Release Day Review: Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

Brooklynaire
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers, #4
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: February 12, 2018
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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


If you’re like me and have read the entire Brooklyn Bruisers series from the very beginning, there’s a romance you’ve been hungery for: Becca and Nate’s. We all know they belong together and have wanted to see that happen. Thank goodness Sarina Bowen has finally given that to us with Brooklynaire!

Brooklynaire is slightly different from any other of the Brooklyn Bruisers novel. It’s the first book not published in the series by Berkley. That brought about one amazing, important change. Brooklynaire is written in FIRST PERSON! Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. As amazing as Sarina Bowen writes in third person, first person is just always that much better. There was a little third person sprinkled in during chapter’s exploring Becca and Nate’s past, but it was done in a comical way that was so much fun.

As for the romance we’ve all been waiting for — IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT! Nate and Becca’s story was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. Everything. Their was heat, sweetness, passion, adoration, friendship…Brooklynaire had it all. I loved the way Becca and Nate admitted their feelings for each other and navigated through what it meant being co-workers and friends. It was just so much fun and so special.

Honestly, I don’t think Sarina Bowen could have done anything better with these two. I loved how the story went back into their history to show how they met. I loved how they fought their feelings for each other, but couldn’t withstand their attraction for each other. I simply loved everything about it. I’m so, so happy Nate and Becca got their happily ever after. The only thing that bugs me is that I have a feeling this might be the end for this amazing series. I’m really hoping that’s not the case. I would love more Brooklyn Bruisers in my life.

Excerpt:

I grab a towel off a waiting stack of them and toss it onto the edge. “You can sit and put your feet in.”

She’s wearing a short little knit dress that’s been making me crazy all evening, so it would be easy enough for her to strip off those stockings, sit on the towel, and drop both feet in.

And that’s what she does. She eases one stocking down over a smooth knee and tugs it off.

I don’t want to stand there staring like a middle-school boy. Okay, I do want to. But I don’t want to make her uncomfortable. So I go over to the sound system instead, and I set my phone on the speaker and cue up a really old playlist. One she’ll recognize.

When I turn around again, she’s seated on the towel, both legs hanging down into the churning water. “Ah. Wow.” She looks up at me, her eyes sparkling. “Nice place you got here.”

“Isn’t it?” I toe off my shoes and kick them to the side.

The first song comes on, and it’s a Macklemore tune that we used to play far too often in our first office. Rebecca laughs immediately. “You didn’t! I haven’t heard this playlist in forever. But I’ll bet I still know every transition. Lady Gaga is next.”

“She sure is.”

Rebecca kicks her feet, making a splash. “I have a little confession to make.”

“What’s that?” I loosen my tie and slide the knot out.

“Well…” She grins up at me. “I used to have a crush on you. Back in the early days.”

My hands freeze on the tie silk. “Get out of town. You did not.”

“No, I really did.” Her cheeks are pink. “That first year especially. But you were taken, and you were my boss. Those two things made it pretty easy to tamp down, when you’re a practical girl like me.”

I walk over and drop down beside her, my back to the water, though, because I’m still wearing trousers and socks. “So how does that work, exactly?”

“What?” She gives me a sidelong glance, but then looks away again and won’t meet my eyes.

“How do you stop wanting someone? I’m a practical person, but I don’t see how that makes it any easier. Nothing seems to mute the raging attraction I have for you.”

Her chin turns quickly toward me, and I seize the opportunity to kiss her. And it only takes one kiss—one slide of my lips over hers, and I’m on fire again.

We’re facing opposite directions, so it’s awkward as hell. But I don’t even care. I take greedy sip after greedy sip of her mouth, until she pulls back to stare at me. Her color is high and her eyes are bright and happy. “This is like Twister.”

“It’s better,” I correct. Lady Gaga comes on, just as Becca said she would. “Are we getting into this pool or what?”

Becca kicks a foot in the water. “I’m tempted. But I don’t have a bathing suit.”

“Oh, snap.”

She smiles and shakes her head. “Are you really getting in?”

