LOCK ‘N’ LOAD by Tee O’Fallon

October 12, 2021

Federal K-9, Book 1

From the author:

Crack CIA analyst Trista Gold is a whiz with the computer, but not so much with people. She hides behind her job, analyzing Top Secret code and making recommendations on national security. She doesn’t need a man in her life. But she will, very soon…

CIA K-9 officer Sgt. Matt Connors suspects that beneath Trista’s uptight appearance, there’s a sexy woman itching to cut loose. But he doesn’t dare act on his attraction. He’s a loner and always will be. Keeping away from Trista is a must-do directive. Until he doesn’t have a choice…

During a routine assignment, Trista stumbles across a cryptic exchange. She doesn’t think much of it…until someone tries to murder her—twice. Both times, Matt had been there to save her. But now she has to hide. And her new bodyguard, Matt, and his K-9 are the only hope she has against the powerful forces that want her dead.


I was on Twitter and stumbled across an offer for a free book, and this was it. This is a very fast paced romantic suspense with some heat.

Trista is brilliant, except socially, she is inept. She grew up being teased as the “brainiac” and never really had any friends or dated. Now she has her dream job with the CIA and she manages to track a Russian spy on the black net. But unbeknownst to her, she is discovered and two attempts on her life make things difficult, to say the least. This is a woman who works on computers all day long, she doesn’t know how to deal with people trying to kill her.

Luckily, CIA K-9 officer Matt just happened to be around the first time, and he saved her. Then he learns about the possibility of a second attempt, and saves her again. She is forced to stay in a safe location and is not happy about it, even though Matt is the best looking man she’s ever seen.

There is a lot of action and suspense here, especially towards the end. But it is the romance that is at the heart of this book. Matt lost his best friend when he was a teen, and he has been punishing himself ever since. He opens up to Trista more than any woman before, but she realizes she can’t help him; he needs professional help.

Meanwhile, Trista is staying at Matt’s house, and they grow closer every day. But then the FBI insists on moving her to one of their safe houses, and she can’t bear to stay another day with Matt when he won’t get help, so off she goes. Until Matt has to rescue her again.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were interesting, and I especially loved Sheba, the K-9 cop. If you like animals, that is just an added bonus here. This was a fun read.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

LOCK ‘N’ LOAD by Tee O’Fallon. Entangled: Amara (May 28, 2018). ASIN: B07CWRYKPV. 370 pages.

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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.

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FIRST LIGHT by Isabel Jolie

October 4, 2021

Haven Island, Book 3

From the publisher:

He could be my savior…or my downfall…

I am living a lie.

No one knows who I really am. Letting someone in could be devastating for my family.

For the most part, isolation isn’t a hardship. I haven’t been looking for love or any kind of serious relationship.

But then I met Logan.

I tried to keep my distance. He won’t let me.

Logan is gentle, kind, and loving. Everything I never knew I needed in my life.

He’s also a cop—exactly the kind of man who’d never understand my truth.

So, while he has shared his deepest, darkest secrets, I keep mine hidden.

Too bad I can’t keep my heart locked away, too.

Because now I’m falling for a man who can never be mine. Not truly, anyway.

How can I ask him to be my future when I can’t even let him help me survive my present?

First Light is a standalone steamy contemporary romance. The Haven Island Series can be read in any order; you do not need to read any of the other books in the series to enjoy First Light.


This author was new to me, as is this series and here I am starting with the third book. But, as the author says, these books do not need to be read in order and I never would have known this was part of a series if Amazon didn’t tell me. So good job on that!

Cali is a bit of an enigma. Recently moved to this tiny barrier island off of North Carolina, all anyone really knows about her is that she is divorced, runs mid-day with her dog, and locks her doors. The chief safety officer AKA the local police chief, is Logan, almost two years divorced and finds Cali appealing. He hasn’t dated in years, but decides to give it a try with her.

