#Review of When Fate Decides (Challenge of the Heart #1) by Tricia McGill w/a rafflecopter giveaway!

When Fate Decides

by Tricia McGill

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GENRE: Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

For too long Tessa has seen herself as plain and dowdy, just an ordinary suburban housewife. With her confidence eroded after being married to a bully who humiliated her at every opportunity, why wouldn’t she presume she was unattractive, and someone no man would find the least bit worth bothering with?

But now Tessa is a widow, and relishing her new state of independence. Her world is turned upside down by Jack Delaney, a man she spent hours fantasizing over when he worked for her husband. A man who gave her a deliciously secret outlet from her miserable marriage. When Jack enters her life again, professing he finds her attractive, why would she believe him? Especially as he is now wealthy, successful, still extremely handsome, and to add to that, years younger than her.

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Excerpt One:

As Tessa pulled the door open, the words of rebuke died on her lips. It most definitely wasn’t a salesman. The man who stood there, smiling, was one she’d never expected to see again in her lifetime.

“Mrs Browning. I don’t know if you remember me,” he said. Oh, how she remembered him, and that rich voice of his. “The name’s Jack Delaney. I did some work here a few years back for your husband.” When she continued to stare at him in shock, he added, “We built the games room and extra toilet and shower room.” He shrugged. “Another guy and me were here for a month or so? You’ve probably forgotten me.”

Forgotten him?

If there was one person Tessa would never be likely to forget, it was him. His voice sounded deeper, but still held that same undercurrent of sensuality that caused her toes to curl.

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Have you ever read a book and just completely connected with a character and understood EVERYTHING that the character is going through?  This is me in this book.  Let me explain:

I’m 7 years OLDER than my husband.  We got married when he was 30 and I was 37.  I totally resisted getting romantic with him for 4 years.  Sure, we were friends and did stuff together.  Dinner, movies, concerts, and sporting events but no kissing.  We met on December 31, 1999, and didn’t kiss until July 3, 2003.  We got married on September 4, 2004.  Yes, I was very slow to start anything romantic but once I kissed him, I just knew.  No more fun and games.  Once we kissed, we couldn’t be apart from each other.  Sounds romantic but I still had reservations.  We’ve been married now 12 years and couldn’t be happier.

Now in this story, Tessa is 45 with children and Jack is just 30.  There were times that I really wanted to bonk Tessa on the head.  I can understand why she didn’t want to get involved again with a man.  Her douche of a dead husband made her that way.  Of course, Gary, her son was no better.  And yes, I didn’t like him at all.  He treated his mother with disdain at times but she did stand up to him.  Too bad that we didn’t see the ending of his story.  Maybe we will but he needs to grow up ALOT for me to like him.  Laurel, her daughter, was funny.  She knew about the way her dad treated her mother and didn’t like it.  She liked Jack and how much he loved her mother.

Jack was never going to give up on Tessa.  I liked that about him.  Was he pushy?  Sure but he wasn’t the alpha hole either.  He gave her space but also loved her unconditionally even if he didn’t understand her reasons.  He just saw Tessa as the woman that he had been in love with all those years and wasn’t going to give up on her.  *swoon*  There are a couple of subplots that were nicely woven in that led to some of the tension between Tessa, Jack, Gary, and Laurel.

Overall, this a great story featuring a twist on the May-December trope.  The smexy times aren’t graphic but add to the depth of their love for each other.  Oh yes, Tessa did love Jack…she just didn’t want to accept it and run with it.

Go…buy this book.  Ms. McGill does a great job with the trope and her characters.  Of course, there are some language differences.  It starts off in English and then some of the Aussie phrases show up.  *sigh*  I love Aussies.

Like buy the book now. You’re welcome!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

Award winning author Tricia McGill was born in London, England, and moved to Australia many years ago, settling near Melbourne. The youngest in a large, loving family she was never lonely or alone. Surrounded by avid readers, who encouraged her to read from an early age, is it any wonder she became a writer? The local library was a treasure trove and magical world of discovery through her childhood and growing years. Although her published works cross sub-genres, romance is always at their heart.

Tricia’s love of animals has always shown up in her books. Tricia devotes as much time and money as she can spare to supporting worldwide conservation groups and is passionate about supporting those who do all they can to preserve our wildlife for future generations, especially elephants and orangutans who seem to be getting the raw end of the deal even in this enlightened age. She also volunteers for a local community group that helps disabled adults and children to connect to the internet with provided computer equipment. When people ask what she does in her spare time she is heard to ask, “Spare time, what is that?”

