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#Review of The Forbidden Brother (The McNeill Magnates #7) by Joanne Rock w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @givemebooksblog @JoanneRock6

 

 

Title: The Forbidden Brother
Series: The McNeill Magnates #7
Author: Joanne Rock
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 1, 2018

 

Blurb
A night of passion and mistaken identity means unmistakable consequences…
Jillian Ross craves adventure. And she gets it when her new career as a movie location scout leads her to the ranch owned by the wealthy Wyoming McNeills. A close encounter with the playboy McNeill causes havoc—since it’s actually his reclusive twin, Cody, she’s fallen for! Now she’s pregnant—and still can’t get enough of her reluctant rancher. Is this adventure just beginning?
Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
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GOOGLE PLAY

 

Excerpt
“You’ve improved my Saturday night a whole lot, too.” He liked the feel of her, his hand warming the cool skin through the thin blouse she wore. “It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about anything outside of work.”
Her eyebrows lifted. “Leading me to wonder what you could be thinking about right now.” Her lips curved. “Admiring the Wrangler’s decor? Or maybe remembering how much you like a good George Jones tune?” 
He laughed appreciatively. “I do respect a bar that still plays a classic. But the vinyl upholstery in the booths isn’t doing much for me in the decor department.” His gaze skated over her features; he was looking forward to making her blush again. “And I was thinking about you more than anything else.”
His directness might have caught her off guard. She nibbled her lower lip briefly before meeting his eyes. “I haven’t been the center of anyone’s attention in…a long time.”
There was a story there. He heard it in her voice. Saw it in her eyes.
“You aren’t involved with someone else?” He needed to be sure before he let this go on any longer. But his pulse was already thrumming.

“I don’t see a ring, but I have to ask.”
“I am very much unattached.” She shook her head, red curls catching the overhead light as she moved. “What about you? No one waiting at home?”
“The only ones who might be missing my presence right now are a couple of rowdy shepherds back at my ranch who would have preferred the night off.” He swayed with her. Her knee brushed his now and again in a way that fired right through him. “But no girlfriend. No wife.”
He respected that she asked, even though she was clearly feeling the same spark as him. And now that those formalities had been cleared away, he could simply enjoy the moment. The completely unexpected pleasure of having a beautiful stranger in his arms. He didn’t want to let go of her now. He wanted to take her outside into the fresh, rain-cleaned night and kiss her. See if she tasted as good as he imagined.
“The stars are aligning for us so far, aren’t they?” She peered up at him with something like wonder in her eyes. He couldn’t remember a woman ever looking at him quite like
that. As if he was the answer to a question. An answer that pleased her. 
“It feels that way.” He didn’t want to scare her off with empty pickup lines, or come across as some lowlife playing games with a woman in a bar. But as the music shifted again—this time to an even slower, modern country love song—Cody wondered if he could convince her to let the spark between them run wild. To follow the heat wherever it led.
“And since the stars aligning would be a first for me, I wonder if can ask you just one thing.” 
He halted them in the middle of the floor, now that the two-step was done. Bringing her fractionally closer, he swayed to the slower tempo in a barely moving lovers’ dance.
She followed him seamlessly, her gaze never straying from his. She was fully focused on him. Framed by dusky brown lashes, those green-gold eyes reminded him of new grass and spring.
“Sure. Ask away.” Her voice had a sweet-sultry quality that made him want to listen to her speak more. 
“Don’t you ever wish you could forget about the expectations of the world around you and just…choose your own adventure?” He remembered books like that when he’d been a kid, where you could test out different endings to a story. For someone who’d always taken the safe route in real life, he had liked the option of seeing how another choice played out. At least in a book. Cody couldn’t do that with ranching. Or his family. But he could take a chance here. Tonight.
Her lashes swept down for a long moment, hiding her expression. But when she tilted a glance up at him again, there was a new curiosity there.
“Are you asking to share an adventure with me?” She sounded disbelieving. But maybe a little intrigued.
“I suppose I am.” He would never have made such an outrageous suggestion to a local—a woman who knew him or his family. But she had “tourist” and “temporary” written all over her. Surely there couldn’t be any harm in drawing out the flirtation? “What would you say to throwing away the rule book for a little longer?”
He let go of her hand for a moment to tip her chin higher, to see her face in the dim overhead light of the dance floor. Feminine interest flickered in her eyes. He inhaled as she released a pent-up breath. He could almost taste her in the space of silence between them. Then he leaned closer to press his cause. “Choose me tonight.”

Oh, I love this series.  Now we are dealing with the Wyoming side of things and I will admit, I miss my other boys.  But I digress.   This side is going to be a doozy for sure.  Between Scarlett, the youngest and my absolute favorite so far, their mom and her secret, the dad being so obstinate and the other twin brother, this one is going to be awesome.

