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Friday, May 29, 2009

A Wish In Time by Laurel A. Bradley

A Wish In Time by Laurel A. Bradley
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
Genre: Historical/contemporary; Sci-Fi/fantasy
Length: Full (177 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Lavender

In eighteenth century Scotland, Magda McClellan, eight months pregnant, is granted one wish from Auld Annie, a wise woman accused of witchcraft. But Magda declines her wish because she is perfectly happy; besides, she doesn't believe in witches. Little does she know how that refusal will change her life forever.

In twenty-first century New York, Maggie McDonald and her husband desperately want to have a child. While they wait for a procedure at a fertility clinic, a Scottish nurse named Annie promises to grant them a baby if it is their wish. When Maggie awakens, she finds herself round with child in eighteenth century Scotland and panic sets in.

Meanwhile, Magda has also been catapulted through time. She wakes up in a hospital bed in New York, but she's not pregnant anymore. When she goes home with a man who claims to be her husband, she searches for clues to the identity of Maggie McDonald, whose body she now inhabits. Why has Magda been transported to this strange place and time? And why is she no longer pregnant?

As the two women become familiar with their new worlds, they find themselves on emotional paths of self-discovery. Join Maggie and Magda on their spellbinding journey as they attempt to return to their past lives, before it's too late.
The first thing I thought when I finished the last page of this book, was, “What a great story.” Eternal love exists. Read this book, and you’ll be a believer.

Magda and Davy live in eighteenth century Scotland and are expecting a baby. Their contemporary, American counterparts, Maggie and David, have been trying to conceive for seven years. Auld Annie, a witch, enters the scene, and things are never the same for either couple.

Maggie awakens in old Scotland, very pregnant, and Magda is in for quite a fright, finding herself three hundred years in her future. What lays ahead for both ladies and their surprised husbands make for an adventurous, entertaining tale filled with soul-searching.

The time-travel/paranormal aspect of this story was woven into it as beautifully as if it were tapestry. Both women’s awakening in their new worlds and their struggles were realistic and convincing. Their husbands would make a romantic sigh with the confirmation that true love exists.

This novel was fun with wonderful Scottish dialect that flavored the story without being overwhelming. The urgency of both Magda and Maggie in their search for understanding, their running into serious complications, and wondering how things could ever be resolved to make them happy, kept me turning pages. So much happens to them in their “new” worlds. Interesting questions arise: Do they even want to go back to their own times and what will happen if they do, knowing they did things neither could ever forget. One warning: this story is written with a continual shifting of viewpoint from character to character. However, the author did this so skillfully that she achieved both breadth and depth of the story.

I highly recommend this story, a wonderful, character-driven, romantic and magical tale, and will look for more work by Laurel A. Bradley!

Crux by Moira Rogers

Crux: Southern Arcana Book One by Moira Rogers
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary; Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (274 pages)
Heat: Hot
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

To find her destiny, she must trust him with her life…and her heart.

Southern Arcana, Book 1

Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.

New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.

When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.

With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past—and her destiny.
Mix one spell-caster with one cougar shifter who has no idea of her abilities. Add an off-balance cougar shifter who wants to use the powers to create a super being. For a little sizzle, add sex. For some spice, add danger and deception. What have you got? Crux by Moira Rogers.

Rogers writes a fantastic novel. The characters are unique in their own way while fighting to rid the world of Charles Talbot. The scenes are rich with detail and emotion. It’s like you really are there, fighting off the evil alongside the hero and heroine.

I liked that Jackson, the hero, had doubts – not about how he felt about the heroine, but what needed to be done. As much as he was a spell-caster, he was also very human. We all know what we have to do in the clinch, but it’s relatable to see someone else who isn’t totally sure it’ll work. I also liked that the heroine, Mackenzie, was tough and stood on her own two feet. Many times the heroine is weak, but not in this novel. She kicks butt and makes no bones about doing so. Great to see such a powerful and independent heroine. I also liked that passion drive them. The passion to do the right thing, but also the passion they shared.

If you want a fast-paced shifter novel that’s different in great ways from the norm, then Crux is the book for you. I give this novel 4.5 books.

