October 26, 2021

Ballers and Babes Series, Book 1

From the publisher:

Hands down, my favorite thing in the world is to score. Touchdowns. Don’t let the fact that I’m the leading pick in the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction fool you.

These days, I’m only a player on the field. I’ve kept my pants zipped all season long because nothing’s more important than leading my team to victory every week. Except maybe escaping from the team owner’s recently-widowed and handsy-as-hell sister who’s dead set on winning more than a date with me.

Enter Violet and a well-placed Hail Mary. She’s my best friend’s sister with a smile as sweet as cherry pie and a mind that runs quicker than the 40-yard-dash. After Violet saves the day with the highest bid, I don’t even give her a two-minute warning before I kiss her in front of the whole crowd and then announce that she’s my girlfriend. Which would be fine except my agent tells me we have to keep up the act while he’s negotiating my contract.

Violet takes one for the team and pretends to be mine, but our boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage quickly turns into a full contact sport, and I want it to go into overtime. The problem is–I’ve been riding the bench for years. How can a guy like me, who finally has a chance to prove his worth on the field, convince the girl she’s most valuable to his heart?

*MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY is a brand new standalone sports romance written in the guy’s POV!*

I love sports romances, and this is a good one. Told from the guy’s point of view, Cooper is the quarterback for a fictitious San Francisco NFL team. He was backup quarterback for a few years, but now is leading the team and he takes that very seriously. As his best friend Trent says, he is married to football. It is the most important thing in his life and he, along with a few friends on the team, started off the season losing. But then things started clicking and they are on their way to a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Many athletes have their little superstitions and this crew certainly does. Cooper hasn’t had sex since they started winning, and his friends also have their supersitions – one hasn’t cut his hair all season, another is wearing the same dirty socks every game.

Cooper is also a big believer in helping out any charities that deal with children, so he is happy to be part of the bachelor auction to benefit a local children’s hospital. Except he has one little problem; in previous years when he was “won”, he bedded the winners. This year he is not having sex until they make the playoffs, which could be difficult, especially when the owner’s sister is determined to win him and have her way with him. Panicky, he begs Trent’s sister Violet to help him out. She is a hairdresser and is at the auction to make all the guys look good. But her work is done, and since she and Cooper have been friends since they were little kids, she doesn’t mind helping him out – especially since he’s paying for it. So she outbids everyone else and to her surprise, and his, he kisses her in front of the crowd and tells the local news reporter covering the event that they are an item.

Meanwhile, Cooper’s agent is in negotiations for his contract with the team, due to expire at the end of the season. He tells Cooper he needs to keep dating his hometown childhood sweetheart as it will help with negotiations. Turns out Violet needs to keep dating him as well; her landlord wants to raise her rent, but if her customers think they are dating, business will pick up for sure. So they agree to fake date, and as anyone who has ever read a romance knows, fake dating always leads to a happily ever after.

What is interesting here is seeing it all from his point of view instead of hers. We quickly learn that Cooper is falling for Violet, but he isn’t sure if she feels the same or is just good at acting. It was refreshing to see a man be a bit insecure about a relationship for a change. Violet is as well, and we learn that she has always had a crush on him. As things progress, their relationship certainly feels real to him but things come up that make him doubt that Violet is.

This was a terrific read, fast and sexy and fun, especially if you like football – and I do. There is also some sweetness here, which I really appreciated, along with some laugh out loud moments and some very steamy sex. Lauren Blakely is self published, which I often have issues with, but she is a pro. Her books are reliably well edited, and I highly recommend!

NOTE: This is the first book of a series, and I got it for free through BookBub. If you weren’t sure they were legit, well, they are. I got this book a couple of weeks ago and it was free, but today it is $3.99 so I’m glad I jumped on that when I did! (Unfortunately, my library doesn’t have the rest of the books in this series so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to them. I feel guilty buying books when I literally have hundreds of books still to read on my Kindle!)

