Monthly Archive: March 2015

Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway: THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY


Published by Ballantine
354 pages
Genre: romance
4 / 5


Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, this bright, funny debut from a fresh voice in fiction offers a delicious take on love, family, and what it means to build a home of one’s own.

Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer—and former flame—Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn. Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices—and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life—and in love.

Full of both humor and heartbreak, The One That Got Away is the story of one woman’s discovery that, sometimes, life is what happens when you leave the blueprints behind.


My Review:

Nearly eight years ago, Sarina had what she thought was the perfect night. Hot, tingly kisses, passionate eye contact, deep conversations, and headboard rocking that made her see stars.

She also thought that the feeling was mutual.

Unfortunately, Eamon scampered out of her life as quickly as he entered it, but that hasn’t stopped Sarina from thinking about him nearly every day since.

Oh, sure, she has a devoted boyfriend. Noah, several years older than she is, divorced, and ready to commit. She loves him – she does – but … he isn’t Eamon Roy.

Just when Sarina makes peace with her one night with Eamon, he comes back into her life and causes her to question decisions she has made.

Can you tell where this is headed? OF COURSE YOU CAN. Is that a bad thing? Heck, no. Not when it’s written with as much fun, heart, and romance as Bethany Chase uses in this book.

Sarina’s life hasn’t been terribly easy. Her mother endured a long battle with cancer before passing away, and Sarina never knew her father. She is a woman whose personal relationships are deeply felt, even as she is reluctant to give herself fully. No, her mother didn’t abandon her, but Sarina can’t help but feel that she is alone. So when Eamon apparently rejects her, it hurts, especially since Sarina felt they had a real connection.

Now that Eamon’s back, Sarina has to acknowledge that the feelings she had for him didn’t really go away. But what does he feel about her? That is the real question.

Bethany Chase’s characters are engaging, lively, and fun to read about. I enjoyed this book, even if the headboard rocking lacked the detail that the big fat perv in me enjoys reading. Sarina is a likable, endearing heroine, and I liked her story. I liked reading about where she was going and how she would get there. I’ll admit to a tear or two (or a dozen) as “Ree” tried to figure out what (and who) she wants.

I also liked reading about Eamon. He’s a swimmer, and as someone who had a thing for swimmers (I dated three of them in a row, each with the same first name), I can see the appeal he holds for Ree. Aside from his physical splendor (really, is there a better body shape than that of a swimmer??), he’s funny. And smart. And ambitious. And he’s a heck of a kisser.

The word I keep going back to in thinking about this book is “fun.” It’s also sweet, breezy, and romantic. You can’t beat charming characters and an engaging story, can you?


Advance Praise for THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY:

Refinery 29 includes Bethany Chase in their “21 New Authors You Need to Know” Feature, calling THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY “A novel that could be worthy of a big-screen adaption!”
“[A] sparkling debut [that] packs serious emotional punches . . . This utterly enjoyable romance will have readers swooning, sobbing, and eagerly anticipating Chase’s next book.”Kirkus Reviews

“A warm, witty, and wise novel, The One That Got Away announces the arrival of a great new voice in fiction.”—Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The One and Only 

“Love can be complicated, and in The One That Got Away, Bethany Chase captures every nuanced beat of a conflicted heart. An authentic and warm voice infuses this story of humor, heartbreak, and home. While Sarina finds her way, we as readers might also find a way back to our own unique lives.”—Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of And Then I Found You

“This perfectly paced story is full of fresh, engaging characters, but Chase’s greatest accomplishment is Sarina Mahler. Sarina is so human, her inner world such a compelling mix of guarded and open-hearted, confident and faltering, that—through every loss, every funny moment, every blazing triumph—I felt completely with her and grateful to be there.”—Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling author of Falling Together

“Bethany Chase is utterly charming and writes about loss with wisdom and heart.”—Allie Larkin, author of Why Can’t I Be You

“Don’t let this one get away: Chase’s debut is fun, romantic, steamy, and populated with heartfelt characters—not-to-miss delicious escapism!”—L. Alison Heller, author of The Never Never Sisters

“We fell in love with The One That Got Away from the very first page. In her charming debut novel, Bethany Chase reminds us about the one that got away, and makes us wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t.”—Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, co-authors of Your Perfect Life

The One That Got Away is juicy, steamy, witty, and real. Bethany Chase kept me laughing out loud as I quickly turned the pages. With a love story perfectly balanced between sexy and sweet, and settings so vivid and hip they feel like a literary Pinterest board, Chase will have you swooning.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of After I Do



A native of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Bethany Chase headed to Williams College for an English degree and somehow came out the other side an interior designer. When she’s not writing or designing, you can usually find her in a karaoke bar. She lives with her lovely husband and occasionally psychotic cat in Brooklyn, three flights up. This is her first novel.





Q & A with Bethany Chase:

What got you interested in writing?
I’ve never not been! My love for words has been one of the most consistent characteristics of my personality for my whole life, although it’s taken many different forms. (Poet, journal-writer,email-writer, blogger, novelist.)

Tell us about the first book you didn’t finish.
It was a historical romance I started writing when I was fifteen years old and heavily in the thrall of the film version of The Last of the Mohicans, with Daniel Day Lewis. (Which means, specifically, I was in the thrall of Daniel Day Lewis.) So heavily enthralled was I that my novel consisted of a first-person account of a well-bred colonial English lady who for unclear reasons found herself trailing her muddy skirts through the Adirondack forest, accompanied by a ruggedly handsome and ambiguously Native American trapper wearing buckskin. Shockingly, I didn’t complete it.

Did you ever keep a journal?
Is there a writer on earth who didn’t? I had kind of abandoned journaling by the time I  graduated college, as by that point I had moved on to burdening all of my nearest and dearest  with my woes over 2,000-word emails rather than pouring it all out into a journal.But the high school journals are EPIC. Basically,you would have thought I was the first person in the history of humanity have emotions and be attracted to people who didn’t like me back.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Nope. In fact, for most of my life, I’ve avoided the idea because I assumed it would be too hard. In fact, for most of my life, I avoided the idea because I assumed it would be too hard and I’d never make enough money. I’ll let you guess which of those two assumptions has proven to be true.