“We don’t have to.” I’m never going to pressure her.

Her fingers trail across the surface of the bubbling water. “But this is an adventure, right?”

“Right.” I stand up and remove my socks. She’s watching me. And I can’t read her expression. “What?”

“Just wondering what else you’re going to take off.” She smiles.

“Come here.” The order rolls off my tongue.

But Rebecca doesn’t blink. She gets up and turns toward me, curiosity in her eyes.

“You tell me. What am I taking off?”

She puts two hands tentatively on my chest, and I make myself be patient. Everything I ever wanted is on the other side of this moment. I just need us to break through this awkwardness—the “will we or won’t we” tension.

Her fingers find the top button of my shirt. “I’m not getting in the water unless you are.”

That’s a compromise I can live with. I find my lower shirt buttons and work upwards, until we meet in the middle. She pushes the two halves of my shirt apart and runs a hand down my bare chest.

My inner caveman stands up and cheers.

Review: From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

From Lukov with Love
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contem

porary, Sports, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.


Last year, I fell in love with Mariana Zapata’s writing. I loved how her books were set up. They are super slow burn romance. In fact, the majority of her books aren’t necessarily about the romance. They are more about the main character’s journey within themselves. I love how that journey leads them to a romance with (usually) someone unexpected.

But back to when I fell in love with Zapata’s writing… My first book by her was Dear Aaron. I loved that book so much, and I was so excited to find out that From Lukov with Love was about Ruby’s sister Jasmine. It was a fact I didn’t connect until I started the book. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t remember that Ruby’s sister was an ice skater, but I did binge read all of Zapata’s books in between reading the two. Anyways. I was so happy to be back in the world of the Santos family!

Jasmine was the complete opposite of Ruby. She wasn’t the sweet one. Jasmine was outspoken almost to a fault. She didn’t hold back, and in the past that had hurt her. Life was also harder for Jasmine in some ways. I really liked how Mariana Zapata portrayed all of Jasmine’s issues and insecurities. Jasmine had to do more than most to accomplish her dreams. Life wasn’t easy for her, and I applauded her determination. It’s not often that I run into characters who share Jasmine’s problems in other books. I wish more did because there are so many people who will identify.

Ivan wasn’t a character I immediately loved. I was such a fan of Jasmine’s from the beginning that her hatred for Ivan became mine. He had this refined almost silent personality thing going on. I had as many problems reading his thoughts at first as Jasmine did. Luckily, it didn’t take me long to find some good in Ivan. I ended up loving his sneaky tactics to worm his way into Jasmine’s heart.

Jasmine and Ivan had a snarky, competitive frenemy relationship that I loved. Ivan could easily give back what Ruby dished out. I loved how much his character complimented hers. Any time Jasmine and Ivan were together, it was like powder keg waiting to go off. There was that much electricity between them. I absolutely adored their relationship and how it slowly built.

I mentioned earlier being happy to be back with the Santos family again. That was because they have such amazing family dynamics. I loved how Jasmine interacted with her siblings and her mom. She had a very close-knit relationship with her family with the exception of her father. Her dad was another story. That relationship was so tough, but I loved how Jasmine dealt with it in the end. Ivan’s family seemed to be just as tight as the Santos family. I didn’t get to see too much of them, but what I saw I loved.

One of the things that impressed me the most in From Lukov with Love was the figure skating. Man, was the attention to detail about it good. It feels weird saying that because I wasn’t watching it, but I feel like I learned a lot about what it takes to be a figure skater. It’s something I’ve never really thought about before. All that practicing and falling and…well, just everything. It’s made me excited to watch the competition in the upcoming Winter Olympics. I gained even more respect for those athletes than I had before.

Sorry, this review is starting to feel long and rambly. I can’t help it. I loved everything about this book. Everything. I cannot find one fault with it. Well, except maybe that I didn’t want it to end. I could have gone on reading about Jasmine and Ivan FOREVER. I’m really, really hoping that Mariana Zapata will give us another book about one of the Santos or Lukov family members so that I can spend more time with them.

