THE PLAYER NEXT DOOR

THE PLAYER NEXT DOOR                               KATHY LYONS

The Player Next Door by Kathy LyonsAn unexpected catch...

NBA star Mike Giamaria doesn't mix basketball with love. Ever. Then Mike meets Tori Williams, his cute, quirky new neighbor who seems hell bent on refurbishing her death trap of a house on her own. When she falls from her roof and into his arms, Mike knows he's just caught a whole heap of trouble.

Trouble sums up Tori's life. Despite her academic success, no one believes she can take care of herself-not her family, not her ex-boyfriend. She's determined to live her life on her own terms, and if that includes a hot summer fling with the super-sexy athlete next door, so much the better.

But when Tori's around, Mike can't keep his mind on basketball. He wants...more. And to his horror, not just more time on the court. When training starts, it's game over-it has to be-unless Tori can convince Mike that love doesn't belong on the sidelines.

MY REVIEW:
     It’s funny how we will allow small things to rule our lives even crazy ones.  It seems like it widely accepted in the sports world but Mike Giamaria might have taken his mother’s good advice just a little too far.
     After twice burned once in high school and once in college both related to girls he was involved with he took her literally.  His mom told him he needed to pick between his hopes of a career and screwing around with girls.  He chose his career which meant a lot of one night stands that first year until it became old.
     He got drafted by the NBA after college.  His “system” as he calls it worked until now.  This is the system:  Love and Basketball don’t mix: Basically no woman during basketball season, because you can’t have both.  When he is recuperating in Evanston, IL. In order to stay out of the presses limelight who would think to find a N.Y. Knicks player in Bulls country. 
     After his third jog of the day, he is really liking the suburbia.  When he gets home he sees the neighbor lady dangling by a rope upside down from the roof.  The odd thing is she looks calm.  But he realizes that the rope is too thin to hold her for long.  As he enters the side yard he looks around for a ladder of which there is none that he can see.  When he looks back at the lady the t-shirt she is wearing is gathered around her neck showing her ample breast.  Instead of pulling it up in this case she takes it off.  Now it is all he can do to keep strict eye contact.  It is also when Tori Williams notices Mike.  When he speaks to her she says, what? When she remembers she has her earbuds in.  Mike ask if she needs help she says no she’s got it.
     He tells her to hold on he’s going to look out front to see if there’s a ladder there.  No, just her Prius.  He asks her how did she get up there and why was she up there?  She says she was roofing and she used the tree to get up there.  With her face of Duh!  He says his name and she gives hers.  He waits for her to know him (has a pro player) but she doesn’t.  He says here let me climb up and hoist you up.  She says no that she has been working out the plan before he arrived.  She starts swinging her body out at weird angle.  He knew what she was trying to do but she was not doing it right.
     When he looks up to see where she is tied off it’s not bad it is the fireplace.  When he starts following the rope down he sees where it was fraying.  He tells her to stop swinging but he’s too late when she is flying in the air right into his arms.  Albeit awkwardly and at the expense of the shoulder he just had surgery on.  Then he goes to help her up as he is gripped in his pain.  When she uses that shoulder to get up.  Causing a shooting pain to course through his body.
     Once she helps him home things really start to become interesting.  Because you have a guy who used to being well known and playing to the press.  Yet, he’s there to avoid it, so when Tori doesn’t know him it takes some adjustment to his ego.  Then there is Tori a professor of religion and philosophy at Northwestern who as a child was a bit of an airhead.  Yet, as an adult figured out it helps her avoid people and confirmations if she relied on the airhead routine.  Funny thing is they each figured out each other’s game but allowed it to get a better understanding of the other’s life.  Making for an interesting storyline.  The characters are funny and real.  They bring a realness to each other’s lives as well to the story itself.  I give this 5 stars.  Provided by Netgalley.
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THE COWGIRL RIDES AWAY

THE COWGIRL RIDES AWAY                        AMIE STUART

The Cowgirl Rides Away“Everybody Lies” 

My name is Jessalyn Stratton. I’ve been riding the rodeo circuit since I was seventeen. Now, I’m a twenty-six year old wash-out, a has-been with a fake knee who’s never really dated and never had a boyfriend. Then I stumbled across a personal ad on the Internet. 

Zack Boudreaux is a twenty-seven year old single dad living and working on his family’s ranch in Texas. He’s looking for the woman of his dreams and thinks he might have found it in me. 

I should be riding off into the sunset, living my Happily Ever After. Except after months of emailing each other and sharing secrets I’d never told a living soul, I still had one last secret to tell. 

Opening up to Zack was easy. Telling the truth could change everything. 

Warning: this story contains a mail-order bride, sort of, a couple of secret babies (or 3), lots of hot cowboys and (a butt-ton of family) drama. 

Please Note: The Cowgirl Rides Away is a full-length contemporary romance novel. It’s intended for mature readers, contains adult language and content, but NO cliffhanger.


MY REVIEW:
You know how I love cowboys and family sagas and this one was that fit in nicely.  It is filled with love and turmoil.  Joys and heartache.
     Jessalyn Stratton, 26, is a champion, 5 time PRA World Saddle Bronc Champion, the only female rough stock world champion in PAA history.  Yet, that has all ended when she was thrown by “Duster’s Twister.”   She was so broken emergency surgery was needed, she almost died, and she was in a coma for 3 days.  She would never do the rodeo again.  She had given rodeo and her dad 13 years, now she had nothing.  Her dad dropped her at the hospital and left because her stepmother wanted him home for the holidays.  Says everything about their relationship now doesn’t it?
     If it wasn’t for her brother Jace and Kane her best friend she would have been all alone.  The two took turns being with her at the hospital.  Jace took 4 months out of his life for her.  He finally at the last week of her physical therapy told her he was ready to get back to rodeo.  She was hurt and angry mainly because she could no longer do it.  She told him fine be gone when she got home from PT.    
     Part of her was sad he was gone but part was not because she didn’t tell him back on New Year’s Eve they passed their time at the hospital reading all the crazy classifies.  People put the craziest thing on.  Well one had caught her eye.  Enough so that she actually wrote to him.  For the past 4 months they have been getting to know each other and he wants to meet her.  When she gets home sees a letter from one of her sponsors dropping her.  Making that the last of her sponsors gone she was a real loser so she thought.  She has no one to call and vent to.  She tries Kane but he’s at his g-ma’s funeral.  When she constructs an idea about visiting Zach Boudreaux after he had extended an open invitation. 
     Zach, 27, from Texas and he has a 4 year old son Travis.  He lives on the family Ranch with his parents and three brothers.  Only one never comes home to visit at all.  Zander is an FBI agent.  He, Tim, and Ty all have their own homes on the ranch like Zach does.  Tim has a daughter, Rene, who thinks she’s a teenager and Tim is divorced.  Ty on the other hand plays in a weekend band with Zach.  He’s in a horrible marriage with Rhea.
     Now Zach would rather be painting or playing music instead of ranching his is not like his brothers.  He went to college in Florida for art.  His parents refused to pay for it but when his granny passed she left him enough to go to any color he wanted.  Coming back from college with Travis putting a strain on the relationship between him and his mother. For some reason over the years she had become grumpier.  Although, Zach kept a truth from his parents he expects full honesty from a partner but does not do the same.
     At their first meeting Jessa had to disclose a truth about herself and that she didn’t lose a conventional job but sponsorship for what and who she was.  Also, where, how, and when she found his ad.  He was leery but the work through it until the crazy family and community find out.
     Very sweet read.  Some heavy family subjects broached but it is done with respect.  Something to look at because sometime dealt with tears and sometimes humor.  All the time love and respect.  I give this 4 stars.  Provided by Netgalley.
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The Consequence of Revenge (Consequence #2)

THE CONSEQUENCE OF REVENGE              RACHEL VAN DYKEN

The Consequence of Revenge by Rachel Van DykenAfter losing his best friend to another guy, the notoriously too-confident Max Emory suddenly feels lost. He may have devastatingly good looks, an abundance of charm, and a claim to one of the biggest hotel empires around, but he has no ambition anymore. So when his fed-up friends decide they’ve had enough of his moping, they sign him up to be the next bachelor on the reality series Love Island. And between his pride and his forged signature on an ironclad contract, Max just can’t say no.

