Happy Book Birthday to Still Air (Portland, ME #4) by Freya Barker! @freya_barker

Contemporary Romance
Date Published:  December 5, 2016
Portland, ME, novels Book 4

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Deprival haunted her…
Regret troubled her…
Silence left her detached…
A life in the service of others is both penance and a blessing. She soothes her personal hell by pulling victims from theirs, helping them on their path to survival; never finding her own
When a crippling blow finally evaporates her last hope, the temptation to give up is strong. Still, she can’t find it in her to turn her back on those who need her: the innocent, whose rescue is her perpetual goal.
He was blind, but now he sees how his family has sifted through his fingers. The reality hits hard when his son becomes a stranger, slipping deeper into transgression. Concern has him call on the one person he fears will see his own failures all too clearly. A woman he’s kept his distance from for his own protection.
What appeared to be an incompatible pairing, turns out the unyielding bond needed to heal them all.
Portland, ME Series, Novels Book One
August 6, 2015
Pain punished her.
The bottle numbed her.
Guilt kept her trapped.
In the dark alley of a pub, the words “Please don’t” take hold of her heart and break the silence she seeks. Thinking herself beyond redemption, she tentatively grabs on to the slim thread of hope that unfolds inside of her.
Holding her secrets close, she can’t resist the comforting draw coming from The Skipper. The unconditional friendships it offers, the protective roof it provides, and the spark that its owner ignites in her–melting the frost off her heart, and slowly stripping away her resistance.
His life flows from one crisis to the next. Under the pressure of competition crowding him out of his family’s pub and the need to protect his children from the ruins of a bad marriage, he barely breathes. That is until a mane of strawberry-blonde hair and a set of big, pale blue eyes, shake him up.
He never expected the shadow of a woman he finds on the floor of his washroom to bring him the air―the balance and the light he’s been missing.
Portland, ME, novels Book 2
Published: March 3, 2016
Innocence marked her…
Violation crippled her…
Love left her raw…
The life she carefully rebuilt is challenged when she is confronted with the sins from her past. The carefully applied protection is at once ripped away, leaving her exposed and vulnerable.
Her single night of indulgence with the silver-eyed stranger is only the beginning. He sees right to the heart of her and she is unable to ward off emotions that have been deeply buried. With the sting of betrayal still fresh in her soul, she’s surprised to find herself opening up to the honest integrity of the sharp-eyed, rough-looking biker.
When he lost everyone who mattered, he was left without roots and learned to be content simply living in the moment. Completely unprepared for the feisty blonde bartender with old pain marring her clear-blue eyes, he questions his own rules of detachment, as she unwittingly finds a way under his skin.
Appearances deceive and when the masks fall away, revealing deep, dark secrets, there is nothing left but to hang onto each other and survive the storm.
Portland, ME, novels Book 3
Published: July 2016
Violence corroded her…
Obedience defiled her…
Fear kept her chained…
Freedom is hard to embrace when she’s never learned to trust. Yet in the span of a second, she grabs a single opportunity and runs toward it. Straight into the sanctuary of a pub at the end of a wharf.
She doesn’t understand the concept of friendship. She’s never felt the connection of a relationship. She’s as innocent as the driven snow and yet tainted with corruption. Still, she finds herself surrounded by people who accept her, without even knowing the first thing about her. But one of them is determined to dig deeper.
He treasures his friends, yet he’s steered clear of committed relationships. He likes his life comfortably predictable and entirely controlled. Until it isn’t. For months he’s avoided interacting with The Skipper’s newest addition. Perhaps realizing that once he looked deeply into those liquid brown eyes, he wouldn’t be able to turn away.
When his present and her past puts them both on the brink of change, they are forged through fire as one.
About the Author
Freya Barker inspires with her stories about ‘real’ people, perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy. She is the author of the Cedar Tree Series and the Portland, ME, novels.
Freya is the recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None,” and is a finalist for the 2016 Kindle Book Awards for “From Dust”. She currently has two complete series and three anthologies published, and is working on two new series; La Plata County FBI—ROCK POINT, and Northern Lights. She continues to spin story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!
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#Review of Compromising Positions by Jenna Bayley-Burke w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @entangledpub @jennabb

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Compromising Positions

by Jenna Bayley-Burke
Publication Date: November 28, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Select, Contemporary Romance

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Synopsis: Falling in love is the last thing on his busy agenda but compromising positions can lead just about anywhere.When fitness empire CEO David Strong agrees to help teach a yoga class for couples based on poses in The Kama Sutra, he’s put in one compromising position after another. Especially since the instructor is his best friend’s little sister-in-law, doesn’t have a lot of experience with men, and is totally off-limits. She’s everything David’s never wanted. So he can’t understand why he suddenly needs her so much.

