Category Archives: Read by Vicki

Falling Hard (Colorado High Country # 3)

By Pamela Clare

Synopsis

A Gold Star wife alone…

Ellie Meeks promised her pilot husband that if he was killed in combat, she would live her life to the fullest. Three years later, she is still alone, raising the twins he never met. She has no interest in dating or meeting men—until one snowy night when a stranger helps her get her sick kids safely home. That stranger turns out to be a former Army Ranger and a member of the elite Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. He’s also tall, rugged… and irresistibly sexy. 

All it takes is one kiss…

Jesse Moretti came to Colorado to get Iraq out of his head, using the adrenaline of extreme sports and high-risk mountain rescues to keep his mind off the past. But getting involved with Ellie might be the riskiest thing he’s ever done. It’s not just their explosive chemistry. There’s something about Ellie that gets inside him, opening him to feelings he’s tried hard to ignore. 

When passion ignites…

Ellie feels alive in Jesse’s arms and happier than she ever thought she’d feel again. But their relationship comes at a price for him, and soon Ellie sees that she must help Jesse fight the demons of his past to protect the love of a lifetime—and save the heart of a hero.

Review

Ellie is a single mother to soon-to-be three-year-old twins (Daniel & Daisy) after her husband died in Iraq while she was pregnant.  She has a wonderful support system not only in her family, but in the small town where she lives.  I liked her a lot and thought her hesitations about dating again were realistic, though I did feel that her reaction to Jesse’s “secret” was a little irrational.  In fact, her reaction was the only part of the entire story that I didn’t like.

Jesse is an incredibly nice guy and I really enjoyed getting to know him.  He’s been living next door to Ellie for over two years and although they have never met, he knew about her husband and helped her out anonymously whenever he could.  He has saved many lives throughout his careers, but he focuses on the ones he couldn’t save, which affects him badly.  While he willingly jumps into frozen lakes without any hesitation, he hates the spotlight and doesn’t think of himself as a hero, which of course only makes him more likeable.

I have read all three books released in this series so far, and I have to say that this is the first time I’ve really gotten a feel for the small town.  When tragedy strikes, everyone in the community comes together to do and give whatever they can to help.  I don’t remember having that feeling in the first two books, but in this book that feeling was front and centre.

FALLING HARD is told in dual POVs, and quite often the POV would switch several times within a chapter.  While I did find that slightly annoying, I was grateful that the switch was marked by a symbol which made the change easily identifiable.  While FALLING HARD is part of a series, it can most definitely be read as a stand-alone.  The HEA is beautiful and sweet, but also achingly sad.  The final chapter took me the longest to read because I had to keep stopping to wipe my eyes.  Even re-reading it while I composed this review had me tearing up again.

FALLING HARD is the third book in the Colorado High Country series and is my favourite.  Any book that can draw out my emotions like this one did deserves the highest rating.

Falling Hard (Colorado High Country # 3)

My Rating:  

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Colorado High Country Series

Worth The Trouble (St. James # 2)

By Jamie Beck

Synopsis

Cover girl Cat St. James’s picture-perfect life is anything but flawless. Luckily, she’s a master of hiding the truth from the camera. Relying on that skill, she conceals her latest secret from her family while attending her brother’s wedding. Her only trouble now is Hank Mitchell—the soft-spoken carpenter she’d once brushed aside. Seeing him at the reception underscores her private heartache and ignites unwelcome longing, which she promptly drowns in champagne.

Hank is no stranger to sacrifice, having set aside his own ambitions to take care of his family. One thing he won’t forsake is his pride, which Cat already wounded once. But when the maddening beauty’s reckless behavior forces him to rush to her rescue, he sets in motion a series of events that leads Cat to make a business proposal granting him his dream job.

When Cat and Hank mix business with pleasure, promises and secrets unravel, and each must decide if and what they’ll surrender for love.

Review

WORTH THE TROUBLE is the second book in the St. James series and, as with the first book, it was a light and easy read and a good way to spend a few hours.  Cat and Hank shared a moment when they first met a year or two ago through her brother Jackson, but then Cat got back together with her boyfriend and things have been strained between them ever since.

Hank is one of those honest-to-God good guys and is so easy to like.  After his father died while he was a senior in high school, he gave up his college dreams and went straight to work to support his ailing mother and four younger sisters, allowing them to go to college and chase their dreams.  Despite his busy and hard-working life, he’s a simple man with simple tastes; all he wants is a wife, a family of his own and to make custom furniture.

“We’re two friends enjoying an attraction, right? Not falling in love.”
“Well, then, I’ll try to rein in my charm.  But don’t be shocked when you fall hard.  I’m a loveable guy.”