What were your favorite books growing up?
The Anne of the Green Gables and Emily of the New Moon series were HUGE for me. I mean, tehey were books about smart, dreamy, romantic, highly verbal girls who wrote, loved beauty in all its forms, hovered at the fringes of social popularity and also really liked being alone. Emily and Anne were and always will be my spirit sisters. Also, I think my many rereads of James Herriot’s marvelous All Creatures Great and Small books legitimately helped form my sense of humor. Between Herriot and all of the Monty Python I watched growing up, I think I wound up with a fairly British sense of humor for an American.

Who are your favorite authors now?
Chuck Wendig, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Philip Pullman for fantasy. Mary Kubica for suspense; Emily Giffin, Taylor Jenkins Reid and Joshilyn Jackson for women’s fiction; Cara McKenna and Julie James for romance.

Do you have one that got away?
I did. He was my high school boyfriend. I tracked him down seven years ago after the fact, like, legitimately slightly stalker-style, and we actually started dating again, and you know what? We weren’t right for each other. At all. It was all very romantic and fraught as long as one of us was pining for the other one, but actually just together, with no angst? It didn’t go anywhere. We are now both very happily married to other people.

Your bio says you are married – tell us about your love story.
True story: when we first started dating, we had such strong physical chemistry that I assumed that meant there wasn’t going to be any more to it. My friends would say, “How’s Allen?” And I would shrug and say, “He’s hot.” This led to him being known amongst my circle for the first couple of months as Hot Allen. As far as Sex-and-the-City-style nicknames for guys go, I think he came away in a pretty strong position with that one. But then he just kept growing on me, until a few months into it I realized, holy shit! I am in love with this guy.

What’s your idea of romance?
No flowers, no candles, no gestures, will ever be as genuinely romantic as those random little moments that happen when you least expect them and you just get this flash of piercing sweetness and you think, yep, this is it. For me, personally, it often involves humor or awkwardness, or both. The questionnaire on the dating site where I met my husband asked, “What’s your favorite movie sex scene?” And my answer was, the one in that 90’s Liv Tyler movie Stealing Beauty, where she’s with the guy and it’s all kissing and dreamy music and then he goes to take her underwear off and it gets stuck on her ankle and she laughs – that is THE BEST. Those little beautifully imperfect moments. And also just those moments of kindness and support, like how Anne of Green Gables doesn’t marry the wealthy guy who pulls out all of the stops on the glitz and glam – she marries the guy who gave up his local teaching position, at tremendous personal inconvenience, in favor of the farther-away one so that Anne could love at home with her family. That is romance.

What does home mean to you?
The place you belong. I think for most of us the specifics of that place change, but the definition never really does.

How did you come up with your characters’ names?
Well, Eamon has been my favorite name for a guy ever since the first time I efll in love, at four years old, with my neighbor Eamon McCormick (a nice Russian boy, obviously). And despite the fact that I am usually a strident purist about name spelling, I’ve always thought the unusual spelling “Sarina” had something especially graceful about it. Everyone else was pretty arbitrary. I tend to just go, “okay, think of a name!” and the first one I think of sticks.

What do you love about the cover for THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY?
EVERYTHING. Seriously, I hit the cover jackpot. I love the colors, the bird, the graceful lettering, and the way the lettering moves rhythmically back and forth across the page. I could give you a full art-history-style image analysis of how wonderful this cover is in every way.

Who’s your favorite book couple?
Anne and Gilbert. Obviously. In all seriousness, in terms of their mutual love, caring, and respect for one another, I think they are a model partnership for young girls to read about. Clearly it worked for me.



Ten copies of the book are available! Hit up the Rafflecopter to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Dark Rooms


by Lili Anolik Published by William Morrow 336 pages Genre: fiction; suspense 4 / 5


The Secret History meets Sharp Objects in this stunning debut about murder and glamour set in the ambiguous and claustrophobic world of an exclusive New England prep school

Death sets the plot in motion: the murder of Nica Baker, beautiful, wild, enigmatic, and only sixteen. The crime is solved, and quickly—a lonely classmate, unrequited love, a suicide note confession—but memory and instinct won’t allow Nica’s older sister, Grace, to accept the case as closed.

Dropping out of college and living at home, working at the moneyed and progressive private high school in Hartford, Connecticut from which she recently graduated, Grace becomes increasingly obsessed with identifying and punishing the real killer.

My Review:

Grace Baker has always been the girl who causes no trouble. She is a good student, she is a dutiful daughter, and she is a loyal sister. If here is drama to be found, Grace leaves it to her younger sister Nica.

Until, that is, Nica is murdered.

The police think they identify the culprit, so Grace, her parents, Nica’s friends, and the school community where they live should find peace, right? Peace is a difficult commodity, however, when the real killer is still running around.

It isn’t that Grace’s life, pre-Nica’s death, is all that charmed. Her mother is a virago, clearly preferring the company of Nica to that of Grace. She goes so far as to obsessively photograph Nica, whether clothed or naked. Granted, Nica makes a compelling subject. Sexual and sensual, even at age fifteen, Nica commands attention, especially from her boyfriend Jamie.

So devoted is Grace to Nica that she forgoes her own attraction to Jamie. Not that Nica is unaware; in fact, Nica knows all too well that Grace loves Jamie, but Nica cannot be bothered to care. Sure, she carries the weight of her mother’s photographic expectations, but there is little excuse for Nica’s selfishness. She is almost as deplorable as the girls’ mother.

The days and months after Nica’s death are not pleasant for the Baker family. Grace’s mother moves out, leaving Grace with a father who increasingly finds comfort in alcohol. Grace numbly approaches her life, dropping out of college and seeking not quite solace, but perhaps more a sense of familiarity in returning home. She is drawn back to Jamie, as well as other friends of Nica’s.

When Grace happens across something that seems to indicate that Nica’s killer has not, in fact, been found, she decides to take on the case herself. To do this, Grace has to team up with people from Nica’s past, and she also has to – of course – confront some of her own issues. Foremost of those is Mommie Dearest.

To say that Grace’s mother makes Cruella DeVille look like the poster child for PETA is a vast understatement. Claire Baker uses her children, and in a most reprehensible way. She also uses her husband. My mother may not have known how to parent children, but at least she never took nudie pics of my teenaged self and tried to make money off of them. Grace, despite her common sense telling her that this is outrageous, finds herself nonetheless a bit jealous. She is the outsider amongst the women in her family, Claire clearly believing that Nica is the shining star. If nothing else, Nica is the means by which Claire will achieve professional acclaim. And if that doesn’t give you pause, just read the book and see what else this woman does.

