Sunday, May 13, 2018

ARC Review: Tempting the Laird (Highland Grooms #5)


Tempting the Laird (Highland Grooms #5)

by Julia London

Blurb:
Unruly. Unmarried. Unapologetic. Catriona Mackenzie’s reputation precedes her everywhere she goes. Her beloved late aunt Zelda taught Cat to live out loud and speak her mind, and that’s exactly what she does when Zelda’s legacy—a refuge for women in need—comes under fire. When her quest puts her in the path of the disturbingly mysterious Hamlin Graham, Duke of Montrose, Cat is soon caught up in the provocative rumors surrounding the dark duke. Never one to retreat, Cat boldly goes where no one else has dared for answers.
Shrouded in secrets, a hostage of lies, Hamlin must endure the fear and suspicion of those who believe he is a murderer. The sudden disappearance of his wife and the truth he keeps silent are a risk to his chances at earning a coveted parliamentary seat. But he’s kept his affairs tightly held until a woman with sparkling eyes and brazen determination appears unexpectedly in his life. Deadly allegations might be his downfall, but his unleashed passion could be the duke’s ultimate undoing.
Themes: Historical, Scotland
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
The outrageous and sometimes crazy Mackenzie family is back with another sibling finding their love in the most unlikely of places and circumstances in this latest masterpiece by an author that continues to astonish readers with her ability to weave a tale of love and adventure. Each of the elder siblings have found the types of love that their mother and father found, but Catriona is firmly on the shelf and, while mourning the loss of her beloved aunt, doesn’t see that changing anytime soon. Ms. London’s skill at bringing her characters to life and making you feel like you are living their story with them never ceases to make her one of my favorite authors and this story kept me enthralled even at moments when the story could have gotten the tiniest bit tedious.  I thoroughly enjoyed Cat and Hamlin’s story and was thrilled to see them find a way to bring their lives together and find their happiness, without either of them having to sacrifice their dreams for their future.  I am looking forward to whatever comes next in the series and wonder just whose romance might be coming up, but have no doubt that who it is will be an excellent story.
Catriona is firmly on the shelf and sees no problem with it, even though she once wished for other things.  She has decided to continue with her Aunt’s mission in life, but with it now in jeopardy, she gives in to her family’s pressure and travels to her uncle’s estate to seek his counsel and assistance with her problems.  Hamlin, Duke of Montrose, while not exactly happy, is content to live his dark and lonely existence on his estate with his ward, with no interference from his once friendly and meddling neighbors.  Rumored to have killed his wife, Hamlin never imagined that a woman like Catriona would burst into his life and become lodged there like a persistent thorn in his thumb. The deeper Catriona inserts herself into his life the more he begins to appreciate her light and the life she returns to his dreary existence, but just when he begins to accept that he will give up all his life goals in order to have her forever the past comes back to haunt him.  Only the true love and compassion of a woman like Catriona could ever allow him to dig himself out of the hole he finds himself in, but the question is will she still want him at the end of his task?
Both Catriona and Hamlin as individual characters were unique and interesting, but the best part about them is the obvious ways in which they complimented each other; they truly were the yin to the other’s yang in almost every way, which made them able to embrace their differences and find a deep and abiding love together despite their differences, or maybe even because of them. Catriona is certainly a spirited woman, well before her time, but she is also compassionate, loving, sweet, adventurous, giving, and strong.  Cat won’t ever let any man dictate her life to her, not even her husband, and having a man life Montrose shower her with unlimited attention could have easily gone to her head, but she remained the same woman through their entire courtship.  Ultimately her well-roundedness is what truly makes her so lovable not just to Hamlin but to the reader as well. Hamlin, Duke of Montrose, is an enigma himself.  While he is obviously the type of man that gives his loyalty, his trust is harder to earn and his love is nearly impossible.  After being badly burned by his wife, he could easily have let that turn him into a bastard, but while he is aloof a lot, especially in crowds, it is obvious to this reader that was more of a coping mechanism and a way to keep people from seeing how hurt he was by losing his wife. His willingness to sacrifice for those he loves is apparent immediately and as we see him falling more and more in love and opening himself to Catriona and his ward Eula, we get to see that vulnerability and how it makes him more approachable and lovable as a character.
Overall I loved Catriona and Hamlin’s story, though there were a few little moments of tedium here and there that could have been cut out and still left an awesome story behind.  Catriona is a brave and strong heroine, even when she has her moments of doubt and fear, and refuses to ever lose sight of what truly matters in life.  Hamlin’s strength might be in other areas and more readily apparent than Catriona’s, but it has its own draw and makes him a leader of men at a time when those were truly needed.  I love seeing these two fumbling their way through their love affair and still ultimately finding a way to come together as a family and find a way to move forward with their futures. The passions between Catriona and Hamlin sprang lava hot from the first instance they shared a look, and when it finally spewed forth that love was scorch-the-earth hot, so hot it barely had time to truly heat up the pages before the fire alarms were going off!. I was thrilled with the ending of this story, even if there were times when I wondered where the author was headed with certain plot-lines within the story.  If you are looking for a sexy read full of hot Scots and sweet and adventurous highland lasses, you won’t go wrong with Tempting the Laird, though of course I always recommend returning to the original by starting at the beginning of the series. More please Julia!
*ARC provided by author for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Friday, May 11, 2018

