Monday, 26 June 2017

Spotlight: A Different Blue by Amy Harmon



A Different Blue by Amy Harmon
FREE ebook: June 26-28, 2017
Re-release paperback: June 27, 2017

Blue Echohawk doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn't attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.

This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don't know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can't love you back might be impossible.



I stood and moved next to Wilson but kept my eyes trained on the sculpture so that I didn't have to make eye contact with anyone in the room.  The class had fallen into stunned silence.  Wilson started by asking some basic questions about tools and different kinds of wood.  I answered easily, without embellishment and found myself relaxing with each question.
Why do you carve?”  
My . . . father . . . taught me.  I grew up watching him work with wood.  He made beautiful things.  Carving makes me feel close to him.”  I paused, gathering my thoughts.  “My father said carving requires looking beyond what is obvious to what is possible.”  
Wilson nodded as if he understood, but Chrissy piped up from the front row.
What do you mean?” she questioned, her face screwed up as she turned her head this way and that, as if trying to figure out what she was looking at.
Well . . . take this sculpture for example,” I explained. “It was just a huge hunk of mesquite. When I started, it wasn't beautiful at all.  In fact, it was ugly and heavy and a pain in the ass to get in my truck.”
Everyone laughed, and I winced and muttered an apology for my language. 
So tell us about this particular sculpture.” Wilson ignored the laughter and continued, refocusing the class. “You called it 'The Arc' – which I found fascinating.”
I find that if something is really on my mind . . . it tends to come out through my hands.  For whatever reason, I couldn't get the story about Joan of Arc out of my head.  She appealed to me,” I confessed, slanting a look at Wilson, hoping he didn't think I was trying to butter him up.  “She inspired me.  Maybe it was how young she was.  Or how brave.  Maybe it was because she was tough in a time when woman weren't especially valued for their strength.  But she wasn't just tough . . . she was . . . good,” I finished timidly.  I was afraid everyone would laugh again, knowing that “good” was not something that had ever been applied to me. 
The class had grown quiet. The boys who usually slapped my rear and made lewd suggestions were staring at me with confused expressions.  Danny Apo, a hot Polynesian kid I'd made out with a time or two, was leaning forward in his chair, his black brows lowered over equally black eyes.  He kept looking from me to the sculpture and then back again.  The quiet was unnerving, and I looked at Wilson, hoping he would fill it with another question.
You said carving is seeing what's possible.  How did you know where to even start?” He fingered the graceful sway of the wood, running a long finger over Joan's bowed head. 
There was a section of  trunk that had a slight curve.  Some of the wood had rotted, and when I cut it all away I could see an interesting angle that mimicked that curve.  I continued to cut away, creating the arch.  To me it looked like a woman's spine . . . like a woman praying.”  My eyes shot to Wilson's, wondering if my words brought to mind the night he had discovered me in the darkened hallway.  His eyes met mine briefly and then refocused on the sculpture.
One thing I noticed, when I saw all your work together, was that each piece was very unique – as if the inspiration behind each one was different.”
I nodded.  "They all tell a different story.”
Ahhh.  Hear that class?” Wilson grinned widely.  “And I didn't even tell Blue to say it.  Everyone has a story.  Everything has a story.  Told you so.”

The class snickered and rolled their eyes, but they were intent on the discussion, and their attention remained with me.  A strange feeling came over me as I looked out over the faces of people I had known for many years.  People I had known but never known.  People I had often ignored and who had ignored me.  And I was struck by the thought that they were seeing me for the first time.  
Amy Harmon is a Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in seventeen different languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.

Amy Harmon has written eleven novels - the USA Today Bestsellers The Bird and The Sword, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as From Sand and Ash, The Law of Moses, The Song of David, Infinity + One, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her latest novel, The Queen and The Cure, book two in The Bird and The Sword Chronicles, was released May 9, 2017.