Web Page:   www.triciamcgill.com

Blog:   http://triciamg.blogspot.com

Facebook Author page:   https://www.facebook.com/authorTriciaMcGill        

Books We Love Author Page: http://bookswelove.net/authors/mcgill-tricia/

When Fate Decides at Amazon: https://amzn.com/B01AR9FPSA

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Tricia McGill will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Happy book Birthday and ARC #Review of Rodeo Rancher by Mary Sullivan! @MSullivanWrites

A Family Housewarming

Visitors are rare at widower Michael Moreno’s Rodeo, Montana, ranch. When Samantha Read and her two sons turn up, seeking shelter in a snowstorm, his kids are ecstatic. Michael is less enthusiastic. Sammy’s sophisticated city vibe seems out of place in his country home. But even he can’t deny that the bubbly beauty lights up the whole house.

Though Sammy doesn’t know much about ranching, she recognizes an aching heart when she sees one. Michael and his kids could use some cheer, and she’s determined to make the most of their time together. But as the heat between Sammy and Michael threatens to melt the snow, Sammy wonders if Michael’s heart could be thawing, as well…

 

I have to admit that has much Harlequin I read, I never caught onto the Cowboy craze.  It seems from being born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas.  I still live in Texas and for me, cowboys are something that I have seen every day my whole life.  It’s not I don’t like a good Wrangler butt or a buff rancher.  I worship at the feet of King George (George Straight) but honestly, I’d rather have billionaire’s, royalty or the special agent/cop.  That said, somewhere I missed the memo that Harlequin American Romance was changing to Western Romance.

So when Ms. Sullivan approached me to read her latest release I was intrigued.  You see, it’s about a rancher in Montana and the woman that is finally able to make him smile and love again after the death of his wife.  Sure, it’s a tried and true trope but what makes this one so special and good are their kids.  Oh yes, Michael has 2 kids and so does Sammy.  The kids in this book are crucial to the development of the romance and how much Michael is grieving.  Ms. Sullivan does a great job of the slow burn of the romance.  Michael is a big ole grumpy bear that has closed everyone off and Sammy is just the breath of fresh air that he and his kids need.

Sammy does come with some baggage, too.  The ending surprised me.  I honestly never saw that coming but it was nicely done.  I also liked her relationship with her brother.  Just wished I had read his book, too.  Sammy is just a trip when it comes to the kids.  I also liked how her and Michael’s parenting skills were the same but different.  Loved how Sammy never questioned Michael’s but he was quick to always say something about hers.  The meet-cute was hilarious, too.  Ms. Sullivan painted a picture for me and I’m still smiling.

Overall, this book sold me on the “new” line.  I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.  Alas, I have to wait until I think July.

Author Bio:
Award-winning author Mary Sullivan grew up in a big city, which makes her fascination with small towns, ranchers and cowboys hard to explain.
In 2005, she was finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart contest. Since then her writing career has taken off. She is the author of thirteen Superromances and two Western Romances, with four more on the way!
She loves that moment when, against all odds and through every difficulty, her hero and heroine find their happy endings.
TWITTER: @MSullivanWrites

#Review of The Wolf of Winterthorne (Scandalous Secrets #4) by Tracy Goodwin! w/a rafflecopter giveaway @tracy_goodwin

Title: The Wolf of Winterthorne
Series: Scandalous Secrets #4
Author: Tracy Goodwin
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Published: August 23, 2016

Logan Ambrose has endured a tortured existence. After learning how to fend for himself at a young age, he eventually amassed power and wealth. His fortune came at an extreme cost, as rising from poverty often does. Branded, he wears his sins on his marred flesh. Each scar represents a past he doesn’t wish to remember, the ruthless man he holds at bay, the tortured soul who would do anything to survive.

Bruised, battered and bloodied, Arabella Sutton is a woman lost. With no recollection of who she is or what terrors she suffered, she stumbles onto the imposing Winterthorne estate running from those who hunt her, haunted by the memory of her bloodied hands holding a blade and wearing a bracelet monogrammed with the initial S.

When she stumbles into Logan’s arms, he recognizes her instantly. She is one of two women he once knew: Arabella or her twin sister, Sybil. One he dared to love years ago, though he now despises them equally. Logan recognizes her bracelet as belonging to Sybil … the last woman he wished to see.

