Monster or hero?
My name is Larkspur and I was born in the Colony, a labyrinth of tunnels and caves miles beneath the surface designed for prisoners. Being born among the criminals isn't an easy childhood. But I have a secret, my nails turn into sharp claws. I learned early how to fight dirty, hide well and never trust. All too soon, our world changes. Something happens to the prospering world above. The criminals desiring freedom and revenge push toward the surface. Me among them.
Humanity needs a hero, now more than ever, but all they get is me, a monster from the darkness.
I have read the second book in this series, Gabriel, and reviewed it on this site in the past few months. I have to say, overall, I liked Benjamin better. I felt the story carried really well and I loved the way the men quickly circled the wagons to take care of their little half-brother. Benjamin's a great cowboy and serious about taking care of his responsibilities. Danielle is a strong woman who's escaped quite a bit of past abuse (which abuse probably caused my biggest issue with this story - more later).
I liked how the men all chipped in on fixing up the ranch and finding a way to take care of both it and their little brother, with no qualms about it. Benjamin was the most instantly connectable/likable, what with his happiness that he could bring his long-time competition horse (recently injured on the rodeo circuit) there to be cared for and never competed with again. He also definitely seemed to forge the best connection with their little brother.
There were little subplots, in the form of Jeremiah's (the baby's) aunt showing up and automatically assuming she would take care of him (and moving in on Ben! - hussy).
Now for the major detraction for me and why I couldn't consider giving this a 5-star review: Danielle's sexual abuse. What happened to her was horrible, tragic, and an absolute betrayal of trust she should have been able to expect from a man. However, the problem I have with it is a couple of caresses, a few comforting moments with Ben, and the very first time they seriously try to have sex...she does it, does well, and has nothing but thrills. I wish there'd been some more time spent healing her, rather than the magic sex button being pushed, maybe some failures along the way when they finally tried to go to bed together (there were some hints of her pain/fear when they kissed elsewhere in the book). I don't think they needed to consummate to make their HEA work, and feel it truly detracted from what could have been a lovely ending.
Giveaway: Ms. Nelson is giving away a Ecopy of her book. The TBR Pile is giving away a book from The Prize List. To ENTER: Comment below on why you want to read Benjamin!
Kristin (Kris) has just finished vet school and has wanted to specialize in large animals her entire life. Because she's a woman, however, she's been unable thus far to land a job. Gabriel, along with the other two of the Hudson identical triplet trio, inherited a ranch and baby brother from his long-estranged father, but since inheriting, the ranch has been plagued by someone who clearly wants Gabriel and his brothers out. Gabriel's in the process of starting up a farm-animal-oriented vet clinic and gets an emailed resume from out of the blue.
This was the third book in the Hudson Ranch series. You don't need to read the other books before it in the series as this one stands alone, at least in respect to the romance part of the book. The issue with the ranch...ehhh, I'm iffy on that part.
I liked Kris's determination not to let her gender stop her from the job of her dreams. She knew what she wanted and went after it, even if she had to lie (I fail to see how using her initials in anyway comprises a lie, and feel that Gabriel way over reacted when he found out KB was a man but that snit didn't last long).
Gabriel - gotta love a guy who's willing to fire the woman he loves to protect her. Once the pair got over a certain trust issue (more on that later), these two started moving forward very quickly toward finding love. They made a charming couple and I was definitely rooting for them.
So if I seem to like the book so much, why only 3 stars? Here's why:
Bad events keep plaguing the ranch throughout the book and if you're looking for a resolution to that issue, it will not be found in this book. I mention this issue only because I fully expected a resolution and didn't even get a partial resolution of the issue. I expected some part of the overall plot to be resolved. Think Empire Strikes Back - there's definitely some closure, and sense of the characters moving forward even though Han is encased in carbonite. This book just blam - ends. No warning.
A few other issues - I found Kris's age to be a little unbelievable, given the schooling that would be required. Of course, it could be totally different in Canada, but you need a 4-year degree before you can get into Vet School here in the US, yet Kris was only 21 and fully graduated and an animal doctor.
There was the issue that led to the trust issues that got resolved with absolutely no hint as to who the guilty party might be. It seemed like a completely random event (the whole subplot) and I don't understand why it was necessary.