What can I say about Cat?  She finally kicked her psycho boyfriend from the first book to the kerb, and good riddance I say.  She’s determined and, when she comes up with an idea, she goes from 0-60 is 2.5 seconds.  She’s smart and does her research, but I do think she rushes into things too quickly.  I loved her journal entries where she’s talking to her mother; I thought they added a nice touch and made her seem softer.

WORTH THE TROUBLE is told in dual POVs, comes with a nice HEA and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  While this story focuses on Hank and Cat, quite a bit of it also focuses on Jackson and his behaviour that has everyone concerned.  Here, we learnt what happened between him and his ex-girlfriend and why he’s been spiralling ever since, but I’m sure we’ll hear more about it in his own book, WORTH THE RISK.

Worth The Trouble (St. James # 2)

My Rating:  

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St. James Series

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. 

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. 

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. 

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. 

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? 

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

Review

GOODBYE PARADISE is an amazing read with plenty of heartwarming scenes and beautiful characters.

Josh is an absolute sweetheart; one with a very kind and gentle soul.  Having been treated badly at the farm, he feels worthless and like nothing he does is ever good enough and, because of their religious upbringing, he also feels ashamed of his feelings towards Caleb.  But over time, and with reassurances from Caleb and their new friends, he slowly begins to let go of everything that was drilled into his head his whole life to find peace and happiness within himself.

“They think God doesn’t like it when you curse?  But god is just fine with throwing you out by the side of the road?  Do you hear how messed up that is?”

Caleb is the more confident, skilled and dominant of the two; he wasn’t bullied like Josh was because he held some rank at the farm.  He’s also a natural protector and spent most of his days at the farm shielding Josh.  I would go so far as to say he has a slight hero complex, because his need to protect sometimes went too far and he often felt responsible for things he had no control over.

“A real man does what needs doing.  He takes care of the people he loves.  You know this instinctively, even though every man in your own life treated you like shit.”

I not only loved Josh and Caleb, but almost everyone else in this story too.  Washington was their saviour when they needed one and seemed to become a father figure of sorts.  Maggie (a farm runaway from years before) was a lovely young woman who helped them adjust to life outside the farm.  Maggie’s husband, Daniel, was a cool guy who had no problem opening up his home to strangers in need.

GOODBYE PARADISE has loose ties to the True North series, but you don’t have to read those books to understand and enjoy this one.  GOODBYE PARADISE is told in dual POVs and comes with a lovely HEA for Josh and Caleb.  I truly hope we’ll be seeing more of them in the future, and I’d also like to see a book about Maggie’s sister, Miriam, because that young woman needs some happiness in her life after what she endured at the farm.

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

My Rating:  

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Dirty Doctor (Steamy Coffee Collection # 2)

By Whitney G.

Synopsis

“Lean back on the table and spread your legs for me …”

Being a doctor in New York City has never been easy. Especially for someone like me, who has a private practice and an incompetent staff who insists on leaving me to fill in for them. 

Over the past six months, I’ve performed one too many pap smears, three too many “breast exams,” and scrubbed in on several reconstructive surgeries. (This would be acceptable, if I was still interested in general medicine, but I’m not. I’m supposed to be a goddamn therapist …)

When my team finally came to their senses and decided to bring someone more competent into the practice last month, I was actually elated. 

Until I realized that our new “doctor” was none other than the woman I was supposed to meet for dinner two weeks ago. The same woman who stood me up with nothing more than an “I can’t meet you anymore, sorry,” after we agreed to move our online talks into reality. 

I haven’t forgotten any of the filthy fantasies she told me about, and I never deleted our dirty messages. And if she thinks that I’m going to act like a “professional” and pretend like that shit never happened, she has another thing coming …

Review

“What are you doing two Fridays from now?”
“Nothing that I know of.”
“Wrong answer.  You’ll be fucking me.”

DIRTY DOCTOR is a stand-alone novella that was a quick and entertaining read.  There’s not really any drama or conflict, unless you include Garrett trying to make Natalie’s work-life hell as punishment for standing him up on the night they were supposed to meet.  I know it’s a novella, but to be honest, I was hoping for a little more substance.  Everything moves at a very fast pace and, unless you include the oral scene in the exam room, there was only one sex scene.  For a man whose nickname is Dirty Doctor, I was expecting him to be…well…dirty.  DIRTY DOCTOR is told in dual POVs and comes with a nice HEA.

Dirty Doctor (Steamy Coffee Collection # 2)

My Rating:  

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Steamy Coffee Collection

Claiming Grace (Ace Security # 1)

By Susan Stoker

Synopsis

For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years.

Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved.

Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.

Review

CLAIMING GRACE is the first book in the Ace Security series and is also the first book I’ve read from Susan Stoker.  It is a second-chance romance between Logan and Grace, who had feelings for each other in high school, but never acted on them before Logan left for the Army.  Thanks to the actions of others, they both believed the other had led them on and therefore haven’t seen or spoken to each other in ten years.

Ace Security is owned and run by triplet brothers Logan, Blake and Nathan, who created the security firm after their father was killed by their abusive mother, and their primary goal is to provide help and security for abused men.  At the time of writing this review, I read this story over a week ago and I don’t remember much about Logan at all, other than I thought his idea of creating a security company for abused men was brilliant.

Grace stood out more than Logan, but in her case that’s not a good thing.  She’s a nice woman and I was rooting for her to get her HEA with Logan, but I couldn’t relate to her.  I couldn’t understand why she didn’t just tell people what had been going on and then get in her car and go far, far away from her parents.  She’s been mentally and emotionally abused her entire life and yet, at the age of thirty, is still clinging to the hope that some day soon her parents will love her and let her go to live her own life.  As much as I hate to say this, sometimes she was a little too stupid to live.  She would acknowledge that she needed to be careful around her parents, but would then meet them alone in private places.

I have to say that as much as I hated them, her parents are the most memorable characters in this story.  They are so horrible, despicable and cruel that they deserve to be skinned alive for not only how they treated Grace, but how they treated everyone in the community.

CLAIMING GRACE is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA that I will say was a little cheesy and unrealistic.  The ending also leads us into the second book which will be about Blake and Alexis.

Claiming Grace (Ace Security # 1)

My Rating:  

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Ace Security Series

Worth The Wait (St. James # 1)

By Jamie Beck

Synopsis

Thirteen years ago, Vivi LeBrun was sketching a rooster and eating Oreos when she first met—and fell for—her friend’s brother, David St. James. Since then, her love for David has only intensified thanks to years of friendship with his family, who rescued her from a lonely, tumultuous childhood. As she travels to Block Island to vacation with the St. James siblings, Vivi daydreams about reuniting with David, hoping he’ll finally see her as his soul mate.

After his mother’s death, David distanced himself from his siblings, determined to hide a devastating family secret. Now, he’s brought a new girlfriend along to his homecoming—one who’s pushing for a serious commitment. The last thing he needs on his growing list of problems is his budding attraction to Vivi.

With tensions running high, David’s behavior triggers a series of events that might cost him the love he’s always taken for granted and Vivi the only real family she’s ever known.

Review

WORTH THE WAIT is the first book I’ve read from Jamie Beck, and I found it to be an enjoyable read.

I quite liked Vivi, who is fun, friendly and just a really nice person.  She lost her mother and brother when she was just a child and her father became a drunk to escape.  But despite all that, she remains positive and upbeat.  She has been in love with David since she was thirteen and even at that young age, she never hid her feelings from him.  That takes courage and I admired her for it.  But after waiting in vain for half of her life, she decides it’s time to move on from David and, as is her way, she’s not afraid to tell him exactly what she thinks and feels.

“Vivi, your friendship means everything to me.  I don’t want to lose it.”
“Of course you don’t.  Who would willingly let go of someone who gives everything and asks for nothing in return?”

David is a nice guy, but he’s also a little selfish and I spent a large portion of the story not liking him very much.  He’s dealing with his own personal demons which have caused him to recently push away not only his family, but also Vivi.  He’s always been aware of Vivi’s feelings for him but in all honesty, he never led her on…at least up until now.  His character is a cliché though, in that he didn’t realise exactly how he wanted Vivi until her affection wasn’t available to him anymore.

She’d always been an all-or-nothing girl.  He should have guessed she would treat him likewise.  For years she’d given him her all, and now she had nothing left.

WORTH THE WAIT is told in dual POVs and comes with a very nice HEA.  The story is told in present time but also includes the occasional flashback to events that took place over the past thirteen years.  I found this to be an easy and enjoyable read, and I would read the next book in the series.

Worth The Wait (St. James # 1)

My Rating:  

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St. James Series

Kiss Cam

By Anie Michaels

Synopsis

Life was smooth sailing for Riley Smith. She’d earned a promotion, was living the dream as a singlegal in a big city, and treated herself to one of her favorite things – a professional basketball game. In Riley’s opinion, nothing ruined a good basketball game like the halftime gag, the Kiss Cam. When the camera lands on her and the sexy stranger in the next seat over, peer pressure from the arena forces them to kiss. It was supposed to be quick, meaningless, and comical. Instead the kiss was hot, delectable, and left her reeling.

