Rough Terrain – Annabeth Albert

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Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #7

Pages: 384

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Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi has a soft spot for Canaan Finley, and not only because the man makes a mean smoothie. He’s the first guy to get Renzo’s motor revving in a long time. But when he agrees to Canaan’s insane charade—one all-access fake boyfriend, coming right up—he never expects more than a fling.

Creating a hot Italian SEAL boyfriend to save face seemed like a good idea…until his friends called Canaan’s bluff. Now he’s setting off into the woods with the very man who inspired his deception, and Canaan is not the outdoorsy type. The sparks are already flying when a flash flood separates them from their group, leaving Renzo and Canaan very much trapped…very much alone in the wilderness.

Working together to come up with a plan for survival is sexier than either of them expects. But back in the real world, being a couple is bringing its own set of hazards…

I did it!! I started a new saga in 2018 and I have ended it in 2019!! Barely a year and a half to fulfill such accomplishment. It is pretty huge for me. I usually get distracted by new and shiny sagas and I forget about the ones that I had already started. The Out of Uniform series deserves that honor, even though there have been some books that are not that great. But, the last one is a nice goodbye, although it could have been better.

This last time we follow Renzo, the SEAL known as Rooster, a gym junkie and a skydiving lover who has to deal with the hero complex his family is putting on him. On the other hand, we have Canaan; the former drummer and current nurse student who is way too fond of Renzo’s tight T-Shirts. A fake boyfriend favor turns into an adventure to save their lives and they both realize that life is too precious to waste…

My first impression of the story is not a good one. It takes too long to go forward and the first chapters are a bit awkward. The initial chemistry between Renzo and Canaan was pretty low and unremarkable,  which made me be afraid I was going to face another boring couple that leaves me feeling indifferent. Thankfully, that changes little by little. The book really starts when they travel to the Colorado Canyon and have the little adventure against the elements. That was fun (for the readers, I’m not a sadist!!) and was the perfect stage for some necessary bonding between the main characters. After that, it keeps a slow pace, but steady and always forward.

The fact that I couldn’t connect with the main characters during the first chapters could have meant being bored to death during the most emotional situations; but, by the time those moments happen, the couple had already grown on me and I felt the sweet discomfort of the bumpy ride. These guys deserve happiness and I’m glad they have found a version of it. I must admit I am not altogether convinced of their arrangement. I can’t shake the feeling that the path taken has been chosen to please more Renzo’s mother thatn Renzo himself. But that could be my jelousy talking!

The characters are OK, but I have had a harder time to get to like them than I was expecting. Renzo is not the guy I thought, he is somehow better; but at the same time he is lacking something. He is a good guy, loyal, polite… He is way too good. He needed some spice, some cockiness, some player attitude. He looks the part, but doesn’t behave like that. It’s a bit disconcerting, actually. Until the author lets us know him better, Renzo is even a boring character. And Canaan… that guy is too direct. No filter or anything similar with this guy. All day talking about sex gets old very fast. He didn’t rock my world as he did with Renzo’s, but I admit they are pretty great together.

And now I will have to hunt down another of Annabeth’s sagas, because I like her style. Out of Uniform has been a welcome surprise. A sweet and emotional jouney through seven books that have shown me that Military Romance can be awesome if done properly.

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2019 – Book Gallery

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The Friend Zone – Sariah Wilson

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Author: Sariah Wilson
Release day:  June 11th 2019
Pages: 304

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Disgraced college quarterback Logan Hunt was on his way to NFL stardom when he messed up big-time. Now the Texas star player with a bad temper has a new option: Seattle’s EOL College—as in End of the Line, to his fellow misfit recruits. It’s Logan’s last chance. If he can follow the rules. No parties, no fighting, no swearing, and oh, no dating the coach’s daughter, Jess. Simple. Yeah, right. For Logan, there has never been a rule he’s more tempted to break.

The deal is “just friends.” The pretty, confident, and fiercely smart math whiz is fine with pizza, tutoring, and keeping Logan in line. But the closer Jess gets, the more receptive she is to his warm heart and spirit—not to mention his irresistible off-field passes. With defenses down, they’re both heading into the danger zone.

