconceived ideas about what a good girl should do and it was hugely entertaining to watch her unravel…

Jackson, a man with a dark past, does not do relationships. Not only that but he and his brothers, who run a well-respected security firm, have a golden rule – never to compromise their professional relationship with a client. Yet how can Jackson reconcile this with the intsa-lust he feels for Scarlett, especially when it appears she feels the same? I was desperate to find out what happens when morning comes and whether bodyguard and client go their separate ways and into their very different worlds for good.

I, like Scarlett, immediately fell for Jackson’s considerable charms and enjoyed his brand of caring but dominant alpha male. Scarlett is sweet and sassy and his perfect match. There is plenty of character and plot development amidst the hot scenes as their lives begin to intertwine, the love stakes increase and barriers to a possible HEA appear.

To summarise: This is another fast-paced, romantic read from Christina Phillips with many sizzling scenes, ranging from cheeky to romantic and downright sexy. Recommended to readers of erotic romance who like a sweet and hot story of how two people from opposite sides of the tracks unexpectedly come together against all the odds!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the publishers via NetGalley for the purpose of a fair and honest review. 

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**BLOG TOUR & REVIEW** ~ Under the Mayhaw Tree, by Charlotte Boyett-Compo (includes excerpt)

 Contemporary Romantic Suspense

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Charlotte Boyett-Compo’s books are amongst my favourite reads and I jumped at he chance to take part in this blog tour and review her new release, Under the Mayhaw Tree. Although I am more familiar with  this author’s dark erotic fantasy books, I had every confidence that it would be a cracking read and I was not disappointed! Tina 🙂

 

 

Under the Mayhaw Tree by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
 
Keynote:
 
Living under a cloud of tragedy for which he’s assumed blame, Drew Dunne has known hell for the past sixteen years. Then he meets Allison Bennett. But in the small town of Colquitt, Georgia, evil lurks around every corner and capturing happiness has an incredibly high price.
Synopsis:
SWEET VICTORY
Small-town football star Drew Dunne sacrificed everything for friendship and guilt. He’s spent most of his life unloved and unwanted. A kind touch, a gentle smile, an encouraging word are all wisps of memory from before the accident. For him there is only family, duty, loyalty.
And longing. Until he meets Allison.
When Allison Bennett looks in the mirror, she sees a woman whose life has gone from bad to worse. At the mercy of an abusive husband, sweet tenderness is something she can only dream about…until she finds it in the arms of Drew Dunne.Not every sacrifice is worthwhile, not every promise is worth keeping, and events in a small Georgia town will test this pair to the very depths of their souls, but at the end of the journey is the truth that—if you’re willing to pay the price—true love can conquer all. Drew Dunne will finally be with the woman he loves. Or die trying.

 

 

 

Purchase Links:
 
 
 
Excerpt:
As she took off her clothes he put his hands behind his head and watched her every movement. Each one was poetry in motion to his way of thinking. To him, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
He loved her so deeply he felt it in his soul. She was everything to him and he
wanted to be everything to her. His heart was filled with such peace, his body
with such longing, he could barely contain the feelings.
The last piece of clothing she removed was her panties and when she turned to the bed, he whistled in appreciation. As he had at the two motels they’d stayed at on the way to the cabin, he pretended not to notice the healing bruises covering her sweet body.
“Will you get under the covers?” she asked. She sat on the mattress, then stuck her legs under the sheet.
“Hey. You can leave your socks on but you took mine off?” he challenged. “You think that’s fair?”
“I have poor circulation in my feet,” she said.
“Believe me. You don’t want my cold toesies rubbing along your calf in the middle
of the night.”
“I believe you should pay a toll for being allowed to wear socks to bed when I can’t,” he told her as he joined her under the covers.
“What kind of toll?” she asked.
“The kind that is exacting,” he said. He slid down in the bed—disappearing beneath the covers—and slid on top of her. 
 
