Love ’em and Leave ’em Alice Kim and “Hot” Steve Lowell are perfect for each other. It’ll only take them ten years to figure that out.
Just because they throw the most bodacious wedding party ever… Just because they’re perfect partners in pranks… Just because they love all the same boss movies… Just because they share one totally bangin’ night of sex together…
Does not mean they’ll break the One Time Rule. Even if they do… they don’t do relationships. And they’re never getting married. Like, ever.
In this friends-to-lovers, marriage-pact novella spanning the last decade of the 20th century, life forces a playboy and a playgirl grow up—and grow apart—before giving them a chance to create a happy-ever-after they can actually be happy about.
Like it’s 1999 is one of those novellas that feels longer than it is, but in all of the good ways. Even though it’s a shorter story the characters are fleshed out better than some full length books. And I mean, like the other books in this series, it’s set in an amazing time period. Plus it’s pretty dang funny, and I mean, I like that.
Like I already mentioned, this book really excels in the expert craft of the characters. They really take us through this story and ensure that we are engaged while traversing through the pages. And our MCs are really likeable characters, so it’s not like you’re groaning through certain parts because you’re annoyed. Plus I really enjoyed seeing the passage of time and how their relationship developed and morphed.
I really have loved and enjoyed this series and I cannot wait to see where it takes em next. Grey is truly a wonderful storyteller and I could easily recommend her books for anyone looking for a funny and amazing read.
About the Author
KAREN GREY is the pen name for Karen White (assumed not to hide her identity, but because her actual name is already connected with a well-known fiction author). A theatre actor in Boston in the eighties and early nineties, she started working as an audiobook narrator in 1999 after moving to Los Angeles. Having returned her home state of North Carolina, she shares a home with her family and probably too many pets, where she continues to record audiobooks as well as make up stories.
PHEW! Today has been BUSY! But I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and write this review and let me start off by saying you’re gonna want to read it. You know those books that are just enjoyable? Well, this is one of them!
I went into this story expecting to enjoy it, but I didn’t expect to fall in love with the characters as much as I did. They just really drew me into the story and made me so invested in what was going to happen next. Plus I just extra loved our powerhouse of a heroine and all she stood for. But out of all of this it was really just a clever story that worked and flowed so well.
Remember how I’ve repeatedly said how much I enjoyed this book? Well, it’s true. SO when you read it make sure you’re prepared to devour this and not want to set it down. My favorite set up is a bunch of blankets, some fur babies, and a nice hot chocolate.
About the Author
It’s a rough world out there, and we all sometimes need a good, romantic beach read, even if we can’t make it to the beach. I’ve spent many lazy days walking the streets of Paris and other gorgeous European cities, and if I’m doing it right, I’m bringing you a dash of romance and a vacay fantasy.
I can’t sit still, so when I’m not hiking, biking or running, I’m playing a very average game of tennis. Background music for writing undoubtedly features some U2, Lizzo, Billy Joel, Pink, Taylor Swift, and Led Zeppelin. Not necessarily in that order. And if I could only eat one food group, it would be cheese. Or wine. Or bread. Are those food groups? Whatever.
He studied me for a moment. Then he was silent again. Of course, he wasn’t having fun. He was facing potential jail time and major fines from the SEC, not to mention he’d been put on leave from the job he loved, and his tenured position was probably in jeopardy. What a stupid thing to ask. “Sorry. I know this can’t be fun for you.”
After looking through the conference room glass for a moment, he nodded. “Actually, it is. But only because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since we met, and now that I have the pleasure of your company, it makes me happy,” he said.
“Wait, what?” I felt just as giddy as I had at age fourteen when a boy I’d been crushing on for months asked me if I’d mind paying for his slice of pizza after a high school football game. This was pre-cheerleading, to be clear. After I made the squad, the fourteen-year-olds paid for me. Mostly.
“Was that not clear? I can’t stop thinking about you. I’ve barely thought of anything but you since we met. And given that I’m charged with insider trading and facing jail time, I find that significant.”