Love At First Flight by Beth Shriver

Love At First Flight by Beth Shriver
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Length: Full (161 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Orange Blossom

Neely’s family trip to Mexico starts out as one last hurrah before college. She’s determined to make this her trip, in spite of the fact that her parents are celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary and that her sister is back from college. But her trip turns into love at first sight with a young man who is attracted to Neely’s old-fashioned sentimentalism and love for the disadvantaged people of his country.

Another guy, desperate for her attention, stalks her. At first it seems innocent, but his stunts become more serious, even dangerous at times. The worst incident changes her fear into courage, and she forced to take action. Now that Neely has had the trip of her life, she must leave the beautiful beaches of Mexico, a guy she’ll never forget, and impoverished people that she’s determined to help. How can she leave this all behind?
A family vacation to an exotic location just might equal love and an appreciation of the world, something 18-year-old Neely never expected.

Neely, shortly before she's to start college, goes on vacation to Cancun with her parents and older sister Meredith. Neely is the outdoor-loving and outgoing one. Meredith, on the other hand, is more reserved. She likes sedate activities like reading and watching TV.

While on vacation, Neely has a summer romance with a handsome, Hispanic hottie named Angelo; little does she know that he will do more than increase her blood pressure. There is so much good she can do in this world if only she would open her eyes. This was a vacation that would change her life and affect her outlook.

The author really set the stage with a Mexican resort setting. Everything that you would see and do and how things work is described in detail so that you can visually imagine everything taking place. The plot at times, however, was a little slow and plodding, the dialogue lacked snap and the characters were a bit lackluster. I really had a hard time connecting to Neely throughout most of the book. Things did pick up towards the end.

Like a typical Young Adult novel, it is told in 1st person. Personally, I love first person and overall this one did not disappoint. It is a book intended for an older teen audience with an 18-year-old heroine, but a strong enough story for anyone to read.

Love at First Flight is a charming novel of first loves and growing up. The ending is very sweet and made me wonder what will happen next for Neely and Angelo.

A Perfect Fit by Sheridon Smythe

A Perfect Fit by Sheridon Smythe
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Full (264 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Tulip

Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? Petite but impulsive Brooke Welch went haywire when a careless heartbreaker got her kid sister pregnant, then up and disappeared. No way would the playboy evade his responsibility, even if Brooke had to kidnap him, hogtie him, and force him to be a father.

Trouble was, Brooke hijacked the wrong man! Worse, the drop-dead gorgeous hunk she held captive in a cabin proved to be Alex Bradshaw, her new boss, who was anonymously investigating crimes at his Quicksilver factory. Suddenly, Brooke was up to her ears in danger…and desire. Caught between a rock and, um, a hard place. And finding it—and Alex's arms—an all-too-perfect fit.
When Brooke’s kid sister becomes pregnant and the man to blame has gone missing, Brooke goes on a mission. She is going to find this playboy, kidnap him, and make him do the right thing. But once Brooke finds out she has kidnapped the wrong man, she isn’t sure what to do, but she doesn’t want Alex out of her sight either.

Even worse than kidnapping the wrong man, it turns out that Alex Bradshaw is Brooke’s new boss. Now Brooke isn’t sure if she will find the man who got her baby sister pregnant and she isn’t sure if she will still have a job. But more than that, she isn’t sure if she can keep her hands off Alex.

This story is full of laughter, suspense, lust, and compassion. Sheridon Smythe did a great job with both Alex and Brooke. One of my favorite parts of the story is what Brooke uses as her weapon to kidnap Alex. You’ll have to read the book to find out what it is. The only weakness I saw in the book was that Brooke’s baby sister, Dee, isn’t really mentioned in the book. And the whole reason why Brooke went out to find and kidnap Alex is because she believes he is the one who got her pregnant.