Jillian is one of my favorite female characters that Ms. Rock has written to date.  A survivor but doesn’t play the victim, she is going after her own life on her terms.  Being a location scout affords her the luxury of traveling and having her adventures.  Plus, she just has that spunk that I just love.  She went after a McNeill, okay the “wrong” one but it turned out fine, right?  Pregnant by one of them?  That should have made her happy but considering what her health issue is/was, Ms. Rock handles it very, very well.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Cody in a sense reminds me of Gabe.  I know, I shouldn’t compare but being the “quiet” one, he doesn’t trust people like his siblings.  And don’t even mention the other branch of the family tree.  That’s like treason for his siblings to embrace their grandfather.  I was happy to see him and Rosa back for a bit.  He really is trying.  Cody’s being just brought a smile to face throughout the whole book.  He’s loyal, the quiet observer but fiercely protective of the people that he loves…including Jillian.

I loved how Cody and Jillian’s relationship had all an equal amount of push and pull.  Ms. Rock treats them as equals and it shows.  Cody isn’t over the top when it comes to Jillian and knows when to back off.  Jillian, on the other hand, lets him know how she feels and what she wants to do with her life and the pregnancy.  They talked and acted like adults.  🙂

Overall, this is another winner in the McNeill’s saga.  Oh and Scarlett…I just can’t.  I have no words.  She is a hoot and I have the strangest feeling that she is going to get herself into a situation that even SHE can’t talk her way out of.  😉

 

Author Bio
Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career.
She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.
 
Author Links
Category Thursday, Excerpt, Giveaways, Meme, New Release, Reviews

#Review of Mischief and Mayhem (a Whiskey Sisters novel #2) by L.E. Rico w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #contemporaryromance @RadioRico @entangledpub

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. L.E. Rico will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to Mayhem, Minnesota, home of the Knitty Kitty, The Little Slice of Heaven Pie Shop, and O’Halloran’s Pub—owned by the four young women known as The Whiskey Sisters.

In the wake of her divorce, Jameson O’Halloran has gone man-vegan. And this is one diet she’s determined to stick with. Even when her long-lost ex-brother-in-law shows up looking like two scoops of double dutch dipped in chocolate… She’s not giving in. Been there and still wearing the messy T-shirt.

It’s been a decade since Scott Clarke left his family and his hometown, never to return. But when tragedy strikes, he finds himself dragged back to the land of gossip, judgment, and the one woman he absolutely, positively, without a doubt can never have. His brother’s ex is off-limits. He just needs to keep repeating that to himself until it sinks in.

Read an Excerpt:

The shelf is a little too high for my short self, and I’m only able to brush the dishes with my fingertips.

“Oh, here, let me help you with that…”

Before I can object, he’s standing behind me, reaching over me to get the dishes. For a brief second, his front is pressed against my back. His broad, muscled, perfectly sculpted front. I feel a wave of unwelcome warmth beginning under my collar and creeping up my neck.

“Thanks…” I murmur awkwardly, keeping my back to him for a moment longer in an attempt to quash my blush.

“Okay. I’m just going to grab a shower before my brother gets here, if you don’t mind.”

“Nope. Not at all,” I say quickly. “You go right ahead.”

Once he disappears around the corner, I silently smack my palm to my forehead.
What was that, Jameson? Why the blush? He’s just your ex-husband’s brother, that’s all. This is insane. I’ve got to stop this childish behavior. No. More. Men. Remember? No thinking about men. No looking at men. No fantasizing about men.

Especially not that man!

I’m still shaking my head and silently berating myself when I hear him behind me.

“Hey, Jameson, do you happen to know if my dad keeps an extra toothbrush around? I dropped mine in the toilet and…”

I don’t hear the end of his sentence because, when I turn to face him, I suddenly can’t hear anything. I’m too entranced by the sight of him wearing nothing but a towel around his waist.

Oh, crap, oh crap, oh crap… I am in so much trouble here. No men. No men. No men… I repeat the mantra over and over again in my head, but clearly the rest of my body isn’t getting the memo.

Where do I start?  I mean really.  It’s like I waited FOREVER for this book in the series.  If you want a recap of my review of Henny’s story here you go: Hennessey’s Review.  So I won’t go into the sisters again in my review but let’s just say that they all play a very big part of this book and it is wonderful how Ms. Rico is able to use them in nonintrusive ways.  Bailey and Jameson’s side plot is brilliantly played out, even if my heart broke a bit.  Very realistically written and heartfelt.  Remember that Jameson is the oldest and Bailey the youngest.