New Release Spotlight & Author Interview: A Most Unlikely Duke by Sophie Barnes

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A Most Unlikely Duke
By: Sophie Barnes
Releasing June 27, 2017
Avon Books


A Most Unlikely Duke

Diamonds in the Rough series

He never thought he’d become a duke, or that the secrets of his past will cost him his greatest love...
Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortunes lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…
After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelope them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.

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 “Ye fought well today, lad,” a man’s voice suddenly spoke from directly behind him.
Bristling, Raphe set down his beer on the counter and turned to face his handler, whose attire—a purple velvet jacket and matching top hat—lent an air of flamboyance unmatched by anyone else. And yet, in spite of the fine attire, there was nothing cultured about this man, a scoundrel who’d gained his wealth through illicit deals and by taking advantage of others. His origins were questionable, but rumor had it he’d killed more than once in pursuit of power.
Raphe didn’t know what to believe. All he knew was that in spite of his own prejudices, crime in St. Giles had decreased since Carlton Guthrie’s arrival eighteen years earlier. Or so he’d been told.
Mr. Guthrie. Good to see ye.” A blatant lie, if ever there was one.
Guthrie’s moustache twitched. “Likewise.” He sounded jovial, but only a fool would mistake that for kindness. Least of all when his henchman, a scarred boulder of a Scotsman by the name of MacNeil, stood at his right shoulder. Guthrie nodded toward Ben, who returned the salutation.
Come. Share a drink with me,” Guthrie said, addressing Raphe. “We’ve much to discuss, you ‘n I.”
And Thompson?” Raphe asked, not wanting to abandon his friend.
I’m sure he’ll be willin’ to wait for ye till ye get back.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a gold coin and dropped it in front of Ben. “For yer trouble. What I ‘ave to say to Matthews ‘ere doesn’t concern ye. Understand?”
Raphe glared at Guthrie for a moment before
looking at Ben. “I’m sorry. I—”
No worries,” Ben said, pocketing the coin that would keep his family fed for the next few days. “I’ll see ye tomorrow at work, aye?”
Nodding, Raphe watched him go.
Well?” Guthrie’s voice drew Raphe’s attention back to him. “ ‘Ow about that drink then?” Eyeing first Guthrie and then MacNeil, Raphe gave a curt nod. “By all means.”
Guthrie’s eyes sparkled. “Excellent.” His lips stretched into a smile. “Follow me.” Turning away, he led Raphe through the taproom, where tobacco smoke mingled with the smell of roasting meat and beer. Dice rolled across one table in a game of hazard. A hand touched his thigh, inappropriately stroking upward until he pushed it away.
No’ in the mood, luv?” the woman to whom it belonged asked. She was sitting down, her legs spread across the lap of a man who was busily burying his face between her half-exposed breasts. Pitying the life she’d been dealt, he told her gently,
I’ve not the time.”
La’er then?” she called as he strode away, not answering her question. Blessedly, his sisters had managed to avoid such a fate.
“ ‘Ave a seat,” Guthrie said moments later as they stepped inside a private room at the end of a hallway. It was sparsely furnished, with just a plain wooden table and four chairs. On top of the table stood a pitcher and a couple of mugs. “Some ale for me champion?” Guthrie asked, indicating the pitcher. Grabbing a chair, Raphe dropped down onto it and poured himself a drink, while Guthrie claimed the other chair with more finesse. “Will ye ‘ave some?” Raphe asked, indicating the same pitcher. Guthrie beamed. “Don’t mind if I do.” He waited for Raphe to pour before reaching for the mug and raising it. “To yer victory today.”
To me victory,” Raphe muttered, downing the bitter resentment he felt with a brew to match.
I’ve ‘igh ‘opes for ye,” Guthrie said, tapping a finger against his nose. “Unbeaten for the fifteenth time. That’s unprecedented, tha’ is.” Raphe saw the spark that lit his eyes, like the
promise of treasure or some such thing. “Wha’ do ye want, Guthrie?”
So cynical, Matthews.” Guthrie’s upper lip drew back, revealing his teeth. “Must a man always want some’in? Can’t ‘e simply enjoy a drink wi’ an old friend?”
Old friend?
Hardly.
Not when ‘e’s got ’im by the bollocks.” Guthrie’s mouth tightened, his eyes darkening just enough to offer a glimpse of his true nature. “Is tha’ ‘ow ye see our relationship, laddy?”
His demeaning tone made Raphe’s muscles flex. He glanced at MacNeil, who stood by the door, running his thumb along the edge of a wicked blade, and was instantly reminded of the punishment he’d suffered the one time when he’d been foolish enough to try and thwart Guthrie’s wishes. Shoulders tensing, Raphe returned his gaze to the man who owned him.
“ ‘Ow else should I see it? I’m yer puppet, ain’t I?” Guthrie nodded. “Aye, but ye’re me favorite one. Which is why I’d like to offer ye a deal.”
Raphe stiffened. “What sor’ of deal?”
The sor’ that could set ye free, laddy.” A tempting notion, but surely too good to be true.
Still, he couldn’t help but ask. “What do ye have in mind?”
Leaning forward, Guthrie placed his elbows on the table, the fingers of his right hand reaching up to stroke his chin. “Ye see, there’s goin’ to be an opportunity soon—a grand one, at that.”
Raphe crossed his arms. “Ye don’t say.”
The corner of Guthrie’s eye flinched. “No need to get cocky, now.” Snapping his fingers, he drew MacNeil closer. “Give the laddy ‘is earnin’s.” There was a pause, and then a pouch dropped onto the table with a jangling thump. “Naturally, we’ve kept our share.”
A fat 90 percent.
Naturally,” Raphe echoed. He didn’t bother to hide his displeasure.
But . . .” Guthrie took another sip of his ale.
Word ‘as it, the Bull will be comin’ to town in a month or so.” Raphe straightened in his chair, while Guthrie wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, removing a line of foam. “If ye figh’ ’im and ye win, ye’ll be debt-free. The winnings are gonna be that huge.”
Raphe didn’t doubt it. The Bull was, after all, the bare-knuckle boxing world champion—undefeated since beating Tobias Flannigan several years earlier.
Since then, he’d crippled several of his opponents. The man was a legend. “I’ll do it,” Raphe said without blinking.
But if ye lose . . .”
I won’t,” Raphe assured him.
But if ye do . . .”

