Review: What You Need by Lorelei James

What You Need
Series: Need You, #1
Author: Lorelei James
Publication Date: January 5, 2017
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

New York Times bestseller Lorelei James introduces a new family for readers to fall in love with in the Need You series. The Lund name is synonymous with wealth and power in Minneapolis-St. Paul. But the four Lund siblings will each discover true love takes a course of its own…

As the CFO of Lund Industries, Brady Lund is the poster child for responsibility. But eighty hour work weeks leave him little time for a life outside his corner office. His brothers stage an intervention and drag him to a seedy night club…where he sees her, the buttoned up blonde from the secretarial pool who’s starred in his fantasies for months.

Lennox Greene is a woman with a rebellious past—which she carefully conceals beneath her conservative clothes. She knows flirting with her sexy, but aloof boss during working hours is a bad idea. So when Brady shows up at her favorite dive bar, sans his usual snappy suit, and catches her cutting loose, she throws caution aside and dares him to do the same.

After sparks fly, Brady finds keeping his hands off Lennox during office hours is harder than expected. While she makes him feel alive for the first time in years, a part of him wonders if she’s just using him to get ahead. And Lennox must figure out if Brady wants her for the accomplished woman she is—or the bad girl she was.


This was my first experience reading a book by Lorelei James. I was excited to have won What You Need because I’ve seen her books around and have wanted to try reading one. I hadn’t talked to anyone before about James’ books, so I didn’t really have any expectations going in. What I found was great writing, intriguing characters and a great plot.

At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like What You Need. It started out feeling like a stuffy office romance. Brady the CFO was all high and mighty and lowly office floater Lennox was one to challenge authority. That perception only lasted a minute. Once I got to know each character and their thoughts better, I realized they had a lot of depth and so did their love story. It wasn’t simply co-workers falling in love. It was people from two different tracks of life finding comfort and acceptance in each other.

My favorite thing about this book was the main characters. Lennox was buttoned up on the outside, but inside was a wild child waiting to be free again. She was doing everything she could to make a name for herself, even if she had tame who she was to do it. There was so much fight and drive in Lennox despite her rough upbringing. I found her to be so inspiring. Initially it seemed like Brady had life handed to him, but he was more than a man groomed to be CFO. Many thought Brady to be all hard business, but there was more to him than met the eye. He was sweet, caring and had sexy side no one would have expected. What hit me most about Brady was his insecurities. They plagued him even though he had wealth and power.

While each was a great character on their own, I loved Brady and Lennox together. Their personalities matched against each other perfectly. Both liked to get their way. Brady had a commanding side I didn’t see coming. He knew how to take the control Lennox was used to wielding. He was so uptight at work, I didn’t expect him to have a little bit of a dirty side. I found it almost as sexy as Lennox did. Their push and pull of authority was fun.

This might have been my first Lorelei James book, but it won’t be the last. What You Need was a great contemporary romance. It was the perfect mix of sweet and sexy. It made me excited to find out what’s in store for the next Lund son.

Release Day Review: The Knocked Up Plan by Lauren Blakely

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a new and sexy romance…THE KNOCKED UP PLAN! A standalone romance told in dual POV, THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is about all of the fun, hotness, and heartfelt emotions that come when a single woman asks her gorgeous, jaded, sworn-to-be-single-forever good friend to get one particular job done. What happens next when he agrees to provide the bun for her oven are lots of hot sexy times and heartfelt moments.

Now available on all retailers! Get your copy delivered now!

✮✮✮ THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

There are three little words most guys don’t want to hear on the first date. Not those…I mean these… “knock me up.”

This single gal has had enough of the games, the BS and the endless chase. I know what I want most, and it’s not true love. It’s a bun in the oven, and I’m not afraid to hit up my sex-on-a-stick co-worker to do the job. Ryder is gorgeous, witty and charming — and he’s also a notorious commitment-phobe. That makes him the perfect candidate to make a deposit in the bank of me.

I won’t fall for him, he won’t fall for me, and there’s no way baby will make three.

Right?

****
There are four words every guy wants to hear on the first date — “your place or mine?”

When my hot-as-sin co-worker makes me a no-strings-attached offer that involves her place, my place, any place — as well as any position — I can’t refuse. Besides, I’ve got my own reasons to take her up on her deal even with her one BIG condition.

There’s no way I’ll want more from one woman than any position, any where, any night? Except . . . what if I do?

Be prepared to swoon and fan yourself from the heat! This full-length standalone contains lots of hot baby-making s-e-x, happy tears, playful jokes and a hot, swoon worthy hero you will fall madly in love with. One-click now for pure reading enjoyment!

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My Review

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

Nicole has always wanted kids, but now that she’s hit 30 her biological clock is ticking out of control. Knowing that falling in love if off the table, she plans to raise a child on her own. There’s just one problem. Nicole needs some male DNA. Looking at her options, the best one seems to be to ask her co-worker who’s the total package to donate some of his swimmers. It’s a business deal and that’s it.

