Monday, February 29, 2016

Ticket to Nowhere (Double Trouble Book 1) by Patricia Rosemoor

Book Blurb:

What is a classy woman who looks like she’s been mud-wrestling hiding from in a carnival? Chick Lovett offers a desperate-looking Eden Payne shelter and a job working in his game booth. Having witnessed a body hauled onto a boat and a prominent politician who was involved, Eden can’t go home. As they work together to find proof of a woman’s murder, as attraction brings them closer than he’s ever been with another woman, "Chickie-loves-it" wonders if Eden will ever realize he’s more than a seasoned carny.

My Review:

In Ticket to Nowhere, Patricia Rosemoor gives a well balanced blend of romance, secrets, mystery and suspense in a unique setting.  And nothing is as it seems at the carnival!  With no where to hide, Eden ends up at the carnival...and Chick is intrigued by her from the moment he sees her.  Knowing no one will believe what she's seen, Eden doesn't know what to do.  Soon Chick is drawn not only to Eden, but to helping her escape the danger that is chasing her.

I really liked Eden and Chick as a hero and heroine.  There characters are not as straight forward as each of them seems to think, and I liked getting to know them as their characters developed.  With the stress of trying to escape danger while at the same time finding proof of a killer, Eden makes an admirable heroine who is brave, even if what she resorts to isn't always smart!  I liked how Chick was with Eden, even if he was keeping secrets of his own.  He is protective and very obviously attracted to her.  The feeling is mutual and easy to see, but the rocky road they are on is filled with challenges.  I couldn't wait to see how these characters, a possible relationship, and the suspenseful plot played out.  I don't know if what they were doing together as they tried to find evidence on their own is realistic, but it is a strong part of the plot and works well in Ticket to Nowhere.

I loved the unique, carnival atmosphere!  I could easily picture it all.  The secondary characters, mainly the other carnival people add so much color and feeling, and show a true connectedness with Chick.  Their quirkiness really brings it all to life, and the setting works so well with the plot.

An exciting and well paced book, I'd recommend Ticket to Nowhere to any romantic suspense reader!

4/5 stars

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: The Girl in the Painting by Kirsty Ferry

Book Blurb:

What if you thought you knew a secret that could change history? 

Whilst standing engrossed in her favourite Pre-Raphaelite painting – Millais's Ophelia – Cori catches the eye of Tate gallery worker, Simon, who is immediately struck by her resemblance to the red-haired beauty in the famous artwork. 

The attraction is mutual, but Cori has other things on her mind. She has recently acquired the diary of Daisy, a Victorian woman with a shocking secret. As Cori reads, it soon becomes apparent that Daisy will stop at nothing to be heard, even outside of the pages of her diary … 

Will Simon stick around when life becomes increasingly spooky for Cori, as she moves ever closer to uncovering the truth about Daisy’s connection to the girl in her favourite painting?

My Review:

In The Girl In the Painting, Kirsty Ferry too me into a world of art and intrigue!  Kirsty writes an intricate tale that took me on a very unexpected journey in The Girl in the Painting.

I really liked the hero and heroine.  Simon is an artist working in the Tate gallery who is attracted to Cori from the moment he sees her.  Cori has moved to London, following her dreams after heart break with no intention of getting together with anyone else for the time being.  Circumstances draw Simon and Cori together though, and the attraction that I could feel between them slowly grows.  I liked how they were together and how their relationship evolved.  They have a common interest to start with, and from there everything intensifies.  

And intensify it does!  The world of art is also a world of mystery and secrets at times, and when Cori begins following a long ago trail that starts with a woman in a painting, the pace of The Girl in the Painting really picked up and sucked me in.  Trying to find out the truths of the past starts getting scary though, and soon Cori's experiences become exhilarating and thrilling.  Kirsty weaves in a big spook factor in a way that makes you think it just might happen...  I liked how this was done.   The twists in the plot were unexpected and exciting in all the right ways.  The mystery of the past draws Cori and Simon closer, as well as a group of friends, and I liked how these people interacted with each other and within the plot of the story.  I also really love the setting of this book, and parts of London come to life and are easy to visualize.

