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: Stay by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Stay
Series: WAGS, #2
Authors: Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the authors in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never even met?

Hailey Taylor Emery has a hunch that her favorite client at Fetch—an anonymous virtual assistant service—is actually hockey star Matt Eriksson.

Although it’s against the rules for her to check his file, she’s 95% sure she spends at least part of each day texting with her lifelong crush and catering to his every need. Still nursing a wounded heart thanks to her recent breakup, Hailey is perfectly content with some harmless online flirting… until she has to meet her client. Face to face. Cue: utter panic.

Matt Eriksson is no stranger to heartbreak. He’s still not over the destruction of his marriage, and it sucks to be the only guy on the team who knows the truth—that hockey and long-term relationships are a toxic mix. He barely sees his kids, and dealing with his ex makes him feel insane. The only person in his life who seems to understand is someone who won’t show her pretty face.

But it’s nothing that a pair of fourth row hockey seats can’t fix. Hailey can’t resist the offer. Matt can’t resist Hailey. Good thing he doesn’t have to. Fire up the kiss cam!

Warning: Contains rabid hockey fans, misunderstood dick pics, hockey players at the opera and exploding ovaries.


Stay was my #1 anticipated release for 2017. I could not wait to get my hands on this book. Heck, I can never wait to get my hands on any of their books. Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy are my dream team of contemporary romance writing. Their books bring me such joy. I’ve fallen in love with all of their characters, especially those in the Him and WAGS world. I couldn’t wait to get to know Matt Eriksson better and find out what it would take to win his heart.

In Stay, Matt’s still trying to move on from his divorce. He knows it was for the best, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. One thing that has made it easier is Fetch and the virtual assistant from the company who has fulfilled all his needs. Matt can’t stop thinking about her and their computer chats. He would do just about anything to meet her, including give her tickets to his next hockey game.

Luckily for Matt, Hailey Taylor Emery is a huge hockey fan. Specifically, she’s a Matt Erikkson fan. She’s known deep down that her favorite client is Matt, but now that it’s confirmed, Hailey’s not sure what to do. How can she handle Matt’s advances when she can barely utter a word around him?

Once again, Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy have won the game with Stay. I absolutely loved this book! Their writing shined. Matt and HaiIey were amazing characters. I loved the witty banter between them and the rest of the characters. The incredibly funny and sometimes awkward situations they created made laugh constantly.

Matt Eriksson may have been a god in the rink, but he was even more so in life. I can’t get over what a stand up guy he was. He was perfect, but he was pretty dang close. Matt was a guy who put his family first. That, combined with his dominant personality, was super sexy. He had me fanning myself more than I would like to admit.

I adored Hailey Taylor Emery. She was one cool chick. She was smart, determined and real. I loved that Matt terrified her a bit. Hailey’s reaction to Matt was exactly what I think I would be like if I met my celebrity crush. I’m sure I would be a bundle of nerves, too! Another thing I loved about Hailey was her personality. She could hold her own and a relationship wasn’t the only thing she had going for her.

Matt and Hailey’s relationship was full of ups and down, and I loved every minute spent with them. My only complaint about Stay would be that I needed another 500 pages of it. I could have gone on reading about Matt and Hailey forever. Their story was that much fun. I guess I’ll just have to hope there is another WAGS book coming in the near future. I want another book. I need another book. Please, please let them write an O’Conner book! Or a spin-off about Mr. Dick would be fun, too. Heck, I would even read a book about Puddles and Rufus falling in love if these two wrote it! Just give me more books from my dream team!

Review: Falling for the Fake Fiance by Jennifer Blackwood

Falling for the Fake Fiance
Series: Snowpocalypse, #2
Author: Jennifer Blackwood
Publication Date: June 12, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Jill Michaels prides herself on one thing: being independent. That is until her daughter gets into an elite school, and she needs money more than ever. It seems her fairy godmother—aka her deceased Grammy—has granted that wish in the form of one-fourth of her estate. The only catch? She must be married by her thirtieth birthday. In two months.

Aaron Collins is fresh out of the army and back in town to help his father’s failing business. When he runs into Jill at a hotel where she’s attending a single’s mixer, he makes sure she doesn’t make it past his room and into another guy’s arms. When he hears about her predicament, he has a plan: they’ll get married and keep it a secret. And maybe have a little sexy fun until he leave towns for his new job.

But letting go of the woman of his dreams may be harder than Aaron could have ever imagined.


I’m a fan of Jennifer Blackwood’s The Rule Breakers series, so when I saw that Falling for the Fake Fiance was available on NetGalley, I had to request it. I’m so happy I did!