Now he’s stranded in paradise with twenty-four women, one terrifying goat, and Becca, the breathtaking barista who already turned him down back home. The closer Max gets to Becca, the more determined he becomes to win her over. As she gets to know him better, things start heating up. But is Becca really after Max’s heart—or is she after the cash prize she could claim once the cameras stop rolling?
MY REVIEW:
     Max Emory is the fun loving best friend to everyone.  He was the best friend to Milo Caro until she married Colton Mathews.  You see Max and Milo met during the first days of college.  He was lusting over her asked her out several times.  Milo though was secretly crushing on her Brother Jason’s best friend Colton plus she thought Max was guy since he was so metrosexual.
     After about the fourth rejection Max said the hell with it I want you in my life let’s be best friends and so they were.  That is until Jason’s non-wedding.  Well he was to get married to the lady from hell but luckily or unluckily depending on who you are and how you are looking at it.  His future bride had dated Max and bedded his brother Reid while dating him.  So, when the truth came out she was supposed to be pregnant and Jason felt trapped operation Max went into action so no wedding.
     As he would say he took one for the team.  Now though after that weekend they still had a month until graduation so Max had to make some decisions. So, he moved to where Milo and the guys all lived.  The thing is Max is a millionaire.  His family owns a chain of liquor stores and hotels.  Having a job has not been in his thought pattern.  In fact part of the reason for moving was so it would be easier to tell his dad he doesn’t want to take over the family business.
     Max not working though and is driving Jason crazy. Max just laze around and does nothing.  He feels he needs purpose in his life.  Something having a job and have the love of woman can do.  But he never seems to be that guy.  He’s always put in the friend zone.  Well, the friend has now gotten pissed.  Being sent to an island to be on a game show where it’s him against 25 eager women who wanted to marry a bachelor, marry this rich bachelor, win the money but not marry the bachelor or marry the bachelor who’s rich and win the money.
      Max was taking back his control he let it go when he lost Milo to Colton.  See how he turns the Island into a Max machine.  In doing so will he miss out on Becca the Starbucks bartista he had tried picking up before the show.  When his backbone was in question?  When she sees this stronger more determined Max she finds it sexy but did she cut off her own arm?
     Becca was there to win the money even if she was the top 4 she would get $20,000.00.  That would pay for the last 2 years of college.  Only 3 days of the Max charm she was only totally sold.  She was talking the Max lingo.  Oh No!  Could she be the new Milo?  Another Best Friend? Or more?  Or will she feel the way his friends do about him needing a job or does she need him to have eyes just for her?  No as funny as the 1st book but still good.  Just had a problem with the negative vibes from his friends and the backstabbing.  His so called friends were frenemies.  Sorry I think I would have dropped them.  I give this 4 stars.  Provided by Netgalley.

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SIMMERING ICE

SIMMERING ICE                          VERONICA FORAND & SUSAN SCOTT SHELLEY

Simmering Ice by Veronica ForandWhen the gloves come off, she's worth the penalty...

Physical therapist Annie Davidson is great at her job but unlucky when it comes to love. She's just out of a bad relationship. A really bad relationship. All she can do is focus on work...that is until she runs into professional hockey player Alec O'Meara. She's a touch insecure and doesn't understand why he's interested in her.