Grabbing the pouch that still sat on the table, Raphe pocketed his money. “I know the risk, Guthrie, an’ I’m willin’ to take it.”
Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She's lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she's been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses. 
When she's not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.

What is their favorite place to visit? 
Denmark. It’s where I’m from. My parents have a summerhouse by the beach in the southern part and a house near Copenhagen. I love it there plus I get to see the rest of my family.
What are 5 things you must have with you when you write?
My laptop, a notebook, my Jane Austen Map of London, various pens in different colors and a hot cup of coffee.
Do you have any post-publishing regrets?
Yes! In my first book, How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, Tchaikovsky is mentioned as a current figure. I meant to change him to a different composer since he wasn’t even born at the time when the plot takes place, but I forgot. Really wish I’d seen that during edits. I haven’t used ‘fillers’ since.
Can you tell us a little about your book?
It’s a fresh spin on Pygmalion featuring a bare-knuckler boxer from the slums of St. Giles who suddenly becomes the Duke of Huntley. Navigating high society can be troublesome – especially with two younger sisters in tow – but thanks to his next door neighbor, the alluring Gabriella Radcliffe, he comes up to scratch while losing his heart in the process.
What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
I LOVED Julia Quinn’s The Girl With The Make-believe Husband. Right now I’m reading Sarah MacLean’s The Day Of The Duchess. Both authors are auto reads for me.
What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
Definitely dialogue. When the characters are interesting and there’s a bit of tension, the dialogue pushes the story forward in a fun and interesting way. Describing what people are doing sometimes gets me while Love scenes are the hardest.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
The sequel to A Most Unlikely Duke is called The Duke Of Her Desire. It releases December 27th and features Raphe’s sister, Amelia, as she struggles to renovate a house on the edge of St. Giles and turn it into a school. Contending with her brother’s friend, the Duke of Coventry who’s been charged with protecting her, leads to a lot of quarreling, tension and high passion. 