Fake relationships are one of my favorite relationship tropes. There’s something about a fake relationship turning into a real one. I think it’s because there’s always the slow building romance from the initial instant attraction. It was especially fun in Falling for the Fake Fiance because Aaron had always had the hots for Jill. It almost gave it a second chance romance feel. Jill and Aaron’s prior teenage friendship made their instant attraction and love feel more likely to be possible. It made my buy into their current feelings for each other.

I was surprised at how thorough a story Falling for the Fake Fiance was in just 129 pages. I still would have loved it to have been a little longer, though. It would have been fun for Jill and Aaron’s romance to have had more time to build and develop. There were so many cute moments, but I know there could have been more!

Falling for the Fake Fiance was a short and sweet romance filled with amazing sexual chemistry. It’s the perfect book if you’re looking for a light, quick romantic summer read.

Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

Pipe Dreams
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers, #3
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.


I am so happy Pipe Dreams is finally here. I’ve been waiting for this book ever since I finished Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers, #2). But, then again, I’m always waiting on a new release from Sarina Bowen. I’m in love with her romances. She has a way of crafting characters and their love stories that makes me swoon every time. It doesn’t hurt that one of those characters is usually a hot hockey player. 😉

Pipe Dreams was a sweet second chance romance. Years ago, Brooklyn Bruisers’ goalie Mike broke things off with Lauren in the worst way. He cut ties without an apology or real excuse. Their break up left Lauren devastated and turned her into an ice queen. She did everything she could to avoid both Mike and hockey…until her boss and owner of the Brooklyn Bruisers forces her fill in during playoffs in the Bruisers office.

Working in the office should be easy since it used to be her job, but having to see Mike and watch hockey is harder than Lauren thought. It reminds her of what used to be. It doesn’t help that Mike also wants to remind her of what used to be. Lauren’s been there, done that and isn’t about to put herself in the position to be hurt again. Mike is determined to change Lauren’s mind and give her everything she wants.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of the characters in the beginning. Lauren has been this cold, heartless person since book one. There wasn’t anything that made me want her story besides the fact that one of the players broke her heart. Once I got to know her better, that changed. She was actually a pretty sweet person. Lauren had just built a wall around herself. I loved the way that wall was brought down. She was still strong and determined, but happiness made her a better person.

Mike was single dad perfection. Seriously, there’s not much hotter in a romance novel than a dedicated single father. Everything I learned about Mike made me root harder for him. He made some tough choices for the sake of his daughter and, even though they sucked, they showed what a good person he was. Mike deserved happiness as much as Lauren did. I’m so happy Mike and Lauren got a second chance at life and happiness again with each other.

Some may say Pipe Dreams was a little too perfect. They might say Lauren forgave Mike too easily or things went too smoothly for them. Maybe those things are true. Honestly, I didn’t care. I was so wrapped up in Lauren and Mike’s story that one of them would have to have cheated on each other or done something incredibly stupid for me to have any complaints about Pipe Dreams. I loved it so much I stayed up WAY too late reading it. It was everything I want in a contemporary romance and more. You need to read it!

I’m really, really hoping this isn’t the end of the Brooklyn Bruisers series. There are so many more characters whose stories I need — #1 is Nate and Becca’s. (I think all fans of the series would agree with this!) I got to see a bit of them in this book, but not hardly enough. I’m crossing my fingers that Sarina Bowen and Berkley Books will give us the opportunity to experience their love story and many more of Mike’s teammates’.

Review: Wrong Turn, Right Direction by Elle Casey

Wrong Turn, Right Direction
Series: The Bourbon Street Boys, #4
Author: Elle Casey
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Tamika Cleary takes a wrong turn up a one-way street—and straight into Thibault Delacroix’s leg as he steps into the road. But Mika’s in a hurry, and she certainly doesn’t have time for a guy who can’t even look both ways before crossing, even if he does have a cute face, a body to die for, and the darkest, thickest eyelashes she’s ever seen.

Unfortunately for Mika, fate has other ideas. When she’s threatened by her employer, a Russian mafia boss known as “The Thief”, she’s forced to accept Thibault’s help. As the co-owner of the Bourbon Street Boys security firm, he believes he can keep her safe. But Mika has a whole load of trust issues—and the pushier Thibault is about helping, the more stubbornly she tries to resist.

Mika may have taken a wrong turn the day they met, but will she finally let someone steer her in the right direction?


I love Elle Casey’s writing, but The Bourbon Street Boys series has been a little hit or miss for me. Wrong Turn, Right Direction was in the miss category. I wouldn’t say that it was horrible or that I didn’t enjoy reading it, it was just missing something major.