Most of the humor of the story comes when Brooke is being mean towards Alex or they are fighting about something. The chemistry between Brooke and Alex will keep you reading the story. Brooke always seems to be in a bad mood and getting into trouble; she needs Alex to keep her out of trouble, and to take care of other needs. It’s not really the best writing from Smythe, but it’s not lacking in the emotional pull between the two characters. She has nailed modern day romantic comedy on the head.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Contemporary; Suspense/Mystery; Paranormal
Length: Full (443)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Rose

Twenty years ago, wild child Jessie Brentwood vanished from St. Elizabeth's high school. Most in Jessie's tight circle of friends believed she simply ran away. Few suspected that Jessie was hiding a shocking secret - one that brought her into the crosshairs of a vicious killer...Two decades pass before a body is unearthed on school grounds and Jessie's old friends reunite to talk. Most are sure that the body is Jessie's, that the mystery of what happened to her has finally been solved. But soon, Jessie's friends each begin to die in horrible, freak accidents that defy explanation...Becca Sutcliff has been haunted for years by unsettling visions of Jessie, certain her friend met with a grisly end. Now the latest deaths have her rattled. Becca can sense that an evil force is shadowing her too, waiting for just the right moment to strike. She feels like she's going crazy. Is it all a coincidence - or has Jessie's killer finally returned to finish what was started all those years ago?

Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush team together to create a novel filled with mystery and suspense. Becca Sutcliff begins having visions of her friend Jessie, but Jessie's been missing for twenty years.

Sam McNally has never believed Jessie simply ran away, but was never able to discover any proof. That is, until a skeleton shows up buried in the grounds of St. Elizabeth's, the school first introduced in Most Likely to Die.

Wicked Game is an ambitious project, with a touch of paranormal and many characters who intertwine and twist around, bringing the past into the present. The villain of the piece shows up in short, first-person segments...a villain who has been around for a long time and who has been instrumental in Jessie's disappearance as well as other crises in Becca's life.

It can be difficult keeping up with the many subplots that fill the pages of this book, but they all weave together to create a story that will make you wonder "who dunnit." The relationship between Becca and Hudson is life- and love-affirming, and Detective Sam McNally and his son are characters I want to see more of. This book can be satisfying to the reader who is willing to give it the attention it deserves.

If you enjoy a story that will keep you wondering, Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush will fill the bill in their first outing together, Wicked Game. I look forward to the next installment in this series.

Only In Paradise by Michelle Monkou

Only In Paradise by Michelle Monkou
Publisher: Harlequin – Kimani Press
Genre: Action/Adventure; Contemporary
Length: Full (217 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Hibiscus

La Isla del Azur is a piece of heaven, laced with miles of white-sand beaches lapped by crystal clear turquoise water. For teacher Athena Crawford, the lush Caribbean island offers the career opportunity of a lifetime. But there's trouble in paradise: Collin Winslow, the education project's difficult, drop-dead-gorgeous administrator. When they're not locking horns over teaching methods, they're sharing mind-blowing kisses that leave her confused—and craving more.

Collin was ready to dismiss Athena as an empty-headed beauty. Instead he discovers that she's smart, sexy and dedicated to helping his people. Passion erupts as the island works its sultry magic, but can their delicate relationship weather the storms about to break?
A beautiful paradise but full of dangers from both man and nature, La Isle del Azur is the Caribbean island setting of Ms. Monkou’s third book in her Ladies of Distinction series.

Athena Crawford is a woman who is very proud of her heritage. She is a third generation teacher and loves to share her knowledge with others. With the death of her grandmother, Athena is motivated to make a difference and takes a position far from her friends and family. I commend Athena’s work ethic as I could see she was tempted from the moment she saw Collin at the airport.

Collin Winslow looks nothing like the director of my school. Tall, dark and very sexy, he admitted to his attraction to Athena but was going to stick to the “no fraternization” policy at the school. Collin had enough to worry about with the school with budgets, students, policies and gangsters without adding one hot teacher to the mix.

This is one seriously hot story. When I read about the interactions in the hallway and especially at the waterfall, I felt like I was burning up. The story gets involved in a misconduct charge, supervisors being called and bribery allegations, all from a jealous want-to-be girlfriend. When Mother Nature steps in, I could picture this story on the big screen.

Only In Paradise doesn’t have to be read on a tropical island but it did the job of making me believe I was on one. I know I’ll be checking out the other books in this refreshing series.