Ryder is done with relationships. His ex made sure of that. When his incredibly hot co-worker approaches him to be her sperm donor, he has one stipulation: they knock her up the old-fashioned way. That way he gets what he wants, and so does she. There’s no way either of them will ever want more from each other…

Holy hotness! I’ve read a bunch of sexy books lately, but The Knocked Up Plan takes the cake. It had the most descriptive and inspiring sex scenes I’ve read in a long time. Fans, ladies. Get your fans out before you read this one. You’re going to need them. This book is called The Knocked Up Plan for a reason. It’s obviously about getting knocked up and it takes a lot of incredibly good “practice” to do that. 😉

The Knocked Up Plan wasn’t just filled with sex. It was also filled with amazing characters and tons of emotions. Nicole and Ryder were both great characters. Each had their own element of coolness. Nicole was fun, smart and sassy. Ryder was a little more guarded, just the right amount of cocky and surprisingly sweet. They were both attracted to each other, so it was no surprise to anyone but themselves that they fell for each other. It was how they dealt with their feelings that sent me on an emotional rollercoaster. I loved them so much, and I desperately wanted them to figure stuff out.

The Knocked Up Plan is my new favorite book by Lauren Blakely. It was witty, sexy and an all around good time. It’s destined to be a favorite romantic summer read this year.



✦The audiobook will be narrated by Sebastian York and Andi Arndt! Link coming soon! ✦

 


Excerpt

“How does it work?” I ask. “The whole donation process.”

She stabs a carrot slice, chews, and swallows. “Well, there’s this thing guys do when they’re horny. It’s called”—she glances furtively from side to side—“jacking off.”

“I’m well aware of how the protein shake is made. What I mean is, are we talking about one of those little rooms you go into?” I ask, since what man doesn’t have an image of a jerk-off chamber? “With magazines or porn or whatnot?”

“Yes, they schedule the donors for forty-minute sessions in them.”

“I’m more efficient than that, but that’s good to know.” I take another bite and chew. I set down the burger. “So, a nurse or orderly would escort me to a special room, and then I’d need to drop my
drawers and whack off. Into a cup, right?”

“A plastic sample cup. With a top,” she says, and I’m kind of amazed that she’s answering every question like a champ. No blushing, no stammering.

“What do they provide for entertainment? Laptops? Computers? Or is it old school with Playboy?”

“They provide pornographic material in printed form as well as video on a TV screen.”

“Awesome. So I just choke the chicken in a room with a ton of other dudes going at it in their own rooms, too. Hand a cup to the nurse. She seals up the goods. Then, what’s next?”

“They do tests on your swimmers.”

“They’ll pass. Then you come in, maybe the same day, maybe a few days later?”

“Same day. We’d have to time everything to my cycle and when I’m ovulating.”

“Fine, so they undress you, prop you up on an exam table, and stick a turkey baster into you?”

“You paint a lovely picture of the process.”

I hold up a hand, waving her off. “Wait. I’m not done. You’re in nothing but a hospital gown. The doc tells you to put your cute little feet in stirrups, and they stick that baster up inside what I am sure
is an absolutely gorgeous and heavenly home,” I say, because if she can complement my tadpoles, I can say something nice about the paradise between her legs. She mouths a thank you. “After the boys
make the upstream trip, they send you home.” I mime patting her on the rear and then sending her out the door.

“I think you’ve got the basic idea.”

“And after that?”

“That’s all,” she says. “That’s all I’d want you to do. I don’t expect or want any involvement. I’d have all the paperwork drawn up in advance saying there are no legal rights, responsibilities, or expectations of parenting, and no financial commitments required.”

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but that’s the clincher for me—the lack of involvement. If I’m ever going to raise a child, I’m damn well going to do it right. The whole nine yards, two parents, just like my mom and dad raised my brother, my sister, and me.

Nicole isn’t asking me to sign up for daddy duty, though. She doesn’t want me to help with diaper detail or midnight feedings.

She’s a friend asking for the help she needs so she can then do those things on her own.

And helping a friend seems like something I should consider.

Fine, she’s asking for a hell of a lot more than a dude to put together an IKEA TV stand, and those things are beyond Da Vinci Code-level cryptic. I’d like to see Robert Langdon decipher some IKEA assembly instructions. Good luck with that, Harvard symbologist.

I like Nicole. I respect the dickens out of this woman. I want to take her request as seriously as she’s asking it. “Can I have a few days to think about it?”

“Of course. Take all the time you need,” she says, then glances at an imaginary watch on her wrist. “It’s only my biological clock ticking.”


“A refreshing take on the baby trope, The Knocked Up Plan is as sweet as it is naughty. Blakely not only balloons Nicole and Ryder’s incredibly powerful chemistry to new heights with their steamy love scenes, but she also infuses sweet emotion into every single one of their interactions.”

– USA Today

“Wildly romantic! Incredibly sexy! Hilarious and sweet! The Knocked Up Plan HAD IT ALL! The PERFECT romance to kick your Summer into HIGH GEAR! Ryder and Nicole are Lauren Blakely’s BEST CHARACTERS YET!”