Finally, Gabriel gets a major injury that requires surgery. He's let out of the hospital with very specific instructions to be on strict bedrest for 5 days. The following day (unless I missed a reference to "several days later"), Kris and Gabriel's own brother were talking about letting him be in the vet clinic, though he could relax on a couch if he needed to. That is not bedrest.
Despite those issues, I did like this book and I will probably track down the others. It's a quick, easy read and enjoyable. Ms. Nelson has a nice writing style to her work and I'm glad to keep reading her books.
Thanks to the author for sending this to review!
Title: Bad Boy Blake
Author: Lorraine Nelson
Page Count: 150
TBR Reviewer: Jessica
Rating: 3 Stars - A Good read.
Heat: 3 - Blush Worthy.
Bad Boy Blake is an action packed romance about Gina West (aka Virginia Weston) an exotic dance instructor who comes back to her home town to unearth old family secrets and clear her grandfather's good name. Blake Bennett is the sheriff in town who's own family has some secrets of their own, that also has age old ties with the Weston's. Crimes ensue and as Blake tries to protect Gina from the
townspeople who want skeletons to remain where they lay, sparks fly between them.
This was a well-written story, packed full of action and mystery. Tons of curveballs are thrown into the mix, and you never really know "whodunit" until the story completely unfolds. There is definitely no shortage of steamy action between Gina and Blake either. There's just as much action between the
sheets as there is on the streets of this small town. This story had a really great balance of romance mixed with a strong plot, well developed characters, angst and drama.
Admittedly, the dialogue between Blake and Gina could get somewhat cheesy at times, not always the most natural and fluid narrative between them. But if you can overlook that, you're definitely in for a good entertaining read. My only other criticism would be the vague underlying plot turn that reveals that Blake and Gina have a mutual familial tie. Without disclosing too much of the story, it becomes clear early on who Gina's long lost father is. With this information comes Blake's admittance that he, too, is
related to Gina's father... though with this revelation, they never once contemplate that this makes the two of them related as well. In fact, they carry on a sexual affair throughout the story, never once addressing their possible familial relatedness. It's only at the end, through Blake's proposal, that Gina
declines his request citing that they are, in fact, first cousins. While there's more to the story, it was enough to make me say "Huh?" a few times!
But you decide...If you read the entire book without caring that these two people might potentially be related, then I believe you'll find it to be a really great, well thought out love story. But if you're like me, and that idea and niggling curiosity hangs out in the back of your mind the entire time, it might
be slightly more difficult for you to fully embrace these characters as two people that can really go the distance with their love story. All in all, it's definitely a read I'd thoroughly recommend.
Finding Baby J by Lorraine Nelson
Genre: contemporary romance
TBR Reviewer: Amanda
Rating: 5 Stars - A Must Read.
Heat: 3 - Blush Worthy.
Shana Davis is a young woman barely getting by, but she cannot keep herself from taking in strays. When she hears a mewling sound while taking the trash out at work one night, she assumes a kitten is caught in the dumpster but finds instead an abandoned newborn boy. Taking it straight to the neonatal department where she works she starts a chain of events that changes both her life, that of the
doctor she takes the baby to, the young boy, and many others.
I really enjoyed the romance between Shana and Kagan, even though I wanted to kick him when he jumped to all the wrong conclusions about her. Both of them were strong characters looking for a family that they had been denied, one through death and one through his mother's snobbery. I liked Shana's determination to the right thing for others even when she was hurt rather than lashing out. I especially
enjoyed the side story with eighteen-month-old with kidney failure and the way all the loose ends wrapped up for a wonderful happily-ever-after ending.
Lorraine Nelson's feel-good romances never fail to deliver!
Giveaway: Ms. Nelson is giving away an Ecopy to one lucky winner! The TBR Pile is giving away a book from our prize list to one lucky winner! To ENTER: Comment below on why you want to win Finding Baby J.
Love on the Rocks by Lorraine Nelson
Genre: romantic suspense
TBR Reviewer: Amanda
Rating: 4 stars - Recommended Read.
Heat: 2 - Flirty.
Sara is a young woman desperate to escape her abusive boyfriend. When his abuse causes her premature labor and delivery of her baby girl, she finally leaves him but has to run under another name when he continues to stalk her, disregarding the restraining order. After six months of running, out of cash and unable to keep a roof over their heads, she leaves her baby in a public place, hoping Child Services will keep baby Charity safe. The young doctor that finds the baby decides to care for her himself and jokingly says on television that he needs a live-in nanny. Jumping at the chance to be with her child, Sara applies for the job under a fake name and moves in, but her past catches up with them soon enough and again she runs.