The Ninth Curse by K. J. Gillenwater

The Ninth Curse by K. J. Gillenwater
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (181 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Water Lily

His blood for a cure. It’s a cruel and deadly bargain…

Nine curses. Nine weeks to live. Joel Hatcher has inherited more than a family legacy. It’s a time bomb that’s ticking down to the inevitable: his own death. But the curse won’t die with him. Unless he can find a way to break the cycle, his younger brother becomes the next victim.

In the throes of the third curse, the Painful Pox, Joel makes a last-ditch decision to seek the help of a young spiritualist.

One look into Joel’s suffering eyes, and “Madame Eugenie” finds herself torn between doing the right thing and fulfilling her most secret wish—bring her husband Adam back from the dead. Joel’s cursed blood is the missing ingredient in her resurrection rituals, and Adam’s spirit whispers seductively that there’s only one way to get it: steal it.

As Gen and Joel unearth his family’s past to track down a cure, they come closer to each other and to a horrible truth. To live, Joel must lose everything. Up to and including the woman he has grown to love.
Curses don’t care if you don’t believe in them.

When Joel Hatcher receives a box of notebooks from an unknown relative about a family curse he’s next in line for, he throws the box away. Who wouldn’t? Joel is not prepared for nine weeks with a different torment every week until he dies. He’s a practical software specialist with a college-age brother he has raised from childhood—a brother who is now next in line for the curse.

Madame Eugenie, spiritualist, has problems of her own. She’s trying to raise her beloved husband, Adam, from the dead. Even with the ghostly Adam’s intervention and his resurrection spell, it’s easy to see the whole thing would be easier if she hadn’t cremated him.

I found the premise of this story delightful. Joel needs to end the curse, not so much for himself but for his brother. Gen needs to finish resurrecting her husband. I mean, what’s worse than having your loved one fade in and out? Adam tells Gen that blood from a cursed man is the key. Two people and a ghost with seemingly parallel goals working to help each other. Gen thinks it’s a win/win situation. But there’s something Adam isn’t telling her.

I particularly enjoyed how Gen is torn between a dead man and a condemned man and somehow the conflict and the outcome seem completely reasonable. Maybe she can raise Adam from the dead. Maybe she can save Joel.

The more Gen and Adam intervene, the faster Joel’s curse progresses. Before long, nine weeks turns out to be nine days. The plot progresses at breakneck speed. Gillenwater gives and then removes hope amping up the tension as the plot hurtles to the seemingly tragic conclusion. But this is a romance. There is a happily ever after. But whose? Will Gen and a resurrected Adam have the happily ever after? Or will Gen and Joel? Read K. J. Gellenwater’s The Ninth Curse to find out.

If you like fast paced paranormal romances heavy on the magic, you’ll enjoy Gellenwater’s The Ninth Curse.

Combustion by Rebecca Savage

Combustion by Rebecca Savage
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (208 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Lilac

Sherri’s heart is a frozen block of ice after what her spouse has done to her. She needs a place of rest, a safe haven, away from the long armed reach of her soon-to-be-ex-husband. He abused her, and she escaped. Now he wants her back, and he’s stalking her, threatening her, promising she’ll not live if she doesn’t return to him. He’s wealthy and powerful, and he’ll accept no betrayal from someone who thinks she can leave him unscathed. She changes her identity and goes in search of a new home, and a brighter future. She finds one, in a rental unit owned by John.

John is a fireman. He’s seen people in Sherri’s position before. He despises men who abuse women. He lost a woman to just such a man. He’ll not let anyone hurt Sherri. She’s too beautiful, and he’s falling too hard, too fast. He vows to protect her to the end.
In this emotional and touching read, a young woman learns to stand on her own and rediscovers love after leaving an abusive relationship.

On the run from her abusive husband, Sherri Marconi rents a room from firefighter John Tarentino, a man with a soft spot for abused women who has provided aid for many over the years. When he meets Sherri, John is instantly drawn to the young woman and longs to help her in any way that he can. But soon Sherri’s ex lets it be known that Sherri won’t get away from him unscathed. As the two get to know one another, John and Sherri start a touching relationship as he helps her heal and believe in herself once again. But John realizes that it won’t be easy to take care of and keep Sherri safe from her determined and powerful ex.