– Shayna at Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads

“The chemistry between Ryder and Nicole is COMBUSTIBLE!!! They are magic together.”

– Bookalicious Babes Blog

Add it to Goodreads here!

http://bit.ly/2r4ml1u

✮✮✮Enter to win this amazing THE KNOCKED UP PLAN GIVEAWAY!✮✮✮

Lauren’s Bundle of Joy Special Delivery Giveaway! This bundle is valued at $200 and includes the most delicious cupcakes delivered to your door from Wicked Cupcakes, a $50 gift certificate for luxurious bath products to make your skin baby soft from The Body Shop, and comes wrapped up with a beautiful sterling silver bow bangle bracelet from Pandora ($125 value).

http://laurenblakely.com/knocked-plan-giveaway/

About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. In June she’ll release THE KNOCKED UP PLAN, a standalone contemporary romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

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Review: I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne

I Knew You Were Trouble
Series: Oxford, #4
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

New York City’s hottest bachelors are stirring up trouble in this fun, flirty Oxford Novel, as a love triangle forces a feisty beauty to choose between winning back Mr. Right or giving in to Mr. Wrong.

Taylor Carr has it all—a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her.

Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.


I Knew You Were Trouble is an excellent example of why Lauren Layne is a queen of contemporary romance. Each book she writes gets better and better. I didn’t think another Oxford novel could top Lincoln Mathis and Someone Like You, but I was wrong. I Knew You Were Trouble was just as amazing, if not even better than Someone Like You.

It doesn’t matter who the characters are, or what the situation holds for them, Layne makes me fall in love with their story. I Knew You Were Trouble showcased this by taking a smart and beautiful but somewhat cold woman and making me empathize with her. I didn’t love how cold Taylor could be, but I got it. She had a tough life, and what she thought she wanted wasn’t always what was best for her. I loved how having her nemesis move in and taunt her in ways she didn’t want changed her. It was fun to see her character progress through so many emotions throughout the book.

As for Taylor’s enemy, Nick was way hotter and cooler than I remember him from Someone Like You. He had his own issues, but I loved how he helped Taylor come to terms with hers. They way he pushed her was frustratingly hot. I couldn’t get over their witty banter. It made the story fly by. Nick and Taylor’s chemistry was undeniable, and those steamy sex scenes proved it.

My favorite part of I Knew You Were Trouble had to be the climax. I saw it coming, but didn’t expect it to play out the way it did. It was so creatively set up. I really loved how it ended up resolving.

I loved everything about I Knew You Were Trouble. It was another great office romance. It held my attention from the beginning and never let go. I read it in one sitting, and couldn’t have put it down if I wanted to. I’m really hoping this book will not be the end of the Oxford series. I would love another book or two in this series!

Review: The Last Guy by Ilsa Madden-Mills & Tia Louise

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The Last Guy
Authors: Ilsa Madden-Mills, Tia Louise
Publication Date: June 12, 2017
Publisher: Ilsa-Louise Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The first rule of office romance is don’t do it—especially if your dream is to hold the anchor spot on the nightly news and your boss is trying to get you fired.

But one look at Cade Hill, the sexy new sports director, and uptight reporter Rebecca Fieldstone is daydreaming about other things.

Sex in his office…
Sex in the on-set kitchen…
Sex in the supply closet…

She can’t stop thinking about the former NFL quarterback and how perfect he’d look between her sheets—except he’s an arrogant jerk with a huge…ego.

He’s the last guy she’d ever have a one-night stand with.

Cade Hill draws a professional line on office romance—until it comes to the hyper-focused Rebecca. He wants her, and he gets his wish when a chance encounter has them having the hottest sex of their lives.

It’s just a hook-up, she says.
When can we do it again? he says.

With Rebecca determined to keep Cade in the friend zone, it’s going to be an uphill battle for Cade to convince her that he’s the last guy for her…


When I heard Ilsa Madden-Mills was coming out with a new book, I was super excited. She’s one of my go-to authors. When I realized she was writing with Tia Louise for this release, I was even more excited because I haven’t had the chance to read her books before. There was every reason to be excited, too, because The Last Guy was one of the most entertaining office romances I’ve read in a long time.

Madden-Mills and Louise are a match made in writing heaven. I would never have known that The Last Guy was written by two authors if it hadn’t been on the front cover. The authors’ writing melded so well together. Their story was funny and fresh. I couldn’t get enough of it.

I loved the characters in this book! Rebecca was so down to earth. I could easily imagine myself in her shoes. Everything crazy that happened to her would totally happen to me in real life. Her struggles were very easy to relate to. Cade was that superstar hottie we’re always surprised is into a regular, normal woman. Their relationship was off the charts hot. The sex was some of the hottest I’ve read in a while. I’m not talking super kinky or anything, I’m just talking fanning yourself hot. The chemistry between Cade and Rebecca was so awesome.

