Nuts by Alice Clayton -REVIEW

BOOK DESCRIPTION: 

From New York Times bestselling author Alice Clayton, the first in a brand-new romance series telling the humorously sexy tale of Roxie, a private chef who gets a taste of love—but is it to stay, or to go?

After losing almost all of her clients in one fell swoop following an accident involving whipped cream, private chef to Hollywood’s elite Roxie Callahan gets a call from her flighty mother, saying she’s needed home in upstate New York to run the family diner. Once she’s back in the Hudson Valley, local organic farmer Leo delivers Roxie a lovely bunch of walnuts, and soon sparks—and clothing—begin to fly. Leo believes that everything worth doing is worth doing slowly… and how! But will Roxie stay upstate, or will the lure of West Coast redemption tempt her back to Tinseltown?

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REVIEW:

I know I’m going to get a great read if I pick up an Alice Clayton novel and this one didn’t disappoint. I finished this book in less than two days and couldn’t put it down.
I loved the story between Roxie and her sexy farmer Leo and had me wondering if I should take a drive down to Bailey Falls for my own rugged farmer and a jar of zombie pickles.
I love the relationship between Roxie and her hippie mom and the obstacles that define their relationship and the reason Roxie has to return home in the first place.
Clayton writes in a way where you can feel the passion the Roxie has for her food and her man; its a heart-warming story that is relateable and steamy and a wonderful, fun, easy summer read.
Even as a standalone, I thought the next novel was set up subtly and smoothly and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!
Cheers Ms. Clayton, you did it again!

STALKING ENCOURAGED:

http://aliceclayton.com/

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Denai Bound (book 2) by Tiffany Shand- REVIEW

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Denai witch, Cate McCray should be enjoying married life with her new elemental husband, Jason. But their arrival in a new city soon has them stumbling headlong into a new case with dangerous connections to the very people that govern their world. Cate and Jason face opposition from those they once considered allies. Together with their team of enforcers, they must find the killer before anyone else dies. With danger from all sides and the threat of ancient, dangerous magic the team must pull together and use all their strength to find their enemy before disaster strikes.

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REVIEW:

Denai Bound I thought was just as good as the first novel in this series.
The way Shand writes in the paranormal sense is incredible and draws you into the story and into a world I could only wish to experience!
I was pulled into the story almost immediately; there was a seamless flow from the first book to the second that didn’t have me asking questions or confused about what may have happened in between. I love romance but I also love paranormal in all genres and I thought there was a nice balance between the two in this book.
I always love how strong Cate is and the relationship between her and Jason. A strong female lead is the be all end all for me and this story had a strong heroin to lead it. I enjoyed getting to know some of the other characters like Jade, Steve and Ian and read how their relationships were starting to build along with how Cate was learning to manage all of the power, both magic and responsibility with her title of GM and Enforcer. I also really liked the the progression of the enemy in this story (not to name names and give anything away!) however I found my emotions evoked with each encounter. Shand did a wonderful job with the mystery behind the evil in this story and really had me guessing as to who could possibly be behind chaos.
Overall I really enjoyed this story – if you’re looking for a magical, suspenseful, romantical, summer read – Denai Bound is the one for you.
*I would definitely recommend that you read Denai Touch (the first in the series) first*

 

Where to find Tiffany Shand:

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tiffanyshand.com

Amazon

Girl on My Mind: An Odyssey of Sex, Heartbreak, and the Search for True Love – REVIEW

Girl on My Mind: An Odyssey of Sex, Heartbreak, and the Search for True Love

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BOOK DESCRIPTION: 

With a backdrop of wild animals, elephants and the majestic African savannah, safari guide Lincoln never stood a chance when the stunning, enigmatic Natasha walked into camp, flaunting a cheeky smile and capturing Lincoln’s heart for ever. 25 years later, married and middle-aged, he is still haunted by memories of their long-ago blistering affair.

One day, out of nowhere, Natasha reappears. Once more Lincoln finds himself mesmerized and breathless. Obsessed with the possibility of a second chance at true love, he begins a journey that soon threatens to unravel the entire fabric of his current, middle-aged existence.

