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/

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.

 

 

Solace by Sierra Riley Review

Solace - Sierra Riley

"I feel safe with you."



“It’s not safe for anyone to be around me.”

Shane Carter couldn’t wait to see his daughter after returning home from Afghanistan. Even though the scars he collected overseas ran deep, her light always brought him through the darkness. But when his ex-wife denies him the chance, those scars bleed into every part of his life and Shane is forced to admit he needs help.

“You can’t fool me. I know who you really are.”

Aaron Hayes thought he’d found the perfect career as a service dog trainer. Until he realized speaking to crowds was part of the job description. He’s never felt safe in a crowd, but one-on-one? That’s a different story. And when a handsome and troubled veteran needs his help training a service dog, Aaron doesn’t hesitate.

“You’re the only one who sees me.”

Shane tries his best to keep Aaron at a distance, even though his attraction to the man is undeniable. Convinced a quick fling will get it out of his system, he seduces Aaron. But he soon realizes he’s the one falling under Aaron’s spell. As Aaron starts to become his light in the darkness, Shane fears their future together--or lack thereof. If he can't even win back his own daughter, how is he ever going to fend off his demons long enough to find solace with Aaron?

 

Review

 

Because there are multiple authors in the writing here, it is hard to know exactly what you are going to get in terms of voice.

I like that this book looks hard at PTSD and how scary it can be for loved ones. Aaron's ex wife isn't painted as a demon and I really value that aspect of the book.

Shane's and Aaron's romance is a bit off as their motives are rough and tumble and love elements are late coming though they are here.

Buttercup the dog is amazing, of course.

Orderly Affair (Hearts and Health #6) by D.J. Jamison 3.5 Star Review!

Orderly Affair - D.J.  Jamison

A hospital orderly explores his bisexuality with an adorably geeky lab tech, but can their sparks lead to love outside the closet? 

When Ian Connolly installs a hookup app to explore his long-suppressed attraction to men, he doesn't expect to connect with anyone he knows, especially not lab tech Callum Price. But from their first scorching encounter, he's hooked.

Callum hasn't had the best luck with love, and he's suffocating under a pile of responsibilities. But when he sees an opportunity to blow off steam with Ian, he takes it. The man is smoking hot, big all over, and sweet as pie.

Their chemistry is off the charts, but a relationship is more challenging. Callum remains stubbornly self-reliant, while Ian tries too hard to be his rock. But if Ian can be honest with his family about loving a man, maybe Callum can admit his own truth: He wants a man he can count on, a man just like Ian.

 

Review

Ian and Callum first hook up is hot and funny. 

Callum's life is complicated and his connection with Ian brings much need support, light and eventually love.

Ian is exploring the same sex attraction part of his bisexuality and this aspect of the book is lovely. 

Callum's struggle to support his mother and get his ex boyfriend out of the house. Callum's family issues really inform who he is as a person and shape his ability to love. 

I love the resolution of the ex boyfriend which manages not to make him a crazy villain. 

There is a bit of drama at the end that I didn't need but didn't mind. Ian and Callum make a great couple. 

 

 

New York Christmas by R.J. Scott Review

New York Christmas - R.J. Scott

It's been far too long since Christian Matthews has seen Daniel Bailey. In fact the last time they met Chris was a senior in college and he was the TA tasked with helping Daniel who was a way too confident freshman.

 

Seven years down the road, Chris is licking his wounds after being asked to leave the private school where he was teaching. He has no job, no money, and has to rely on his friend Amelia for the job and a room to live in. He needs a freaking Christmas miracle to make this Season anything other than a total loss.

 

Then Daniel comes back into his life and suddenly everything seems possible. Not only is Daniel still the man Christian wants more than anything, but this time Chris may well actually tell Daniel how he feels.

 

Review

 

This books deals with an unfair firing and the aftermath for one of our heros,

 

The romance here is warm and lovely and having someone on your side make all the difference and Merry Christmas.

 

A nice read.

 

Surprise Delivery (Hearts and Health #5) by D.J. Jamison 3.5 Star Review!

Surprise Delivery  - D.J.  Jamison

Dr. Casper Rollins knows how to have fun. The love of his life, Kage Myers, lived every moment to the fullest before he died. Now, Casper goes skydiving, mountain-climbing or on other adrenaline-soaked adventures when he wants to feel closer to his lost love.