It’s more than thrilling. It’s love. It’s also a game changer that could sideline Logan’s NFL goals—and more important, a future with Jess. But dreams are worth fighting for, right?

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

One of these days I will finally understand what makes a New Adult book be classified as such. I would have said this book would be on that genre, but every source I have checked considers this book just Contemporary Romance. In the end, it’s not that important; except for tidy shelves. In any case, here we go with The Friend Zone!!

This book follows the adventures of Logan Hunt, a college student and football player who has been kicked off his former team for bad behaviour. He ends in en EOL College, where he will be given a second and last chance. There he meets Jess, the witty and fun daughter of his current coach. They become almost insta-friends and it could develop much more further if it wasn’t for a tiny detail: the coach doesn’t allow his players to have dates under penalty of expulsion…

If you  told me a couple of years ago that I would enjoy so much the several Sport Romance books I have read lately, I would have thinked you were crazy or talking with the wrong person. I’m not a sports guy. Like, not at all. But I guess I enjoy the healthy banter these books usually have. The Friend Zone is no exception. The most remarkable characteristic of this story is the dynamic between Logan and Jess. It is beautifully written. A slow dance that takes us through all the stages from funny flirtation to mindblowing friendship and an equally sweet and hot romance. No rush. No crazy displays of love. Every step has the utmost respect for the characters and their situations, which makes everything much more realistic.

In case it is not clear, I’m in love with the characters of this book. Jess is the usual woman you find in this kind of books: independent, smart and not an easy prey. What makes her more special is the fact that she remains like that way longer than other female characters in similar books. And Logan… *sigh*. When I started the book the first thing that came to my mind was: I smell a book boyfriend. My first impression was spot on! I’m not going to say he is perfect, because there are a couple of situations that made me frown; but he is pretty close: good humored, funny, honest, loyal, hard-working and, surprie, surprise, a full package hottie. in the previous book I read, I met the worst kind of cocky. Logan, on the other hand, is the perfect kind. So with these two, I really enjoyed the romance between them. Playful, charismatic, sweet… And man… those kisses… they were really hot. The undeniable power of keeping it simple. No need of sex to sell the readers their connection.

Not everything shines under the sun, though. The book has also a couple of things that I don’t like that much. The most obvious one are the coach’s rules. More precisely, the one against dating. Why? I know there is an explanation, but it’s crazy. It’s putting all the young men of this world in the same box and listening to no reason. It’s the same rule used to introduce a bit of drama in the story and in my opinion it is a bit weak. But, I must also admit that the author does a superb job to apply this rule to Logan’s situation. The problem is that Logan is not the only one in the team… With such crazy regulations it is a wonder there is a team at all!!

The other big issue for me is Ben. If this guy were a real contender for Jess’ heart, the story would have been even better. I mean, since the first time we meet the The Bentastic Poet, we know there is zero chemistry. I have a hard time believing that Jess doesn’t realize that way sooner. I also don’t like how quickly the poor guy is belittle by Logan. I admit that Ben is a self-centered jerk, but we don’t get to know that after much later in the book. So, all that mockery about his looks and choices in life feels too much like bullying for my taste.

By the way, I should have skipped the epilogue. The aftertaste of the book would have been much better.

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2019 – Book Gallery

Tight Quarters – Annabeth Albert

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Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #6

Pages: 336

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Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.

Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.

Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.

Little by little I’m getting to the end of this saga. I’m so proud of myself for being able to read all of them in a couple of years instead of twenty… At least, I hope to read the last one sooner rather than later. I also hope that the last one is better than the sixth book, which I can only describe as plain.

