Contemporary Romance

First Step Forward (Grand Valley, #1) by Liora Blake 5 Star Review!!

Review:

First Step Forward (The Grand Valley Series) - Liora Blake

Pro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series.

After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.

Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.

Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.

Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.

Review

 

Ah, the joy of an opposites attract romance. Gruff, grumpy football player with organic whimsical farmer. Works for me.

 

Blake is an exceptional writer. This book has excellent dialogue both external and internal. The settings are vivid and the character development spot on. The hero and the heroine like and then love each other with a huge dose of believable sexual chemistry.

 

It is a great romance. While they are different in many ways, as their falling in love occurs, we get to see all the wonderful connections they action do have below the surface.

 

It is a funny, charming love story that makes you feel good. They are both grow ups with individual issues, lives, friends, and talents, who are fine apart and glorious together.

 

This will go on my comfort read shelf for sure!

Original post:
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Holiday on Ice (Play by Play, #8.5) by Jaci Burton Review

Review:

Holiday on Ice - Jaci Burton

Superstar hockey player Patrick “Trick” Niemeyer and dancer Stella Slovinski have picked up where they left off a year ago, resuming their hot, uncomplicated affair. Stella refuses to call it dating, or a relationship. But lately, Trick is looking for more…

Stella’s been burned before—in a relationship she never talks about—not with her family, not with her friends, and definitely not with Trick. But now it’s the holiday season and Trick is determined to give Stella his heart wrapped up in a bow. He knows Stella is the right woman for him, but he’ll have to melt the ice surrounding her heart to keep her from walking away.

Review

I haven’t yet read a Jaci Burton book that I loved. I want to so if you have a favorite, please let me now.

The hero was a great guy. He was sexy and kind, Very good at what he does and a great friend.

The heroine says she isn’t very nice and really she isn’t. She is a great dancer. She has a great friends and a sisters. She is very commitment adverse. I admire her career focus and ownership of her sexuality. However, these characters felt false when we learn why she doesn’t want a relationship or at least that she needs to spend a great deal of time in therapy for her unexamined reactions based on a pretty long ago jerk behavior by her ex (jerk but not abuse).

And her ex’s name made me laugh.

Soooo, I read it all but I never settled in and I wasn’t rooting for the couple because I thought given the space of the time of the novella that heroine had a lot of stuff to work out I wanted her to be with the hero.

Original post:
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Nico (Ruin & Revenge, #1) by Sarah Castille Review

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3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

A dangerous proposal

In Nico, the first book in the Ruin & Revenge series by New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille, Las Vegas Mafia boss, Nico Toscani, is used to getting what he wants, whether it is having the City of Sin under his rule or a beautiful woman in his bed. But when he meets his match in the gorgeous, headstrong Mia Cordano, the daughter of a rival crime lord, all bets are off. . .

Sexy computer hacker, Mia, struggles to break free of her ruthless father’s Mafia ties…but she can’t resist the powerful and seductive Nico, who will stop at nothing to possess her. With their families locked in a brutal war for control of the city, Mia and Nico enter into a forbidden game. Will they surrender to the passion that burns between them—and risk tearing apart their families? Or will Nico be forced to betray the only woman who sets his blood on fire?

Review

The characters are well developed and the steam level is through the roof in this star-crossed Mafia love story.

I really liked hacker Mia and mob guy Nico. And then I hated everyone else.

It is a fasted placed plot with good writing, I think if you like mafia romance, you may like this one better than I did. It is compelling. It was just hard for me to believe in the HEA which is a must for me.

I received this book for my honest review. So, there you have it.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Suzanne Brockmann 4 Stars!

Review:

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (Tall, Dark & Dangerous, Book 6) - Suzanne Brockmann

For my Thursday favorite book recommendation this week, I give you It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (Tall, Dark & Dangerous #6) by Suzanne Brockmann. I love the series and this is a wonderful holiday addition.