Grace also battles her attraction to Jamie. Now that Nica is gone, you would think that the path would be clear. Grace has always felt that Jamie held more than a glimmer of interest for her, but he loved Nica. Does Grace deserve to be the second choice? As conceived by Lili Anolik, no, she does not. She deserves far better. Grace should be first in someone’s heart, not a shadowy second to her more arresting sister.

There are seedy secrets galore in this book. Just when you think Chandler School can’t get more smarmy, Anolik delivers another example that, yes, it actually can. As far-fetched as some of this gets, though, Anolik always makes sure that you believe in Grace. She may make decisions you question, and she may cling to an idea of her mother that will never be realized, but Grace Baker is someone you care about. Deeply so. If she were any less convincing, this book wouldn’t stand a chance. But Lili Anolik delivers a character who is sad but not pitiful, hopeful but not gullible, innocent but not naïve. Despite being the older sister, Grace had to be taught by her sister. She watched Nica experience things that would come to her later. And yet Grace is the one who has to grow up the quickest, under the harshest of circumstances.

While Grace’s growth is the focus of the book, never far away is the mystery. Who killed Nica? Anolik throws out some red herrings, but the killer’s identity is never far from your grasp. Much like Grace, you will be asked to trust those she chooses to trust. You also will be asked to accept what Grace accepts. It is a testament of Anolik’s writing that you can do this.

The titular “dark rooms” are the many trails that Grace must follow as she both uncovers the truth behind her sister’s death and, more importantly, the person she is going to be. The thing about darkness, though, is that light is always possible, always right there. Join Grace as she tries to find light.


AFTER DARK (Night Owl Trilogy Book #3)

After Dark Paperback Cover

After Dark
(Night Owl Trilogy Book #3)

by M. Pierce
Published by St. Martin’s Press
272 pages
Genre: romance; erotica
4.5 / 5


At twenty-nine, Matt Sky is trying to return to normal, having faked his death and come back to life. He and Hannah move to a simple house in the suburbs, and strive to grow their relationship into something durable and honest. They become more and more entangled, in the best ways possible. At twenty-eight, Hannah finally has the life she’s always wanted: she’s pursuing her career as a literary agent at Granite Wing Agency, she is writing her first solo novel, and she is living with her hot, passionate lover. For the first time, Matt and Hannah are able to explore intimacy without inhibitions—without lies, secrets, or jealousy—and the results are explosive.

Still life together is not as easy as it seems. Matt is estranged from his brothers in the wake of his cruel stunt; Seth Sky, embittered by his failed pursuit of Hannah, makes a play for Hannah’s sister; and the topic of Hannah’s novel—her relationship with Matt and the Sky family—is driving a wedge between her and Matt. The lovers are devoted to one another, having come through many ordeals, but is their bond strong enough to last a lifetime?

My Review:

Has there been a more confounding, complex, complicated, compelling character recently than Matthew Sky?

Seriously. Has there? Because I’m thinking not.

We first met Matt Sky in M. Pierce’s Night Owl, a book that left me wondering what in the world I had just read. I blamed it on the meta fiction aspect (M. Pierce writes about Matt Sky who writes as M. Pierce, and both are writing a book called Night Owl), but the more I’ve thought about it – and believe me, I have thought about this book a whole heck of a lot – I think the ever-germinating seed of conflict is Matt Sky.

He’s narcissistic. He’s insecure. He’s egocentric. He has Issues (anger-management, manic-depression, paranoia, masochism, and fears of abandonment and “static states”). He is, in a word, difficult.

And yet I absolutely adore this character. He makes me think. He makes me wonder. He makes me question.

He makes me feel.

How can I possibly like Matt Sky? How can I be hopelessly, completely addicted to this series, to the point that I wept profuse amounts of tears when I got to the last word of After Dark? (And by “last word,” I mean that of M. Pierce’s acknowledgements, so loath I was to let go of these characters.) How can I cherish such an often disturbing, frequently frustrating character?

Here’s how: M. Pierce’s writing.

After Dark begins at the moment that Last Light left off. Hannah has proposed to Matthew, just as the two are about to appear on a Denver chat show to discuss Matthew’s faked death. When he declares that they are getting married, Hannah believes him. When he later applauds what he deems her “perfect play,” Hannah realizes that Matt thinks her proposal was a PR ploy, one dreamt up to make them appear sympathetic.

And thus begin the trials and tribulations of this couple as they get to know each other and learn to communicate.

For all of his apparent disavowal of the truth behind Hannah’s proposal, Matt understands one fundamental thing: they “barely know each other.”

Word, Matthew Sky.

When, exactly, have they had time to get to know each other? For most of their relationship, they have been separated, largely due to Hannah’s living in Denver while Matt hides in a cabin in the Colorado woods, pretending to have died. They don’t know each other. Not in the way they should, or could.

Hannah approaches the relationship with certain “stipulations,” including Matt’s need to quit smoking, resume his therapy sessions, and keep writing with Hannah. It is this latter demand that M. Pierce uses to frame the story. Matt and Hannah met as anonymous online writing partners, and this resumption of that collective process reconnects them with the genesis of their relationship.

It also reintroduces them to the first way they communicated, and, in doing so, grounds them in a manner they need. Once Matt and Hannah met in the flesh, their main form of discovery becomes sex. And thank goodness for that, because M. Pierce writes some tantalizingly hot headboard rocking. Strap on your vibrators, girls. Matt and Hannah will make you glad you did.

But sex is temporary, isn’t it? I mean, even the best sex can only last so long. At some point, you have to come up for air and have a conversation about something other than … well … you know. As fantastic of a dirty talker as Matt Sky is – and, really, he should teach a class – it isn’t enough. And he knows that. Hannah does, too. For much of Last Light, she is in a state of deep sadness. She does not know Matthew Sky as completely as she wants – as she needs – to know him.

And so they commence this knowing by writing to each other. They tell a story, only instead of Cal and Lana, the protagonists in the story they wrote online together, their heroes are Matt and Hannah.

Lest you think that you will get a kinder, gentler Matthew R. Sky, Jr., in this book, let me disavow you of that notion. No. NO. Matt Sky may have suffered, he may have had his heart broken, and he may have learned a lesson or two, but he remains very much the man he is. Pierce underscores this message in the closing chapters, when the Matt we have come to treasure reminds us that he is, still, Matthew Sky.

Similarly, Hannah undergoes her changes, but she never veers far away from who she is in her heart. She is Matt Sky’s lover, his muse, his protector, his champion, his conscience, his friend, and his rescuer. She loves with conditions, but her conditions are valid and warranted. Without her, we know that Matt will remain stuck in his fundamental misconception that, as he says in Last Light, “happiness is useless to me.” Matt needs Hannah. We need Hannah. It is not accidental that M. Pierce begins and ends this book with Hannah’s voice. “He told me many things,” she states. “No book can hold them.”

You don’t have to be an established fan of the Night Owl series to feel the portentous emotion unleashed by that sentiment, do you?

As you read this novel, remember to trust M. Pierce. Also remember to have a box of tissues nearby. Over the course of 270-some pages, M. is going to take your feelings and clobber them with a mallet. Nothing in Matt and Hannah’s world comes easily for them; theirs is as hard-fought a love story as I have read. M. Pierce respects us readers enough to not pander to us. If you want Matt and Hannah to be together, then you need to prepare yourself. As Matt says, “What else is love, if not the power to destroy?”

M. Pierce. You destroyed me with this book. With this series, actually.

When I read Night Owl, I found myself distracted by its meta fiction elements. M. Pierce includes some of that in Last Light, but it is far more prevalent here in After Dark. I remember asking in my Night Owl review if I’m supposed to care about who M. Pierce is. It’s taken me a while – and I’ve made many a misstep, mis-calculation, and misunderstanding along the way – but I finally understand that, no, I am not supposed to care about who M. Pierce is. What I’m supposed to do is enjoy M.’s books. I’m supposed to read, learn, and love.

I’m supposed to leave M. Pierce’s books having been enriched by good writing, fascinating characters, and a story that gripped me from the start.


For more information about After Dark, as well as Night Owl and Last Light, and to enter a huge giveaway, check out this post.



Release Blitz & Giveaway: AFTER DARK

ad blitz banner

Title: AFTER DARK (Night Owl Trilogy Book #3)
Author: M. Pierce
Genre: Contemporary erotic romance



In the final novel of the Night Owl Trilogy from bestselling author M. Pierce, can a passion that has withstood many ordeals become a love strong enough to last a lifetime?

Matt Sky is trying to return to normal, having faked his death and come back to life. He and Hannah move back in together, and Matt attempts to put his demons to rest as they strive to grow their relationship into something durable and honest. But as the two become more and more entangled, and the heat between them intensifies in all the best possible ways, Matt’s desire for Hannah ignites cravings he has kept at bay for a long, long time…

Hannah finally has the life she’s always wanted: she’s pursuing her career as a literary agent at Granite Wing Agency, she is writing her first novel, and she is living with her hot, passionate lover. But as Matt and Hannah explore a new intimacy, Hannah finds that there are parts of Matt–dark, wild, uncontrollable parts–that he has yet to show her…that he has yet to show anyone…Under the surface of Matt and Hannah’s domestic bliss, deeply buried secrets burn, and all of a sudden, the least foreseen obstacle threatens to shatter everything they’ve worked so hard for.


goodreads 2     ed742-amazon-button     ed77f-bn-button     ibooks     kobo_logo_cmyk_highres-300x195

Other books in the trilogy:

Night Owl Paperback Cover

Night Owl (Night Owl Trilogy Book #1)


“Tautly written, complex, and vibrating with a dark sensuality that will have you at once blushing and anxious. You’ll think you have this book pegged . . . but you’ll be wrong.”—Christina Lauren, New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors of The Beautiful Bastard series


From bestselling ebook author M. Pierce comes the first novel in a provocative erotic trilogy where an anonymous online writing partnership turns into an uncontrollable, passionate obsession.


At twenty-eight, Matt Sky has the perfect life. He has a beautiful girlfriend, a massive inheritance, and four national bestsellers — all penned under his airtight alias, M. Pierce.

At twenty-seven, Hannah Catalano is a train wreck. Her boyfriend is a deadbeat and her job is abysmal.

Matt and Hannah meet online as writing partners. Their relationship is safe, anonymous, and innocent …

Until Matt sees a picture of Hannah. Hannah’s picture sparks an attraction Matt is powerless to ignore. When circumstance brings Matt and Hannah together, the strangers begin a love story that’s passionate, poignant, unforgettable, and unstoppable.


 goodreads_logo  ed742-amazon-button       target-logo     ed77f-bn-button     ibooks     kobo_logo_cmyk_highres-300x195


Last Light Paperback Cover



Tensions rise, secrets grow bigger, and passions run deeper—and hotter—in Last Light, the second novel of the Night Owl Trilogy from bestselling author M. Pierce.

Matt Sky is missing. After a solo ascent of Longs Peak that left only a large blood stain, tatters of climbing clothing, and the tracks of an animal in the snow, he is presumed dead.

Hannah Catalano is guarding a secret: she knows Matt is alive. After Matt’s memorial service, she lingers on the East Coast with his family, but it soon becomes clear that his brothers’ motives are less than gracious. Nate Sky is bent on tracking down the author of Night Owl, a book that charts the last days of Matt’s life with uncanny and scandalous accuracy, and which appeared only after his death. Seth Sky is bent on getting Hannah into his bed.

Hidden away in the woods, Matt and Hannah strive desperately to maintain their ruse and their relationship—but their web of lies only tightens as Matt struggles with the consequences of his decision, and Hannah tries to escape Nate’s libel suit and fend off Seth’s advances…until Hannah is put in danger, and Matt must make a life or death choice.


 goodreads_logo  ed742-amazon-button       target-logo     ed77f-bn-button     ibooks     kobo_logo_cmyk_highres-300x195




            Sleeping on the couch is a bitch.

My back ached even after my morning run, even after a round of sit-ups and stretches—and a long, hot, lonely shower.

As I padded past the bedroom, a towel around my waist, I tried the knob once more.

Still locked.

I pressed my ear to the door and frowned.

Hannah had been bunkered in our bedroom all night and most of this morning. It was nearly noon. The AC ticked on and I sighed, roaming back to the kitchen.

“I am definitely in the doghouse,” I muttered to Laurence.

A notepad on the counter contained my list for the day.