This is the book of Bacon and I don’t mean the food. It follows the adventures of the Petty Officer we met in other books as merely a cameo. He is a SEAL through and through. One that keeps his sexuality a secret to avoid complications with his team. The one destined for rocking his world is a journalist called Spencer, who has been given the chance of being embedded in Bacon’s team to write a story. Obviously, our ace sniper is the one who must protect the journalist at all times. I have your six gets a new meaning…

The story looked like a cool cauldron for a romance to bloom. I was expecting something feral in the middle of a terrosrist crisis, full of danger everywhere with heroic and sweet situations. Something like what we read in the book of Ben and Maddox (no-prize for rembering their names!!). And there was a little bit of that, but it ends too abruptly and leaves the reader eager for more. Too bad that there is not more. The rest of the story is just about Bacon coming out and a too much drama about how incompatible their lives are. It is not boring, but this saga has always delivered emotional impact and this book lacks sorely of it.

The drama that tries to spice things up is messy and the weird elephant in the room. Why does Bacen get so pissed with the book? If he is afraid of the Navy getting thrown to the mud, he should read-proof it to bring his own point of view instead of running away and behaving which such self-righteousness. Spencer’s way of dealing with the issue is not much better. The worst part: at the end they just put what devide them on hold and keep moving… not very convincing if you ask me… Of all the love stories of this saga, this one is by far the least enjoyable.

There is also not much to say about the characters. The only interesting point of Spencer was being embedded in a SEAL team for research, but that ends quickly. So we soon get stuck with a very uncharismatic character. Thankfully, the difference in age between both characters doesn’t take part in the story. I wasm’t in the mood for a repeat of the worst parts of the second book… And Bacon is also very plain. His main trait is his pansexuality, but that is not really important for the development of the book… so that detail felt a bit empty.

I’m trying to come up with something with soemthing else to say about it, but it’s not worthy of my effort. It is not a bad book, but I can’t point to anythhing extraordinaire, either. I just hope next one is better.

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2019 – Book Gallery

 

Saving the Seal Baby Daddy – Katie Knight

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Author: Katie Knight
Pages: 251

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When Maria Blanchard asked Navy Seal Trevor Daniels to father a child with her, no strings attached, Trevor had no idea just how explosive his chemistry would be with the fiery woman who had been a wallflower during their high school years. He vowed never to contact her again after the positive pregnancy test. A year later, when one of Trevor’s dark ops missions ends with the death of his captain and suspicions aimed at him, Maria’s the only investigator he knows who can help him crack the case.

Maria Blanchard had been raised to be a proper Southern Belle, an archetype so wrong for her she’d retreated into books during her high school years. When the police academy finally gave her the guts to be the strong woman she’d always desired, she realized she didn’t need anyone to achieve her dreams. Not to get her dream job, and certainly not to get her dream baby. Still, when her childhood crush agreed to father her baby, she hadn’t expected her heart to open along with her legs.

When Trevor shows up on Maria’s doorstep in need of her help, he calls in his favor. However, being wanted for a military crime means that Maria won’t just be helping Trevor, she’ll be harboring a fugitive, and the father of her child. Unable to say no, when her pride and her heart are screaming yes, Maria agrees to help Trevor one final time before they break ties.

But as their bond grows stronger and love ignites, it becomes a rush to save Trevor’s life before they lose out on a future they could only dream of.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book covers in the romance genre are usually meant as a bait. I do not mind that at all, it’s just part of the game. I’m much more against weird titles that do not make any justice to the book. Saving the SEAL Baby Daddy screams all the worst things for the genre that I can imagine; but, actually, the book is much better than the nightmare going on on my head before starting the story.

In this book we meet Trevor, a young SEAL soldier who is being wrongly accused of his captain’s death. Luckily for him, he knows a great private investigator, Maria, and asks for her help so they can clear up his name. So far, nothing special. The twist is, Maria’s daughter is also Trevor’s daughter. The daughter he swore to stay away from…

Let’s begin with the part that has suprised me: the investigation to prove Trevor’s innocence. With that title, I was expecting that part to be almost like an afterthought. Something to mention now and then between bouts of sex. Thankfully, it has much more weight than that, which makes the book a lot more enjoyable. Is there romance? Of course. Are there sex scenes? You bet! Is all well balanced with good timing? YES! And that, sadly, is a rara avis in the “fast processed” kind of book.

