Excerpt, Reviews

ARC Review of Turn and Burn by Lorelei James

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  • Blacktop Cowboys®, Book 5
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451413963
  • ISBN: 0451413962
  • Publication Date: August 6, 2013
  • NAL/Signet Publishing

TURN AND BURN

When it comes to love… she’s reigning herself in.

Tanna Barker is a world champion barrel racer. But her personal life has been less of a success, and she’s feeling adrift. After her mother’s unexpected death, her father has remarried, and sold the Texas ranch she called home. Now a rodeo injury has left the restless spitfire holed up in Muddy Gap, unsure what her next move should be.

Until she meets her match in a wild, wild cowboy

Veterinarian August Fletcher has always put his job first. He’s never found a woman who could handle his on-the-road lifestyle. But when sassy, sexy Tanna blows into town, he finally finds the woman of his fantasies. And there’s something between them, but she claims she’s been burned by love ’em and leave ’em road dogs before. How can Fletch prove that he’s in it for the long haul, and that their sizzling relationship is better than winning any rodeo medal? It’ll take some sweet persuasion to convince Tanna that Muddy Gap is where she belongs.

Excerpt:  © 2006 – 2013 ~ Lorelei James.

Tanna glanced up at the man.

Oh, hello, sweet darlin’.

How hadn’t she noticed this giant? At least six feet five, he easily cast her five feet three inches in shadow. And holy frijoles was this guy hot. Like, really hot. After being approached by wannabe cowboys all night, there was no doubt this guy was the real deal. So she shamelessly took in his banging body, from his summer-weight cowboy hat to the tips of his dusty boots—and every inch in between.

His age looked to be mid-thirties. In this part of the country his reddish gold complexion had to be from Native American ancestry. Her avid gaze took in his angular features. A high forehead not marred by a single wrinkle. A slash of dark eyebrows arched over eyes the color of warm topaz. His cheekbones were prominent in a wide-set face. A thin blade of nose. The corners of his lips turned up in an indulgent smile. And check out that ridiculously strong-looking, chiseled jawline. His thick neck tapered into shoulders so wide it appeared he wore football pads, until she realized this hunky man couldn’t hide bulky equipment under his skintight T-shirt.

“You done looking your fill? Or did you want me to turn around so you can ogle my ass too?”

“Better to know up front that I’m staring at your package, and not considering the size of your wallet, doncha think?” Tanna retorted with saccharine sweetness.

He laughed. A deep, sexy rumble that caused a little flip in her belly. “So will you let me buy you a beer if I pull out my wallet?”

“If you’re sure you wanna spend money on an ex-con.”

“You’re not an ex-con by any stretch of your imagination.” He waved down the bartender. “But I am interested to hear which lie I’ll rate.” He shot her a grin. “I’m hoping you’ll claim to be a secret agent.”

Tanna leaned across the bar. “Got a Bond girl fantasy you wanna tell me about, ace?”

“I’m more of a fan of Lara Croft or Sydney Bristow. Chicks who kick ass turn my crank.”

“Hot women who know how to kill and how to dress to kill are the ultimate asset.”

“Oh, those women ain’t got nothin’ on you in the asset department.” His gaze dipped to the deep V of her cleavage.

It didn’t bother her that he was blatantly checking out her rack. When he finally dragged his gaze to hers again, the unbridled lust in his eyes sent a wave of liquid heat through her.

“You are trouble,” she murmured, unable to look away from him. Something about this man pulled her in and revved her up.

“No more trouble than you are, spy girl.” He held out a twenty for the bartender without breaking eye contact. “You wanna grab us a booth and we’ll talk about what kinda trouble we can get into together?”

She nodded. Just as she stepped back, a man jockeying for her spot at the bar jostled her, sending her off balance. Her tall, dark and handsome stranger kept her from falling by using a firm arm to pull her forward. Her breasts met the hard wall of his chest and all the air left her lungs in a rush. Good God was he solid.

He sucked in a sharp breath at the sudden intimate contact.

The side of her face smashed against his pectorals. She remained like that, inhaling his scent until he tugged on her hair to get her attention. She glanced up into his eyes, feeling a blast of pure sexual heat.

“Might be dangerous to keep looking at me like that,” he said softly.

 

Review:

I realize that I’m late in posting my review and I hope that Ms. James and Didi will forgive me.  I received the book while I was on vacation so I’m a week behind.  Thing is, I didn’t expect to be an ARC reviewer for the book.  I think Didi is trying to corrupt me in some way.  He He!  I’m beyond that point now.  Anyways, no excuses now.  I do need to admit a few things before I continue on with my review.

1.  I have to admit that I have only read three books by Ms. James and they all center around Keely McKay and Jack Donohue.  Yes, that couple in Rough Riders.  Oh my…so in a way, I’m fresh meat.  🙂

2.  Again, when I signed up to win a copy, I honestly thought I wouldn’t get the chance.

3.  I was born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas.  My mother was raised on a farm in Oklahoma and I have cousins where farming is their life.

4.  I knew a couple of girls in high school that barrel raced on the weekends and one of my dearest childhood friends is a mixed animal vet with a speciality in horses.

5.  The last thing to admit…HOLY SMOKES, I WON AN ARC COPY!!!

If there is one thing that I learned from reading Turn and Burn is that Ms. James can make a sentence erotic without even trying.  I swear my fingers are still healing from the heat from Tanna and Fletch.  These two were smokin’ hot in the bedroom but what really drew in the story was the real intimacy issues of trust and letting go of their fear.

This is my first book to read in the series so I got to know the Tanna and Fletch from their encounter and then trying not to get together for real at home.  Also, since I didn’t know any of the secondary characters in the book either (I know, I know…hangs head), I got to now their relationships to both Tanna and Fletch and trust me, I will go back and read their stories.  They only enhanced and helped Tanna and Fletch finally combat their fears and let each other in.

While I could rehash the blurb and all that I won’t.  What I enjoyed about reading Turn and Burn was that I really connected with Tanna and Fletch.  Fletch could have been my dad with his workaholic schedule and since I have a friend that is a vet, its not a profession to be taken lightly.  Its long hours, hard work but my friend wouldn’t trade it for the world.  He has finally figured out how to balance his life and Fletch need to learn that, too.  Tanna was a more interesting character for me.  Broken in body and spirit by the death of her mother and her near career ending injury, she believes in the lovin’ and leavin’ way of life is for her.  Of course she meets Fletch and all bets are off.

I can not say enough about how much I loved this story.  Sure the sex was hot, the dirty talk from Fletch was OMG panty melting but the book had heart.  Yes, heart.  It had a message for me and that was to slow down, enjoy your life and fully open your heart to love.  Trust doesn’t come easy; neither does letting go of your fears but once you do that, the world is a brand new place.  Personally, I learned that late in life and once I did, I found my husband literally standing in front of me.

I truly wish that you would read this story and once you are done, hug your significant other.  I know I did and realize that the road to love isn’t easy but once you find it hang on to it.  Let go, let it in and trust yourself above all that you are truly worthy of love.  Yep, Tanna and Fletch had to learn that but the end of was totally worth it.

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So what do you think?