 

This is action packed but the small package of a category romance Brockmann spends as much time on the romance as she does the larger plot. The heroine is wonderful and Crash changes to believe that love is necessary.  Their love story will really warm you up!

——-

 

As Christmastime settled quietly over the countryside, Navy SEAL William “Crash” Hawken was faced with a deadly conspiracy. And he had only one person to turn to — the caring passionate Nell Burns. For though Crash had long ago accepted the fact that there was no place in his dangerous world for the simple pleasures of home and family, Nell had been the only woman who had ever tempted him to dream of another kind of life…

Now, as he needed Nell more than ever before, he was beginning to see all that they could have together. What the future might be. If only he could be assured that they had one..

Original post:
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Cake: A Love Story by J. Bengtsson Review

Review:

Cake: A Love Story - J. Bengtsson

Jake McKallister might have been a rock star, but he was no ordinary one. Surviving an unspeakable crime as a young teen had shaped him into a guarded workaholic, and he now lived his life trying to forget. If it hadn’t been for music and the redemption he found through it, he might not have survived. Career success came easily for him. Personal connections did not.

When outspoken, vivacious college student Casey Caldwell was paired with the famously reserved rockstar for a friend’s wedding, she was prepared for the worst. What could they possibly have in common? She was a bubbly talker; he was a reclusive loner. His life was filled with music; she couldn’t carry a tune. She’d enjoyed a happy childhood; his was a well-publicized nightmare.

Yet despite their obvious differences, Jake and Casey found each other, and her light balanced out his darkness. Would their love be strong enough to survive the weight of his tragic past?

 

 

Review 

This book is almost good. If the parts that are summary and telling were rewritten to be action and dialogue there would be a fine love story.

 

The hero and heroine are both good people. The romance has a fantasy quality of running off with the band and they do feel very young.

 

The dynamics of both families are well explored.

 

It just needs more storytelling work.

Original post:
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Sated (Fit Trilogy, #3) by Rebekah Weatherspoon Review

SATED: #3 in the Fit Trilogy - Rebekah Weatherspoon

4 Stars (4 / 5)

All Keira Kenney wants is her happy ending. Too bad she can never make it through a first date. Is a nice man who’s into fitness and comics, with an extensive knowledge of everything science-fiction too much to ask for? Apparently, since Keira can’t seem to find a partner who can simply tolerate her interests. Perhaps it’s time for her to give up. She has her job at Melrose Fitness, a new season of her favorite space drama added to streaming, and hundreds of thousands of words worth of fan fiction all to keep her mind busy. Her heart will have to wait.

Pyrotechnics expert, Daniel Song isn’t looking for anything. He spends his days doing what he loves, and his nights and weekends participating in the kinky activities his body craves. Single life as a sexual switch suits him perfectly, giving him the freedom to indulge in the types of erotic adventures some people only dream of.

When a good friend asks Daniel if his co-worker, Keira can join him at a local sci-fi convention, neither of them expect any sort of fireworks to spark. After all, Keira’s turned off by kink and Daniel can’t live without with it. So naturally they both agree that an official first date would be a great idea. With this new relationship fresh between them, Daniel shares what he can of himself without scaring Keira off, hiding his shock and growing infatuation as she rises to every sexual occasion with her silly, geek-girl personality. It’s only a matter of time before they both have to face the truth; what he wants is the furthest thing from what she needs. But in the meantime, pushing each other’s sexual limits seems like a good plan. It’s like not either of them is looking for love.

 

Review

This romance is my favorite of the series. I love Kiera and I love Daniel. They are human and fall in love with each other in lovely real ways. They also mess up in lovely real ways.

I am not always a fan of BDSM but this book is great for me because who the characters are blend into their play. Very sexy and very loving.

I think we get the great, if fast, development of their relationship. I wish, again with this series, to see how they ended up negotiating their lives fully blended.

This was a sweet hot read about acceptance and being loved.