Even though I liked the story, it didn’t satiate my hunger for it. The ending is nice (the good guys win, in case you were wondering…); but, during the investigation, several clues are dropped that suggerst the issue was much bigger than expected. That it must go pretty high in the food chain. They caught the small fish, solved Trevor’s problem and they moved on… I have the feeling the real bad guys are still at large. And that saddens me a little.

My biggest issue with this book are the characters. I will start with Maria. I only have this one book to judge her, but I can’t picture her in good light. She is a fraud. We are told she is the ultimate private investigator, but the only thing she does is calling friends to do the real work… Thankfully she doesn’t take all the credit, but I wouldn’t be surprised otherwise. I didn’t like her as a PI, but as a mom she is even worse. A single parent is like a superhero. No way around that. Most of them are single parents not by choice, so when Maria took the step to become one she did something really brave. But then, her stupidity took the best of her. Rising a daughter by your own means is a nice life goal, but you have to always think about the kid first. Writing a contract to ban the father and his family for ever seeing your daughter (when you have a good relationship with them) is one of the most selfish things I have ever read. Why do you do that to youself and, more importantly, to your own kid? Under any circuntansces you should have a kid on your own just to make a point no one really cares about…

And the fact that Trevor goes along with that doesn’t help to make me like him. We are told he is the sweetest, most honorable, most loyal, the most of the most guy on our planet. But somehow he doesn’t think twice about signning a contract to renounce of his daughter. That doesn’t scream honorable, precisely. The author tries to save the day telling us that Trevor stalked his daughter through social media, but that only makes things worse. Do you care or not? Make up your mind!!

All that situation is a plot mess and, if that part were the main focus, the book would have been very forgettable and with a much lower mark. That’s why we have always been told that we should not judge a book by its cover or, in this case, by its title.

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2019 – Book Gallery

Boy Toy – R.R. Banks

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Author: R.R. Banks
Pages: 338

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I have a secret…
I don’t want people to know me as Eleanor the billionaire.
Or Eleanor the crime boss’ ex-wife.
But Hunter’s crystal green eyes behind those glasses,
his hard body cut like diamonds,
makes me want to become Eleanor the cougar.
Purr… Hunter just became the hunted.
I will show him what a woman in her prime can really do.
But will my past and secrets catch up to me before I find my happiness?

I don’t usually like books with billionaries, because they tend to solve all they problems throwing money at them. And I don’t think I would like a Romance book were the characters are mobsters or part of a mafia family. So, the blurb of this book wasn’t really interesting. Then why I picked it? Damn cover…

In this book we follow Eleanor, the ex-wife of a crime boss who has sensible data about the criminal and her life is in danger. On the other hand we have Hunter, who is just a hunbky nerd who has to accept the role of the Knight in shinning armor. They have to scape danger from a boat and end stranded in a desserted island where they have more than enough time to get to know each other.

First of all I have to say I wasn’t expectiong at all what I have read in this book. The blurb is vague, very vague. It doesn’t represent the story at all. It fails to mention the characters are trapped on a deserted island, which is the body and soul of the whole book. Due to that, the action packed first chapters were a total and welcome surprised. I thought it was going to be a book with endless conversations about impossible relationships, but nothing like that at all. At least not at first. Once they are out of the island, the story gets boring pretty quickly. The last three or four chapters are a torture and I couldn’t wait to get rid of them…

My experience as a reader with this book is confusing. Sometimes, I had the feeling I wasn’t reading a standalone story. It felt like the ending of other book and I didn’t know what was going on. There are too much name dropping that doesn’t make any sense until the end, where the author explains there are several characters from a previous book. That wouldn’t have been the problem, except the story of those characters is almost as important as the story of the so-called main characters of Boy Toy. So, yeah. Sometimes I got lost. It doesn’t help that the story is told through the point of view of at least six characters. SIX!! Too many…

The main characters are not bad per se, but Eleanor and Hunter are totally underdeveloped. She at least has some kind of backstory, but Hunter is just a chunk of meat. His virginity (that is what it is…) could have been a nice plot element, but he must be a sex prodigy or something. It doesn’t make any sense how natural he seems pleasuring a woman when he has never done something like that. I would have never thought less of him for needing help traveling the woman body.