–        Talk about things w/Hannah (money, therapy, Chrissy)

–        Date (picnic or dinner)

I peeled off the note and wrote another.

            Hannah baby, please come out. You can’t stay in there forever. I’m sorry. I love you. I need clothes. XO

I knocked gently on the bedroom door before slipping the note beneath it. Then I retreated to the TV room.

Several minutes later, I heard the door squeak open and clap shut.

I returned to find it locked, a pair of my socks folded on the floor beside a note.

Here you go.

Grinning, I turned over her note and wrote another.

            Where am I supposed to wear these? Or am I supposed to use them for something else? Take pity on a half-naked man. It’s getting chilly out here.

I flicked my reply under the door, then sat on the floor and waited. Soon I heard Hannah rustling in the bedroom. The door opened a crack and a T-shirt flew out.

She slammed it shut quickly.

Click went the lock.

“Goddamn it, Hannah.”

I pulled on the T-shirt and shot another note under the door.

Is this your way of saying you want to see my dick? So coy . . .

A moment later, the door opened and a pair of sweatpants hit me in the face.


“Hannah!” I lunged against the door. “Baby bird?”

No reply.

            God, women are fucking mysterious.



M. has a great giveaway going on for the release – twelve total prizes including:

shirt cbd14worg

  • Two SIGNED Paperback Sets (Night Owl, Last Light, After Dark)
  • 6 Sets of Signed Bookmarks (3 bookmarks per set – one from each book)
  • Alex and Ani Ode to the Owl Charm Bangle (Silver or Gold Finish – winners choice – picture attached)
  • Owl Campfire Tshirt (Color and size – winners choice – picture attached)
  • Two $15 Amazon Gift Cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author:

M. Pierce is the bestselling author of Night Owl, book one in the erotic Night Owl Trilogy. The author lives in Colorado and owns a rabbit named Laurence.









Click here for my review.


Cover Reveal: CHOOSE ME

We are so excited to share with you the cover for CHOOSE ME, book 2 in The Archer Brothers Series by Heidi McLaughlin releasing on April 1st. This is a MUST READ series – make sure to add it to your TBR! Isn’t the cover gorgeous?!?!?!

ChooseMe Amazon


Two brothers.

One woman.

One son.

One choice.

Lives ripped apart, shattered and rebuilt.

Evan and Nate Archer: Brothers, best friends, warriors and now enemies. Both in love with the same woman. Both determined to fight for what they want.

Nate Archer promised to protect Ryley Clarke in the event Evan didn’t make it back. It’s a promise between brothers since the early days of basic training. Nate never considered that his feelings, long buried since high school, would resurface and grow stronger.

Evan Archer wants answers. He wants someone to pay. After being gone for an unprecedented amount of time, nothing is making sense now that he’s home. Most of all, he can’t understand how his brother ended up engaged to his fiancée. Evan is determined to uncover the mystery, and win back his family.

The Archers are about to fight dirty.


Cover Designed by Sarah at Okay Creations

Choose Me Teaser2

Moody portrait of young tough guy in train station

Heidi Bio Pic
Heidi is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup, two Parakeets, Gonzo & Hedwig, and their newest addition of a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, Jill.

During the day Heidi is behind a desk talking about Land Use. At night, she’s writing one of the many stories planned for release or sitting court-side during either daughter’s basketball games.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Books by Heidi McLaughlin

Forever My Girl – The Beaumont Series #1

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

My Unexpected Forever – The Beaumont Series #2

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Finding My ForeverThe Beaumont Series #3

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Finding My Way – The Beaumont Series #4

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

My Everything – A Beaumont Series Novella

12 Days of Forever – A Beaumont Series Novella

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Lost in You

Lost in UsA Lost in You Novella

The Archer Brothers

Here with Me

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]

Release Day Blitz: When I Fall



Title: When I Fall
Series: Alabama Summer #3
Author: J. Daniels
 Release Date: March 17, 2015



From NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author, J. Daniels

Book three in the Alabama Summer series.

For the past nine years, I’ve kept my heart as far away from my dick as possible.

Those two can’t be anywhere near each other. They don’t play nice, and one of them undoubtedly winds up getting hurt.
Not my dick. My dick is good.The
women I take home know exactly what they’re getting from me—sex.
Nothing more. At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. The sweet
brunette from Kentucky I set my sights on tonight shouldn’t have been
any different. I had her right where I wanted her. Where I needed her.
But when my past comes walking into McGill’s pub, the woman in my arms
decides to take things to a whole new level, putting me into a situation
I never saw coming.My heart is about to get fucked. My dick can sit this one out.

*** Warning: This book is recommended for readers over the age of 18 due to strong language and explicit sexual content.

I Fall

can be read as a standalone novel.

Links to Buy
Special release price $2.99
Also Available
#1 Where I Belong
#2 All I Want
On sale for $1.99
Author Bio

J. Daniels was born and raised in Maryland.After putting her kids to bed, she escapes into her cheeky world where some of her characters kiss, and some of them do a lot more than kiss.She is an avid reader and enjoys everything from unconventional romance to fantasy novels.


Author Links


Bog Tour: Shameless (Black Brother Trilogy)

Shameless cover

Black Brothers Trilogy #3

by Brynley Bush
Published by Brynley Bush
431 pages
Genre: erotica; romance
4 / 5


Sheltered good girl Victoria Raine has always wanted to be a little bad. Tired of living life safely on the sidelines, she summons the courage to forge a new path for herself and applies to the FBI, looking for adventure and something to fulfill her vague longing for something…more. She gets more than she bargained for with her first undercover assignment—posing as the girlfriend of country music’s bad boy, Drake Maddox, a lone wolf with a reputation for having singularly erotic tastes. Hoping to catch a serial killer that’s targeting women close to Drake, Tori’s job is to convince the public, and the killer, that she and the wickedly handsome superstar are an item.

Although their relationship is a sham, there’s nothing fake about the hidden desires the sexy as sin cowboy awakens in Tori. As the killer draws closer, Tori finds herself falling for the one man she can’t have.

My Review:

In Brynley Bush’s first installment of the Black Brothers trilogy, Fearless, we met oldest brother Beckett Black. Matchless introduced us to Griffin, the Navy SEAL middle brother. Now, with Shameless, Bush brings us youngest brother, country music star Drake. And this book, faithful readers, in many ways is the strongest of the trilogy.