 
Author Bio:
Charlotte Boyett-Compo (her friends call her
Charlee) is a multi-published author of all sub-genres of Romance
fiction. Under the Mayhaw Tree is her 100th book. Over
the years, her novels have won many awards. When asked why she writes, she’s
said, “
I write because the urge is there and it’s like an itch you can
not ignore. Sometimes, I think if I don’t get my thoughts down on paper, I’ll go
insane. It is a craving, an addiction, that unless you experience it, you can’t
quite explain to ‘normal’ people.”
Social Media:

 

My Review *****

Heartrending and Inspirational

Under the Mayhaw Tree, a Contemporary Romantic Suspense, Charlotte Boyett-Compo’s 100 published novel, is another tour de force by an artist who has perfected her craft over the years. I was totally and utterly gripped form start to finish, immersed in this tale containing love, passion and self-sacrifice, but also cruelty, abuse and revenge most foul.

Drew, the hero of the novel, is very much the victim of the piece. A once successful sportsman, his promising career was cut short by injury,  after which his life careered further downhill when he lost his best friend in a terrible accident. He finds himself in a loveless marriage with a woman who is little more than a she-devil, who delights in making his life a living hell with her physical and emotional abuse.

Trapped by survivor’s guilt and the power his wife and others have over him, Drew has all but given up on happiness. That is until he sets eyes on Allison, the wife of a newcomer to the town who abuses her at every turn. Both Allison and Drew recognise that they are kindred spirits and love blooms, but secrets are hard to keep in this tight knit community and the couple’s abusers, supported by town gossips and a posse of evil doers, take every opportunity to brutally destroy any chance of happiness the couple may harbour. The read has an extremely strong sense of place, the fabric and inhabitants of the small town of Colquitt in Georgia playing a key role in the unfolding drama.

What follows is a heart-rending story of how one man, ground down by years of abuse, seizes this chance of happiness and engages in a battle royal to make a future for him and his new found lady love. Just how far will he go and what sacrifices will he make to realise this dream and escape the nightmare of his past and present life? I will not reveal any more, but suffice to say that the romance between Drew and Allison transforms them both and together they must draw on inner resources they did not believe they possessed to face and overcome the demons who torment them. The journey they embark on will have repercussions for many.

The novel contains scenes of violence and brutality, including domestic and sexual abuse. I will say that it is a gripping read, with a hero and heroine you will root for. Above all though I found Drew and Allison’s journey an inspirational one, giving me belief in the saying amor vincit omnia.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this novel was given to me as part of this blog tour for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

 

 

**REVIEW** ~ Afraid to Hope, #3 in the Secrets and Seducution series by M. J. Nightingale

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 Sexy and Heartrending Read

Erotic Contemporary Romance 18+

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 Book Blurb

Louisa Sears is ready to start over. Escaping her small town where prejudice, long memories, and old fashioned values haunt her, Louisa embarks on her dream of finding love, and a man who can warm up her bed at night. Pregnant at sixteen, divorced from an abusive husband at twenty, and raising a daughter alone, Louisa is now ready to live. She wants what every woman wants. A rock hard man, who knows how to love. Will Florida be the place where her dreams come true?

Jay Russell is battle scarred. A past filled with horrors from childhood, the war in Iraq, and the most devastating event of his life that occurred when he returned home, he is definitely not looking for love. When he first meets Louisa Sears, the bombshell with the fantastic body, he wants one thing, and one thing only, her body underneath him. The hot little ticket that walks by his t-shirt shop, meets all his requirements for a night of passion.

The scars in them run deep though, and they both have secrets. Can two people so deeply wounded by the past learn to trust each other enough to share those secrets? And if they do, will they be able to get past them and learn to hope again?

My Review

Sexy and Heartrending Read

Afraid to Hope is #3 in MJ Nightingale’s Secrets and Seduction series, but can easily be read as a standalone. Let me say from the off that it is a sexy and heartrending read which digs deep into the psyche of both the hero and the heroine. It contains some smoking hot scenes yet both Louisa and Jay need to overcome secrets from their past to find the HEA they both hanker after and deserve.

I loved Louisa. She is a strong and sassy woman who has dedicated her adult life to bringing up her daughter. I admired her for this and for her gumption in taking charge of her destiny and moving to Florida to open a new chapter in her life. When she meets the motorcycle riding hottie called Jay, she is literally swept off her feet. He is just what she needs, introducing her to fun and carefree times and to pleasures she only dreamt about. Despite their growing connection, she senses that Jay is pulling back from her and one episode in particular makes her question their whole relationship and whether she can trust him.

