Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Golden Trail - Kristen Ashley

Book Blurb:
Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick fell in love young, hard and fast and both of them knew a beautiful life they thought would be forever.

Until Rocky left Layne, no explanation, no going back.

Layne escapes The ‘Burg only to come back years later because his ex-wife has hooked herself to the town jerk and Layne needs to make sure his sons get raised right. Layne manages to avoid Rocky but when Layne gets three bullets drilled into him while investigating a dirty cop, he can’t do that because Rocky stops avoiding Layne. They make a deal to work together to expose the dirty cop but they have no idea the strength of their enduring attraction or the sheer evil at work in The ‘Burg.

As Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick play their game and dance around the pull that draws them together, Layne has to discover the dark secrets buried so deep in Rocky’s heart she doesn’t even know they’re there at the same time untangle a sinister web of crime so abhorrent it has to be stopped... at all costs.

And to do it, Layne has to enlist everyone, including his ex-CIA mentor, Rocky’s detective brother, the town’s unpredictable informant and Layne’s two teenage sons all the while stopping Rocky from doing something crazy and keeping their game secret so Layne won't get himself dead.

In My Own Words:
Rocky and Tanner have been broken up for 17 years.  In that time Rocky has been married and became a teacher.  Tanner was married had to sons did the military thing and is back to open his own private agency.  What Tanner doesn't expect is Rocky showing up on his door step asking for him to be her partner in bringing down a dirty cop.  What Tanner doesn't further expect is to actually take the job, along with a list of others.

Working with Rocky is one thing, but pretending to be her rekindled beau may be harder than it looks because just being near her make his heart skip a beat but he knows getting involved with Rocky could be...rocky as she left him with no word and broke him in to a thousand pieces.

Trying to find out Rocky's big secret, while keeping the teen girls safe in town and keeping his ex-wife's looser boyfriend from screwing up his kids lives all the while trying to not get killed, proves to be a lot to handle, but never boring.

I loved this story.  When Rocky's secret was revealed and she broke down, I was crying right along with her.  Talk about a hard time to come to terms with.  I enjoyed that Rocky wasn't your typical romance girl, she has balls, and she was sassy when she needed to be but she didn't need to be rescued, she needed to be a part of the operation no matter what that operation was.  I enjoyed getting to see some of the past characters from the Burg series and seeing what they were up to.  Next up...Mike's story.

Skin Deep - Pamela Clare

Book Blurb:
Broken on the inside

Megan Hunter has worked hard to get back on her feet, leaving the nightmare of her teenage years behind. The last thing she wants or needs in her life is a man. But when she is attacked by someone from her past, a scarred stranger intervenes, saving her life and that of her little girl. Looks can be deceiving, for despite the man’s rough appearance, she feels safe with him. And for the first time in her life, she knows the stirrings of desire.

Broken on the outside

Nathaniel West paid a high price serving with the Marines in Afghanistan. He returned to his family’s ranch in the Colorado mountains to heal—and be alone. Disfigured as he is, he has put all thoughts of sex and romance aside. But something about Megan brings him back to life, heats his blood, makes him feel like a man again. As danger pursues her, and the truth about her past is revealed, he vows to protect her—and to heal her wounded spirit.

But confronting the past is never easy—especially when it’s carrying a gun. Megan will have to learn to trust Nate to survive and to claim a passion that is much more than … Skin Deep.

In My Own Words:
Megan Hunter overcame a dark and scary world to land on her feet with a beautiful daughter a loving brother and friends that she considers family.  The one thing she wasn't prepared for was Nate West.  A vet that is overcoming his own inner and outer demons.  Being visibly scarred, he comes home to Colorado to heal and move on.

When Megan's creepy and dangerous ex shows up and demands money, it is Nate that is there to rescue her, and from there, the relationship and trust begins to grow...slowly.  With the initial rescue, comes a feeling of worth and a fierce protection for Megan that Nate can't explain even to himself.

When Megan feels the need to get out of town for just the day, to clear her head and get away from the mess of police, ex boyfriends, and gangsters the first person she calls is Nate.  Neither of them imagined  a day trip would lead to passion, honesty and trust. 

I am a HUGE fan of the I-team series, and have come to expect a lot of the author, and I wasn't disappointed.  Skin Deep has it all, and from cover to cover it was impossible to put it down.  Knowing of Megan's troubles from reading her brother, Marc's, story, it was refreshing to be able to see a woman who has had so many wrongs happen in her life to see it being righted.  The connection between Nate and Megan was evident from their first meeting and his gentle touch with her and her daughter was a treat to watch play out.  The story had an amazing flow, and I can't find one criticism about the story.  I do have to add, I REALLY enjoyed my man Julian in the Beer Run short story at the end ::sigh::

The Comeback of Conn MacNeill - Virginia Kantra

Book Blurb:
Val Cutler’s restaurant, Wild Thymes, is in trouble. As a condition of her father’s loan, she is forced to accept the advice of Yankee business consultant Conn MacNeill...but she doesn’t have to like it.

Conn is determined to prove himself after his recent firing from a high-stakes, high-profile venture capital company. Wild Thymes is small potatoes. But the recommendation of Val’s father could be just what Conn needs to get started on the comeback trail.

Neither Val or Conn is prepared for the attraction that flares between them, quick and fierce as a kitchen fire. But things get even hotter when they begin to uncover the secrets behind the restaurant’s troubles. Secrets that someone would kill to keep...

In My Own Words:
After leaving her home town and starting a life of her own, the last thing Val Cutler wants to do is come back and start all over again.  But, when her beloved aunt dies and leaves her house to Val, that is  exactly what she does.  Starting her own restaurant is the only enticing thing about the idea.  But, no matter how hard she works, or how much money she thinks she is making, she can't run in the black.  Her only recourse is to ask for daddy's help.  Daddy's with Conn MacNeill.

Conn is a well known venture capitalist and knows that working for Mr. Cutler can make or break him in the business world, but when things in Val's business starts to not add up, it looks like Cutler's very own bank may be the cause.  Helping Val get to the bottom of her business worries turns in to the last thing he needs to worry about.

I enjoyed this story.  There were many twists and turns, but even at the beginning you were pretty sure you knew who the bad guy was, that wasn't really a mystery.  The flow of the story was good, and the building of the characters was also good.  The problem is...I didn't find anything extraordinary about any of it, it was just...good.  That being said, I will be reading the next in this series, as this was a quick, easy read.