ARC Review: Should’ve Been Home Yesterday by Inez Kelley

Format: E-bookshouldvebeenhomeyesterday
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Country Roads, #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Webb Hawkins
Heroine: Molly McCreedy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 21, 2014
Started On: July 18, 2014
Finished On: July 30, 2014

Ever since I started reading Inez Kelley’s Country Roads series, I’ve been hankering to read the story of the enigmatic Webb Hawkins, CEO of Hawkins Hardwood. The hint of a past entanglement between himself and Molly McCreedy, the owner of McCreedy’s Diner suggested a story that could prove to be explosive at best. And though Should’ve Been Home Yesterday didn’t live up to all my expectations, it nevertheless managed to give me a story well worth my while.

Should’ve Been Home Yesterday starts twenty years prior to the present day and highlights the relationship that exists between Webb and Molly. Webb and Molly’s older brother Clay had been inseparable during their childhood. Webb being ten years older than Molly never sees her as anything more than a sister even though Molly considers Webb hers even at the tender age of ten. People might call her love for Webb a childhood crush or a fascination that would fade away as she would grow older, but for Molly, in the depths of her heart she had known even then that there would none but Webb for her.

Present day finds Molly pregnant with Webb’s baby and Webb wanting to do the right thing by marrying her. Webb might want to keep his distance where Molly is concerned, and he had been doing a swell job out of it until imbibing in too much alcohol had shattered his ironclad control and the inevitable had happened. Though Molly has her misgivings, she is the optimistic sort who would like to believe that Webb feels something more for her than he lets on and that it could grow into something wonderful and beautiful, like the love that blooms in her heart for him. And that is why, Molly finds herself entering into a marriage with the love of her life by shoving aside any apprehension about the union that she might have.

Webb has always found his solace in his work. Building up his business had taken his mind off of the terrible mistake he had made in his past, thinking that he could have a chance with Molly when she’d suddenly surprised him by growing up. The Molly that he is married to stirs up feelings that he would like to turn his back on. With the Eco-terrorist who had managed to make his life a living hell the past couple of months still continuing to haunt and taunt him, Webb believes that his attention needs to be focused on where it is important; on his business and the people who work for him rather than his newly wedded wife who moves him to distraction.

Molly understands only a trifle bit too late that Webb had never intended for their marriage to get real. But she certainly doesn’t make it easy on Webb to just ignore her and be, but rather Molly’s understanding of who Webb is thaws that control of his that Webb clings onto and makes him realize that with Molly, there is no detachment to be had when it comes to him. And what Webb doesn’t realize is that unbeknown to him or Molly, the danger that surrounds him has been closing in on the most important person in his life and that he might lose her before he can even declare just how much of a fool he has been trying to keep her at arms length all this while.

Should’ve Been Home Yesterday follows the pattern that has been set for the previous books in this series. Every chapter begins with an interesting fact or tidbit that is related to the setting and the story which I have absolutely enjoyed in each of these books. Molly and Webb’s relationship certainly had its moments. Webb’s deep reluctance to open himself up emotionally lent the story the right amount of angst, and of course the groveling that he had to do to win back the affections of his wife later on served to be the healing balm that their relationship required. Inez makes the story doubly interesting by working in tidbits of Molly and Webb’s shared past into the unfolding events which gives the reader just enough of a background to connect with Molly and Webb.

As I finished reading Should’ve Been Home Yesterday, I couldn’t help but want to read the stories of Finn, Bob and Zane Miner. They all show promise as characters well worth being given their own stories and I would definitely love it if at all there is a possibility of that happening. Dear Inez, please take that as a hint and write them happily ever afters? The one thing that continues to draw me when it comes to Inez is that her stories always provide beautiful quotes for my collection and Should’ve Been Home Yesterday was no exception to the rule. And though my favorite in the series by far has been Jonah and Zury’s story, Should’ve Been Home Yesterday is full of the good bits that makes it a great read! Recommended.

Final Verdict: Inez’s Country Roads series continues to deliver beautiful stories, well worth your reading time!

Favorite Quotes

The hesitation in his tone speared through her and she spun, rising to her knees to face him. His hands stayed still, sliding in the soap film around her waist. Bared to the navel, with nothing hiding the rest of her but a thin layer of floating bubbles, she locked eyes with his. One wide black pupil nearly obliterated the brown iris, his real eye reacting to the desire he held back. His glass eye stared at her with sightless fixation. Beneath the collar of his shirt, thick cords stood out in his neck.

Molly reached up and circled his neck, stepping closer than she had when they danced, and brushed her lips against the corner of his mouth. The touch of lips on lips was like a summer lightning strike, all-powerful and shocking. His hands rose, settling on her hips, the sun-warmed skin smooth beneath his calluses. He forgot everything except Molly. He dipped his head and kissed her.
She melted. There was no other word he could think of.