Mini Reviews: Miss Mechanic, Caraval, The Vincent Boys, The Vincent Brothers

Miss Mechanic
Author: Emma Hart
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Two mechanics. One rivalry.
She’ll prove she’s as good as she says she is.
He’ll prove her place isn’t under the hood.
It’s over it.

“Don’t let the bastards get you down.”
For twenty-six years, I lived by my daddy’s motto. Which is why “Mechanic Wanted” is all it takes for me to apply for the job at the garage we once owned.
And I meet the biggest bastard of them all.
Dexter Ryne. Hotter than Hell in July and a firm believer that my place is on reception, taking phone calls and looking pretty. Not getting dirty under the hood of a car.
Determined to prove each other wrong, we make a deal.
I have three weeks to prove my worth as a mechanic. If I don’t, I’m on telephone duty.
If I do, he’ll accept defeat and make my job permanent.
Now, all I have to do is fight my attraction to the cocky little… beep.
Problem is, an engine isn’t the only thing he knows how to make purr…


A while ago my blogger friend Cristina told me I needed to read Emma Hart’s Miss Fixit. I completely trust her opinion on books, so I immediately read it…and fell in love with it. When I heard Emma Hart was coming out with a new book, I had to pick up Miss Mechanic. Unfortunately, it took me a month or so to get to it.

I was hoping Miss Mechanic was going to be a spin-off of Miss Fixit. It wasn’t, but that ended up being okay. It was still hilarious. It made me smile and laugh so much. I adored the love-hate thing Jamie and Dex had going on. They  had such chemistry! Miss Mechanic was such a fun read. It got me out of a book slump I was in. It’s definitely a book I would recommend to readers who like romantic comedy.



Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Welcome, welcome to Caraval! Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.


My feelings about Caraval are complicated. I enjoyed it for the most part. The world of Caraval was beautifully created and the story well crafted. My issue with it was that parts of it dragged. I felt myself getting bored right before all the big action parts. If it wasn’t for those action parts, I might have not finished the book. Which would have been sad because the ending was quite good. I also want to mention that the narrator, Rebecca Soler, was amazing.

I’m really happy I decided to listen to Caraval. It was an interesting ride!



The Vincent Boys
Series: The Vincent Boys, #1
Author: Abbi Glines
Narrators: Kirby Hayborne, Shayna, Thibodeaux
Publication Date: October, 12, 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any hotter…Beau and Ash’s sinful romance now includes super scandalizing, never-before-published scenes in this special, eBook-only companion to the steamy printed original.

There was something wicked about Beau that drew me to him. What was wrong with me? Why did I want to sin so badly?

Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist…


OMG. The Vincent Boys is a total guilty pleasure. I was surprised at how much I loved it. I decided to listen to it because it was the only book I was slightly interested in on Overdrive. I wasn’t sure I would like it because of the love triangle, but I did. The love triangle didn’t bother me at all. I think it was because of the nature of Sawyer and Ashton’s relationship. Plus, for most of the book Sawyer wasn’t even around. I loved Beau and Ashton together so much. If you’re looking for a fun YA contemporary romance, you should try this one out!



The Vincent Brothers
Series: The Vincent Boys, #2
Author: Abbi Glines
Narrators: Kirby Hayborne, Shayna, Thibodeaux
Publication Date: June 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Getting a boy to fall head-over-heels in love with you isn’t easy. Especially when he’s been in love with your cousin for as long as you can remember.

Lana has lived her life in her cousin’s shadow. Ashton always made perfect grades, had tons of friends, and looks model-perfect. And she’s always had Sawyer Vincent—the only boy Lana’s ever wanted—wrapped around her finger. But now things are different. Lana has a chance to make Sawyer see her, and she’s taking it. If only he’d get over Ashton—because Lana is sick of second-best.

Sawyer’s heart is broken. He’s lost his best girl to his best friend. And then Lana comes to town. Ashton’s cousin has always been sweet and soft-spoken, but now she’s drop-dead gorgeous as well. Sawyer doesn’t know if Lana can heal his broken heart, but spending time with her might at least make Ashton jealous.