ARC Review: Planet Dragos (Elder Races #9.8)


Planet Dragos (Elder Races #9.8)

by Thea Harrison 

Blurb:
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the final novella featuring Pia and Dragos…
Pia’s latest pregnancy has become a daily challenge, her relationship with Dragos strained with argument. That hasn’t stopped them from achieving a compromise and traveling to Las Vegas to celebrate their friend Rune’s wedding to his mate Carling.
From the moment they arrive, the trip goes awry. Death walks in Vegas, and Pia is kidnapped as an ancient enemy makes a move to destroy the Great Beast once and for all.
But the Great Beast has other plans.
On Planet Dragos everything goes the way he arranges it—unless someone decides to cross him, and God help them then, because he doesn’t know how to back down, and he doesn’t ever, ever let up….
Themes: Paranormal, Here There be Dragons! J
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 


Review:
So it seems like this overall story ARC that began so long ago with the love story of two very unlikely and unique individuals has come full circle and to a satisfactory ending.  Any true fans of this series knew it was coming, but the end is always bittersweet and I for one was sad to see all the change and challenges that Dragos and Pia had to overcome to finally come to their true and everlasting HEA. This story was the last novella for Dragos and Pia and revolves around the how Dragos deals with the kidnapping of his mate and the truth that has been staring him in the face more and more lately.  In the end Pie and Dragos have to come to a heartbreaking but necessary decision in order to rebuild their lives and give their family—and their people—a chance for a life lived on their own terms in safety.  I loved seeing Pia standing up to her enemies and for her friends in this story even as she dealt with a lot of hormonal and body changes as she prepared to give birth to her second child. While it was obvious she continues to have problems with her pregnancy she refuses to allow anything to put her life of her child in danger or to take her from the love of her life. Dragos was, of course, the pinnacle predatory alpha male and tore apart the world to find and rescue his mate, but thankfully at the same time he remained a man that Pia could love and didn’t make the innocents around him suffer for the crimes of the guilty.  This story tugged at my heart while also sometimes bringing laughter, but overall if makes you really think about the challenges that these two have faced both together and apart through their short, but intense and dramatic, relationship and life together.  I truly enjoyed the way the story was wrapped up nice and neatly and there were so any little glimpses of favorite characters from other previous novels that I enjoyed getting to reminisce as well.  I am looking forward to perhaps a new story ARC or a spinoff that revolves around the next generation or the new group of Wyr leadership.  All in all it was worth every moment of angst and fear to see Pia and Dragos fins their happiness and begin to build their new lives.  If you are looking for a look into the lives of a unique and amazing couple you can’t ever go wrong with one of these stories, but I highly recommend you go back to the very beginning and read them all, otherwise the true greatness of this series will slip through your fingers like so much sand through an hourglass.  Whatever comes next, I know I will be one of the first in line to give it a try, so keep the magic coming Ms. Harrison.
*eARC provided by author for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Review: Twisted Truths (Blood Brothers #3)

Twisted Truths (Blood Brothers #3)

by Rebecca Zanetti 

Blurb:
You can't escape the past . . .
Noni is desperate. Her infant niece has been kidnapped, and the only person who can save her is a private detective with too many secrets to count--and more enemies than he can name. A man who walked away from Noni without any warning a year ago, a man who broke her heart. But with Talia's life on the line, Noni needs his help now more than ever--and this time, she won't take no for an answer . . .
The moment Denver Jones sees Noni, the memories come rushing back. The fire in her eyes. The determination in her voice. The danger of having her in his life. Denver had to push her away once, but now with vicious criminals threatening Noni and her niece, he'll do whatever it takes to protect them. But enemies from his past are circling, and they'll use anything--and anyone--to get to Denver.
Themes: Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
This series by one of my favorite authors has finally come to an end, one that has been a long time coming in my opinion because the bad guys were beyond the typical villains and went well into the world of sadistic sociopaths that just needed to be put down.  There have been some serious twists and turns along the way between this series and its preceding series (Sin Brothers), and while there are a few little hints of the paranormal it remains largely a contemporary paramilitary story revolving around the bonds of brotherhood that are formed in blood and death from a early age.  I enjoyed Denver and Noni’s story immensely even as there were moments when I wanted to slap the shit out of Denver for being a bonehead.  It’s obvious to anyone that has ever seen an alpha operator like Denver that his feelings for Noni run deep and true and leave him terrified for her safety and unwilling to risk  her by attempting to build a life with her while he is still hunted.  Noni on the other hand was one of my favorite heroines in this series, willing to risk everything including her own life in order to rescue the child that was taken from her and put into a dangerous situation.  When they began working together it became a no-contest situation and I had no doubt that they would defeat their enemies, even if Denver had his doubts and fears.  Noni was a fascinating mix of strength and vulnerability, but I knew right away that she was the perfect match for Denver and would give him the balance he needed in his life.  Denver was the kind of guy that would sometimes make me wonder if all men are as stupid as the things that come out of their mouths make them sound idiotic, but I knew all his posturing and worrying came from a place of love for Noni and his brothers so I tried to give him a bit of slack.  The passion between Noni and Denver was just as intense as all the brothers in the past novels, but even more quickly taken to the level of deep emotions since they’d already had a relationship and were more than halfway in love with one another, which made the heat off-the-charts hot. There were some terrifying moments and some revelations in this series that left me wondering how I could have missed that twist barreling down on me all this time, but that just made it that much more fun.  I was sad to see the series end, but maybe in the future some of the younger brothers might get their own series, regardless I know I will enjoy anything that Ms. Zanetti sends my way.  Thanks for the fun ride Rebecca!
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Review: Baby, I'm Howling for You (Alphaville #1)

Baby, I'm Howling for You (Alphaville #1)

by Christine Warren

Blurb:
WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps.
Renny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her…
Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life…even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels?
Themes:  Paranormal, Shifters
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
I love it when a new series begins by a favorite author and you find out that while it’s new you get to see some familiar characters and the world they live in isn’t really all that unfamiliar to you.  That was the case with this new series by Christine Warren, the author of one of my favorite series, The Others, and when I picked up the prequel story (Something to Howl About) I returned to a world I felt comfortable in.  The first full length novel takes us through the journey of two characters that have lived through some seriously bad shit in recent years, but now have a chance to come together and offer one another healing and a chance for a future.  Renny is running for her life when she stumbles into Mick’s backyard fully expecting to die, one way or another, but he comes to her rescue, never realizing how important she truly would be to his future.  Mick is hiding from his own past, having lost his mate, cleaned house on his own corrupt pack and run to Alphaville to live an isolated life as a lone wolf.  Once he sees Renny he knows she’s trouble, but he can’t in good conscience let a female bleed to death in his yard.  As Mick and the other badass protectors of Alphaville come together to get Renny out of her predicament, Mick becomes increasingly possessive and when he can’t resist a moment longer shows Renny how important she truly is to him.  Renny suddenly finds herself with an insanely possessive alpha wolf in her life and there’s no getting rid of him, not that she actually wants to, but as danger closes in she knows that she might have to sacrifice her life to keep her mate safe and she has no problem making that choice.  Mick and Renny’s story was packed with action, steamy as all get out, and full of fun plot twists keeping me engaged and enthralled through every page.  The heat between these two lovers was off the charts and when they finally gave into it I thought my kindle was going to catch fire.  Mick is a bit of an ass in the beginning, and even as he shows Renny how much he wants her, he doesn’t see how badly he is handling their new and intense relationship for most of the story.  Thankfully Renny is plenty sassy and she-wolf enough to show her man how he is screwing up and get him back on the right track.  I loved how strong she was, even in moments of intense vulnerability and need, she always made sure that the alpha personalities in the room didn’t disregard her opinions or treat her as if she didn’t have a say—girl power! I am really looking forward to the next story in the series which as I understand it is Renny’s friend Molly’s love story and I know that lioness is going to be kickass as she finds her mate.  Another amazing series in the works for sure and I am dying waiting for the next release.  Thanks Christine for your amazing imagination and for sharing it with us romance nuts.
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review: On the Plus Side (A Perfect Fit #2)

On the Plus Side (A Perfect Fit #2)

by Alison Bliss 

Blurb:
Big girls don't cry. They go after what they want.
Thanks to her bangin' curves, Valerie Carmichael has always turned heads-with the exception of seriously sexy Logan Mathis. Just Valerie's luck that the object of her lust-filled affection is also best friends with her overprotective brother. But Valerie's determined to get Logan's attention . . . even if it means telling a teeny little lie to get a job at his new bar.
Logan can't remember a time when Valerie didn't secretly fuel all his hottest fantasies. Now the curvaceous she-devil is working behind his bar, tempting him every damn night. It's only when he finds Valerie's naughty things-to-do list that Logan decides to break every rule in the book-by making each red-hot deed a reality.
No one warned them that they were going to fall this hard. And no one warned them that sometimes the smallest secrets can have the biggest consequences.
Themes: Contemporary
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
I am enjoying the series that focuses not on the fact that big girls can find love too, but on the fact that anyone can find love and big girls are just like everyone else.  Valerie has lusted after her brother's best friend forever and when she finds herself in his new bar on opening night she never imagined the way her life would change.  Logan has rushed the opening of his new bar in the hometown he never thought he’d return to, in order to help his mother dig herself out of a financial disaster his deadbeat father put her in.  When  Logan is forced to accept Valerie’s offer for help after a series of screw-ups on opening night, he knows his life is going to go downhill quickly, because he has been trying to resist the  sexy allure of his best friend's little sister for years.  I enjoyed this story very much, even as there were some tears and some moments I wanted to punch Valerie for keeping secrets that could destroy not only their tenuous new relationship but also everything Logan had accomplished. Logan was a really good guy, obviously devoted to the women in his life and determined to do all he could for his family and Valerie. I enjoyed seeing how sweet and sexy he was as he worked to fulfill all the fantasies he thought Valerie had and of course worked to make her his once he accepted that she was meant to be his. Valerie has a personality that I wish I could takes parts of for myself, her confidence, sassiness and spunk made her a great friend and, while it sometimes got her in trouble, her heart was always in the right place.  They had a lot of problems to deal with through this story, but Valerie and Logan were obviously meant to be together and when they finally got their HEA after so many years of  denying their feelings I was thrilled for them.  I can’t wait for the next story in this series and I find I am enjoying each story more and more as I get to know the characters and come to appreciate the authors writing style.  Being a big girl, maybe not as big as I once was but still considered plus sized, I feel a kinship with these women and this series gives me hope that someday my prince will come, even if he’s a badass bar owner or construction worker! 
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Review: Heat (Dark Kings #12)

Heat (Dark Kings #12)

by Donna Grant

Blurb:

Nikolai is a dragon shapeshifter who knows well the meaning of loss. Orphaned and raised to be a Dragon King, he never accepts defeat. Now, Nikolai prefers his solitude . . .until a beautiful, irresistible woman calls upon him for help—and Nikola’s whole word goes up in flames.
Ever since MI5 agent Esther woke to discover her mind taken over with magic, she feels like stranger to herself. She looks to a notorious dragon, one who has the power to help her find her memory. But as she and Nikolai come closer to discovering what really happened to her, a dangerous passion ignites between them. Can this lone Dragon King help the woman he’s grown to love to uncover the truth about her past—or will a deep and fiery danger tear them both apart?