The different angles of the plot weave together well, and the pace is great.  I felt like nothing else could surprise me in this story, but Kirsty still manages to do just that and draw everything to a powerful, heart fulfilling conclusion.  I'd recommend The Girl in the Mirror to any romance reader who likes some supernatural and suspense blended in!

4/5 stars

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Review: Winter's Wonder (Pine Point #2) by Allie Boniface

Book Blurb:

Pine Point hasn’t changed much in the eight years Zane Andrews has been away. But Zane sure has. These days, this reformed bad boy has no problem resisting the bored housewives who flirt shamelessly with their gated community’s security guard.

The only thorn in his side is the stray dog that keeps overturning the neighborhood’s garbage cans, and the cute, crusading do-gooder who barks at him for trying to chase it off.

Becca Ericksen knows Zane is just doing his job, but his tactics are making her job—to rescue strays and bring them to Pine Point Paws—much harder. Clearly, they have nothing in common, yet when the legendary playboy asks her out, she finds herself saying yes.

With a sizzling kiss, something warm and unexpected begins to grow between them. Opposites can attract, but is attraction enough?

Warning: Contains a bad boy gone good, and a woman who’s one good deed away from disaster. Cold noses and warm kisses—and that’s just from the canines.

My Review:

Winter's Wonder by Allie Boniface is a sweet, fast paced romance with characters who feel like people I could know.  An unexpected attraction of opposites sets this story in motion.  

I liked Zane and Becca a lot as a hero and heroine.  I liked that there was the instant attraction, but neither of them actually acted on it right away.  Becca has a lot going on in her life, and a relationship is not in the near future as she sees it for herself.  Zane doesn't give up easily though!  I liked that it wasn't as easy as Zane would have liked to have anything with Becca.  There were times when I wondered if he'd give up!

Zane and Becca have a good connection, even if at times it seems sporadic.  This made them believable, and I found myself hoping they could find a way to fit into each others lives.

I loved the wintry feeling of Winter's Wonder and I especially like all the animals!

Well paced and a feel good read, I'd recommend Winter's Wonder to any romance reader.  

4/5 stars

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: Hold Me Close (Paradise, Idaho #2) by Rosalind James

Book Blurb:

Kayla Chambers knows what love is—and what it isn’t. When her boyfriend turns abusive, she and her son escape to a new life in a place where he’ll never find them. The idyllic town of Paradise, Idaho, has everything she needs to get back on her feet. Survival is her only goal, and the last thing she wants is another man in her life.

But Kayla’s new neighbor, high school principal Luke Jackson, is determined to change her mind. Luke usually takes the fast lane with women, but he can see that Kayla and her son need help, and he wants to earn her trust—even if that means taking things slow. He strikes up a friendship that soon simmers into something passionate and real. But when Kayla’s past catches up with her, Luke knows he has to find a way to keep her safe…or risk losing her forever.

My Review:

In Hold Me Close by Rosalind James I was pulled in from the first page and felt like I was inside the story with Kayla, her son Eli, and Luke.  When Kayla takes the biggest risk of her life to escape terror and physical abuse, she goes to Paradise, Idaho.  One of the few places she has happy memories of, even if for a short time.  There, she starts fresh.  Wary, but pushing on, Kayla is determined to make a good life for her and her son in Paradise.  Luke's home has always been Paradise, even if no woman there has claimed his heart.  Something about Kayla tugs at him though and makes him want to be closer to her.

I really liked both of these main characters.  I loved Kayla.  She is brave, strong and determined.  Despite the odds and what she's been through, she pushes on and doesn't give up or pity herself.  I got the strong impression that she would come out on top...if the man she's running from doesn't find her.  I really liked Luke too.  The depth of his feelings for Kayla and Eli surprises him, but he doesn't fight them.  He is patient, caring and protective.  Together their chemistry is palpable, even if Kayla is not ready for another man in her life.  She's not sure she ever will be, but Luke just might change that.  I liked that Luke didn't play the knight in shining armour.  He just was who he was, and when he realizes the depth of what Kayla is running from he wants to keep her and Eli safe but doesn't try to take over their safety.  He seems to instinctively know that Kayla needs to battle her own demons.  I liked the honesty and maturity that are integral parts of who Luke and Kayla are.  Luke and Kayla are believable, realistic characters who could be anyone in your life.