I can’t leave out the supporting characters. Chas could have easily stolen the show in this book. She was over the top fabulous and I loved every scene she stole. Cade’s brother was also another amazing character. He added another dimension to Cade, and helped emphasize what a great guy Cade was.

If you’re looking for the perfect summer romance read, look no further. The Last Guy is the book you need. It’s light, funny and will warm you up if the nights get cold. Ilsa Madden-Mills and Tia Louise are a reader’s author match made in heaven. I truly hope they write more books together.


“The best and only way to kick off summer, devouring The Last Guy and then doing it all over again because it’s just that good.”

— #1New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Van Dyken

 

THE LAST GUY is the first white-hot CONTEMPORARY ROMANTIC COMEDY from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills and Tia Louise. It features Fireball-fueled hookups, Doritos Locos Tacos, attack monkeys, toddlers in tiaras, and one fabulous drag queen. Prepare for frantic clicking (or page flipping!) and smoking-hot sexytimes all the way to the out-of-this-world happily-ever-after.

TLG-99

Read THE LAST GUY today:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2rbKuU8
Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/n7ViYL

PAPERBACK

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2roeV8U

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About the Authors:

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills and the “Queen of Hot Romance” Tia Louise are not a secret duo, but simply themselves.

Great friends, former English teachers, and southern gals in real life, they’ve teamed up to bring you laugh-out-loud naughty romances with strong leading ladies and sexy alpha males who know how to please their women… and who sometimes you just want to slap.

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Connect with Tia:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTiaLouise/
Twitter: @AuthorTLouise
Stay up to date with Tia Louise by signing up for her newsletter: http://smarturl.it/TLMnews
https://authortialouise.com/dirtyplayers/

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Connect with Ilsa:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorilsamaddenmills/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ilsamaddenmills
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2k6L96J
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jjRzlD
Website: http://www.ilsamaddenmills.com/

Blog Tour Review: Tempt the Boss by Natasha Madison

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Lauren
Going back to work was supposed to be a painless transition, but when my new boss turns out to be an arrogant, cocky jerk, he quickly turns my professional life into a world of torture. Okay, fine, calling him an asshat before knowing he was my boss wasn’t my finest moment. Hating him should be easy. I just never counted on him being so gorgeous or charming when he’s not annoying me.

Austin
I expected my new assistant to be professional and punctual, but all I’m getting are dirty looks and rude comments. I should fire the little hellion, but instead all I can think about is bending her over my desk and breaking every rule I’ve ever made for myself.

One look. One touch. One night. If we break the rules, our lives will never be the same again.

Good thing rules were made to be broken. And besides, it feels so good to Tempt the Boss.

My Review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from Ardent Prose PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

I feel like I won the lottery after having been asked to read and review Tempt the Boss. I’ve read a ton of office romances lately, and it is definitely one of my favorites! It was my first time reading one of Natasha Madison’s books, and I was so impressed.

Tempt the Boss had me laughing non-stop. Austin and Lauren started out as enemies barely able to work together. They couldn’t stand each other, but were so attracted to each other. There was a definite love-hate relationship between them that created so many amazing moments. The antics those two got up to were insane! (Side note: If I was Natasha Madison’s friend, I would not wrong her. I would be scared for my life!) I loved every minute of the war they had going on.

The laughs and tension didn’t stop once Lauren and Austin moved from hate to love, but the story took on a more seductive and sweet tone. Lauren and Austin’s were freaks between the sheets! Their passion was so hot and intense. Their relationship wasn’t all about the sex, though. Lauren had kids, and so much of their relationship was about finding balance and creating a family. I loved how seamlessly the author was able to combine both aspects of Lauren’s life into the story.

Lauren and Austin were both amazing characters. I loved Lauren’s tenacity and the way she rebounded from life’s harder experiences. She was a strong woman and a great role model. Austin was a cocky jerk, but he also had a lot of good things about him. He was a much more decent guy than I thought he would be. He really won me over with his approach to Lauren and their life together.

There were so many other great characters in this book, too. I loved Lauren’s crazy sister and all of Noah’s friends. I really need to check Madison’s backlist of books and see if there are any about them. I would love to read more about them!

I honestly don’t have anything negative to say about Tempt the Boss. It pleasantly surprised me, and made me excited to read more from Natasha Madison. I highly recommend this book if you love witty dialog, hilarious standoffs and super sexy office romances.

Lauren
I’m singing along to Maroon Five’s “Don’t Wanna Know” when a call comes in. Penelope’s name flashes on the screen. Penelope is my friend from college, the only friend who I kept in touch with. She runs an HR firm that specializes in placing temps. She is the reason I have this job right now.
“Hello,” I say while I wait for her voice to fill the car.

“Hey, there, just checking in. You ready?” she asks me. I hear her rustling papers in the background, so I know she is already at her desk.

“Yup, I’m on my way there now. I’m so nervous, I may puke, though. But I’ll be on time.” I chuckle at the thought of me barfing all over my new boss. I brake for the traffic that is slowing to a crawl in front of me when I feel my van jerk forward slightly. My head flies forward and then snaps back. Looking in my mirror, I see that someone just hit me.

