Between the Sheets

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

Between the SheetsAvailable: July 29, 2014

Between the Sheets — Molly O’Keefe

I’ve been patiently waiting to read and review this book. I got it in May, but decided to wait a while until it was closer to the publish date before starting it. 

I wish I hadn’t waited. 

This book was SO AMAZING. Quite honestly, it’s one of my most favorites I’ve read so far for this review blog. If you haven’t read anything by this author, you seriously need to go to your nearest bookstore or library or anywhere that you buy your books and get this authors stuff. You seriously shouldn’t miss her work. I won’t be from now on. 

I don’t know if I can accurately describe to y’all how amazing the book was. I know I keep saying that, but it’s because there aren’t very many other words that exist in the English language that are fitting. Amazing? Awesome? Gripping? Complex? All of those words and more fit this book.

In Between the Sheets we have Wyatt (Ty) Svenson; a badass former biker dude, with hair that has to be pulled back into a ponytail, a face that seemingly always has a days worth of stubble on it and an eleven year old son that he learned about four months ago. So basically, he’s new at this dad thing. Really new. Poor guy. 

We also have Shelby Monroe, who is our frozen heroine. I don’t mean the movie, Frozen. I mean that she has a seemingly impenetrable shell around her made of ice. Everyone in town thinks that she’s cool and collected, and that nothing fazes her. That’s not exactly the case. Shelby lives with her mother who has pretty severe Alzheimer’s. On top of caring for her mother, and keeping up the cool and collected facade, Shelby is also an elementary school art teacher. 

Remember how I said earlier how this story is complex? It’s because of the characters. There are so many different sides to both of the main characters. It really helps build them and make them more human. If that makes sense. 

Ty is used to being judged for his badass looks. He looks like a troublemaker, and when he was younger…he was one. Right around the time his son Casey was born (although he didn’t know about it at the time), Ty pulled himself out of the dangerous lifestyle he was living and made some huge changes. When he discovered he had a son, he worked his ass off to get custody and moved with Casey to a new small town for them both to start over. 

That’s where he meets Shelby. Their introduction isn’t exactly the best. They’re neighbors and his loud motorcycle building habits that extend into the late night hours isn’t a very good match against a stressed Shelby and almost constantly confused mother. The stress of her mother’s disease has her more than a little on edge. When Ty finds out that Shelby is one of Casey’s teachers, I laughed at his reaction. Well. BOTH of their reactions. Shock. Horror. Disbelief. All of those emotions and more. 

They’re both able to make peace between them for both Casey and their own sake… and their relationship begins. At first it’s pretty unstable. She’s fighting some pretty serious demons from her past, and doesn’t think she needs or wants a serious relationship (or any kind of relationship) with Ty. He’s not a stupid guy, and picks up on that vibe she gives off… but he can’t stay away. 

Casey was the one that broke the news to Ty that he was a father. He was a smart enough kid to know that he was in a toxic situation and that he needed to find a way out of it. Luckily for him, Ty was that way out. He has some serious anger issues, but you can totally understand that based on his background. Casey’s mother — and Ty’s ex — was arrested for possession with the intent to sell… of meth. A very scary hard drug. She would drag him around to all of her crazy parties when he was a younger child… so he has some pretty bad trust issues. 

The growth of both Ty and Shelby and for Casey in this book was so remarkable. For Ty, he was able to learn that putting down roots and developing ties to a community wasn’t a bad thing. Casey was able to learn that love — being loved — wasn’t a dangerous, hurtful thing. That he even had to learn that lesson broke my heart. I loved Casey. Shelby’s lessons were that it’s okay to rely on other people, that opening yourself up…while it might hurt… is a good thing. You can’t do everything for yourself. She learned she wasn’t Wonder Woman. 

I loved being able to see how much these characters that I came to love grew and flourished during the book. There were some definite rough patches and stumbles along the way, but it helped shape them into becoming the people that they were supposed to be. 

Molly O’Keefe has a wonderful ability to give life to a character in ways that I don’t always find when I’m reading a book. I haven’t fallen so hard in love with a new book by a new author in a long time. I’ve seriously liked a lot of books so far this year, and have found lots of fabulous new authors (new to me), but this one just got to me. 