Jay is a drop dead gorgeous tortured alpha hero and I adored his single mindedness in his pursuit and seduction of Louisa. The dialogue between them is a real scream as Jay always says exactly what he thinks, which although often inappropriate is often highly amusing! Jay wants to enjoy Louisa’s body and give her a good time, but they become ever closer and Jay gets drawn into Louisa’s circle of friends and her life. Yet Jay bears many emotional scars from his past, including profound guilt he harbours from an event that her blames himself for and this means he finds it almost impossible to move on with the relationship. When an incident compels him to reveal his scarred emotions to Louisa, he fears he may lose her for good. Will she forgive him and give him a second chance, especially given her own haunted past?

This novel is an erotic romance which gets right to the heart of what good strong relationships are about – mutual trust and sharing and coming to terms with each other’s past and above all our own demons. It is also an in depth examination of the causes and possible effects of PTSD. I strongly recommend it to romance readers.

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

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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One Way or Another You Will Pay, by Eve Rabi

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Revenge of the Master Manipulator!

This novel is once again an original, emotional and compulsive work from Eve Rabi. It is a read that her fans will not want to miss and those who enjoy thrillers and dark romantic suspense will also enjoy. Do not read after the first paragraph if you want to avoid spoilers for book 1, You Will Pay- For Leaving Me (currently FREE on Amazon US and Amazon UK and Smashwords). Please note that as it describes scenes and the repercussions of domestic abuse, this series does contain scenes of violence and threat, some of it sexual.

In this and the previous instalment in the tale, You Will Pay: She Left her Abusive Husband He Took Revenge, (click title for our review), the author tackles the difficult and often taboo subject of domestic abuse. The abuser in this story is a sociopath who seeks brutal revenge on his wife who leaves him after years of abuse. There are harrowing scenes of threats, violence and murder and although not an easy read the ability of Eve Rabi to weave a compulsive and addictive story containing real life issues and characters with whom the reader can identify with is once more underlined. The remainder of this review contains spoilers for book 1.

In book 1, You Will Pay – For Leaving Me, we met Arena, married to businessman Tom. Tom likes to control Arena, from how she dresses to how she wears her hair and who she socialises with. His control also extends to their son Warren and after Arena becomes pregnant and their daughter Sasha is born, his behaviour turns violent. Arena finally takes the plunge and leaves him to make a new life for herself and her children. However, Tom dishes out the most terrible revenge imaginable on Arena and her family and is truly beyond redemption.  Arena and Bear, the new man in her life, dish out their own revenge on Tom, which I absolutely loved! After the end of book 1, I was sort of happy that Tom had been incarcerated, although secretly I would have preferred him to have been AT LEAST 6 ft under! The fact that he was in prison due to the actions of Arena and Bear I regarded as natural justice after his sickening crimes against Arena and baby Sasha.

In book 2, Arena and Bear are happily married, living with Warren, Tom and Arena’s son, Bear’s daughter Amy, by his first marriage, and their own baby Savannah.  All is fine and dandy apart from a series of abusive and threatening letters that Arena begins to receive from Tom, trying to persuade her to bring Warren to visit him. Arena does not respond to his letters and they abruptly cease. After a brief respite, the tenor of the letters changes and Tom claims that he is suffering from terminal cancer and that he needs to see Warren before he dies. Arena is torn between her hatred and distrust of Tom and the fact that he is in effect making a deathbed request that it would be heartless to ignore. After all what can he possibly do to her if she does visit as he is behind bars?

You need to read the book to see how Arena copes with the situation and the consequences of her decision on whether or not to acquiesce to Tom’s request. What I will reveal is that this instalment and Tom’s actions are just as chilling as book 1, as  even from his prison cell Tom attempts to bring Arena, Bear and their family to their knees. Arena and Bear’s love is tested to the full and lives are put on the line. Once again this stellar read contains some intense and dark moments and once again I read it into the small hours.

I enjoyed finding out more about Bear in this book, such as what makes him tick, his relationship with Arena and how he seeks to protect her and their family from Tom. I felt for them both when they were faced with the terrible consequences of Tom’s actions and there were some truly heart rending scenes.  I also enjoyed the character of Ritchie, Arena’s brother who supported them and the pivotal role played by the character of Ingrid.

