When life gives you curves, you gotta learn how to rock them.
Successful businesswoman Avery Barrows likes her dips and curves, but she’s sick of the haters telling her that she should be ashamed of her body instead of embracing it. Determined to send them a big f*** you, Avery resolves to cut loose during a girls’ trip, hightailing her quick-mouthed, plus-sized self to New Orleans. So, what’s a smart woman with a little extra gotta do to get laid in this town?
Not much if you ask Declan McGinn, the lead singer of BlackSmith. Tall, dark, and tattooed, with a body made for sin, Declan prefers his women as curvy as his guitars. Avery’s sharp tongue and keen mind makes him want her even more.
As they burn up the sheets, Avery and Declan realize this is no one-night (or even one-week) stand. But for all of her bluster, Avery isn’t sure she can handle any more rejection. Besides, Declan has demons of his own. Now Avery has a choice to make: play it safe, or place her trust in the hands of a man who’s as tempting as the devil himself.
Way back in February a friend suggested I might want to read an upcoming debut novel because the main character is a self-proclaimed fat girl who loves her body and flips the bird at anyone who thinks she’s anything less than sexy. As a fat girl myself, I jumped on the chance to read this book for ALBTALBS. And then dropped off the face of the earth for six months for complicated life reasons. But life has started to untangle itself so here I am with my review of Moonlight and Whiskey.
** TW/Spoiler: Avery endures episodes of fat shaming, and Declan’s relationships with Avery and his bandmates are various shades of dysfunctional due to past trauma.
When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.
After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.
I got a copy of this book from the author, because she is great. As at the time I wasn’t sure if I was reviewing or not, I found that very generous.
A Fashionable Indulgence is a classic case of right book, right time, because I actually read it twice. The first time I was so fixated on the detail in the clothing, and some of the customs that I couldn’t actually see anything else, it was just before I went on holiday. I was quite tense. The second time was just after I came back from holiday, a little more relaxed and what a different experience. Continue reading →
What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? Beloved author Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.
As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?
Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?
Amber is good girl. She’s just out of a religious college, where she even did a mission trip to an impoverished area. She just moved out of her parents’ home, but she’s only across the way from them and she talks to her mother very often.
Tony is a construction worker, a high school/college# dropout. He’s the far side of thirty. He has a history. He has the kind of reputation that would scare any parent.
This setup is a well-loved romance trope. An older more experienced man is loved by an innocent young girl.
But in Knox’s hands this story takes twists and turns that are as surprising as they are satisfying. Amber is a squeaky clean good girl, but she’s no virgin waiting to be seduced. Amber just, in her own words, “got used to being good.” She actively, if hesitantly, pursues Tony. She’s neither uninterested nor afraid.
Her mother Janet isn’t an evil, oppressive character. She’s hovering and maybe a little controlling, but Amber pushes back good naturedly and they have a very real and wonderful and flawed relationship. The subtlety and complexity of their relationship was one of the real joys of this book.
Tony is the one who has fears, demons chasing him. He tries to be responsible and tells Amber he’s protecting her since he’s not looking for anything permanent. Amber’s reply?
Her expression hardened as he spoke, her mouth flattening out. “That’s so insulting.”
His conflict is heart wrenching, not something easily solved in 30K words or in the compressed timeline of this story. But again Knox’s storytelling instincts are sharp. The story doesn’t resolve the conflict so much as present us with the knowledge that these two wonderful people are better off together. Tony looks down at a smiling Amber just before their first kiss.
Nobody looked at him like that, with such open, boundless optimism.
At 30,000 How to Misbehave is a super quick read which worried me a little when I started it. As a rule, I don’t like novellas because they’re, well, short. But I love Ruthie’s stories, so I dove in. I’m so glad I did. The story is short but in no way did I feel the conflict or the character arcs were short changed. This is a full story that had me checking how much was left in the book as I was on the edge of my seat desperate that things work out for Tony and Amber.
If you’ve never read Ruthie Knox before, this is little bite of a story is a great way to check her out. The good news? The novella is the first in a new series. The next two full length novels star Amber’s siblings Caleb and Katie.
Hi friends! So I’ve been kinda quiet lately – lots going on, but today I bring you a new guest! Author Samantha Kane, who wrote for Ellora’s Cave, and now also Random House. Yay variety! And since Ms. Kane asks you all a question at the end, I’ll just leave it at that. 🙂 I hope you answer though, because I’m curious as well!
Some Days You Feel Like a Nut…
Some days I feel like I’ve been writing forever.
And, of course, some days I feel like I’m still a newbie and I know NOTHING. Every time I get a great review or win an award I want to pull a Sally Field, “You like me! You really like me!” You’d think after fifteen books I’d be over that, but nope, not yet.
My next book, The Devil’s Thief, will be out this November. It’s the first book in a new series for Bantam Loveswept called The Saint’s Devils. And I’m nervous. It’s my first mainstream romance. I’ve been writing erotic romance for years. I’ve made a name as an erotic romance writer. So why am I switching gears? To be honest, I just didn’t think I was reaching as broad a reading audience as I could by limiting myself to erotic romance. Countless times I’ve heard the comment, “I’d read your stuff, but I’m not really into erotic romance. If you wrote a mainstream romance I’d love to read it!” So for those readers, here it is! (But never fear, dear readers. There will be more books in my erotic historical series Brothers in Arms!)
Another reason is because I want my writing to stay fresh. Writing mainstream requires different storylines and character development. It was a lot of fun writing this book and stretching myself as an author. I tried to make these books somewhat different from my award winning erotic historicals. This series is lighthearted and playful, reminding me in some places of those old screwball romantic comedies from the 1930’s. And I’ve created a Sherlock Holmes type character, Sir Hilary St. John, who’s a mix of Robert Downey Jr. and Thomas Jefferson. Only a historical romance writer would do that, right? I’ve thrown in some mystery, Bow Street Runners, street-wise criminals with hearts of gold, bemused heroes who aren’t quite sure what happened to them, and strong, if misguided, heroines.
If any of you are attending AAD this August, I’ll be doing a reading from The Devil’s Thief at the historical reading event, and I’ll be giving away ARCs at the Blogger ARC party! I look forward to seeing you all there!
How have you stretched your reading or writing boundaries lately?