I enjoy Ms. Nelson's writing and this novel is no exception. Although there are a few places where the plot is almost too far fetched, I found it overall exciting and a wonderful read. I appreciated the lengths to which they each went to protect Charity and loved the happy ended. I recommend it to romantic suspense fans, especially those that like the single parent finding love storyline.
Giveaway: Ms. Nelson is giving away an Ecopy of Love on the Rocks. The TBR Pile is giving away a book from our prize list. To ENTER: Comment below on why you want to read Love on the Rocks!
Cameron’s Quest by Lorraine Nelson
Genre: Western, Romance
TBR Reviewer: Brutally Honest
Rating: 4 stars – Recommended Read.
Heat: 4 – An Erotic Ride.
We’re back in Thunder Creek! This is the fifth book in the series by Lorraine Nelson. Cameron finds the woman he loved and lost years ago. She also has a surprise for him, triplets.
Cam and Lacey’s story was very romantic. The descriptions the author paints are beautiful, of both Ireland and the Thunder Creek Ranch. The action aspect was good but that doesn’t start until
three quarters of the way in. That was my only issue with this book, the pace was very slow moving. However, the characters are lovely and this is a great addition to the series!
Giveaway: Ms. Nelson is giving away an Ecopy of Cameron's Quest. The TBR Pile is giving away a book from our prize list. To ENTER: Comment below on why you want to read Cameron's Quest!
Blessed Homecoming by Lorraine Nelson
Genre: romantic suspense
Length: novel (227 pgs.)
TBR Reviewer: Amanda
Rating: 5 stars - A Must Read.
Heat: 1 handcuff - Tame.
Wendy Danforth is a very pregnant, newly divorced woman when she steps off the bus in her hometown to return to her parents' home. Her past threatens both her emotional well-being and her life, but she is immediately attracted to her parents' new handyman, Jake Roberts, a drifter with an emotionally fraught past of his own. Both Wendy and Jake fight the instant attraction between them regardless of the elder Danforths' matchmaking attempts, but as Wendy's ex continues to threaten, events conspire to drive them together.
I found both Wendy and Jake to be realistic, likable characters with real problems and a discernible development of their relationship. The instant attraction was not insta-love, which I appreciated in this story. It definitely made their push and pull believable. I also liked watching both of their pasts come out and be dealt with, together and separately. Rather than a "love cures all" type story, this one seemed a lot more like love encouraged each one to grow and heal. I especially liked the time where Wendy's baby was born and what all precipitated from it. The suspense plotline also wrapped up satisfyingly.
This is the second novel by Lorraine Nelson that I have read, and I think her writing is well-done and she tells a masterfully crafted romance.
GIVEAWAY: Ms. Nelson is giving away an Ecopy to one lucky winner. The TBR Pile will also choose one winner for a free Ebook from our prize list. To ENTER: Comment below on why you want to read Blessed Homecoming.
Her Unlikely Bodyguard by Lorraine Nelson
Genre: romantic suspense
Length: novel (168 pgs.)
TBR Reviewer: Amanda
Rating: 4 Stars - Recommended Read.
Heat: 4 Handcuffs - An erotic Ride.
When Jemma Leigh Harding returns to her hometown after a ten year absence, she is doing more than coming to care for her cancer-stricken mother and father with diabetes. She is also healing an estrangement with them, introducing them to their grandson, and running from a stalker that has made her life miserable for six months. The last thing she expects is to be nearly run-down by her high school sweetheart on her first day home, breaking her ankle and allowing him to discover the truth about her return. Ted Garrity has also recently come back to
Sommerville after time in the Army, marrying, having a child and losing his wife to a land mine. Jemma Leigh awakens all his protective instincts when he hears about her stalker, and soon they are spending all their time together again.