Best Contemporary Romance 2015

Contermporay Romance continued  to rule Romanceland this year.

 

Here are my  Best Contemporary Romance 2015

 

In my Best of the Year List, I already have a shout out to some these amazing Contemporary Romances in my best of the year list

 

My list are never in any particular order.

 

This was published oversees in 2013 but didn’t make it to the US until 2015. Helen McNeil is a vet in the small rural town of Broadview. While taking evasive action from a dull girl at a party one night she falls over – and fails to recognise – national sporting hero, Mark Tipene. For some mysterious reason Helen never really grasps, Mark finds this charming and appears the next day at the front counter of the vet clinic to ask her out.
A whirlwind romance follows and everything is going swimmingly until one little hiccup changes everything…

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast is the funny and heart-warming story of the pros and cons of dating a man whose shirtless picture adorns a wall in every second lunchroom in the country, of calving cows and crazy cat ladies, and of doing your best when life takes an unexpected turn.

 

When Colby St. James dresses like a man to prove she can succeed in the male-dominated world of professional cooking, she never expects to fall for the handsome chef who will decide her fate. They agree that nothing that happens after hours will affect Colby’s chances in the competition and begin a secret affair.

It’s been years since Dominic Fevre felt a sexual attraction toward another man. He thought he’d put thatstage of his life behind him when he focused everything on his career. But something about Colby St. James makes him want to break all his own rules…

 

Some crushes aren’t meant to be.
When her older brother’s best friend left to join the Foreign Legion, eighteen-year-old Célie moved on to make a life for herself as a Paris chocolatier. Now, five years later, the last thing she needs is another man to mess up her happiness.

Let alone the same man.

But five years in the Foreign Legion is a long time for a man to grow up, and a long time to be away from the woman he loves.

Especially when he did it all for her.

Half strangers, more than friends, and maybe, if Joss Castel has his way, a second chance…

 

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

 

Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.
And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.

Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on

 

Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Systems. But when he makes an offhand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.
To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.

But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart…but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.

 

 

This just in: romance takes center stage as West End theatre’s Richard Troy steps out with none other than castmate Elaine Graham

Richard Troy used to be the hottest actor in London, but the only thing firing up lately is his temper. We all love to love a bad boy, but Richard’s antics have made him Enemy Number One, breaking the hearts of fans across the city.

Have the tides turned? Has English rose Lainie Graham made him into a new man?

Sources say the mismatched pair has been spotted at multiple events, arm in arm and hip to hip.ÿFrom fits of jealousy to longing looks and heated whispers, onlookers are stunned by this blooming romance.

Could the rumors be right? Could this unlikely romance be the real thing? Or are these gifted stage actors playing us all?

 

Tzipporah Berger is thirty-seven and single, which is practically unheard of in the Orthodox Jewish community she now calls home. Her increasing religiosity and need for kink may have broken up her first marriage, but she’s decided it’s time to try again. And the rabbi’s wife has just the man in mind.
Elan Klein is the neighborhood butcher whose intimidating size and gruff manner hint at a deliciously forceful personality. But BDSM isn’t exactly something you discuss during an Orthodox courtship. Will a marriage to Elan solidify her place in the community that she loves and provide the domination and pain Tzipporah craves or will she forever have to rely on flights of fancy to satisfy her needs?

 

New job, new boss, and he’s cold, strict, but terribly attractive. Does Molly Parker stay or does she go? Because beneath Cyrian’s chilly front, there may be a heat that’ll burn her up.

Giving in was vicious bliss.

The live-in position is an opportunity for Molly to earn and escape a problematic family. There’s just one drawback. Her employer is the most eccentric, aloof and closed off man she’s ever encountered. His rules are bizarre and his needs even more so, and caring for his ramshackle Dickensian home is far more than she ever bargained for. Only their increasingly intense conversations stop her heading for the door. Cyrian Harcroft is a man of many mysteries and secrets, and the more she learns the greedier she is for each and every one. Especially when she discovers his greatest fear: any kind of physical contact. Now all she has to do is dig a little deeper, to unearth the passion she knows he can feel

 

Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Wraiths.
Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?