Anyways, I’m here to tell you how much I just ADORED this book.  In some ways, it supersedes the first one and I’ll tell you why:

  1.  Jameson is the oldest sibling and feels like a failure.  In her marriage, in helping her sisters and at times her son, Jackson.  Jackson is hilarious in this book.  Unca Scott and beddy-bye are just two of his sayings.  Jameson carries some guilt when it comes to her mother’s death and still misses her. But what was great about that is she was finally able to “see” her mother when it came to the butterfly exhibit at the fair.  Trust me, I had a tear.  She fights for what she wants and doesn’t let her douche bag of an ex-husband take it from her.  Also, she cares deeply for her father in law and the feeling is mutual.
  2.  Scott.  I swooned.  Yes, swooned and pictured Josh Lucas as my Scott.  Just think Sweet Home Alabama and you’ll understand.  Anyway, I loved him from the start and when we finally understand why he left and then the fallout later in the book, my heart literally broke.  How could someone be that cruel to another human being?  I know, there are plenty of people out there but in the end, they don’t get their way.  Just the last scene in the bar spoke volumes to me in the sense that a certain douchebag will never get his way.
  3. The Pie Lady is back and spookier than ever.  She scares me.  Seriously.  Ms. Rico has written a secondary character that is funny, fun but reminds me somewhat of a fairy godmother.  In a spooky way.
  4. The celebrity cat scenes.  Laugh out loud funny.
  5. The mystery in regards to Win and Scott.  I really liked that plot point.  It showed me that the Clarkes were made of a certain character and didn’t back down.  Too bad Win didn’t get the same message.  Ungrateful little snot.
  6.  With this story, we didn’t have an outsider trying to take over something.  I love Brynn but this one was more about two childhood friends that made a pact that they both forgot about.  It’s about finding that true love when you think that you will never get it.  For finding that someone that makes you feel alive when you don’t think you deserve it.  For finding the peace in the reasons why you leave and but then find reasons for never leaving again.

Ms. Rico has written that rare second book in a series that really makes you think.  I’m not sure if I could have coped with what Scott went through all those years ago.  Jameson had to finally get her backbone when it came to Win and his ways.  Douchebag.  Yes, I will continue to say it.  It’s still a story about sisters but in the end, it’s about being true to yourself and fighting for what you truly want in life.

About the Author:

L.E. Rico didn’t set out to be an author. In fact she’s made a name for herself as a classical music radio host—doing her best to make the music and the composers relevant by putting them into a modern context. It was just a few years ago that she discovered a passion for writing that blossomed into an entire novel. And then another. And another. And, while she still spends plenty of time on the radio, telling the stories of the great composers, she spends even more time composing her own great stories.

https://www.laurenrico.com/
https://www.facebook.com/LaurenRicoAuthor
https://twitter.com/RadioRico
https://entangledpublishing.com/author/l-e-rico


Name the Nanny Contest

In addition to the tour wide Rafflecopter, the author is offering an additional special contest: “Name the Nanny!”

Create a quirky character and they could be featured in Lauren’s next book!
Contest page link: http://www.LaurenRico.com/Name-The-Nanny-Contest

A Note From the Author:

Name Mayhem, Minnesota’s newest resident!
Welcome to Mayhem, MN where the cats wear sweaters, the priest gives love advice, and you can find your fortune under a slice of pie.

Mayhem is filled with all kinds of quirky characters and I’m looking for one more!

In honor of the release of Mischief and Mayhem, book two of the Whiskey Sisters series, I’m in the market for a brand new character—a nanny who will fit in with the wacky bunch who live there.

Can you help?

Fill out this form and tell me about the nanny YOU think should become Mayhem’s latest resident! Name, physical features, and, most importantly, what makes them so quirky? Bonus points for snippets in the character’s voice and dialogue with existing characters from book one, Blame it on the Bet.

If your character is selected, he/she will be featured in an upcoming Whiskey Sisters storyline and you’ll get a shout-out in the acknowledgements!

All entries will be evaluated by myself in consultation with Entangled Publishing, LLC.

In the event that there are an insufficient number of viable entries, as determined by me, then I’ll create an assortment of characters—one to be chosen by popular vote with all voters entered in a random drawing. In this event, the winner will help select the character’s name & physical description and will receive a mention in the acknowledgments.

Haven’t read Blame it on the Bet yet? What are you waiting for?  Start getting acquainted with the Mayhem of Mayhem, Minnesota!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt, Giveaways, Harlequin Spotlight, Meme, Reviews

#Review of To Catch a Thief (a Fitzgerald House novel) by Nan Dixon w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @nandixonauthor @NanDixonAuthor @HarlequinBooks

To Catch A Thief

by Nan Dixon

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GENRE: Contemporary

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BLURB:

What would you do for your family?