I seriously think that everyone needs to read this book. Wholeheartedly, 100% believe that people need to fall in love with Wyatt, Casey and Shelby like I did. You won’t be disappointed. 

10/10 would DEFINITELY recommend. 

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The Ultimate Playboy

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

The Ultimate PlayboyPublished: June 17, 2014

The Ultimate Playboy — Maya Blake

New author, new story, new favorite. Basically that’s how I’ve felt since finishing The Ultimate Playboy by Maya Blake. I guess the storyline isn’t exactly new… but Maya gives it enough life and such a breath of fresh air that it seems that way. 

In the book we meet Narciso Valentino… who is well.. a playboy. He makes exactly zero apologies for his playboy ways, and people aren’t exactly lining up asking him to make those apologies. He’s richer than sin, with the good looks to match… basically what I’m saying is that his name was a perfect match for the man. 

Ruby Trevelli is our lovely heroine, and I just couldn’t love her more. She is sassy, and so full of life. She doesn’t have the most awesome past, but she doesn’t let that stop her from being an amazing human being. 

Ruby is in the process of opening her own restaurant, a dream of her’s she’s had for seemingly forever. The only problem is that the money she won from a television contest (think of Chopped) hasn’t exactly been made available to her. She needs that money, and she needs it pronto. She’s a smart cookie and does some researching, and finds that the television company is owned by non other than Mr. Narciso Valentino. He’s a popular man, which means that he’s very hard to get a hold of. 

But, because she’s a smart cookie (and maybe a little devious) Ruby finds out that Narciso is on his way to an exclusive private party in China. She manages to be blessed with great luck and is hired to be a waitress of sorts for the exclusive party… which will put her in the same area as Narciso… and hopefully she can manage to get a minute to talk to him. Hopefully. 

Her good luck kind of runs out though, because all of the guests of the party are wearing masks. MASKS. Of course though, she’s able to tell which masked man he is just by his magnetic pull. This is where things get interesting. 

Ruby manages to catch his attention, but not in the way she was hoping. Remember when I said he was a playboy? She gets a bird eye view of just how much of a playboy he is. She just wants a moment of his time to explain to him why his company owes her money. He just wants to get her naked, as quickly as possible. Obviously, these two ways of thinking don’t mesh up. 

I loved how Narciso and Ruby were together. Yes, he’s a billionaire playboy, but she doesn’t really seem to care. She doesn’t let him steamroll over her, and keeps her sassy ways. I LOVED that. Narciso seemed to not know what to do with her. She amused him, but also infuriated him. Here’s this woman who doesn’t fall into his bed naked when he snaps his fingers. What is the world coming to? 

Both Ruby and Narciso in my opinion were perfectly matched. They come from different worlds, but they compliment each other. She’s soft, but spunky. Ruby brings out the best in Narciso, and makes him become a better person. He’s closed off, and doesn’t trust people as a general rule, but he finds ways to bring her out of her shell, and boost her confidence. 

There were times that this book made me laugh (usually when Ruby was sassing Narciso), made me mad (usually when Narciso was being an ass) and made me go awwww. The awww moments were when Narciso finally realized what he had… and what he needed to do to keep her. 

Overall, I loved this book, and I would definitely read more by this author. 

10/10 would recommend. 

Dare to Surrender… Welcome to Eden!

Dare To Surrender banner

 

 

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

Welcome to That Ginger Girl Reads! I know that I’ve probably got some new readers today, so hello! 

Today is an exciting day, it’s the release of Dare to Surrender by the very talented Carly Phillips. I’m assuming that since/if you’re visiting, you’re also very excited about this book. I know I’m excited and have been since her series started. If you haven’t read her other books in this series, Dare to Love and Dare to Desire… you’ve been seriously missing out. And I completely suggest that you go and get yourself a copy of those two before you read this one. 

Dare To Surrender Cover

I thought Dare to Surrender was perfect. I’m pretty sure that this was Carly’s first book that was written in this style. I’ve recently become a fan of some first person books, and I thought that Dare to Surrender was going to be like that. But it’s not. Each chapter is in a different perspective. Isabelle’s chapters are told from her first person perspective, while Gabe’s chapters are told from his third person perspective. I wasn’t sure how I’d like it at first, but I found that I loved it. 

Gabriel Dare (Gabe) is a very wealthy, ruthless business man with a strong desire for Isabelle Masters. He could have any woman he wants, and he wants her. Unfortunately, she’s in a relationship with another man. Gabe may ruthless, but he does have some morals and poaching from another man isn’t something he’s comfortable with… no matter how much he desires the other woman. 

Isabelle Masters hasn’t had the best upbringing in the world, and hadn’t found herself in the best relationship. She’s beautiful but not completely whole, and doesn’t quite know her self worth until she meets Gabe. 

The chemistry between them is off the charts. They want each other, but she’s wary and he’s determined. I loved how even though he didn’t necessarily want to or like the idea of it, he gave her the space she needed to learn just who she was and let her take charge of her life. Both Gabe and Izzy (I loved that he shortened her name to Iz… and also called her Kitten) made each other better. She was able to soften the hard parts (no pun intended) of himself that made him so closed off from feeling things. He gave her the self confidence to be her own person, and to make her own way in the world. 

I’m hoping that we’ll get to see more of Decklan and Lucy (Gabe’s siblings) and maybe more of the cousins from the first two books. Both Ian and Alex (from Dare to Love and Dare to Desire respectively) made an appearance in this book, which was delightful. 

I really loved this book, and I was sad to see it end. It was beautifully written and I completely fell in love with both Gabe and Izzy. 

Below is an excerpt from Dare to Surrender

Excerpt:

Gabe silently thanked God his houseguest escaped into the shower as soon as she possibly could.  The tour of the house had just about done him in.  Isabelle’s oohs and aahs had been genuine, as had her love of his favorite room in the place.  Unlike Naomi, who had taken one look at his apartment and immediately begun calculating how she could move in permanently, Isabelle, who he had invited, not only wanted to pay her way but she planned to leave as soon as possible. 

Not if he had his way. 

Back at the police station, outside in the rain, it’d been all he could do not to reach out and swipe his hands over her responsive nipples, feel her tremble beneath his touch, and get rid of the ridiculous distance between them.  He might not know her well, but he’d always felt they’d connected.  The physical attraction was obvious.  She was all woman, supple curves, her breasts full and lush, and she possessed one hell of an ass.  His cock twitched with the desire he’d felt from the moment he’d first seen her on Daltry’s arm. 

But things ran deeper.  They’d shared banter and flirting during opportune moments when he’d caught her alone.  He’d had glimpses of the intelligent, witty woman she was when not with that pompous ass.  But not until today had he really seen beyond the exterior beauty to the depth beneath.  Those sexy blonde curls that bounced wildly around her face were a proud testament to the fiercely independent woman she desperately wanted to be. 

The woman he intended to help her find. 

It wouldn’t be easy.  Isabelle needed gentling.  Understanding.  Patience.  Not his best traits, but when it came to her, he’d already exercised plenty.  He’d bided his time, knowing Daltry would fuck up sooner or later.  The balls that made him a crack financial investor also imbued an arrogance that would be his downfall.  And it had been.

It was Gabe’s good fortune that Daltry’s screw-up had landed Isabelle at his brother’s police station.  Seeing her there had given him insight he wouldn’t have had otherwise.  In Isabelle, he saw an intriguing combination of weary life experience and innocent ingenue.   It was the innocence the most primitive part of him wanted to conquer, to possess.  Since he’d begun running his father’s empire at the age of twenty-one, the same age he’d been drafted into surrogate parenthood to his sister, he had always gotten what he wanted.

And Gabe wanted Isabelle.

Do you see why I loved the book? Go get yourself a copy. You can thank me later. If you haven’t 

read the first two… you should probably get those too while you’re at it. 

About Dare To Surrender (Dare To Love #3):

After ending a relationship to a cheating, domineering man, Isabelle Masters takes off in her leased Mercedes, only to be arrested for grand theft and hauled to a local police station. To her surprise, she is rescued by the most unlikely person possible, Gabriel Dare, a man she’s been attracted to for far too long. Gabe offers Isabelle freedom along with an invitation to Eden, an exclusive island resort where everything and anything is possible.

Although Gabe yearns to possess Isabelle, he knows all too well he must fight his primitive need to bind her to him, and instead help bring out the independent woman she yearns to become – or risk losing her for good.

A woman who needs to run her own life. A man who needs to exert control. Can she surrender to his erotic demands without losing her sense of self once more?