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY by Lauren Blakely. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 1, 2017). 978-1545373941. 286 pages.








October 24, 2021

The Princes of Texas, Book 3

From the publisher:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia London delivers a sexy new contemporary western, where a lonesome rancher and a no-nonsense cowgirl learn that you don’t choose who you fall for–love lassos you….

As the firstborn son, it’s been drilled into Nick that he is the heir apparent to the Prince family empire. But cattle ranching has never been his true passion. Nick wants to be a pilot.  However, when his father dies, leaving Nick to clean up the mess, he knows he must do his duty before following his heart.

Charlotte Bailey can’t believe that Nick is back to run the ranch. As the office manager, she knows it’s her responsibility to help him. If only he wasn’t so brooding and cranky–and so hot it’s a wonder his chaps don’t melt right off him. But when sparks fly between them, she’s adamant about staying away from a cowboy on his way out the door.

Nick knows the ranch’s pretty, smart, and capable office manager is off-limits, but he needs her. And working in such close proximity to Charlotte every day is making Nick crazy. She smells good, she looks good, she makes him laugh, but most of all she makes him want to stay….

I’ve read Julia London’s historical romances and loved them, so I don’t know how I missed her contemporary ones. This is the third book of the series and my first foray into The Princes of Texas, but I think it stands alone just fine. It never felt like I was missing anything.

Nick is a young, good looking curmudgeon. He’s always grumpy and for some reason, Charlotte enjoys his company. It might have something to do with the wild, slightly drunken night they shared almost a year earlier. She distinctly remembers that night as the best sex she ever had.

Charlotte has been the office manager for the Prince ranch since way before Nick took over. His dad ran the place with Charlotte for many years. Nick has his pilot’s license and dreams of flying big jets for commercial airlines, but his dream is put on hold when his father dies and names him to take over the ranch. Turns out his father had some serious gambling issues, and the coffers are bare. Every day is a struggle to turn the business around. The only highlight is getting to spend time with Charlotte. She is often maddening but he can’t help how he feels about her, try as he might. He is diligent about keeping their relationship professional, but eventually lust wins out.

Charlotte has feelings for Nick, but he constantly pushes her away. She tries online dating as her friends keep pushing her, but without much success. Even Nick gets in on it, helping her pick out a couple of guys to date. Turns out that wasn’t the best idea he ever had, but it doesn’t matter, Charlotte knows where her heart belongs. Except she has a dream too, and it’s to get married, have lots of babies, and make a home in this small town.

Nick doesn’t believe she would want to be with him unless he can give her those things, and after her best friend has a baby he becomes convinced he doesn’t want any children – ever. This is a major hurdle for Charlotte, but this is a romance so you know they reach their happy ending.

I really liked spending time with these characters and this is a charming romance with a tiny bit of heat and a lot of laughs. I will be looking for the earlier books in this series – and the next one!

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE BILLIONAIRE IN BOOTS by Julia London. Berkley (March 3, 2020). ISBN: 978-0451492395. 368 pages.








October 22, 2021

The Miles High Club, Book 2

From the publisher:

Wall Street Journal bestseller.

In bestselling author T L Swan’s second hot installment to the Miles High Club series, he’s sexy, rich, and her mortal enemy. Hate never felt so good.

I first met Tristan Miles at a meeting where he was trying to take over my late husband’s company.

He was powerful, arrogant, and infuriatingly gorgeous, and I hated him with every cell in my body. In the shock of the century, he called me three days later and asked me on a date.

I would rather die than date a man like him―though I do have to admit it was good for the ego. Turning him down was the highlight of my year.

Six months later, he was the guest speaker at a conference I attended in France.

Still arrogant and infuriating―but this time, surprisingly charming and witty.

When he looked at me, I got butterflies.

But I can’t go there.

He’s just a player in a hot suit, and I’m just a widow with three unruly sons.