Part steamy narrative and part contemporary blog, this deeply emotional love story shadows a REAL-LIFE relationship and ACTUAL EVENTS, giving this tortured romantic memoir a depth of authenticity and pathos which few fiction books can match.

‘The Land Rover swung across my front, obscuring my view of the charging elephant. I glanced up, and there was Natasha clutching the steering wheel and shouting for me to climb aboard. I grabbed the handrail and hauled myself to safety just as another tremendous trumpet split the air…
…“I think,” I conceded later, looking her full in the eye, “that I owe you my life.”
She smiled back. “Well, I think that’s being a bit dramatic, don’t you? I’m just really glad you’re safe.” Once again I felt that cool hand on my arm.’

REVIEW

My emotions were all over the place with this story. I thought the backdrop and the character development were fantastic, especially given that this is a novella.
Girl on My Mind was a whirlwind of fantasy, love, heartbreak and a plethora of feelings.
I found myself enjoying the love story that was building in the African heat surrounded by wild animals then becoming completely exasperated and angry. My topsy turvy emotions weren’t because of anything but the behaviour of the characters, which some would say then that Anderton did his job and did it well.
As a lover of romance and the happy ever after, every story I read, I desperately want the ideal I have mapped out in my mind of what that romance means. When that doesn’t happen, its sometimes difficult to wrap my mind around.
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes in exasperation when Lincoln (the main character) becomes increasingly obsessed with the idea of a second chance at his “true love” and willing, without thought, to give up the life he’d created with another woman, his wife. I found myself yelling at my iPad a number of times when he refused to realize the idea of a 2nd chance wasn’t reciprocated (like climbing a mountain of frustration) but also when his years of marriage and family meant nothing in the wake of Natasha.
Overall I liked the length of the novel and the amount of story that the author was able to achieve, I was impressed with the amount of emotion put into the novel as well as the character development. Its clear L T Anderton is an accomplished novelist; Girl on My Mind is a fast read full of lust and love and weighted emotion. Certainly an interesting read, one I was glad I picked up (even if I did want to shake the main character into reality by the end of the story!)

Where to find Girl on My Mind

GOODREADS

AMAZON

Happy Reading!

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Twenty Four + Epilogue

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Twenty Four

 

He pulled back, holding my upper arms. He cleared his throat, looking uncomfortable. I suddenly felt the heat of embarrassment; that was clearly not what he wanted. “Maddie…”

“Oh my god, I’m sorry. I just thought… oh god.” I turned and ran away, hearing him calling after me. I’d just made a pass at one of my clients and it was quite clear he didn’t feel the same.

Running into the woman’s bathroom, I felt tears on my face. What the hell was I doing? How did I get here? I placed both hands on the counter and hung my head, just breathing. After ten minutes, the bathroom door opened and Ben walked in. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere. Why are you always running away from me? Am I that scary?”

“No, Ben, I’m so sorry. I’m so embarrassed. I shouldn’t have done that. I just… I don’t know, I’ve developed some sort of weird crush on you and I clearly took it way too far.”

He leaned against the wall and folded his arms across his chest. “Well, I can’t say that I’m not flattered.” He paused and I could see him sorting through his thoughts. “But the thing is, I’m gay.”

I felt it. The upheaval then the drop of my stomach. Well that was unexpected. “What?”

“I’m gay, Maddie.”

I dropped my head against the mirror with a loud moan. “What the hell? But you’re always with different women.”

“Different women who are business associates.”

“But my grandmother told me that her friend Marg’s grandson was single and living in San Francisco and that we should hook up.”

“Well, I am single and living in San Francisco and we should hook up, for like shopping or grabbing a coffee. I think I’m a pretty fun guy. And I’m an awesome fucking friend.”

I stared at him before laughing. I’d never heard him swear before, he’d always been so stuffy, so proper. “Can we go get drunk?”

“Yes!” He took my hand and we walked back toward the party. “You know I do have a brother.”

“Is he gay too?”

“No, he is very heterosexual.”

“Ah, as tempting as that promo sounds, I think I need to take a step back from the non-dating, dating world.”

“Yeah, revenge fucks get old real quick.”

