by Mia Hopkins
Kings of California, #2
Publication Date: January 13, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Synopsis: With nothing but her dog, her guitar, and her cowboy boots, songwriter Riley Marion arrives in Los Angeles on the run from her abusive ex. A quiet job teaching music sounds perfect, but her low-key lifestyle is threatened when she reunites with a sexy old flame—now an up-and-coming celebrity who’s constantly dogged by paparazzi.
Charming and driven, Jack Lamont is a Hollywood actor on the rise to stardom. Ready to outgrow his playboy reputation, he’s happy to leave the hard partying to his entourage. Romantic entanglements? Jack’s not interested. At least, not until he gets tangled up with the one who got away—a smoking-hot woman whose memory has haunted him for the last ten years.
*AUTHOR’S NOTE* While this book is a part of a series, it can be read completely as a STANDALONE.
“Stay.” His soft voice heated her blood.
Her willpower was taking a serious beating. Riley rubbed the worn-out brass key of her Datsun between her thumb and forefinger, wishing she could put this particular genie back in his bottle.
“Jack, listen. I have a favor to ask.”
“What do you need?”
What I need has nothing to do with what I want. “I’ve been thinking about what happened on the beach.”
“On the beach? When we…?”
“When we kissed. Made out. Almost…you know. It made me realize something.” She unclipped her seat belt and turned toward him. “I’m not ready.”
“Ready…to take things further with you.” The words made her wither a little inside. Embarrassed, she didn’t know how to talk about sex. “I was married for a long time. And Tommy—he was my first. My only. There’s been no one since.”
Jack frowned. “Do you still have feelings for him?”
“No. Not at all. That’s done.” She licked her lips and looked up at him. “I know that since high school our lives took two very different paths. And I’m happy to be here with you, now. But, if it’s all the same to you, could we maybe”—she cleared her throat—“take things a little slower?”
Jack stared at her and said nothing.
Riley backpedaled, trying to make him understand. “I know, it’s a really old-fashioned thing to ask. If this doesn’t work out for you, I’ll be happy to be on my way. We can be friends. Grab a drink or two when you want to reminisce. No problem. I completely understand.”
His hands rested calmly on his knees, but his jaw tightened a little. “I think I get what you’re saying.”
“It’s not that I don’t want to—”
“Don’t want to what?”
“Jesus Christ, Riley. We’re grown-ups. Say what you don’t want to do. I want to hear you say it.” Jack raised his eyebrows. “Go on.”
Riley fidgeted. “It’s not that I don’t want to…sleep with you.”
“So you do.”
He grinned. “Want to sleep with me.”
“Stop putting words in my mouth.”
“Trust me, sweetheart.” His eyes crinkled up with silent laughter. “Words are not what I want to put in your mouth.”
She looked at him, and her jaw dropped open.
He started to laugh. “That doesn’t make things any better.”
Riley snapped her mouth closed and slapped his meaty shoulder with the back of her hand. “I’m baring my soul to you and you’re making fun of me. You big jerk.” She slapped his shoulder again.
“Ow! Okay, okay.” He held up his hands. “I couldn’t resist. I’m an asshole. Sorry. I’m sorry.” As she seethed at him, he reached forward and stroked her cheek with his fingertips. “Don’t be mad.” He took her hand in his and brought it to his lips. The gentle kiss calmed her. He did it again. When he did it a third time, the tension drained from her shoulders.
“Listen,” he said, “when you came back into my life, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think I would see you again, much less have a chance at spending time with you like this. Today was…for lack of a better word, today was fun. You’re fun to talk to. Smart. Passionate. It’s refreshing.”
In spite of her annoyance, Riley gave him a small smile. “I had fun too.”
“Then let’s keep it here for a while. I’m not in any rush.” He glanced up at her. “All right, that’s a bald-faced lie. I’ve been thinking about you all week.”
Her cheeks warmed up. “Really?”
He nodded. “Thinking about you. Fantasizing about you. Yeah. A lot, actually.” He ran his fingertip over her knuckles. “But that’s a conversation for another day, right?”
One more mischievous grin and he let go of her hand. Riley stared at him, wondering if she shouldn’t have shut her trap and jumped into bed with him like the wanton love goddess she wanted to be.
He walked her to her car and held the door open for her as she climbed inside. She cranked the window down and put the key in the ignition. Her crotchety old engine coughed to life.
Before she could drive away, Jack reached forward through the open window and took her face gently in his hands. Without a word, he kissed her—a deep kiss full of longing and sweetness. He slipped her a little tongue and she smiled, eyes closed, sparks falling like rain through her nervous system. Too soon, Jack let go and took a step back, his eyes locked on hers.
“Have a good week,” he said. “Call me.”
Okay, I have to admit that I read both books and will review them separately. I also have to admit, that I liked this one better. There is a sweetness to it. The romance is there. The trope, friends to lovers is there, too. But what really sold me on the book were Riley and Jack. These are the types of characters that I love in a contemporary romance. They have a history with each other. They are friends, first, and then they finally admitted their long held feelings for each other but it isn’t easy. Oh yes, there are other forces they have to deal with.