“Oh my god. Someone just ran into me. Fuck me, P. I have to call you back,” I say, unlocking my seatbelt and climbing out of the car.

I put my Tory Birch sunglasses on top of my head, walking to the back to see the damage. I don’t even have time to get there before I hear a raspy voice ask, “What the hell is wrong with you? You just stopped!” I put a hand over my eyes to block the sun and see him. And boy, do I see him. My heart skips a beat when he whips his aviator sunglasses off his face.

He’s about six feet tall, maybe taller, with dark hair that’s short on the sides and a bit longer at the top, which almost looks like it was combed back by his hands. His eyes are a mossy green with shimmery gold flecks in them that I can see thanks to the sun hitting them just right. A freshly-shaven face that shows off the strong angles of his jaw and hints at where I’m sure a five-o’clock-shadow of delicious stubble will emerge in a few hours.

He’s wearing a suit minus the jacket. His dark blue pants are a perfect fit, molding to him like they were made especially for him, and from the looks of them, they probably were. His crisp, white dress shirt is open at the collar and covers his broad chest and thick biceps. His sleeves are rolled up to his elbows and show off a big, masculine silver Rolex watch.

He throws his hand up as he angrily asks, “Is something wrong with you? Are you drunk?”

I take a step back, putting my hand to my stomach. “Are you talking to me?” I look around wondering if there is someone else he could be talking to. “You hit me. You. Hit. Me.” I storm to the back of the car to assess the damage. I see that my bumper is a bit scratched, but his Porsche is going to need some body work.

“I can’t believe this. I can’t flipping believe this! Now I’m going to be late because you were probably too busy on your phone texting to pay attention to the road.” I walk to my car, opening the door and leaning across the seat to grab my purse. Cars pass us slowly, everyone taking a look to see what’s going on.

Looking at the clock on the dash, I see that I have to be at my new job in twenty minutes. Grabbing my license, registration, and insurance ID card, I slam the door and walk over to see him leaning on the side of my car, watching me.

“I’m going to be late. Is there any way we can just exchange numbers and get all the information after?” I ask, looking through the papers.

I hear him huff. “You probably don’t have insurance, which is why you want to call me later so you can get some while I drive around with a missing a light.” He walks over to his car, leans down, and grabs his phone from the driver’s seat.

I look at him. “So, you weren’t on the phone? Riiighhhhttt,” I say glaring at him.

“I don’t have all day. Some of us have actual work to do. What do you want from me?” His tone is snarky.

“Actually, I don’t want anything from you. My car has a scratch, yours is the one that is damaged. Besides, it wasn’t even my fault. Maybe we should call the police to make a report so we can get it on the record that you were driving while texting.” I lean my head to the side. “I’m not a police officer or anything, but I think that’s against the law.”

He snarls at me, “Just give me your number.” I tell him my number, and when he asks my name, I gladly tell him. “The woman whose car you hit because you were texting while driving.” He looks at me and his eyebrows pinch together. “Is that name already taken?” I ask him, waiting for his answer. When I realize he isn’t going to reply, I ask him, “Now, what’s yours?” He shoots off his number, and I store it in my phone.

I turn around to walk away. “Aren’t you going to ask me my name?” He puts his hands on his hips, his biceps bulging and his chest looking impossibly broader.

“Nope, no need. I just put you under ‘Asshat who texts while driving and hit my car.’” I smile at him. “Have a fabulous day,” I grumble, turning around and getting back in the car.

Fuck. I see that I now have ten minutes to get there. I dial Penelope right after I buckle and take off watching the asshole get into his car. “I think I might still make it,” I tell her even before she says hello.

“It’s okay. I called and told them there was an accident on the way, and they said not to worry, that Austin was going to be late, too. So, you’re still good to go.  How’s the damage?” she asks.

“Minivan: 1 – Porsche: 0.” I laugh and tell her I’ll check back in with her at lunch.

When I finally make it to the office building, I check my face and apply lip gloss one more time before walking inside. I look at my phone and notice that I’m only seven minutes late. Not bad all things considered. I walk in and tell the security guard I am there for Barbara at Mackenzie Jacob Associates. When he calls up, he gets the all clear to send me up.

I make my way up to the forty-sixth floor and walk to the receptionist, who is smiling from ear-to-ear. “Hi. I’m here to see Barbara. My name is Lauren. I’m the temp,” I explain as she gets up and comes around to shake my hand, introducing herself as Carmen. She then takes me back to meet Barbara.

Barbara is short with white hair, and her glasses are perched on her nose. “Hey, there, Lauren. I’m so happy to finally meet you. I’ve heard great things from Penelope.” She reaches out to shake my hand and motions for me to sit down.

“Thank you so much, and I’m so sorry I’m late. I was in a little fender bender, and I tried to finish as fast as I could,” I tell her, sitting down in the chair in front of her desk.
“No worries. I heard Austin was going to be about ten minutes late, but he got here right before you did. Now, if you will fill out these papers here, I will get your elevator pass ready for you,” she says while she goes to her cabinet in the corner.