I really liked Paradise, Idaho also!  A small town that felt like home as I read, a place I'd like to be.  It definitely is not a smothering small town, and Rosalind's descriptions of it and the people there really brought it to life.  With a host of secondary characters from Luke's family to friends backing up the main characters, Hold Me Close was a powerful read.  I enjoyed reading Hold Me Close in the different points of view Rosalind James writes from...from a battered woman to inside an evil mind of who she's running from.  This really upped the suspense of the plot and made it all feel even more real.

Rosalind brings a spotlight on domestic abuse and how difficult it is to escape in Hold Me Close, and I'm glad I read this book.  With continuous good flow from scene to scene and page to page, Hold Me Close is suspenseful, hopeful, and emotional.  I'd recommend it to any romance reader.

5/5 stars

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: Kakadu Sunset by Annie Seaton

Book Blurb:

In the ancient lands of Kakadu, it's not just the crocodiles you should be afraid of...

Helicopter pilot Ellie Porter loves her job. Soaring above the glorious Kakadu National Park, she feels freed from the heavy losses of her beloved family farm and the questions around her father's suicide. But when a search-and-rescue mission on the boundary of the older property reveals unusual excavation works, Ellie vows to investigate.

The last thing she needs is her bad-tempered co-pilot, Kane McClaren, interfering. The son of the current owners of the farm, her attraction to him is a distraction she can't afford, especially when someone threatens to put a stop to her inquiries - by any means necessary.

Ellie will have to trust Kane if she is to have any hope of uncovering the truth of what is really going on. Between Ellie's damage and Kane's secrets, can they find a way to open up to each other before the shadowy forces shut her up...for good?

My Review:

Kakadu Sunset by Annie Seaton is an intricate, complex yet easy to follow story with deep characters.  Annie blends together very well intriguing elements of both romance and suspense in Kakadu Sunset, with the suspenseful story line leading the way.  I liked that Kakadu Sunset was a multi focal story and that all the pieces fit together so well.  I felt like I got a bit of everything in Kakadu Sunset...from corruption, modern day environmental issues, relationships, an evil bully, danger, sadness, and at the same time the peaceful feeling of love and caring.

For Ellie, Kakadu is home and always will be.  For Kane, it's a for now home, and he doesn't know what the future will hold.  These two are unexpectedly drawn together and make a strong hero and heroine.  I liked seeing them get to know each other.  I liked that there was a not a lot of overblown drama between them.  They felt like mature characters who could be people I know.  The situation they find themselves in is unexpected, and their journey is both thrillingly scary at times, and so touching at other times.  I like how Annie wove all of this together into a believable plot.  The secondary characters are all a necessary part of the story line and they add a lot of depth to Kakadu Sunset.

I love, loved the descriptions of the land that Annie writes.  She took me right was a place easy to visualize and feel.

With a great pace and smooth writing that was easy to become absorbed in, I really enjoyed reading Kakadu Sunset and for a brief time becoming part of the place!  I'd recommend Kakadu Sunset to any romantic suspense reader.

4/5 stars

Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: Barefoot with a Bad Boy (Barefoot Bay Undercover #3)

Book Blurb:
 A man who trusts no one is forced to believe the unbelievable...

For years, former spy Gabriel Rossi has been secretly searching for CIA linguist Isadora Winter, a woman he loved and lost long ago. But recently, he learned of her untimely death in an accident...and death of her son named Gabe. Angry, hurt, and uncertain of his next move, Gabe is stunned when a woman he's never met approaches him on the beach and claims to be Isadora. She doesn't look, act, or talk like his beloved Isa, but she knows things about their past that only a lover could know, and she assures him that his son is alive as well. As much as he wants to believe her and knows that in the spy world, anything is possible, doubts and distrust plague him. Still, he sees glimmers of the woman he once knew shine through and she begins to melt his hardened heart.

A woman who is tortured by emotions must endure the pain of love...