Cali is very close-mouthed, to say the least. She won’t discuss her divorce or her ex, and all anyone really knows is that she moved to this oceanfront home from the west coast and is a translator, tutoring a local child. What they don’t know is that, in fact, Cali has never been married. They also don’t know that she is a state of the art security system, and keeps a bunch of servers downtown in the business district. The servers are her brother’s, as is the security system, and all we really know about him is that he is some sort of hacker with international political interests. We know something isn’t quite kosher, as Cali has her own suspicions, but he is her twin and she loves him.

But then she falls in love with Logan. Her brother is appalled, but after some digging decides it is a safe relationship. But if Logan finds out anything about him, there will be trouble. And sure enough, there is. Not to mention a hurricane adding to the fun.

This was an interesting story with a bit of suspense, especially towards the end. Once Logan finds out what’s really going on with Cali, he is furious. His ex-wife lied to him and he can’t deal with lies. Or as Cali puts it, his world is black and white, and hers has multitudes of gray. But no fear, that hurricane brings them back together and they get their happily ever after. I liked this book but probably not enough to seek out the earlier books in the series. It was just an okay read for me.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

FIRST LIGHT by Isabel Jolie. Noctivity (September 24, 2021). ISBN: 978-1953942265. 304 pages.

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HEARTBREAKER by B. J. Daniels

August 20, 2021

Montana Justice, Book 2

From the publisher:

He’ll risk everything to rescue her…

Ex-military man Thorn Grayson has debts to pay. So when a plane crashes in the mountains near his cabin, he’s hired to find the wreckage—and the kidnapped woman believed to be the sole survivor. But when he locates Geneva, or “JJ” as she insists on being called, she’s not at all what he expected.

JJ isn’t sure she can trust the mysterious man who’s come to her rescue. But she has secrets of her own—secrets she’ll do anything to keep. So she’ll follow his instructions and keep her distance to get off this mountain alive without blowing her cover. As dangerous conditions force them together—and the undeniable chemistry between them ignites—he’ll protect her at any cost. But when the morning light comes, will the truth tear them apart?


This was my first read by this author. If I had seen this cover, I might not have read the book but I’m glad I did. For what it’s worth, the cover cowboy looks nothing like the description in the book and why they keep calling him a cowboy is also suspect. This is not a cowboy romance; it is romantic suspense with a loner, ex-Military protagonist who owns a couple of horses and lives in solitude in the mountains of Montana. Maybe that makes him a cowboy, but there are no ranches or rodeos or any kind of cowboy activities usually found in these kinds of books. I liked this book but it was not at all what I expected, and I hadn’t even seen the cover when I read it, which would have made my expectations even more wrong.

Thorn’s wife was killed and he hasn’t recovered. He’s had a hard life, and thanks to a judge who sent him to a sort of boot camp, he turned his life around. He joined the armed services, and is now retired and living alone on his mountain. When the judge calls to ask a favor, Thorn can’t say no. The judge’s friend Franklin is a very wealthy man. He lost his daughter to drugs, and now his granddaughter Geneva is out of control. He cuts her off except for a modest allowance, but then he is contacted by a man claiming to have kidnapped her. The kidnapper asks for $10 million dollars in ransom.

But grandpa was pretty smart. He put a high tech tracking device on his granddaughter’s phone, so he is able to see her whereabouts. Turns out she was flown out to the mountains, where the plane has apparently crashed about half an hour away from Thorn’s home. The judge asks Thorn to go check out the plane and rescue the granddaughter.

She is still alive, but is not at all what Thorn is expecting from a spoiled party girl. This girl has swiped a gun from one of her kidnappers who died in the plane crash, and she is not sure if she can trust Thorn so she shoots at him and tries to get away. He manages to get hold of her and get her back, but it turns out she may not be who Thorn thinks she is.

This was a fairly complicated kidnapping plot, with the wrong girl being taken and lots of bad guys popping up and making things worse. The girl Thorn rescued is JJ, a homeless travel agent who was squatting because she had made travel arrangements for Geneva so she knew the girl wouldn’t be home. But Geneva was smart enough to leave her phone behind so Grandpa couldn’t find her.

