Challenge Participant 80% Professional Reader Reviews Published

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

TO KISS A RAKE by Barbara Monajem

To Kiss A Rake
by Barbara Monajem
Series: Scandalous Kisses, #1
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Release Date: July 29, 2015


Melinda Starling doesn’t let ladylike behavior get in the way of true love. She’s secretly helping with an elopement, when she’s tossed into the waiting coach and driven away by a notorious rake.


Miles Warren, Lord Garrison, comes from a family of libertines, and he’s the worst of them all—or so society believes. When Miles helps a friend to run away with an heiress, it’s an entertaining way to revenge himself on one of the gossips who slandered him.

Except that he drives off with the wrong woman…and as if that wasn’t scandalous enough, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.

Setup: Miles and Melinda have just been united in a marriage of great inconvenience which neither of them wished. They haven’t consummated the marriage yet (for a reason Melinda would rather I didn’t mention here). Miles is taking advantage of the next few days to work up to it, though.

     Miles guided the greys between two wagons. “Putting on an act, pretending to be madly in love, worked well enough in a pinch, but now that we’re married, we should take a different approach.”
     “Which is?” asked Melinda.
     “We should get to know one another,” he said.
    She huffed. “Obviously we’ll do that.”
     “By means of flirtation.”
     That delicate flush arose in her cheeks again. “I beg your pardon?”
     “Think about it. If I were courting you, we would flirt.” He paused to let her absorb the notion. “Wouldn’t we? You must have flirted with many men.” His heart beat painfully at the thought that she might continue to do so.
     “Only if I knew they weren’t serious,” she said. “The moment they got that intent expression in their eyes, as if they wanted to steal a-a kiss…” Her eyes widened. For a hushed second, her gaze hovered on his lips. Abruptly, she looked away. “I wouldn’t let them.”
     “Ah.” He suppressed a smile. “That privilege fell to me, and I seized it most unfairly.”
    She took a deep breath. Did she realize how it made her bosom rise and fall? “And if it seemed they were on the verge of making an offer, I stopped flirting straightaway.”
     “But that was then and this is now, and you’re already married to me. Think of the next few days as our courtship. We’ll drive in the Park, we’ll perhaps have ices at Gunter’s, we may even get invited to a ball or two, and…”
     “We’ll flirt.” She glanced at him from under her lashes—at his mouth again—and away.
     “But it will be much different from before. Instead of stopping at the first sign of serious intent, you’ll carry on as if your interest is as genuine as mine.”
     She chewed on her bottom lip. She toyed with the fingertips of her glove.
     “As if it’s leading somewhere,” he said.
     Melinda knew perfectly well that he meant the consummation of their marriage, but why must she blush so easily? She’d mentioned that kiss, and all of a sudden she couldn’t keep her eyes away from his mouth. “Which it is,” she said gruffly. There wasn’t much room on the seat of the curricle—enough for the two of them, but very little space between. She’d never flirted with a man in such close proximity before. It certainly added spice to the experience.
     “So there’s no reason to shy away or give me the cold shoulder or whatever you did to those fellows,” he said. “You may indulge your natural enjoyment of flirtation as much as you like.”
     She bristled at that. “Who told you I enjoy flirting?” Then she remembered. “Is it something Lord Bottleford said? He was forever reprimanding me for being too friendly, and saying a lady should maintain a proper distance at all times. To him, that meant ignoring everyone else and listening enraptured while he prosed on and on. And on.” She rolled her eyes. “And on.”
     His lips twitched. His eyes gleamed. Something inside her did a strange little flip.
     She pulled herself together. He disconcerted her without even saying a word. “Who, then? My grandmother?”
     “No, I didn’t mean you in particular, but rather one’s natural tendency to flirt with members of the opposite sex. It’s quite primitive, I think—rather like mating rituals of birds or beasts.”
     Primitive. What an odd word to use of flirting, which had always seemed a highly civilized behavior until now. And yet…how very enticing.
     She wanted him to kiss her again.

4 out of 5 stars Kindle Copy for Review

What happens when a lady tries to help an elopement but ends up getting kidnapped instead?  She finds herself marrying her kidnapper to save both her reputation and his.