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New Release Spotlight & Review: Primrose Lane by Debbie Mason



Title: PRIMROSE LANE
Author: Debbie Mason
Series: Harmony Harbor, #3
On Sale: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD

Primrose Lane

Harmony Harbor series


Olivia Davenport has finally gotten her life back together. She's left her painful past behind, started over in a new town, and become Harmony Harbor's most sought-after event planner. But her past catches up to her when Olivia learns that she's now guardian of her ex's young daughter. With her world spinning, Olivia must reconcile her old life with her new one. And she doesn't have time for her new next door neighbor, no matter how handsome he is.

Olivia may act like she's got everything under control, but Dr. Finn Gallagher knows a person in over her head when he sees one. He'd really like to be the shoulder she leans on, but Olivia makes it clear she doesn't want his help. Since he's returned to town, his waiting room has been full of single women feigning illness. Yet the one woman he's interested in is avoiding him. But with a little help from some matchmaking widows and a precocious little girl, Finn might just win Olivia over.

BONUS: The eBook edition includes a complete novel from BookShots Flames, THE MCCULLAGH INN IN MAINE by Jen McLaughlin!




Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Books-A-Million     Google Play     iBooks     IndieBound     Kobo     Target

Dana leaned down to scoop her phone off the ground. No sooner had she picked it up than it rang. She recognized the number. Her finger trembled when she rejected the call. She should answer and get it over with. It might be something as simple as sending her copies of her divorce papers. But she didn’t believe that was all her lawyer wanted. Because every time she saw his number, the small hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, and she was overcome by a heavy sense of foreboding.
Strong fingers closed around her wrist. “Dana, relax. Take slow, even breaths or you’ll hyperventilate. That’s a girl,” Finn said when she did as he suggested, his other hand going to the nape of her neck. He gently massaged the tight muscles there, murmuring his encouragement as she got herself under control. There was no judgment in his voice. Just kindness and concern.
She’d heard Finn was well loved and respected by the people he served with Doctors Without Borders. She now had a better understanding why. Leaning against him, she was enveloped by the strength and warmth of his body and the seductive scent of his cologne.
Thank you.” She self-consciously pulled away. “We should probably get going. I have to be back at the manor by two to get organized for the children’s craft session. They’re going to paint flowerpots for their mothers. I was going to use pink tulips but your dog trampled them, so maybe I’ll go with hyacinths. I think there’ll be enough. They’re pretty, and they mean constant love and fertility. That should work, don’t you think?”
I have no idea what you're talking about. And not to be rude, but I really don’t care. What I do care about is who’s trying to contact you. It’s obvious that they frighten you, Dana. Why don’t you let me help?”
No, it’s not what you think. I’m fine, honestly.”
Sure you are, because perfectly fine people have panic attacks when they get a call in the middle of the afternoon, take too many sleeping pills, and wear a disguise. Come on, what do you take me for? At least do me the courtesy of being honest.”
All she could do was blink up at him, the warm feelings of moments ago shriveling up in response to his Arctic-cold words. She’d been right the day she met him. He probably did have a God complex. He might be ten years younger than her ex-husband, but he was just as sanctimonious and judgmental.


In this latest instalment of the Harmony Harbor series, attention's focused on the enigmatic Dana Templeton and Dr. Finn Gallagher.

Badly injured when rebels attacked his hospital in the Congo while working for Doctors Without Borders, Dr Finn Gallagher is only back in Harmony Harbor to convalesce. He's frustrated his injuries are slow to heal but gives him time to notice Greystone Manor's long-term, enigmatic resident Dana Templeton. When Finn sees the willowy red-headed woman acting erratically, he's determined to help and understand why. Only the outcome makes him confront his own issues and questions his future beyond his recovery.