I just need this conference to be over. Because everybody knows that Tristan Miles always gets what he wants…and what he wants is me.

Tristan Miles is in charge of acquisitions for Miles Media, the conglomerate he owns along with his brothers. They are all billionaire playboys, except for Jameson, who recently married. Tristan is determined to take over Anderson Media, which is in serious financial jeopardy. The owner died and his widow, Claire, has been running the company for five years, but things are not going well. When Tristan shows up in her office with an offer to buy her out, she is incensed and throws him out. A few days later, he asks her out. Saying no felt good. Tristan is rich and gorgeous and has never heard “no” before, but he respects her wishes and keeps his distance.

About six months later, Claire’s assistant and best friend, Marley, convinces her to attend a motivational retreat in France. Claire fights it at first, but soon realizes she really needs a break and off she goes. The opening speaker at the conference is none other than Tristan Miles. He singles her out, repeatedly, and eventually she decides to she could use a fling and since their chemistry is off the charts, why not.

Claire is a few years older than Tristan and they are in very different places in their lives. She married young and was widowed, and has three sons who are not always easy to deal with. He is single and a player with his whole life ahead of him. After the conference, he invites her to spend the weekend with him in Paris, and she goes. The sex is amazing, he makes her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, and is funny and charming. But then she ends things.

Tristan has never been dumped and he isn’t sure what to do about it. He has had a few serious relationships in his life, but with a distinct type; young, blond, beautiful. Claire is older and comes with a lot of baggage, namely her kids. But he can’t stop thinking about her. One day he shows up at her house on Long Island, and meets her three sons in one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever read. Her oldest Fletcher, is just cold to him and asks him to leave. He is very protective of his mother. The youngest, Patrick, isn’t sure what to think. But it’s the middle child, Harry, who goes ballistic on him.

Seeing a billionaire playboy lock horns with teenagers is hilarious, and the relationship he develops with these boys is funny but also heart warming. Meanwhile Claire keeps breaking up with him then taking him back. Repeatedly. She can’t seem to stay away, and he is determined to make a life with her. That leads to some serious issues and another really bad breakup. But these two cannot stay apart, and they all find their happily ever after.

This is my favorite book of the series. The sex is steamy as in all the books in this series, but it’s the humor that really made this special. Single moms will appreciate how protective Claire is of her children, and will swoon at Tristan’s relationship with her boys. These books all stand alone so if you want to try one, I highly recommend this book; it is equal parts super sexy, heartwarming, & hilarious! I loved it.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE TAKEOVER by T L Swan. Montlake; 8/1 edition (August 27, 2020). ISBN: 978-1542017336. 479 pages.








October 21, 2021

Biggest Little Love Story, Book 3

From the publisher:

Billionaire casino magnate Rafael “Rafa” Salord is forced to exchange caviar for cowboy boots when he’s sent to “grow up” and run his father’s newly acquired casino in the middle of nowhere downtown Reno. When he crosses paths with feisty Destiny Morson, he starts to wonder if that nonsense about love-at-first-sight might actually be true. Maybe it’s time to trade in his playboy status and bet on something more.

Social worker Destiny Morson has always had good reason for keeping romance at arm’s length. After finding out that her business partner ran off with the community-raised funds from their non-profit, she’s ready to swear off people completely. So when the sexy casino executive seems interested in helping her with her woes, she can’t help but mistrust his motives, no matter how he makes her burn…

From a night out throwing axes to supporting Destiny’s charity, Rafa stops at nothing to win over the gunshy woman he can’t get out of his head. He’s determined to break through her tough exterior, and Destiny slowly lets her guard down. But after a night of passion in his penthouse suite, things at the casino go sideways for both of them, forcing them to decide if the past is enough to prevent them from a future together.

Destiny is an interesting character, a young woman who has a lot of responsibility, first as a social worker, then as a partner in a charity that helps people with drug problems. She is also responsible for her aunt, so she moves into an apartment in the same complex so she can keep an eye on her. They live just outside of Reno, and her aunt really likes the slots and manages to lose her social security check at the casino on a regular basis.

Rafa is visiting their company’s latest acquisition at the behest of his father. They have bumped heads quite a bit, especially when his father believed him to have fathered a child. He pays off the woman, but unbeknownst to his father, Rafa keeps in touch with the mother and helps her out financially. When he arrives at the Reno property, he is not impressed with the manager, to say the least. He has been working in the hotel/casino business for years and trusts his instincts. His instincts say something is off with this guy, even if he is a friend of his father.

When Rafa and Destiny meet, there is a strong attraction but she is too busy getting her new charity off the ground for romance. But he is persistent, and they go out a few times and she gets to know his friends. Once they spend the night together, Destiny realizes she is in trouble – she likes Rafa way more than she should, especially since he is only in town temporarily. But this is a romance, so they find their happy ending.

This is a quick read and the character development was surprisingly good for such a short book. There was enough drama and laughs to keep the pages turning, but it felt like it was missing something. That could be due to the fact that this is the third book of a series, and I haven’t read the first two. Despite that, it was an enjoyable read.

NO PLAYER REQUIRED by JoAnn Sky. Entangled: Indulgence (October 18, 2021). ASIN: B09H5JGLS2. 197 pages.


WILD IN CAPTIVITY by Samanthe Beck

October 20, 2021

The Captivity Alaska Series, Book 1

From the publisher:

Ambitious L.A. lawyer Isabelle Marcano would rather run a mile in her Manolos than fly off to rustic Captivity, Alaska. But close the client’s sale successfully and her firm will find room on the letterhead for one more name. Still, taking a career detour to a place that doesn’t even have a Starbucks sounds like the seventh level of hell.

Then her best friend points out the town has something stronger on tap than caffeine. Testosterone. With two single men to every single woman, this assignment might just be the best thing to happen to her sex life since the invention of the waterproof Rabbit.

Until her sexy client introduces her as his fiancée to hide what she’s doing in town, and all her aspirations of hot Lumberjack Sex fly out the airplane window.

Though…fiancés do have sex, right? Those who don’t want to answer to small-town busybodies better look like they do, epically, even when the mere prospect plays havoc with her professional responsibilities. And her hormones.

Her firm’s getting antsy to finalize the merger. But the more she learns about Trace, about why he’s selling, the more conflicted she becomes about the deal. Failure to close means losing the partnership she’s always wanted, but the bigger failure might just be kissing Trace goodbye…

Trace suffered a terrible loss when his younger brother died in a plane crash, and he still hasn’t recovered. He’s decided to sell the family business, running the airport and the planes in Captivity, Alaska, and his good friend has sent a bright young attorney to help him get everything in order. Captivity is a small town, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he is thinking about selling, but the offer he has in hand may be too good to pass up. His parents are retired and traveling the world, and his younger sister has half ownership in the airline, but she isn’t vested until she turns 30 so he still has some time.

Izzy is thrilled to have this assignment – her boss is dangling a partnership if it all goes through. She has worked her butt off for years to get to this point, and is determined to reach her goal. But when she arrives in Alaska, Trace takes one look at the big city lawyer and realizes he is in trouble. No one will believe she is a tourist here to climb a mountain, not with those heels and those clothes. When they finally arrive in Captivity, a couple of his employees/friends are there to meet them. In a panic, Trace blurts out that Izzy is here because he’s trying to convince her to marry him.

Stunned, she isn’t sure what to say but realizes he is the client and she better go along with it. The whole town gets involved as they want to see Trace happy, and if this is the woman he wants, they are all in. So while they work on getting his business in order to sell, they also have to date – and that presents a tiny problem. Izzy has been so busy working she hasn’t had a relationship or even a date in over a year. She figures the odds are pretty good she can have some casual sex while in Captivity, but not after Trace announces his intentions.