Release date: July 15, 2014

Purchase Links:

Print:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0989982432/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dare-to-surrender/id825177209?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IRKQ08Q/

The Dare To Love series by Carly Phillips:

New York Times Bestselling Author Carly Phillips turns up the heat in her newest sexy contemporary romance series, and introduces you to the Dare family… siblings shaped by a father’s secrets and betrayal.

Dare To Love (Dare To Love #1):

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dare-to-love-carly-phillips/1117443283?ean=9780989311281

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dare-Love-Carly-Phillips-ebook/dp/B00GQE9CXA/

Dare To Desire (Dare To Love #2):

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dare-to-desire-carly-phillips/1119024543?ean=9780989982429

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dare-Desire-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B00HETXSZY/

Dare Family Tree: http://www.carlyphillips.com/dare-family-tree/

Carly Phillips

About Carly Phillips:

New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips tossed away her legal briefs and a career as an attorney to become a stay at home mom. Within the year, she turned her love of reading into an obsession with writing. Over 30 published novels later, Carly writes sexy contemporary small town romances, striking a balance between entertainment, humor and the emotion her readers have come to expect and enjoy.

Carly is a New York Times bestseller, USA Today Bestseller, Publisher’s Weekly bestseller and as of 2012, a Romance Writer’s of America RITA Nominee. In 2002, Carly’s novel, The Bachelor, became Kelly Ripa’s “Reading with Ripa” pick on Live with Regis and Kelly, making it the first romance ever chosen on a nationally televised book club.

Carly received her undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and is a graduate of Boston University School of Law (J.D.). To date, Carly has over thirty novels to her credit, all available wherever books are sold.

When not writing or playing online, Carly loves to read, occasionally to knit, and to spend time with her family. She lives in Purchase, New York with her husband, two daughters and her dogs, a soft coated wheaten terrier and a Havanese. Her dogs are prominently featured on her website and Facebook page.

Website: http://www.carlyphillips.com/ 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CarlyPhillipsFanPage 

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/carlyphillips 

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Carly-Phillips/e/B001I9W0MS 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10000.Carly_Phillips/ goodreads (1)

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Scandalize Me

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

Scandalize Me

Published: July 1, 2014

Scandalize Me (Fifth Ave Trilogy) — Caitlin Crews

Okay, remember how I was saying about a month ago that I could not wait for this book? And how I had such high hopes for it?

MY HOPES WERE EXCEEDED BEYOND ALL EXPECTATION. 

I’d never read anything by Caitlin Crews before picking up Scandalize Me and I’ve found that to be a serious lapse in judgement. I kind of feel like I’m experiencing a hangover. A book hangover. It was so good, but I’m so sad that it’s over. I could not get enough of the story. (Also, hello. Do you see that cover? Hunter is so drool worthy. Whomever found the models for the covers needs a raise. And a pat on the back. Lawd. *fans self* )

Scandalize Me is the second book in the Fifth Avenue Trilogy (the first being Avenge Me by Maisey Yates). In it we get a deeper look and understanding of Hunter Grant, who was introduced in the first book. I just flat out loved him. Loved. Him. 

Hunter was the boyfriend of Sarah (you’ll know who she is if you’ve read the books… or my reviews) ten years ago before tragedy struck. Now he’s the tortured, badass, asshole, richer than sin hero that everyone loves to hate. There were times that I thought I hated him a little, but it turns out he was just making me mad. Have I mentioned enough that I loved him yet? Probably. 

We’re introduced to Zoe Brook pretty much from the beginning of the book. She’s Sarah’s former best friend and was also a victim of the evil world of Jason Treffen. Now she’s the bold and sassy PR Queen of New York City, and she’s on a mission to get some revenge against Mr. Treffen for his sins. Which is where Hunter plays in… she needs him in order to get her revenge. Except she never meant to fall into a relationship with the man. 

I loved the banter between Zoe and Hunter. They turned snipping at each other into a form of foreplay. The heat between them was scorching. I’m seriously surprised my computer didn’t burst into flames… it was that hot. 