Melinda Starling finds herself in a situation with Miles Warren, Lord Garrison who he found himself assisting in the elopement.  But when he realizes he has the wrong lady, he takes her back to her grandmother’s house in the early hours.  He is witness to her grandmother telling the servants not to let her in ax he feels sorry for her and takes her back to his place but he manages to steal a kiss.\

Miles finds himself doing the honorable thing of offering marriage despite being a rake.  He has his own secret that he is hiding.

Despite not wanting to marry him, she realizes that they both need the marriage and that they need each other.  Along the way, the find themselves falling for each other as they slowly learn about each other after their quick marriage.

Sometimes you never know when love strikes even when helping another romance. 

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for grownups, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

Forget Me Knot & Rough Ride Romeo by Lori King

LoriKingSpotlightBanner ForgetMeKnotCover 35fe1-add-to-goodreads-button31

button synopsis

 Lacy Denvers has lost her job, and lost her way. All she wants to do now is get her career back on track and find some stability again, but first, she wants to mark something off her bucket list: She wants to learn to ride a horse. Her dream vacation to the Crawley Creek Cattle Ranch turns into a lesson in patience when the North Dakota winter proves unpredictable as ever. Wrapped in a cocoon of snow, Lacy finds the ranch to be a hidden treasure trove of cowboy eye candy, and her mouth is watering even as her brain is telling her to run. After a devastating tragedy, a young Drannon Russo ended up fostering with the Crawley family, and found a home. He’s only moved away once and had to lean on family for support when his dreams were shattered. Being a cowboy on a ranch is a pretty lonely existence. When a beautiful redhead shows up looking for a fresh start he’s determined to give them both what they want. Will this vacation into the heart of cattle country turn out to be a mistake, or will Lacy and Drannon find
their future in each other? Warning: Explicir romance.


4 out of 5 stars Kindle Copy for Review

Lacy Denvers finds herself without a job and purpose.  She needs a vacation and decides to spend it at a ranch and learn to ride like she always wanted.  Her dream vacation turns out to be more than she expects as winter decides to hit the North Dakota ranch with snow.  Lacy finds herself spending more time indoors than she planned as she finds herself staring at the hot eye candy cowboys.

Drannon Russo is one of the eye candies.  He is a foster child of the Crawleys who owns the ranch but recently passed away.  He had his dreams broken when he moved away but has returned knowing that he can only count on his family.  Living a lonely existence on the ranch until he meets Lacy who is willing to give what they both need until she leaves.

As the two spend more time together, their feelings get stronger.  Can they be what each other is missing from their lives or will it just be a fleeting romance as she leaves?  Will they be able to admit that they want more from each other as we watch them together? 