Molly bucked as the crest of his cock’s head grazed her clit. “Holy shit.”
She added a wiggle to her swing and his control slipped. Holy shit was right. He’d never been so turned on and he wasn’t even inside her. Tongues swirling, lips sealed, their hips moved together. Friction had never been so intense, so hot and drugging. The muscles in groin grew tight as climax approached but he gripped her ass and rocked harder, driving against her clit faster, needing her to go with him. She whimpered as a quake bloomed. She drove down hard, grinding on his cock as she exploded.

A low groan rumbled in his chest, taking their kiss to high heat. He delved his tongue deep, sweeping along her lips, then plunging inside. He tasted of mint, a cool underlying accent to the intensity of his kiss. Beneath her knees, the plush couch was soft but her focus was on the firm thighs between hers. His hands slid up her legs, hooked around her ass and tugged her forward.
It was every Christmas, every birthday, every Valentine’s gift wrapped into one when he wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. This was her dream, Webb sober, loving her openly, their lives entwined.

Molly had no breath to answer. She was trapped in a cycle of pleasure, of taking him over and over, wanting him deeper and never wanting to let him go. The rhythmic squeeze she kept around him drove her closer but she needed him to peak with her, to trip over that edge. She didn’t want to go alone. Together. She needed them to go together.
Yanking one hand from the cushion, she raked his back with her nails. Webb arched hard, driving so deep into her she shattered with a cry.

Her fingers tightened, pulling his hair but he ignored the pain, needing to taste her climax. Lightly, quickly, he fluttered his tongue across the hood then curled low and speared the pulse beneath. Easing his hands under her ass, he kneaded each globe and urged her knees further apart with his shoulders. Spread beneath his mouth, Molly was his for the taking and he took, without mercy, hungrily, and without relenting. He wished he could claim her heart as easily, was worthy enough to claim it.

Her hand turned, skating up his chest, delving through his chest hair. Every instinct he had begged him to drive home hard, to take her fast and deep, but he swallowed them. He needed this, this slow connection, this reconnection. He wanted to draw it out, gorge on it, grow drunk on nothing more than his wife. Teeth gritted for restraint, he pressed into her slow and steady until he could go no farther. A twitch bloomed along his cheek as he soaked in her velvet grip.
Molly’s fingers bit into his chest as her mouth fell open with a low exhale. “Oh God, I love how you feel inside me.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Carina | iTunes


Review: Anything You Want by Erin Nicholas

Format: E-bookanythingyouwant
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Hero: Marc Sterling
Heroine: Sabrina Rose Cassidy
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 15, 2011
Started On: May 17, 2011
Finished On: May 18, 2011

Anything You Want by Erin Nicholas is exactly what the doctor ordered for my restless craving to read something evocative and different. A huge shout out of thanks to Cari Quinn, one of the most fabulous authors out there who was wonderful enough to recommend this to me when I was feeling down in the dumps, wondering what to read to get myself out of this funk which I have found myself in lately.

Sabrina Rose Cassidy is down on her luck, stranded in a strange town, with no money and no means of getting herself back home to Justice after 4 whole years of being away, trying to find that elusive something that would fulfill her and curb the restlessness that has always been a part of her. Now pregnant, Sabrina wants to do the right thing, make the right decisions for the first time in her life, even if it means going back and facing all those whom she left behind when she left to pursue her dreams.

When Marc Sterling receives a call meant for his best friend Luke Hamilton, the last thing he expects is to hear the voice of Sabrina, the woman who broke his best friend’s heart and left town right after rejecting his marriage proposal. Not wanting  to subject Luke to Sabrina’s brand of charm is what has Marc hopping into a car and travelling 6 hours to reach the woman who makes his hackles rise just by existing. But what Marc doesn’t expect to happen is for Sabrina to stir his senses up and give him the fastest hard-on in history and to see the unexpected flare of desire burn in Sabrina’s eyes right back at him.

For two people who has a history of being unable to tolerate each other’s presence, the forced intimacy Marc and Sabrina are subjected to has both of them re-evaluating how they see each other, each finding qualities in the other that draws them in like a  moth to flame. Back home in Justice, Luke does the expected which has Marc reeling in sheer frustration amongst other things, knowing that he possibly cannot want to possess the woman whom his brother is set on marrying.

Anything You Want is a contemporary romance that has got everything going for it. In-depth character development that had me falling in love with each and every single character that came up in the story, wonderful dialogs that had me smiling, and of course the sexual innuendos that fly between Sabrina and Marc which just ups the sizzling heat factor in the book makes this a story of the cannot-put-down-for-the-life-of-me kind.