“I mean, that’s… ordinarily, it’s exactly what a woman wants to hear. But now…”
“Now that you know I’m charged with insider trading?”
“No, now that you’re my client. You insisted on being my client. I gave you an out, and you insisted. So now you get lawyer me, not Saturday night me. That was your choice,” I said. It was my turn to look through the glass because I couldn’t keep gazing at him without repercussions.
“I wasn’t aware you were two different people. For the record, I like both,” he said with a smile.
“You don’t get both. That’s not how this works.” I turned toward my notes, hoping he understood that recess was over.
“I’m the client. Don’t I get to dictate how things work?” he asked.
“No, you get to be the client. You answer my questions, and you behave yourself so I don’t get fired or disbarred. I feel like you weren’t listening when I just explained all that.”
“I was listening. I just chose to ignore it.”
He was frustrating. The fact that he was hot in a nerdy chiseled-jaw professor way was also frustrating. I needed to get control of the situation. Looking at the stacks of books on the conference room shelves, I saw nothing to give me direction as to how to handle the situation.
They should make law books for this. Or self-help books. Any guidance would be welcome.
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*
Forget About Me, an all-new retro romantic comedy guaranteed to bring all the feels from Karen Grey is available now!
Ben Porter may be living the dream, but it’s not his.
His dad’s health scare might not be the ideal reason to come home for the summer, but it’s a welcome break from the stellar glitz of Ben’s life in Los Angeles. Even if modeling has him rivaling Marky Mark’s fame, posing isn’t his passion. Landing a role with a Boston Shakespeare theater brings him closer to fulfilling his dreams of being a real actor.
Facing the reason he went west in the first place? That’s another story.
Lucy Minola’s dreams were shattered seven years ago when a drunk driver smashed into her brother’s car. She knows it was her fault. So as penance, she works hard to care for her family, goes to confession faithfully, and buries all the feelings she had for the person who left when she needed him most: her brother’s best friend.
When an injured dog brings them back together, Lucy’s good-girl facade begins to crack. Women everywhere are obsessed with the rad body they see in magazines, but she’s the only one Ben seems to notice.
She can’t trust herself with the man who walked away… but can she let him go a second time?
This bittersweet romance, book two in Karen Grey’s 1980’s Boston Classics series, proves that everyone deserves a second chance in love and in life.
This book was just as cute as its cover and synopsis led me to believe! Plus puppy (yes, I am a simple minded individual)! But this book has all of the fun tropes that reel you in and hook you and the characters are all so relatable and fun! PLUS, (I know, it gets better) it’s set in the 80s! And anyone who knows me knows thats one of my favorite time periods.
So this book is a second chance romance, and while admittedly that isn’t my favorite trope I have to admit that the second chance books I’ve been reading lately are warming me up to the trope. And this book probably swayed me because the two characters are just so adorable! I just really enjoyed getting both their back story as well as seeing where Ben’s and Lucys relationship goes when they meet up again.
The one extra special thing about this book is the mixtape tie-in. So get a playlist ready because at the start of every chapter we get a new song that Lucy at one point picked out for her and Ben. And I mean, it wouldn’t be the 80s without some amazing music!
About the Author
Karen Grey (also known as Karen White and K.E. White) has had several essays published, in Salt Magazine and the Nevertheless We Persisted collections (one an Audies Finalist and the other a SOVAs finalist), and a short story in the collection Vintage Love Stories. Her first romance novel was a winner of the NJ Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart in a Book contest and Hearts Through History’s Romance Through the Ages contest in the Modern History category and won second place in the GA Romance Writers’ Maggie Award. The first book in her 1980’s era romance series Boston Classics, What I’m Looking For releases June 23, 2020.
“Good Girls Don’t” – The Knack Lucy’s Copacetic Shagadelic Mixtape, Song #6
Saturday morning, it’s hot and sticky for August. By the time I get to church, every crease of my dress is damp and my stocking-encased legs feel like sausages, so the cool and dark of the confessional is welcome. I kneel and make the sign of the cross just as the screen slides open and Father Signorelli says the usual greeting—in Latin, even though he’s supposed to have switched to the post-Vatican II form. I’m glad our church still does things the traditional way. When I went to the Newman Center the few months I was at UMass, getting general absolution didn’t feel like enough, but the alternative they offered—sitting face to face to confess to a priest—was too embarrassing.