Themes: Paranormal, Dragon-Shifters
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating:  
Review:
The longer this series runs the more interesting it gets and the more the characters continue to amaze me.  If you are a longtime reader of Ms. Grant’s work you know what I mean when I say, I cannot follow who is the villain anymore! I love reading all Donna’s work, but I admit I am kinda partial to these seriously sexy sort-of Scottish guys that can turn into huge fire breathing dragons.  While this series began with a clear direction and made readers think they knew right away who the bad guys were as the story has continued and evolved over the years, there have been revelations and spin-off series that are closely related and lead readers into different directions.  Nikolai and Esther’s story was a major turning point in the series I think and I am looking forward to seeing where the overall storyline takes us in the end.  Nikolai is determined to help Esther uncover the memories that were stolen from her by a mage working against the Kings and, while he lusts after her intensely, he doesn’t believe he is the type of dragon to take a mate.  Esther is willing to take help from anyone to try to get back to her true self, but the delicious Nikolai certainly seems the best option.  He pulls her like no other and there is no denying that she would love to be able to spend nights in his arms while they work to find a way to recover her lost time.  Sadly they soon find themselves in deeper than either ever imagined they could be, not just in their relationship but also in the danger that stalks them. Nikolai was a very interesting male, his special power making him all the more coveted among the dragons and even more crucial to winning against their enemies and protecting mankind. His alpha personality doesn’t keep him from being seriously sweet to Esther though and showing her every moment how important she is to him, and not just as an ally to the Kings.  I loved seeing him transform from the sensual and calm artist to the dangerous and deadly warrior in the blink of an eye when anyone dared to threaten his woman. Even when her world begins to fall apart around her he is there to give her everything she needs.  My favorite of his traits though was his devotion to his friends, even Ulrik, and his determination to prove that while his friend has done some shady things over the millennia he is still the same essentially good man.  Esther was just the type of woman I love to read about, soft on the inside and squishy when it comes to her man, but a seriously kickass woman on the outside who is not afraid to do whatever is needed to get the job done. Her strength and resiliency made her one of the best heroines of the series and I felt she was perfectly matched to the calm but deadly Nikolai.  I felt the passion between Nikolai and Esther from the very beginning, but it was always tempered with the emotions that they were already beginning to feel for one another.  Overall this was one of my favorite stories in the last few of the series and I can say for sure there were some MAJOR leaps in the overall storyline that lead me to think we are going to have some resolutions to a few questions soon.  Of course we still have no more hints on who Rhi’s dragon King is, but I keep hoping for a subtle hint.  For any reader that loves some action and a paranormal bent on their romance you can never go wrong with a Donna Grant novel and Heat lives up to that standard, no question.  Keep the magic coming, Donna!
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

ARC Review: Ruff Around the Edges (The Dogfather #5)

Ruff Around the Edges (The Dogfather #5)