Because this is just a temp job, I don’t have to do much. Just an emergency contact form. “Now, I should warn you that this is the tenth temp we have hired for this position… this month,” she finishes quickly.

I look at her, confused. “But it’s only the seventeenth of November.” My heart starts racing. What if he throws me out? What if he laughs at me since I haven’t worked in ten years?

“Mr. Mackenzie is, um, well… special to work for,” she murmures while looking down at the papers in front of her and not even trying not make eye contact with me.

“Special? What does that mean?” I ask, my eyebrows pinching together.

“Let’s just say that my money is on you.” She gets up. “Shall we?” She points to the door. I nod at her, trying to get some saliva going in my mouth. It’s dry, and my palms are sweating. I think my armpits are actually starting to sweat, too. Oh boy. I can’t do this. I should turn around and run away.

But before I can make my move, we reach a door that is closed. The big brown door is solid, and the windows that look out into the office have their shades drawn. I hear Barbara knock on the door before we enter.

I don’t see much in front of her. I just look around the office at the view of the city, since there are wall-to-wall windows affording it an amazing view. I don’t have a chance to look much further, because all I hear is a raspy voice asking, “Are you fucking stalking me? Did you follow me here?” I whip my head around to look at him.

Just my luck. It’s the asshat from this morning, the one who hit me. Except now, the asshat is sitting behind the desk, the desk that apparently belongs to my new temporary boss.



Austin

I’m already having the shittiest day ever and it’s only fucking eight o’clock. My alarm didn’t wake me at five a.m. like it does every day, so I didn’t have a chance to get my run in before I had to head to work.

Just a quick shower and a coffee before I hurried out. I walked out of my apartment, rushed to the elevator, and ran smack into my ex who, according to her, ‘just happened to be in the area.’

It took a lot for me not to roll my eyes at her. She wasn’t in the area; she’s fucking the dude who lives upstairs. Not that I care. I was the one who let her go. Whatever, I blew her off and headed to my car.

Right as I started up my car, my mother decided it was a great day to call and lay out everything that’s wrong with my life. I’m nearing forty; all I have is my career, blah blah blah. Newsflash, Mom, that’s all I want.

So, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I hit a mini bus, or a van, or whatever the hell it’s called.

I expected a frumpy housewife to get out of the car, but instead I was greeted by a woman who could only be described as sex-on-a-stick, or I guess I should say two sticks, because those legs of hers aren’t something I’ll forget anytime soon. I couldn’t even talk I was so stunned. Then she bent over her seat and presented me with the most perfect ass. I think I actually groaned.

My cock was getting ready to salute her right then and there as she walked back to me from her minivan. The thought that she was someone’s wife and I was jonesing on her made my skin crawl. I may be an asshole, but I don’t fuck with marriages or people in relationships. There are more than enough single people on earth to not get involved with someone who isn’t.

I tried to see if she was wearing a ring, but I couldn’t see anything. I took her number, and she rushed away.

The whole way to work, I replayed the scene in my head over and over again. I tried to think back on anything that I could have said that would have had her reacting so hostilely.

I got to the office just four minutes late. I absolutely loathe tardiness; people who are late drive me nuts. I built this company from the ground up. I am now the most sought-after commercial contract developer in the city, especially when it comes to entertainment establishments. If you want to open a restaurant or nightclub in this city, let’s just say I am known widely as the best choice to make sure it happens.

There is never a dull moment in this business. If I have to get in there and swing a hammer or wash the damn glasses myself, I do it. There is nothing I won’t do to protect my and my company’s reputation. If you are opening a restaurant or a nightclub and you attach it to the name Mackenzie Jacob, chances are it’ll be a hit from day one.

So now, here I am walking into my office a few minutes late. The cute new receptionist, Carmen, is batting her eyes at me as I walk in, dragging out her greeting. “Good Morning, Mr. Mackenzie.” She’s new here, so she mustn’t have heard the news yet, but I don’t fuck where I eat. Ever.

“Morning. Is my new temp here yet?” I ask her, getting right to the point as she hands me my messages. A new temp who is yet another thing I didn’t need today.

Since my secretary retired last month, I’ve gone through six or seven temps…okay, maybe ten. But it’s not all my fault. I can’t take it if they’re stupid and I have to sit there and spell things out for them. I need someone who can take direction, get it right the first time, and just do what I ask the first time I ask it. It’s simple, really.

When I ask you to get me coffee, I’m not asking you to join me for a cup. When I tell you to scan and email something, I don’t need reporting of the task as if you’re waiting for a sticker on your paper. When you have a caller on hold, I don’t need you announcing them to me through the intercom in a singsong voice. I also don’t need you knocking on my door every few minutes to ask me if I need anything. Trust me, when I need something, you’ll be the first one to know.

“Can you tell Barbara I’m in now?” I prompt her, walking away while I pull the collar from my neck, making my way down the hall toward my corner office.

