Cat's Books: Romance

This is a companion blog on the Romance genre to my theme and troupe list making madness. North American Wordcat: Romance Reader Reviewer, Romance List Maker.Twitter @Catsbookrom, Cat's Books Romance Novel Theme Park catsbooks.net Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cats-Books-Romance/

The Garden (Lavender Shores, #2) by Rosalind Abel 4 Star Review

The Garden - Rosalind Abel

Beautiful Gilbert Bryant designs jewelry for the rich and famous, and he made his escape from his gossipy little hometown of Lavender Shores. However, with so many friends and family, he keeps getting pulled back. When he attends his best friend’s engagement party, Gilbert can’t help but sample one of the new men in town. It’s just some innocent—or not so innocent—fun. Nothing that will even cross his mind once he gets back to his everyday life.


Walden Thompson dreamed about living in Lavender Shores since he visited as a child. He finally gets his chance, and he embraces the opportunity to start over, to become someone new. He leaves both hurts and dangerous habits in the past, where they belong. When Gilbert crosses his path, Walden gives in to his baser instincts. He can indulge in the carnal pleasures this once and still be okay.


Their few hours together haunt Gilbert, the two-hundred-mile buffer from home no longer shutting out the past or the sexy man he left behind. Walden is just beginning to recover from the smoldering encounter with Gilbert when they are thrust together once more. This time, neither of them can walk away, no matter how hard they try. But when their pasts crash into each other as surely as the magnetism that pulls them together, walking away may be the only option.

 

Review

This series has soap opera habits but in a fun way. 

The second book in this series works for me because I like the slightly bitter Gilbert and Walden balances him out. 

There are elements of angst here as these two find a way to be together but over all this is a sweet read with a little bite.

Faith and Fidelity by Tere Micheal 99 cents!

Faith & Fidelity - Tere Michaels

Reeling from the recent death of his wife, police officer Evan Cerelli looks at his four children and can only see how he fails them. His loving wife was the caretaker and nurturer, and now the single father feels himself being crushed by the pain of loss and the heavy responsibility of raising his kids.

 

At the urging of his partner, Evan celebrates a coworker's retirement and meets disgraced former cop turned security consultant Matt Haight. A friendship born out of loneliness and the solace of the bottle turns out to be exactly what they both need.

 

The past year has been a slow death for Matt Haight. Ostracized from his beloved police force, facing middle age and perpetual loneliness, Matt sees only a black hole where his future should be. When he discovers another lost soul in Evan, some of the pieces he thought he lost start to fall back in place. Their friendship turns into something deeper, but love is the last thing either man expected, and both of them struggle to reconcile their new and overwhelming feelings for one another.

Bedside Manner (Hearts and Health, #2) by D.J. Jamison Review

Bedside Manner - D.J. Jamison

Dr. Paul Johnston can't get a set of dark, somber eyes out of his head, and the timing couldn't be worse.
The last thing he needs is to fall for a patient. Not now, when he's been put on paid leave pending review of a formal complaint. One that accuses him of sexual impropriety of some kind. It's possible he let his newfound freedom as a divorced, out-of-the-closet gay man go to his head, but he's certain -- mostly -- he didn't do anything wrong. Now, he's struggling to handle the reality that his job is in danger and the only guy he wants should be off-limits.

Zane Kavanaugh is floundering, and there's only one man who soothes the storm inside him.
Reeling from an assault that landed him in the hospital and the painful estrangement from his family since coming out, Zane is trying to get his feet under him and find his independence. He moves in with a roommate and searches for a job, all while recovering from a fractured arm and cracked ribs. None of that hurts as much as the emotional damage he's suffered. When he connects with Dr. Paul Johnston outside of the ER, he's drawn to the man's calm, collected manner. It doesn't hurt that Paul's lack of experience with men is sexy as hell, and so are his over-the-top responses when Zane gets his lips on him.

There's no right time to fall in love.
Paul is afraid to start a relationship, and Zane can only handle so much more rejection. Will these two find their perfect moment, or will they realize you can't choose when and how you fall in love? If Paul can't take a risk, he may have to choose: the career he loves or the first man to capture his heart.

 

Review

 

There is likely more going on in this book than there needs to be even though the topics here are interesting. 

The central romance between Zane and Paul is engaging. With the other plot lines of the sexual harassment accusation and the family drama, those characters and moments needed more depth to fulling engaging and Zane's friends did not always act consistently. 