 

What happens when a bad-boy celebrity rocker meets a small-town bestselling novelist? Find out in this first book in the sizzling new True series by Liora Blake!
While most novelists would consider jetting off to Hollywood for a TV interview rather exciting, small-town Montana writer Kate Mosely finds it all a bit exhausting. After losing her husband in a car accident where she was behind the wheel, Kate has finally found her bearings in the world again, rebuilding a simple but stable life. And even if that means a lot of lonely nights watching old movies and quiet days writing obituaries for her hometown newspaper, Kate’s not sure she’s ready for her life to change—again.

Until she shares the stage—and a whole heap of carnal gazes—with rock star Trevor “Trax” Jenkins. Despite his intimidating on-stage bravado, underneath it Kate discovers a man with a Rilke poem tattooed on his arm, an appreciation for cronuts, and a snarky wit that matches her own.

As she and Trevor explore their heated chemistry, the scarred parts of Kate’s heart begin to heal, making room for a love so passionate it makes her want long-forgotten things equal parts naughty, heart-swelling, and joyful. But when a searing exposé in a trashy gossip magazine sends Kate running, will it threaten their chances at forever?

 

Ruthless. That was what they said about Damien Rosier. Handsome. Wealthy. Powerful. Merciless. No one messed with his family, because to do so they would have to get through him. No one thought he had a heart. Not even the woman he gave his to.

Cynical. That was what they said about Jasmin Bianchi. A top perfumer of her generation, Jess had achieved commercial success by growing a protective shell over a tender heart. The one time she cracked it open to let Damien in, he crushed it—after a night of unbelievable passion.

Lovers. That one magical night couldn’t survive the harsh light of dawn. When Jess woke up to discover the man in bed beside her had stolen her company, she fled.

Enemies. Now she’s come to the south of France with something of his. If he wants to reclaim both his family heritage and the woman who walked away from him, he’s going to have to fight as dirty as only Damien can.

But Jess knows how to fight dirty, too. And these days, she has nothing left to lose.

Certainly not her heart.

She stole his roses.
Fleeing the spotlight, burnt out rock star Layla—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten heritage in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.

He wants them back.

Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loudly. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?

Or maybe he just wants her.

When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.

It might involve kissing.

And that might be just the start.

What a wonderful year! What have your favorites been?

Cat’s Best Romance Reads of 2014 That Were Not Published 2014

Yeah. This is the last list of 2014 Best of Cat’s Books. I think…

I reread a lot but we are not even going to go there. I don’t really pay much attention to when a book was published before I select to read it (barring the very old school).

Here are my great new to me reads of the year. A mix of trusted authors that I just can’t keep up with and the bliss of newly discovered writers.

Click on the Stars to see the review and the book title for the Amazon link.

Enjoy!

Contemporary Romance 

 

 

5 Stars

Painted Faces  by L.H. Cosway

 

 

 

 

 

 The Rosie Project: A Novel (Don Tillman Book 1) by Graeme Simsion 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Girl with the Cat Tattoo (Cool Cats Book 1) by Theresa Weir 4 Stars 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Geek with the Cat Tattoo (Cool Cats Book 2)  by Theresa Weir 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

Almost Summer (Fool’s Gold series) by Susan Mallery 4 Stars 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 Two of a Kind (Fool’s Gold Book 11) by Susan Mallery 4 Stars 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Talking Dirty With the Boss by Jackie Ashenden 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Just One Taste (Recipe for Love) by Louisa Edwards 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden  4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Principle of Desire  by Delphine Dryden  4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Dom Project (LA Doms Book 1) by Heloise Belleau  4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Control by Charlotte Stein 4 Stars*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Historical Romance

 