Lila Wickham has been working deep undercover for so long that sometimes she's forgotten who she really is. Now that her assignment is over and the surgeries she endured left her utterly changed, she is determined to fix the broken life she left behind and assure that her little boy is safe. With lingering threats from an unknown source and blinding headaches that torment her whenever she feels deep emotion, she seeks Gabe Rossi for help and protection. But instead of setting her up with a new undercover identity, he insists on luring her nemesis to Barefoot Bay so he can end the threat to Lila and her son once and for all.

Can they survive the worst betrayal of all?

Even if they succeed in drawing out the killer who has Lila in his sights, a much more serious threat hovers over them...a treacherous, deadly truth that could not only destroy their love but end their lives as well.

My Review:

Barefoot With a Bad Boy is a fast paced romantic suspense that sucked me in and didn't want to let me go.  Gabe is a former spy now in the security business with his own private agenda.  Lily is a mysterious woman who is not at all who she appears to be.

I really enjoyed Barefoot With a Bad Boy and didn't want to put it down!  Roxanne's smooth, well paced writing along with great characters and a unique, believable plot kept me feeling like I was in this story with Lily and Gabe.  Lily and Gabe are a powerful pair separately and together.  They make a strong heroine/hero.  Gabe is not one to give up until he has all of the answers...I could feel his strength, his love and that he was a total alpha!  I could easily picture him in my head.  I felt for both of these characters - what they've been through and what they are going through now.  Lily is really struggling and I was intrigued to see how she would deal with things.  I liked how Roxanne wrote this, how Lily worked through things.

I liked the thrill of the suspense.  With all the interwoven connections and the unexpected plot twists, Barefoot With a Bad Boy made me feel fear, but at the same time a glimmer of hope.  I felt like what was happening in Lily and Gabe's world was something that could happen in real life.

I felt like I had a clear picture of past relationships and how these were playing a strong role in the present and would in the future.  The characters are mature and well developed.  The secondary characters add a lot of depth to the main plot, and I've seen a lot of them in previous books in this series.  However, they are supporting characters in this book and Barefoot With a Bad Boy can easily be read as a stand alone.

Showing us life will always throw us the unexpected and how we react to this will guide our path, Barefoot With a Bad Boy is a romantic suspense that at times took my breath away.  I'd recommend it to any romantic suspense reader.

5/5 stars

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review: The Valentine Gamble (Whiskey River Series Book 6) by Katherine Garbera and Eve Gaddy

Book Blurb:

Johnny Gamble isn’t afraid of anything. Except Fiona Lannigan’s effect on him. It’s not just that she sees through his love ‘em and leave ‘em ways, she’s also his partner in Whiskey River’s most prestigious law firm. He believes she deserves better than him until they “matched” at the annual Valentine’s Day dance and the night turns into one of the most romantic of his life. Convincing him that he’s found a woman he doesn’t want to leave. 

Fiona is all for a good time with Johnny. There have been sparks between them from the beginning, but more than one night between the sheets isn’t in the cards. Or so she thinks, until Johnny turns on the romance. 

Can Johnny convince Fiona that this is one Valentine’s Gamble worth taking? 

My Review:

I loved being back in Whiskey River in Valentine's Gamble!  There are familiar characters from previous books in this series, but the spotlight is on Johnny and Fiona.  They both have their reasons for not getting involved with anyone, but they are also both drawn to each other.  Working together makes a personal relationship impossible...or does it? 

I liked getting to know Johnny and Fiona as they got to know each other on a more personal level.  The rapid progress of their relationship is written in a believable way, and it was a fun adventure to be on as Johnny could no longer deny his feelings - if only Fiona's didn't scare her so much.  I liked the romance and heat in Valentine's Gamble, and the uncertainty of what the future might hold. 

Valentine's Gamble is a perfect read for Valentine's Day.  Well paced, easy to read,  and heart felt, I'd recommend Valentine's Gamble to any romance reader.

4/5 stars

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Review: Lady in Red by Mel Teshco

Book Blurb:

Bullied and battered as a child, Kate Matthews grows up and transforms herself into beautiful and confident, Brandy Alexander, a sexy, high-class call girl. With a select number of rich and successful clients and a jaw dropping income, Kate feels like she’s living her dream being desired and bedded by some of Australia’s most powerful and influential men. But she has one rule. Don’t fall in love. Except the more time she spends with her favorite client Blaine Waymann, the more she fears he might be the one man who could topple the perfect world she’s built. 

