PLAYING IT COOL (Sydney Smoke Rugby #2)

PLAYING IT COOL                                          AMY ANDREWS

Harper Nugent might have a little extra junk in her trunk, but her stepbrother calling her out on it is the last straw… When rugby hottie, Dexter Blake, witnesses the insult, he surprises Harper by asking her out. In front of her dumbass brother. Score! Of course, she knows it’s not for reals, but Dex won’t take no for an answer.

Dexter Blake’s life revolves around rugby with one hard and fast rule: no women. Sure, his left hand is getting a workout, but he's focused on his career for now. Then he overhears an asshat reporter belittle the curvy chick he'd been secretly ogling. What's a guy to do but ask her out? It’s just a little revenge against a poser, and then he'll get his head back in the game.

But the date is better than either expected. So is the next one. And the next. And the heat between them…sizzles their clothes right off.

Suddenly, this fake relationship is feeling all too real…

MY REVIEW:
What at first starts out as a gesture to be nice and rescue a beautiful woman from her evil step brother.  Quickly turns into making that same situation appear no better than if he had allowed said stepbrother to belittle and degrade her after all.  Which is totally not what he wanted.
     You see Harper Nugent 23-years old, has a handsome sexy sports anchor step brother that all the women love but her.  He has been nothing but cruel to her since she was 10 and they became a blended family when their parents married.  He realized that she was not the kind of girl that would need rescuing so rather than be embarrassed by her he openly took pot shots at her.  Making himself feel better.  It only continued to get worse and fueled by his mother he never outgrew it even to this day.
     So when Chuck was at work on the rugby field today doing an interview Harper was waiting on the sidelines.  He knew she was there but kept ignoring her.  Until she wouldn’t be ignored any longer.  With the whole team watching she called him.  But when he sees that she had come onto the field Chuck nuts up on her.  They have words in front of the team.  He doesn’t think they can hear but they can.  They hear how cruel he is being about her weight and how disgusting she is and an embarrassment to him.  That he has and image to uphold and she gives him a bad name.  Well, that was it!  Dexter Blake 30-years old, and one of the top players of the team could not hear any more from the douche bag.  He storms over there ready to knock out Chuck.  Instead he starts flirting thinking putting hands on Chuck could cost him. 
     Harper doesn’t know what to make of Dex.  Eventually Dex asks her out on a date.  Which everyone knew was not him because he NEVER DATES!   EVER!  Chuck’s mouth was hanging open at first but then he was throwing daggers at Harper.  Harper knew if anything it was a pity date.  At that moment she didn’t care it was all about pissing off Chuck.  Dex takes her phone and adds his number in and even calls himself so he will have her number.  That way he can call her and set up the date.  The sad part is Chuck and her step monster (mother) call and leave messages saying things like, “You know it’s a pity date.”  “Don’t embarrass Chuck just cancel.”  “You could damage my career by going.”  “Set your sights lower when dating.”
     Which only allows for the behavior that follows.  Yes, women are part of a new and always exciting sexual revolution but…You have things about your image.  You’re a young 23-year old girl who has been beaten down all her life because she didn’t fit the modeling guidelines.  She does for a BBW.  But not for a twig.  Now she has a famous sexy handsome guy who is into BBW’s.  He comes on like the nice guy who wants a platonic relationship because he is this dedicated rugby robot player.
     Well, all to soon he’s taking it to the next level.  Next thing you know they sleep together.  And she justifies it that she is okay with it because they are just friends with benefits only, but when he falls asleep and sneaks out they both panic.  After a couple of days, she texts him to come over for a booty call/fun.  But when he comes he is dressed for an event where she knows he’ll be escorting another skinny model more than likely.  She never asks and he never says.  She still gives herself to him.  Why because during sex he says she’s beautiful.  Yet, a few days earlier, when his friends know he had a date, he right away friend zoned her.  Nice right?
     But then the Sunday afternoon, after they had sex again, he spends the afternoon at home with Harper and her twin brother and sister (Tabby & Jace) which seems to change everything.  That weekend Dex slayed two dragons at once on behalf of Harper and something inside changed he may have side it was to torment Chuck but it appeared to be so much more but neither was allowing their hearts to get involved just yet.
     See what started the turn in this platonic relationship on its ear.   Words had the ability to injure your mind, body, and soul.  But as Harper and Dex were about to find out actions or lack of actions could do the same thing.  No one can make us feel anything it’s what we allow or teach that is an okay way to treat us that can cause problems in the long run.  No matter what we may say sex comes with feelings.  Maybe not right now but down the line the emotions come to roost and when you have to face facts it’s never as simple as you told yourself it would be.  As Harper found out and later on Dex does too.
     I really enjoyed Amy’s humor and sensitivity used in dealing with Harper’s feeling and emotions as she finds herself.  She’s a BBW who has been teased most of her life by her stepbrother and step monster.