While Arabella must overcome the loss of her memories, she is drawn to the brooding and menacing master of Winterthorne who knows much more about her past than he is willing to admit. Meanwhile, Logan is assailed with memories of his lost love while offering protection to the woman he believes to be her vicious twin, the woman who once reveled in making his life miserable, all the while fighting against the strong attraction that pulls him towards his charge and the reminders of Arabella that she rekindles in his hardened heart.

As Arabella pieces together her past, scandalous secrets come to light and Logan will stop at nothing to save his beloved from the dangerous machinations of her evil identical twin.
Together, Logan and Arabella rekindle a romance they long thought extinguished. Meanwhile, they concoct a grand scheme to unmask Sybil and rescue Arabella from her sister’s misdeeds.

Can they protect Arabella from peril and assure their future before it is too late?

 

 

“Every time I read one of Tracy Goodwin’s beautifully written novels, her words and unforgettable characters steal a little piece of my heart. Her books are exquisite and totally addictive.” –SUSAN DUERDEN, AWARD WINNING FEATURE FILM/TELEVISION ACTRESS AND NARRATOR

“Tracy Goodwin is a promising new voice in historical romance.” –BARBARA DAWSON SMITH, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR

“Tracy Goodwin is definitely an author to look out for. She writes a sensual and clever novel that makes for an enjoyable read.” –WW BOOK CLUB BLURBS, PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY, BARBARA VEY BLOG

Another historical.  Another awesome read.  Seriously.  To all the historical authors out there…stop it.  Right now.  I can’t it.  Y’all are spoiling me.  Ms. Goodwin had me from the first paragraph and I’m still thinking about this book.  It’s not a mind twister but it was clever, sexy and poignant.  Why poignant?  Because Bella and Logan were meant to be together.  I true childhood sweethearts to lovers story.  And in historicals, the villain is typically NOT a sibling.  In this one, it is and it’s delicious…in a twisted way.

Bella has a twin, Sybil (giggle on the name) and Sybil’s cruelty has been ongoing ever since they were children.  You just have to read all the ways that Sybil has been so cruel and evil to Bella.  I have twin aunts and trust me, they have never been cruel to each other.  They are mirror twins and have been best friends since birth.  I liked how Ms. Goodwin put a twist on the twin thing and ran with it.  Evil, delicious and makes for great intrigue.  Oh yes…very intriguing.  Always trying to be one step ahead…

I loved Logan from the beginning.  I’ll be honest, though, I really thought he would be a bastard but he never truly was.  Sure did he think one thing in the beginning but when he and Bella finally figured out what the heck was going on, he went into a full throttle mode when it came to protecting and loving Bella again.  I definitely don’t want to meet him, Tristan or Colin in a back alley.  Talk about lethal.

I also liked how the men in the stories were just has tortured in their pasts but lived to tell about it and were unashamed in it.  It made them what they are and to the ladies that they loved  BTW, OMG…Victoria.  She’s another that you need in your corner, too.  A great secondary character and friend to Bella.

Overall, I don’t want to give too much away but if you are looking for an intriguing, childhood friends to lovers, second chance romance…read this book.  I fell in love with everyone in the book and can’t wait to go back and read Colin/Eve’s and Tristan/Victoria’s stories.  🙂

 