Dana Templeton knows it is only a matter of time before her secrets are revealed to everyone at Greystone Manor. Currently, she's also struggling to cope as an important anniversary looms. When Dr Finn Gallagher sees her acting strangely, he swoops in and suspects the worst of her. Taking matters into his own hands he makes it is a personal crusade to put her on the right track. However, as her true identity's revealed and secrets exposed, she's drawn to her protector, despite his resemblance to the man who betrayed her.
Thankfully, she's not looking for a relationship with a younger man, is she?

I loved the early build up of Finn and Dana/Olivia's relationship. They dislike each other, yet attracted to each another too, making their interactions combustible and entertaining. However, as Olivia's secrets are revealed, skeletons come out of the woodwork and make life complicated for them both. The sub-plot is antsy and tugs the heartstrings, making uncomfortable reading as Olivia's past brings up even more heartache. Thankfully, there's plenty of humour to balance the proceedings as Colleen, Jasper and Simon's antics add respite from the drama.
Plenty of other familiar faces too for those acquainted with this series, making this another enjoyable trip to Harmony Harbor.

Like the previous books in th
is series, Primrose Lane is standalone, however, with cross-over characters appearing in each novel, I highly recommend reading all the books in sequence to fully appreciate Greystone Manor and Colleen.

***arc received courtesy of publisher Forever via NetGalley***



THE HARMONY HARBOR SERIES

MISTLETOE COTTAGE, #1
CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL, #1.5
STARLIGHT BRIDGE, #2
PRIMROSE LANE, #3


Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue, and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.



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Friday, 23 June 2017

New Release Spotlight & Review: I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne

Click on the image above to follow the book tour.


I Knew You Were Trouble
Oxford #4
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing June 13, 2017
Loveswept


I Knew You Were Trouble

Oxford series

New York City’s hottest bachelors are stirring up trouble in this fun, flirty Oxford Novel, as a love triangle forces a feisty beauty to choose between winning back Mr. Right or giving in to Mr. Wrong.
Taylor Carr has it all—a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her.
Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.



