Tag Archives: Second Chance

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

Nova (The Renegades # 2)

By Rebecca Yarros

Synopsis

He’s got one shot to make it right…

He’s Landon Rhodes.
The Renegade they call Nova.
Sinfully gorgeous, broody, tatted-up, professional snowboarder.

They say a girl broke him once–
That’s why he’s so reckless, so driven, so careless with his conquests.
But I’m that girl.
They can call me his curse all they want.
He and I both know the truth–
He’s the one who destroyed me,
And I’m too smart to let that happen again

Review

NOVA is the second book in The Renegades series and is a second-chance romance between Landon (Nova) and Rachel.  Here’s what we learnt about them in the first book.  Rachel was dating Paxton (from book 1) but cheated on him with Landon.  They fell in love and made plans for their future, but Paxton (out of anger and jealousy), gave Landon an ultimatum: the Renegades or Rachel, because he couldn’t have both.  Landon chose the Renegades, breaking his heart and Rachel’s in the process.  Flash forward two and a half years later and Paxton regrets his ultimatum and hates what he turned Landon in to.  He has therefore created an opportunity for Rachel and Landon to be on the Study at Sea program together in the hopes they’ll reconnect.

So Landon is your typical manwhore who, after breaking up with the love of his life, went out and slept with every woman who made herself available.  Of course, that bites him in the arse when he tries to win Rachel back and she keeps using his reputation against him.  His reasons for leaving her were kind of stupid, but he does a really good job of proving to her that he will never choose anyone or anything over her ever again.  While you can feel that he really does love her, I was disappointed that he never made any effort to win her back until after he found out she was on board the ship.

I loved that Rachel was never afraid to tell Landon exactly how badly he broke her heart when he chose the Renegades over her.  I liked that she didn’t forgive him straight away, didn’t fall back into bed with him straight away, and that she made him work for her forgiveness.  I thought her conflicting feelings and how she processed them were realistic.

I enjoyed NOVA, although I will admit that I skimmed through it, focusing more on the conversations and skipping over the inner monologue that I sometimes found a little repetitive.  NOVA is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it could be read as a stand-alone.  There is no epilogue but there is a really sweet HFN ending for Landon and Rachel.  Penna (Rebel) will get the next book in the series, and I hope a little romance will brighten up her not-so-sunny personality she displayed in this book.

Nova (The Renegades # 2)

My Rating:  

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The Renegades Series

Worth The Wait (McKinney/Walker # 1)

By Claudia Connor

Synopsis

Claudia Connor continues her beloved McKinney Brothers with the first in a spin off series, featuring the Walker Brothers.

He broke her heart. When he finds out just how badly, it will break his too.

Nick Walker found the love of his life when he was just nineteen.

Found her.
Loved her.
Lost her.

It’s been ten years since Nick watched the only women he ever loved walk out of his life. Now this FBI Special Agent will do anything to win her back.

But it won’t be easy…

Mia’s heart was shattered by Nick. They’ll have to face their painful past if they want a future, including Mia’s own secret about that day it all fell apart.

Do you believe in second chances?

Review

WORTH THE WAIT is a second-chance romance between Nick and Mia and is the first book in the Walker Brothers series, a spin-off of the McKinney Brothers series.  We first met the Walker brothers in WORTH THE RISK where their sister, Hannah, fell in love with Stephen McKinney.  Nick is in the FBI and is the oldest of five children.  His three brothers are Luke (Special Forces), Zach (Fireman) and Dallas (DEA Agent) and I assume each brother will get his own book in this series.

Nick is a man who carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.  Forced at nineteen to look after his four siblings (aged seventeen, fourteen x 2 and two) after his parents died, he has spent the past twenty-four years second-guessing every decision he ever made.  Did he make the right choice?  Would his parents have done the same thing?  It has taken a toll on him and has affected his relationship with his siblings.  They love him, but the brothers are not overly close and there’s some tension between them that I felt didn’t get resolved in this story.  Nick met Mia soon after starting college and their relationship lasted thirteen years before he ruined it.  Yes, I put all the blame on him.

Mia is a smart and loving woman who gave her relationship with Nick her all.  She loved Nick’s family like her own and was devastated when they were taken from her.  She has the capacity to love fiercely but every time she falls in love, it’s stripped away from her and that was heartbreaking.  Your heart will break even more when you find out she was dealing with her own tragedy in silence while Nick was slowly pulling away from her.