Jack was introduced in Deep Down when he was a teenager. I smirked when I read those pages because I couldn’t wait to read what the deal was with Jack and Riley. I was not disappointed at all. Jack and Riley had to work for their romance. Miscommunication, stupid exes and the Hollywood scene don’t make it easy for them but they fight for what they want…each other. I sighed and swooned throughout the book. The length that Jack went through for Riley one time. Oh my…best part of the book.
The secondary characters in the book are top notch. The nuns are a hoot and I particularly liked how they were connected to Jack and Riley. Jack’s friends were just okay and I would have liked to have gotten to know them a bit better. Also, I felt like Ana, Jack’s assistant, could have been a great friend for Riley. The pacing in this book is perfect. Before long, it was over and I was sad. I could have read about Jack and Riley like…forever. Yes, forever. I miss them.
Overall, I really, really liked this book. The sexy times were great but not nearly has erotic as Deep Down. In fact, I would have labeled this book spicy. This story didn’t need the sex in it as much as Deep Down. Again, there is a sweetness to this book that has stayed with me long after I read it.
CHECK OUT THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SCORCHING HOT KINGS OF CALIFORNIA SERIES!
by Mia Hopkins
Kings of California, #1
Publication Date: November 20, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis: Sex, drugs, and spicy tuna rolls?Resilient and disciplined, tsunami survivor Eve Ono moves to California from Japan looking for a position as a sushi chef. When she’s suddenly fired from her restaurant job, desperation drives her to find work on a fishing boat despite her fears of the ocean. To make matters worse, she’s stuck in close quarters with her new captain—a man whose raw physicality drives her out of her mind with lust.
Free-spirited and roguish, Sam Lamont is a commercial fisherman aboard his own dive boat, the Bravado. When he makes a bad deal with a deadly loan shark who threatens to take his boat, Sam is in danger of losing both his business and his way of life. On top of that, he’s got to train his new deckhand—a beautiful hard-ass who just so happens to be sexy as hell.
A female sushi chef with mad knife skills. A deep-sea diver who’s pissed off a Mexican drug cartel. Together, they’re in trouble, and the only way out is down.
*AUTHOR’S NOTE* While this book is a part of a series, it can be read completely as a STANDALONE.
A gust of wind blew sheets of rain against the side of the building.
“I’d like to make a push in the next few weeks,” said Sam. “Instead of three days a week, we’ll be doing four. It’s going to be nasty work. Do you think you’ll be up to it?”
“No problem. Whatever you need.”
Without thinking, Sam ran his fingers through her ponytail. Her hair was silky, heavy, and slightly damp from her shower. He stroked her hair for a few seconds before he realized what he was doing. At once, he withdrew his hand.
“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice rough. “My mind was somewhere else.”
Her smile was gentle. “Don’t worry about it.” She stood up and stretched. “I’m gonna change and get out of here so you can get some sleep.”
“Hell no,” he said. “It’s pissing rain.”
“It’s not that bad―”
“No way. No how.”
“Don’t make me use my captain voice on you,” he said. When she looked at him, something flashed in her eyes. Did she like it when he told her what to do?
“Fine,” she said with mock indignation. She went over to the closet where he kept the spare pillow and blanket.
He got to his feet and put his hand on the closet door, preventing her from opening it. “We’re past this. It’s cold downstairs. Just take the bed.”
“What about you?” Her eyes were wide.
“Oh, I’m taking the bed, too.”
I read this book before Hollywood Honkytonk and this is a new to me author, too. If you read the review above, first, you might not think that I liked this book. I truly did like the book. Sam was an awesome hero and Eve is a joy. But here is some of things that I like and didn’t like about Deep Down.
- Sam (Hero) – Loved him. Torn between the party boy in him, finally deciding the grow up and then realizing that Kyle isn’t what he needs around him anymore. Great character depth, even though he didn’t think he was worth much.
- Eve (heroine) – Wow, what a character. She had been through enough in her life and not having anyone in her corner, she never let it get her down. All she wanted was to be a chef. Romance is the last thing on her mind.
- Secondary characters – OMG! Tiffani, Tiffani, Tiffani. That girl needs her own book. I missed her when she wasn’t around. She was the perfect friend for Eve. Kyle was a douche. That is all. Oh and Judith and Charlie. *sniff*
- The dialogue between Sam and Eve is great. Sexy, snarky and honest. I really felt the connection between them. It is a very slow build to their romance. Once it starts, though, there is no stopping. In fact, I think it was too fast in some parts. I love a good erotic story. Ms. Hopkins writes exception erotic but at times I felt like it wasn’t needed. I wanted more emotion from Sam. Sometimes, the kink (very light) got in the way of a more emotional connection that I was craving from him. The emotional connection from Eve is there from the start and that’s what broke my heart.
Overall, I really did like Sam and Eve. The pacing is a bit slow in the beginning but once it picks up, it doesn’t let you go. Ms. Hopkins can write a hot book with characters that you really can root for.
ABOUT MIA HOPKINS
Mia Hopkins writes lush romances starring fun, sexy characters who love to get down and dirty. She’s a sucker for working class heroes, brainy heroines and wisecracking best friends. When she’s not lost in a story, Mia spends her time cooking, gardening, traveling, volunteering and looking for her keys. In a past life, she was a classroom teacher and still has a pretty good “teacher voice” and “teacher stare.” She lives in the heart of Los Angeles with her roguish husband and two waggish dogs.