When Carolina Castillo’s once vivacious mother becomes ill, she gives up her singing dreams and comes home to Savannah. She’d do anything for her Mamá, even work at Fitzgerald House for the family she should have been part of. She’d even steal.

Carolina’s decisions make perfect sense until she comes up against the immovable rock that is gorgeous FBI agent Sage Cornell. The honorable cop sees the world in black-and-white. He would never understand the difficult choices she’s had to make, the secrets she’s been forced to keep close. And he could never love a woman like her. Or could he?

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Excerpt Three:

He boosted his butt onto the stool, moaning like he was Gramps after being in the saddle for a day.

Two women worked behind the counter drawing beers. He closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths.

“Sage?”

His eyes blinked open. “Carolina?”

The napkin slipped out of her fingers and floated to the floor.

“You got the job.” Did that make him feel better or worse since she hadn’t called?

“First day.” Her deep blue eyes had that stunned look, like a white-tailed deer caught in a four-wheeler’s lights at dusk.

“How’s your mother?” He schooled his voice, hoping she couldn’t catch his disappointment.

Her shoulders moved up and down with her sigh. His eyes dropped to her chest. Even in the modest polo, he didn’t need much imagination to remember how she’d pressed against him as they’d kissed.

So why in blazes hadn’t she called?

“They can’t get her seizures under control.” Her fingers crushed the second napkin she pulled for him. “She’s still in the hospital.”

He caught her hand. “I’m sorry.”

“Thanks.” She stared into his eyes.

The noise of the room slipped away. He wanted to make the pain in her deep blue eyes disappear, too.

She shook her head. “Um, what can I get you?”

“What’s on tap?”

“First day.” She winced. “Lots of Southbound.”

“I’ll have their seasonal.” He could have one beer and make it last through dinner.

“I’ll get that.” But she stayed right in front of him.

He smiled. Maybe she hadn’t been blowing him off. Warmth flooded through him.

“Sage?” she asked.

“Yeah?”

“I need my hand back.”

Cripes. He let go and the warmth faded like a leaking balloon. He was an idiot. “Sorry.”

Over her shoulder, she quipped, “I didn’t mind.”

“Like I said, I’m available for dinner or just a shoulder to cry on.” Preferably in bed, but even he wasn’t crass enough to suggest that to her. He wanted to help any way he could. It was the Cornell way.

 

Before you start throwing darts at me because of my ranking of this book, please note that this book has a trigger in it for me.  That’s the ONLY reason why I gave it the ranking I did.  For some people, they will pass over it without a word but for me, I just couldn’t.

I’m writing this review on Mother’s Day and to say that I had major issues with Carolina’s mom would be an understatement.  Look, I get, maybe they why, she had Carolina lie to everyone.  But I didn’t like the way Rosa treated Carolina in the book at all.  I know, she is dying and has seizures/cancer but I just couldn’t get past that she has treated Carolina that way for a while.  At some point, I wished that Carolina had taken up for herself when it came to her mother.  I have a difficult relationship with my own mother and it wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I finally had to realize that I wouldn’t have the type of relationship with her that I had always craved.  She is who she is and I’m me.

What I truly loved about the book is the romance between Sage and Carolina.  It was extremely relatable and at times swoon-worthy.   Carolina took up for herself when it came to that relationship so I knew that she could have done it with her mom.  *sigh*  Plus, Sage needed to be taken down a peg or two with this holier than thou attitude.  Thank goodness for his mom and the revelation that she told him.  Sage is just the type of hero that I like.  Not alpha or beta.  Just an all-around good guy that needed a slap upside his head by a strong woman (his mom) that finally made him realize what he was truly missing out on in life.

The Fitzgerald sisters are all here.  I’ve read all of their stories, too and it was great seeing them play a huge role in this book.  Of course, the reaction from their mother is priceless but understandable.  Too bad that the sisters had to find out the hard way that their daddy had done.  Parents can do stupid things but they are human.  Maybe more human than children would like to see.  This book is truly about family and what consists of being a family.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  It’s all here and Ms. Dixon wrote it perfectly.  Even if I didn’t like Rosa.

And yes, I still recommend it.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Award winning author Nan Dixon spent her formative years as an actress, singer, dancer and competitive golfer. But the need to eat had her studying accounting in college. Unfortunately, being a successful financial executive didn’t feed her passion to perform. When the pharmaceutical company she worked for was purchased, Nan got the chance of a lifetime—the opportunity to pursue a writing career.  She’s a five-time Golden Heart® finalist, lives in the Midwest and is active in her local RWA chapter and on the board of a dance company. She has five children, three sons-in-law, two granddaughters, one grandson and one neurotic cat.

 

www.NanDixon.com

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https://www.pinterest.com/NanDixonauthor/

Buy Links – http://www.nandixon.com/category/books/

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

Nan Dixon will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway