Category Archives: Interesting Reads

Harmless—Dirty Politics and Lies


I had no idea Rom-Com author Julia Kent wrote suspense/thriller/romance until I stumble upon her post a few weeks ago pointing me in the direction of her suspense/thriller/romance. Lindsay is the daughter of a Senator who makes his bid to run from the white house. Unfortunately for Lindsay,. the daughter of a Senator comes with a few unwritten contracts, unwritten rules, and unwritten consequences. Drew’s in a precarious situation as a young West Point graduate who is assigned to protect Lindsay. Their past together will either break or saves them over time.

Raine throws into this thriller a date rape scenario which twists the fate of Lindsay and Drew. The politics are dirty is an understated matter when it comes to plotting a revenge against the who hold high positions. The power play of the ultimate chess game kept me reading and Raine does a beautiful job weaving the deceit, dirty deeds, and dishonesty into a web of interesting twists and turns. If you liked the show House of Cards this trilogy is well worth the read.

A Harmless Little Game:


Four years ago I lost my virginity on live, streaming television.

Too bad I wasn’t awake for it.

The video went viral. Of course it would. A Senator’s daughter on camera? Wouldn’t you click “share”? Besides, that’s what three of the four guys in the video did.


They shared me.

But that fourth guy? The nondescript one in the background in the upper left corner of the screen, just sitting on the couch? The only one who did nothing?

Not one single thing.

That was my boyfriend, Drew.

And that was the last time I saw him.

Until today, when my father—now on a path to the White House—hired him as head of security for my new team as I return home after four years of “recovering” in an undisclosed location that involved white lab coats, needles, pills and damage control.

You see, the other three guys never went to jail. Never had charges pressed.

Never faced consequences.

Until today.

Game on.

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A Harmless Littel Ruse:


She has no idea what she’s doing. Loose cannons never hit their targets.

And they take out plenty of collateral damage.

Four years ago Lindsay experienced the unspeakable right before me, and I couldn’t stop them.

But that’s all changed now.

When her father, Senator Bosworth, contacted me to ask — demand — that I protect her, it was a second chance. A shot at redemption.

An opportunity to right an unspeakable wrong.

Controlling Lindsay as she seeks her revenge on the monsters who hurt her won’t be hard.

Containing my own out-of-control feelings for Lindsay and keeping up this ruse of cold-blooded distance will be.

Even harder than admitting to her what really happened that night four years ago.

It turns out I don’t have to, though.

Someone else did it for me.

And I’ll make sure they regret it.

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A Harmless Little Plan:


Turns out there was a second video from that awful night four years ago. Mine wasn’t the only tape.

Too bad mine wasn’t the worst.

Drew can’t protect me no matter how hard he tries, but the roles are flipped now. I have to help him, but I’m not wired that way. Not anymore. That one night changed me more than anyone knows.

More than anyone could predict.

Three men think they’re above the law. They’re right.

But I’m willing to go beneath the law to make sure they never harm anyone else. Their threats don’t scare me.

When you have nothing left to lose because someone took it all away, you create the most dangerous creature imaginable.


Game over.

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Kim Jones will keep you laughing out loud!

In only a style Kim Jones can craft,  she’s able to touch those childhood pranks and insecurities of her heroine and mix them with banter, humor, and all the sexy romance likes while keeping the story moving, Her use of a taboo motif is a little off the beaten path of the romance trope but hey, flaming dog shit is grossly funny! She had me at the opening, “Never in a million years did I think I’d be running down a sidewalk, bag of steaming dog shit in my hand with one pissed off owner and one really fast Gold Retriever n my heels.” In the world of romance, it’s expected that certain topics like dog poop, restroom issues, or awkward sex moments don’t exist. Hell our hero, alpha can’t be given flaws of the common man. He’d lose his street cred!

Jones breaks tradition with those typical rom-com trope storylines, and she goes all in with That Guy. She stacks the flaming bag of dog shit upon a mistaken identity and mixes the starving Mississippi author with a successful businessman, and rinses us with all the funny awkward moments which make Penelope a loveable down to earth Southern Belle heroine.

Jake Swagger, ‘That Guy,’ is posh and polite, while Penelope Hart juxtaposes him with her downhome, no filter attitude; nothing comes between her thoughts and mouth. Penelope’s inner monologue as an author is fantastic. The parallels of what happens when one plots a romance, and the “real” situation Penelope finds herself in with Mr. Jack Swagger (the names are a perfect paradox) is also genius in building the plot upon a plot! Jones’s That Guy is a fun read and light-hearted when you’re in need of some comical relief.

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Zane and Jenna Michaelson Tell All of the Human Condition.


Marriage is a difficult institution. Couple it with adulthood, child rearing, family dynamics, and career stressors the weight produces a breaking point. Zane Michaelson tells of his fall down the rabbit hole of each of these stressors and lands in the depression zone. His wife Jenna knew her husband had fallen but had no experience how to fix him. Then, Zane made the risky move of contacting his old roommate. A roommate he’d loved and adored while in college. As he drowned in his own depression, his old roommate brought him back to the light. Little did Zane know his wife was aware of this indiscretion but saw the change in him she was unable to make.

However, affairs of the heart come with consequences, and There are Two Sides to Every Story is an amazing journey of one couple’s fight for the love they both desire. It is a read which I’m still processing daily as it holds incredible value to the human condition.

I embarked on the true confession story of Zane and Jenna Michaelson after meeting them in an author take over in Red’s Erotic Bookshelf Facebook group. I decided I needed to get in and read some of their body of work and bought the combined novella series I Know What You’re Doing along with Jenna’s perspective piece, How Does A Moment Last Forever in There are Two Sides to Every Story. The work took my breath away.

Zane’s candid confession of depression, crisis, recovery, and beyond is one of remarkable beauty. Combine his open book with the raw tell-all from Jenna as the wife, mother, and strength of a goddess and you have one extraordinary testament of the power of love, and the meaning of unconditional love at its best.

The big theme within their story is the fragile exploration of the human condition is too often labeled by society and misunderstood. The idea of love as a condition of being and love as a condition of a soul are explored by both Zane and Jenna as they take the road less traveled and learned (continue to learn) how their commitment and desire for one another ran deeper than the surface. The hurdles they jump and the times they fall down were never reasons to give up on one another but reasons to give up on themselves. However, as one soul mate to another, they provided a strength without judgment and recovered what they already knew was before them, unconditional love.

This depiction of the good, bad, and ugly of life and love along with mistakes and mending is one of the best tales I’ve read in a long time. In a society that gives up too easily and throws in the towel rather than figures out a solution, their journey of love provides a hope for working through the toughest of life and understanding what’s at stake. Their story goes beyond staying together for their children. They truly are soul mates who’ve learned what it means to love someone enough to let them go, and if they come back, it’s meant to be.

One added note, which resonated in my heart, was the raw confession of not labeling the sexual nature with modern-day terms. This is not a story of sexuality and gender specifications; it is a story of love, heartbreak, loving again, and understanding the difference between love and being in love. The understanding of depression and its dark grips also plays a huge factor in this beautiful story. The grip depression holds on one’s psyche can be deadly. In today’s society with suicide on the rise, it was refreshing to see a couple fight through the darkness and learn to recognize one another’s faults without judgment. It also speaks to their strengths as a couple, parents, and family members.

This is a story not to be missed. A raw tell all of the things most people sweep away and keep in the closet. Zane and Jenna Michaelson continue to fight for their journey and their story is one of great strength and beauty.

There Are Two Sides to Every Story –

A Few Good Reads!

Death’s door proved to be more productive than I expected.  The flu turned pneumonia opened the possibilities for me to catch up on my TBR.  I have not written these reviews on Amazon or Goodreads yet, but I figured while the thoughts were hot, I’d jot my notes and share a few good reads with y’all.


One Last Time by Corinne Michaels paves the way for Kristin to move on after a messy divorce. Noah Frazer is a man on a mission, and when their worlds collide, it’s not the sweet dance you’d expect.

Corinne Michaels brings to life the rejuvenation of a drowning soul like no other author. Her heroines show strength when all hope is lost, and her heroes—well she makes it hard to pick a favorite as each mans attributes fall beyond swoon-worthy. Michaels’s depth and breadth of character development contribute to her voice and style which wraps me in every time I pick up a work from Corinne Michaels.


“I know that you think you’re weak, but I see a strong, beautiful, and smart woman who deserves a man to worship her. More than any of that, Kristin, I should walk out and let both our lives be a hell of a lot less complicated than trying to start something, but here I am. You’re worth complicating things.”

● Amazon ➙
● iBooks ➙
● Nook ➙
● Kobo ➙
● Google Play ➙
♬ Audible ➙
♬ iTunes ➙



Author JC Grant completes the Playing Series with Playing for Forever. David and Austin put the ball in play and ended with the W. David’s possessive Alpha style and Austin’s past play chess with their developing romance and marriage. Grant explodes their weaknesses and works to rebuild or destroy their path to something deeper, more mature, unconditional.

The trilogy is a journey from lust and physicality to emotional depth and security. Both David and Austin symbolize the stereotype of each of their respective roles. He is the arrogant successful athlete and she the determined yet struggling young adult. However, Grant does not simply deliver the typical trope. She adds in much more and flips these two around, and when you suspect the HEA she throws in the reality of what the mind can do to deepen wounds from the past. David and Austin’ story is rich, but sit back and wait—Grant gets them dirty before she cleans them up!

Playing For Forever
Available now on Amazon.

The Romance and Erotica Author Fraternity wrote an anthology and split the proceeds between VET Sports and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Some notable highlights:

BT Urruela’s Bishop mixes a realism and insight of a return to college after a military career is cut short. The change from enlisted to civilian, discipline and sacrifice, to study and choice guides Bishop’s journey as he adjusts to his new life. One of the characteristic signs of a Urruela work is his ability to capture the transition between one lifestyle and another while expressing the emotional journey and lacing it with humor, life lessons, and a cast of characters that hold tried and true to their tropes.

Seth King’s Torture is a smooth read with all the feels and social constructs which are the forefront of our ever-changing world. King’s strength is his ability to create a situation where the reader is infused into the situation and can appreciate as well as respect the entirety of the situation at hand. The real story between Eric and Grant is one which brightens the world and sheds light on the meaning of learning to grow and appreciating one’s self with an open heart.

Chris Genovese and alter ego Carve Pike pens his tale weaving good vs evil between The Strings on Me and  Cutting His Strings. The Genovese and Pike author’s craft is nicely played. This was my virgin run with his work and from my nerdy literary perspective, there are multiple mental gymnastics my mind is walking through with these as separate entries and then with each as intertwined pieces. He uses Lucky is a motif here and the symbolism is fantastic.

The Frat Chronicles by BT Urruela, Golden CzermakScott HildrethSeth KingRob Somers.AuthorAuthor Derek Adam, Mickey Miller, Christopher HarlanChris Genovese and Carver Pike

Purchase Links:


Barnes & Nobles –


All Proceeds from the sale of the Anthology will benefit two charities

Founded in 2012 by three combat Veterans, VETSports aims to set the standard for how to improve Veteran’s physical, mental, and emotional health through sports, physical activity, and community involvement.

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

Lauren Rowe captured my heart with her Club Series. Then she went ahead and sealed my fate with each spin-off using the Morgan brothers as her hook.  The story of each of these family members is amazing. Her voice for each of them unique, the message learned heartwarming, and the family centered world they are circling about is charming. Lydia’s a character who will break the reader but watching her grow warms the heart. Colby Morgan’s selflessness and inspiring attitude make Hero everyone’s feel-good of the year.

JD Hawkins’s new work, Love & Ink, depicts the tale of love, loss, and love again. Ash and Teo’s story is one of ill-fated timing, young immature love, and making the journey back through time and maturity to find peace, love, and happiness. Hawkins sends multiple messages of this as a spin-off Romeo and Juliet tragedy and sprinkles it with a modern-day Cinderella twist. One particular passage stood out and sums up the big theme of Love & Ink for me, “Humans…there’s not much about us that’s permanent, you know? We break promises, we change, our minds, life throws you curveballs… So the idea of taking something, something you weren’t born with, an expression of yourself, something or someone you love, a decision you made, and turning it into something that endures… I think that’s rare. Unique. Something only tattoos can really do…”

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Arriving soon, The Maiden by Celia Aaron. Celia Aaron hits the scandalous inter-working of the South’s religious stronghold and the innocent who follow the Prophets into the deep to a whole new extreme. She unfolds taboo and dissects each nuance with a microscopic lens in order to create this dastardly tormented tale. Aaron’s gift of not mincing words and uncovering the down and dirty is represented well by Delilah and Adam. Aaron provides motif’s and symbols which explore the tangled web of the Prophet’s followers and minions to the point the reader is not sure who to feel sorry for the lions or the lambs. The Maiden will land in your hands and then leave you thirsting for more.

The Maiden releases this Tuesday! April 3, 2018
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A.M. Johnson never disappoints. Hockey and romance old trope you say? That may be true for some sports romances, but A.M. Johnson has a way with words which leads her readers to a bigger picture and underlying heartfelt theme. In Breakaway, Johnson demonstrates how a heart which has been broken requires one to pick themselves up, dust off, and re-enter the world of loving, trusting, and taking a leap of faith. Mark and Stevie develop from different perspectives of heartbreak, but each one dynamically builds through this journey of self-discovery.

A.M. Johnson’s natural talent lies in rich characters. This holds true in Breakaway. Both Mark and Stevie offer the reader a depth and dynamic woven into Johnson’s craft. Grab Breakaway and take to the ice, with a story of two people willing to take on a challenge!

Breakaway by A M Johnson is now available & Free in Kindle Unlimited!!!!


This novella in the erotica genre, Banging the Intern by Alex Wolf,  is a quick dirty read. Wolf speeds the pace of this piece by cutting out all fluff and getting down to the nitty-gritty. The work is intriguing as it deals with the older Alpha making a move on the young intern, but Wolf creates a hitch. This hook lends itself to leave the reader asking for more and given the opportunity a longer work by this new to me author would be welcomed.

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The last one of the recent ten-day stint was the new non-fiction read of Scott Hildreth’s, Lover Come Back. His account of his life’s actions which led him to the man, husband, and father he is today speaks volumes about how we grow and develop, live and learn, and love and lose over our lifetime. He speaks of tough situations, the moral high ground, social justice, and the big one—unconditional love. From hate and resentment to forgiveness and love, he touches all the bases and demonstrates how growth and maturity prevail over time. His love for his family, children, and wife is a piece of artwork in and of itself. In today’s world of shallow skepticism his account of living life to the fullest is well worth the read.

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Derailed — by Kacey Shea

Jessica Moore a young woman accustomed to going without, happy to be the cheerleader for the dreams of others. Her boyfriend knows this and swoops in taking full advantage, leaving her feeling beholden, starving, and yearning for attention he’ll never provide.

Sean Willis plays for the team. He believes in his band and each member. The blood runs deep and he won’t break those ties. However, his new bandmate arrives with a lifestyle and moral code that sends warning flags up from the start. Sean can deal with a jerk but his girlfriend a sweet thing inside and out creates a bit of a challenge for Sean and his own family code of ethics.

Kacey Shea pens the heart of a hero and the fair maiden nicely in Derailed. Sean the rock star plays the roll on stage, but his head and heart behave different out of the spotlight. He feels for the situation Jess finds herself in and he knows a snake in the grass when he sees one. Shea sprinkles the right amount of vim and vigor into Sean making him a hero every reader roots for. On the other hand, Jess fights for everything she works for, and the need to make the world root for her once in her life keeps her spirit alive. She knows the higher road, but Shea creates her in a way the audience sits hand in hand with Jess on her journey. Sean and Jess are a must read!


Author Kacey Shea
USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary romance. Published works include My Undead Heart, Caught in the Flames, Detour, and the Uncovering Love series.
Kacey Shea is a mom of three, wife, and USA Today bestselling author who resides in sunny Arizona. She enjoys reading and writing romance novels as much as her son loves unicorns, which is a lot.

When she’s not writing you will find her playing taxi cab to her children while belting out her favorite tunes, meeting friends or family for food and to share some laughs, or sweating it out in the gym. Kacey finds that picking up heavy weights repeatedly is good for her mental health as much as it is for the physical.

She has an unhealthy obsession with firefighters. It could be the pants. It could be the fire. It’s just hot. On occasion she has been known to include them, without their knowledge, in her selfies outside the grocery store.

Kacey one day aspires to be a woman hand model in a sexy photo shoot. You know, the woman’s hand raking across the muscular back or six pack stomach of the male fitness model. Yep, that hand.

Until that day comes she will continue writing sexy, flirty romance novels in hopes to bring others joy!

Derailed Live February 16, 2018

#NewRelease #Giveaway
Falling for his bandmate’s girl is a bad idea, but when it comes to Jess, he can’t help how he feels.

Do you love rock stars? My latest is available now (on all retailers for a limited time) and moving exclusively to Kindle and Kindle Unlimited soon.

Get it now →

Enter to win $100 →

Shea’s reader group for more release week festivities →


Sean Willis knows the difference between right and wrong. Sure, the bass player of Three Ugly Guys has made his share of mistakes, but when push comes to shove, Sean always chooses the high road. Now, even when things are unraveling with the band, he’s the voice of reason.

Until Jess.

She’s the only thing he’s ever wanted and couldn’t have. Not only is she his new roommate, but her boyfriend is the newest addition to 3UG. She’s more than off limits, she’s a temptress with her unaltered beauty and gentle spirit.

Jessica Moore has never been the center of anyone’s world. In fact, she’s familiar with being forgotten. Not too tall, not too pretty, not too smart; she’s just Jess. No stranger to scraping by for survival, she finds shelter in Coy Wright, a musician with dreams bigger than life. But when Coy skyrockets to stardom, Jess is thrust into a world in which she doesn’t belong.

That is, until she discovers an unexpected friendship. Sean treats Jess as someone special, important, and worthy of love. The feelings and desires he stirs within are dangerous, because despite Sean’s kindness and affection, she’s forever loyal to Coy.

What happens when doing the wrong thing feels right?

Jess and Sean’s friendship is put to the test, along with alliances in the band. Is love enough to derail their best laid plans, or will selfishness throw everyone’s success off track?

DERAILED can be read as a standalone or start with Trent’s story in DETOUR first.

The Elder – Not the Usual Suspects! A Who Done It by Celia Aaron

Benton King, a sexy young lawyer, finds himself lost in a web of lies and deceit. King’s answers rest on the heels of a young female detective, Arabella Matthews. Something about this determined detective entrances Mr. King. He readies himself to discover both the truths behind his predicament and the character behind Miss Matthews.

Celia Aaron hands over the tragedy of the Kings’ and unfolds the roadmap of old money and the Southern way of life. Aaron’s ability to tell a tale of backstabbing and small-town grandeur, with the authentic dialect and rich structure, is top-notch. This is not the last of the Mississippi Kings, and the wait for more will be a tough one.

**The Elder is LIVE **
 99 cents and FREE in KU! 
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A shocking murder.
A suspicious son.
A dedicated detective.
In Azalea, Mississippi, the only thing hotter than the summer days are the men of the King family. When the patriarch Randall King is found dead, Detective Arabella Matthews will race the clock to stop the killer from striking again. Benton, the eldest of the King siblings, has to decide if he wants to cooperate with the feisty detective or conduct his own investigation. The more he finds out about his father—and the closer he gets to Arabella—the more he wants to keep her safe. But the killer has different plans . . .

Author Bio: 

Celia Aaron is a USA Today bestselling author and recovering attorney who loves romance and erotic fiction. Dark to light, angsty to funny, real to fantasy–if it’s hot and strikes her fancy, she writes it. Thanks for reading.

Celia Aaron Social Media:


Apotheosis: A New Release from Joshua Edward Smith

There are pitfalls people fall in over the course of a lifetime, and Cynthia is one of those folks who has fallen. She’s a midlife divorcee who recognizes she needs a change in order to live her life and fill the empty void. Apotheosis tells the tale of one woman’s journey in search of owning her own happiness. Her sojourn takes her through an emotional cleansing of sorts and mixes her foundational beliefs with a blend of cultural experiences, self-esteem building, and the path to loving oneself and having the love returned.

Joshua Edward Smith takes the Pacific Northwest by storm in Apotheosis. He creates a lost soul in search of the road to salvation in his heroine. Cynthia is never the meek and miserable type woman, but she is struggling to make sense of a life she feels has been unlived. Smith demonstrates a realism in this work. He develops Cynthia as a modern day woman who lost her way and needs to rediscover the beauty of life, love, and happiness. Smith takes the reader through all the emotions, yet leaves the audience replete and satisfied in the end. Cynthia’s journey is one that should not be missed.

Title: Apotheosis
Author: Joshua Edward Smith
Amazon Kindle:
Amazon Paperback
After a fleeting encounter with a state of bliss she’s never before known, Cynthia is driven to recapture that moment. She sets off on a mission to find the man of her dreams, but instead discovers the frightening truth of what he really is. Life and death hang in the balance, with her own redemption being her only hope of survival. This contemporary take on the hero’s journey is as moving as it is mesmerizing.
Author Bio:
Joshua Edward Smith is the author of four novels (the erotic ‟Entropy” trilogy, and the contemporary women’s fiction novel ‟Apotheosis”), several shorter works, and innumerable blog posts and tweets. He is also a technology executive, jazz musician, ballroom dancer, and father of three. He lives in central Massachusetts.

Midnight Blue Another Hit by Shen

Indie’s life developed out of multiple circumstances beyond her control. She’s grown up before her time. Her lofty goal of putting her family back on track is priority number one on her list. When the doors open wide and the opportunity arises to set things straight, she jumps on aboard the train to freedom. What she doesn’t count on is babysitting Alex; a tortured rock star. One not keen on staying sober and his addictions turn from illegal to focus on his new sobriety sidekick.

L. J. Shen masters the strong heroine and tortured alpha bad boy. She leaves no stone unturned between Indie and Alex. Shen straps the reader aboard the hate train against Alex and somehow engineers the tracks to follow a path where everyone roots for Alex to sweep this hard-headed young lady off her feet. Shen knows how to develop the long burn of mental torture into something forbidden, sexy, and desired. Another brilliant prose piece checked off and highly recommended.

MIDNIGHT BLUE is LIVE and available on Kindle Unlimited!



It should have been easy.
I needed the money. He needed a babysitter to keep him from snorting himself to death.
I was cherry-picked especially for him. Responsible. Optimistic. Warm. Innocent.
The worst part is that I should have known better.
Alex Winslow. British rock star. Serial heartbreaker. Casanova with whiskey eyes.
“Don’t get near the devil in a leather jacket. He’ll chew you up and spit you out.”
Guess what? I didn’t listen.
I signed the contract.
World tour. Three months. Four Continents. One hundred shows.
My name is Indigo Bellamy, and I sold my soul to a tattooed god.
Problem was, my soul wasn’t enough for Alex Winslow. He ended up taking my body, too.
Then he took my heart.
Then he took my all.

Bad Dad – The Ultimate Hero

Landon Lane is a man running from the past, living in the present, and raising the future. The problem is he’s found his kryptonite, and her name is Cora Chapman. His son already loves her and if things were not so complicated she’d also blend into his world… But that may not happen if his past is not kept at bay.

Sloane Howell has created the ultimate journey in Bad Dad—he has a hero, mentors, a villain, and the fair maiden, which he blends together with a sprinkling of magic ingredients and a cast of characters that could only bring Bad Dad to the forefront of an epic story. With Logan Lane’s help to mix these elements, it becomes clear to everyone that truth and purity of ideals lie in the eyes of a child. Howell writes the struggle of a man who broke free of his past, one with blemishes and unanswered questions, showing that every man deserves the chance to right the wrongs. Landon Lane certainly knows this is his journey to take and to win—for his son, his family, and his future. It’s time you take this journey, too, and wrap yourself around one well-done recipe for both adventure and romance.


ON SALE for 99 cents or FREE w/ KU

Amazon US ☛

“Unexpected in all the right ways, Howell brings an incredibly unique voice in his latest romance. Loaded with undeniable chemistry, a hint of suspense, some pulse-racing action, and a whole lot of heat, the unpredictable and completely engaging Bad Dad is a book you don’t want to miss.” – NYT Bestselling Author of the Driven Series, K. Bromberg

Price goes to $4.99 soon!

Amazon US ☛
Amazon UK ☛
Amazon AU ☛
Amazon CA ☛

Bad Dad

He has a past. Could she be his future?

My son is my life. Nothing on earth matters but him.

Soon, I’ll have to send him out into society. The cruel machine that gnashes innocence and spits out the hollowed remains of a child’s imagination. It’s a place I know all too well, considering my past. I’ve worked hard to separate myself from it, but it looms in the back of my mind—waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

My son, Logan, wants to have birthday parties, make friends, play at the park—all the normal things that seven-year olds want to do. All the things I want to do with him.

I’ve put up walls around our life to shield us from danger. Giant barriers to ward off possible threats.
Cora Chapman crashes through them like a wrecking ball. She’s intelligent and hilarious with soft curves and a spark that ignites a flame deep inside of me.

There’s only one problem—she’s Logan’s teacher.

When my past wraps its tentacles around my throat and threatens to strangle the breath from my lungs, I’m given an option—fight for my family’s freedom, or die as they’re stripped away from me.

I can’t lose. I won’t lose.

My name is Landon Lane and I am a warrior.

Sierra Simone’s New Camelot Series

Back in the fall of 1989, I entered my sophomore year of college. I claimed my major that fall, multiple subjects and English literature, and put together a plan to finish my degree in under 4 years. I registered for an overload of units because I was nerdy that way and driven by the desire to seek the knowledge before me. I registered with excitement in taking British Literature, Medieval Literature, Linguistics, Art for Children, Intro to Poli-Sci, and Math for the Elementary Teacher. Yes, I was a little insane in the course load and the copious amounts of reading I’d signed on for, but this is where I fell in love with old, middle, and modern English. The stories which were laden with social taboo and hidden messages became an obsession for dissecting them with each word and line subjected to scrutiny and purpose.

Arthurian legend was always an interest, but the semester I turned nineteen changed this curiosity to a die-hard research project. We didn’t have Google back then, and the librarian became my best friend! I traveled to neighboring college libraries in search of all things surrounding Camelot and the whispered airs of the Pagan rituals and the strength of women during the times of monarchy and courtly love. The twisted tales of secret love, adultery, incest and homosexuality so swiftly swept beneath the rug yet printed in words in such a way that only the super sleuths were able to uncover the hidden messages of love, and its entangled webs it wove throughout the early to middle ages, soon shut down with the Protestants and the hush of rituals in Catholicism and the Church of England.

But here I sit, twenty-eight years later, in awe of the prose unfolded before me in the New Camelot Series, by Sierra Simone. I spent the last week reading each book of the trilogy, American Queen, American, Prince, and American King, with my eyes hungrily eating up each word, each plot device, each figurative language infusion, and most of all each well-crafted allusion to the tales I’ve loved so dearly. Simone captures exactly the sentiments of this time and the coveted secrets sprinkled in the works of Malory, Chaucer, De amore, Bradley (a more recent view) and so many others. Each of these works alludes to polyamorist relationships and the roses which are threaded with thorns in the public’s eye of these heart-wrenching love triangles as well as the politics of leadership and commitment.

Ash, Greer, and Embry pulled at every angle possible and then some. There was no stone left unturned. The infusion of the entire tale exploded within the trilogy and there were moments of dramatic irony to which I was hoping would end any other way than what had already been divulged either through knowing so much about the legend or through the prophecies penned before my eyes. But to her strength and beautifully written tale, Simone keeps the legend alive and well with each well-structured event and brick by brick transition from medieval to modern times. The stabs at organized religion, the unconventional being looked down upon by the public, and yet the sweet desire of true love and a capacity to care for others in a world that is so cruel it hurts when opened and yet eats one alive when hidden in the shadows. I’m excited as much as torn down in living and breathing the world of Greer, Embry, and Ash. Now, here I sit knowing I’ll miss the journey as much as relish what these characters have given me in reigniting a love for the legend. This is quite the tribute to a time which I find both fascinating and frightening.  

Yet in the end, I think Simone got it right. Despite the outward view of women of the time, they were/are stronger than most expect. Some could be/are ruthless and power-hungry while others sought to strengthen and partner to build the empires which were long-lasting. These women were and are not simple. They remain complex in nature able to snap the attention of the men who were/are their complementary partner. In some cases, the trio was/is stronger than the duo, and for those who find that piece which makes them whole, it develops a force which was/is unbreakable despite the narrow views of others. In the end, the rise to true power had nothing to do with financial gain but emotional fulfillment encompasses the ultimate freedom.

A thank you to Sierra Simone, from the bottom of my heart, for reawakening my love of Arthurian legend. There is nothing more sacred than reawakening the things that have laid dormant as life moves forward and priorities change one’s path. But for today, I sit and think about the history and the parallels of Camelot played out time and time again and enjoy reopening that piece of me which has lain dormant for so many years.


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