Drake made his first appearance in a most memorable way in Matchless, and he does not disappoint here. He’s being targeted by a crazed fan, and the FBI has been called in to suss out the culprit. New to the agency is Tori Raine, who is cast to play Drake’s fake girlfriend because the crazed fan is going after Drake’s romantic liaisons.

Of course it doesn’t take long before Drake and Tori blur the lines between business and pleasure.

And thank goodness for that, because Brynley Bush can write the hell out of a sex scene. Strap on your vibrators, girls, because you will make quick and thorough use of them as you read this book. (In fact, Drake gives Tori a particular toy that you will wish you had when you read that scene.)

Drake has charisma that oozes out of him, much like his sex appeal. Given that both Beckett and Griffin are men who like to take control during the sexy times, you can correctly assume that their baby brother fills that niche as well. Drake and Tori get to know each other intimately, both physically and emotionally.

Meanwhile, we have the mystery: who is behind these attacks on Drake’s lady friends? Much like Mila in Matchless, Tori is a savant of sorts, able to suss out whodunit with far greater speed and skill than the seasoned agents around her. That, along with Tori’s rapid descent into unprofessionalism (no sacrifice too demanding for the job, you know), requires you to suspend disbelief a bit, otherwise you might find the premise absurd.

What sets this book apart from its trilogy compatriots is the lack of time spent on the mystery. My chief complaints about Fearless and, to a far greater degree, Matchless centered around the time Bush devoted to spelling out The Great Guanabana Caper. It became tiresome in its detail. Here, though, she dispatches with that back story in a few pages.

It’s far more pleasant.

You can read this one without having read its predecessors, but why would you want to do that? The sex scenes, faithful readers, are not to be missed. I thought Griffin’s interlude with Mila on the island was well played, but Drake? Oh, Drake takes everything to a new, more delicious level. And Tori embraces everything Drake wants to try, going so far as to ask him to educate her, in a manner of speaking, in how to be one of Those Girls he typically dates.

Drake, by the way, should offer tutoring services as a side gig. He could teach even Christian Grey a thing or two about a thing or two.

Anyone who has read the first two books knows immediately who is behind the crimes committed, just as you will know that Drake and Tori will wind up together. The good news is that, despite these obvious plot points, Brynley Bush takes you on a wild, hot ride that is fun (and oh so hot) to read.

Tori is delightful, and while much of her work as an FBI agent seems implausible, she is adorable and engaging. Drake is dark, brooding, demanding, and impressively skilled when it comes to all things headboard rocking. And bless him for being so.

So pull up a chair (or a day bed, or a couch, or better yet just lie in bed) and read this one. Read all three. But remember, a release will build, so have a lover or a vibrator on standby.



“For the first time in my life, I’m regretting having a truck,” Drake says a little bit later as we drive toward downtown.

“Really? Why?”

“You look far too beautiful to be taken out on a date in a truck. I should have rented a limousine.”

“I’m starting to kind of like your truck,” I say, sliding across the bench seat until my hip is pressed next to his. He smiles at me, deliberately placing his hand on my bare thigh.

“That’s better,” he drawls with satisfaction.

We pull up in front of a restaurant with blue awnings that takes up an entire street corner, a hanging sign in front identifying it as Jeffrey’s. Drake leaves the truck with the valet, tucking my hand into the crook of his arm as we walk inside. It’s dimly lit, making it simultaneously swanky and sexy, with a low key vibe. The hostess seats us immediately at what has to be the best table in the house, relatively private and tucked away with a view of the fireplace. Before the waiter has even appeared to take our order, a bottle of expensive red wine has been decanted and poured for us.

“More perks of being a celebrity?” I ask, raising my eyebrows as he hands me a glass.

“Something like that,” he says. “I’m accustomed to getting what I want,” he adds matter-of-factly.

“What more could you possibly want?” I ask, taking in the opulent surroundings.

“You, on your knees in front of me,” he says, his voice low and laced with desire.

Oh god.

“Can we just leave now?” I ask, my voice strangled with pent up need.

“There’s nothing I would like more,” he says vehemently. He sighs. “But probably not if your goal is to stay on this case, which is the whole point isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I grumble.

“Believe me, Tori, this is harder on me than it is on you.” He shifts uncomfortably and I take some satisfaction in the fact that he’s suffering too.

“I doubt that,” I mutter darkly.

He reaches across the table and lifts my chin with his finger. “Some things are worth waiting for,” he says, leaning over and kissing me softly. “I have a feeling that you’re one of them. And so is what I have planned for you tonight.”

“I know,” I say with a sigh. “I’m just….” I stop, searching for the right word to describe the aching need I feel. “Frustrated,” I finally say. “You make me want things I never knew I wanted.”

The waiter arrives, and after he has taken our order our conversation turns to work, both his and mine.

“So your job this week is simply to date me?” he asks with a smile.

“Well, mostly. I work primarily as a linguist in the San Antonio office, so I have some translations to do when we’re not, um, busy,” I say flushing. “I also have to meet with the FBI security team and your PR team before the taping on Friday and keep up to date on the investigation. Plus I have to stay on my A-game,” I add playfully. “Jason and I, you met him at your house last weekend, are going to the shooting range on Tuesday.”

“Agent Meadors? The guy who’s supposed to be on my stage crew?”

I nod.

His eyes narrow. “Do you two have a thing going on?”

“A thing? Me and Jason?” I say, shocked. “No! Why would you think that?”

“He winked at you. At the meeting.”

I laugh, more than a little gratified by the hint of jealousy that just sparked in Drake’s eyes. “I think that was more of a big brother, ‘please don’t go running from the room on your first assignment’ encouraging kind of wink. We work together in the San Antonio office, but I don’t really know him. I’m pretty sure he and my friend Kate would end up together if they could both stop being stubborn and trying to outdo each other.”

“Good,” he says with satisfaction, relaxing slightly. “Is there anyone else? Are you seeing anyone?”

“No. I was dating a guy in Washington before I moved to Texas but it’s definitely over. What about you? Are you dating anyone?” I ask the question casually, but I’m going to be crushed if he says yes.

“I don’t date,” he says flatly.

Our conversation is interrupted by the arrival of our waiter, who has brought the dessert cart for our perusal. Drake cocks an eyebrow at me.

“Do you like chocolate?”

“I love chocolate!” I say enthusiastically.