“How did you know?”

“You’re pretty easy to read,” he told me with a wink.

“You’re right, they do. My grandmother called me a prostitute tonight.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Are you at least getting paid?”

I sighed. “No. If anything I’m losing money.” We both started laughing at the ridiculous state I found myself in.

“And it wasn’t a new campaign I wanted to talk to you about.”

“No?”

“No. I wanted to run an idea past you. I want to open up a firm, and if you’re willing, I want it to be yours. You run it, it’s your name on the sign, and it’s your baby.”

“What? But I’m just starting out.” I felt all my dreams colliding together as I stared at him.

“No you’re not. You’ve been sitting in a cubicle for three years with other people taking credit for your work. I’ve been paying attention which is why I specifically asked for you to take my campaign. You’re too good to be stuck behind someone else’s name, Maddie. You’d be surprised how much weight your name carries in the marketing world.”

 

Epilogue

 

A year later, I was emptying one of the last boxes in my new office of my new company, the one that had my name on the door. Ben had become one of my best friends, my very gay best friend, and he was a person I relied on in my daily life. I was meeting up with all of my friends tonight to celebrate and Ben asked if he could bring someone, there was no other answer than yes. Especially because I was very curious who this new man friend of his was. Oh la la.

For the first time in a long time, I felt independent. I didn’t need to have sex with a stranger in order to validate myself in some ass backward way. I was comfortable being alone because I finally knew my self-worth. If a man didn’t want to take me out on a date, a real date without sending a dick pic or taking me to a sex club or asking me for money or was on parole, then I didn’t need them. I wanted to let it happen organically so I closed all of my dating site accounts. Maybe in six months I would try again, but right now I was okay without the one night stands.

Laughing over drinks, the girls and I were waiting for Ben to show. In a non-business setting, the man was consistently fashionably late. When he finally arrived, silent looks were exchanged around the table as they approached. Dayum, the man friend was fine. “Maddie, ladies, this is my brother, Corey.” Ah, the resemblance now made sense.

Reaching out his hand, I gripped it with mine. “Nice to meet you, Maddie. I’ve heard a lot about you.” I heard the suggestive noise Lisa made from beside me as she sipped her drink. I pretended to ignore her.

I felt my smile, the warmth that was these people as they surrounded me while we drank and laughed and celebrated.

Ben, who placed another drink in front of me (like I needed another), wrapped an arm around my shoulders as he leaned in to whisper in my ear. “Not gay.”

“Got it, thank you so much.” I rolled my eyes at him and shoved him away.

“Very single,” he mouthed as he took at seat across from me.

“Ben’s told me that you just moved into your new office.” I turned to Corey whose attention was solely on me. He continued to ask me questions and it was a conversation that was interesting and intriguing. He was asking questions that no other guy had ever asked me before; he asked about my family, what I liked to do. He was so attentive. It was the first conversation I’d had in a long time in a casual setting where the man wasn’t acting like he wanted to immediately take me home to bed. Besides Ben, that was. Because he liked the p just as much as I did. I found out more about Ben’s brother, that he lived right here in San Francisco, and I’d never seen this fine piece of man meat, and that he owned his own consulting firm. I wondered then, if this was the grandson Marg wanted to set me up with.

I looked around at my friends who were all happy and laughing, most of them now relationships, and I knew that I wasn’t the same girl I was a year ago. I didn’t feel some misplaced need that if my friends were in a relationship, I had to fuck my way into one too. If a man wanted to take me out, I wanted to know it was going to be worth it. I wanted to try the friends before lover’s thing; I wanted conversation and romance and wooing and hearts and flowers and everything in between.

As the night came to a close, the fantastic four were left – me, Jamie, Ben and his sexy brother Corey. Jamie and I stood on the sidewalk hailing a taxi while we said our goodnights. As the yellow car pulled up, Corey opened the door, like a fucking gentleman. Jamie climbed in before me; I felt his strong had on my wrist as I moved to follow her. “Let me take you out for dinner.”

I smiled. “Like a date?”