Thorn and JJ try to find Geneva, thinking her in serious trouble. There are lots of twists and turns and the suspense is high in this page-turner. A happy ending is reached pretty much all the way around, and I ended up enjoying this book a lot. In fact I couldn’t put it down.

8/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

HEARTBREAKER by B. J. Daniels. HQN; Original edition (March 24, 2020). ISBN: 978-1335045195. 304 pages.

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UNDERCOVER ENGAGEMENT by Samanthe Beck

August 9, 2021

Private Pleasures, Book 5

Buttoned-down Eden Brixton is less than thrilled when she’s partnered with smooth-talking wild card Marcus Swain in an undercover op. Both their careers hinge on convincing folks in tight-knit Bluelick, KY that he’s the love of her life. She’d sooner tase him than prance around in practically nothing, hanging all over his chiseled body like she can’t get enough.

For Swain, being partnered with the too-gorgeous-for-his-sanity Eden promises to test his well-honed control. She’s smart, she’s skilled, she’s not just by-the-book—she knows the damn book backward and forward. And she hates his guts.

When Eden absolutely nails her role as his sexy fiancée—where the hell did she learn to seduce with a single glance?—Swain is knocked right on his ass. Living with a temptation like Eden makes it hard to remember their chemistry is strictly for show. And when the heat gets too real, doing the undercover op might prove to be their undoing.


This author was new to me, so I haven’t read any of the other books in this series. But when I read this one, I had no idea it was part of a series so it definitely works on its own. I also hadn’t seen the cover when I read it, or I might not have picked it up. I hate covers like this with half naked couples.

Eden and Marcus are in the police academy together. She is at the top of their class, he is right behind her. She is the studious type and he trusts his instincts. And they hate each other. Or at least, Eden hates him.

As they graduate, he is hired by the county sheriff, she by the local police. But their first assignment puts them undercover to try and break up a drug ring with both agencies working together. They are to portray an engaged couple, make friends with some of the known dopers in town and try and get to their source. But first they have to find a way to live together without killing one another.

They say there is a fine line between love and hate, and this couple burns it down. There is a lot of explicit sex in this story, so if that is not your thing, look elsewhere for your next read. I liked this book a lot; I liked the main characters and totally bought their relationship. There is a bare modicum of suspense needed for the story to make sense, and it meets that goal. All in all, this was a fast, fun, sexy read and I enjoyed it.

8/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

UNDERCOVER ENGAGEMENT by Samanthe Beck.  Independently published (July 28, 2021). ISBN: 979-8545457939. 300 pages.

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FALLING IN LOVE ON WILLOW CREEK by Debbie Mason

July 22, 2021

Highland Falls, Book 3

From the publisher:

Fall in love with the latest Highland Falls romance about a single mom-to-be’s surprise delivery and the undercover FBI agent who rescues her and her heart in the small town of Highland Falls.

Single mom-to-be Sadie Gray will do anything to find her younger brother before the law catches up with him. Even if it means returning home to the small town of Highland Falls with a baby due any moment. But when that moment comes sooner than expected, and Sadie finds herself stranded on the top of a mountain—in labor–she couldn’t be more grateful for the park ranger who finds her and helps deliver her daughter safely. Soon they’ve formed a tight friendship, and while he may be hinting at more, Sadie isn’t planning to stick around after she finds her brother.

FBI agent Chase Roberts wasn’t looking for love when he agreed to go undercover as a park ranger to find an on-the-run informant. But he can’t help being drawn to beautiful, warm-hearted Sadie and her sweet baby daughter. He’s always longed to put down roots and start a family. But how can he hope to keep Sadie’s trust when she finds out that his job is to arrest the brother she’s been looking for? 


This is another sweet romance in the Highland Falls series. I’ve read the second book but somehow missed the first (again) but I found it on my Kindle and moved it up on the to-be-read list.