 Coming Home for Christmas by Carla Kelly 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Fool for Love (Duchess Quartet Book 2) by Eloisa James 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 Much Ado About You (Essex Sisters series Book 1) by Eloisa James 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Romance

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiding (Return of the Nine Book 3) by Viola Grace 4 Stars

Hunting (Return of the Nine Book 6) by Viola Grace 4 Stars

Designing (Return of the Nine Book 7)  by Viola Grace 4 Stars

Balm by Viola Grace 4 Stars

 

 Skypirate (The Coalition Rebellion Novels Book 2) by Justine Davis 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Entwined (Darkest London) by Kristen Callihan 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Guilty Pleasure Read

 

 

 Transcendence by Shay Savage 4 Stars

Time Travel Caveman Romance. Enough Said. Well, he is non verbal so really enough said.

 

Cat’s Best Contemporary Romance Reads of 2014

Every year, I tend to have a sub genre I glom. This year I had an amazing run of blessings with Contemporary Romance.  Contemporary Romances published in 2014 were particularly good so this post is just about those beauties.

Here is my best reads of Contemporary Romance published in 2014.  So many 5 stars, it is dazzling.  These books are not in any particular order. They are all great. Read them!

 

His Road Home by Anna Richland 5 Stars

Special Forces medic Rey Cruz needs to find a fiancée, fast, or he’ll end up in a marriage orchestrated by an Afghan warlord. Finding a picture online of a girl he barely knew back home, he fakes an engagement photo, thinking no one else will see it. But when Rey loses both legs and the ability to speak while rescuing a local boy, the image goes viral.

Seattle marine biologist Grace Kim is shocked to find out she’s engaged. When she’s offered a plane ticket to visit her “fiancé,” she takes it, looking for the answer to one question: Why did he lie? Touched by Rey’s funny texts and the determination she sees in him, Grace offers her friendship—a big step for someone who prefers whales to most company.

And when Rey is finally sent home, Grace agrees to help him drive his classic car cross-country over Thanksgiving—a once-in-a-lifetime road trip that leads to what feels like real love. In front of his friends and family, she plays the caring fiancée, but what place will Grace have in Rey’s new life once he’s ready to be on his own again?

Truly: A New York Novel by Ruthie Knox 5 Stars

May Fredericks hates New York. Which is fair enough, since New York seems to hate her back. After relocating to Manhattan from the Midwest to be with her long-distance boyfriend, NFL quarterback Thor Einarsson, May receives the world’s worst marriage proposal, stabs the jerk with a shrimp fork, and storms off alone—only to get mugged. Now she’s got no phone, no cash, and no friends. How’s a nice girl supposed to get back to safe, sensible Wisconsin?
Frankly, Ben Hausman couldn’t care less. Sure, it’s not every day he meets a genuine, down-to-earth woman like May—especially in a dive in the Village—but he’s recovering from an ugly divorce that cost him his restaurant. He wants to be left alone to start over and become a better man. Then again, playing the white knight to May’s sexy damsel in distress would be an excellent place to start—if only he can give her one very good reason to love New York.
Sun-Kissed by Laura Florand 5 Stars

They called her the Ice Queen.

Anne Winters. Self-made billionaire. Household name. Divorced single mom. Convicted felon. She didn’t let anyone or anything get to her. No one was allowed to breach the walls around her heart except for her own son. She had only one trusted friend: her vacation house neighbor. They’d been walking the beach together for twenty years. Not that this gave him access to her heart, of course…

They called him a man who got what he wanted.

Mack Corey. Self-made billionaire. Dominant world player. Widowed father of the bride. No felony convictions yet, although his daughters had come close. He’d transformed his family company into one of the top 500 by the age of thirty. He’d raised two daughters who dumped him for idiot arrogant French chocolatiers and went off to live in Paris. Hell, he even managed to tolerate his dad. But that Ice Queen act Anne Winters had going was really starting to get to him…

They’d been best friends for twenty years. Could they become lovers?
Could a frozen heart be kissed by the sun?