I couldn’t help but root for the hero and heroine of this story as the author did a wonderful job of creating characters that felt real and believable. Sherri has quite a bit to overcome as her experiences with her ex have given her some trust issues. She blames herself for what happened and is very insecure. She has doubts about getting involved with John because of these trust issues and insecurities. Her ex has really hurt her and scarred her both physically and emotionally. But John teaches her to believe in herself and in love again as he earns her trust and respect.

But John has his own demons as he his haunted by a past relationship in which he failed to protect someone he loved. He is determined not to lose Sherri once he falls for her and will do anything to protect her. Their relationship is quite touching and I enjoyed watching them slowly fall for one another as they got to know each other.

However, their relationship is riddled with obstacles, many of which are due to her abusive ex who refuses to let her go without a fight. And when he threatens their loved ones, Sherri will do anything to keep both John and her loved ones safe…even if it means giving up her chance at happiness.

This fast-paced emotional read had me on the edge of my seat as I wondered what would happen next. I couldn’t wait to see how this relationship would progress and what would happen with her ex. Everything led up to a very unexpected, yet satisfying conclusion.

Overall, I would say that this one was a great read with characters and a story that touched me and I am not likely to forget it.

The Bride Wore Blue by Cillian Burns

The Bride Wore Blue by Cillian Burns
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (282 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Wounded war correspondent Brett Peters returns home from Iraq to the biggest shock of his life—a son he didn’t know he had. Ten years before, he had left Beth Phillips behind, bitterly certain she did not love him enough to go with him to the Middle East. He’d moved on, he thought...until he set eyes on Beth and his son, Ryan.

Beth knew the Middle East was no place for a baby, but chose not to tell Brett the truth. She loved him too much to ask him not to go, but memories of Brett’s blue eyes and dark hair still haunt her dreams.

Brett finds Beth to be a self-sufficient local news anchor, as well as a highly desirable woman he wants desperately. But will Beth trust him enough to let him into her life? And is it too late for happy endings?
Ryan’s expressions “cool” and “awesome describe The Bride Wore Blue perfectly.

Beth Phillips, nine-year-old Ryan’s mom, made a decision ten years ago that set the pattern for her life. Now, a successful anchor for WKSS news in Orlando, she sees Brett Peter on CNN and memories “clawed their way to the surface.” As she sees the “weary wisdom” in his eyes and streaks of gray in his hair, the “what ifs” come and she knows “her heart has spent its life entwined with his.” However, she stands firm in her long-ago decision and plans to tell Brett the truth when he returns to Orlando.

Brett Peter, a foreign correspondent, returns to his sister’s home to recuperate from a serious wound he received in Iraq while saving a little girl and her dog. He finds himself next door to Beth, his best friend since second grade and the woman he’d planned to spend his life with until he left for the Middle East and she opted to stay home. He didn’t know why she decided to stay, but he did know he had destroyed their “oneness” with his pride and anger. Commitment and being tied down still scare him, but when he sees Beth and Ryan, he has lots of sorting out to do.

The Bride Wore Blue resonates with a love so deeply rooted it survives a ten year drought then springs back to life. Cillian Burns writes so realistically that readers get to vicariously experience a wealth of emotions that make the story vibrate with life and love. Her writing style, with so many memorable phrases, is a joy to read. Phrases like “her heart splinters into a thousand fragile pieces,” “at one time he was the moon, she the tide and everything seemed so right,” and “he wanted a roaring fire but not willing to chop the wood” are just a few.

The goodness in both Brett and Beth are revealed as they deal with obstacles, manipulative people, and pressures of being true to themselves while being true to each other. This story of love deferred but not destroyed, is terrific reading.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pandora's Justice by Elaine Charton

Pandora's Justice by Elaine Charton
Publisher: Swimming Kangaroo Publishing
Genre: Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full (244 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Someone is stalking Pandora Reilly, someone dark and sinister, someone who knows things only her ex-husband would know. Her dead ex-husband. Justin Andrews is hired to protect her and her children from the danger surrounding them. Can he save Pandora and her children without sacrificing his heart? Or will his past come back to haunt him?