This book was more romantic suspense than just a romance, but it worked. I had a harder time with the love-at-first-sight aspect of the story, but I went with it anyway. Sadie is pregnant, but the baby daddy, Drew, is a real prize. He disappears, he maxed out Sadie’s credit cards, and he isn’t interested in being a father. So when Sadie’s brother gets into serious trouble with a gang and with the police, she moves home to try and help out.

The baby comes a little early, and luckily Chase and his partner are in the area. Both men are undercover, but they manage to deliver the baby before disappearing. Chase just falls in love with the baby and Sadie, and she names the baby after him but is heartbroken when he disappears. She is struggling with the baby and worried about her brother and her grandmother, but then he returns with the bad news that he is undercover. But he is so helpful and that attraction is still there, stronger than ever.

There are lots of twists in the story but the romance comes through in the end. I enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to more in this series.

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

FALLING IN LOVE ON WILLOW CREEK by Debbie Mason. Forever (June 29, 2021). ISBN: 978-1538717004. 400 pages.

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LEGACY by Nora Roberts

June 3, 2021

From the publisher:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts presents Legacy, a new novel of a mother and a daughter, of ambition and romance, and of a traumatic past reawakened by a terrifying threat…

Adrian Rizzo was seven when she met her father for the first time. That was the day he nearly killed her―before her mother, Lina, stepped in.

Soon after, Adrian was dropped off at her grandparents’ house in Maryland, where she spent a long summer drinking lemonade, playing with dogs, making a new best friend―and developing the stirrings of a crush on her friend’s ten-year-old brother. Lina, meanwhile, traveled the country promoting her fitness brand and turning it into a billion-dollar business. There was no point in dwelling on the past.

A decade later, Adrian has created her own line of yoga and workout videos, following in Lina’s footsteps but intent on maintaining creative control. And she’s just as cool-headed and ambitious as her mother. They aren’t close, but they’re cordial―as long as neither crosses the other.

But while Lina dismisses the death threats that Adrian starts getting as a routine part of her daughter’s growing celebrity, Adrian can’t help but find the vicious rhymes unsettling. Year after year, they keep arriving―the postmarks changing, but the menacing tone the same. They continue after she returns to Maryland and becomes reacquainted with Raylan, her childhood crush, all grown up and as gorgeously green-eyed as ever. Sometimes it even seems like the terrifying messages are indeed routine, like nothing will come of them. Until the murders start, and the escalation begins…


This book is a fine example of why Nora Roberts is still at the top of the bestseller lists. She writes a great story with interesting characters and really knows how to keep the reader turning pages. Between the family dynamics, the growing business, friendships, romance, and of course the crazy, threatening poems that show up annually, it was impossible to put this book down.

Lina, the mom, is the least developed character here but she is very much on the periphery. A career driven, super successful yoga megastar, she is not close with her daughter. In fact, the nanny and the grandparents are the ones who raise Adrian to be the mature, smart, sensible yet driven young woman she becomes. When she is forced to start a new high school, she decides to create her own exercise videos. She recruits a group of nerds, committing social suicide in the process, but she doesn’t care. She likes her new friends and they get her where she wants to be. Happily, she takes them along on her ride to success.

But success always has its downside. In Adrian’s case, it’s the threatening poems that follow her for years, until they finally start escalating. Her mother, always one to throw money at a problem, hires a private investigator since the FBI hasn’t really done anything over the years. Meanwhile, Adrian moves out of NY and in with her grandfather after her grandmother passes. They adopt a mountain of a dog from the pound, and Adrian finds she is very happy living in the small town where she spent her best times growing up. Her best friend still lives there, and her brother, Raylan of the beautiful green eyes, ends up moving back home. Adrian and Raylan are friendly, but that friendship turns to something deeper as they reconnect.

If you like a bit of suspense with your romance, this is your book. I have to say I pretty much figured out who the threat was early on, and it didn’t really matter. I still loved this story and these characters. They almost(!) tempted me into trying yoga again.