Something else that I loved about the book, that others may or may not like… is that Hunter and Zoe didn’t actually have sex until a bit over half way into the book. They talked about it a lot. And there was so much verbal foreplay and some other almost sexy things that happened (but not actual sex) that I didn’t miss anything. I probably wouldn’t have noticed that they hadn’t been intimate yet in the book unless I hadn’t looked to see where I was in the book. If I hadn’t checked, I wouldn’t have noticed. 

The relationship between Hunter and Zoe was great. They were perfectly matched in my opinion. He didn’t care about what had happened to her in the past, he loved her for who she was in spite of it all. Zoe didn’t care that he was richer than God, or that he was a football star (even though he wasn’t exactly loved for that sometimes)… she loved him for the caring man that he was, the man that he didn’t let everyone see. They each brought out the best in each other, and I loved that.

I also loved that we got to see Alex (his story is in Expose Me), Austin and Katy (from Avenge Me) and see how they’re doing. The interactions between all five characters, plus some extras (that might come into play later??) was so fun to read.

Caitlin Crew’s writing and storytelling abilities are solid. She crafted well defined characters that were completely humanized, flaws and all, that you couldn’t help but fall in love with. She was able to build on the story that Maisey Yates started with Avenge Me and make it stronger. I was a little bit hesitant to see how this trilogy would play out. Three connecting books written by three completely different women? It could have gone badly… they could have not been able to sync up their ideas about how the story should go and the trilogy would have fallen flat. 

I don’t think they have to worry about that one bit. 

I cannot wait to see how the story plays out with Expose Me by Kate Hewitt. If it’s anything like the first two books in the series, I’ll be a seriously happy ginger. 

10/10 would recommend this book, because it’s just fabulous. I can’t say anything better than that. 

A SEAL’s Fantasy

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

A SEALs Fantasy

Available: August 19, 2014

A SEAL’s Fantasy — Tawny Weber

Whenever I see that Tawny has a new book out, especially if it has a hunky SEAL in it… I grab it as quickly as I can. Or if that’s not an option, I pout until it’s released so I can read it. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait for this one. 

A SEAL’s Fantasy was so good. I haven’t read a book of Tawny’s that I haven’t loved yet, and this one is definitely at the top of my “omg I love it” list. 

In it we meet Dominic Castillo — the hunky, too good looking for his own good, badboy Navy SEAL. He loves his job as a SEAL and sees his teammates as brothers. They’re a family and they all seemingly get along…except for the team leader. Dom respects Phillip Banks — call sign “Sir”— and knows that Banks can be trusted to cover his six, but he doesn’t necessarily like the other man. Dominic is a fixer. He likes to be the one that people come to for help… which made his call sign with the team both fitting and hilarious. “Auntie”. He doesn’t remind me of any aunties I know. I was so amused by that. This big hunk of a guy who you would expect to have some badass call sign is called “Auntie”. I laughed. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help myself. 

When Dom gets sidelined by Banks from a mission that his team is sent out on due to a concussion, he’s understandably pissed to be left at home. Even with his head injury, Dom wants to be with his team fighting the baddies. 

Things go wrong on the mission and Banks get’s captured by the enemy. Because he’s the only member of the team that is currently stateside, Dominic gets tasked with the job of finding Sir’s younger estranged sister and keeping her safe from the bad guys goons who would most certainly be looking for her so they could use her as leverage. 

That’s a job that’s easier assigned than completed. How hard can it be to keep an eye on one little woman? Dominic discovers that it’s much harder than he thought. 

Here’s where we meet Lara Lee (aka: Lara Banks). She’s tall, beautiful and smart. A former broadway dancer, Lara is now working as a showgirl in Reno thanks to a broken leg and a bad news boyfriend who left her when she needed him most. (What a dickbag!) She doesn’t have the best relationship with her brother or her family… you could even call things strained… so when she finds out that she’s now under protection of a hunky SEAL because of “reasons”, she’s not too thrilled. 

I loved the interactions between Dominic and Lara from the moment they met. They’re both instantly and insanely attracted, but they both fight it. For a little while. He knows that he shouldn’t get involved because she’s his “mission”. She knows that she shouldn’t be tempted because he’s a friend of her estranged brother… and is holding her basically captive. It’s for her safety, but she still doesn’t want to be kept from her every day life. 

They of course, give in to their fierce attraction, but that doesn’t change a thing. I loved how indignant he was that she left. It wasn’t even just that she left the hotel. She left him. He’s not the type of man that is used to being left, so he’s a bit put off by that. Of course, he comes to save the day, and proves his point about why she needs his protection, but he’s still peeved by her earlier abandonment. I was tickled. 

The interactions between Lara and Dom’s family were also just perfect. I loved all of the secondary characters, and I really liked that she was so accepted buy them. Dominic had a bit of a problem with it, but that was to be expected. 

Their romance throughout the book was hot. I thought they were a great match. She doesn’t let his ego and arrogance stand in her way of getting what she needs and wants. He’s able to learn from her that he doesn’t have to fix everything and everyone around him, which in my opinion was something he needed to learn to grow as an individual. 

I felt like the book was nicely wrapped up with no lose strings hanging around, which is something I love in a book. I hope Phillip (her brother) gets his own story maybe somewhere down the road. That would be a fun book to read. 

10/10 would recommend this book. 

Back to Buckhorn

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

Back to Buckhorn

Published: June 2, 2014

Back to Buckhorn — Lori Foster

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love Lori Foster’s books. Sorry, not so sorry. Back to Buckhorn was no exception. 

It is always so nice to be able to go back to a series and see how the original characters are fairing and how things have been progressing since things happened in the original books. Incorporating favorite characters into newer books is a treat that I enjoy. 

In Back to Buckhorn we have Morgan’s son Garrett Hudson who’s a local firefighter and loved by everyone in town. Our heroine is Zoey Hodge, former resident of Buckhorn who moved away after a terrible accident years before. 

I loved that they had a sort of a shared history before they came together in the book. Zoey had always been seen as the oddball in town. She tended to march to the beat of her own internal band and Garrett was pleased to see that nothing had changed when she grew up. Garrett is pretty much loved by anything with a pulse. The men want to be him (the one’s that he’s not related to, anyway) and the women want to be with him. 

It was sad to see how some people couldn’t let go of the past. When Zoey was younger, her former boyfriend Gus was sent into a rage after she broke things off and ended up dying in a car accident. His family and half the town blamed Zoey for the accident, which ended up causing her to move away. When she returns to town, she’s met with scorn from some of the remaining members of Gus’ family. She kept her head up and tried to understand their point of view. I loved that even though she was being unfairly attacked, she wasn’t petty and mean to them in return. I also loved that Garrett was not going to stand for any of that nonsense. He tried to shield her from it, and when that didn’t work… stood up for her in front of others.

Back to Buckhorn is a really short read. I wish that it had been longer, but I knew that it was a novella going into it so I was prepared for a short story. That doesn’t stop me from wishing there was more. Even though it was short, it felt like the story wasn’t left hanging. Parts of it felt a tad bit rushed, but everything that needed to be there for it to be a quality read was there

I don’t know if Mrs. Foster will write anymore in her Buckhorn series, but I hope she does. I’ll read anything she puts out. In fact I’ll be reviewing two of her books for her new series soon. So if you love her work, stay tuned because the reviews for Hard Knocks and No Limits will be coming to your computer screens soon. 

As always, I recommend this book for anyone that wants a fun, short read with a smokin’ hot firefighter who loves with his whole heart and a pet lover who doesn’t shy away from taking what she needs in life and in love. 

10/10 would recommend. 

The Marriage Pact

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

The Marriage Pact

Published: June 1, 2014

The Marriage Pact — Linda Lael Miller

I’m back! Dear readers, did you miss me and my reviews? My two week vacation was wonderful and very relaxing but it was so weird to not be reading and reviewing like I had been. I went a WEEK and a HALF without reading a book. That’s a long time in my world! 

I fixed that little problem today though… so back to your regularly scheduled programming here at That Ginger Girl Reads

The Marriage Pact isn’t my first book that I’ve read by the talented Linda Lael Miller. She’s my favorite western/hot cowboy/spunky heroine/sweet romance writing author. I’ve read several of her books in the past, and have loved them all. This book was no different. 

The beginning of the book is set ten years in the past. We meet Tripp Galloway — the hunky cowboy — who’s on a mission to stop a wedding. The wedding in question is that of eighteen year old Hadleigh Stevens (I just loved her name) and Oakley Smyth. Hadleigh is the younger sister of Tripp’s best friend whom he served with in the military…and who also died in combat. Once he hears that the wedding is going to take place, Tripp travels thousands of miles by various means of transportation to get to the church before the “I do” part is said by the bride and groom. Oakley and Tripp are both the same age and went to high school together… they’re both about seven years Hadleigh’s senior. 