 Love Hacked by Penny Reid 5 Stars 

There are three things you need to know about Sandra Fielding: 1) She makes all her first dates cry, 2) She hasn’t been kissed in over two years, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Sandra has difficulty removing her psychotherapist hat. Of her last 30 dates, 29 have ended the same way: the man sobbing uncontrollably. After one such disaster, Sandra–near desperation and maybe a little tipsy–gives in to a seemingly harmless encounter with her hot waiter, Alex. Argumentative, secretive, and hostile Alex may be the opposite of everything Sandra knows is right for her. But now, the girl who has spent all her life helping others change for the better, must find a way to cope with falling for someone who refuses to change at all.

 

 

 

 Hard Time by Cara McKenna 5 Stars

Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier.

Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more.

When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real…until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny.

 

Deeper by Robin York 5 Stars

When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.


West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.

They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.

When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.


Live: A Burnside Novel by Mary Ann Rivers 5 Stars 

If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.


Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.

 

 The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand 5 Stars

She hated him.

Patrick Chevalier. The charming, laid-back, golden second-in-command of the Paris pastry kitchen where Sarah worked as intern, who made everything she failed at seem so easy, and who could have every woman he winked at falling for him without even trying. She hated him, but she’d risked too much for this dream to give up on it and walk out just so he wouldn’t break her heart.

But he didn’t hate her.

Sarah Lin. Patrick’s serious, dark-haired American intern, who looked at him as if she could see right through him and wasn’t so impressed with what she saw. As her boss, he knew he should leave her alone. The same way he knew better than to risk his heart and gamble on love.

But he was never good at not going after what – or who – he wanted.

He could make magic out of sugar. But could he mold hate into love.

 Beyond Repair by Charlotte Stein 5 Stars 

When Alice Evans finds a bona fide movie star on the floor of her living room, she has no idea what to do. Ordinary men are frightening enough, never mind someone as famous and frankly gorgeous as Holden Stark.

However, once she realizes that Holden is suffering behind that famous facade, she knows she has to help. He needs someone like her to give him a taste of sweetness and desire and love. He needs normality. The only problem—Alice is hiding a secret that is far from normal. In fact, her name isn’t even Alice at all.

And once Holden finds out, the intense connection they are just beginning to build may well be torn apart.

 

 

 

 Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid 4 Stars

There are three things you need to know about Ashley Winston: 1) She has six brothers and they all have beards, 2) She is a reader, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Former beauty queen, Ashley Winston’s preferred coping strategy is escapism. She escaped her Tennessee small town, loathsome father, and six brothers eight years ago. Now she escapes life daily via her Amazon kindle one-click addiction. However, when a family tragedy forces her to return home, Ashley can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous— local Game Warden, bear wrestler, philosopher, and everyone’s favorite guy. Drew’s irksome philosophizing in particular makes Ashley want to run for the skyscrapers, especially since he can’t seem to keep his exasperating opinions— or his soulful poetry, steadfast support, and delightful hands— to himself. Pretty soon the girl who wanted nothing more than the escape of the big city finds she’s lost her heart in small town Tennessee.
Hard to Hold On To: A Hard Ink Novella  by Laura Kaye 4 Stars

Edward “Easy” Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves–which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight.  He may have just met her, but Jenna’s the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago.
Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can’t describe how he makes her feel–and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.

As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to

 

 

 Shoreline Drive by Lily Everett 4 Stars

Dr. Ben Faulkner is a veterinarian on warm, welcoming Sanctuary Island, a refuge for wild horses. Though he’s dedicated his life to healing animals and rescuing the ones no one wants, Ben is nursing deep wounds of his own. After tragedy tore his family apart, he gave up his dreams of finding happiness long ago…until Merry Preston arrives on the island. Vivacious, friendly, and instantly loveable, Merry is everything Ben is not. She’s also nine months pregnant and attempting to carve out a new life for herself and her unborn child.