As they work together and spend time together, Trace realizes he has some strong feelings for Izzy, but she is fighting it. It is unethical for her to get involved with a client, but Trace eventually wears her down and the sex is blazing hot. Izzy gets to know his sister and his friends, and everyone is trying their best to convince her to stay, but she has other plans. Except when she finally leaves to go back home, she is miserable.

There is another character in this book that I just loved, a giant Husky/Malamute mixed dog named K’eyush, or Key for short. The dog is brilliant and talks – he somehow says his favorite peoples’ names. Anyone who has spent any time poking around my website knows that I am a cat person, but I also love dogs. My husband has gotten me a tiny bit obsessed with this dog: K’eyush the Stunt Dog and couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the dog in the book and the dog in the video. So I reached out to the author, who confirmed she is also a K’eyush fan and was inspired to use a dog with similar traits in the book. I love when my worlds collide like that!

I love anything set in Alaska so this really worked for me. There were a few surprises along the way before Trace and Izzy reached their happily ever after. There is a lot of humor and heat in this terrific romance and first book of a series. I can’t wait for the next one!

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

WILD IN CAPTIVITY by Samanthe Beck. Entangled: Amara (October 18, 2021). ASIN: B09H5J7S5W. 325 pages.



October 19, 2021

The Miles High Club, Book 1

From the publisher:

A memorable night of passion refuses to stay just a memory in this sizzling and scandalous romance from bestselling author T L Swan.

I was upgraded to first class on a flight from London to New York.

The food, champagne, and service were impeccable.

The blue-eyed man sitting next to me, even better.

He was suave and intelligent.

We talked and laughed, and something clicked.

Fate took over and the plane was grounded, and we had an unexpected stopover for the night.

With no plans, we made our own.

We danced and laughed our way around Boston and had a night of crazy passion that no woman would ever forget.

That was twelve months ago, and I haven’t heard from him―until today.

I started a new job and met the CEO. You can imagine my surprise to see those naughty blue eyes dance with delight when he saw me across the mahogany desk.

But I’m not that carefree girl anymore. My life has changed, I have responsibilities.

I just got an email.

He wants to see me in his office for a private meeting at 8:00 a.m.

Naughty blue eyes have no place in the workplace.

What kind of private meeting does he have in mind?

I read the third book in this series, The Casanova, first, and immediately went and purchased the first two books in the series. Being that there are four Miles brothers, I’m hoping for one more.

Emily Foster is having a horrible day, topped off by being assaulted at the airport. But that does seem to turn things around for her; the airline upgrades her to first class. Sitting beside her is the sexiest man she’s ever seen. He introduces himself as Jim, and they flirt like crazy for the whole flight from London to New York. Except their flight is rerouted to Boston due to weather, and they end up spending the night together. A steamy, sexy night. But he doesn’t ask her for her phone number, and she shrugs it off. She can’t forget him though.

Emily finally lands her dream job at Miles Media and on her first day is given a tour of the offices. There she meets the CEO, Jameson Miles, who turns out to be none other than her former flying seatmate, Jim. The chemistry between them is palpable, and she cannot believe the man she has been fantasizing about ever since their night together is now her boss.

Billionaire bad boy Jameson has never forgotten Emily, either. Known as the Casanova for the obvious reasons, he has never really felt the need to see a woman once the fling ends. Except for Emily. She doesn’t want to jeopardize her job, but finds it impossible to say no for very long. They end up in a relationship that neither of them planned or thought they wanted, and it is scorching. But more than just heat, there is love and caring and a happily every after.

This is a really fun read with some humor, interesting characters and situations, and a lot of sexy scenes. I was shocked to see this book is over 500 pages, because those pages just flew by. I loved it and The Takeover, book 2 in the series, is up next for me.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE STOPOVER by T L Swan. Montlake Romance (October 29, 2019). ISBN: 978-1542015875. 523 pages.







