Category Archives: Read by Vicki

Fighting For Love (Boston Love # 2)

By Kelly Elliott

Synopsis

Finn Ward has two passions: being a firefighter and being single. Although his parents are constantly nagging him to settle down, Finn just wants to enjoy himself while he’s young. Then, at a union meeting, he meets a gorgeous lawyer with a dazzling smile—and suddenly, settling down doesn’t sound so bad.

Rory Adams is fresh out of law school and looking to make a name for herself at her mother’s firm. She doesn’t have time for silly games anymore. But when she catches the eye of a dashing fireman who makes her body tingle from across the room, something instantly ignites between them. The only problem? Her father is Finn’s boss.

Their relationship turns both of their lives upside-down. Rory tames Finn’s wild ways, while he shows her that life can’t be all work and no play. But it’ll take some serious determination to keep their love secret—and real courage to admit the truth.

Review

After reading and loving SEARCHING FOR HARMONY last year, I jumped at the chance to read FIGHTING FOR LOVE, the next book in the Boston Love series.

I don’t remember any of the secondary characters from the last book, so I had no idea who Finn was.  Turns out he’s the brother of Preston, the male lead from the previous book.  He’s also a firefighter, one who has a playboy reputation.  Or at least he did, until he saw Rory from across the room one day and became smitten with her immediately.  I loved reading all the romantic gestures he pulled trying to win her affection, and in his spare time he reads to kids at the local library.  Swoon.

“It’s our first date.  I wanted it to be special for you, because you’re special to me.”

Rory was a lovely young woman, but too much of a people pleaser.  She became a lawyer to please her mother.  She stays away from firemen to please her father.  She works harder than anyone else at her mother’s firm just to prove to her co-workers she’s not there just because of her mother.  But in saying that, she’s not always a push-over.  She had no problem putting her chauvinistic co-worker in his place several times, and she does finally stand up to her parents to find her own happiness.

There is one character in this story whose behaviour didn’t sit right with me, and that was Rory’s father.  His insistence that she never date a firefighter was understandable, but only up to a certain point.  When your daughter is twenty-six years old, you really need to let go.  What was more disturbing was his over-the-top reaction to when Finn first declared his love for Rory.  The way he treated Rory and Finn was disgusting, and I was disappointed that he wasn’t man enough to resolve things in the end.

FIGHTING FOR LOVE is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  It was an enjoyable read and I’d love to visit this series again if/when the next book comes out.

Fighting For Love (Boston Love # 2)

My Rating:  

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Boston Love Series

Tempt The Boss

By Natasha Madison

Synopsis

Lauren
Going back to work was supposed to be a painless transition, but when my new boss turns out to be an arrogant, cocky jerk, he quickly turns my professional life into a world of torture. Okay, fine, calling him an asshat before knowing he was my boss wasn’t my finest moment. Hating him should be easy. I just never counted on him being so gorgeous or charming when he’s not annoying me.

Austin
I expected my new assistant to be professional and punctual, but all I’m getting are dirty looks and rude comments. I should fire the little hellion, but instead all I can think about is bending her over my desk and breaking every rule I’ve ever made for myself.

One look. One touch. One night. If we break the rules, our lives will never be the same again. 

Good thing rules were made to be broken. And besides, it feels so good to Tempt the Boss.

Review

TEMPT THE BOSS was the perfect light-hearted read I needed after having just finished a book that was very deep and emotional.

I tell him my number, and when he asks my name, I gladly tell him.
“The woman whose car you hit because you were texting while driving.”
He looks at me and his eyebrows pinch together.
“Is that name already taken?”

I liked both Lauren and Austin and thought they were a really good match for each other.  Six months after finding out her husband was cheating on her, Lauren is now a single mother to her two children and is re-entering the workforce after being a stay-at-home mum.  She’s temping as Austin’s PA and the two of them can’t help but rub each other the wrong way as they try to deny their attraction.  Both of them give as good as they get, especially when it comes to playing their pranks.  Was it childish?  Yes.  What it funny?  Absolutely.  The sexual tension between them was palpable and when they finally came together…HOT!

I’m not sure how I’m going to get anything done, because fucking her on my desk is the only thing I can think of that needs to be done right now.

I liked all the characters in this story (except for Jake⎯the cheating ex-husband⎯of course).  I liked Lauren’s sister, Kaleigh, and the bond they shared.  I liked Austin’s friends and the way they joked around with each other.  I also liked Barb, Austin’s former nanny and current employee, who was not afraid to tell him when he seriously messed up.