Billionaire philanthropist Blaine Waymann is determined to break Kate’s rule. He wants exclusive rights to Brandy and Kate, in bed and out, and is willing to risk everything to win her body and her trust. But when Kate starts opening her heart to Blaine, she faces an agonizing decision. Run like she always does, or stay with the man she not only lusts after, but loves.

My Review:

In Lady in Red by Mel Teschco, the characters pulled me in to a believable plot.  I felt like I got to know Kate, and I really felt for her.  How she has moved forward in her life is different, but it's what works for her.  Or so she tells herself, but does it really?  She finally feels valued and desirable in life, but is the temporary nature of it enough?  Secretly she craves more, but is afraid to let herself hope or trust.  Mel Teshco writes Kate's character well, and I felt like she was well defined because we knew her past and her present...her future is the question.  I liked Kate, and even though I found her a bit frustrating at times, I could understand her.

Blaine has wanted Kate from the moment he laid eyes on her...and not just in the context of her job.  He really pursues her.  It had the potential to be stalkerish, but both of these characters had feelings for each other, so it really wasn't.  I like how he sees so much more in Kate than she sees in herself, and I like how the issue of her job is there but it's not the big issue.  How Kate and Blaine come together is unique...but how will they end up?

I liked how Mel wrote Lady in Red.  There are sex scenes, but not over the top, and they are completely relevant to the plot line in many ways.  The secondary characters are interesting, and I liked how Blaine's mother was brought into the story.

The pace of Lady in Red has good flow to it, and it was easy to keep reading as Kate tried to overcome the obstacles blocking her future.  A steamy, emotional read, I'd recommend Lady in Red to any romance reader.

4/5 stars

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: A Christmas Miracle for Daisy (Taming of the Sheenans Book 5) by Jane Porter

Book Blurb:

Media Mogul, Cormac Sheenan, had no desire to become a family man, but when his two year old goddaughter, Daisy, is orphaned, he adopts her, moving her from Montana to his home in Southern California, and becomes a devoted single father, juggling parenting duties with running his successful publishing, TV, and radio enterprise. 

But two years later a frightening incident at Daisy’s school, shakes Cormac, and he decides to move Daisy–and his business–back to Montana where life is simpler and he has family nearby. 

Now four, precocious Daisy strikes up an unlikely friendship with Marietta’s seasonal Santa Claus, and believes he’s the real thing, even though Cormac points out to her that this jolly old Kris Kringle is renting a room at Bramble House, not living at the North Pole. Daisy’s not worried but Cormac is as Rent-a-Santa has promised his innocent daughter she’ll have a mommy for Christmas. 

Cormac is livid with Kris. He’s not at all ready to settle down, and he’s definitely not getting back together with his old flame Whitney Alder, so Santa can stop playing match maker as it’d take a miracle to make him fall in love, never mind marriage material. 

But that’s exactly the kind of miracle our angelic Santa Claus has planned… 

My Review:

A Christmas Miracle for Daisy by Jane Porter has a strong Christmas theme but it is a book that will make you feel good and believe at any time of year.  I loved the characters in this story, from the struggling main characters Cormac and Whitney, to the secondary characters of Mr. Krinkle and Daisy, along with a host of other characters who are familiar from previous books in this series (Taming of the Sheenans).  Together they weave a wonderful tale.

Cormac and Whitney have a past that ended badly, and neither have a desire to be involved with each other again.  But there is a sweet little girl to consider, and a pull towards each other that is hard to resist.  Christmas in Marietta might just be the miracle they all need to heal...if they can find it in their hearts to forgive and move on.

I liked how Cormac and Whitney were together...the magnetic pull towards each other was as palpable as the resistance they tried to put up.  The issues they faced were believable and the feelings were real.  I couldn't wait to see how things would work our for them, and if Daisy would get her Christmas Miracle. I liked the involvement of the secondary characters.  They added depth and interest to the plot.

A unique second chance romance with a magical Christmas setting, A Christmas Miracle for Daisy is well written, flows smoothly and captured my heart.  I'd recommend it to any romance reader!