NOT SEEKING MR. RIGHT by Natasha Moore  

October 11, 2021

From the author:

Ginny Colburn can’t believe she’s been dumped by her wedding date.

And everybody knows it.

So when a cute, younger man serving champagne to the guests flirts with her, she decides to really give the guests something to talk about and flirts back.

But the incredible one-night stand gives her more than great memories.

A few weeks later, she’s got a positive pregnancy test and the task of having to tell a guy half her age, “Congratulations, you’re a dad.”

Only he doesn’t react the way she thinks he will at all…

It was a really nice ass.

Firm. Totally bare. Sticking out the back door of a dented yellow Mini Cooper parked in the far corner of the Lakeside Country Club lot. Ginny Colburn wandered over to get a better look. The long legs were muscular with just the right amount of hair. The gravel in this back section of the parking lot had to be hurting his feet.

Opening text, Not Seeking Mr. Right

This was my first read from this author and that opening immediately caught my attention. Ginny is dumped when her boyfriend decides to get back together with his ex-wife, but that happens before the wedding they were going to attend together. Instead, Ginny goes with her two best friends. But when she gets there, she sees a man’s naked backside sticking out of a Mini Cooper. It’s a nice ass, so she decides to investigate. Once he realizes he is being looked at, he dresses quickly. Josh is a bartender/server at this wedding. He thinks the woman eyeing him is beautiful, and they do a bit of flirting out in the parking lot but he has to get to work, and she has to attend her cousin’s wedding.

Her ex is there with his no-longer-an-ex, and her friends try to protect Ginny. But as Josh finishes his shift, he sees her looking very uncomfortable while talking to the man. He decides to ask her to dance, and one thing leads to another. Ginny is 40 years old and has decided she is done with men. They don’t treat her well, and she is too old to be bothered anymore. She decides she will just have one night stands from now on, starting with Josh. He’s all in, and they spend a glorious night together.

It’s a small town, so they run into each other now and then. He would like more, but he respects her wishes so he is surprised when she asks him to come over to talk. Turns out she’s pregnant, and he immediately asks her to marry him. She laughs at him and says that is not necessary. She is quite prepared to be a single mother, but thought he had the right to know.

They decide to be friends. Josh would like more but she is firm on the matter. He wants to be involved with his child but he is young, only 25 years old, and is recently graduated from college. He is working multiple odd jobs while he interviews for his dream job as a landscape architect. While he is waiting for his dream job, he is up front with Ginny that he will be leaving the small upstate New York town of Lakeside soon.

But while he’s still around, he wants to spend time with her. He teaches her to grocery shop and cook, instead of depending on takeout for every meal. He convinces her to try yoga because his pregnant sister swears it helps with morning sickness and delivering the baby. He cares for her and shows her that in every way.

They fall in love, and he asks her to marry him again. And again. But she refuses to admit that she’s in love with him when really she is refusing to stand in the way of his dreams, without ever giving him the option of deciding what he wants for himself.

There is a lot of foreshadowing in this story that makes it pretty obvious what will happen, but somehow, when he finds his dream job and moves away, I found myself crying. And crying again when they reach their happy ending. There is a lot of humor here, too, and I found myself smiling a lot and even laughing out loud a few times. As the kids say, this book has all the feels. I loved the older woman/younger man trope, the small town feel, and these characters. Ginny is a strong woman, and Josh is much more mature than most 25 year olds, probably due to his background. They are a great match, despite all the naysayers and gossip in their little village.

This book was self published but Entangled Publishing is publishing the ebook, which is how I read it. I hope they will publish more of her work; this is an author to watch.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

NOT SEEKING MR. RIGHT by Natasha Moore. Independently published (October 7, 2021). ISBN: 979-8491232246. 320 pages.




October 8, 2021

Maybe, Definitely

From the author:

Disgusted with my love life, I join a dating app under a fake name. I start chatting to a man named Edgar.

One question from an ex-lover.

One text message from a complete stranger.

The same answer to both…Yes.