Medical director Eric Holtz is married to his work -- so much so his husband left him. But when his niece shows up, pregnant and in need of an ally, Eric suddenly has family again. Unfortunately, her obstetrician, Casper Rollins, is sexy enough to turn Eric into a blushing adolescent.

What begins as a game to break Eric of his workaholic tendencies escalates into scorching sex and feelings that can't be ignored. Casper never planned to give his heart to anyone other than Kage, and Eric won't accept anything less.

If these two want a future, they'll have to embrace the lesson Kage taught Casper long ago: You only live once.

 

Review

 

This is a nice romance about Eric and Casper readjusting their lives to make room for love. I like both heroes a great deal and how they treated each other, 

The sub plot with Eric's niece is nice balance and Jamison does a good job creating a resolution that is true to the characters. 

A lovely romance.

Future Fake Husband by Kate Hawthorne and E.M. Denning Review

Future Fake Husband - Kate Hawthorne, E.M. Denning

Cole Mallory is on the brink of losing everything.

For the past seven years, Cole has dedicated himself to managing Mallory Vineyard, the winery his family owns. It’s not that he hasn’t had time for a relationship so much as he’s never found anyone he wanted to devote time to beyond the initial getting to know you stage. But that all needs to change--and fast--because if Cole wants to inherit the vineyard, he needs to be married.

Rhett Kingston is about to have a new life dropped into his lap.

What started out as a night of lonely drinking in a local bar ends with Rhett agreeing to "fake marry" his twin brother’s best friend. Rhett will act as the perfect future fake husband for Cole and, in turn, Cole will help Rhett launch the event planning business he’s always dreamed of owning.

Before they know it, their totally fake relationship is tangled up with completely mutual desire. After a destination wedding forces Cole and Rhett into the same bed, sparks fly and fictional feelings escalate and threaten to turn into something very, very real and more than either of them bargained for.

 

Review

 

A enjoyable but largely forgettable pretend relationship romance. I liked the heroes a good bit but didn't care much for the side characters. 

It was a pleasant read.

The Husband Gambit by L.A. Witt 3.5 Star Review!

The Husband Gambit - L.A. Witt

Marry me for 1 year. Payment: $1.2 million.

Hayden Somerset is convinced the ad is a joke, but he responds anyway because, hello, $1.2 million. He’s broke, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates, and exhausted from praying his ancient car survives just one more week. His skyrocketing rent and crushing student loans aren’t helping either. At this point, there isn’t much Hayden wouldn’t do for that kind of cash.

The ad isn’t a joke. Jesse Ambrose is absolutely serious. His father, the charismatic patriarch of a powerful Hollywood dynasty, has his eye on politics, and he’s counting on California’s liberals and progressives to elect him. But Jesse knows what his father believes when cameras and voters aren’t around. As the election looms, he’ll do anything to force the man’s hand and show the public who Isaac Ambrose really is.

Anything, including marrying a stranger so his father will make good on his promise to disown Jesse if he ever takes a husband.

Now he just has to wait for his father to take the bait… and try not to accidentally fall in love with his fake husband.

 

Review

 

I love a good Marriage of Con plot and this book delivers. 

Hayden and Jesse are a good match and the reasons for the marriage are intersting. 

There is a bit of repeating of ideas (Hayden's poverty) that take up space which could have been used for better elements but I did enjoy the look at what the true impact of such a set of action might be.

I liked that Hayden had a support network and it was good to see Jesse's character grow. 

There are some plot strings that dangle but overall an enjoyable read.

Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn 99 cents!

Beginner's Luck - Kate Clayborn

When three friends impulsively buy a lottery ticket, they never suspect the many ways their lives will change—or that for each of them, love will be the biggest win of all.  
 
Kit Averin is anything but a gambler. A scientist with a quiet, steady job at a university, Kit’s focus has always been maintaining the acceptable status quo. A sudden windfall doesn’t change that, with one exception: the fixer-upper she plans to buy, her first and only real home. It’s more than enough to keep her busy, until an unsettlingly handsome, charming, and determined corporate recruiter shows up in her lab—and manages to work his way into her heart . . .
 