I walk into my office, taking in the view of the city. We are on the forty-sixth floor, so I can see the skyline perfectly, and at night, it’s even better. I eat, sleep, and breathe my work. There aren’t set hours for my work. So, if I have to be at the office for fifteen hours a day, then that’s what it takes. Which is why I don’t need, or want, a wife at this point. I’d just let them down.

I’ve lost count of how many relationships I’ve had that have ended because I wasn’t there when I said I would be. I’m married to my work, and she is my first priority.

Sitting in my chair, I start going through the messages. I flip through them, seeing two messages from Vegas. I’m thinking of branching out and opening an office there, but something is stopping me. I like to stay local. I like to show up during construction. I like to pop in when you least expect it, and I wouldn’t be able to do that if I branched out to Vegas.

I’m about to call them back when there is a knock on the door. I don’t even have to tell them to come in before Barbara opens the door. I look over at her. She’s been here from day one, but she isn’t what I’m looking at this morning; it’s the girl behind her.

Fucking unbelievable! This crazy chick followed me to my work. She is probably coming to sue me. I’ll show her. “Are you fucking stalking me? Did you follow me here?” I growl at her while I stand up behind my desk.

Barbara’s face pales and her mouth hangs open, but not the sassy one behind her. “Follow you? Are you insane?” She looks at Barbara. “I can’t do this. I totally understand why you’ve gone through so many temps. Who would work for him?” She shakes her head. “Not only did he hit my car”—she looks at me—“while texting. The first thing he asked was if I was drunk!” She looks back at Barbara, who then glares at me. Great, just great, she’s on crazy chick’s side. “You would think he would ask me if I’m okay, right? Nope, not this guy. He wanted to know if I was drunk at eight a.m. Who the hell drinks at eight am anyway?” She folds her arms under her breasts, unnecessarily pushing them up. Fuck. I can’t stop the mental image of her standing there, arms crossed under her tits, in nothing but her shoes. I shake that thought from my head.

“Wait.” I throw the messages on my desk. “You, you’re my temp?”

“No, sir,” she says, and fuck me, but does that ever make me want to hold her hands behind her back as I bend her over my desk and pound into her while she calls me sir. “I was your temp.” She looks at Barbara. “I wish you well.” Then she turns and starts walking out the door.

Barbara’s raised voice stops her. “Wait a second!” She looks at me.  “Austin Montgomery Mackenzie, is Lauren telling me that you hit her car and then asked her if she was drunk? I raised you better than that, young man,” she chides in that sharp tone I remember from my childhood. Okay, so Barbara was also my nanny growing up. That was to be expected when you’re the child of world-renowned doctors who jetted around the globe saving lives. One is a cardiologist, and the other is a brain surgeon. They had very little time to raise a child. So, that’s where Barbara came in, and she stayed until I was eighteen. She retired, but when I opened this firm, she was the first one I thought of to handle the HR side of the company, something I knew she would handle far better than me. “Apologize right this second, Austin,” she demands, and I scoff at her. I will not do any such thing.

“She braked suddenly for no reason! There was no one in front of her,” I defend myself. Barbara’s eyebrows pinch together, and she takes her glasses off so they hang on the chain around her neck. I know that if I don’t say sorry, this will just end in her quitting again. Last time, it cost me a month-long Mediterranean cruise. “Fine,” I huff out, “I’m sorry I accused you of being drunk. I should have just called you what you are—a reckless, clueless female driver.”

Lauren stands there glaring at me as Barbara yells, “I quit!” This must shock Lauren, because she immediately goes to Barbara and strokes her back. “Oh no. No, no, no. Please, really, it’s fine. It’s totally okay. I accept his apology.” She aims a glare at me. “I understand now why so many women left, he’s a…” She leans in and whispers in Barbara’s ear. I don’t know what she says, but they both snicker. Great, just great.
   
“Yup, my money is on Lauren.” She looks at me. “You’re lucky she saved you this time.” She smiles at Lauren. “Let’s do lunch tomorrow. Austin’s treat.”

She leaves the room leaving us all alone. “Fine. I guess I’ll try and work with you, for Barbara.” She walks out to the desk facing my office. She puts her purse on it. Turning the computer on, she grabs a pen and notepad and comes back in. “No time like the present to get this out of the way, so why don’t we start with your expectations of me?”

I look at her while she sits in the chair in front of me, crossing her legs at her ankles. I sit down, leaning back in my chair, and start rocking. “Okay, fine. I expect you to be on time. Every day. No exceptions.”

She doesn’t write it down. “That isn’t a problem. I hate when people are late, so you don’t have to worry about that. Unless, of course, irresponsible people hit my car while I’m innocently driving, I’ll be here on time.”

“There is a list on your desk of routine tasks required of this position that you can read. If it’s not clear enough, then come ask me questions. How’s that?”

She gets up. “That sounds like a plan.” She turns to walk away, and I watch her. Every fucking step she takes she swings her hips; the best thing is, she has no idea she’s doing it. She has no idea that I’m sitting here negotiating with myself about my own rule. I’m not sure how I’m going to get anything done, because fucking her on my desk is the only thing I can think of that needs to be done right now.