     What I loved is that Dex was a character I loved then hated then loved etc.…That made this such a page turner because you wanted to see how he was going to stick his foot into it again.  I give this 5++++ stars.  Provided by netgalley.com.  Follow us at:  www.1rad-readerreviews.com.

UNDER THE HOOD BOXED SET

UNDER THE HOOD BOXED SET                    SALLY CLEMENTS

Under the Hood

When Alice Starr mistakenly believes attorney Mark Jameson needs her help, he discovers he likes being rescued for a change. Smitten by her confidence, he hides his expertise so he has an excuse to see her again. Alice doesn't have time for a man. But with one kiss, she and Mark have advanced into water so deep she's in danger of drowning...

Racing the Hunter’s Moon 

Feisty Betty Smith should have only one thing on her mind—catching the conman who swindled her mother. Not the sexy stranger who kissed her then completely disappeared.
Undercover FBI agent Joe Carter needs to focus on the bad guy who got away, not the gorgeous headstrong brunette who watches too many cop shows and keeps interfering in his case. And while entering the vintage car rally as a couple seemed like a good idea at the time, faking feelings for each other turns out to be the easiest part.

Love for Beginners

Melody Swan is looking for a man who can share her hopes and dreams, but she swore she would never lose herself to passion. When sexy Heath Starr agrees to temporarily sub in the Under the Hood garage for his sister, Mel sees the perfect opportunity to enjoy being with a man without becoming attached. Heath came to Meadowsweet to photograph nature, not find a hookup, especially since his last relationship ended in disaster. When the two find themselves isolated in a rustic cabin, they could both break their promises if they aren’t careful...
 

MY REVIEW:
 UNDER THE HOOD:   
     Alice Starr had been hurt and lied to by her ex so rather than stay in New York and continue to be the baby of the eight children family.  She moved away.  She had always worked at her father’s auto garage working on cars.  But after what happened with Joel she didn’t want to run into him and his new girl.  So when her two friends offered her a partnership in a garage in Meadowsweet, Va.  It’s called “Under the Hood” she jumped at the deal. 
     It is owned by three women, who will be a new service for the ladies catering to ladies for their automotive needs.  They will be able to take classes on maintenance.  A place where women will not feel unfamiliarity and uncomfortable to ask questions about their own cars or when they call for a tow at night that it will be a man that they have to fear that may do something to them.  Alice Melody (Mel), and Betty want to make every woman feel empowered about their automotive needs.
     After sleeping on one of the girl’s coach for a while Alice has finally found an apartment.  A new neighbor she is about to meet from the angle she is seeing now is just great.  Why because he is hunched over the engine of his MGB GT.  So she asks if she can help.  He says if you have cables which she does.  So she hooks them up and Whalla it’s a go Houston!  They introduce themselves.  He’s Mark Jameson.
     Mark happens to be a divorce attorney.  Very good at his job and well liked.  He lets her help him even though he doesn’t tell her he could have done it himself.  Why you ask?  You see he built the car from the ground up with his grandfather.  Mostly because Alice thinks he is clueless and he would like to see her again.  Not to mention it had been a really long time since some had helped him do anything just because.  It felt really nice.
     I thought it was a cute short.  Ended too soon.  Still good I thought.  4 stars.

LOVE FOR BEGINNERS:

     Mel has known Alice Starr since college and she always remembered her talking about her oldest brother Heath known as the “Ladyslayer.”  One time she had gone to New York and Heath had driven three girls to the train station but she was the only one that needed to get back.  She was squished right next to Heath in his truck cab. He didn’t say too much.
     She sat next to Heath with their thighs pressed next to one another.  What she remembered most is that it heated her from the inside out.  Making her feel uneasy.  Which was unexpected and it almost feels like it had been a dream state since it had been five years ago.
     But since Alice had injured her ankle and can’t work and we can’t find a female Temp.  Alice’s dad was willing to send one of the boys.  Heath volunteered.  Don’t let him fool you though.  Heath is ready to be out from under the family pressure of being first born son who takes over the business.  Heath has his own dreams.  Alice may have just given him the golden ticket to find out if he can make it come true.
     Mel on the other hand has lived her life in the shadows of her mother’s mistakes ones she still making.  Now Mel is willing to give up her dream home as she has loved, for fear she will end up like her mom.  With a broken heart and now she may soon be homeless.
     Both Mel and Heath are at crossroads in their lives.  Ready to make changes.  Ready to stop being their parent’s crutches and living their own lives.  Also, what they thought was love or not love, romance or lack of.  Also commitment or lack of and if it is totally off the mark and terribly lacking in fill their needs anymore.  Fear of losing their hearts or having it shattered is no longer an option because not doing anything is not living.
     Can these two find a way to actually make it work?  Without hurting or risking it all?  Will it be love or lust?  Can they be one in the same and be okay?  Passion?  I totally enjoyed this book.  These two characters were filled with a passion and emotion from the get go.  It just made it so fun to read.  I give this one 5 stars.

RACING THE HUNTER’S MOON:

     Wrong is wrong.  Right?  Have you ever championed a fight on behalf of someone because you knew it was the right thing to do?  Even when the one that was wronged didn’t want it?  Well, that is the case for Betty Smith.
     You see a little over three years ago her mother was swindled out of a great deal of money.  She had been taken in by a sweet talking good for nothing con man.  Preying on women with money who find him exciting.
     Well, when he had taken her mother’s money and was gone Betty wanted her to report it.  But her mother was too proud.  She couldn’t stand the thought of anyone knowing.  Soon after Alex Carlisle was taken in by the FBI which Betty was so happy about.  Until she wasn’t for not long after he was released due to a mishandling of evidence.  She felt let down by the judicial system.
     It made her angry enough that she hired a PI to find him.  But her boyfriend at the time said she was becoming to distressed which was causing their relationship a lot of tension.  So behind her back he fired the PI.  Which when she found out she got rid of her boyfriend.  She tried to get the PI on it again but the trail had gone cold.
     So imagine her surprise when she is standing in line at the bakery and sees him hugging on her best customer, Leonora.  Chills ran up her spine.  She had to figure a way to get Leonora away from him and catch him at his own game.  But before she could come up with a plan a man says not to follow Charmers into the alley. (footnote: He is going by Alex Charmers now.)  Because she will get caught by him tailing him.  When Charmers on his way back out of the alley the man leans down and kisses Betty.  Said man is undercover FBI agent Joe Carter his AKA is Joe Carter carpenter.  That’s right he kisses Betty.  When he sees Charmers gone he backs away saying that she needs to stop following him.  Then he hops in his car and leaves.
     Then on the day after they meet to end up at Mel and Heath’s place to wait for the man that will be assembling their new bed.  He was to be there at 6 and at 8 he finally gets there.  While she has her back to the door startling her.  When she turns it’s the guy from the alley.  She wouldn’t admit it but she is a little glad to see him because she hasn’t been able to forget the kiss but afraid also because this guy knows where she lives.  Until…he says Betty right?  She says Joe?  Then she knows he’s Mark and Alice’s friend Joe Carter the carpenter.  But something still doesn’t feel right.  She knows it and so does he.
     So he says can we talk after I put the bed together?  She says yes.  She’ll make it Mel has a lot of meals in the freezer she can whip up.  Turns out they are after the same thing Charmers.  But he doesn’t like her butting in she is not trained. 
     See how these two work together to reach their goals.  Or can they?  The both of them have secrets that they are hiding that can cost them when it comes to their issues with trust.  Will they bend for the greater good? 

     I enjoyed this story I give it 5 stars.  I love the book as a whole.  I loved how strong and independent each of the women were but as Heath I think said, “Soft on the inside.”  They also empowered other women instead of tearing them down.  All of it without taking their sexuality away from them.  I give this book as a whole 5 stars.  Provided by netgalley.com.  Follow us at:  www.1rad-readerreviews.com.

TWISTED UP (Taking Chances #1)

TWISTED UP                                               ERIN NICHOLAS

Avery Sparks is a master at controlling chaos—and she gets plenty of opportunities as fire chief and head of emergency management in her hometown of Chance, Nebraska. The only thing she can’t seem to control are her feelings when she’s around Jake Mitchell, the man who was her first everything the night of their high school graduation. But Jake was so quick to leave Chance—and Avery—behind that she swore she’d move on.

While Avery’s job is to minimize drama, Jake embraces the chaos of an emergency. After enlisting in the Army National Guard, Jake became a nationally recognized leader in disaster recovery. Yet a life on the road has left him restless. So when a class-four tornado wreaks havoc on Chance, he’s eager to return home—and to the woman never far from his mind.

Now, Avery and Jake must team up to help their hometown weather a siege of violent storms. But it’s clear to them both that nature isn’t the only force they’ll have to reckon with. Will Avery and Jake’s whirlwind love affair be an all-new disaster—or can they recover from their stormy past to build a future together?

MY REVIEW:
     Fear, love, passion, all these emotions can cause us to act out in so many different ways.  Some can motivate us to change our world or the world around us.  Others can make us freeze up and never do anything, then there are others that make us so bitter we do things out of spite.
     Avery Sparks in this story was a young girl of four when she started hanging out at the home of Heidi and Wes Mitchell the Chief of Police.  You see Avery’s grandma used to clean their home.  But when she ended up with custody of Avery she needed to take Avery with her to the homes while she cleaned.  Since Heidi had always wanted more children especially a little girl she offered to watch Avery.  You see it taken Heidi a long time to have her son Jake who was the same age as Avery.
     Jake was very glad when Avery came into his mother’s life at the age of 4.  He hung around his dad more do boy things.  Because that meant he no longer had to bake, cook, or gardened with his mother anymore.  He could now go off and get into mischief with his two cousins Dillon and Max.  Yet, Avery and Jake never interacted with one another yet knew about the other and saw the other.
     Heidi and Wes became very attached to Avery especially when they would see how her grandmother treated her.  So when she was working and even when she wasn’t working at their house they said Avery was welcomed at their home.  They loved her like a daughter.  They taught her everything she knew.  She thought of them as her parents as her family. 
     Avery and Jake’s senior prom was upon them.  Jake was going but not planning on taking anyone in fact he hadn’t dated anyone all year.  Avery had bought a dress and everything but had not even been asked so was not even planning to attend.  So Heidi had Jake ask Avery.  He didn’t want to but he did it for his mom out of love.  He found Avery very interesting and that he really liked her.  In fact, he started hanging out with her a lot.  There was a whole month between that date and their graduation and they just about spent everyday together.  So the night of graduation for the party Jake asked if Avery wanted to with him since she was changing at his house they could ride over together.  She did.  She was one excited girl.  That night she lost her virginity to Jake.  When she went to his house the next morning he was gone.  He had not told anyone not even his parents he had joined the national guards.  When she spoke to the devastated Heidi things were said that cost her the only family she ever known the harsh words that came out of Heidi were bad enough that Avery left never to look back…
     Ten years later their hometown of Chance was having its ten-year class reunion.  Like she had planned it she received email updates from her new best friends.  Kit, Bree, and Liza as to when Jake would touch down at the high school.  Where she was decorating for the reunion.   She figured if she was prepared for his arrival she could shore herself up when it came to him kissing her out of the blue.  Usually he came home four times a year.  As fire chief she was usually busy but a couple a times a year he would catch her off guard and lay one on her.  A toe curling one for sure.
      Only this one came with a twist as a tornado was following on his heels.  So when he insisted on following her to a shed on grounds at the high school to find more decorations he followed.  The winds took on too much of a gust and they got stuck in the shed.  Holy Moly! 
     This was a funny book in an ironic way.  Jack was too unbelievable for words.  Avery was sad at first but then as the story went along you get it.  Relationships are hard, so this one was long and drawn out, and would have driven me crazy over ten years.  Nope not for me.  Different strokes.  I give this 5 stars.  Provided by netgalley.com.  Follow us at:

www.1rad-readerreviews.com.

FULL EXPOSURE #3

FULL EXPOSURE  #3                                        CATHRYN FOX

I’ve just had the best two weeks of my life! Who’d have guessed that a big part of my rehab would involve giving a gorgeous psychologist private lessons in sex? The problem? I’m hooked. I want more and that wasn’t part of the deal. But I have a job to go back to, and she’s already pushing me away. So what the hell am I going to do? Still, as a quarterback, I know some things need a playbook and I’m used to winning. So before I walk away from this incredible thing between us, I’m going to use every strategy I know to convince her that the only hands she needs are mine…

This is the last of a three-part series full of mind-blowing sex, featuring a dirty-mouthed football player who knows the score and an inexperienced therapist who needs to learn it. Make sure you have the full series! 