Ben Tucker is surprised to find that the scientist he wants for Beaumont Materials is a young woman—and a beautiful, sharp-witted one at that. Talking her into a big-money position with his firm is harder than he expects, but he’s willing to put in the time, especially when sticking around for the summer gives him a chance to reconnect with his dad. But the longer he stays, the more questions he has about his own future—and who might be in it. 
 
What begins as a chilly rebuff soon heats up into an attraction neither Kit nor Ben can deny—and finding themselves lucky in love might just be priceless . . .

Bishop Ridge (Sawyer's Ferry, #2) by Cate Ashwood 3.5 Star Review!

Bishop Ridge (Sawyer's Ferry #2) - Cate Ashwood

They found exactly what they weren’t looking for.

Logan:
I had almost everything I’d ever wanted—career, friends, my own easy life in Sawyer’s Ferry, Alaska. I’d given up on filling in the missing pieces long ago. Now, I was more than satisfied with the perfectly practiced, perfectly predictable routine I’d created for myself. At least until Jackson Daley walked into my clinic. 

Jackson: 
Working the rigs is temporary. Everything in my life is. Jobs, cities, and the guys I take home—nothing sticks, and that’s exactly the way I like it. After four years in Alaska, I’m itching to pick up and leave. I’m ready to move on and start over someplace new, until a one-night stand I can’t seem to shake has me breaking all my own rules. 
Now as I get closer to walking away, my reasons for leaving seem blurrier than ever, and for the first time in my life, there could be something worth staying for.

 

Review

 

This is a romance between two men who really don't want to fall in love and have relationship but do. It is a place and character driven story which I am always a fan of.

Jackson and Logan come off as a bit cold emotionally but as the story moves forward they thaw a bit. A nice read but I did want to like each man more.

Trust the Connection by Brigham Vaughn Review

Trust (Connection Book 2) - Brigham Vaughn

Scars run deep but run loves even deeper.
---
After a lifetime of being told he’s worthless, Evan Harris is forced out of the closet and the only home he’s ever known. Jobless and homeless, he makes a desperate call to a couple he barely knows. They give him a place to stay at their place in Atlanta while he gets back on his feet. But he’s too shy to explore the big city and go after what he wants: a relationship.

Physically and emotionally scarred from a devastating car accident, Jeremy Lewis struggles to reconcile the brash, outgoing man he used to be with the social recluse he’s become. He’s resigned himself to being alone, but an encounter with an ex-boyfriend shakes up his dull existence and brings Evan into his life.

Loneliness draws Evan and Jeremy to each other, but a strong mutual attraction isn’t enough. At thirty-six, Jeremy is convinced a relationship would be holding twenty-one-year-old Evan back. 

Evan must be strong enough to fight for what he wants and Jeremy must let someone close enough to see his scars. Otherwise, they’ll miss out on the love of a lifetime.

 

Review

 

A hopeful tale where two lonely kind men find love. Jeremy and Evan need to mind the age gap and each others self esteem issues but it is a lovely romance with a chosen family.

Abel's Omega (Mercy Hills Pack #2) by Ann-Katrin Byrde Review

Abel's Omega(Gay Paranomal MM Mpreg Romance) (Mercy Hills Pack Book 2) - Ann-Katrin Byrde

Bax is desperate.

Recently widowed, he takes his pups and flees his pack to avoid a new mate who wants him—but not his babies. At Mercy Hills, he finds the help he’d hoped for, but also a man who both attracts and unnerves him. He doesn’t want another alpha mate, or even any mate, though he knows that an omega has to have one. But Abel is unlike any other alpha he’s ever met, and the hope that had been crushed out of him begins to grow again in the warmth of Abel’s kindness and strength.

Bax is a dream come true for Abel—smart, loyal, strong, and loving. Everything Abel’s ever looked for in a mate. Except the independent omega has no reason to trust an alpha and Abel’s going to have to work his way through layers of hurt if he wants to convince Bax he’s safe opening his heart.

But to keep him, he’ll have to fight for him.

 

 

 

 

Review

While I long for an omegaverse romance where omega's have equity and the conflicts are based around character and relationships, this was a really well written world of shifters and omegas.

 

Bax is a wonderful father and hero of his own life. Able is lovely and his attention to who Bax as well as Bax's childern is awesome.

 

The plot drags for me as a romance because it takes a while for this element of the story to start and when it does the outside conflicts drive the plot a bit too much for me.

 

I love forward to reading more by this writer.