Sophie DelFino has fantasized about David for over a decade, but he has a type, and she’s far from it. He’s also got all sorts of rules and reasons why they shouldn’t be together. Good thing Sophie is all about bending the rules.

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EXCERPT #1

David tried to remember the last time he’d been to a grocery store. College maybe? If there was anything at all in his fridge, his sister had put it there. Kelly was wonderful about leaving ice cream and chips in her wake.

“If we split the list, it will go faster.” Sophie smiled up at him.

“Okay.” He shrugged, taking the torn piece of notebook paper from her hand. He scanned the items. All produce.

“What’s on your list?” he asked, taking it from her hand. More produce. He knew it. Women ate weird. His sister was the only sane woman in the entire world.

“The joy of having a nutritionist for a brother-in-law. Craig’s using me to test his latest diet plan,” she explained.

He took a step back and looked at her again. Even in sweats, she looked fit. “Why?” She waved her hand.

“Who can keep track of Craig’s reasons? I indulge him. To a point.”

“You should do his Deliver-Ease. It actually has real food, not just vegetables.” And since the plan was run through Strong Gyms, utilizing it let him do a little quality control.

She raised a dark eyebrow. “You’re on his diet plan?”

“You’re not the only one who indulges Craig. Besides, it’s easy. Comes right to the office. I don’t even have to think about it.

She looked at him in disbelief. “But why are you on a diet?”

“I’m not.” He pushed the cart forward, away from the lettuce. “Craig decided twenty years ago that he knew better than I did what I should be eating. It’s a habit from way back.” He didn’t want to get into his bodybuilding days. It had been an obsession for him for a while, something he and Craig had done together. But it was not an arena he had ever excelled in. He’d just gotten by. He wasn’t comfortable being average.

Sophie began to study the different lettuces so David attacked his list. How did one pick out a cantaloupe? He looked at the melons piled atop one another. Should he grab the one on top or did you study the specimens the way she was now sizing up the citrus? He picked up two, weighing each in his hands. How could a person possibly know which one to buy? He moved his hands together, eying the fruit, trying to squeeze them to find some difference. They looked exactly the same. She was suddenly in front of him, taking away the cantaloupes and replacing them with grapefruits. “This is much more realistic, David, unless you’re into fakes.” It took him a minute to realize her insinuation. “I was not…not…” he stammered “Feeling up the fruit? Sure you were. It’s okay, your secrets are safe with me.” Her smile told him she was teasing as she turned the cart toward the apples.

He stomped after her. “I thought you weren’t into apples.” He smiled as she blushed, obviously recalling her earlier lecture.

“Apples can be good. As long as they are part of a whole bowl of fruit and not the only thing in the dish.” She gave him a cocky grin.

He laughed, full and deep. This girl was a piece of work. “You handle the fruit, since you are the expert. I’ll stick with the vegetables.” He couldn’t help himself—as he brushed past her, he leaned in and whispered, “Just how big do you like your cucumbers?”

 

review

I have to admit that I missed this book when it was first released.  I wanted to read it.  I also have to admit that this is actually the first book that I have ever read by Ms. BB, too.  *hangs head*  I know, I know.  But now that I have read her, I will not make that mistake again.  I loved her writing, the snark, the emotions and the smexy times were just too hot to handle.

David is just too scrumptious!  I honestly think my ovaries exploded while I read the book.  I totally understand why he never got involved past one time with a woman.  His father did a number on him from the beginning of his childhood and never stopped.  Trust me when I tell you that you will think your own parents are saints and did NOTHING remotely to screw up your childhood.  His dad did much worse and then brought it own to Sophie.  I would have disowned him a long time ago but David just couldn’t.

Sophie is a great heroine.  She’s stronger than she thinks but she also needed David to challenge her, yes her, to remember that the first person to please is yourself.  She lost that somewhere in her life.  I didn’t particularly care for her sister Daphne at all.  In fact, the ending of the book just solidified that for me.  I couldn’t believe what she did and how Sophie, throughout the whole book was trying to protect Daphne with her relationship with David.