It hadn’t been a great night for Camden Rogers, son of Portland’s mayor. On a date with a woman he didn’t care for out of obligation to his politician father, meeting the sassy and intelligent Riley was the last thing he expected. Kissing her, however, was the hottest thing he’d ever experienced. Never one to back down from a challenge, convincing his hesitant kissing partner they could be more would be his biggest accomplishment yet.

They came from two different worlds, a divide Riley was sure they couldn’t overcome, but Camden was convinced she was the one. Will Riley be able to let her guard down and let Camden in? Or will the Kiss Cam be their only sexy encounter?

Author’s Note: Kiss Cam was originally published in June of 2016 as a 19,000-word novella in the Passion in Portland anthology. I have added 55,000 new words and expanded the story into a full-length novel. If you read the original novella, you will not want to miss out on the expanded story. 18+ for mature content.

Review

I liked Riley, who is a nice woman and a hard worker, but she was often plagued by bouts of insecurity when it came to the financial gap between her and Cam.  She’s considered the help and he’s considered political royalty, so she was always worried that she was not good enough for him.

Cam was a really nice guy and I liked how open he was with Riley.  He refused to hide his feelings or excitement and he wasn’t interested in playing games with her.  He wanted a relationship with her and he wasn’t afraid for her to know it.

KISS CAM is a stand-alone romantic comedy, which I found to be a very easy, light and fun read, but ultimately a little forgettable.  There’s some humour and some sexy scenes, but there’s no real conflict, nothing that gets the heart racing.  It is told in dual POVs and it comes with a nice HEA.

Kiss Cam

My Rating:  

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The Wingman

By Natasha Anders

Synopsis

She was supposed to be his one-night distraction. But their attraction is undeniable.

Introverted Daisy McGregor is used to being a wallflower, but what she lacks in style, she makes up for with an acerbic wit, a passion for life, and a deep devotion to her family. So she’ll suffer through her sister Dahlia’s bachelorette party and accept the cloud of pity for going stag to the wedding.

Out at the pub, sexy bad boy Mason Carlisle is a reluctant wingman tasked with entertaining Daisy while his brother flirts with her oldest sister, Daffodil. When the plan fails and Mason’s true intent is revealed, he feels intense guilt—and a sensual spark of desire for the unlikeliest of women.

Daisy decides to use this unfortunate encounter to her advantage: to make it up to her, Mason will be another kind of wingman, playing the role of her boyfriend and wedding date. Will their ruse unravel completely—or will Mason and Daisy’s undeniable attraction ignite a scorching love affair that knows no rules?

Review

THE WINGMAN is the second book I’ve read from Natasha Anders, the first one being THE UNWANTED WIFE which was amazing.  This story was less intense and angsty than that one, but still enjoyable.

I liked both Mason and Daisy, who are very nice people, but they also frustrated me a little with how sensitive and how easily offended they were.  They both also lack confidence, but Daisy more so than Mason.  All her life her sisters, Dahlia & Daffodil, have been called the pretty one and the cute one respectively, while Daisy has always been referred to as the other one, so I can understand her lack of confidence.

I couldn’t figure out why Mason didn’t think he was good enough for a relationship because he was a nice guy.  Unfortunately, this belief has him pulling Daisy in, only to push her away over and over, which got tiresome.  What I liked most about him was that right from the start, he was disgusted by the things people said about Daisy and defended her at every opportunity.  My favourite scene was when he defended her against those pigs on the golf course.

THE WINGMAN is told in dual POVs, with Daff getting some chapters in her POV as well.  At the time of writing this review, this book appears to be a stand-alone, but I get the feeling that Daisy’s two sisters will also get a story of their own.  There’s not much sex to be found in this story, with the first sex scene not coming (no pun intended) until almost the 80% mark.  Until that point, Mason and Daisy spent their time getting to know each other and slowly falling in love.  Would I read the next book in the series?  Yes, I would.

The Wingman

My Rating:  

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Filthy Coach

By Amy Brent

Synopsis

What do you do when the sexiest bastard to walk on to a football field happens to need your personal services?

Sam Carson is a washed-up ex-quarterback who’s more famous for his drunken brawls and internet sex tapes than throwing touchdowns. So why did my father, the owner of the Atlanta Trojans, hire Sam to be the new head coach? And what part does he expect me to play in this dangerous game? 