WORTH THE WAIT is told in dual POVs and while it’s a spin-off of the McKinney Brothers series, I think you could read this one on it’s own without any real problems.  That being said, some of this story does takes place in the same timeline as WORTH THE RISK, and you would get a better understanding of what Hannah went through if you did read that book first.  The story switches between past and present quite often, which was hard to follow at times.  But it was nice to see into the past to find out how they met and fell in love, even if it was sad to see their relationship die a slow death.

Worth The Wait (McKinney/Walker # 1)

My Rating:  

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The McKinney Brothers Series

On The Rocks (Last Call # 1)

By Sawyer Bennett

br-on-the-rocks

Synopsis

He left to travel the world for fame and glory, but only after spurning Gabby Ward and crushing her young heart. Now Hunter Markham has come back home to the sand and salty breeze of the North Carolina Outer Banks so he can open up Last Call, a beach bar nestled among the dunes of the Atlantic. 

Gabby Ward is not happy that Hunter has returned. Bitter over his rebuff years before, she’s content to stay far away from him and his dangerously charming ways. 

Gabby’s well-schemed plans to ignore Hunter go up in flames when he presents an offer to her that she simply can’t refuse, throwing them together in a common quest to each reach their goals. Working together day in and day out proves to be problematic for Gabby, who soon realizes that the feelings she had for him are still very much alive. Hunter struggles to reach through to Gabby’s cold heart, all while starting a new career away from his life as a top ranked, professional surfer.

What starts out as a mutual business arrangement soon turns into a passion that neither of them can continue to deny. 

Hard choices lay ahead for both of them when Hunter is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to return to the pro surfing tour.

Choices that could destroy what they have built or take them further than they ever had dared to hope.

Review

ON THE ROCKS is the first book in the Last Call series and was a reasonably enjoyable read, although I did struggle with the story at times.

Gabby spends most of the story trying to keep her heart protected while embarking on a sexual relationship with Hunter, the same man who broke her teen-aged heart five years before.  Hunter has always regretted how he rejected Gabby all those years ago, and now that he’s back he wants to right his wrong.  There’s a lot of push and pull between Gabby and Hunter; she’s afraid he’ll never feel for her what she feels for him, and he won’t tell her how he feels because he thinks she’s not ready.  Throw in a silly reason for breaking up and an ex-girlfriend who you just knew was going to turn up and cause trouble, and you have ON THE ROCKS in a nutshell.

The two other big characters introduced in this book were Hunter’s twin brother, Brody, and his little sister, Casey, who is also Gabby’s best friend.  ON THE ROCKS is told in dual POVs, with the epilogue being told in Brody’s POV as he’ll get the next book.

On The Rocks (Last Call # 1)

My Rating:  3 Hearts

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Last Call Series

High-Sided (Armed & Dangerous # 3)

By L.P. Dover

br-high-sided

Synopsis

Wild, reckless, and fast. 

That’s how I raced until a fatal accident on the track ruined my riding career. I had no choice but to leave that life behind; at least, until now. My name is Logan Chandler, one of the best FBI agents in the country. When an old friend calls for help and winds up dead, I take matters into my own hands. In order to do that, I have to go back to my past, back to the racetrack and to the one girl I never thought I’d see again . . . Kassidy Bennett. 

She’s the key to solving it all, but bringing her in could put her in grave danger. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize she was already there. To save her, I have to put everything on the line. It’s a race against time, a race to the death, and only one will make it to the end. 

Review

HIGH-SIDED is a second-chance romance between Logan and Kassidy.  Logan ended their relationship for Kassidy’s own good after he was involved in a terrible accident that took him a year to recover from.  Flash forward eight years, and an old teammate and friend calls him for help because someone is sabotaging the team and they need to figure out who it is.  Logan initially refuses, but when his friend ends up dead, he takes the case on, even though it means having to face Kassidy again.

I loved the first two books in the Armed & Dangerous series, but I have to say that this one fell flat for me.  In regards to the mystery surrounding the team, I thought there were too many holes in the case, most of which involved the villain’s actions.  In regards to the characters, Logan and Kassidy are very likeable, but I didn’t feel a connection with them or between them.  Logan’s attempt to not drag Kassidy down with him all those years ago was noble and sweet, but I felt she forgave him too quickly.  I don’t think anyone can get over eight years of heartbreak after a five minute conversation.  I felt the behaviour of some of the characters to be a little odd, such as the switch in affection from one person to another overnight, and the lack of grieving after the funeral.  It’s hard to get emotionally invested in the characters when their own emotions seem so weak and fickle.

HIGH-SIDED is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  The story itself is very fast paced and is ultimately a fairly quick read.  While this one didn’t win me over, having read and loved the previous two books, I would continue on with this series.