The Hands On serial is best enjoyed in order.
Reading Order:
Book #1 Hands On
Book #2 Body Contact
Book #3 Full Exposure
 

MY REVIEW:
     This is part three of a three-part series.  You all know my view of when they take what could be a full length story and split it up in parts so not going there.  Let’s just say my memory would have me forget if I wasn’t reminded by netgalley.com or author most times.  But I have to say I only read parts 2 and 3 and I must say that with this story it totally works.
     Part 2 starts, after the agreement of Jack Rider becoming Danielle Lang’s sex coach.  She was thinking along the lines of a one night stand and Jack had other ideas.  Jack felt in order for this soon to be professor of sex therapy at the college she had to have knowledge of many situations.  Not of just losing her virginity.  So he says two weeks and she does exactly as he says.  She agrees but she worries for him and asks if his knee will be okay since he was doing physical therapy for it?  You see he is pro football player who was out until it healed.
     So, in this book Jack showed her the fringes of BDSM.  He gets her ready to experience the act of love making or was it sex because already lines were becoming blurred with both of them feeling emotions for one another but neither will to express them because that was not what they had agreed upon. 
     Now book three.   It has them going on a romantic date the night they are to have sex finally although they still have a week to explore it all.  When in passing a threesome somehow comes up in their discussion and they both become tense when she says she may be interested in the way of education.  Jack realizes he doesn’t want any other man touching her ever again.  Yet, he knows that is not rational since that was not the agreement.  In his mind he things “Mine!”  Yet, he also thinks she only sees him as her coach.  Which is what she puts out there.  She had grown up in the foster care system and never allowed her true feelings to show.  Not even to her last family which she really loved and they loved her so much they started a trust fund for her.
     The thing that seemed to blow Jack away was her confidence and trust in him.  Her a matter of fact belief that he’d protect her and with him feeling less than due to his injury, made him feel so important, instead of less of a man.  The way the league was making him feel these days.  More like he was a product instead of a person with feelings.  She made him feel like he wasn’t a failure.
     Danielle had a dream of one day opening a family therapy practice.  She found the perfect little house that was a two story.  Downstairs for the practice upstairs for the living quarters.  She showed it to Jack and he thought it was a wonderful idea.  He was the only other person she had told beside her BFF Violet.
     So now they are at their dinner and he introduces Jamie his BFF who is the chef of the great food they have been eating.  He says that’s the person who he would pick and trust to be the third person for a threesome if she was still interested.  She wants to say no that she only wants to be his forever but she can’t risk her heart and she has her professor side who says, yes.

     This was such an interesting book the way it unfolded.  The emotions it can draw out and the fear we all have of being rejected.  Yet, the pain of the unknown has to be worse than knowing and finally moving through it all.  The thing I found that made me like this book being split up is the message at the end may have been missed at the understanding that emotions are present behind sex, hang-ups and fetishes.  She wanted her students to understand the physical sex was just the tip of the iceberg.  I loved that Jack knew her insecurities and countered them with positives like telling her all the time she was beautiful.  And for those that have thought about BDSM or have heard bits and pieces but were afraid to ask book 2 gives you a taste of it but very mildly and Danielle being the student asks a lot of questions most would like to ask but feel embarrass doing.  I give this book 5 stars.  Provided by netgalley.com  Follow us at: www.1rad-readerreviews.com.

HERE Friday Night at 7pm PST. Karla Brandenburg Author of: COOKIE THERAPY TOMORROW SEE EXCERPT

HERE
Friday Night
at 7pm PST.
Karla Brandenburg

Author of:


To escape notoriety from her role in the school shooting she barely survived, Elizabeth Lambert moves from Houston to Hoffman Grove, Illinois. Plagued by panic attacks and nightmares, she’s determined to embrace her second chance at life, knowing that death could take her in an instant. A one-night stand with a local handsome firefighter should remind her that she’s alive, but like a good cookie, once is not enough to satisfy her craving. Will he reject her when he learns about the blood on her hands?

Firefighter and paramedic Matt Billings fights his attraction to the alluring new bookshop manager. She dangles a one-night stand under his nose, but the last time he gave in to such an offer he ended up with a child. He is determined to be a better man than his philandering father. Can he convince Elizabeth that her past is not as terrifying as suddenly being a parent, and a relationship is worth more than just a checkbox on her bucket list?

See Excerpt Tomorrow!!!



Karla Brandenburg is the author of contemporary romance, including her award-winning paranormal MIST series. First published in 2002, she is a member of the Romance Writers of America. Raised on the gothic romances of Victoria Holt and the horror of Stephen King, she is an avid reader. Karla is a card-carrying cookie-holic, enjoys baking and travel. For more information about Karla or her novels, visit her website at: http://www.karlabrandenburg.com.

LET'S WELCOME THE AUTHOR OF: Sweet Southern Trouble – Michele Summers

LET’S WELCOME MICHELE SUMMERS  AUTHOR OF: Rad-Reader:  Was there anyone who was the inspiration behind the Marabelle cha...