I dab my brow with a tissue before beginning. “Bless me father, for I have sinned. It’s been two weeks since my last confession. These are my sins. I snapped at a coworker because she asked me some irritating questions, and I yelled at my brothers for leaving their dishes in the sink. I have been uncharitable toward an old, um… friend because I’m still angry at him for things he did a long time ago. I talked him into buying things he didn’t need to because… because I wanted him to suffer.”
“Hmm. Those are unbecoming behaviors in a young woman.”
“Yes, Father. For these and any other sins that I cannot remember, I humbly ask pardon of God and penance and absolution of thee, Father.”
“Do your rosary and say five Our Fathers for your penance.”
I bow my head, say the Act of Contrition and do my best to focus as Father prays for my forgiveness.
When I step out of the box and into the incense-laden air, the weight of my sins doesn’t lift from my shoulders like it usually does, probably because I neglected to confess the many, many lustful thoughts that’ve set up camp in my nether regions.
I guess you could argue that I’m preventing harm by omitting those sins because if Father Signorelli heard what I’ve been up to alone in my bed at night, he’d surely have a stroke.
When I return from my lunch break on Monday, I’m greeted by Cindy in full-on puppy mode.
“Oh my god, that Ben Porter left you a message, Lucy!”
Stowing my purse in my locker, I spend more time than necessary changing back into my scrub top. I spent the break running errands—picking up a prescription for my dad and stocking up on toiletries for the family while I was at the pharmacy. I might’ve also picked up a few magazines which might just happen to contain a few revealing photos of Ben. It isn’t a sin to just look, right?
When I close my locker door, Cindy’s right there on the other side. “Isn’t that exciting?”
“Yes?” A balloon of hope floats up. I haul it back down to earth. No need to get all excited. He probably just has another question about the dog. I scan the corkboard where notes are usually pinned up. “Where’s the message?”
She finally stops bouncing up and down. “He didn’t call. He came in while you were out and I got to talk to him.” She whispers this like it’s the most exciting thing to have happened in weeks. Maybe it is. Although watching a dog yak up an entire package of tube socks last week was pretty entertaining.
“Oh. Okay.” I keep my tone cool, with some effort. “What was the message?”
“He asked me to ask you if you’d train his dog so it can be in a play! I wish I knew about animal training! How did you learn?” She grabs my forearm. “Do you need an assistant?”
Not sure where to start, I just nod. And then shake my head no. By the time my head’s circling, I realize something. “Did he leave a number?”
Cindy narrows her eyes. “Don’t you have his number?”
I don’t want to think about all this right now, so I exit the breakroom. “I guess I can get it from his chart if it’s not the same.”
She’s at my heels, nipping away with her questions. “Same what?”
“Um. Same everything. Number, house. Because he’s like… famous now?”
“Are you sure you really grew up with him?”
“Yep. I’m sure I did.”
Her smooth brow crinkles. “No offense, but you seem a lot older than him.”
“He’s three years older than me, Cindy.”
“So, he’s like mid-thirties?”
I stifle a sigh. Cindy’s only eighteen, so everyone is old to her. “Just FYI, Cindy, I’m twenty-five.”
“Not even! I thought you were way older than that.”
My brows go up as I stare her down.
“I mean, like, in a good way. Like you majorly have your shit together.”
Three bells sound, indicating that an owner is in for a pickup. I’ll take any excuse to escape from the interrogation, so I press the button indicating that I’ll grab the post-surgical cat. “I’m not sure I’ll have time, anyway.”
She follows me. “But you were saying you were trying to save money for that certification course. If he’s a rich model, charge him extra.”
She’s driving me crazy, but she has a point. How much money would it be worth to risk further stirring up the grief I thought I’d buried years ago?