4/5 stars

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: Rules of Love & Murder (Love & Murder Book 2) by Edie Ramer

Book Blurb:

Some days life is wonderful. Other days it’s murder. 

Former Marine August Reyes is home for good, haunted by images of bloodshed. He meets up again with Elle Styles, the girl he's never been able to forget.  
When August was eight and Elle was six, she changed his and his mother's lives before she and her widowed mother left the Wisconsin vacation town. Twenty-two years later, she's returned to Trouble Bay with her four-year-old daughter, but they’re only staying for six weeks. Elle and August are different people now. He sees life through darkness, and she sees it through light. And light and dark don’t mix well. 
Someone else was changed by Elle when she was young. A woman who lives by her own rules. Rule Nr. Two—Don’t let anyone cheat you—is in play now. And this might lead to Rule Nr. Three: Don’t kill anyone ... unless killing is necessary. 
The town of Trouble Bay is about to live up to its name. Life there can be murder... Even when you’re falling in love. 

My Review:

I loved how Edie Ramer starts out Rules of Love and Murder with the story of how August and Elle first met.  It was so touching and feeling, it was a great way to take me to where they are today.  I really felt like I knew Elle and August from the beginning, and to go to where they are today was an easy transition.

Rules of Love and Murder is very intriguing, and very unexpected.  What I thought might happen for some parts of the plot didn't, and what I hoped would happen for some parts of the plot slowly made progress.  I really enjoyed how this story was written, so you never really knew what would happen.  August and Elle are strong main characters.  I liked that they knew each other from before and had a past together. They are the same but also different, and what brings them to where they are today and together is an intriguing plot line!!

There are strong secondary characters in Rules of Love and Murder...many we've seen in the first book in this series.  However, they are on the periphery enough in this book to make Rules of Love and Murder a strong stand alone.  The small town, the characters with secrets no one knows, the unexpected happenings, suspense, and a chance at love kept me glued to the pages!

Rules of Love and Murder has great flow, smooth writing, and reminds you you never really know what's going on even in small towns!  Rules of Love and Murder can easily be read as a stand alone, and I'd recommend it to any romance reader looking for suspense and a story that takes you on an unexpected path!

4/5 stars

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Review: Driftwood Hero (Driftwood Bay Book 2) by Lenora Worth

Book Blurb:

When reclusive war hero, Sam Hinson, is asked to be the best man for his friend Brodie Steven, he heads to the small town of Spirit, Louisiana, only to find out from the bride’s gorgeous older sister that he needs to deliver the “best man” speech at the wedding reception. He doesn’t like to even be in a crowd, let along speak to one. 

Still hurting from her ex-husband, Madeline Sonnier Parker is ready for a little temporary romance. She tells Sam she’ll help him write his toast to the bride and groom if he’ll help her aggravate her ex-husband. But Sam’s been used before, and after being around Madeline, he decides he wants more than what she’s willing to give. 

Their pact sets off a string of revealing old hurts and new fears as Sam and Madeline come together. But once they begin opening up to each other, they realize that this wedding bargain might just be the start to something more…

My Review:

Driftwood Hero by Lenora Worth is a fast paced romance that really made me feel hope for the main characters.  Driftwood Hero is all about how the past shapes the present...the outlook on life and love, facing fear and overcoming it.  Sam and Madeline grew up in two very different families, but as adults they found themselves in very similar situations.  Their feelings and fears are realistic, their experiences believable.  I liked how different these main characters were, but at the same time they were very similar.  The way they react to situations made them feel real.  

Driftwood Hero takes place mainly over a few days, but I was quickly drawn into the lives of Maddie and Sam and felt like I was able to get to know them.  I could also sense the connection between Madeline and Sam from the start.  Sam and Madeline might get a second chance at love in Driftwood Hero, if they can let go of the past.

I loved the descriptiveness Lenora wrote with.  The setting is easy to picture, and the bustle of getting ready for a wedding easy to imagine!  

The second book in the Driftwood Bay series, Driftwood Hero can be read as a stand alone.  I'd recommend Driftwood Hero to any romance reader.

4/5 stars

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