The Wolf of Winterthorne © Tracy Goodwin 2016

Chapter 1
1851 Northamptonshire, England
Her lungs burned as she raced farther into the darkness, the stench of decaying leaves and brush assailing her nostrils until she thought she might retch.
Help me …
The words wedged in her throat, which was raw from a mixture of sheer panic and dehydration.
Had she screamed?
Why couldn’t she remember?
Her mind was muddled in a murky abyss, helped none by the ominous clouds sheathing the moon, casting foreboding shadows across her path. Recollections she couldn’t decipher haunted her in the form of shapes she couldn’t comprehend and occurrences she couldn’t quite piece together.
Swallowing hard, she attempted to speak but, again, no words formed.
Panic rose as the ringing in her ears heightened to a shrill crescendo. She struggled to breathe, her corset constricting her airflow, reducing her panting to swift, shallow breaths.
Why couldn’t she breathe?
Why couldn’t she remember?
What did she recall?
Being hunted. Yes, men who wished her harm were chasing her. That was her reality. As was the fact that her predators must be close.
What if they overheard her trudging through the woods? What if they, too, could hear her ragged lungs as they strained to inhale, though with little success?
The possibilities sent her senses reeling.
Clutching a low-lying branch, she wrapped her fingers around its rough, spindly bark. Leaning against it, she allowed herself one moment to gather her wits.
Swooning in the forest wouldn’t save her life.
No, it would hasten her demise.
Breathe. She silently instructed herself. Breathe then run.
Run for your life.
She shoved herself away from the branch and sprinted as fast as she could before stumbling on a protruding root. Pain radiated from her hand as she clumsily righted herself against a large tree trunk. Her palm was wet and sticky, the thick, rugged bark having slashed her skin.
Grinding her teeth, she grabbed her skirts then propelled herself farther into obscurity.
Do not trip.
It was her silent command as she veered across the uneven terrain, hard from the early freeze. Ruts and indentations challenged her at every step as did the thick roots, sturdy and unrelenting, that stretched across the landscape.
Stalking her.
Like the men who sought to kill her.
She could not evade them. No matter how hard she tried, no matter how careful she was. The roots, like those men who chased her, continued to hound her, continued to creep towards her, surrounding her at every turn.
Again she tripped, this time landing on her knees with a loud grunt she could no longer suppress.
Dear God, it is cold.
3
She wore no cloak. Just a simple muslin gown and skirts. No boots, just slippers. Her toes, which once ached, were now numb.
The frigid temperature seeped into her body, into every limb and muscle. Nature appeared to want her dead as much as those in pursuit.
Choking back a sob, a puff of air swirled like vapor from her mouth into the icy shadows. The bitter cold and damp night enveloped her. The more she knelt on the ground, the more the frost assailed her body, causing her to sway as she tried desperately to stand.
Every joint stiffened, as if frozen in place.
Her teeth had begun to chatter as she crawled to the silhouette of what appeared to be a tree trunk. Or perchance a log? The closer she got, the smaller it appeared. White spots blurred her vision as realization set in.
She was close to losing consciousness.
God, please help me, she prayed in silence.
Don’t let them catch me.
They will kill me.
Managing to stand on shaky legs, she staggered forward. A sharp limb clawed at her face and a wet, sticky substance began a slow decent down her cheek.
Blood.
Her blood.
It trickled into her mouth, the thick, metallic taste causing her to gag.
Another root grabbed hold of her foot, causing her ankle to give way as she collapsed against the frozen dirt, entwined branches and bark. This time, no grunt escaped her lips. Instead she lay still, mouth agape.
Help me …
In addition to a searing pain in her ribcage, her ankle now throbbed as she leaned against her arms until they gave way under her weight. She flopped on her side, the waves of pain crushing against her ribcage, her ankle, her cheek, her every limb.
The thought of lying on the frigid ground beneath her, remaining in this very spot, became overwhelmingly tempting.
Stay still and die – before they find me.
Yes, perhaps she would freeze to death. Perhaps she would simply fall asleep and the pain would cease.
But what if she was discovered before the cold spindly fingers of death clung to her? Her heart pumped faster, harder, at the thought of the pain they would inflict. Those faceless men, whose blunt, menacing voices she would recognize until the moment she inhaled her last breath.
What had they said? That they wanted her dead … that they would kill her. Yes, they sounded excited at the prospect. That she remembered, along with their many questions.
She shivered. Those men demanded answers to so many questions. About a man she did not know, whose name she could not recall. She possessed no answers and that made them more eager to kill her.
Clutching her side, she managed to rise and stumble farther into the black abyss of night. Tripping again, her feet becoming more and more entangled as she bumped into tree trunks, unable to keep her bearings.
What direction did she come from?
Where was she heading?
She squinted in an attempt to clear her vision. Her eyes darted, unable to discern her path.
A dog barked in the distance, the sound causing her to jump and head in the opposite direction. Though she was now limping, she continued to wobble forward.
Don’t look back.
4
Never look back.
Wiping her cheek, her blood flowed freely onto her palm. It was a welcome distraction from the pain as she found a clearing up ahead. Though cast in an intimidating gloom, it appeared to be a straight path.