He orders a chocolate and mousse cake and mint ice cream for us to share, as well as coffee for both of us.

“You’re going to need the caffeine,” he says, his voice thick with promise. “I fully intend to keep you up all night.”

“Oh.” My stomach flutters at the thought of what’s to come.

The waiter arrives and my mouth waters at the sight of the decadent dessert he sets on the table between us.

“I think I might have an orgasm just eating this,” I say teasingly.

Drake’s eyes turn molten. “Thanks to that remark, you’re going to have to earn your dessert.”

“Are we talking about this dessert?” I ask, gesturing at the chocolate cake, “or um, other desserts?”

“Both,” he says, his voice dangerously soft. “I told you before that your orgasms belong to me tonight, but you don’t seem to be taking me, or our agreement, seriously.” His voice turns harder and more commanding. “Get up, go into the restroom, and take your panties off.”

My smile fades. “Here?” I ask nervously as awareness skitters across my nerve endings.

His face is implacable as he simply nods toward the restroom.

I get up from the table, my pulse beating erratically, and walk into the ladies room. I go into a stall and remove my panties, tucking them into my purse before walking slowly back to the table, acutely aware of the soft fabric against my bared sex. Drake’s eyes are glued on me, so hot that I feel scorched by his gaze. I sit down gingerly.

He holds his hand out across the table. “Give them to me.”

“Seriously?” I whisper, feeling my cheeks warm.

He stares at me and I reluctantly pull them out of purse, concealing them with my fist as I deposit them in his hand. He rewards me with a smile as he tucks them inside his jacket pocket.

“Good girl,” he says, his voice silky. “Open your legs and leave them spread.”

I slowly open my legs, thankful that we’re in a booth tucked away in the back of the restaurant.

“Have you ever played ‘I Never’?” he asks conversationally as if I’m not sitting across from him in a fancy restaurant, exposed and opened to him, growing impossibly damp between my pantyless legs, trying not to combust.

“Sure,” I say raggedly. “We used to play it as a drinking game in college.”

“Good, then you know how it works. We’re going to play it now but in reverse. I’ll ask if you’ve ever done something, and if you say yes, you’ll earn a bite of cake.”

“How do you know I won’t lie?” I challenge.

“I don’t, but if you do lie I’ll know it,” he says with certainty.

“And then what?” I goad him. “No cake?”

“Then I’ll turn you over my knee right here.”

“You wouldn’t!”

“Oh, I would,” he says dangerously. “Try me.”

About Brynley Bush:

Brynley Bush has had a lifelong love affair with words. She earned her degree in English and Creative Writing and wrote magazine feature stories for years before turning to writing fiction. She writes the kind of books she likes to read: steamy contemporary romances featuring smart, sassy heroines with a sense of humor and strong, dominant alpha males who love their women a little feisty.

Brynley loves rainy days, books, worn-in jeans, hot coffee, traveling to new places, the way words can weave into poetry, and happily ever afters. She lives in Texas with her family and an assortment of pets.When she’s not writing, she loves to read, spend time with her family, and travel.

Contact Brynley at


Release Blitz: Hindsight




✦ Hindsight by Leddy Harper & Marlo Williams! ✦


Enter the RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY for a $50 Amazon Giftcard and more here!
Add Hindsight on Goodreads here!




leddy synopsis

You always hear about the moment right before the end when you see your life flash before your eyes. Some people have even said they had experienced heaven as they headed for the bright light in that one split second before everything went blank. But there isn’t a way to know if they spoke of the truth. Not until you’re actually there, in that moment, that one moment just before the curtains of life are drawn closed after what becomes your final act.

I can tell you firsthand if that is true. I experienced it. Taking my bow as the curtains slowly closed. I reached out and tried to stop them, but I was helpless to stop it. It’s weird, the roller coaster of emotions you go through when you’ve reached your journey’s end.

As I lay on the cool tile, random thoughts ran through my mind. They astonished me, considering the seriousness of my situation. I had no idea where the random thoughts even came from. It was probably because I knew I was fading. I could tell by the blood that formed in pools around my body. My time on earth was coming to a close.

So much blood.
So much pain.
So many regrets.

So did I experience it? The flashing of life or the whiteness of heaven? Not in the way people have made it sound, but I did see it. It served the purpose of showing me where it all went wrong. It proved to me why I was alone and cold, dying on the bathroom floor. It reminded me that as humans, we make choices, good or bad, and we must live with the consequences.

Hindsight. They say it’s twenty-twenty.

That’s the truest statement I had ever heard. Moments of my life flooded my mind, all of them going back in time, serving as a roadmap to the beginning.





leddy giveaway

✦ Enter the AMAZING giveaway from Leddy Harper and Marlo Williams! ✦

Up for grabs…. $50 Amazon gift card and multiple signed paperbacks!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hindsight is co-written by Leddy Harper and Marlo Williams!

All about Leddy:

Leddy Harper had to use her imagination often as a child. She grew up the only girl in a house full of boys. At the age of fourteen, she decided to use that imagination and wrote her first book, and never stopped. She often calls writing her therapy, using it as a way to deal with issues through the eyes of her characters.

She is now a mother of three girls, leaving her husband as the only man in a house full of females. The decision to publish her first book was made as a way of showing her children to go after whatever it is they want to. Love what you do and do it well. And to teach them what it means to overcome their fears.

All about Marlo:

Marlo Williams has been an avid reader since the ripe old age of nine. She’d read all the time to the point her mom thought there was something wrong with her.

When Ms. Williams was in her teens she started feverishly writing books. Writing was more fantastic than reading and she found her imagination had no bounds. She would submerge herself in her room for hours and hours just writing on lined paper in her notebook.


Click on any of the sites below to follow Leddy Harper!
Facebook | Website | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Click on any of the sites below to follow Marlo Williams!
Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads


Click on any of the retail sites below to purchase other books by these authors!


Purchase Home No More by Leddy Harper: Amazon | Goodreads


Purchase Benevolent by Leddy Harper: Amazon | Goodreads


Purchase Corporate Calculation by Marlo Williams: Amazon | Goodreads


Purchase Corporate Nightmare by Marlo Williams: Amazon | Goodreads


Purchase Death Drop by Marlo Williams: Amazon


Purchase Death Spiral by Marlo Williams: Amazon | Goodreads

Hosted by TOJ Tours, from TOJ Publishing Services, Inc.