Though Ben tries to keep his distance, when a raging storm cuts them off from the mainland, he’s forced to help bring her new baby into the world.  It’s a harrowing experience that leaves him with one great certainty: I want these two to be my family. Seeing his opportunity, he makes a dramatic proposal to the young mother: a marriage of convenience. If Merry marries him, he’ll draw up a contract naming her son as his heir and promising to provide for them both. But as they’ll learn, love is more than a business proposition…and it’ll take all the magic hidden in Sanctuary Island to turn Ben’s proposal into something real and lasting.

 

So, there it is! What a wonderful year! Thank you!

 

I read about 300-400 books a year. My best reads come from that pool of books.  I would love to know your favorites that I may have missed in Contemporary Romance published 2014.

 

To vote for your best Contemporary Romance from this year– Best Contemporary Romance 2014.

Cat’s Best Contemporary Romance Reads of 2013

As the year speed through December, I thought it would be fun to reflect on the best books in each sub genre of romance I read that were published in 2013.

I thought I would start with Contemporary Romance because I returned to reading this sub genre with a vengeance this year. My guess is there was a lot of  great new to me and debut authors writing these kinds of books and was sucked in by the vortex of their talent.

I am saving the crack of the publishing world that in New Adult for another list. I don’t love it much but I did find some treasures.

Contemporary Romances are (according the RWA and they should know) romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship, released as individual titles, and set in the current time period.

Here are my top ten reads in this sub genre published this year.  They are in no particular order.

 

 Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance by Penny Reid

There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (TooMuch Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn’t know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan – aka Sir McHotpants – witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can’t refuse.

After Hours by Cara McKenna

Erin Coffey has been a nurse for years, but nothing’s prepared her for the physical and emotional demands of her new position. Needing to move closer to her dysfunctional family, she takes a dangerous job at Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital, where she quickly learns that she needs protection—and she meets the strong, over-confident coworker who’s more than willing to provide it.

Kelly Robak is the type of guy that Erin has sworn she’d never get involved with. She’s seen firsthand, via her mess of a sister, what chaos guys like him can bring into a woman’s life. But she finds herself drawn to him anyway, even when he shows up at her door, not eager to take no for an answer.

What Erin finds even more shocking than Kelly’s indecent proposal is how much she enjoys submitting to his every command. But he can’t play the tough guy indefinitely. If they want to have more than just an affair, both will have to open up and reveal what they truly need.

Lush (Delicious Book 3) by Lauren Dane

Mary Whaley has her hands full running a successful catering company and overseeing her supper club. She has everything she ever wanted—or so she thought. When she meets ridiculously hot and very dirty rock star Damien Hurley at her friend’s engagement party, the attraction she feels is overpowering—and she isn’t about to deny herself.

Damien is used to a hard and fast life. He and two of his brothers started a band when they were fresh out of high school—then they hit the big time and stayed there. He’s also a legendary madman on the stage and in the bedroom. But when he meets Mary, something clicks, and the bad boy starts thinking he may have finally found something good.

What begins as a series of fleeting trysts soon gets much more complicated. Damien can’t figure out why Mary doesn’t want more from him. And before long, it’s Damien who wants more from Mary. But it turns out Mary is no stranger to celebrity news, and he’s got a very big job ahead of him: proving that he’s worth more than a one-night stand…

Dream Nights with the CEO (A Secret Desires Novel Book 1)

by Kathy Lyons

Hotel chain CEO and millionaire Wyatt Monroe is a stick in the mud. Sure, he’s hot as sin, even with the tie, but free-spirited assistant Megan Bradford refuses to jeopardize their perfect working relationship. Why mess that up with sex? She knows he’s the love ’em and leave ’em type, and she’s determined to find a family man.