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Bradley froze when he saw her, and she was pretty sure she saw the urge to turn and run flicker across his face.
Again she felt a stab of disappointment. In him. And in herself for apparently having misread him. She’d thought he was better than this.
Bradley’s eyes moved between her and Nick, and though he didn’t look all that surprised at seeing them bickering, his gaze grew hard as he saw Nick’s hand on Taylor’s face.
Nick, naturally, took his sweet time removing it, and she resisted the urge to kick his shin.
Morning, Bradley,” Taylor said, pleased that her voice sounded calm and friendly. As well it should. She’d had plenty of practice over the better part of a year pretending that she and Bradley were nothing more than colleagues.
Other than a few close friends who knew they were dating, they’d done a mostly decent job of hiding their romantic relationship from coworkers. Better than she and Nick had done hiding their antagonistic one.
Hey, Taylor. Nick,” Bradley said.
He entered the room and reached for a coffee mug, turning his attention toward the other man. “Didn’t realize you’d taken on another assignment. What for?”
Not sure,” Nick said, checking his watch. “Have a meeting with Cassidy in a few to find out.”
Here’s hoping it’s an offsite gig that takes you far, far away. Maybe he needs someone to cover Siberian winters,” Taylor said to Nick, even as she watched Bradley out of the corner of her eye.
Don’t need to travel to find severe winter. It doesn’t get any chillier than right here,” Nick retorted, waving his hand over her head in a storm cloud gesture.
She shoved his hand aside, her attention still on Bradley, who was determinedly avoiding her gaze.
Coward.
It was going to be darn hard to get him to see reason when he wouldn’t even make eye contact.
Nick, ever too perceptive for his own good, noticed the tension and gave a quick look between her and Bradley, his gaze turning speculative.
She shot him a warning look that clearly said, Don’t.
He shot an answering smile that clearly said, Watch me.
Bradley, don’t suppose you’re in the market for a roommate?” Nick asked, his voice deceptively casual.
Bradley’s head snapped up, and finally, finally his blue gaze collided with Taylor’s. Dammit. Why did he have to be so beautiful? He was like a mischievous angel, all twinkling blue eyes, dimples, a sexy cleft in his chin, dark blond wavy hair . . .
What?” he asked Nick distractedly, still looking at Taylor.
Taylor here wants to share her original crown molding with someone.”
Bradley winced, and Taylor felt a little surge of gratitude toward Nick. He couldn’t have known it, but it was the perfect jab. She and Bradley were both into prewar architecture—had eaten up the broker’s description of all the building’s original elements.
Taylor should be sharing that crown molding with Bradley. And he damn well knew it.
His eyes met hers in silent misery—an apology that she wasn’t quite ready to accept. Heck, she wasn’t even ready to acknowledge it, because she had no intention of being dumped. Not by him, not by any man.
Taylor ignored the guilt written all over Bradley’s face as she held his gaze. “Yes, it seems I unexpectedly have a free bedroom and more rent than I can afford. If either of you knows anyone looking for a roommate . . .”
Bradley’s handsome face twisted regretfully, and he set his coffee aside, taking a step toward her, apparently forgetting—or not caring—that Nick was still in the room.
Taylor. Damn it. I told you—”
Actually, I do,” Nick said, interrupting.
Taylor forced her gaze away from Bradley’s pleading face toward Nick’s smug one. “You know someone who needs a roommate?”
Yup.” He crossed his arms and watched her.
She made an impatient gesture with her hand. “Who? It can’t be one of your ex-girlfriends—I don’t want to inadvertently hear any gross details about you. And not one of your frat-boy guy friends—my living room isn’t cut out for Call of Duty.”
Yeah, because that’s all I do all day.”
She rolled her eyes. “Okay, for real, who is it?”
His grin was slow, sly, and the very definition of trouble. “Me.”
Enemies to Lovers, Nick Ballantine and Taylor Carr are the focus of this last edition (sob sob) in the highly entertaining Oxford series.

When Taylor Carr's boyfriend dumps her on the day they're supposed to move in together, she needs to find a room-mate fast for her stunning new apartment, to help pay the rent. When Oxford's sometimes, freelance writer Nick Ballantine hears about Taylor's predicament, he jumps at the chance to share. Only, can they overcome their hostility towards each other and live together amicably?

When Nick Ballantine hears Taylor Carr is looking for a room-mate, he volunteers because it gets him out of a personal situation, even though he doesn't want to move. However, when Bradley, Taylor's 
ex objects, he's determined to move in and claim her as his own, only he has to convince her to like him.

I didn't feel the combustible sparks of attraction between Nick and Taylor, in the same way, I did when they were first introduced to them in Someone Like You (Oxford #3). Somehow their chemistry is more subtle with more emphasis on their hostility to each other. Underneath their combative exterior hides a lust and mutual attraction, only their right place at the right time meetings are coupled with wrong timing...until they find themselves as room-mates. Once they settle into a routine, it doesn't take long before the sparks ignite, and problems to arise.

In trademark, Oxford style, the dialogue is as sharp as their designer suits as familiar faces from the series blend into the narrative along with a couple of new faces. Ms Layne couples this with palpable emotions during heart-wrenching scenes. I was instantly taken with Nick and charmed by his gentlemanly compassion whereas Taylor was a more difficult character to like, however, it's important to remember that as a couple Taylor and Nick are perfect together with a satisfying Happy Ever After to consolidate that fact.

If you've read any of the Stiletto or Oxford books, you'll love this one. If not, take your pick from any of these standalone novels...you won't regret it!

***arc generously received courtesy of Loveswept via NetGalley***

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

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

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