Her pace quickened as she hurried forward, one step at a time. Gritting her teeth, she gained momentum by reminding herself of the imminent danger.
They are coming for me.
They will kill me.
Run!
Dashing past one tree, then weaving past another, she was almost to the clearing when she ran straight into a solid mass.
Strong, firm, he clutched her shoulders as her pulse pommeled against her temples.
They caught me!
They will kill me.
She struggled to free herself. Though the man had a firm grip, it wasn’t the least bit excruciating. Her predators would wish her pain. They would be rough, violent – they would have already blindfolded her as they did once before.
Was this man one of them?
Searching the stranger’s face, she noted the hard, angular jaw and cheekbones, deep-set onyx eyes and a deadened slash of skin spanning his cheekbone. Even cast in a dark silhouette, the scar was discernable.
The stranger clutched her shoulders, studying her with a mixture of concern and …
Could it be recognition?
“Bella?” he whispered.
The voice was unfamiliar – it belonged to no one she had heard tonight, but that didn’t mean that he was not one of her abductors.
Perhaps he had remained silent …
Or perhaps he was her only hope of safety. Perhaps this man was the difference between life and death.
Again, she tried to form the words. Though her mouth remained dry as ash, she refused to relent. After another failed attempt, her voice ignited at last from the cinders. Hoarse and no louder than a whisper, her words were audible nonetheless.
“Help me,” she managed before her knees buckled.
Collapsing in the stranger’s arms, her eyes blurred as she heard him mutter, “Bloody hell.” His was a low baritone, smooth, even in his present predicament.
Drifting in and out of lucidity, she could feel the man lift her in one fluid motion, her head now resting against his chest. Though her eyes refused to open, no matter how hard she attempted the once simple task, she knew that he wore a greatcoat because its buttons pressed against her uninjured cheek. She was certain they left impressions in her flesh.
Struggling to open her eyes, her head bobbed to the rhythm of his quick strides. It wasn’t until her head swung backwards that she managed to peer through narrow slits.
It was dark, the sky thick with murky clouds. There were too many clouds tonight. Too much darkness.
She wished there were stars.
She liked the constellations.
She missed the comfort they provided.
The man whistled and the patter of paws approached from behind. The dog was panting, though the man who carried her proceeded to wherever he was headed with no labored breathing. In fact, it was as if she were nothing more than a flimsy piece of fabric in his hands.
5
This man was physically fit. At least she knew something about him. He was also calm under duress. Now she had unlocked a second clue to her savior’s personality.
Though he showed no signs of physical exertion, his timbre was strong, composed. “Adolphus, fetch someone from the house. Run, boy. Bark and get their attention. Go!” His instructions were issued in a quick staccato.
This man was familiar with issuing commands.
Something in the recesses of her mind suggested she must keep track of these clues and wished she had paper and ink. Though it was an urgent thought, it soon became overpowered by her racing heart and the searing pain slicing through her temple.
Dear God, her head hurt.
Ensconced in a bleak reality, her eyes drifted shut again. What if her attackers were following her? She opened her mouth to warn her companion but coughed, choking on her blood.
“Steady,” he assured her, holding her closer against his chest. “We’re almost home.”
Home?
Again, she managed to open her eyes, though only slightly. Squinting to right her blurry vision, she managed to discern the menacing outline of a massive estate.
The closer they approached, the more sinister it appeared. Eyes watched from the rafters. Whose? She struggled to adjust her vision.
Wolves.
Yes, wolves were perched on the pediments, carved in the stone of the parapets. Their eyes glowed white, even in the dead of night. Their gaze bore into her soul, following her.
Ever watchful.
Ever menacing.
Could this truly be her safe haven?
The profile of a raven perched atop a spindly tree limb grabbed her attention. It cawed, its warning quite clear.
Beware.
The sleek bird with its foreboding message added to the commanding illusion of the house. Large, made with dark stone, illuminated in a ghostly hue cast by ominous clouds.
Where am I?
What is this imposing place?
She was reminded of an Edgar Allan Poe poem – how could she remember the macabre works of a poet and nothing about herself? Still, remember she did.
This world she had entered was filled with the watchful stare of wolves, ravens, and a scarred man whose appearance was perhaps even more daunting than the structure in which he resided.
A fine mist began to fall from the overcast skies as her stomach churned, a knot of apprehension coiling in her abdomen. She feared that she had unwittingly stepped into more danger than before.
Drifting into unconsciousness, she managed a silent prayer.
Dear God, protect me…

Tracy Goodwin is an international bestselling and award winning author. Throughout a career spanning a decade, she has achieved both traditional and Indie publishing success. Her works include a series of sweeping historical romances fraught with passion, hope, danger, and redemption. In addition, she has penned page turning young adult urban fantasy and paranormal novels. Though the genres may be different, each story delivers her unique blend of poignant emotion, suspense, action, humor, and unforgettable characters that steal readers’ hearts.

To receive the latest news and information about upcoming releases, please sign up for Tracy’s newsletter at tracygoodwin.com or join Tracy’s Lantern Ladies Facebook group where you can chat with her and have the opportunity to win exclusive swag.

 

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