High-Sided (Armed & Dangerous # 3)

My Rating:  3 Hearts

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Armed & Dangerous Series

Barely Breathing (Colorado High Country # 1)

By Pamela Clare

br-barely-breathing

Synopsis

Lexi Jewell left Scarlet Springs twelve years ago, vowing never to return to the small Colorado mountain town where she grew up. Now, here she is—over thirty, out of a job and with little choice but to move back in with her eccentric father. Lexi knows it’s just a matter of time before she runs into Austin Taylor, her first boyfriend and her first heartbreak. She’s determined to show him she’s over him—until he steps out of a pickup truck and back into her life, looking sexy as hell in his mountain ranger uniform.

As far as Austin is concerned, Lexi can turn her snazzy little convertible around and drive back to Chicago. After all, she ripped his teenage heart to pieces and turned her back on the town he loves. But from the moment he sees her again, he can’t get her out of his mind. Even her smile messes with his head.

When an evening of conversation turns into something else, Lexi and Austin agree to be friends—with benefits. But as Lexi starts making plans to return to the big city, Austin realizes he’ll lose her a second time unless he can show her that what she’s searching for has been right here all along.

Review

BARELY BREATHING is a second-chance romance between Austin and Lexi, who dated through high school only to break up just before Lexi left for college.  Coming home to help her father with some personal issues, she’s forced to face her past while trying to figure out what to do with her future.

I liked Lexi a lot and thought she was a really nice and generous woman despite not having had the best experiences in life.  Her stepmother, Kendra, is a real piece of work and I didn’t like her at all.  While I liked Lexi, when it came to her father I thought she was a bit of a doormat.  He has treated her pretty horribly her whole life and then has the nerve to act all put out because she’s never come home before.  To make matters worse, he blames her for his shitty life choices, and she lets him.  She eventually stands up to Kendra, but she never really stands up to her father, and I would have loved to have seen her do just that.  I liked Austin, but to be honest, I don’t remember a great deal about him.  I remember a lot about Lexi, but Austin has nothing memorable happening in his life, past or present.

I enjoyed BARELY BREATHING, which for the most part was light and easy to read.  I loved the handcuffed-to-the-bed scene, which was sexy at first, before turning awkward, embarrassing and hilarious.  Because it’s the first book in the Colorado High Country series, there were a lot of characters introduced and trying to remember them all was difficult.  It also included cameos from two I-Team characters, but you don’t need to read their stories to understand their inclusion here.  In regards to the climbing and rescue side of the story, it got extremely technical and was hard to follow, even with the glossary included in the beginning.

BARELY BREATHING is told in dual POVs, is the first in the series where each book can be read as a stand-alone, and comes with a nice HEA for Austin and Lexi.  Austin and Lexi’s best friends get the next book, SLOW BURN.

Barely Breathing (Colorado High Country # 1)

My Rating:  4 Hearts

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Colorado High Country Series

The Millionaire’s Proposal

By Janelle Denison

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Synopsis

New York Times Bestselling Author Janelle Denison brings you a classic marriage of convenience and secret baby trope that is fun, flirty, and filled with sensual romance.

Grace Holbrook believed she couldn’t have children, but now she was pregnant after just one night with sexy, bad boy Ford McCabe. She was delighted by the news, but not so thrilled when Ford insists they get married, especially when his recent return to Whitaker Falls after eleven years away is shrouded in secrets.

Ford has always wanted Grace. Even back when he was the town rebel and should have known better — until he was blamed for the death of her brother and was shunned by the community. Now a millionaire businessman, he’s back to claim what is rightfully his . . . including Grace and the baby they’d created together.

Review

Millionaire’s Proposal has all the ingredients for an easy to read light romantic escape story and it did not disappoint me at all.  I love second chance romance stories with a surprise pregnancy and this one was great.

Ford is one Millionaire who is working many angles, one is his heart and the other proving himself to the small town he left.  As a reader you immediately connected with him and wanted to see his life take a turn for the better with his one true love.

No real surprises as the Synopsis basically explains the whole story but you still get a few dramatic moments thrown in and it flows well.

There is also lots of tension between Grace and her dad after she accepts his proposal.

The ending is beautiful and you get a Happy Ever After with no unanswered questions.

The Millionaire’s Proposal

My Rating:  4 Hearts

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The Ghost In The Mirror (Samuel Dexter # 1)

By Faith Gibson

br-the-ghost-in-the-mirror

Synopsis

What do you do when you have no memories of your life except the one moment that took everything away? 

My name is Dex and I’m a Marine. Somewhere in the horrors of the sand overseas, an explosion took out not only most of my unit but also my memories of everything that happened before that day. When my memories don’t return, the explosion also ends my career in the military. That one moment costs me everything. 

Starting from scratch sucks. I don’t even know what foods I like or what types of music I listen to. Am I a boxer or briefs man? Do I like women or men? I also have to figure out what I’m going to do with my life from this point on. 

While adjusting to my new life, I start seeing things — things that no one else can see. I think that maybe my head injury caused more than amnesia. When one of my “visions” won’t leave me alone, I have no choice but to believe in ghosts. 

Along with the ghosts during the day, at night I dream vividly of two men. But are these two men merely dreams, or are they memories? When one man steps through the door of my hospital room, I have the answer. This man literally tries to lead me down memory lane, culminating in a searing kiss. Too bad my brain isn’t cooperating, because this man is breathtaking. 

With the help of my sassy grandmother, I begin to rebuild my life. 

I am Samuel Dexter, and these are my stories.

Review

I loved THE GHOST IN THE MIRROR and ended up reading it in one sitting.  We have an ex-Marine and his detective ex-boyfriend.  We have romance.  We have ghosts.  We have PI cases to close and a crime to solve.  We also have one hell of a sassy grandmother.

Sammy Lou?  Oh, hell no.  My name was…was…Oh shit.  I was pretty sure at that point if Sammy Lou was my real name, I never wanted to recover my memories.  Fuck me.

I loved the characters in this story, from Dex to Orlando to Gram to Cindy to Zayden.  There are a few more, but I won’t mention them all here.  Dex is a nice guy who is fairly easy going considering he lost his entire life history.  You’d expect someone in that situation to be filled with anger and frustration, but he’s not.  When he realises he’s not hallucinating and is in fact seeing a real ghost, he makes it his mission to help her.  This mission has him moving on from the military and becoming a Private Investigator.  Orlando is also a good guy that, judging by how he is with his nephew, will make a wonderful father some day.  I also respected the hell out of him when he acknowledged the break-up with Dex all those years ago was completely his fault.  Dex’s grandmother is hilarious and you can tell that’s where he gets a lot of his personality from.  I loved that she was sassy but would always tell Dex off for his sass.  The kids, Cindy and Zayden, are both adorable and sweet, with both of their stories breaking my heart.

How unfair was it that I had known the love of not one but two men in my life and couldn’t remember either one.

Don’t be like me and think that the ghosts mentioned in the blurb are metaphors, because they’re not.  After his head injury, Dex can see real ghosts.  That didn’t phase me though because even though I wasn’t aware it was going to be a paranormal, I just went with the flow.  My only issue with the story is that almost everyone believes Dex immediately when he says he sees ghosts.  No-one thought he was crazy or blamed his head injury, which I thought was odd.

THE GHOST IN THE MIRROR is told mostly in Dex’s POV, but Orlando does get some one-on-one time with the reader as well.  It’s the first book in the series and I for one am looking forward to reading more in the future.  I’m not sure if the future books will focus on Dex’s relationship with Orlando, or if they’ll focus on his PI work.  In this book, one case gets closed, but another two remain open: the cheating spouse and the ghosts living in his boss’s house.  I would like more closure in regards to the missing girls and their families, especially Cindy’s, and maybe we’ll see that in a future book.

The Ghost In The Mirror (Samuel Dexter # 1)

My Rating:  5 Hearts

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Until We Collide

By Charlotte Fallowfield

BR Until We Collide

Synopsis

What do you do when the guy you’re in love with is seeing someone else?

That’s the dilemma facing Paige Taylor. All of her life she’s only ever had eyes for the gorgeous Alec Wright, but despite their undeniable chemistry, their timing has always been off. Fast approaching her thirtieth birthday, Paige despairs of ever finding love and a happy ever after. Her best friend Poppie tells her that she can either watch life pass her by, or grab it with both hands. She convinces Paige to throw herself back into the dating pool, or she could be waiting for Alec forever.

What Paige didn’t expect was the catalogue of dating disasters to follow. A neck brace, jelly fish, stitches, flashing and an encounter with a gorilla were some of the most memorable. Despite some downright hilarious, humiliating and cringe worthy dates, her biological clock is ticking and Paige is determined to keep trying until she finds the one. Was Alec Wright always her Mr. Right, or is he still out there waiting to be found?

Join Paige in her quest to find the ultimate prize. Love.

Review

First off, I want to say that I did enjoy this book.  I really did.  However, I would not classify UNTIL WE COLLIDE as a romantic comedy.  Was there comedy?  Yes.  Paige is a walking disaster who ends up dating the worst kind of men imaginable and finds herself in some highly embarrassing situations.  Her best friend, Poppie, is an absolute delight and a great source of laughs as well.  That being said, take out those few scenes and I found this book to be sad and depressing.  Why?  Because it took Paige and Alec thirteen years to finally come together.  Yep, you read that right…thirteen years.  It’s lust at first sight when they meet when Paige was just seventeen and Alec was twenty-one.  But from that moment on, they’re separated by boyfriends, girlfriends, work, miscommunications and a shitload of bad luck and bad timing.

I liked Paige, who I think tried really hard to move on from Alec.  She’s a wonderful woman with an amazing career, who simply wants to fall in love, get married and have a family.  It’s a simple dream, which makes it all the more heartbreaking that she spends all those years chasing it.  Since this story is only told in Paige’s POV, it’s hard to get a read on Alec, especially since we don’t really see a great deal of him.  He annoyed me when he made Paige wait six years before telling her he wanted her again.  Paige spent those six years completely single while he slept around with a huge number of women.  When she finally decides to quit waiting for him and starts getting serious with another guy, that’s when he decides to make his move.  I also felt bad for the woman he strung along for years while waiting and hoping for another chance with Paige.

As I mentioned above, UNTIL WE COLLIDE is told only in Paige’s POV and is a stand-alone.  The story takes place over thirteen years, with the epilogue taking place about seventeen years later.  I’m trying to remember if there was any sex, but I don’t think there was.  I think it was all done behind closed doors.  It does come with a HEA for Paige and Alec, and if you can handle reading about years of missed opportunities, then I’d recommend picking this one up.

Until We Collide

My Rating:  4 Hearts

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Wicked Beautiful (Wicked Games # 1)

By J.T. Geissinger

BR Wicked Beautiful

Synopsis

A ruthless businesswoman and the playboy who dumped her long ago find themselves embroiled in a high stakes game of love, lies and revenge. 

Life coach and best-selling author Victoria Price has it all: a successful career, fabulous friends, a fantastic penthouse in Manhattan. What she doesn’t have—and doesn’t want—is a husband. Fifteen years ago her high school flame broke her heart so badly she swore she’d never love again. Now she makes millions teaching other women how to be just like her: a ruthless bitch. 

Drop-dead sexy restaurant tycoon and infamous playboy Parker Maxwell has only three rules for the women he dates: no questions about his past, no expectations for the future and no spending the night. When he meets Victoria, however, he’s willing to break his own rules if it means sating the explosive desire she arouses in him. What he doesn’t know is that the alluring Victoria Price used to be the mousy Isabel Diaz, the girl he deflowered and dumped long ago. 

Presented with a perfect opportunity for revenge, Victoria decides the game is on. But when her connection with Parker proves more than just skin deep, she has to make a choice—continue with her plan for payback, or risk her career, her reputation and her heart by taking a second chance on love?

Review

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

I can’t really say much about WICKED BEAUTIFUL, because to do so would reveal too much of the story.  What I can say is that this book is full of secrets, lies, revenge, manipulation and games.  Oh, and some hot sex.

Parker and Victoria were high school sweethearts and madly in love, until Parker left town suddenly and broke up with Victoria with a letter.  Flash forward fifteen years and they run into each other again.  Victoria recognises Parker instantly, but he has no idea who she is, partly because of all the plastic surgery she had done as part of her new identity.  When she realises he doesn’t recognise her, she initiates a plan for revenge.  She vows to uncover his biggest, darkest secret and use it to ruin him for what he did to her.

Victoria spent most of this book plotting her revenge and living in fear that Parker will figure out who she is and ruin her plans.  She’s constantly afraid that he does know who she is and that he’s only toying with her.  Simply put, she’s an emotional wreck, despite her Queen Bitch title.  Parker spent most of this book calling Victoria out on her lies and bullshit, while trying to break down her walls to get to the woman underneath.  I knew there had to be more to their story because not once did Parker act like an arsehole.  Yes, he’s rich and arrogant, but he’s also very kind and generous, donating to several charities that are special to him.  When she learns the truth about what happened all those years ago, she’s devastated and forgives him in an instant.  But instead of revealing who she is, she runs, leaving him to figure it all out for himself.

WICKED BEAUTIFUL is told in dual POVs and is the first book in the Wicked Games series.  I’m assuming each book in the series could be read as a stand-alone given that book two is about a different couple: Connor and Tabby.  Connor is Parker’s friend, and Tabby is Victoria’s friend.  The chemistry between those two was off-the-charts and I wouldn’t mind reading their story.

Wicked Beautiful (Wicked Games # 1)

My Rating:  3 Hearts

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Wicked Games Series