Skin and Bone – T.A. Moore

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Author: T.A. Moore
Series: Digging Up Bones #2

Pages: 240

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Cloister Witte and his K-9 partner, Bourneville, find the lost and bring them home.

But the job doesn’t always end there.

Janet Morrow, a young trans woman, lies in a coma after wandering away from her car during a storm. But just because Cloister found the young tourist doesn’t mean she’s home. What brought her to Plenty, California… and who didn’t want her to leave?

With the help of Special Agent Javi Merlo, who continues to deny his growing feelings for the rough-edged deputy, Cloister unearths a ten-year-old conspiracy of silence that taps into Plenty’s history of corruption.

Janet Morrow’s old secrets aren’t the only ones coming to light. Javi has tried to put his past behind him, but some people seem determined to pull his skeletons out of the closet. His dark history with a senior agent in Phoenix complicates not just the investigation but his relationship with Cloister.

And since when has he cared about that?

When I finished the first book, I was scared that the saga was cancelled. Two years between the first and the second book is not something normal in Romance. In that genre you can even find authors who publish a book every two weeks. Although I would bet the quality in those stories is not as high as in the books of the Digging up bones saga.

We obviously follow again the adventures of Cloister, Javi and the K-9 unit called Bourneville. This time, a trans woman is attacked in Plenty and Cloister saves her life just in time. It’s up to him and Javi to discover who is behind the attack. Meanwhile, they must also discover what the hell is that thing brewing between them.

As in the previous book, the mystery takes a huge chunk of the story, what makes the book feels special. I think it would be a perfect story to introduce someone to the genre, because is not heavy in the romance and the suspense part is developed with enough care to entertain a mystery lover. But it has a tiny problem. It is a bit hard to follow. At least for me. There are too many names and important events being mention and mixed at all times. So many leads that collide with each other… It makes me wish to have taken a notebook to draw a schema of the case, because more than once I was lost. It doesn’t make the book less enoyable, but days after finishing it I still have some questions about what really happened.

The love part is infuriatingly slow. Don’t get me wrong, that is what makes it greater than other love stories. Since the first moment, the author lets the reader know that Javi and Cloister are perfect for each other. But, at the same time, doesn’t allow the characters to acknowledge it. We have to witness an endless string of excuses and half-hearted fights among them. I found myself yelling at them more than once. Usually a classic: Kiss already, you idiots!!! It was really unnerving sometimes (sweet unnerving, though). When I ship so hard for a couple that means they are giving me what I enjoy most in the Romance genre: slow brewed love. These guys are following all the steps one by one in order to make sure they have something real and durable. I wouldn’t mind if they speed thing up just a little bit and stop being so stubborn, though. Maybe in the third book they will finally hold hands or something equally cute.

The cuteness of this book is hoarded by none other than Bourneville, the partner of Cloister and eerily amart dog. I know Cloister keeps reminding us that Bon is not a pet. That cuddling her is not really a good idea, but she keeps being cute and melting hearts everywhere. It comes to my mind the time she was pretending being asleep to avoid being kicked from the couch. Or her adorably crush on cats. How in the Hell can anyone stop petting her in those situations? Sometimes I think Cloister wants her all by himself. That’s not cool, man!!

Will we have to wait another two years for the third book? I hope not, but I’m already loyal, so I will wait no matter what. So far, I’m enjoying this couple and I wish this format were more common in the genre. I mean, the same couple for several books instead of a different couple in every book. Which is also great, but the scales are much more favourable to the later, so…

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2019 – Book Gallery

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Zane (Part 1) – Liv Bennett

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Author: Liv Bennett
Series: Pleasure Extraordinaire #1

Pages: 254

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The new CEO and the owner of Hawkins Media Group, Zane Hawkins is officially dating to marry. After two years of on-again-off-again romance with the actress Penelope Davis, Zane is now ready to settle down.

Multiple sources confirm that it’s the recent death of his father causing him to re-think his bachelor lifestyle and consider starting a family of his own.

Who will be the lucky bride to tie down California’s most eligible bachelor? A wildly famous Hollywood actress? An activist and visionary lawyer? A humble and media-shy nurse?

If the persisting rumors are true, there’s a secret list of the most suitable candidates drawn up singlehandedly by Zane’s very capable assistant, Julie Connor. Even so, Zane has never been one to follow rules and directions.

Whoever is going to be the lucky winner, she deserves special kudos, as the road to Zane’s heart is known to go through several hoops and hurdles.

When I was a kid, I saw my grandma put some lentils to her dessert yogurt. Back then, I thought that was the weirdest mix I was going to witness in my life. I guess I had to read this book to find a mix that could unseat my grandma’s special yogurt on my list. This book is short, but it has enough room to create a madness that was only lacking several dragons and one or two starships…

We have the immense honour and pleassure to meet Zane (his words, not mine), a rich guy whose lifestyle can be described with just one simple word: womanizer. But her assistant, Julie, convinces him to look for a wife. In order to easy that search, she comes with a list of possible candidates. Zane must date those girls until he finds the love of his life…

This book was free on Amazon when I got it (so I didn’t look beyond the price tag) and I only learnt it was a spin-off after reading it. I don’t think it is mandatory to read the books of Lindsay to understand the books of Zane, but I guess you could develop some sympathy for the characters that could make the reading of this one somehow bearable. That was harsh. The book is not so bad. It has a pretty good idea full of fun possibilities, but everything is butchered with forgettable characters and ridiculous situations. It doesn’t help that the book doesn’t know what identity to adopt. Sometimes is Erotica, others is Contemporary Romance, it flirts with Comedy and even Dark Romance makes a cameo. It would have been much better if the author picked one and forgot the others.