What starts as a carefree fling becomes a lusty game of seduction. Sawyer and Lana may have different motives, but their scintillating hookups are the same kind of steamy. . . .


The Vincent Brothers was a great follow up to The Vincent Boys. It was just as addictive. I was so happy that Sawyer got a book. His feelings were so raw and brutal. After his loss in the first book, I wanted him to find his truth. I love that Lana was the one to help him find it.

Review: Bad For You by J. Daniels

“If you’re a fan of Kristen Ashley, then you will love this book.” -Aestas Book Blog on Four Letter Word

He didn’t want to be bad. He just didn’t have a choice…

Shayla Perkins isn’t the kind of girl who makes the same mistake twice, especially when it comes to Sean “Stitch” Molina. So when he gives her the world’s biggest rejection, that’s it–she’s done. Until the sexy, silent, unavailable Sean makes Shay a very personal offer. Of course, it still doesn’t mean he’s interested in her. Or does it?

Sean has done things in life. Bad things. And he’s paid the price. All he wants now is to make up for his past by doing good in the present. And no one deserves more good than Shay. Beautiful on the inside and out, Shay is the kind of woman who should be cared for and protected–especially from a man like Sean. He’s tried to keep his feelings for her in check, but a single, reckless impulse pulls them closer than ever before.

Soon the two are sharing their biggest dreams and satisfying their deepest desires. But what will happen if the only way to truly give each other what they want most…is to let each other go?

“The perfect mix of funny, hot and heartwarming. I enjoyed it immensely!” –Mia Sheridan, New York Times bestselling author, on Four Letter Word

AVAILABLE NOW

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MY REVIEW

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

You know that book that is just so amazing you want to call and tell all your friends to read it? Well, that’s Bad For You. I cannot get over how awesome it was. It had everything: humor, romance, angst, heart, emotion, depth…I could go on and on.

I always thought no other Dirty Deeds book could top Four Letter Word. The connection between Syd and Brian that started this whole series was one I didn’t think J. Daniels could beat. Well, I was wrong. Bad For You surpassed Four Letter Word by far. The connection between Sean (“Stitch”) and Shay was so raw and so much deeper than I expected. Their romance was not light and fluffy. There was so much for them to overcome — especially for Sean. The darkness they had to navigate to get to each other was heartbreaking. Not that there wasn’t humor. There was a ton of it. It’s what helped bring light to this book and to Sean and Shay.

My favorite thing about Bad For You is the way Sean and Shay supported each other. Sean’s support showed up in the sweetest, most unexpected ways. Shay’s was a little more exuberant and entertaining. When it came down to it, the support they had for each other is what helped build their friendship and relationship. I loved the progression of it.

Bad For You is J. Daniels’ best book yet! I absolutely adored everything about it. I feel like I can’t adequately express how outstanding it was. I guess I’ll just close by saying YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!!!

J.Daniels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Sweet Addiction series, the Alabama Summer series, and the Dirty Deeds series.

She would rather bake than cook, she listens to music entirely too loud, and loves writing stories her children will never read. Her husband and children are her greatest loves, with cupcakes coming in at a close second.

J grew up in Baltimore and resides in Maryland with her family.

Sign up to receive her newsletter and get special offers and exclusive release info: http://authorjdaniels.com/newsletter/

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Review: Brave by Tammara Webber

Brave
Series: Contours of the Heart, #4
Author: Tammara Webber
Publication Date: December 19, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Courage means rising up to defend your beliefs…
or daring to question them.

Erin McIntyre was captivating, but forbidden
His professional subordinate
The embodiment of unearned privilege
The daughter of his sworn enemy

Isaac Maat was impossible to read
Smart, ambitious, and emotionally detached
Hotter than anyone’s boss should ever be
And definitely hiding something…

He told himself that getting to know her would help him take down her father.
She told herself that getting under his skin would distract her wrecked heart from its misery.

Neither predicted their private war would lead to an intimate battle in which the victor would be the first one to SURRENDER.