So, this book ended up just being okay.

Our Options Have Changed By Julia Kent and Elisa Reed Free!

Our Options Have Changed (On Hold Series) - Julia Kent, Elisa Reed

Having it all is a fantasy, right?

Chloe Browne knows all about fantasy. Fantasy is her job.

And she’s very, very good at what she does.

As director of design for the O Spa chain, a sophisticated women’s club that is trending its way into being the Next Big Thing, Chloe’s ready to take on the world.

One baby at a time.

Her home study’s done, and she’s about to adopt, a thirty-something single mother by choice. Who needs to put her life on hold for the right guy when the right baby is waiting for her?

Besides, talk about fantasy.

The right guy?

Pfft. Right.

And then in walks Nick Grafton, with those commanding sapphire eyes and wavy blonde hair and a sophisticated mouth that only smiles for her.

He’s perfect.

But the last thing Nick wants is to start fresh with a new baby as his college-age kids fly the coop. A single father for more than fifteen years after his wife walked out on her family, Nick finally tastes freedom.

But he likes the taste of Chloe more.

Misadventures of a Backup Bride By Shayla Black $1.99

Misadventures of a Backup Bride (Misadventures series, Book 4) - Shayla Black

An Overnight Billionaire…
When Carson Frost inherits a confectionary that rakes in billions but is too cash-strapped to last another sixty days, he agrees to take a loan from his late father’s rival. There are two catches: Carson has to sign over a permanent stake in the company and marry the man’s daughter.

Concocts a Fake Bride…
Two weeks before the wedding, he gets cold feet and claims he’s in love with someone else. The investor says he’ll still hand over the cash if Carson takes a stroll down the aisle—with the woman who owns his heart. Since he isn’t even dating anyone, Carson panics. Where is he going to find a bride willing to jilt him at the altar on such short notice?

And Whips Up a Little Love.
Ella Hope is an actress happy for any paying gig, but jilting a hottie in public isn’t what she had in mind. Still, she needs rent, and he’s in a bind. How hard can it be? While playing at matrimony, suddenly their intimacy isn’t so fake. Ella can’t help but fantasize that Carson is her groom and they will live happily ever after. But once his company is safe, will he want her anymore?

Brooklynaire By Sarina Bowen 99 cents!

Brooklynaire - Sarina Bowen

You’d think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You’d be wrong.

For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don’t know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.

When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It’s what friends do. But what friends don’t do is rip off each others’ clothes for a single, wild night together.

Now she’s avoiding me. She says we’re too different, and it can never happen again. So why can’t we keep our hands off each other? 

Isherwood: by Missy Welsh 99 cents!

Isherwood - Missy Welsh

Cas Maine seeks refuge in the small town of Isherwood after walking all night. He’s tired, hungry, and desperate for the acceptance and safety he had in his birth pack…before they discovered he was gay. But crossing into town forces him to shift into his wolf form and he’s unable to shift back. Which is when he finds his true mate, a human named Finn Webb.

Finn thinks he’s just adopted a stray dog and feels like his life might be taking a turn for the better. Business is lousy in a town that’s drying up, but it’s home and he’s determined to stick things out for the sake of his employees. Finn has no idea that his “dog” is a man who’s going to change his life forever.

With disappearances, creepy vets, and wolves who talk, Finn and Cas have to learn how to live together while solving the trouble that’s been plaguing Isherwood for two years.

Insert Groom Here by K.M. Jackson 99 cents!

Insert Groom Here - K.M. Jackson

Tired white lace, rote promises, same-old ceremonies—some brides have no time for that. They'll break the rules, turn tradition into straight-up scandal—and improvise as much as it takes to turn their wildest wedding dreams into real love…
 
Eva Ward has won a lavish wedding on the nation’s hottest morning show and can't wait to kick off her 
happily-ever-after in style. Too bad her fiancé backs out on-air—and cameraman Aidan Walker makes sure her private meltdown goes viral, down to the last couch-kicking moment. The only way Eva can save face and keep her perfect nuptial plans on track is to star in a new “find-a-groom” reality segment. But finding Mr. Right in one month means ignoring her handsome new producer—none other than Aidan himself—and getting their instant, exasperating attraction out of her system…
 
Eva soon finds there's a lot more to Aidan than freewheeling charm. But one glimpse of his caring side can't make up for off-camera politics, Aidan's own secrets—or Eva's fear that they’re too different to ever trust each other. So it's time for her to flip this script, write twists no one will see coming—and risk her heart to get the real thing

Get Lucky By Lila Monroe Free!