ALLIE WINSTON:  I’m a tough chick playing in a tough man’s game.  I’m a sports image consultant.  It’s my job to make undisciplined football players and unfriendly coaches heroes in the public eye.  But when I’m assigned to make Sam Carson look good, I know that I have my work cut out for me.  Especially when he catches me in the shower diddling myself and moaning his name.  I can’t deny my feelings for Sam, but I can’t deny that I’m also part of a game that’s using Sam as a pawn. I can only hope that he never discovers my treachery, because I can’t imagine my life without Sam in my bed.      

SAM CARSON:  I’ll be the first to admit it.  I’m a baaaad boy.  I drink hard, play hard, and screw hard.  And when I drive my Lambo into the back of a truck, my career as one of the hottest quarterbacks in pro football comes to an end.  For the last few years I’ve been a coach.  When I get an offer to be the head coach of the Atlanta Trojans, I know something is fishy.  Then I meet Allie Winston, the smoking hot daughter of the team owner.  I want her and I know she wants me, but I get the feeling that there’s more than just sexual attraction at play.  Allie seems to be playing a dangerous game, and I won’t stop until I find out exactly what – and who – is going down. 

Review

FILTHY COACH is a very quick read, and the first I’ve read from Amy Brent.  Unfortunately, it was a read that didn’t win me over.

Sam was extremely hard to like in the beginning.  There are manwhores, and then there’s Sam, who really doesn’t seem to think very highly of women.  Here are two examples of his thoughts:
1 – Hers was not the tightest twat I’d ever stuck it in, but it did the trick.
2 – I have noticed an increase in age and a degradation of hotness of the groupies who approach me now.
He certainly does not sound like a charmer.  Women aside, he does seem to want to turn his life around, at least career wise.  Did I feel bad for how he was played by Allie’s father?  Yes, I did.

What can I say about Allie?  Not much because compared to Sam, she was pretty forgettable.

In regards to the story and writing, I noticed a few spelling mistakes, and I didn’t like some of the words used for the sexual scenes (c*nt, squirting and oozing, for example).  I wasn’t a fan of the short sentence clusters or the step-by-step descriptions of what the characters were doing.  I was also deeply disturbed that condoms were non-existent, not only because they’ve only known each other for a day, but also because Sam has been a manwhore for almost thirty years.  If these things don’t bother you, then I’m sure you’d enjoy this short story.

FILTHY COACH is told in dual POVs and appears to be a stand-alone insta-love novella.

Filthy Coach

My Rating:  

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The Boxer (Modern Love # 2)

By Piper Rayne

Synopsis

Who knew a bad boy could mend a broken heart?”

What does a girl do after she discovers her fiancé is a cheating bastard?

In my case, I performed the ritual implosion of all scorned women. I drowned my sorrows in cases of white wine, wallowed in gallons of ice cream, and ignited a bonfire to burn away every damn remnant of his existence. Six months later, the only result was a permanent impression of my ass on the couch.

Adventure Dating my friends dared.
A new and exciting opportunity they said.

I thought they were crazy, but I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so I signed up for the entire four-week deal.
That’s where I saw HIM. Lucas Cummings. He isn’t the classic rich boy I usually end up with. The one whose idea of working up a sweat is waiting for his margarita to be served beachside. Nope. He’s a rough and tough bad boy that all fathers warn their daughters about. You know the type. Cocky swagger, chiseled jaw—the ‘V’.

SOLD, I said to myself, until I discovered he was so much more than just a BOXER.

Left Hook.
Right to the heart.

Review

THE BOXER is the second book in the Modern Love series and it begins with Tahlia still reeling six months after learning that her fiancé had been cheating on her.  I liked Tahlia and couldn’t wait for her to meet and fall in love with a nice man, and despite Lucas being a boxer who has no problem throwing her around in the bedroom, he really is a nice guy.  He’s friendly and easy-going and he will do whatever he can to help a friend out of a jam.  I thought their relationship was easy and sweet, but smoking hot in the bedroom.

There are a couple of things that did bother me with this story.  There are three characters that I felt served absolutely no purpose at all, and if they were wiped from the story completely, nothing would have changed.  Those three characters are: Chase (Tahlia’s ex); Quinn (Tahlia’s enemy); and Aaron (an Adventure Dater vying for Tahlia’s attention).  I also didn’t like the sibling rivalry between Tahlia and her younger sister, and even though the reason behind it was explained, I still thought it was weird and a little cruel.

THE BOXER is told only in Tahlia’s POV and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  That being said, I think you’d enjoy it more if you read THE BARTENDER first.  It’s a very quick and easy read that comes with a HFN ending for Tahlia and Lucas, as well as an intro for Lennon’s book, THE BANKER, which comes out in April.

The Boxer (Modern Love # 2)

My Rating:  

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Modern Love Series