Zane as a characters is a mess. And I don’t mean cute mess you want to cuddle. No. He is a horribly written characters that drinks from the worst fountains of the Romance genre. I think the author attempts to make him cocky and confident, but the result is a vain and self-centered character who considers himself above most mortals just because he has more money and better looks… And no one tells him the opposite… Because he is Zane, eveything he does is a good thing worthy of the warmest round of applause: sex with barely legal girls, sex in front of his own brother, sex with unwilling women, unprotected sex without consent… For some strange reason, that was meant to make him look like a sexy bad boy, but the result is way grosser than that. Pure gold the moment he refuses to hug a woman, because he didn’t want her to fall in love with him… Keep dreaming man…

And then we have Julie. Yes, the assistant. If by reading the blurb you didn’t know the good assistant had a crush on her boss, I guess you haven’t read enough Romance (like two or three books). So… why is she so eager to hook Zane up with a random woman? Well, she explains it all, but let me tell you it doesn’t make much sense. Is it really your plan to make your boss discard all women so you can be the only choice? Have a bit of pride! And self-esteem! And good taste! Because there are thousands of better guys out there. And worst… Julie describes the perfect woman for Zane. What means she tries to describe herself… Someone should tell her we are currently living the 21st century.

Is there something else good beyond the idea? Not really. But it is short, easy to read and such a chaotic display of characters that the reading will be fast and mostly harmless. There is a second part. I know I will read it sooner or later. Maybe there will be some cleaning in Zane’s aisle…

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2019 – Book Gallery

Unchained Desire – R.C. Alvarez

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Author: R.C. Alvarez
Series: The Rapture #1
Release day:  May 27th 2019
Pages: 400

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Chained to a demon queen for hundreds of years, fallen angel Ramiel has given up on his brothers and sisters––and humanity. He has seven days away from hell to replenish his power and that’s all he cares about––right up until his meeting with the much too innocent Kyria. He fell for that act before and it landed him in hell, he won’t be making that mistake again.

To save her sick father, Kyria knows she must find Ramiel. He’s dark, brooding and everything Kyria should be scared of, but the haunted look in his eyes makes her think there’s more to him. The tattoos and chains don’t frighten her either, but the connection she has with him does. When strange creatures attack her, Ramiel steps in to protect her.

Ramiel believes he’s reluctantly helping Kyria, but what neither of them knows is that she may be the one to save them all…

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

Balance is important in many aspects of our lives. It is also crucial for books. In a Paranormal Romance novel there must be a good balance between the story, the characters development, the action, the romance and the world building. The first book of The Rapture fails miserably at juggling all those aspects. But it shows promise…

In this story we follow Kyria, a young woman who is not aware of the paranormal creatures that surround her. She is even clueless about her own angelic blood running through her veins. When her father gets very sick, she goes looking for the second half of this duet: Ramiel. He is a fallen angel who has been captured by a demon and must do her bidding. Luckily, he can enjoy seven days of almost freedom now and then. Just enough time to meet a scared Kyria…

As I mentioned before, this book is pretty unbalanced. In this case, the scales favour much more heavily the world building part of the story. I really enjoyed all the facts that are dropped about the angels, the Nephilim, the demons… A huge bunch of details. They can’t be consider original, but they are all tied together pretty smoothly. I enjoyed the fact that these angels must drink blood. I wasn’t expecting vampires with angelic wings! It is not a long book, but the world that is offered could sustain dozen of different stories, so I will have to keep an eye on this author to see what comes next.

I honestly enjoyed all the world building and the nice setting, but I’m afraid the other aspects of the book had to be sacrificed in order to make room for it. We have the prettiest stage as a background for a really boring story. This book is mostly uneventful, with too much babbling that gets us nowhere. In many chapters of the book I had to fight back really hard in order not to fall asleep. The ending gets a bir more livelier, but by then the damage was done and I just wanted to get over it. Besides, the plot is rather obvious; but that wouldn’t have mattered if the pace were somehow good.

The characters are also pretty weak and lacking charisma everywhere. From the main couple, Ramiel is the most interesting. The bad boy fallen angel looked like he could be fun to read, but all the chances of banter are missed and what we get is a boring exchange that seems stuck in a loop. Maybe a tad less broody and a bit more playful would have made the character a lot better. His other half doesn’t help at all. Kyria is a mess as a character. She doesn’t make any sense. We just have to make believe with her. Even the way they meet is forced to a limit I hadn’t read in a very long time. Everyone knows that when your father blacks out, you shouldn’t call an ambulance or ask for help. Just run to the seediest club you know and look for what you think is a detective undercover during a mission… Standard procedure…

Even though the main couple is a nightmare, there are several supporting characters that are interesting and almost make up for them. Bishop would be, without any doubt, the best character of this book. I wish the same care would have been applied to Ramiel and Kyria. It seems obvious the crazy madman will be important during the whole saga. I think he is going to be the link between all the books. So I’m glad the character is so special and fun to read. Even though sometimes I didn’t understand a thing of what he was saying.