Get Lucky - Lila Monroe

 What happens when you wake up in a hotel suite next to a gorgeous naked man with absolutely no memory of the past twelve hours?

I guess it's true what they say: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Or at least I hope it stays here. The Romantic Style Book convention was meant to be a weekend of raucous fun with friends, sun, and enough poolside margaritas to forget about my ex. But now, instead of meeting my fans and signing books, I'm stuck with cocky divorce lawyer Nate Wexler. He's arrogant, infuriating, and I can't keep my hands off of him. Judging by the state of our hotel room, last night was wild. I just wish I could remember it.

A pair of matching tattoos. A half empty box of glow-in-the-dark Trojans. And a... wedding veil?

What the hell just happened?

Snow & Secrets by RJ Scott Free!

Snow & Secrets - Rozenn Scott

First comes trust, then love… then the fight to stay alive.

Pop star Tyler Hart is desperate for peace after a humiliating public scandal. It seems like Stanford Creek may well be the place to lay low. After all, it worked for his friends and former bandmates, Cody and Danny. He borrows a cabin and settles in for a quiet Christmas…well, not quite.

 

Garrett Campbell is on the run. Wounded in the line of duty, he escapes to the only place he feels safe, Stanford Creek and his brother’s cabin. Only he doesn’t realize he’ll have a roommate, and a sexy one at that.

 

Amid snow falls and winter winds, passion burns bright. When danger threatens to follow Garrett, he has to decide whether to run again before his secrets could kill him and the man of his dreams.

St. Nacho's by Z.A. Maxfield Free!

St. Nacho's - Z.A. Maxfield

Cooper has spent the last three years running from a painful past. He's currently moving from town to town, working in restaurant kitchens, and playing his violin for tips. As soon as he starts to feel comfortable anywhere--with anyone--he moves on. He's aware that music may be the only human language he still knows. Ironically, the one man he's wanted to communicate with in all that time is deaf.

Shawn is part of a deaf theater group at the nearby college. Shawn wants Cooper as soon as they meet and he begins a determined flirtation. Cooper is comfortable with down and dirty sex, just not people. As far as Shawn is concerned, dirty sex is win-win, but he wants Cooper to let him into the rest of his life as well.

Cooper needs time to heal and put his past away for good. Shawn needs to help Cooper forgive himself and accept that he can be loved. Both men find out that when it comes to the kind of healing love can bring, the sleepy beachside town of Santo Ignacio, "St. Nacho's" as the locals call it, may just be the very best place to start.

The Escape: Soren's Saga (Healing Hearts, #3) by Nicky James 3.5 Review!

The Escape: Soren's Saga - Nicky James

Dancing, loud music, drinking and sex… 
Who wouldn’t love a job that entailed all these things?
After giving up on school and being cast aside by an unsupportive family, Soren Matheson figured he’d landed every young man’s dream job.
But… there is a catch. 
Not everything is as it seems and at the end of the day… 
Maybe even dream jobs don’t exist.

Remy Moretti lives in a world of precision and order. When a chance run-in with a sassy, sarcastic blond one evening upsets his structured world, Remy needs to find out who he is.
What he discovers makes his hair stand on end. 
The defeat and fear hidden behind the young man’s eyes gives him nightmares.
Someone needs to get to the bottom of this.
Until then, Remy will need to do whatever it takes to keep Soren safe.

TRIGGER: Sex-trafficking, abuse (off-page)

 

Review

 

This romance is very dark at the start and then slowly the light comes in. 

Soren lives is snarky denial of how hard his life really is. As Remy shows him love.

There is a lot of grit and sadness here as we see more and more of Soren's life. I am not always sure he is going to make it out but he does.

If anyone ever deserved a Happily Ever After, it is Soren. 

If you in the mood of an angst read, as usual, Nicky James delivers. 

 
 

 

Comfort Food - Sierra Riley

I can't help unless you let me."


"I might be alone, but at least I'm safe."