Opening the cage to ease out a still groggy but now stitched-up and gonad-free cat, I whisper, “Hey, buddy, time to go home.”
Cindy, still at my elbow, closes the cage. “When was the last time you saw him anyway? I mean, before now.”
“Seven years ago.” Until last week, the last time I saw him was at my brother’s wake. But she doesn’t need to know that. “Things… ended badly.”
Talk about understatement of the year.
“Seven years! Lucy, jeez. Seven years ago, I was in elementary school! That’s forever ago. Forgive and forget already.” A single bell sounds, letting us know that a new client needs to be moved to an exam room. “Do you still want the cat discharge, or whatever’s behind door number one?”
I hand over the cat. “I’ll take the new patient.” I don’t have any ex-boyfriends left to surprise me, so I walk briskly to the waiting room, eager for a distraction. Whether it’s an engorged tick to be removed or a puppy needing its shots or a busted-up tomcat, taking care of an animal is always preferable to listening to my inner monologue.
Deciding what to do about Ben will have to wait.
*I received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review*
Who’s the Boss, an all-new, sizzling enemies-to-lovers workplace romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Erin McCarthy is available now!
Arrogant, charming and sexy as hell, Master chef Sean Kincaid is legendary both in the kitchen and in the bedroom. So of course it only took five minutes for him to get me overheated. My temper that is.
Because Sean Kincaid is my new boss. Who has strolled into my kitchen demanding I follow his rules. I don’t like taking orders from anyone but certainly not from a grumpy man who knows how to push all of my buttons.
And when a Best Chef competition pits the two of us against each other, it’s either going to be a sizzler–or a recipe for disaster.
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited.
I mean, an enemies to lovers rom-com about two chefs is right up my alley. Well, anything with food is right up my alley, but that’s besides the point! But overall this was a fun and quirky read that I was able to devour in an evening. And even though it is a short book I still felt satisfied with the story and while I want more it also felt complete.
Let me start off by saying there was sooooo much chemistry between our two MCs! And that’s a must when reading a romance book. I mean, imagine if you hated the two *destined* to be together! It would be such a drag! But what I like most about this book is that it was funny! It’s such a bonus when I crack up laughing throughout but still get all those steamy chemistry riddled scenes. I mean, perfect combo!
I really enjoyed this one and actually liked that it was quite short. I tend to prefer my romance books, especially if they’re more of the rom-com variety, to be more of the novella length. I think it just allows for the story and romance to shine without getting too muddled when they’re a bit shorter!
About the Author
USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written over seventy-five novels and novellas in the romance and mystery genres. Erin has a special weakness for high-heeled boots, martinis, and Frank Sinatra. She lives with her renovation-addicted husband (he built her a bar, so it’s all good!) and their blended family of kids and rescue dogs.
The first time I met Sean Kincaid it was hate at first sight.
I didn’t know who he was at the time, but he annoyed me from the very first second he entered the same air space as me.
The feeling had clearly been mutual.
On my way to my friend Felicia’s engagement party, I was already in the elevator reaching for the button when a very tall, very attractive guy threw his arm up to stop the door from closing. The door bounced back open and he stepped in the elevator with a victorious smile on his face.
Then he stopped. Mid-smile, he just cut it off. Like once he’d taken in the view of me and made eye contact, he’d decided I no longer was worthy of his teeth being displayed.
It was so shockingly obvious that I had an immediate intense negative reaction in return. Boom. Insta-hate.
I had a reputation of being something of a cynic because I don’t think couples should jump into moving in together or say, get married after a couple of weeks. I believe in taking it slow and background checks, so sue me. Proceed with caution or get your heart shattered into a million pieces. Or worse, you wind up with a restraining order. But I wasn’t unfriendly. I liked people. I was open to giving everyone a shot. It was rare for me to dislike a guy on sight.
But that dismissive glance made me want to build a wall brick by brick between us so I didn’t have to look at his arrogant face.
“What floor?” I asked, to be polite, because even though I couldn’t shake that flicker of irritation, I wasn’t going to be a bitch.