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

LEGACY by Nora Roberts. St. Martin’s Press (May 25, 2021). ISBN: 978-1250272935. 448 pages.

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THE NEWCOMER by Mary Kay Andrews

May 5, 2021

THE NEWCOMER by Mary Kay Andrews. St. Martin’s Press (May 4, 2021). ISBN 978-1250256966. 448 pages.

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IN HER SIGHTS by Katie Ruggle

October 15, 2019

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Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters, Book 1

From the publisher:

Five bounty-hunting sisters
Deep in the heart of the Rockies
Fighting to save each other
…and the men who steal their hearts

Bounty hunter Molly Pax fought hard for everything she has, turning the bail recovery business she shares with her sisters into an unqualified success. So when their sticky-fingered mother jumps bail and puts the childhood home up as collateral, Molly’s horrified. To make matters worse, every two-bit criminal in the Rockies now sees her family’s misfortune as their next big break.

She needs help, stat.

Enter rival bounty hunter John Carmondy: six feet of pure trouble, with a cocky grin to match. John’s the most cheerfully, annoyingly gorgeous frenemy Molly’s ever had the pleasure of defeating…and he may be her only hope of making it out of this mess alive.


Ruggle writes good romantic suspense, which I don’t always love because it often feels like the mystery was an afterthought. Not the case here, however. This introduction to a new series revolves around four sisters who all live together and run a bounty hunting business together. The romance in this story revolves around the eldest sister, Molly, and one of their competitors, John.

Molly’s sisters all realize that John has a major crush on Molly, but she is oblivious. Molly is working hard to keep the business going and their lives afloat, after their mother almost lost their house. That mother is quite an unusual character; I’ve seen cats that are better mothers. In fact, most cats are better mothers. She’s been in and out of jail and marriages, is completely self serving, and uninterested and uncaring about her daughters. It would be sad except the girls are doing fine despite their mother. Until she steals a very valuable necklace and puts them all in danger.

There were a few minor plot points that didn’t make sense to me but why quibble when a story is as fast moving and well written as this one. One of the mysteries is solved by the end, but the other is a cliff hanger, leaving me waiting impatiently for the next book in the series. Risk it All comes out 12/31/19. Guess what I’ll be doing this New Year’s Eve!

10/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

IN HER SIGHTS by Katie Ruggle. Sourcebooks Casablanca (March 26, 2019). ISBN 978-1492662495. 384p.

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THE PERFECT COUPLE by Elin Hilderbrand

June 25, 2018

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I look forward to spending time on Nantucket every summer; in Elin Hilderbrand’s books, that is. They are the perfect escape, and with this latest novel, she’s really upped her game and the suspense.

“The Perfect Couple” are Celeste and Benji, and this wedding is going to be the highlight of the social season. Benji’s mom has hired the premier wedding planner, venue, etc. while Celeste and her family are just along for the ride. Except on the morning of the wedding, Celeste finds her best and only friend, Merritt, her maid of honor, washed up on the beach, dead.

Celeste is a zoologist who is loves her work to the exclusion of much of a social life. We learn about her courtship with Benji as the story moves back and forth between the morning of the wedding and everything that led up to it. And to add a little spice to the story, Celeste and Benji’s best friend have some strong feelings for one another which complicates things even more.

Was Merritt murdered or was it an accident? Nearly everyone is a suspect, and police chief Ed Kapenash (from The Castaways) is going to have to figure that out.

This is the quintessential beach read; a beautiful summer setting on Nantucket, a complicated romance and a possible murder. Secrets unfurl, lies are covered up and ultimately revealed, and the pages just fly by. Hilderbrand stretched into something new with spectacular results in this completely enthralling and entertaining read. Don’t miss it.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE PERFECT COUPLE by Elin Hilderbrand. St. Martin’s Paperbacks (May 29, 2018). ISBN 978-1250102539. 352p.

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