Scarlett Bell has found a way to move beyond a dark past that threatened to take her best friend, Kinsley, from her. Now ten years later Scarlett has everything. A multi-billion dollar fashion and beauty empire. A fabulous New York apartment filled with everything a girl could need. And an awesome best friend. What more could she want? Love, marriage, and a baby. Everything her best friend has.

One ex-boyfriend could give her everything she thinks she wants. Even if he is a little too nice…One dark stranger could give her everything she never knew she wanted. But he could destroy her life…Two men. Two choices. One answer to both: Definitely Yes.

It looks like this series is divided into two parts; Maybe, and Definitely. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I definitely (see what I did there? HA!) felt like I was missing backstory. It looks like the first three books of this series are Maybe, and this appears to be the first book of the Definitely part of the series. A tiny bit confusing, but no matter. I still enjoyed this book.

Scarlett knows what she wants, but she is afraid to go after it. The anonymous man she calls Beast definitely knows how she wants to be treated – in bed, that is. But she hasn’t even seen his face. And her ex is suddenly available, but he may just be too nice for her.

Scarlett’s best friend Kinsley is pregnant and Scarlett feels like maybe she is missing out. Beast is very mysterious, but will he come through for her and give her what she wants? Or should she settle for the nice guy?

The suspense is light, the sex is hot, and the story moves. Not sure I care enough to go back and read the earlier books, not to mention that being they are self published, my library isn’t carrying these. I got this book free from Amazon through BookBub and if they offer up anymore freebies, I’d read them. So who knows.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

DEFINITELY YES by Ella Miles. Independently published (May 20, 2019). ISBN: 978-1099478321. 258 pages.




NO HOLDING BACK by Lori Foster

October 6, 2021

The McKenzies of Ridge Trail, Book 1

From the publisher:

Introducing The McKenzies of Ridge Trail, an all-new sexy contemporary romance series from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster.

Not needing him won’t stop her from wanting him…

Trucker Sterling (Star) Parson is no stranger to the challenges a woman faces, both in her industry and in life. But she can take care of herself. She’s never needed—or wanted—a man around…until she meets Cade McKenzie. The take-charge bar owner sets off all kinds of alarm bells for Sterling, but he also sets her heart racing.

Cade’s lived in Ridge Trail long enough to know trouble when he sees it, and the moment Sterling—Star—walks into his bar, he knows trouble’s come to call. Secrets run deep in the small town and Cade can tell Star’s got as many as he does, leaving him itching to uncover every last one. But finding common ground will mean trusting one another, further feeding an intense attraction that’s growing impossible to resist.

I’m glad I got to start this series with the first book because it is a complicated and worthwhile story. The McKenzie family business is vigilantism. There are two brothers, Reyes and Cade, their sister, Madison, and their father, Parrish, a former surgeon who now runs the business. Reyes owns a gym in a seedy part of town, and Cade owns a bar on the opposite side of town, giving them access to lowlifes who like to talk. And they like to listen. Madison is their tech guru, and she has some serious skills.

Star drives a big rig, but likes to stop at Cade’s bar when she’s in town. She has a habit of napping in the corner, but she’s hyper-alert, and the bar is a good place to find out what’s going on in the underworld. Star is also a bit of a vigilante, helping women who have been trafficked. She’s rescued some and helped them move on. She is self taught and doesn’t have the training or experience of the McKenzies, but she’s also very much a loner. So when Cade offers her his office to nap in, she is touched. No one has ever looked out for her, and as she gets to know him, and they start working together. feelings start to emerge.

Cade has never wanted a relationship, but there is something about Star that really draws him in, but she constantly pushes him away and he really likes her independent streak. When they do get together, their chemistry is just scorching hot. It’s not easy chasing down bad guys when you’re worried about your partner, but they work well together and Star feels respected, which is very important to her.