I really enjoyed this story, but there were a couple of things that got to me.  Firstly, I did get sick and tired of reading about what the two main characters were always wearing, right down to their accessories.  Secondly, there were two scenes where I felt like I was missing important backstory; for example, Austin knowing Jake’s mistress and Matthew’s relationship with Karrie.  The best way I can explain it is that I felt like those relationships had appeared in other books, but going by Natasha’s Goodreads booklist, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

TEMPT THE BOSS is told in dual POVs, which is fine, but be warned as there was quite a bit of scene repetition when the POV changed.  While it is a stand-alone, it is connected to SOMETHING SO RIGHT, as some of the characters from that book make a small appearance in this one.  I did see a big similarity between these two books, in that the lead female is a mother of two whose husband left her after cheating, who then regretted it and wanted her back.  I found the final chapter odd because it didn’t seem to focus on Lauren and Austin, instead focusing on Noah and Kaleigh, who started dating in this book.  The epilogue however was all about Lauren and Austin, and they do get their very happy ending.

Tempt The Boss

My Rating:  

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The Hard Truth About Sunshine

By Sawyer Bennett

Synopsis

Despite having narrowly escaped death’s clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It’s only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life.

What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again… can he learn to love again?

He’s about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can’t decide whether she wants to live or die.

Four people with nothing in common but their destination. They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love. And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all.

The hard truth about sunshine…

Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.

Review

I don’t even know where to start with this review, mainly because I just don’t think I have the words that will do this book justice.

When I first received the ARC request for THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT SUNSHINE, I spent several days wavering between signing up for it because it’s a Sawyer Bennett book, and not signing up for it because it sounded too intense for my tastes.  I finally decided to request an ARC, but when it was time for me to read it, I hesitated again.  I still wasn’t sure if it was right for me and I’ll admit I regretted signing up for it.  But then I started reading it and I have never been happier to prove myself wrong.

I want to slap their sunny smiles off their faces, and I want them to come down to my level where they can wallow around in the sludge of desolation with me.  I want everyone to feel as bad as I do, because it’s unfair that I can’t seem to feel better on my own.

I won’t sugar coat it, Christopher starts out as an absolute arsehole.  He’s so bogged down hating his own life and being angry at the world over his disfigurement, that he doesn’t care about anyone else’s problems.  After being abandoned by his family and girlfriend while recovering from his injuries, he’s bitter and unwilling to let anyone else in.  But after just a few days into a road trip with the three members of his therapy group, he starts to open up and let them in, and he grows up a lot in a short amount of time because of it.

I choose to live.
I choose to love.
I choose to forge my path.
Life is my choice.

THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT SUNSHINE is told only in Christopher’s POV, so it’s his story you learn the most about.  But while Christopher is the focus, Jillian, Connor and Barb play big roles from beginning to end.  Their personal stories will break your heart at the unfairness of it all, and all three will grab your heart in their own ways.  This is a stand-alone and despite the devastating topics woven throughout, it does come with a HEA, one that is both sad and beautiful.  It was a perfect end to an emotional story.

THE HARD TRUTH ABOUT SUNSHINE is beyond amazing.  It is real, deeply emotional and it will break your heart before putting it back together again.  I smiled a little.  I laughed a little.  I cried a lot.  I think I will be hard pressed to find another book that will affect me as deeply as this one did for a very long time.

The Hard Truth About Sunshine

My Rating:  

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Bossed

By Sloane Howell

Synopsis

He’s the boss. But she’s ready to take charge.

Jenny: Job interviews are a bitch under the best of circumstances, but when your potential boss is the world’s biggest prick, that’s when you should simply walk away. It’s just that I need this job so badly—and I’m mesmerized by Ethan Mason’s piercing gaze. Men like him aren’t supposed to exist in real life. But under the tailored suits and GQ looks, Ethan simmers with barely restrained ambition. And no matter how hard I work to fight the attraction, I’m going to get burned.

Ethan: You don’t become a top agent without learning how to close a deal. I always get what—or who—I want, by staying cool and in command. Then Jenny Jackson walks into my office with her lush curves and “screw you” attitude and blows away my intentions of keeping things professional. All I can think about is exploring the perfect body hidden beneath those conservative clothes or shutting her saucy mouth with one hot kiss. Jenny’s worth breaking the rules over—if I can convince her to break the rules for me.

Review

BOSSED is the first book I’ve read from Sloane Howell and I’m sad to say that I struggled with it.  I even considered not finishing it a couple of times, but I pushed through.  It started out okay, but it quickly became boring and repetitive.  I think the biggest issue for me was that Jenny and Ethan’s behaviour was extremely childish.  They would scream, shout and storm away instead of having an actual conversation to sort the problem out.  For the first half of the book, all they wanted to do was push each other’s buttons to see what kind of reaction they would get.  Good or bad, they didn’t care; they just wanted a reaction.  The second half of the book was mostly sex mingled with break-ups and make-ups.  Ethan’s rude attitude right from the start made him hard to like, and Jenny’s over-the-top reaction to everything had me shaking my head.  BOSSED is told in dual POVs, comes with a HEA and can be read as a stand-alone.

Bossed

My Rating:  

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Series

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