Wyatt would never cross the line between boss and employee with Megan, no matter how hard it might be to resist the temptation. But when they visit a mysterious B&B in a bid to acquire the property, he starts having erotic dreams about the sexy brunette that make it hard to resist her in daylight.

Soon the line between reality and dreams further blurs when they learn they were sharing the same erotic dreams…
 The Story Guy (Novella) by Mary Ann Rivers

I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only.

Carrie West is happy with her life . . . isn’t she? But when she sees this provocative online ad, the thirtysomething librarian can’t help but be tempted. After all, the photo of the anonymous poster is far too attractive to ignore. And when Wednesday finally arrives, it brings a first kiss that’s hotter than any she’s ever imagined. Brian Newburgh is an attorney, but there’s more to his life . . . that he won’t share with Carrie. Determined to have more than just Wednesdays, Carrie embarks on a quest to learn Brian’s story, certain that he will be worth the cost. But is she ready to gamble her heart on a man who just might be The One . . . even though she has no idea how their love story will end?

Play With Me (With Me In Seattle Book 3) by Kristen Proby

Will Montgomery is a successful professional football player and seemingly has it all. He’s not used to being told no, and certainly doesn’t take no for an answer. So when he turns his charms on his sister’s sexy rocker-chick friend Meg, he’s not only turned down, but met with open hostility, piquing his curiosity and libido. He’s determined to show her that he’s not the arrogant jock she thinks he is, and to get her into his bed.

Megan McBride is not impressed with Will Montgomery, his fat contract, fancy car, or his arrogant public persona. She doesn’t have time for a relationship, and if she’s learned anything in life, it’s that loving means losing, so she guards her heart ferociously. But she can’t deny the overwhelming attraction to the sexy, tattooed athlete, and when Will starts breaking down her defenses and grabs hold of her heart, will she be able to admit her feelings for him, or will her troubled past cause her to lose the first man she’s ever truly loved?

Fire Inside: A Chaos Novel by Kristen Ashley

Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love-no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club . . .

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She’s too polished and too classy for his taste. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can’t say no. And he doesn’t regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that’s ever happened to him-in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that.

 

 Friends Without Benefits (Knitting in the City Book 2) by Penny Reid

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Finney: 1) She suffers from severe sarcastic syndrome, especially when she’s unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her like Nico Manganiello, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Elizabeth Finney is almost always right about everything: the musical merits of boy bands are undervalued by society, “benefits” with human Ken dolls are better without friendship, and the sun has set on her once-in-a-lifetime chance for true love. But when Elizabeth’s plans for benefits without friendship are disarmed by the irritatingly charismatic and chauvinistic Nico Manganiello- her former nemesis- she finds herself struggling to maintain the electric fence around her heart while avoiding electrocution or, worse, falling in love.

How to Misbehave: A Novella: A Camelot Novella (Camelot Series Book 1)  by Ruthie Knox

As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?

His Risk to Take by Tessa Bailey

Homicide cop Troy Bennett had a reputation with the Chicago PD for being fearless and in control—until the night his daredevil partner is killed during a raid. From that moment on, he swears he’ll never again be responsible for the loss of a loved one. To escape his demons, Troy transfers to the NYPD, bringing him up close and personal with Ruby Elliott, a beautiful, street-savvy pool hustler.

Reckless and stubbornly independent, Ruby embodies everything Troy’s avoiding, but when she walks into the pub he’s at with his new coworkers and blows his carefully laid plans to hell, Troy knows he has to have her—risks be damned. But there’s a connection between Ruby’s shadowed past and a case Troy’s working involving a notorious Brooklyn felon, throwing her safety into jeopardy. Confronted with his biggest fear, will Troy push Ruby away to keep her safe or fight to keep her in his arms where she belongs?

 

I am sure I missed reading some great Contemporary Romances. Let me know what else I should read that was published this year!

 

You can vote from the best of the best on this Goodreads list: Reader’s Choice: Best Contemporary Romance of 2013.