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Blog Tour: Rushing In: Lexi Ryan

Lexi Ryan
Expected August 30, 2016

The favor seemed simple: Keep my new stepsister out of trouble for one summer. 

I’ve never met Grace Lee, but Mom tells me she’s a quiet and artsy college student with a troubled past. When I agreed to let her stay with me, I thought it was no big deal. I expected to share my apartment with a sullen girl who’d spend hours locked in her room.

I didn’t expect a walking fantasy determined to make me lose my cool.

I didn’t expect a woman with secrets so dark, so deep, I’d throw away everything if it would save her from the past.

Rushing in to do this favor is turning my life upside down—and not just because Grace needs her ass spanked. Keep her out of trouble? Grace is the trouble. And I want in. 

RUSHING IN is a standalone novel and the second in The Blackhawk Boys series.

Chris Montgomery is the Blackhawks centered, always-in-control quarterback. He's known as the good guy, the leader, and seems to be kind of a Prince Charming. He loves his Mom and supports his friends and team. He tries to make good choices, and feels guilty if he doesn't.

Grace Lee is not proud of her past and often feels like a failure. She's made poor choices that led to a bad reputation and consequences. She feels unworthy of a good guy, and that fact has been reinforced by events in her past.

Now they are becoming step-siblings and room mates for the summer. Chris is supposed to keep her out of trouble, but is unsure of what all that will entail.  Grace is the one girl who gets under his skin and makes him lose control. However, she is guarded, wary, and tries to keep her past secrets locked up. She does not want to be associated with the girl she used to be.  But eventually they will have to face full disclosure and how others react to the negative things sometimes can overshadow all the good. She's got serious defense mechanisms due to her fears and insecurities that also add more tension and drama.

All of the characters from Spinning Out are back with some ongoing stories--Arrow, Mia, Mason, Bailey, Keegan, Olivia, and Sebastian. And Grace's bestie, Willow, is introduced. I really liked Chris. He was a sweet, caring, and protective guy, but his past did also affect how he reacted to certain situations. He is suddenly under a lot of stress not only due to Grace, but also due to some possible life changing issues surrounding him. Sometimes Grace's self doubt and self sacrificing behavior was hard to take, but considering all she has been though it was understandable. But sometimes the secrets and omissions instilled doubts that could easily be manipulated and cause misinterpretations. It reinforced the importance of having faith and believing in yourself and those you care about.

It was told in dual points of view that was really important due to the secrets and hidden feelings. This was angsty and emotional, but also had some humor and good sense of friendship and camaraderie. It was not quite as dark and mysterious as the first one, but did have a few situations that kept you wondering for a while and a few twists. I am looking forward to more with these characters. Sebastian is supposed to be next in Going Under and I think I know a possible heroine for him. But I really want to see more of Mason, Bailey, and Keegan too.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Grace Lee has made mistakes. She is impulsive and a free-spirit, struggling to find her place and fit in. 
Chris Montgomery is always in control. Keeping his cool, leading his team, and making good decisions are all things he counts on. But Grace spins him out of control. She loosens up his tightly held reins and sends him spinning.

When Grace’s father asks Chris to let her stay for the summer, Chris thinks it's a great opportunity to get to know his new stepsister. He didn’t plan for her presence to stir up his summer. And she doesn’t plan to let him know who she was when they first met.

These two have so many secrets between them. Grace is determined that Chris not know her past, even though the secret is a tenuous one at best. They challenge each other and if they didn’t have the new label of stepsiblings between them, they might have experimented long before they did.

This story is told in alternating perspectives. I love being able to see inside both main characters heads, especially with the secrets and side conflicts that are going on. Knowing what both characters are thinking helped me enjoy several tropes that would sometimes frustrate me.

Part of what I really liked was the resolution with the character who could be considered the “villain” in this situation. She isn’t likeable at all. But something about Grace’s treatment of her struck me as perfect. Grace didn’t fully villainize this character, as she could have and probably had every right to do. But Grace’s insight gave her the ability to let some things go that would have been sticking points for another woman. 

The ending wrapped up fairly quickly, and I would have loved to see more of them happy and together, but I love the gestures that happened at the end to fix the wrongs throughout the book. This was a fun addition to the Blackhawk Boys series and introduced a couple situations that would make for interesting stories. Sebastian is the next book though, and I look forward to more from this group of college boys. 
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Rushing In Excerpt © 2016 by Lexi Ryan

Chris arches a brow and skims his gaze over my body—correction, my dress and Chucks. “You’re gonna go hiking in that?”

I shrug. “It’s not like it’s full-length and gonna get tangled around my legs or anything.”

His gaze drifts down my body again, this time landing on the thigh visible beneath the hem of my dress. “It’s certainly not,” he mumbles, and the way he says it has my cheeks burning and me reaching for my water.

So damn thirsty.

We finish packing up our lunch together, and after we put the cooler back in the car, I grab the park pamphlet out of the front seat. “Come on,” I say, nodding in the direction of the outlook. “It’s my turn to be in charge.”

The park is beautiful, but as soon as we enter the woods and I see the overlook, my breath catches. From here, we have a view of the ravine below and the creek rushing through the bottom. Mossy rock faces make up the ravine walls, and trees protrude from them. It’s possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

I head past the overlook and take the stairs down into the ravine. It’s shady back here and feels ten degrees cooler than our picnic table in the sun.

At the bottom of the stairs, the trail splits in three directions, and when I follow the sign with the three, Chris puts his hand on my arm. “Hey, this one has ladders.”

I arch a brow and drop my gaze to my shoes. “I can handle it.”

Something passes over his face I don’t understand, and then he sighs and nods. “Okay, but I’m climbing the ladders behind you. If any creep is going to be looking up your dress today, it’s gonna be me.”

My cheeks heat, and my brain instantly diagrams his words and starts analyzing the nuance of each. Just comedy or more? Stupid brain. “Fair enough.”

He mutters something that sounds like “Dreams really do come true,” but I can’t be sure.

The trail leads down into the ravine and along the creek bed. It’s so much cooler down here, and I love the sound of the creek rock crunching under my feet as we walk along.

By the time we come upon the first ladder, there’s no one else around.

“Ladies first,” he says, gesturing toward the ladder.

“Pervert,” I mutter, but I move forward and begin my climb. The rungs are coated in mud, and when I’m halfway up, one foot slips and suddenly Chris’s hands are there, holding me steady, his hands strong and warm against the backs of my legs.

My breath catches, and I force myself to breathe and find my footing. The feel of his hands against my skin causes something to swirl hot and tight low in my belly.

“Are you okay?” he asks, his voice as thick as the forest beyond the trail.

I’m not okay. I’m afraid to move. Afraid not to move. Trapped by a fear that has nothing to do with a slippery ladder and everything to do with falling.

Then, slowly, his thumbs begin to slide over my skin. His hands inch up my thighs until his fingertips skim the bottom edge of my underwear and slip under to trace the bottom curve of my ass.

I cannot breathe.

I force myself to turn my head and look down at him. His jaw is set tight, a picture of self-control, but when his eyes meet mine, his face relaxes and he shoots me a boyish grin. I attempt my best poker face. “Are you copping a feel, Christopher Montgomery?”

His grin goes wide, putting his dimples on full display. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says, his Southern accent drawing out his words. “I’m just trying to perform a necessary rescue mission.”

“Do I look like I need rescuing?” I ask. Under the lace edge of my panties, his thumb strokes again, a long, slow motion that makes me want to close my eyes and moan. I resist and hold his gaze.

“Who said you’re the one I’m rescuing? Maybe I’m trying to save myself.” He drops his hands and grabs a hold of the sides of the ladder, then he climbs up behind me so his body is pressed against mine, my back to his front. His mouth hovers above my ear, his breath hot and uneven. “Because I swear if I have to go much longer without touching you, I’m going to implode.”

His lips skim my earlobe, and my eyes float closed. My brain has no room for sight when it’s overloaded with sensations. His lips on my ear. His hard chest against my back. His breath against my neck. “I need to know, Grace.”