button excerpt

There was a couple of inches of snow drift across the front lawn, but when she turned the corner and faced west, brown grass poked through just a dusting of snow, and the wind stole her breath from her lungs. Grey clouds filled the sky and the scent of snow was on the air. Tipping her head down, she hurried across the yard to the massive barn doors, pausing only long enough to tug one open and squeeze through it. Compared to the cold outside, the warmth of the barn was intoxicating. The smell of animals and hay filled her nose and she sneezed loudly. “Bless you.” The deep voice was followed by a masculine chuckle, and she jerked in surprise looking for its owner. When she didn’t immediately spot anyone she frowned. “Thank you, um, whoever you are?” A black cowboy hat appeared over the top of a stall next to a brown horses head. Under the hat was a strong face, with a sharp jaw and a meticulously trimmed goatee and mustache. His nose was a little large, and as she stepped closer she could see that it was also slightly crooked with a telling bump in the middle. The smile on his face was amused as he allowed her to look her fill. But his dark black eyebrow rose when she remained quietly standing several feet away from him. Concern filled his brown eyes and he reached one long arm over the stall door opening the latch. Her vision suddenly filled with the huge sexy body of a real life cowboy and she felt her chest tighten. He was beautiful. Black curly hair peeked out from under the brim of his hat, barely curling over his ears and the collar of his heavy brown coat. His wide shoulders filled out every spare millimeter of the material, and a powerfully built chest drew her gaze further down until her eyes struck gold. Framed by perfectly cut chaps was a thick looking bulge of blue denim and zipper, and Lacy nearly groaned out loud at the many wicked images running through her brain. “Are you all right?” She jumped in surprise at his question and felt a hot blush creep up her cheeks. “Yes, I’m sorry. That was ridiculously rude, please excuse me.” She stepped forward with her hand out, “I’m Lacy Denvers.” “Ah, Denvers, yes Marilyn said we were going to have a guest for a couple of weeks.” The hand that took hers was enormous, and it engulfed her grip until she could barely see her own skin. She could feel calluses on his palm and a shiver went up her spine at the touch. What would that feel like on other more sensitive parts of her body? “Pretty unusual for someone to book a vacation in North Dakota in the winter.” She was taken aback by the comment, and frowned up at him. At five foot eight, Lacy wasn’t a short girl, but the cowboy was at least eight or nine inches taller than she was, so her head had to tip back to see his eyes. “I booked the trip last summer. I wanted to get away from the city and I wanted to learn how to ride. Is that a problem?” “Want to learn how to ride, huh?” The teasing flirtation in his voice made her pussy clench and her breasts swell. This time it was his eyes that slowly wandered down her body taking in every bit of her before coming back up to meet her pointed gaze. “I have no doubt that you can learn how to ride like a pro here at Crawley Creek.” She nodded sharply refusing to acknowledge the innuendo. His eyes had turned a darker color, and his pupils had grown along with the bulge behind his zipper. The attraction was clearly mutual. Her heart was racing in her chest, and she turned back to the horse he had been working with in order to give herself some breathing room. “She’s pretty, does she have a name?” The cowboy stepped closer to the stall. Suddenly her palms were sweating too, and she was glad she had on so many layers so that he wouldn’t be able to see the hard nubs of her nipples poking through her shirt. “She is a he, and his name is Toto.” Lacy snorted and then covered her mouth in embarrassment. “Sorry, you don’t mean, Toto like the dog in Oz do you?” “Is there another Toto?” A giggle slipped out, and then turned into a full on loud laugh. Toto snuffed in his stall and looked at her with large brown eyes. The cowboy seemed amused at her enjoyment. He stepped closer and reached his hand up to run it over Toto’s forehead. The horse nuzzled him, and bobbed its head asking for more affection. “Here, reach up and touch him. He’s like any other male, if you stroke him right he’ll be yours.” His voice was low and deep, and his eyes were locked on Lacy while she reached up to run her hand over the soft white spot on Toto’s forehead. Toto truly did seem to appreciate the gesture, and he tipped his nose to sniff at her arm. “He’s beautiful. This is the closest I’ve ever been to a real horse.” “Toto is honored to be your first.” Lacy’s eyes darted over to look at the cowboy. His flirtations weren’t subtle, and his eyes blatantly said that he would be up for a hot sweaty fling. She pondered for less than a breath before she turned to face him. “Are all cowboys this forward?” She cocked her head to one side watching him. His eyes shuttered and the heat seemed to seep out of them instantly. “I apologize. It’s not often a beautiful woman appears in the barn out of nowhere. I have some more work to do, but you’re welcome to look around, just make sure to stay out of the stalls without someone with you. All of the horses are gentle most of the time, but accidents happen. You’re such a wisp, one kick and you’d be done for.” While he spoke, he reached back over the wall of the stall and pulled up a bucket that must have been on a hook inside. There was a collection of unusual tools inside the bucket, but she didn’t have a chance to ask him what they were before he was headed down the walkway and out the doors.

buy links

35fe1-add-to-goodreads-button31 button synopsis

 Cowboys don’t cry, but Roman “Romeo” Freemont certainly has enough tragic history to spend his days teary-eyed. Instead he’s turned to women and liquor in an effort to soothe his aches and pains, but when a petite brunette with a feisty temper comes crashing into his world, he realizes what he’s been missing. Francesca “Franki” Scott has walked through fire herself. Nowadays she just isn’t a people person, and she’s definitely not interested in a wannabe playboy ranch owner either. She has a mission and it could mean life or death for someone close to her if she gets distracted. Closing the gap between these two wounded souls could mean surviving yet another tragedy. Will their determination to hide their pain from themselves be their downfall, or will they come through this rough ride together? Warning: Explicit


4 out of 5 stars Kindle Copy for Review

Francesca “Franki” Scott finds herself stranded in Crawley Creek when her bike gets run over by Roman “Romeo” Freemont while looking for her kidnapped missing little sister.  Loner and basically hermit, she finds herself asking for help from the person who totaled her bike.