And if you are wondering if the romantic aspect of the book is worth mentioning, let me tell you that you would be better off skipping those parts. They are few, short and as boring as the couple that stars in them.

Overall, it is a good idea that has been carried out in a sloppy way. But the world building is good enough for me to check the next ones of this saga. So, let’s hope the author gets the balance better in future stories.

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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

Rough and Ready – Cathleen Ross

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Author: Cathleen Ross
Series: Outlaw Warriors #2
Release day:  April 15th 2019
Pages: 400

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Before special ops soldier Hugo Boudreaux can move on, he has one last thing to do–fulfill a wartime debt to the friend who saved his life. He must infiltrate a vicious Louisiana MC club to stop their next illegal weapons shipment and send the president to jail. What he didn’t plan on was ending up an unwilling bodyguard to the man’s daughter–innocent and attractive nurse Alice Kaintuck.

Alice wants a normal life with a nice guy. But her rough-edged bodyguard is the sexiest man she’s ever met. Suddenly she can’t stop thinking about just how hot he makes her. Before she knows it, she’s tumbling into his muscular arms…though she’ll be damned if she’ll fall in love with a man as dangerous as her father. Only Hugo doesn’t make love, he consumes her and turns her life upside down with his carnal, erotic sex. Dreams of nice guys vanish when her enemy becomes her obsession…

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

When I requested an ARC of this book I had no idea it was the second one in the saga Outlaw Warriors. I hate reading a saga out of order, so I was about to give it back (even though I think it is not possible), but I changed my mind an embraced the weird philosophy of a saga of stand-alones so common in the Romance genre. Yes, this second book can be read without feeling you are missing something. It is also true that this one hasn’t made me the least curious about the first book.

In this book we follow Hugo, a soldier who has just come back from war and wants to pay his friend Troy the favour he owes. He needs to go undercover into a rival biker gang in order to stop the delivery of some weapons to fight Troy’s gang. In the bar of their foes Hugo meets Alice, the innocent daughter of the leader of the gang he has to infiltrate. She becomes the perfect ticket to join the group and his first mission is to protect her…

I was honestly very hopeful for this book after reading the blurb. It looked like it had all the ingredients for a fun story and the perfect drama to rock the relationship. Add to that the undercover mission and the rivalry amongst bikers and the action should be served to keep the reader engaged. Sadly, none of it happens. The story has a weak first step with Hugo’s and Troy’s plan to infiltrate the other gang. They didn’t expect Alice to be at the bar, but without her there wouldn’t have been any chance of getting Glass’ attention. They were lucky. Very lucky. It’s a bit weird, but I could accept that as their lucky day and move on. But after that, the main mission is almost forgotten and the bodyguard job is practically uneventful. What should have been a huge part of the book is put aside and resolved lazily.

It is my fault for expecting more about the story in a book that falls into the Erotica genre. I knew that the romance wasn’t a priority, but I needed some kind of getting to know each other before dropping all their clothes. Zero flirting. Zero banter. Zero chemistry. The main focus is sex and more sex. I could be OK with that, but the sex scenes are just plain horrible. Hugo likes to feed his dominant side and Alice is willing to indulge him (so far, so good). The issue is in the “game” they like to play, where she has to pretend to be taken by force. I know it is just theater, but I found pretty sick that Hugo’s sexual fantasy is raping a woman… It totally made me lose interest about the intimate scenes pretty quickly and made the whole thing unbearable.

The main characters are also a mess. We are sold that Alice is a strong and independent woman, but as soon as a hunky soldier enters her door the whole world becomes about him. I aso dislike very deeply her constant “Momma” and “Daddy”. She sounds like a little kid whining about something she is denied. It was really unnerving. But the top on the worst list is for Hugo. What kind of unbalanced person carries a bag full of weapons everywhere? I think the overall goal for this character behaviour was to grant him a dark aura, but the pieces do not match together and I would try very, very hard to avoid a person like him in real life. He is not OK and I’m sorry for Alice.

When you have an overly unbelievable romance, it is way harder to shallow the classic ending in the Romance novels (you know the one). Yes, I know I have voiced many times my unhappiness about that cliché; but in cases like this one it is even more painful. I do understand the need for feeding the readers a HEA ending and I can go along with that. My problem lies in the blunt supposition that a fast wedding is the same as happiness. Sometimes I would like to read a Romance book where the HEA is something different… Surprise me a little bit, you know?

I don’t want to end this review (rant?) without saying at least one positive thing about the book. The cover is very pretty. It catches the eye easily and it willl make many readers curious about the story behind. That’s me saying the guy is hot.

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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