I had been waiting on this book so long, I forgot why. I even forgot who Erin was. I had to ask a friend! That makes me sad because Brave and Tammara Weber’s entire Contour of the Hearts series is so good! I love her writing and the world she has created.

Brave was a slow burn romance. The characters, Erin and Isaac, started off as co-workers. Isaac was Erin’s boss, and he wasn’t her biggest fan. This spurred Erin into action. Their feelings built slowly throughout the story. I loved all of their moments together. Those lead to some very big ah-ha moments for Erin. The story was in her point of view, so those moments were extremely important.

While I loved Erin and Isaac together, the romance didn’t feel like the biggest part of the story. Erin coming into her own and learning about herself and her family took up a lot of the story. I really liked that story line. Isaac was woven into it, and how everything played out was very cool.The social and political aspects of Brave were important and relevant to life today.

The only thing I wanted more of from Brave was time with Erin and Isaac together. I didn’t get enough of them as a couple figuring out their lives together. I wanted more than just their attraction and the blooming of their love. I wanted to be deep within their bond.

It may have taken years to finally get Erin’s story, but it was well worth the wait. Tammara Weber gave her a story that showed Erin’s strengths and her heart. I loved reading it.

Review: Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G.

Thirty Day Boyfriend
Author: Whitney G.
Publication Date: November 2, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I should’ve never agreed to this arrangement…

Thirty days ago, my boss—Mr. Wolf of Wall Street, came to me with an offer I couldn’t refuse: Sign my name on the dotted line and pretend to be his fiancée for one month. If I agreed, he would let me out of my employment contract with a “very generous” severance package.

The rules were pretty simple: No intimate kissing, no actual sex. Just pretend to love each other for the press, even though I’ve secretly wanted to knock that sexy smirk off his face since the first day we met.

I definitely didn’t need to think twice about this. I signed my name and started counting down the seconds to when I would never have to deal with his special brand of ass-holery again.

I only made it to one minute…

We argued the entire four-hour flight to his hometown, failed to make a convincing impression with the welcoming press, and right when I was about to knock that arrogant look off his face in real life? He purposely dropped his bath towel in front of me, distracting me with his nine-inch cock to “show me who the bigger person was” in our relationship. Then he gave me his trademark smirk once again and asked if I wanted to consummate our marriage.

Tragically, this is only day one.
We still have 29 more days to go…


OMG! This book was SO much fun to read! Thirty Day Boyfriend was everything I’ve come to expect from a book written by Whitney G. It was so sassy and fun! I loved the build up from co-workers to lovers. The love-hate relationship between Emily and Nicholas made for witty banter and so much intense chemistry. It even had some great moments of sweetness. I absolutely adored it.

Review: Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon

Eye Candy
Series: Real Love, #1
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Jacqueline: As an adult woman–and the vice president of a marketing firm–I shouldn’t be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he’s a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can’t bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend-slash-colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he’s borderline obsessive about “getting me laid.” (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it’s clear: The one I’m falling for is Vince.

Vince: Jackie Butler’s got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn’t bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can’t ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything’s going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.


I love Jessica Lemmon’s writing and books. She’s a go-to author for me when it comes to contemporary romances. I always look forward to her new releases. I was especially excited to find out what she had in store with Eye Candy. I loved the premise behind this book. Co-workers and friends to more? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, Eye Candy didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel the sparks between Jackie and Vince or that I didn’t like them. I thought they were both fun characters who fit perfectly together. I absolutely loved Jackie and Vince together. What bothered me was the way they got together. I was all about the initial push Vince had for making Jackie ask the hot runner out, but once that part was over I didn’t like his “coaching”. It cheapened their experiences together for me. I also didn’t love the big problem in their relationship. Part of it felt like it fit their histories and part of it seemed kind of out there.

I hate sounding negative because I did have fun reading Eye Candy. It’s still a book I would recommend to contemporary romance fans. I’m planning on reading the next book in the series, Arm Candy. Personally, I just wish I would have fallen more in love with Jackie and Vince’s story.