His grin did something to my lady parts. “Yeah, like a date.” A real date! I felt butterflies and as much as I wanted to jump at the opportunity and tell him yes, then ask why he was still clothed and point to the dark alley behind us, I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t that same girl anymore. Ben’s brother was different, a good, delicious, sexy different. But so was I. “Maybe.”

The End

I hope you enjoyed reading about Maddie and her shenanigans as much as I loved writing about them. If you take away anything from this online book, I hope its that its better to be safe than sorry – wrap it up.

My deepest gratitude & Warm Wishes.

J.

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Twenty Three

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Twenty Three

 

There were so many people at the party. The DJ was playing music and people were dancing. It wasn’t a typical early bird special, senior citizen party, no sir, Mimi and her friend liked to dance and they liked to drink. Music was bumping, drinks were flowing, food was being served. It was the perfect way to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday.

I took a glass of pink champagne on my way in with eyes on the food table. Mimi stayed behind with her friend Marg so they could make an entrance. A girl always needed to make an entrance. There was a round of loud cat calls and cheers when they finally walked in – queens, both of them.

Guests immediately gravitated toward the dance floor. I watched with fondness from the sidelines. “I think she’s enjoying herself,” my mom mused as she sidled up next to me.

“Me too, good job on the party mom.” A man approached us with a broad smile. He was about my mom’s age, give or take a few years. They seemed familiar, comfortable, some twinkle in both of their eyes as he asked her to dance. And wouldn’t you know, she actually looked flustered. My mom had a crush. I leaned in, “Go, Mom. Dance, have fun.” And as I was left standing alone, I could almost see the spotlight on the bar.

“Fancy meeting you here.”

I whipped around at the familiar voice behind me. “What the hell are you doing here?”

He laughed. “Nice to see you too.”

“Your level of stalking is starting to become alarming.”

“Oh Maddie! There you are. Marg wanted to introduce you to her grandson,” Mimi almost shouted from across the room. Her and Marg with champagne glasses in hand, arm in arm came walking over.

“Oh! You two have already met, how wonderful.”

“Ben is your grandson?” I asked, almost outraged.

“Mimi is your grandmother?”

“Wait, you two know each other?” Mimi and Marg asked at the same time.

“Yes, we know each other.”

“Ben, doesn’t she look beautiful.” I immediately felt my face flame. I downed the rest of my champagne in one sip. Oh god. “Ask her to dance.” This is what it felt like. This was what utter mortification felt like.

Ben, bless him, took me out on the dancefloor and placed his hands on my hips as I wrapped mine around his neck. Damn, the man smelled so good. “You do look beautiful, by the way.”

I smiled up at him, “Thanks.” The rest of the song was silent, and when it ended I, for some insane moment, decided I was feeling brave. I was an idiot. “Do you want to go talk somewhere more quiet?”

“Sure.” He grabbed us both a glass of champagne and I slipped my arm through his. He ushered me out on to one of the balconies. It was a now or never moment and I felt the butterflies. Ben was the perfect guy. He was handsome, successful, nice.

“You had mentioned that you wanted to talk to me about another campaign?” I’d made sure to touch his arm, all the little tricks I’d learned over the past few months.

He laughed. “You know, we don’t need to talk about business all the time.”

“Fair enough.”

He held up his glass, “Cheers.” I clinked my glass against his and took the plunge. I leaned in and kissed Ben Davis.

*tomorrow – Chapter Twenty Four

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Twenty Two

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Twenty Two

 

I was summoned to help my mom decorate the hall. I’d been informed when she’d picked me up from the airport yesterday that it was a double birthday party; Mimi and her friend Marg’s birthdays were a day apart and they were both turning the big 8-0.

I was drowning in silver balloons as I shoved them out of my face, pulling them from my mom’s little car and dragging them into the hall. There were old photos of my grandmother everywhere; photos of her and my grandfather, they looked so in love, photos of Mimi and Marg. My grandmother was currently at the salon getting her hair and makeup done; she’d blown the lid on her own party. No one could keep secrets from Mimi, it was a known fact. I don’t know how she found out, probably from the neighbors, cousin’s paperboy or something.