Now, Craig, I liked.  When didn’t get to know him as much as Daphne but what I read, I liked.  He never gave up on David and in some way, Sophie either.  I liked how he didn’t just freak out when David went off on when he told him about his relationship with Sophie.

The smexy times, oh boy…They were way hot but also very, very sensual.  You have got to remember that some of the book talks and acts out the Kama Satra in a yoga class.  It’s high sensual and tantalizing.   I liked how Sophie owned her virginity.  In fact, she owed everything that she HADN’T ever experienced.  Dancing, sex and finally, being everyone’s doormat.  I loved how she called out David on being his project.  David’s heart was in the right place but he just kept messing it up.

The epilogue is beautiful to read.  In fact, I read it twice because I got misty eyed the first time.

I highly recommend David and Sophie’s story.  Just be prepared to need a cold drink, tissues because you will be laughing so hard with tears and also to hate certain people in their lives.

5harlies

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ABOUT JENNA BAYLEY-BURKE

jenna-bayley-burke

By day, Jenna is faster than a speeding toddler, stronger than a stubborn husband, able to leap tall Lego structures in a single bound…but by night, while the family sleeps she writes romance novels where no one ever has to scoop up after the dog, change diapers, clip coupons, drive carpool, do laundry, mop floors, get silly putty out of hair, vacuum, empty the vacuum bag (gross!), exercise, count calories, apply bandaids, clean up puke…wait where was this going? Oh, Jenna writes romance because it is glamorous. Just ask the dog.

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#Review of Size Matters (a Perfect Fit #1) by Alison Bliss w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @AlisonBliss2

bliss_sizematters_mmABOUT THE BOOK

Title: SIZE MATTERS

Author: Alison Bliss

Series: A Perfect Fit, #1

On Sale: November 29, 2016

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $5.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

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The rules of (fake) engagement . . .


Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she’s sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren’t enough éclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper – or the fact that he just told her mother that they’re engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.

Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah’s date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancée! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay “just friends,” and make Leah’s family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off. But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah’s decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren’t going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he’s for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.

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THE A PERFECT FIT SERIES

Size Matters, #1

On The Plus Side, #2

Series Page on Goodreads

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EXCERPT:

Leah Martin nearly choked on her beer.

“What do you mean just pick one?” Her eyes scanned the entire bar before settling back on her friend. “Pick one what?”

“A guy, of course.”

Yeah, because it was just that simple. For Valerie, maybe. Even though they were close in size, Valerie always wore her weight better and turned heads everywhere she went. It probably helped that she had expressive doe eyes, wavy platinum-blond hair, and looked more like a cutesy toy poodle any guy would give their right testicle to take for a walk.

“I hate to tell you this, Val, but that only applies to women who look like you.” If Leah had to classify herself in that same frame of reference, she’d accurately describe herself as a Bulldog. Not only did she have the breed’s innate stubborn streak, but she also had the matching broad shoulders, wide hips, large chest, and—if she didn’t lose a few pounds—probably the same short life span. “Hippy brunettes with body image issues and smudged eyeliner don’t get the luxury of just pick one.”

“Oh, shut up,” Valerie said, rolling her eyes. “Your eyeliner looks fine.”

Yep, that about sums it up. My eyeliner is the only thing that looks decent on me tonight.

The little black dress she wore was just that—too little—and was slowly squeezing the life out of her. Especially after packing on ten extra pounds in the last few months. The sheath of fabric clung to every curve, as well as every bulge. Thank God they lived in Texas instead of Alaska or an Eskimo might’ve mistaken her for a seal and tried to skin her.

“So what’s your pleasure?” Valerie asked, not giving up. “Plenty of gorgeous men in here tonight.”

“Sure, if I squint.”

“Okay, stop being negative. You’re gorgeous, and lots of men love curvy women. I should know. Now pick one.”

No point in arguing with her. Once Valerie set her mind to something, she didn’t stop until the mission was accomplished. But the only time Leah had ever had her pick of anything was when she stood in front of the doughnut case at work, deciding between a chocolate éclair or a cream cheese danish.

“How am I supposed to know who to pick? It’s not like they wear signs on their foreheads saying, ‘I dig fat chicks.’”

Valerie shot her an exasperated look. “We’ll just establish a baseline for the kind of guy you want.”

“The kind of guy I’d want wouldn’t be hanging out in a bar called Rusty’s Bucket. In fact, I wouldn’t be here either if you hadn’t forced me to come.”