 

When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…

Author Links

Review: Read Between the Lines by Jill Breugem

Read Between the Line
Author: Jill Breugem
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Amazon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Small town girl Sadie continues to live in the city after finishing university. She finds work as a journalist which ultimately leads to her real passion of writing romance novels. Sadie becomes an accomplished author of many New York Times best sellers. At the beginning of her success she is picked up by Levi, a literary agent to represent her. They become close friends and business associates over the years. What happens when Sadie writes her latest novel about the love she has for him? Will she publish it at the risk of losing him as an agent and best friend?


Read Between the Lines is a friends/co-workers to lovers story. Sadie, a bestselling author, has just realized she’s in love with one of her closest friends. Levi isn’t just a friend, though; he’s also her literary agent. And he has a girlfriend. Sadie and Levi have had a crush on each other for years, but the timing has never been right. One of them is always in a relationship when the other’s not. Saddened by the inability to act of her feelings, Sadie resorts to writing a romance novel about her relationship with Levi. Sadie’s not sure what she’ll do with it when she’s done. She can’t chance losing him. Sadie can only hope that Levi still has feelings for her.

Sadie and Levi’s story was fun to read. They had such a great friendship. It was easy to tell they had greater feelings for each other, but they did a good job of keeping things platonic. I especially loved the tension Levi’s girlfriend Barbara created. It was the perfect love triangle. There was a clear winner in my head, and I didn’t feel bad hoping Barbara would be out of the picture soon. Levi and Sadie were just so perfect for each other.  They had so much fun together.

I would have loved to have rated Read Between the Lines higher than 3.5 stars based on how much I liked the story, but I just couldn’t get past one thing. It was written in third person point of view with multiple narrators. While that itself wasn’t a problem, the absence of marked transitions between narrators was. One minute the story would be in Sadie’s perspective, and then all of sudden it would switch to Levi’s. Those transitions were a little hard to follow. It always took me a minute to figure out whose head I was in. It would have been more enjoyable to read had the different perspectives been divided into different marked chapters, or simply marked within the chapter.

Overall, Read Between the Lines was a solid début novel. I truly enjoyed the friends to lovers story. It was filled with fun characters and a believable romance. The writing was good and showed a lot of potential for growth. I imagine with each book Ms. Breugem writes, it will become better and better. Read Between the Lines is a novel contemporary romance fans will enjoy.

Release Day Review: Co-Wrecker by Meghan Quinn

I’m celebrating the release of CO-WRECKER by Meghan Quinn!

NA Romantic Comedy
Photographer: Lauren Perry
Designer: Meghan Quinn
BLURB:
What do ice cream and Sadie Montgomery have in common? They’re both ice cold, but one taste is never enough.
I wanted to be friends — I would have even settled for her seeing me as anything but a nerd — but there was no getting through. So just like any hard-headed, red-blooded man out there, I made up my mind.
I’d make my coworker fall for me.
I’d like to say it was simple, but like every other epic love story, all it took was one drunken night and a lot of naked courage to get the girl. For a moment, at least.
Love with a coworker is never simple, especially since Sadie’s trying to keep us on the low. Not to mention her persistent ex-boyfriend who won’t leave her alone. But I’ve never been good at giving up, and I don’t plan to start now.
The whole thing is a recipe for a rocky road, but I plan to eat the whole gallon, no matter how bad the brain freeze.

MY REVIEW:
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from Wordsmith Publicity in exchange for an unbiased review.

Co-Worker is my new favorite Meghan Quinn book. (But I think every new book I pick of hers is my new favorite.)  It was so perfect! I loved everything about it. The restaurant work setting was fun. The characters were both down to earth and outrageous. The dialog was witty and made me laugh so many times. Oh, and the romance was so cute! I couldn’t get enough of Co-Wrecker. 

Co-Wrecker had some of my favorite Meghan Quinn characters. Andrew has definitely made my book boyfriend list. That guy was amazing! Every woman needs an Andrew. Not only was he hot as sin, he had serious swag. He pushed the line between cocky and sweet so well. He had moves I didn’t see coming. I didn’t want the book to end because I wasn’t done with him yet.

Sadie was a tougher character to love, but that’s exactly how she should have been. She came across to me exactly how she came across to the new people she met in the book. Sadie kept everyone on the edge of her circle, and kept her secrets hidden well. I loved her tough exterior and soft interior. Every little bit of herself that she gave Andrew made me smile. They were adorable together.

Besides having two amazing first person narrators, Co-Wrecker also had some very fun secondary characters. All of Sadie’s friends were cool. Andrew’s roommates and family were hilarious. Every single on of them was memorable. So were the rest of Andrew and Sadie’s co-workers. I could easily read a book about any of them. I really hope I’ll get to.

Co-Wrecker was so entertaining. I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s one fans of Meghan Quinn and/or romantic comedies should not miss. It’s bound to make their day, like it did mine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.
Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.
Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!
 Find me on Goodreads:
 Visit my website: http://authormeghanquinn.com/