This story has just the right amount of romance and suspense. The mystery of Jemma Leigh's stalker as well as that of her past are interesting, as is the reconciliation with Ted. I loved how the answers to Zach's questions came out and the development of all the family relationships that Jemma Leigh and Zach had been missing. The final revelation of the stalker was a shock as well. My only real quibble with the story is that the timeline was hard to follow - at times, it seemed that events were following one upon another, but then something would be mentioned that showed several days must have passed (how her ankle healed, for example). I found that slightly disconcerting, but the writing was well done and the story worth reading. Ted and Jemma Leigh made a great romantic couple and the various Mounties made great side characters, as did Stacey and the children and grandparents.
Giveaway: Comment below to enter. One winner will get Her Unlikely Bodyguard and another will get a book from our Prize List!
Cauldron of Tales by Sonia Hightower, Lorraine Nelson, Chacelyn
Pierce, Angelina Rain, and Nikki Prince
Genre: paranormal romance, anthology
Length: novella (71 pgs.)
Rating: 3 STARS
Heat: 4 HANDCUFFS
This anthology of witch-inspired short tales is mostly romance with a little horror thrown in the mix. The first story follows a medieval herb-woman dabbling in witch craft after being falsely accused of it, while the rest of the stories are all contemporarily set. While all the stories have some romantic or sexual element, none of them are long enough to get really involved in the
I found the writing to be well done, but the briefness of the stories kept me from loving them. One, however, rose to the top for me. "Past Potion" by Chacelyn Pierce creates a story with enough back story told to actually draw the reader into the predicament between the two characters. I enjoyed the final showdown between Willow and Salem and cheered for them to work things out. In the final analysis, these stories were enjoyable and if the lack of depth is
overlooked, they certainly make a fun short "witchy" read.
+Giveaway: 1 ebook
Western Romance, Suspense - novel
TBR Reviewer: Brutally Honest
This is the 4th installation in the Thunder Creek Ranch Series. Let me tell you this series made me fall in love with Cowboys all over again. Each can be read as a standalone but I recommend reading them in order to get the full effect of how talented Ms. Nelson is.
It starts with Leah and finding out the man she thought she loved it a cold blooded murderer. The beginning certainly pulls the reader in. There were a few editing issues that popped up but nothing to take away from this entertaining story! What did take away was the cardboard dialogue between Luke (Leah’s brother) and her when she’s telling her story. She’s talking about rape, abuse, murder and she talks about it so impassive, not a tear and even giggles at one point when she goes for a cookie at the same time as Zakia
(Sister in law). It does get more substantial and soon the story takes off. Car chases, secret kisses and that’s just the beginning. She did a great job writing the action although some parts, like the end of the action scenes, felt very rushed. Some scenes just didn’t add up such as the car explodes and Michael goes out to get help. She doesn't hunker down and prepare or hid she eats dinner. What?! After an explosion? Like I said some scenes just didn't add up.
Now for the four star rating. Despite those issues it was still a very entertaining read. By the end I really loved the characters and was cheering for their happy ending. A Cowgirl's Pride is about the act of finding and capturing true love.
Cowgirl's Pride is a strong four star read that I definitely recommend.
He was so hot for her! If he didn’t get these damned jeans off soon, his erection just might pop the zipper. That’s how hard he was for her—so stiff the skin stretched tight over his cock and it ached.
She suddenly pulled free and backed away from him. He almost swore out loud in frustration, thinking she’d changed her mind, but she’d only gone to close the vertical blinds at the windows.
“Just in case,” she said, smiling a come-hither smile as she turned back to him.
He felt guilty for his unjust thoughts, but closed the distance between them in a heartbeat, relieved to have her back in his arms.
“I’ve missed you, Cal,” she said as she ran her fingers through his thick, wavy hair.
“No more than I’ve missed you. I was beginning to think you’d never come home.”
“Oh, I wanted to, so much, but it just wasn’t possible.”
“You’re here now,” he said, grabbing the hem of her sweater and pulling it over her head
to expose beautifully shaped breasts enclosed in see-through peach lace. “And I’m so glad you’re back.”
He bent to suckle her nipples through the lacy cups, her mindless purr of delight going straight to his groin. If he got any harder, he’d explode. Still, he took his time, banking his desire as best he could to give her pleasure.
Slipping his hands inside the waistband, he worked her blue jeans and sexy peach colored
thong down over her hips, promptly falling to his knees at the sight of her curls. He leaned forward, reaching out to touch her satiny skin, smell her spicy vanilla scent and taste the creamy essence that was Leah. He wanted—needed—all of it—all of her.