Thoughtful (Thoughtless Series)


Thoughtful (Thoughtless Series)

by S. C. Stephens
Published by Forever
561 pages
Genre: new adult; romance
3 / 5


The only place Kellan Kyle has ever felt at home is onstage. Gripping his guitar in a darkened bar, he can forget his painful past. These days his life revolves around three things: music, his bandmates, and hot hookups. Until one woman changes everything . . .

Kiera is the kind of girl Kellan has no business wanting-smart, sweet, and dating his best friend. Certain he could never be worthy of her love, he hides his growing attraction . . . until Kiera’s own tormented heart hints that his feelings might not be one-sided. Now, no matter the consequences, Kellan is sure of one thing-he won’t let Kiera go without a fight.

My Review:

As I read this book, I found myself wondering if what I enjoyed about it was its story, or if perhaps what I enjoyed was the opportunity to spend time with Kellen Kyle.

I decided it was the latter.

And that, faithful readers, is not necessarily a good thing.

Those of you who read Keira’s story in Thoughtless, Effortlessand Reckless, know the story. Keira’s boyfriend Denny move from Ohio to Seattle for Denny’s job, where they move in with Kellen, who was the son of the family with whom Denny spent a year as a foreign exchange student (he’s Australian). Kellen and Keira fall in love, Kellen somehow salvages a friendship with Denny, and Kellen’s music career begins to take off.

The thing about this book is that it rehashes everything you already knew.

I’m all for getting the story from the guy’s – or girl’s, as the case may be – point-of-view. The most interesting part of the Fifty Shades trilogy was the chapter at the end of Fifty Shades Freed that told us Christian and Ana’s first meetings from his perspective. Some writers develop the dual POV well (M. Pierce in the Night Owl trilogy, for instance); others struggle with it (the primary defect in Veronica Roth’s Allegiant was the lack of discernible differences between Tris’s voice and Four’s).

Getting into Kellen’s head isn’t a problem for S. C. Stephens, who captures Kellen’s voice exactly the way fans expect. She helps you understand how Kellen fell for Keira and his insecurities. When the book focuses on giving insights into Kellen, it’s at its strongest.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough of that.

Too much of Thoughtful feels like a line-by-line rehashing of Thoughtless from Kellen’s point-of-view. I kept feeling as if I read this already, and I had. in Thoughtless. Another weakness is the book’s length. Holy page count, this thing is L-O-N-G. That would be okay if it was entirely original; that it is a story largely already told makes its length problematic.

And then there is what this book does to Keira.

If you liked her, you might not after Thoughtful. Her treatment of Kellen – that you could excuse in Thoughtless because she was there, telling you about her insecurities and fear – comes across as purely terrible here. She appears manipulative, deceitful, distrustful, and wholly unworthy of Kellen. I’m not sure I wanted to feel that way about her, and I did in this book. I only tolerated her because Kellen loves her.

Fortunately, the strengths overcome the weaknesses. Kellen is still Kellen, and his back story humanizes him in a way that he needs. It keeps him from being too godlike because, let’s face it, between his hot looks, hot music, and hot headboard rocking, Kellen is just a touch too perfect. And girls. That hot headboard rocking? Strap on your vibrators.

Just saying.

S. C. Stephens is a good writer. She can tell a story that invests you in her characters, and she knows her audience well enough to give us a hot hero, steamy (and nicely detailed) headboard rocking, and a heroine who makes you care about her. Stephens’ next book focuses on Griffin, a member of Kellen’s band who fell in love and married Keira’s sister, with whom he has a child. What I would like to see from Stephens is the confidence to move forward with a different story and different characters.

Believe in yourself, S. C. Stephens. You have the skills to write about other characters.

(This, by the way, is a message I would also extend to Tiffany Reisz. But that’s an argument for another day.)






by Megan Hart
Published by MIRA
352 pages
Genre: erotica
4 / 5


It’s an acquired taste…he just has to acquire it

Elise knows what she wants in the bedroom, and she makes sure she gets it. Her thirst for domination has long been quenched by a stable of men only too happy to bow down before her.

But sexual satisfaction isn’t the same as love, and she’s been burned in the past by giving her heart too freely.

Niall is handsome, smart, successful and sweet—sweet as vanilla. When they meet, their romantic connection is electric, even though he’s way on the opposite end of the kink spectrum. Despite how she fights it, Elise falls for him—but how can a relationship work when both lovers want to be on top? I

My Review:

What happens when you get off on taking and the person you think you could love wants you to give?

Elise is her own brand of dominatrix, a woman who won’t stomp all over you with her stilettos or flog you into submission. She does, however, exert control. She enjoys demanding that you submit yourself to her for her pleasure, in whatever form that takes. How you dress, how you behave, what you do.

She has the perfect submissive in the form of Esteban, a man who seems to know exactly what Elise needs and how to give it to her, while also getting what he needs from her. They take care of each other, in their own ways. But there are certain rules with Esteban that preclude a relationship outside of their weekly meetings.

When she isn’t working as a sort of office manager-slash-partner-slash-assistant-slash-organizer-public relations chieftain, Elise does some erotic modeling. It is at a showing of these photos that she meets Niall, a coworker of her brother’s. They clearly are attracted to each other and make plans, but Niall is not quite turned on by Elise’s predilections. He prefers his women to be more traditional in the sexy times department.

This does nothing to help Elise get over the heartbreak she suffered at the hands of a man she calls George, someone she continues to text at 3:00 AM. She never receives a response – thank goodness – but she keeps texting him about her feelings.

This emotional vortex serves as the tension of the novel, and Megan Hart builds it well. In Elise she has a heroine who is unapologetic about her sexual needs. Elise knows what she wants and what she needs, and she is uncompromising in her quest to find someone who fulfills both. It’s interesting to watch. Niall is more conservative. He’s a man who wants to be in command, and Elise’s preferences unnerve him. For this to work, these two need to communicate, but each is reluctant.

As usual, Megan Hart’s sex scenes do not disappoint. She treats us to Elise as a dominator and Elise with Niall. Strap on your vibrators, girls, because the hot headboard rocking in this book is, indeed, hot.

Vanilla seems like an inoffensive flavor, one that tempers the tastes around it. Some people enjoy it straight up – no toppings or mix-ins – while others need something added. But when you can agree that vanilla is the foundation for a delicious meal, it might just be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.