I open my eyes and swallow hard. I don’t want to talk. Not right now. I’m too afraid I’ll ruin this moment with my choppy stutter. “What?”

“I need to know . . .” He leans his forehead against my shoulder, and I watch his knuckles turn white as he tightens his grip on the side of the ladder.

On the ground beneath us, someone clears his throat. “You two heading up or down?”

Chris mutters a curse and takes a step down so I have the freedom to move. I scramble up the ladder with him behind me. When we reach the top, I can’t look at him.

“Sorry about that,” he calls to the people below, then he grabs my wrist and pulls me off to the right toward a rocky alcove just off the trail. A wooden sign tells me this is “The Devil’s Ice Box,” and beyond the sign, a thin waterfall drizzles into a pool of crystal-clear water. Chris leads the way, following the rocky edge around to the backside of this semi-secluded space and stopping by the waterfall. I pass him, feigning interest in the rocks and water so I don’t have to meet his eyes. There’s a cavern behind the waterfall, a haven from the falling water.“I have to know,” Chris says, his words nearly drowned out by the falling water. “Is it just me? Everything I feel when you’re close to me? Tell me you feel it too.”
THE BLACKHAWK BOYS, an edgy, sexy sports romance series from 
New York Times bestseller Lexi Ryan. 

Football. Secrets. Lies. Passion. These boys don’t play fair. 

Which Blackhawk Boy will steal your heart?

Book 1 - SPINNING OUT -  (Arrow's story)
Book 2 - RUSHING IN - (Christopher's story)
Book 3 - GOING UNDER - Coming December 2016 (Sebastian's story)

Spinning Out (The Blackhawk Boys #1)
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Our 4.5 star reviews

Once, the only thing that mattered to me was football—training, playing, and earning my place on the best team at every level. I had it all, and I threw it away with a semester of drugs, alcohol, and pissing off anyone who tried to stop me. Now I’m suspended from the team, on house arrest, and forced to spend a semester at home to get my shit together. The cherry on my fuckup sundae? Sleeping in the room next to mine is my best friend’s girl, Mia Mendez—the only woman I’ve ever loved and a reminder of everything I regret.

I’m not sure if having Mia so close will be heaven or hell. She’s off-limits—and not just because she’s working for my dad. Her heart belongs to someone else. But since the accident that killed her brother and changed everything, she walks around like a zombie, shutting out her friends and ignoring her dreams. We’re both broken, numb, and stuck in limbo.

Until I break my own rules and touch her. 

Until she saves me from my nightmares by climbing into my bed. 

Until the only thing I want more than having Mia for myself is to protect her from the truth. 

I can’t rewrite the past, but I refuse to leave her heart in the hands of fate. For this girl, I’d climb into the sky and rearrange the stars.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance novelist Lexi Ryan is a former college English professor turned full­time writer. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband and two children. When not writing, she can be found enjoying yoga, reading copiously, hanging out with her family, and thanking her lucky stars.

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Release Reviews: Shadow Falling: Rebecca Zanetti

Shadow Falling (The Scorpius Syndrome #2)
Rebecca Zanetti
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Expected August 30, 2016

Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Kennedy was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her skills as a hunter of men had gone from merely brilliant to full-on uncanny. Her mysterious rescuer wants her to put them to the test. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.

If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk. 

And the way his arms wrap around Vinnie tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . . .

Raze Shadow is new to Vanguard, but he was on the team that just rescued Vinnie Wellington from the crazed, power-hungry President. She is a former FBI profiler who has survived Scorpius, but her imprisonment left her with longer lasting effects. She is smart, tenacious, and sweet. The after effects of the drugs have left her unfiltered, a bit off, and having hallucinations. But she still has serious skills as a profiler that everyone needs.

But Raze has a hidden agenda. The Vanguard leader, Jax Mercury, is not sure he can be trusted and Vinnie is developing an attachment to him. Raze is distant, bossy, and mysterious, but he has his reasons. He is an Ex-SEAL and has great potential as an ally, but he is also secretive and potentially dangerous. But now that he has spent time with Vinnie, Jax, and the others will he continue on his mission?