Roman “Romeo” Freemont is another of the Crawleys numerous foster children as he had an abusive father.  He still feels guilt about his foster dad deadly heart attack since he was supposed to be out on the range with him and thinks he could have saved him if he was there but instead he overslept due to his drinking and his wild women ways.

The chemistry between them is volatile as they spend time with each other.  Can they be what the other need as they fall for each other?  Can they share their pain and learn to love?  A tale of love when you least expect it.

button excerpt

Roman was concerned for Franki’s well-being. Or at least that’s what he kept repeating in his head as he climbed the stairs and walked directly to the door marked Sunflower Room. She’d looked pale when she skipped out of dinner early, and he just wanted to check on her. Rolling his eyes as he stared at the wooden door, he scoffed silently at his own thoughts. The truth was that he wanted to see her again, and perhaps question her about what’d happened between them earlier. It was clear there was attraction on both their parts, but she didn’t seem happy about it. Lifting his hand, he knocked softly and held his breath until the door opened. The lamp was on behind her, and it gave her a soft glow as she frowned up at him. Her beautiful hair was down again, and it curly wildly around her face and shoulders. Bare shoulders. She wore some sort of stretchy material over her breasts that left her shoulders and soft belly bare down to her hips where a pair of low rise shorts clung to her curvy hips. Seeing all that bare skin made his knees weak, and he leaned heavily against the door jamb. “Roman?” she crossed her arms over her bare midriff and took a step backwards. “I thought you were Marilyn, is everything okay?” When he tried to speak his voice came out as croak and he had to clear his throat, and start again. “No. I mean, yes, I mean, everything is fine. I just wanted to check on you. You ran out of dinner so quickly, and you looked a little…I’m sorry. I didn’t meant to wake you again.” He wanted to kick his own ass for his rambling. Never in his life had a woman made him this off balance. Charm was his game, and he played it well, so why was he suddenly unsure of himself? “I’m okay, just really tired. The road trip version of jet lag I guess. Thank you, for checking on me.” She said, giving him a small smile. She reached for the door, but then hesitated and glanced over her shoulder at the interior of the bedroom as if unsure of her next move too. The light washed over her face and he noticed the tear tracks on her cheeks and a slight puffiness to her eyes. His stomach clenched and before he could stop himself, he tugged her into his arms, delighting in the softness of her curves against him.

button teasers


buy links
button Books in this series
Beginnings 1600x2400

** FREE **

** Pre-order Claiming His Cowgirl (Crawley Creek, Book 3) : Releasing August 25 **
button About the author
LoriKingAuthorLogoBest-selling author, Lori King, is also a full-time wife and mother of three boys. Although she rarely has time to just enjoy feminine pursuits; at heart she is a hopeless romantic. She spends her days dreaming up Alpha men, and her nights telling their stories. An admitted TV and book junkie, she can be found relaxing with a steamy story, or binging in an entire season of some show online. She gives her parents all the credit for her unique sense of humor and acceptance of all forms of love. There are no two loves alike, but you can love more than one with your whole heart. With the motto: Live, Laugh, and Love like today is your only chance, she will continue to write as long as you continue to read. Thank you for taking the time to indulge in a good Happily Ever After with her.
button author links

Join We Wrote Your Book Boyfriends for lots of games and prizes!!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A Taste of Summer by Beverly Preston

Laugh, cry and fall in love in the newest  standalone within the
Mathews Family Series.  Meet Ryan and Carrie Ann in
A Taste of Summer. #SummerNeverTastedGood