This is a fast read with a lot of suspense and steamy love scenes, and some violence. I can’t wait for the next book in this series, and luckily, I don’t have to – Stronger Than You Know came out in August, and the third book, Watching Over You, comes out in December.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

NO HOLDING BACK by Lori Foster. HQN; Original edition (January 26, 2021). ISBN: 978-1335668509. 352 pages.






October 5, 2021

The Trouble with Hating You, Book 1

From the publisher:

A fiercely independent engineer walks out on the man her parents have set her up with — only to start working side-by-side with him at her job in this laugh-out-loud debut with “delicious banter, deep wounds, heartwarming friendships, and a path to love that often feels impossibly hard, and [a payoff] satisfying enough to give you a book hangover the size of Texas” (Sonali Dev, USA Today bestselling author of Recipe for Persuasion).

Liya Thakkar is a successful biochemical engineer, takeout enthusiast, and happily single woman. The moment she realizes her parents’ latest dinner party is a setup with the man they want her to marry, she’s out the back door in a flash. Imagine her surprise when the same guy shows up at her office a week later — the new lawyer hired to save her struggling company. What’s not surprising: he’s not too thrilled to see her either after that humiliating fiasco.

Jay Shah looks good on paper…and off. Especially if you like that whole gorgeous, charming lawyer-in-a-good-suit thing. He’s also infuriating. As their witty office banter turns into late-night chats, Liya starts to think he might be the one man who truly accepts her. But falling for each other means exposing their painful pasts. Will Liya keep running, or will she finally give love a real chance?

I read the second book in this series, First Love, Take Two and I loved it, so I dug around my Kindle and sure enough I found this book. I was so happy I did – this was also a really good read and a good introduction to the characters.

This book is all about Liyah. She is a very successful engineer; in fact, so successful, she just got promoted to management. Except what her boss didn’t tell her is that the company is facing a ton of lawsuits, and everyone’s jobs are in jeopardy. Determined to work hard and help push the company past this bump, on her first day she is late to the meeting with the lawyer in charge of settling the lawsuits. He turns out to be Jay, who she met briefly a few days earlier when her parents tried to set her up with him. She has no interest in marriage, much less parent-matched marriage, and she flees. Unfortunately, she crashes into Jay right on the front lawn, taking them both down. She really hates his smirk as she sprawls on top of him, and she just takes off. And now it’s time for payback.

After a few snarky comments about her tardiness, they end up working together to try and save this company. But all they do is argue, and the chemistry between them just can’t be denied. Jay is intrigued for sure, but Liyah is playing hard-to-get – or actually, impossible to get.

Liyah has a terrible reputation. When she was a young teen, she accused the leader of their Hindu church of sexually abusing her. Her father called her a liar, and their relationship has been strained ever since. Her mother may have believed her, but she is completely submissive to her psychologically abusive husband. Not exactly the great role models for a good marriage, and Liyah is really destroyed by her father’s refusal to believe her. She starts sleeping around, moves out of her parent’s house after college which is frowned upon in this community, and she develops this bad reputation. So she has a hard time believing that this man and his good family would be accepting of her.

But Jay isn’t giving up. He has his own issues – his father died in a fire, and he was injured, but he feels responsible for his father’s death. He is very close with his mother and brother, and they don’t blame him but he can’t get past the guilt.

Despite their pasts, they keep growing closer. Jay is patient – extraordinarily patient – with Liyah and eventually he breaks down her barriers. Until the man she accused of molesting her starts threatening her and even tells Jay and his family that she tried to seduce him. It’s a mess, and Liyah takes off. But Jay tracks her down and they work through their issues together.

I loved these characters and learning about the Indian/Hindu culture. The hate-to-love trope works really well here, and there is a lot of humor despite the seriousness of some of the issues. I think everything is handled with sensitivity and that really added a lot to the emotional resonance of this story. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next from Patel – she is on my must read list for sure.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE TROUBLE WITH HATING YOU by Sajni Patel. Forever (May 12, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538733332. 352 pages.