Along with keeping their ragtag Vanguard group together, they will need to fight off potential attacks from various sources, keep themselves safe, deal with more succumbing to the bacteria, and try to do research to help control it. 

Ninety-nine percent of the United Skills has already been killed by Scorpius. This focuses on an unlikely romance in a post-pandemic world that is full of danger, death, destruction, and hopelessness. They have limited supplies and resources, multiple threats and enemies, and several are facing after effects of Scorpius.  It is raw, gritty, and violent. The dynamics are ever changing and volatile. Trust is transient. People's motives are questionable. It is a dangerous, suspenseful, action-packed story with a surprising love connection at the center of it.

I enjoy the alpha males in this series: Jax, Raze, and Tace and how they are definitely dangerous and lethal, but also have softer sides and strong protectiveness for those they care about. The women including Vinnie, Lynne, Maureen, and Sami are intelligent, brave, and tough. Even though this world is in chaos, this group has found their own home, family, and sense of belonging and purpose. They are a team with camaraderie and truly need to trust each other. But if trust is broken, the consequences can be swift. They are all each other's best hope for survival.

This is not my typical type of read, but I trusted Rebecca Zanetti to pull me in and she got me hooked with the first book Mercury Striking. This is told in multiple points of view so we get into the heads of most of the main characters and get to see all of the dynamics. I really came to like Raze after getting deeper into his layers and enjoyed that he had a sense of humor too. And Vinnie was likable and sweet. They had good chemistry and were entertaining to watch.

I am looking forward to Tace's book Justice Ascending next. We have seen him go through so much already. And I like the woman who is supposed to be his heroine. There were a couple of other new characters introduced that have potential for a future installment as well. The overall story arc surrounding their fight for survival, the threats against them, and the cure is also still ongoing. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Raze Shadow, highly trained soldier, is on a mission he won’t share with anyone. But he mission is threatened when he meets Vinnie and must think quickly in order to complete his personal mission and keep her safe.

Vinnie Wellington, newly rescued psychiatrist and specialist on sociopaths, is looking for a place to belong. She is also working to rid her body of the drugs forced upon her by President Atherton that have left her feeling disoriented and hallucinating.

There is great chemistry between them. The secrets, both his mission and her hallucinations, keep them at arm's length while they each internally battle the problems with letting the other close. But they can’t fight the spark that simmers whenever they are close, the distractions they face when they are apart.

I loved watching Raze come to grips with his feelings, particularly as Vinnie was so open with her own. These two are a study in opposites and their reactions and responses show their differences clearly.
Scorpius is still a threat as are the Rippers it creates. Now Vanguard faces threats from within as well as without with the addition of The Pure, lead by a fanatic. Jax, Lynne, Tace, and Sami return as several other situations develop in the background. The Pure. The president. Keeping Vanguard safe. As this story concluded, even more aspects of the series arch became clear, while new questions arose. I look forward to seeing which direction Jax and his crew go in order to keep the people close to them safe.
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Scorpius Rising (Pre-quel)
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Expected November 29, 2016
Available now in part of the On The Hunt Anthology

With a deadly disease spreading like wildfire across the country, microbiologist Nora Medina needs to focus all her energy on stopping the pandemic. Playing with dynamite—in the form of her way-too-hot ex—is the last thing she should be doing. ​But forced to work with Deacan McDougall against unexpected enemies with the seconds ticking by, she knows the explosion is coming... 

Mercury Striking (The Scorpius Syndrome #1)
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Our 4.5 star reviews

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…

Justice Ascending (The Scorpius Syndrome #3)
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Expected January 31, 2017Before surviving the Scorpius bacterium, Tace Justice was a good ole Texas cowboy who served his country and loved his mama. After Scorpius, the world became dark, dangerous, and deadly... and so did he. The Vanguard medic is stronger, faster, and smarter than before, but he's lost the line between right and wrong. His passion is absolute, and when he focuses it on one woman, there's no turning back for either of them.