And then we have Gavin, the third person who get stranded on the island with them. Due to the fact that are several chapters from his point of view, I thought that I was in front of a love triangle or even a future threesome. I was kind of hopeful for that, because he is by far the most interesting character. But he is a just another piece of the story, one that is thorwn away once it has completed its task. I wonder if he will be used in another book or something. It would be a waste of a nice character otherwise.

As I said before, the ending is horrible. It’s not only too long, it also destroys the little faith I had in the romance between Eleanor and Hunter. You can’t just have a severe fight in one paragraph and a wedding in the next… It’s not right. And don’t make me start about the weird advice that makes Hunter change his mind about Eleanor. “You have to decide if the lie is more important than the person” or something like that. Edwin is way older than me and possibly wiser, but that is a huge pile of bullshit. If a person is lying about herself, how can you decide that? How can you choose the person when you know that you don’t really know that person? I think it was meant to be a pretty piece of wisdom, but in my opinion is openning the door to a long life of unhappiness.

Thankfully, most of the book is pretty entertaining with a nice couple of twists; so it’s a nice reading for a slow day.

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2019 – Book Gallery

Can’t Text This – Teagan Hunter

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Author: Teagan Hunter
Series: Texting #3

Pages: 342

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“Hi Monty. Wanna see my python?”
That’s how I ended up in the bathroom of some dive bar with a stranger.

Me, Monty Andrews, the quintessential virgin girl next door.

I was so out of my element, but there was no denying our explosive attraction, even via text.

Commence Operation Bang Each Other Out of Our Systems, because that was all it was–unfinished business.

I had no intention of falling back into the sheets with the tattooed, muscly, dirty-in-the-best-kind-of-way single dad over and over again…but I did.

Everything was going great–until we discovered I was his son’s teacher.

After reading a book that drained me emotionally (in all the good meanings), picking a Romantic Comedy by Teagan Hunter was exactly what I needed. I know there are many big names in that genre thar are hugely acclaimed, but, in my humble opinion, Teagan is the new Queen of that genre. Her style is a hurricane of fresh air that has given me new hope for a genre I thought it was stuck.

This time we meet Monty (or Montana), a teacher whose strict upbringing has made her a bit shy in the relationship department. On the other hand, we have Robbie, a single-parent thar may look like a bad boy, but he is far from one. They meet at a bar, Monty’s alcohol level makes her more open-minded and end in the bathroom where they exchange much more than a few kisses. After that, Monty ran… Will she be able to get over the initial shame and have some fun? Will Robbie be able to drop his womanizer behaviour and court her properly?

Even though I love the whole book, the first half is much stronger than the second one. The sense of humor in those first text exchanges are an amazing source of laughter that leaves the reader in serious need of medical attention. My whole body hurt due to the convulsions from the bursts of sincere laughter that I had every minute. I love Teagan’s sense of humor. It is just perfect for the Romance genre. The banter is crazy fun, full of surreal exchanges and perfectly used sexual innuendos. Those last tend to make me cringe in other books (where everything is shaped like a penis…), but in this one they just enhance its comedic side to a very high level.

My only complaint about the book is that is rather uneventful. The fact that Monty is the teacher of Robbie’s son was there in the blurb, but it doesn’t appear in the story until much later (about 70%). That was a bit disappointing, because it could have been a nicer and longer drama if it were presented earlier. By the time the characters find that bit of info, they were so invested in each other that the solution to the issue was easier than expected. I may not have liked that, but it’s not big enough to be a problem for the enjoyment of the book. The superb banter distracts the reader from any possible shortcomings of the story.