Wrong Turn, Right Direction started out strong.Tamika is trying to get out from under her horribly corrupt boss and ends up in a medical situation that has her turning the wrong way and into Thibault. Thibault wants to do anything he can to help the beautiful and tentative Tamika get on the right side of the law, but first he has to get her to trust him. Tamika’s background and current situation were very interesting and I wanted to know more about them. They made the plot of this story entertaining. I liked how Tamika’s involvement with her boss worked meshed with the Bourbon Street gang.

Where the story lost me was the romance between Tamika and Thibault. I didn’t feel any sort of connection between them at all. I know Thibault was there for Tamika during the most personal experience of her life, but I didn’t feel an emotional connection made at that moment. Nor did I feel one later on as they got to know each other. Tamika was too reserved and kept too much from Thibault. I didn’t understand how he could fall for someone he knew was constantly hiding something. She was so standoff-ish. Their relationship just didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t believe it. That was where this story failed for me. I wanted a stronger relationship for Thibault.

Despite not falling in love with Thibault and Tamika’s relationship, I did enjoy the twists and turns of the story. I also loved seeing the rest of the Bourbon Street gang and hearing what they were up to. So, overall, Wrong Turn, Right Direction was a good read.

Review: The Pieces of Us by Jennifer Loring

The Pieces of Us
Series: The Firebird Trilogy, #3
Author: Jennifer Loring
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Note:
 I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Aleksandr Volynsky thinks he’s experienced the worst life can throw at him, until the most devastating loss leaves him questioning everything…

One year later, Alex and his daughter, Anya, are still picking up the pieces. In the process, he realizes how far apart their mutual grief has driven them and how lonely he has become—especially when the Buffalo Gladiators’ beautiful anthemist, Hannah Kent, finally introduces herself.

Anya Volynsky is a high-school senior with plans—her father’s plans—to become the first woman on a professional hockey team’s starting roster…

But Anya is toying with the idea of staying in Buffalo and caring for her father rather than accept a scholarship to play hockey at Boston College. Her decision becomes even more difficult when she meets her school’s new athletic trainer, Lucas Donovan. Their experience with similar losses draws them together, and soon their friendship blossoms into a forbidden love that neither of them expected.

With lives torn apart by sorrow, Alex and Anya try to restore their bond, but it’s not that easy…

Alex’s attraction to Hannah keeps growing stronger, and he needs to decide if he’s ready to overcome his pain—but also if he’s willing to do it without Anya’s approval. Anya, on the other hand, is headed for trouble, and while Alex tries to do the right thing in order to protect her, all he manages to do is push her further away.

Can Alex and Anya find the courage to pick up the broken pieces of their lives, or will the heartache of the past ruin their chances at finding happiness again?


I’m a big fan of hockey romances. I’ve read so many of them, and yet, Jennifer Loring’s still stand out. The Firebird Trilogy isn’t filled with bubbly, sexy sports romances. It’s filled with deeper situations and an all-consuming love between the main characters.Alex and Stephany drown in each other, and I can’t help but drown in them, too.

The Pieces of Us is different from the first two books in the series. Alex has lost Stephany for good this time, and he’s not sure how to go on without her. He must learn to heal from the pain and be the father he needs to be to seventeen year-old Anya. Anya isn’t having an easy time either. She’s finally fallen in love, but it’s the forbidden type. She knows it’s wrong to love him, but she’s always been told to follow her heart.

Alex and Anya’s journey was emotional. Alex had so much pain he was dealing with. He couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel until he met Hannah. Navigating a new romance was really hard for him, and I felt like Jennifer Loring did an amazing job of capturing what it would be like for someone as devoted as Alex was to Stephany to move on. There were also so many great father-daughter moments between Alex and Anya.

I hate saying this, but I wasn’t a big fan of Anya’s relationship with her athletic trainer. The Student-teacher relationship trope is not one I’m a fan of. Anya’s relationship with Lucas was not quite a student-teacher relationship, but close enough. If it was in college, it wouldn’t have bugged me as much, but she was a seventeen year-old high school student. I didn’t like the line Anya and Lucas crossed. Anya was still so emotionally young. Her actions and thoughts proved it. I didn’t think her relationship with Lucas, who was five years older, was a good thing. I’m happy things worked out for her in the end, but it still wasn’t my favorite storyline.

The Pieces of Us was a story of healing and learning to live life again after a devastating loss. It was a story of finding love again and making mistakes along the way. It was beautifully written, and the perfect conclusion to an amazing trilogy. I highly recommend The Firebird Trilogy to hockey romance fans who like a darker love story filled with heart.

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…

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