That whole scene, Tripp crashing the wedding, was so hilarious. The only soul in the entire church that says anything, or shows their disagreement with his actions is Hadleigh. Neither the groom or the wedding party try to keep Tripp from tossing her over his shoulder — big frilly dress and all — and hauling her out of the church to his truck. I could picture in my minds eye exactly what was happening. The expressions of disbelief and anger on Hadleigh’s face… I could see it all, thanks to Mrs. Miller’s excellent writing. 

Tripp is able to calm Hadleigh down a bit (kind of) and explain why he stopped her from marrying Oakley. It turns out the other man had quite a few skeletons in his closet that he didn’t want to come back and haunt him later. Things seem to be going great until she asks him to take her back to where he’s been living in California… away from the craziness in Wyoming. It isn’t until then that he has to drop his own little bomb of a secret that he’s been keeping. Tripp is married

Fast forward ten years and you have the current setting of the book. Hadleigh managed to stay un-married to Oakley (thank lawd, he was headed for bad-newsville) and still lives in the charming little town in Wyoming where she and Tripp grew up. Hadleigh and her two best friends, Melody and Bex, make up a marriage pact. All three women want to find the man of their dreams, get married and start a family. Over the years they’ve tried several different ways to accomplish those goals. Nothing seemed to work for any of them, least of all Hadleigh. 

Until Tripp Galloway rolls his way back into town and shows up unannounced on her front walkway, divorced and just as sexy as ever.  

Talk about a surprise! I loved their first reunion after all that time apart. Neither of them had expected to see the other so soon (or at all in the near future in Hadleigh’s case). Their tense and awkward reunion was everything I didn’t know that I needed it to be. Tripp is a man that is always very sure of himself, but finds that words escape him. Hadleigh was too dumbstruck to really process the fact that he was actually there at first, but was then able to kind of gather her wits about her and formulate thoughts. All of it was so amusing to me. 

The relationship between Hadleigh and her two best friends was so precious to me. You were really able to feel the depth of the love and compassion that all three women had for each other. They were fleshed out perfectly, in my opinion and I’m hoping that Bex and Melody will have their own stories… because I want them to find their big love stories too!

Tripp and his stepfather Jim had a precious relationship in my opinion. I just loved how they were together. Jim is a very private man, and doesn’t like to share his business with other people… but that causes some upsets with Tripp. Especially after Tripp comes back to their ranch and finds out that his dad had battled prostate cancer and hadn’t told him. Poor Tripp. He was so frustrated about it, which was completely understandable. I loved being able to watch them come to understandings about how they each needed to communicate in their relationship. To me, men are weird creatures (sorry to all my male readers… I’m sorry) so it was nice to see the dynamic of a father/son relationship and all of their ups and downs in the book. I felt like it added a lot to the story. 

I also loved the romance between Hadleigh and Tripp. He’s known her for her whole life, and watched her grow up into a young woman. She grew up idolizing him, and secretly loving him for her whole life. Watching them get over their past issues (the breakup of her wedding…etc) and start to fall in love was magical. He just got stupid around her. I loved it. I loved that they were honest with each other about basically everything. Communication is key in relationships, and there are too many times in these romance novels where things go wrong in the main couple because they don’t communicate. It was a breath of fresh air to not have that problem with Hadleigh and Tripp. 

There wasn’t a lot of drama in the book. None of the typical things that happen… for example: the hero says something stupid or pushes the heroine away and they “break up” for a week or a few days before they come back together and declare that they can’t live without the other person in their life. That didn’t happen. I’ve noticed that I’ve come to kind of expect that in my books and when it didn’t happen in this one… I noticed it right away and I think I liked it. It was just a book full of love and happiness. 

Linda Lael Miller’s writing was spot on and as wonderful as it ever has been. This one might be my favorite book by her (at least thus far). Like I said earlier, I really hope that both Bex and Melody get their own stories. (Please, please, please Linda? Pretty please?)

10/10 I’d recommend this book to anyone that loves a hunky cowboy that knows what he wants in life and a spunky heroine that doesn’t runaway from love.