Martin Painter has been a recluse since his parents died when he was seventeen. Sure, he has money and a sprawling house in an upscale neighborhood, but material things can't patch the holes in his heart. When his sister drags him to a charity auction, the last thing he expects to win is a date with a handsome stranger. He can feel the attraction starting, but it's pointless, isn't it? He's better off alone. He's too awkward for a platonic "date," let alone real love.

"Do you ever wonder if you made a wrong turn somewhere?"

Charity owner Travis Cole loves his work even if he misses the world of haute cuisine. But his charity is hemorrhaging money. He throws an auction to scrape together extra funds, and up on the auction block? Cooking lessons and a dinner with himself. He never thought the winner would be a man. And stranger still, he never expected to care so much about the soft-spoken, sad-eyed loner who won him.

"We've both got too much to lose, don't we?"

Martin isn't sure he's capable of love anymore. Travis isn't sure he's capable of loving a man. But they can't deny it: there's something between them as powerful as gravity, even if it's just a desire to help one another let go of the past. While Travis teaches Martin how to cook, can they teach each other to be happy?

 

Review

 

Watching Travis and Martin fall in love is a pleasure. I love the food charity elements of this book and the slow hope that fills both heroes as they find a partner to share their lives.

There is a bit of a mystery that gets solved here. I would have liked more information on the motivation of villain but this element of the story caused a closeness and care between Travis and Martin which was lovely.

A good read.

Huddle With Me Tonight by Farrah Rochon Free!

Huddle with Me Tonight - Farrah Rochon

Entertainment columnist Paige Turner is known for getting under the skin of the people whose books she reviews on her popular blog. When her criticism of NFL standout Torrian Smallwood’s cookbook/memoir goes viral, it sparks an online war between the city’s most beloved blogger and one of football’s hottest stars. 

Torrian couldn’t care less what some book blogger thinks about his upcoming memoir. His main focus is on making a success of the new restaurant he’s opening for his sister. That is, until he meets the gorgeous Paige Turner face-to-face. When a local TV station invites them to bring their online battle into the kitchen in a reality TV cook-off, Torrian comes up with a new goal: making Paige his. 

Will either of them be able to stand the heat, or will they succumb to the white-hot attraction that neither can deny? 

Butterface by Avery Flynn Free!

Butterface - Avery Flynn

It’s true. I’m not what most people would call “pretty” and, well, high school was rough. Fast forward ten years and life is good…

 

Until a bunch of jerks think it’s hilarious to put the “butterface” (AKA me) on a wedding Kiss Cam with the hottest guy ever—and that old humiliation hits hard.

 

I recognize him immediately. The sexiest cop in Waterbury and totally out of my league.

But then he kisses me. And we totally forget the room, the crowd, everything.

Then he tells everyone we’ve been dating for months.

 

Soon everything starts to feel too real, from adorable fights over “necessary” tools to fix my broken porch to surviving a free-for-all dinner with his six siblings to picking up where our last kiss left off.

 

But there’s something he’s not telling me about why he’s really hanging around, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with my mob-connected brothers.

Because this is not a make-over story, and Cinderella is only a fairy tale…

Guardian by Sierra Riley 4 Star Review!

Guardian - Sierra Riley

“I won’t get hurt again.”


“He probably has women falling at his feet.”

Attorney Alexander Wilson lies to himself. He’s not in the closet. He’s happy alone. He could come out to his work colleagues any time. Until then it’s one nerd and his Corgi, his string of failed relationships, and his collection of Space Shuttle toys. So when he’s hired by a tattooed, musclebound mechanic, it’s just as well that Conflict of Interest prevents him getting involved.

 



“A guy like him wouldn’t spend time with a guy like me.”

Mechanic Titus Edwards walked away from a promising Army career. As a former EOD expert he’s faced tougher environments than Flushing, Queens, but never a tougher job: raising his eight year old niece. When her biological father crawls out of the woodwork, Titus needs an attorney if he’s to protect her. But he’s not expecting to find himself drawn to Alex. After all, Alex is a guy. And Titus isn’t gay.

 



“We’re wasting time on a fairytale.”

Both men are haunted by pasts they would rather forget. But if they are to forge a future together they’re going to need to overcome more than their individual hurts. Can they learn to trust themselves and each other before it’s too late?

 

Review

 

I like a slow burn. Alex is such a wonderful man and so is Titus. We get a Corgi. A real conflict with real stakes but no false drama.

I liked the bloom of this book and enjoyed the characters.