Despite being one of the biggest players on the team, right wing Alec O'Meara prefers finesse over force. After the tragic death of his wife, he likes to keep things loose on and off the ice. But the red-headed Annie challenges his beliefs and makes him think about taking their relationship to the net. 
The passion and fun they share is addicting and makes them long for more. But her insecurities that she's not good enough, and his anxiety over a long-term commitment will keep them apart, unless they can find a way to break through the defenses they've built around their hearts.
MY REVIEW:
     Alec O’Meara plays hockey for The Hustler’s he’s good at his job yet when it comes to his personal life he has issues.  You see Alec was once married to a beautiful red-head named Tamara.  She met a tragic death known as cancer.  Alec has really never gotten over it.  He loves beautiful women but he’s only looking for a one nightstand.  Not a forever kind of girl at least not anymore.  He already had that and lost it.  So you could say he has commitment issues.
     Well, he’ll have to take a number behind the beautiful and charismatic redhead, Annie Davidson.  Everyone that meets her loves her what’s not to love.  She’s outgoing, funny, and beautiful.  Yet, no one knows her secrets she carries.  The beautiful physical therapist is unlucky at love.  She’s just out of a bad relationship, let me say this again a really bad relationship.   You see her ex boy-friend, Corey, was cheating on her with a medical assistant, they both were working at the hospital.  Everyone knew about but Annie.  But when she found out it was over Corey ended up moving hospitals and the assistant moved to the second floor. Out of shear loneliness she can only focus on her job and at least be the best she can be there.  Until hockey player Alec O’Meara runs into her and almost knocks her over.
     They get set up by a mutual friend Mikael the goalie of the team.  Annie and he became friends when he started visiting some of the patients she sees.  Then it turns out he lives in her neighborhood and since they both don’t cook they end up at the same restaurant at least twice a week.  After she cried on his shoulder about her last break up they were more like brother and sister.  Once Annie meets Alec she mentions to Mikael that she wouldn’t mind risking going out there and dating again.  Hence the dinner set up she had with Alec.
     It was a wonderful dinner although it started out awkward since it was the three of them and then Mikael played the “Oh I forgot I have a date!” card.  When it was over Alec wanted to drive her home and knew she felt uncomfortable so he calls Mikael for 3 reasons, 1.) To check to see if he was really on a date. 2.) To see if he was disturbing him for setting them up which would serve him right. And 3.) To put Annie’s mind at ease the he was not a rapist or murder.  They both listen in.  That’s where the problem arises.  Mikael goes on about how he was right that Alec would like her right?  That he could see it in his eyes when you met her at the hospital.  Making Annie and Alec laugh because Mikael had no clue they were both on.  Before either of them could tell him Annie was on the phone the Happy Smile they both had drops when Mikael says, don’t shoot yourself in the foot like you do with all the other ladies, like you have since Tamara.  That was the just at least.  Either way there went the fun right out of his voice and the joy out of his eyes.  Only making his drive to take her home all the worse.  All she could say was, “Sorry for your loss, sorry if I remind you of her and thanks for dinner.  I’ll see you around.”
     But neither of them could stop thinking of the other one.  Alex sees her after a game with a group of her young patients meeting the team.  He knew she would be there so he was seeking out her red hair to get a glimpse of her.  Once he made his way to the other side of the room where she was trying to blend into the scenery now that he was in the room.  With her beauty that was not going to happen.  He engaged her patients then her too.  She made short but sweet answers then told the kids they needed to go.  At which point Mikael said knowing her she would probably be stopping at the diner after dropping off the kids.
     Instead of going out with the team to celebrate he went to the diner to try to run into Annie.  When he gets there a guy has his arms around her pinned to the counter.  It gutted him at first.  She was the first woman he had interest in since his wife.  When he noticed Annie’s face was strained and then she was saying something to the guy who moved back quickly.  He could tell she was shaken up but she assured him when he went in to check on her that it was handled.  God he loved her fight and her courage.

     I totally enjoyed this story short.  Showing the struggles of starting over after losing a loved one and the emotional strain it takes on you but it can take on your new partner.  In the case of Alec and Annie, Alec was a celeb and lived a grand life style and Annie for the most part was living a content life if she would just stop talking to her mom.  She gave her reason to always be in a “state of insecurities and less thans.”  Watch how these two work in and out of personal mine fields.  I give this 5 stars.  Provided by Netgalley.  Follow us at:  www.1rad-readerreviews.com

HERE TOMORROW 7 PM PST. MICHELE SUMMERS: AUTHOR OF:: Sweet Southern Trouble see excerpts & trailer & other works

HERE TOMORROW 7 PM PST. MICHELE SUMMERS AUTHOR OF: What happens when a sassy kindergarten teacher stands up to the hottest...