“Four. I’m going to my brother’s engagement party.” He made a sound of disgust, shaking his head. “He’s marrying some psycho he met on a dating app a hot minute ago.”
We were going to the same party. Fabulous. I actually agreed with him that the engagement was too fast. Which it definitely was. Felicia and Michael had been dating all of three weeks. But that psycho was my best friend, and why was she the crazy one and his brother wasn’t when both of them had jumped into the engagement?
“I’m going to the same apartment,” I said, studiously staring at the numbers panel. Do not engage. Do not argue with a total stranger, I coached myself.
We were only on the second floor. Slowest. Elevator. Ever.
“Oh, you know Michael? Do you work with him? Can you talk him out of this ridiculous engagement?”
I had never met Michael (because as mentioned, Felicia and Michael had basically just met themselves) but it wasn’t reassuring that I would adore Felicia’s fiancé if he shared DNA with this guy standing next to me.
“No, I don’t work with Michael.” I turned and gave him a hard stare. “Felicia is one of my best friends. You know, the psycho marrying your brother.”
Understanding dawned, but he merely grinned. He didn’t look even remotely apologetic. “No kidding? Small world.”
“How does that make it a small world?” I asked, unable to contain myself. “There are eight units in this building, two on the first floor, and we’re on the elevator together. Odds are we’d be going to the same party.”
His eyebrows shot up. “It’s called small talk. A non sequitur.”
Was that mansplaining? My vow to be polite disintegrated. “Small world, small talk… what else in your world is small?” I asked, giving him a questioning stare.
He just gave a laugh. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
“No. I wouldn’t.” Because I doubted he had a small anything, in spite of my jab.
Because unfortunately, he was actually a hot piece of man candy. I could admit that. He was tall, broad shouldered, with a strong jaw. He had light green eyes that gave off an icy coolness and cheekbones that women spent hours watching YouTube videos to try to achieve with contouring. He hadn’t shaved recently, but it wasn’t a full beard. Just a few days of caramel-colored stubble that I had no doubt most women would enjoy running their fingers through.
He was gorgeous and muscular and probably had a cock to back up all that confidence. Which made me dislike him even more.
“What do you think of this engagement?” he asked. “Seriously. No offense, but there has to be something wrong with your friend.”
“Are you serious?” Because again, Felicia was defective, but that made his brother normal? I wasn’t going to be a bitch on my own behalf, but if you mess with my friends, I will bring it. I opened my mouth to annihilate him, but got distracted when the elevator jerked to a sudden halt.
“Why are we stopping?” he asked, looking up.
The second-floor button was still lit up. “Maybe someone is going up from the second floor,” I said, because duh. That’s what elevators do. They stop at floors.
“But the doors aren’t opening.” He reached out and jammed his finger repeatedly into the “open door” button.
Fighting the urge to sigh, I just stood there and watched him pull back from the panel and run his hand through his hair.
“Nothing is happening.”
No, it wasn’t. I unfurled my scarf so it wasn’t covering my neck. It was December and I was bundled up from the commute from Brooklyn to SoHo. It was getting stuffy in the elevator. I had my purse over my shoulder and across my midsection so I didn’t have to carry it and I shifted so that I could unzip my winter coat.
Michael’s brother turned to me, panic clear on his face. “What the hell do we do?”
“It might start up again in a minute,” I said, not really that worried. I’d been on enough trains that had stopped and started again without any reason or explanation. I’d also been trapped in an elevator once about four years earlier and that had lasted three hours. Once we got past ten minutes, I would start to get concerned, but for now I wasn’t going to freak out. “Push the help button.”
That seemed an obvious course of action to me.
But he dismissed that idea. “No one is going to respond to that.”
Okay, Mr. Elevator Expert.
“I’ll push it, then.” I tried to shift around him, but he wasn’t moving. “Excuse me.” I was determined to keep my cool.
He wrinkled his nose and frowned down at me. “What? Why?”
“So I can push the button.” The frown deepened. His mouth was sensual, with lips that probably could do amazing things to a woman’s inner thighs, after he stripped her naked.
*I received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review*