“Come on, the hall will do everything else,” my mom said, grabbing my elbow and dragging me outside. “I scheduled time for us to meet Mimi at the salon and get a blow out.” I wasn’t going to argue, this hair needed some love.

Mimi sat in her chair like a royal queen, her nails, hair and makeup being tended to. By different people. I was ushered into a chair and explained that I just wanted to wear my hair down. My mom sat in the chair beside me. We listened to Mimi tell the entire salon about her friendship with Marg, how they’d been friends for over forty years and lost touch then found each other again. “Marg was the one whose grandson lives in San Francisco,” she said, pointedly at me.

“Oh great, the successful business man, right.”

“I think he’s coming to the party you know, you can finally meet him.” Oh lord, this would be interesting. I couldn’t even refuse, it was Mimi’s birthday and what she said was the final word.

 

I’d changed into a tight black dress. I walked down the stairs and felt my mom’s eyes on me. Judging.

“This is a new look for you,” she mused. It was. When I was with Aaron, I would take to cardigans and button downs. Now, I felt comfortable in my body and felt better wearing tighter clothes that showed off curves I was proud of. Yes, it gained more attention and if I was honest, this was a dress that was one of my more modest outfits from my recent closet overhaul.

“It’s nice, looks good on you,” Mimi said, walking out of the kitchen. “You know I knew this girl when I was about twenty, she was just the nicest person and I would stop and talk to her when I was on my way to my job. One night I saw her and she was all dressed up wearing a dress exactly like that. I asked her where she was going and she told me she was working – she was a prostitute.”

“Mimi!”

“To like rich men, she had standards, no judgement,” she implored holding her hands up, “all God’s children.” She looked me up and down. “Does it come in my size?”

“Did she just call me a prostitute?” I asked my mom who had her hand over her mouth, stifling her laughter.

“Yes, but the way I interpreted it was that you look like a prostitute who has high standards, not one of those hood rat prostitutes, you know? One that buys Chanel and drives a Mercedes.”

“Oh my god.” I turned and moved for the front door. “Can we go?”

*tomorrow – Chapter Twenty Three

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Twenty One

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Twenty One

 

I sat in Mel’s office and listened with joy as she explained I had some requests from other clients. They’d heard through the grapevine about the success of Ben’s campaign and they liked my approach. Well okay then, go girl.

 

It had been two days since I saw Ben at lunch. I remembered that he wanted to talk to me about a new campaign and I gathered my lady balls and called his office. “Hey girl, he’s not here. He decided to go to the conference in New York.”

“Oh yes of course. Mel left earlier today for that as well. She’ll be gone for almost an entire week.” And allow me some breathing room.

Val told me that Ben never mentioned anything about another campaign but he hasn’t stopped talking about the results the current campaign was getting. “Since my boss is gone and your boss is gone and it’s Friday – what do you say we sneak out early?” she suggested. “I think we can make it for happy hour.”

“I think that’s the best idea you’ve ever had,” I told her. “Whoever gets there last buys the first round.”

It turned out I was the last one there and the first round was on my buck. Val was easy to get along with; we talked and laughed and it was a great way to decompress after a hectic work week. I looked around the busy bar and felt myself stiffen. “Crap on a cracker,” I muttered under my breath.

Val snorted into her drink. “Pardon?”

The familiar face across the room hadn’t noticed me yet, thank the good lord, but there he was, buying drinks at the bar. Apparently he could afford drinks, but not groceries. I quickly told Val my horrendous date story when, damn, my luck had run out. He’d spotted us. “Hey, sexy. Long time no see! How have you been, we should get together and catch up.”

I looked at him like he had two heads. “Oh yeah, I’m going to be busy that day, sorry.”

“But I didn’t tell you what day.”

“I’m going to be busy every day. Forever.”

“Okay, who’s your friend?” Yep, and I let this guy put his dick in me. Good job self, pat on the fucking back.

The next week I was focused only on work. I felt like I needed a dating detox. I even deleted one of the apps. Believe it or not! I could have sworn I was getting carpal tunnel in my thumb from swiping. I lived and breathed work putting everything I had into these new campaigns when finally the day came that I was able to go home for Mimi’s big birthday bash.

*tomorrow – Chapter Twenty Two