Pandora’s Justice
is an absolute page-turner. Pandora – finally- stands up for herself, escapes an abusive man, ignores his judgmental family, and takes on life with her own family. She’s got two little kids, a hopeful future in the art world, and…something not quite clear happening around her. Her tough past seems quite over, at the outset of the story. There’s just the odd little thing- like someone moving things, even breaking things, in her studio. Still…whether the 6 year old wants to admit it or not, that‘s the most likely answer: or is it?

Tension builds subtly at the start, and the pace increases until you read breathlessly only wanting to get to the next page. Because…someone wants her dead…Enter the handsome bodyguard, Justin.

He is yet another character that shines: In among stand-outs. You’ll laugh at the little girl “six going on forty:” you know exactly the type, immediately. Pandora is admirable – she isn’t fault free, but has an inner core of determination, that carries her forward. And, Justin, sitting out there on the ‘night shift’ is a very responsible and mostly likable guy. Even the little girl likes him. Pandora acknowledges a certain attraction…she even comes to rely on him. Yet, Justin is everything he represented himself to be – and this is just a job, right?

The plot is amazing; fast and intriguing throughout. The plot keeps you turning the pages: long past bedtime. Nothing is predictable here, nothing commonplace. The Boston High society backdrop in places adds a measure of difference, and friends and admirers from the art world are important. Also important are the short pieces of thought of Pandora’s stalker.

Fun, suspenseful, and immensely readable, Pandora’s Justice is a great read. 4.5 books


Scandalous by Lori Foster

Scandalous by Lori Foster
Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (408 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Tiger Lily


Can passion challenge cool, levelheaded reason? Knee-melting kisses spark more than hotelier Tony Austin or boutique owner Olivia Anderson ever planned. He wanted an heir, not a wife. She wanted a no-strings affair…and delicious memories. Scandalous? Perhaps. And it was all going perfectly—until love got in the way.

Sex Appeal

Shadow Callahan sizes up sexy, successful Brent Bramwell as perfect hunk material, ideal for her shopping mall's contest. But take-charge Brent is much more interested in gorgeous, irrepressible Shadow, whose Sex Appeal shop and its, uh, eclectic merchandise make this in-control guy realize he's been missing out. He's got a wild side. And Shadow makes him want to misbehave.
What happens when two headstrong people decide to get together? Sparks fly, although the attraction isn't instantaneous. What happens when the same people realize they’re meant to be? Well, that’s Scandalous.

Lori Foster writes characters that everyone can relate to because the characters are real. They have the same problems you and I might have and end up with sexy love interests to tangle with. Her work is always upbeat and refreshing. She takes tried and true real-life issues and makes them unique. These two stories in one are no exception.

In Scandalized, Olivia owns a tastefully risqué boutique. Tony owns the hotel housing her boutiques. Problem? He wants a baby - hers. What does she want? Him. I liked Tony’s forthright approach: get in, state the problem and solution, and expect and answer. But I loved that his family threw curveballs into his plans. Who doesn’t have the occasional interfering family member? I thought the interactions between Olivia and Tony’s nieces and nephews were sweet and endearing to the reader. It didn’t hurt that Tony was easy on the eyes, either!

In Sex Appeal, Shadow owns a risqué boutique that caters to the fun in sex. She’s not all lace frills. She’s got a biting sense of humor that knocks Brent on his bottom - literally! But where this novel could become a knock off of the previous work, Foster goes in a different direction. No screwy family, but rather a stalker bent on harming Shadow. I liked that Shadow was capable of taking care of herself and not afraid to tell Brent when to leave her alone. I also liked his chivalry. I want to read about characters that I could possibly know and Shadow and Brent are those characters.

There aren’t too many stories that stick with you even past the last page, but both stories featured in Scandalous fit the bill. If you want sassy heroines and hunky heroes who aren't afraid to back down, then grab a copy of Scandalous and let the stories take you away. I give this work 5 books.