Teagan is not only a Master Joker, she is also really great creating characters and given them a special voice. I always fall in love with them and the male counterparts are sure candidates for my list of book boyfriends. Robbie is not an exception. Not only he is the epitome of Eye Candiness (even though I would prefer less ink…), he is a good humored guy, with a golden heart and a great father. A self-made person who is a the perfect role model for everyone who doesn’t believe in second chances. If you are willing to change your life, just do it. I also love his mischievous ways around Monty and how naturally charming he is (it doesn’t feel forced at all). And he is just the right amount of cocky to enhance his sexiness. No wonder Monty found him so infurating!! He may not be perfect, but it is hard to find something wrong about him… *sigh* Book boyfriend!!!

Not long ago I was told by the author that this saga is not called Text. That Goodreads got that wrong somehow. Sadly, the saga continues unnamed, which drives the freak organitzational nerd inside me a little mad. So I’ll keep using the wrong name until there is something official or I could lose my mind (I’m weird that way). The same day I discovered the truth about the wrong name, I also learn that the next book in the saga is also the last, so reading the fourth one is going to feel like a goodbye for really good (and insanely hot) characters. I will need to check more of her works to fill the hole they are going to leave…

EDIT: Finally, the saga has been officially named Texting!!

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2019 – Book Gallery

Easy Going – Erin Nicholas

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Author: Erin NIcholas
Series: Boys of the Big Easy #0.5
Pages: 56

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A sexy, New Orleans bartender with a panty-melting grin and a panty-dropping drawl.
A little jazz.
A few beignets.
And ONE hot weekend…

Yep, just one.

Supposedly.

It seems I haven’t started enough sagas already, so I wanted to add one more to see the following books yelling at me for not paying them enough attention. I can’t help myself, though. Goodreads is for me like a candy shop for a kid (although I also share that feeling…). This short story was free on Amazon, so it was perfect as a starting point. Too bad the story itself is rather forgettable.

Here we meet Gabe, the über sexy male specimen who is the owner and bertender of a popular bar in New Orlenas. On the other hand we have Addison, a businesswoman from New York, who is visiting a mutual friend in New Orleans. Gabe has been dreaming about her since some accidental texting between the two of them and now she in his bar…

I now the word easy is right over there in the pretty title. but I was not expecting that adjective to be so notorious in such a short story. Just a couple of words between them and everything is rolling. If that were all of it, then I wouldn’t have any issue. But this is supposed to be the prologue for the next book where the relationship between Gabe and Addsion should develop. But… is there really anything else to tell? They have already met, they have already flirted, they have already have sex and they have already missed each other savagely. That is usually the end. I thought the following book would have a bit of drama due to Gabe being a single parent and maybe Addison wasn’t OK with it. But she is also a single parent, so I can’t see how any real drama can develop from that situation.

This story is too much for such little room, but that is not the main problem of it. I need to talk about the huge elpehant in the room that every single one in the bar ignores and it’s pretty insulting. I’m talking about the mutual friend of Gabe and Addison: Elena. She is also friends with Logan (Gabe’s brother) and a couple of firefighters that are usual customers. All of them are at the bar the night Gabe and Addison meet each other. And all of them take part in a pretty rude and childish game that a so-called friend doesn’t deserve. All of them treat Elena as if she were an idiot, treating her like the kid in the adults table. And no one cares!! It is so annoying! Addison even lies to Elena to avoid spending the weekend with her… I know maybe I should not take the situation like that. That everything was done in good spirits and without real malice. I beg to defer, though. Friends shouldn’t behave like that under any circunstances.

And Gabe should at least think a little bit about his son, don’t you think? I bet he barely sees him due to a crazy schedule, but he is incapable of sparing a thought about him and he is 100% focus on Addison. Let the mother and the uncle take care of him… Pretty mature… And don’t make me start about his speeches during sex!! What was that?? How can anyone talk so much just seconds before the climax?? I guess at that point I was so pissed due to Elena’s situation that I was seeing red every step of the way…

I want to end with a positive note: the cover is amazing! I love the colourful title and the guy doesn’t hurt the eye, either.

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2019 – Book Gallery