by Roxanne St. Claire 

Blurb:
U.S Army Night Stalker Major Aidan Kilcannon leaves Afghanistan after his best friend, Charlie, is killed in action. Aidan's only consolation is the knowledge that he's now solely responsible for Charlie's dog, Ruff, a rambunctious boxer they'd found in a bombed-out hospital in Kabul. With the help of Aidan's father, the Dogfather himself, they transport Ruff back to the States. He arrives shortly after Aidan, and both dog and man are suffering from loss, trauma, and sudden change. Aidan is certain his only hope is the comfort and love he gets from Ruff, and that this dog will help him adjust to the staggeringly difficult transition from battlefield to Bitter Bark.
But the day Ruff arrives, Daniel Kilcannon informs his son that Rebecca Spencer, Charlie's younger sister, has a hard and fast claim on Ruff and she intends to honor her brother's wishes. Aidan has to relinquish the dog to her, no matter how impossible that is.
Beck Spencer is in Bitter Bark temporarily to help the only living relatives she has left. After losing her parents as a child, and her brother six months ago, she, too, hopes that Ruff will offer the solace and companionship she needs. But when Ruff finally shows up at her door, the man holding the leash is obviously determined to talk her out of keeping the dog. In fact, Aidan uses every persuasive power he has to convince Beck to give up Ruff...and he's as wild and unpredictable as the dog they both want.
Everything gets complicated by Ruff, who has his own idea of who should be his master, making it impossible for Beck to win him over. But she'll do anything to succeed, even work closely with maddeningly sexy and relentlessly determined Aidan Kilcannon, who has some skills she desperately needs to save her uncle's local pizza business.
With an uneasy truce, a restless dog, and an attraction that bubbles like one of Slice of Heaven's award-winning pizzas, Aidan and Beck soon realize they can help each other heal. But as they fall deeply in love and discover the true meaning of family and home, they’ll have to face the pains of their past if they have any chance of a future.
Themes: Contemporary, Tear-Jerker alert
Rating: 4.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
Every time I think that this author has broken my heart in every way she possibly could, she finds a new way to show me that I’m wrong, in only the best ways of course.  I love everything that Rocki writes, but her newest series revolves around family, loss, healing and the power of love, not to mention the great impact any member of the dog world can have on a person.  I have enjoyed each of these stories more and more and greatly anticipated reading Aidan's story from the first time I met him, and though there were tears from the beginning to the end, we were not left feeling sad in the end.  The love between Aidan and Beck is obvious and the love they both shared for Charlie and by extension his dog Ruff, was powerful.   As they come together to find a way to honor Charlie’s last wishes you can see that the fire and passion between them pales in comparison to the gentle love between two people meant for one another. While I know the original series is coming to an end soon, since the Dogfather has paired off all but one of his children, as I understand it there is a spin-off/continuation of the series coming involving the family cousins, which will allow us to enjoy this family’s antics and the craziness of the small town they claim as their own.  If you’ve never experienced the greatness of a St. Claire novel, while I can say I feel bad for you, I insist you run out right now and grab Aidan and Beck's story (along with the rest of the series) and get to work enjoying every second of it.  I cannot wait for the rest of this series and whatever project pops into Rocki's head next because I have no doubts in my mind anymore that I will enjoy every second of it.
Aidan has been dealt the one of the worst losses a warrior can, the loss of a brother-in-arms—one who has been his best friend for more than a decade—and watching Charlie die has left him at lose ends.  The only thing he knows is that he is determined to fulfill his last promise to his best friend, taking Charlie’s dog Ruff out of the hellhole of Afghanistan back to their hometown in Virginia where he can have an easy life on Aidan's family’s amazing property.  With the help of his father, Aidan accomplishes getting Ruff home, but that’s where the complications begin.  Charlie’s sister, Beck, also claims that Charlie left Ruff to her and she is just as determined to have that final piece of her brother living with her, despite Ruff’s immediate dislike of her and her Aunt's intense dislike of dogs.  Beck has left her business and home in the city to try to help her Aunt and Uncle after he has a stroke and while they deal with the loss of her brother, but keeping their family pizza restaurant afloat and getting her uncle to come back to the business is more challenging than she ever imagined.  When Aidan and Beck decide to team up to try to save the business and get her uncle back in shape, they slowly begin to recognize that their feelings aren’t going away and there might not be any denying that they are more than simply just attracted to one another.  But when disaster strikes and they are forced to realize that some things are more important than winning and losing, Beck and Aidan have to decide if what they have built together can stand the test of time or if they are too different to come together for a happily ever after.
I loved finally getting to know Aidan more and seeing him grow through the course of this novel, because, as he found a way to deal with his losses and come to terms with what he truly wanted out of his life, he grew into a truly amazing man.  He is obviously a sexy alpha male, many years spent as a warrior and a hero, but inside he is still reeling from the death of his mother and trying to understand how his siblings and father are each dealing with it as well.  The saying that everyone handles grief in their own way was never more surely demonstrated than with this amazing family and seeing Aidan finally accept that was wonderful.  It was also fun to watch him as he tried to understand why he was so attracted to his best friend's little sister, his perceived adversary as he tried to sabotage her and get Ruff back with him.  There were some serious moments, of course, as these two fell in love and began to work through their doubts and fears, so overall this story was truly and emotional roller-coaster for Aidan, Beck and the reader! Meeting Rebecca, Beck to her friends and family, was a treat, even if at first she is portrayed as a bit of a ditzy person with a selfish streak.  As we get more and more of her back story you come to see how truly insecure she is and that she has so many issues to work through before she will ever be able to accept the love that Aidan is offering her.  Even as she gets closer and closer to Aidan, she resists every step of the way, thinking she will leave in the end before he does and it was heartbreaking to see her unwilling to open herself to the love that Aidan was so willing to offer her.  She has lost a lot in her short life to be sure, but by giving up she is just going to end up with fewer people in her life and in the end a life not truly lived.
As always, when you reach the end of a Roxanne St. Claire story you have to force yourself to wipe off the tears, both happy and sad and remind yourself that you haven’t just lived this story with friends.  Her ability to suck you into her stories and make you feel like you are right there living the story with them is being amazing and I can truly say I wish I had her ability.  Aidan and Beck's story was no exception and I know I will be going back to it again and again.  Aidan was the perfect tortured hero, with loses to overcome and an inner strength that shines through even as he has his moments of selfish desire and makes bad choices.  Beck begins the story as the type of character that many of us love to hate, that woman that is determined to simply do her family duty and then get back to her own perfectly separate and all planned out life.  Luckily she comes to understand that while she might have been able to separate herself temporarily from her past, she is now right where she belongs, which includes being with Aidan.  The heat between Aidan and Beck begins with their arguments over custody of Ruff, but the more time they spend together the more we get to see that fire lead into interesting and very physical manifestations.  I loved every second of this story and truly wish it had been even longer so I could have enjoyed it for a second day. I am also looking forward to the next story in the series where we will finally get to see the wandering Darcy find her mate and I hear rumors of a possible match for the Dogfather himself, which many might have mixed feelings about, but I have no doubt true Rocki fans will enjoy immensely.  Keeping the magic alive Rocki!
*eARC provided by author for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.