Marc is a wonderful hero, who starts out resenting Sabrina and her dependent nature on Luke which Marc knows is of the destructive kind, but later finds himself hopelessly ensnared by the different facets of the woman Sabrina really turns out to be. Sabrina is a heroine who starts out looking as a self-centered woman who knows just how to keep Luke dangling after her, but her character as it unfolds is so much more complex, layer after layer which Marc unfurls to find the passionate woman inside.

Sabrina is a woman who is faced with a tough choice. On one side is the man who offers her the security that she craves, the choice she knows that she should make in order to give her baby everything he or she deserves. On the other side is the man who makes her insides go weak just by walking into the room, whose way of calling her “Seattle” has her wanting to jump his bones each and every single time. He is the man who understands her, who wants to set her free so that she can do what it is that she loves doing, and never ever have to wonder “What if?”.

I don’t think I can do an adequate job of outlining just how much I loved everything about this story from its heartwarming characters and setting to the very well done sex scenes of the toe-curling variety that I just reveled in. Now I can’t help but want to find out whether Luke and the very unusual Kat gets their story, which I am hoping fervently that it does come out because it is so obvious that they are meant to be together.

Very highly recommended for fans of contemporary romances featuring a hot-as-sin hero and a heroine who finds where she belongs – in the arms of the man she least expects to find the cure for her restless wandering.

Favorite Quotes

He kissed like a god, had made her come within five minutes of touching her – a definite record – and was now telling her father that any guy would be lucky to have her.
She’d just fallen a little bit in love with Marc Sterling.

“What should he be doing?” She was very interested in Marc’s opinion on this.
He moved in a little closer. “He should be telling you that you are the sexiest thing he’s ever seen. That he passes by as close to you as possible whenever he can just to smell your hair. That when you laugh it makes him want to French kiss you up against the wall. He should buy you something you’d really appreciate – like cinnamon massage lotion. That he could lick off, slowly and thoroughly, after rubbing it all over your body.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Samhain


Short & Sweet Review: Strangers When We Meet by Rebecca Winters

Format: E-bookwhenstrangersmeet
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Superromance #737
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Nicholas Marchant Armstrong
Heroine: Rosie Gardner Armstrong
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: March 1, 1997
Started On: October 25, 2010
Finished On: October 25, 2010

Harlequin Super Romance always delivers heartwarming stories of love and family life interwoven together. My first experience with this series came when one of my favorite authors Sarah Mayberry wrote for this series. Even then I usually refrain from Harlequin books these days, unless I actually know the author well enough like I do for Ms. Mayberry. I picked up this novel from a discussion thread on Amazon opened up for book suggestions on the theme where military heroes who are presumed dead by their wives suddenly return back from the dead leading to the dynamics that make up a great story. This story played with all my emotions; I felt heartache, happiness, anger and betrayal at times and I say that a romance author has done his/her job well when you provoke all sorts of emotions be it good or bad from your readers. So on with my review.

Storyline: Rosie Gardner Armstrong had married her high school sweetheart Nicholas Marchant Armstrong and never looked back. They had been happy as two people who are as tuned into one another as they are can be. It is when Nick gos off to Iraq during the war to be presumed dead for the past six and half years return from the dead to find that his wife Rosie had met Zachery Wilde and had gotten engaged less than 24 hours ago to the man the story starts. The only thing that had kept Nick going during the long hours of torture during his captivity had been thoughts of his beloved Rosie and son Cody who had now grown into a sixteen year old boy. Even though Nick’s doting parents nor his son shows any hint of knowing about the new man in his wife’s life, the moment Nick holds Rosie in his arms and kisses her, he knows that Rosie had changed and that her soul no longer belonged to him. What follows is a story seeped in heartache and misery for Rosie with all the guilt that surfaces whilst she tries to come to terms with her feelings for the two wonderful men in her life, and the inevitable choice she has to make, either way hurting a man she loves.

The First Meet: Rosie and Nick had first meet one another during a high school sponsored carnival in a pie throwing contest. Nick had been paired with Rosie and from the moment that he sees Rosie amidst all the pie stuffing, peeking out with her green eyes, Nick’s young heart leaps right out and offers itself with undying love for her.

Time period: This romance has a contemporary setting.

Awareness between the two characters: Though there are no steamy interludes between Nick and Rosie, one can’t help but be drawn into the web of awareness between these two characters. It is gut wrenching to read about the confusion and guilt that Rosie goes through because she is engaged to one man whilst married to a man who starts divorce proceedings because he wants her to be happy. Through flashbacks into what their life together had been like, Ms. Winters shows the deep connection between Nick and Rosie, a connection that refuses to go away even with distance and time.