Most people know Hollywood heartthrob, Ryan Summer, as Ryan, no last name required. But once upon a time, he was just Summer to Carrie Ann—before a decade of blockbuster hits skyrocketed his success into superstardom.
Summer was smart, gorgeous, and cocky as hell. Nothing was out of his reach. Not even Carrie Ann Lowell. He was the love of her life—until he shattered her heart. Their breakup left more than a profound rift in her soul. It crushed her.
When Carrie Ann’s college flame forces his way back into her life, his dirty-talking, bold self-assurance re-ignites a passion she thought had long since been extinguished. Carrie Ann didn’t believe in second chances.
Not even for him.
No matter how deliciously tempting.
With sparks flying and hidden truths unraveling, will Carrie Anne be able to deny her desires to save herself from another heart break?

Carrie Ann tugged the earbud free from her ear, tossing the handsome young man a small smile. “Sorry, I couldn’t hear you. What did you say?”
He crossed a lanky somewhat defined arm in front of her, casually gripping the handlebar of her bike. “I said, you must be exhausted—” Before she could reply he continued, “—from running through my mind all day.”
Surely she must’ve heard him incorrectly. He was probably fifteen at most sporting a baby face and a patch of ten whiskers on his chin. Her brows tucked into a furrow. “Excuse me?”
A dose of youthful overconfidence drifted over his mouth in a sharp grin. “I seem to have forgotten my number. Can I have yours?”
“My phone number?” Carrie Ann scanned the near vicinity, row after row of workout equipment, for the practical jokester responsible for the madness. “Ha ha. Very funny. Who put you up to this?”
Her amusement only encouraged the boy’s macho bravado. “No one put me up to anything. I need a date. I just got into LA and I’ve got this Red Carpet event—”
“A date?” she scoffed at the ludicrous suggestion. Though she looked young for her age, Carrie Ann was still all of thirty-four years old.
“Yeah, you know. A date. You, me, hundreds of fans screaming as we stroll down the Red Carpet.” His voice cracked emphasizing the words Red Carpet…for the second time. A self-absorbed twinkle gleamed in his brown eyes as if he expected her to melt and drop to her knees right there in the gym.
“Kid, you’re barking up the wrong tree.”
“I’m totally serious. My uncle has this movie premier and I can’t just bring anyone.” A chunk of blond hair fell on his forehead and he flipped his head to the side. My date needs to be…hot, and well, you’re the hottest girl I’ve seen since I got to LA.”
She sneered at the absurdity. Silliness turned to annoyance. Carrie Ann switched gyms a few months back, paying out the nose to invest in her fitness and more importantly her privacy. Her last gym was more crowded than a cattle call casting session.
Carrie Ann rolled her eyes. She moved around him, gathering her workout towel and reaching for her bag. “Look kid, you seem real sweet, but—“
“You’re right about one thing.” A familiar voice, deep and perfectly modulated, approached from behind. “She is the most beautiful woman you’ll ever lay eyes on. But, you’re reaching for the stars with this one, Drew. She’s a heartbreaker.”
An ice cold tickle ascended up her spine raising the hair on the back of her neck. Her head snapped, glancing over her shoulder, colliding with a pair of rich amber eyes from her past. Without breaking eye contact, Ryan Summer strolled right into her personal space sporting athletic shorts, a fitted muscle shirt and a killer smile.
Nowadays, most people knew the Hollywood heartthrob as Ryan. Just Ryan. No last name needed. But after nearly a decade of blockbuster hits and infamous relationships that skyrocketed his success into superstardom, to Carrie Ann, he was still just Summer. Her old college flame.
“Funny, I could say the same about you,” she countered his jab, marshalling a bit of annoyance in her tone to combat the rush of heat spreading to her already pink cheeks.
A sexy smile caught the curve of his wide firm mouth. “Hello, Red.”
“Hello, Summer.” Carrie Ann tossed a trivial nod toward the teenager. “Who’s this? Your new apprentice?”
“Apprentice?” Moving a step closer, he dragged his fingers through the short cropped layers of sandy blond hair. “This is Mark’s boy. Do you remember my nephew, Drew?”
“Your brother’s boy?” she questioned in surprise. Avoiding the view of his bicep curling into the size of a softball, Carrie Ann ran a quick scan over the young man at his side. “Whoa, you had to be four or five years old the last time I saw you.”
“I don’t remember meeting you.” Drew’s eyes flickered with bemusement and optimism.
She extended her hand. “I’m Carrie Ann. I knew you when you were—“
“You’re Carrie Ann? The Carrie Ann?” The boy spun toward his uncle, his blue eyes broadened in disbelief. “The One?”
Her stomach twisted hearing the title. A flash of perspiration instantaneously flooded her palms. Before she had time to renege on the clammy greeting, Drew clasped her hand, giving it a polite shake.
A low rumble of laughter simmered in Summer’s chest and a rosy shade of red burnished high on the bridge of his nose. He nodded, “This is The Carrie Ann. The One who got away.”
No matter how many years had passed, it never got any easier to see him. Each time she did, she suddenly found it harder to breath.
The pounding of her heart quickened as her gaze slipped over his rugged well-defined features. A three day scruff accentuated the slight dimple at the bottom of his chin.  The disheveled layers of hair were wet from exertion near his temple and nape. Time had been very good to him.
She felt the warmth of his hand close around the back of her bare arm. The early morning stubble of his beard brushed against her cheek as he leaned closer pressing a small kiss near her temple. Carrie Ann squirmed at his nearness, ducking to the side attempting to put some space between them.
“I’m…I’m all sweaty,” she insisted breathily.
 “It’s okay,” he murmured softly in her ear. The heat of his breath brought chill bumps to the damp skin near her neck. “I remember enjoying you all sweaty.”
Ryan’s golden eyes locked onto hers, anchoring her feet to the floor. The penetration of his stare momentarily tied her tongue in a knot, turning the awkward moment even more difficult. Carrie Ann hadn’t bumped into Ryan in at least three years and she hadn’t seen him covered in sweat in ten. An image of him, gloriously naked, flashed in her mind and her thighs. Frustration mounted as her body willingly betrayed her.
Carrie Ann’s jaw set rigid contemplating the idea of flipping off her hooha for its insubordination.
“That was a long time ago,” she snipped abruptly.
“Seems like only yesterday to me.”


Most people think they know Ryan Summer the Hollywood heartthrob but before that he was just Summer to Carrie Ann a decade ago before his stardom.  Summer had the world at his feet as he planned to used his football to get the fame and wealth but then he got hurt and his football career was no longer.

 Carrie Ann Lowell was the love of his life until he broke her heart when she found him with another woman.  He was going to propose on her birthday but it never happened as they went their separate ways.  She still suffers a broken heart even after all this time.

But when he returns in her life at his movie premiere feelings are once again put to the test as he then wins a bid of a million dollar to go on a date with her for charity.  She finds herself the next morning in a secluded cabin in Montana with him and not knowing how she got there and finding out she was drugged.

It does not take them to realize there is still passion between them and perhaps they are still in love with each other.  Can they finally talk about that day and the secrets that they still harbor?   Will they ever be able to be together and be happy?   Sometimes love comes full circle with no place to run.

Haven’t read this series yet? 
Fall in love with the Mathews Family for ONLY $3.99
(Four Books for one low, low price)

The Mathews Family Box Set

About the Author:

#1 Bestselling Author, Beverly Preston has been a stay at home mom for 21 years, although she prefers the title Domestic Engineer. Along the way, Beverly worked side by side with her husband Don, the love of her life, designing, building and selling custom homes. As her children begin to venture out on their own, she’s left to shed a tear—for a minute—wonder what’s next in life, and embrace the feeling of empowerment that surely must’ve been wrapped in a present she received on her fortieth birthday.

If Beverly isn’t at home riding her spin bike, you’ll find her spinning richly emotional and sinfully sexy romance stories.

In honor of Carrie Ann's favorite line Beverly will be giving away this Triple F necklace and a $50 Amazon GC.

<a class="rcptr" href="" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="09964f03713" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_k64if9ev">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src="//"></script>