Sami Steel has been fighting to survive right alongside Tace, convincing the Vanguard soldiers she's one of them. In truth, Sami is a former hacker turned government agent who worked at The Bunker, where scientists stored both contaminants and cures. Only she knows the location, and she's not telling. Yet when sexual fire explodes between her and Tace, she'll face even that hell again to save him.

Rebecca Zanetti Website/Facebook/Twitter

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner - only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and sexy contemporary romances.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day--or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.


ARC Review: First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars #8) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

A star quarterback and a feisty detective play for keeps in this sporty, sexy, sassy novel—a long-awaited new entry in the beloved, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author’s fan-favorite Chicago Stars football series.

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy. 

Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is...I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just...mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.

And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is. 

From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.

SEP nailed another Chicago Stars book! Right off the bat, I knew I was going to absolutely adore Cooper and Piper. This duo was quite dynamic, in and out of the sheets. Each moment with them felt more like foreplay than an angsty love/hate relationship. Their relationship was a light-hearted read, filled with the perfect combination of swoon worthy romance, tongue in cheek humor, and animated snark. With neither of them looking for a relationship, the friction mixed with the attraction between them just added to the tension and chemistry, making their connection that much more delicious.

Readers will love Piper, SEP’s newest kooky and spitfire of a heroine, the moment they meet her. Picture the girl next door, except brimming with sass. Her kick ass personality will draw you straight in, leaving you rooting her on and wishing she was real enough to be best friends with. And on the flip side, it'll also have you banging your head against the wall. Our girl can be a bit pigheaded. 

Cooper's never had to chase a chick in his life—until Piper. I had a blast watching this big super star, alpha male succumb to the unfamiliar game of cat and mouse. It was definitely one of the most enticing rounds of fight and flight that I've read in a long time. Their chase was wicked fun, antagonizing, and quite sexy. Each time Piper ran and Cooper chased I fell even more in love with him. His stubbornness matched hers toe for toe, which came in handy at times. I loved that even though Cooper was a well known commitment phobe, he went after what he wanted and didn't let anything deter him from making Piper his. 

If you are looking for an entertaining read with a captivating couple that will leave you with huge smiles and a happy heart than I highly suggest picking up Cooper and Piper's story. This is SEP at her best!

Thank you, William Morrow, for the complimentary copy of First Star I See Tonight.

The Huffington Post says the books of Susan Elizabeth Phillips provide a “gateway drug to the whole [romance] genre,” which she assumes is a good thing. Bookpage magazine calls her “the crown jewel of romantic comedy writers,” which is definitely a good thing. Since she wrote her first novel on a typewriter in her kitchen, her books have been published in over 30 languages and appear on bestseller lists all over the world. 

In addition to being a New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestseller, she is a hiker, lazy gardener, horrible singer, passable cook, passionate reader, wife, mother of two grown sons, and grandmother of two adorable little ones. Her newest book, HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS, is now available in paperback. Susan is excited to announce her next book FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT, the next edition in the CHICAGO STARS SERIES, will be released Aug. 23, 2016. You can visit Susan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on her website.


Book Announcement/Cover Reveal: Womanizer: Katy Evans


Womanizer by Katy Evans

Series: Manwhore #5 Release Date: December 5th, 2016 Genre: Contemporary Romance
You've seen the headlines: Womanizing billionaire player! Watch out! Stay away!

We were just two strangers. Facing a forbidden attraction, a chemical connection. Neither of us expected or wanted it to amount to more. But I had never been drawn to a guy the way I was drawn to this one: my brother's best friend, and CEO of the company where I interned.

Even knowing I should stay away, I proved to be too human, after all. The chemistry was amazing. The laughs were incredible. I opened up to him in more ways than I'd opened up to anyone before. But sex was as far as I'd go. Just sex because he was too irresistible. Just sex because I wouldn't be falling for him. Just sex because I'd leave in three months, and I'd like for my brother not to kill me, and for nobody to find out he was my wicked little secret. He wasn't the One. He was just a womanizer. But for a time, he would be mine.

Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love. They married and are now hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches “The End.” Which is, hopefully, only the beginning…
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