“Leah, you got dumped. Happens to all of us sooner or later.” Valerie’s voice softened as she reached for Leah’s hand. “It sucks, I know. But you’re always at work or upstairs in your apartment, which means you never leave that damn building. It’s not healthy. You can’t hide out forever.”

“I’m not hiding. I’ve just…been busy. I never imagined I’d be this swamped only a month after grand opening, and I’ve had to put in a lot of extra hours.” Leah caught Valerie’s I’m-not-buying-it expression. “Come on, Val. The wedding is tomorrow night. Everything has to be perfect because…well, you know.”

Valerie rolled her eyes. “Why does it even matter?”

“Because my reputation is at stake. It’s my cake the happy couple will be stuffing into each other’s mouths. They can choke on it for all I care, but it’s going to be the tastiest damn wedding cake they’ve ever eaten while keeling over. Everything has to go as smoothly as possible, and I have a million things to do before tomorrow night. I still need to—”

Valerie raised her hand to stop her from continuing. “What you need is a break. Let’s find some guys to dance with and have a few hours of fun before you lock yourself up in the cave again. Just humor me, okay? Now, what would say your dream guy’s most attractive quality would be?”

Leah sighed. “A pulse.”

“No vampires. Check. What else?”

“I don’t know. This is stupid.” Leah caught the disappointment in Valerie’s eyes and groaned. “Okay, fine. I guess I’d want…”

Her gaze sifted through the crowd, landing on two men at the bar. While the one standing motioned to the bartender, the other rolled up the sleeves of his blue button-down shirt, drawing Leah’s attention to his tanned, muscular forearms. When he finished, he bumped his elbow against the other man’s ribs and said something that made them both laugh. The warm, amused smile he wore sent a zing of pleasure through Leah, like she’d been given a intravenous shot of serotonin. Him. I’d want him.

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review

Ever read a book that just made you feel good?  Made you laugh out loud enough that your dog looked at you funny and your husband came in to see what was so funny?  Yep, this book is that and more.  I’ve already decided that it is the BEST ROM-COM of the year on this blog.  I’ve never laughed so much and in the same breath, cried.  Yes, cried.

You see, I had the hyper-critical mother that harped on my weight my whole laugh.  I’m almost 50 years old and she STILL does it from time to time.  I swear listening to Leah’s mother was like reliving my teen years through to my marriage at 38.  I told my mother one time that she wanted a Sorority Barbie doll but instead, she got a daughter that liked cars, sports but could also clean up, too.  I understood when Leah made remarks about herself and then laughed it off.  Leah is/was ME!!!!  It wasn’t until I met my now husband that I fully understood the pain, the abuse that I endured and the non-self worth that I had.  I’m not fully healed but I will say, the love of a good man helps.

That’s where Sam comes in.  Talk about someone that can.not keep his mouth shut.  I swear he had trench mouth the number of times that he had “foot in mouth” with Leah.  I can attest that my husband never said anything like that but he does appreciate my assets, just like Sam.  Oh and the things that he does to Leah in bed?  Holy mother!  Bring a cold drink…you will need it.

What really got me in the book was the humorous dialogue.  I swear to you that I’ve never laughed so hard reading a book.  It was so very real, funny as hell and then it would get so emotional.  Leah and Sam are a couple that you know are destined to be together but between all their inner thoughts, meddling families and not to mention their friends Max and Valerie…it takes a while for them to realize it.

The ending is just PERFECT!!  My one complaint, I wanted an epilogue but hopefully in Valerie and Max’s book 😉 we will get that.

Run, don’t walk, don’t even think about it, buy this book.  Read this book.  Laugh out loud until you almost wet yourself and then squirm and sigh.  Ms. Bliss has written the best and most perfect Romantic Comedy of the year!  And you can quote me on that.

 

Deserves so much more. a 10 at least.

Deserves so much more. a 10 at least.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORalison-bliss-credit-julie-abston-photography

Alison Bliss grew up in Small Town, Texas, but currently resides in the Midwest with her husband and two sons. With so much testosterone in her home, it’s no wonder she writes “girl books.” She believes the best way to know if someone is your soul mate is by canoeing with them because if you both make it back alive, it’s obviously meant to be. Alison pens the type of books she loves to read most: fun, steamy love stories with heart, heat, laughter, and usually a cowboy or two. As she calls it, “Romance…with a sense of humor.”

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