This is perhaps one of Eve Rabi’s darkest works to date, Nevertheless it still contains her trademark scenes of intense love between the hero and heroine, the survival of a strong woman who survives against the odds, self-sacrifice, heart rending emotional scenes and a plot where the reader has absolutely no chance of predicting what will happen next, let alone the outcome.

I strongly rrecommend this book to fans of Eve Rabi and also to those who are not adverse to reading about difficult issues and examining the darker side of humanity.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase links: Smashwords   Amazon US  Amazon UK

Eve Rabi’s website

Eve Rabi Facebook

 

Luscious and Lethal (The Gilded River Chronicles), by Mary Raimes Curtis

lusciouslethal200x300[1]-001Luscious and Lethal is the first in a The Gilded River Chronicles by Mary Raimes Curtis. It is a great book to curl up with and contains a lively romance between two complex individuals, set against the ever present threat of sinister events on the shores of the Atlantic. This novel is the second I have read by the author, the first being Tamed by the Hawk, a historical novel, which I also enjoyed.

In Luscious and Lethal plus size supermodel Dani Renaldo has taken refuge in her rural property at Jancy’s Cove, after the fallout from her bitter and public divorce from her abusive and cheating ex husband and the loss of her unborn baby. She hopes to regain her emotional strength and also develop a new business venture with her friend Jay, which she hopes will help compensate for her financial losses after her divorce and give her a new focus.

It is not long before Dani meets Simon Morse, in an angry and emotionally charged confrontation, in which they trade insults. Not only is Simon, her neighbour, somewhat reclusive, but he is also the business partner of a local woman, Laura, who Dani wants to do business with. Despite their bad start, they strike up a friendship and Dani tentatively opens up to him about her abusive marriage and her past. There is strong mutual attraction and they embark on a sexual relationship. Whilst Dani is sensitive and finds it hard to trust, Simon fights his own demons due to events in his own past and finds it hard to commit. There is great banter between the two of them as they navigate their way through a physical and emotional entanglement that neither expected nor know what to do with!

Dani ploughs ahead with her new business venture. However, her peace and tranquillity are periodically shattered by phone calls from her greedy and sadistic ex husband, who demands yet more money and will sink to even greater depths to secure it. There is also someone prowling around her property and a mysterious boat comes in and out of the cove at night. Events become more and more sinister as the plot unravels.

This novel has an engaging romance at is heart and the author’s characterisations of the main couple, Dani and Simon are excellent. Both the hero and heroine have their own issues to come to terms with and I liked how they helped each other to do this. It was sometimes a rocky road for them and sparks flew on more than one occasion. Neither of them is perfect, Dani appears to blow hot and cold and Simon is sometimes a little thoughtless in what he says. But perfect characters would make for a very boring read! It is their road to redemption and future happiness we are interested in and it was heart warming to see how their relationship solidified throughout the novel. There were also plenty of intimate moments shared between the main couple, which I like to see in my romances! A secondary romance featuring Laura and Jay, who are interesting characters in themselves is also featured. The local community contains a wealth of colourful supporting characters, which I hope to see later on in this series.

The suspense element was ever present and well paced. Due to Dani’s ex husband, the prowler and the goings on at night in the cove with the boat, as a reader I was never sure where the next threat would come from. Danger was always lurking in the background before coming to the fore. I would have liked to see a little more emphasis on the role of Dani’s ex husband in the plot, but saying this there was plenty to engage the reader without this element being strengthened further. I was also pleased that the suspense did not overshadow the romance.

I liked the author’s descriptions of the natural environment, encompassing the sea, the shoreline and the tranquillity of the green interior. The author also refers, through the characters, to the healing powers of nature and small town communities. I was awed by the descriptions of the yummy dishes consumed by the characters and wish that I had a man in my life who could cook as well as Jay or Simon! Knitting and cats, as well as a very special dog also make appearances in the tale.

I recommend this book to lovers of romantic suspense, contemporary romance and chick lit.

Author’s website www.maryraimescurtis.com

Publisher’s website www.museituppublishing.com

Cover art by kind permission of Marion Sipe www.marionsipe.blogspot.com