How the relationship grows: Nothing that happens within this story is easy to read about – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. When Nick returns from the dead, Rosie who ends up in a state of shock doesn’t know to whom her loyalties lie with. It is Zach who is the ultimate hero in my opinion because he refuses to put Rosie through so much pain and heartbreak and gives her the choice to work things out with her husband who thinks the best thing he can do for Rosie is to let her go completely from his life so that she can start anew with Zach as her husband.
It is to Zach that Rosie runs back to when she realizes that her husband is serious about obtaining the divorce, and it is because Zach who has already lost so much in his life loves her more than his next breathe that he takes her back and resumes their courtship though Rosie is unable to let go of Nick and their shared memories together.
Nick on the other hand tries to smooth out the way for the couple to be because he believes that it is what Rosie wants and needs. Amidst all this however, the connection between Nick and Rosie grow, because both of them still love and yearn for each other as much or more so than ever since the first time each had known the other. There is a lot of drama and angst involved whilst Nick’s parents consider Rosie’s love for Zach a betrayal, whilst Cody tries to adjust to accepting Zach as a permanent part of his mother’s life.

The turning point: There is no sudden revelation that happens within the story to guide Rosie on who to choose in the end. The decision comes to her gradually as she realizes that her feelings wouldn’t change and that it would be wrong of her to choose Zach whilst she was still in love with her husband.

Likes: I liked the fact that this romance doesn’t cut any corners on the emotional upheaval the reader has to go through to reach the happily-ever-after. The character who was most endearing to me through the whole story was Zachary Wilde who really understood the woman he loved, and loved her enough to set her free not once but twice so that she would be able to choose who she wants to spend the rest of her life loving. It just flat-out broke my heart for Zach at the end. *sobs quietly* But I felt a little better once I saw that Ms. Winters didn’t leave Zach hanging high and dry for long as his story was soon published with his own happily-ever-after.

Dislikes: I really didn’t like the way how guilt-ridden everyone made Rosie feel throughout the story. Her in-laws, her son as well as Nick made Rosie feel as if she had betrayed all of them by trying to move on with her life and trying to find happiness with another man. At times, I felt like screaming in frustration at her in-laws because they were so devoted to their only child that for even a moment they never consider just how much of an emotional impact Nick’s sudden return back into her life must be on her. And Rosie refused to stand up for herself, because she felt too guilty at all times because she had believed her husband to be dead and tried to move on, whilst her in-laws and son hadn’t. Totally didn’t sit well with me!

Recommended for: Fans of Harlequin Super Romance publisher series and those who love a story with a love triangle that guarantees to play havoc on all your emotions.

Favorite Quotes

Just then Nick raised his head, and a pair of black lashed, flame-blue eyes no length of time could ever change sought hers over Cody’s shoulder. The secret smile he’d always reserved for her alone shone from his face.
His remembered smile conjured up a myriad of emotions from their frozen prison, and now they nearly overwhelmed her.
“Nick…” she cried, reaching blindly for him.
He met her halfway, clutching her to him so hard she could feel his ribs through his uniform – graphic evidence of the inhumane treatment he’d received in captivity.
His body quaked. “If you hadn’t been here waiting for me, I would have died before my feet touched the tarmac.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | Harlequin



Review: Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Superromance #1626
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero:  Quinn Whitfield
Heroine: Amy Parker
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 2010
Started On: March 25, 2010
Finished On: March 25, 2010

Sarah Mayberry has woven her magic once again with this beautiful story of two best friends who after a long period of time find love and happiness with one another. The story of Amy and Quinn centers around three best friends. Amy and Quinn both grew up together as neighbors. Liz moves in to the neighborhood much later and the three of them were inseparable during those years.

Amy has loved Quinn since she was fourteen years old. However, Liz and Quinn seemed to find love in one another long before Amy could do anything about her feelings and one thing leads to another, and before long Liz and Quinn are married and living in Sydney, both high profile attorneys whilst Amy stays behind in her hometown with her dreams of restoring the local theater to what it was before when her great grandfather owned the place.

Six years have gone by since Quinn and Liz got married and moved to Sydney and Amy is just about to have her dream realized. Amy has tried her best to move on and forget about Quinn and the intense feelings that he arouses in her. However a bit of legal problem regarding the sale of the theater ends Amy in calling Quinn up never realizing that during the period that she had tried to distance herself from their lives, Liz and Quinn were proceeding with getting a divorce.

Quinn hasn’t thought of Amy other than as his very best pal since he was fourteen years old and he and Liz had started dating. Now feeling as a failure with his marriage and future uncertain, Quinn feels that he has finally come home when he returns back to his hometown and starts to help restore the theater with Amy.

The close proximity within which these two work together on the restoration project makes them face their intense attraction head on and other feelings that they may have buried deep inside for the sake of their friendship.

To complicate matters, Liz is back, with the intention of winning Quinn and his love back. Its a pretty sweet and happy ending for Amy and Quinn and I enjoyed reading each and every bit of their story, as much as Ms. Mayberry must have enjoyed writing their story.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo