Category Archives: Contemporary

Review: Talk Dirty to Me by Dakota Cassidy

talkdirtyTitle: Talk Dirty to Me by Dakota Cassidy
Plum Orchard Series Book One
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Former mean girl Dixie Davis is back in town and it’s payback time. Literally. Dixie is flat broke and her best—make that only—friend, Landon, is throwing her a lifeline from the Great Beyond. Dixie stands to inherit his business…if she meets a few conditions:

She’s got to live in Landon’s mansion.

With her gorgeous ex-fiancé, Caine Donovan.

Who could also inherit the business.

Which is a phone sex empire.

Wait, what?

Landon’s will lays it out: whoever gets the most new clients becomes the owner of Call Girls. Dixie has always been in it to win it, especially when it comes to Caine, who’s made it clear he’s not going down easy. (Oh, mercy.) Can Dixie really talk dirty and prove that she’s cleaned up her act? Game on!

Plum Orchard, Georgia, is about to get even juicier…

The Review:

Talk Dirty to Me, Dakota Cassidy’s first installment in her Plum Orchard series, is sweet, sassy and sexy! This fun read is also poignant and just a little heartbreaking but overall, it is a wonderful story of second chances and redemption for heroine, Dixie Davis. Dixie is a reforming mean girl whose efforts to make amends for her past misdeeds are hampered by her reputation, the long memories of the townspeople and good old-fashioned jealousy.

Dixie has a long history of manipulating, lying and cheating to get her way and ten years ago, this behavior blew up in her face and eventually led to the end of her engagement to Caine Donovan. She and Caine left town after their break-up but they both maintained their close friendship with Landon Wells. Returning to Plum Orchard for Landon’s funeral, they are stunned to learn of his bequest to them-a thriving phone sex company, Call Girls. Insanely competitive, Dixie and Caine are soon locked in a fierce battle to win full ownership of Call Girls. Their court-appointed mediator keeps the peace between them during business hours, but who is going to keep them from acting on their scorching hot passion?

Surprisingly, Dixie is a very likable and sympathetic character. She is genuinely remorseful for her long ago actions and she never cuts herself any slack when it comes to owning her mistakes. Her tentative friendship with Emmeline “Em” Amos is a minefield of hurt feelings on Em’s part and it takes a while for Dixie to earn Em’s trust. Although her resolve is challenged when her protective instincts for Em are provoked, Dixie remains determined to become a better person.

There is never any doubt that Caine was deeply hurt by Dixie’s actions and in fact, he still harbors a lot of anger toward her. He is highly skeptical that she has really changed and he is very conflicted by the differences in her behavior. Caine is unwilling to trust her again, but he gradually begins to believe that her transformation is legitimate but he remains reluctant to risk his heart.

The sparks fly between Caine and Dixie from their very first scene together. Their scenes are full of witty repartee and an incredible amount of sexual tension. Caine and Dixie’s sex scenes are explicitly detailed and incredibly hot. It is also very obvious that they are still deeply in love, but mistakes from the past make it very difficult for them to commit to a future together.

Fully rounding out this marvelous novel is an outstanding cast of secondary characters. Although he has passed away, Landon’s presence is always keenly felt and his love for Dixie and Caine transcends death. Frenemy Louella Palmer continually tries to undercut Dixie’s efforts and she provides a lot of the external conflict to the storyline. Em is kind hearted and loyal, but her friendship with Dixie is tested throughout the story.

A romance with depth and substance, Talk Dirty to Me is a fast-paced and entertaining novel with a cast of characters that are incredibly appealing. The plotline is realistic and easy to relate to, and Dakota Cassidy’s writing style is quite engaging. Plum Orchard is an immensely charming series and I cannot wait to dive into Something to Talk About, Em’s romance with delicious newcomer Jax Hawthorne!

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Filed under Contemporary, Dakota Cassidy, Harlequin, Mira, Plum Orchard Series, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Talk Dirty to Me

Review: How to Rope a Real Man by Melissa Cutler

ropeTitle: How to Rope a Real Man by Melissa Cutler
Catcher Creek Series Book Three
Publisher: Kensington
Imprint: Zebra
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Against all odds, the Sorentino sisters saved their family’s rundown New Mexico ranch, but the youngest has a dream that just may ruin their hard-earned peace–unless a certain sexy cowboy lawyer changes her mind. . .

Jenna Sorentino is as independent as they come. Despite her wild past, she’s grown up enough to keep quiet about the identity of her baby’s daddy, go to night college–and hide her plan to escape tiny Catcher Creek. She’s also stopped dreaming of happily ever after–except in the case of gorgeous, rugged, Santa Fe native Matt Roenick. Too bad the oil rights attorney acts like he barely knows she’s alive. . .

Matt knows only too well that Jenna’s alive–in fact, she’s driving him crazy with desire. But Matt’s got his reasons for resisting her. And when her son’s father shows up, those reasons multiply. Trouble is, Jenna’s secrets are more complicated than he imagined, and forgetting her isn’t as easy as he’d hoped. Matt knows life can be messy as hell. For Jenna, maybe it’s time he got dirty. . .

The Review:

How to Rope a Real Man is the scorching hot third installment in Melissa Cutler’s marvelous Catcher Creek series. This highly anticipated romance reveals the intriguing secrets that Jenna Sorentino has been keeping from, well, everyone. Equally important, Matt Roenick’s reasons for keeping his distance from Jenna are also divulged. Following their revelations, the two eagerly embrace their mutual desire for one another, but their future is jeopardized by unresolved issues from both of their pasts.

Jenna ran wild until her unexpected pregnancy forced her to grow up and leave her hard partying days behind her. She has never named her five year old son Tommy’s dad but with her sisters’ help, Jenna has provided him with the loving, stable home she never had. She is fiercely independent and determined to make a better life for herself and Tommy, and she has big plans she has not yet shared with either of her sisters. Plans that she hopes to put into motion before her past comes back and destroys everything she has worked so hard to protect.

Matt comes from a large and loving family and he is quite close to his parents, siblings and assorted nieces and nephews. He has a successful career and while he is relatively content with his life, the ghosts from his past that continue to plague him. He is very attracted to Jenna but he has a strict no dating single mothers policy that he has no intention of breaking. But a chance encounter with a stranger provides Matt with a new perspective and he decides to give love another shot.

Matt and Jenna have been dancing around their mutual attraction for months and it does not take much for their simmering passion to explode. A couple of untimely (and frustrating) interruptions prevent them from acting on their desire and the sexual tension builds to a fever pitch. This anticipation leads to some incredibly erotic yet playful sex scenes between them.

There is a strong emotional component to their relationship as well. Matt and Jenna are surprisingly honest with one another about their respective pasts and their plans for their futures. While both carry scars from previous relationships, Matt has the most emotional baggage. When conflict arises between them, his unresolved issues come between them. Matt receives advice from an unlikely source, but will Jenna give him a second chance?

How to Rope a Real Man is a delightful conclusion to the Catcher Creek series. It was well worth the wait to learn Jenna’s secrets and her revelations bring unexpected depth to the overall story. All of the loose ends for the Sorentino family are neatly wrapped up but the tantalizing (and unresolved) relationship between Matt’s sister and Jenna’s brother-in-law leaves me hopeful Melissa Cutler might revisit the series at a later date.

Although How to Rope a Real Man can be read as a standalone novel, I highly recommend the entire series.


Filed under Catcher Creek Series, Contemporary, How to Rope a Real Man, Kensington, Melissa Cutler, Rated B, Review, Romance, Zebra

Review: The Drake House by Kelly Moran

Title: The Drake House by Kelly Moran
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
Length: 350 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author


In her dreams, a ghost demands to be heard…

Once plagued by mysterious nightmares, Trisha Eaton always chalked them up to childish nuisances–until they return with a vengeance. Something about the Drake house next door haunts her, and now her night terrors and sleepwalking seem to be luring her to something dark. After a series of strange events, Trisha turns to Nick Mackey.

As the new deputy in town, Nick wants to forget his traumatic past. His undeniable attraction for Trisha has him wondering if a shot at a normal life is possible. But Trisha has somehow struck a nerve in their small, superstitious town, and a long-buried secret threatens to surface again. A secret that someone will kill to keep veiled.

Answers only lead to more questions in a case where nothing makes sense, but one chilling fact remains…some nightmares are all too real.

The Review:

The Drake House by Kelly Moran is the perfect combination of romance, mystery and paranormal elements. Long time secrets, nightmares and a ghostly presence are just a few of the intriguing aspects of this compelling and well-written story.

The return of Trisha Eaton’s childhood nightmares and sleepwalking coincides with threatening notes and phone calls. She turns to local police to investigate and new Deputy Nick Mackey is assigned to the case. All clues point to the property that borders Trisha’s orchard, but Drake House has remained uninhabited since Alexandra Drake’s mysterious death twenty years ago. As Trisha and Nick soon discover, someone is willing to go to any lengths, including murder, to keep the truth about long held secrets from being revealed.

Trisha is a feisty, independent woman who is not easily intimated. She is very protective of her friends and family and she will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. With no one willing to talk about a puzzling event from her past, Trisha is willing to risk just about anything to uncover the truth.

Haunted by a justified shooting and the devastating aftermath, Nick is enjoying his new career as a small town deputy. Surprised by his attraction to Trisha, he tries to keep their relationship on professional level as he investigates the inexplicable occurrences at her orchard. Working closely together, the two give in to their passion but his unresolved past continually comes between them.

Nick and Trisha’s relationship is rocky right from the beginning. They quickly indulge in a casual fling, but it is short-lived. The investigation continues to put them in close proximity, but neither is ready for a serious commitment. Nick and Trisha work well together, but their personal relationship runs hot and cold for much of the novel.

The mystery aspect of the storyline has its roots in long ago events, but Nick and Trisha are stone-walled by her parents and her close friends. Nick and Trisha, along with her best friend Brad, quietly look into Alexandra Drake’s past and what they uncover is puzzling. Equally troubling are the present day murders of two of Trisha’s friends and the unexplained disappearance of a longtime family friend.

The Drake House is a suspense-laden mystery with a just the right amount of romance and the tiniest bit of a supernatural component. The characters are wonderfully developed with realistic flaws and imperfections. Kelly Moran does an excellent job obscuring the perpetrator’s identity until the novel’s exciting conclusion.


Filed under Contemporary, Kelly Moran, Paranormal, Rated B, Review, romantic suspense, The Drake House, The Wild Rose Press

Review: Summer’s Road by Kelly Moran

summerTitle: Summer’s Road by Kelly Moran
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 298 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author


After her father’s death, Summer Quinn realizes just how alone she feels in the world. With no family to fill her life now, she finds comfort among friends, but yearns for true love, contentment, and family. When her boyfriend, Matt, suggests they raise their relationship to a higher level, Summer jumps at the chance to get everything she’s always wanted. Only she doesn’t expect the heat arising between her and her best friend, Ian–a man who never seems to settle down. A man the complete opposite of what she’s looking for. But when her estranged mother reappears after twenty-eight years, Summer’s world completely flips upside down. As secrets from her family’s past and Ian’s true feelings for her emerge, Summer’s now faced with choices she’s not sure she can make. The rest of her life’s happiness hinges on her finally confronting a past she’d rather deny and legitimately opening her heart to love, even if it’s not where she expected to find it.

The Review:

Summer’s Road by Kelly Moran is a lovely friends to lovers romance. It is also an emotional journey of healing and forgiveness for Summer Quinn as she makes peace with her past. But the heart and soul of this wonderful story is the delightful friendship that Summer shares with her best pals Ian, Rick and Dee.

Summer has been unable to move on from the two defining moments of her life-her mother’s long ago abandonment and more recently, her beloved father’s death from cancer. On the four year anniversary of her dad’s death, she is shaken by her mother Sharon’s unexpected reappearance in her life. As if her life is not in enough turmoil, her longtime boyfriend Matt is suddenly asking for a commitment and her close friendship with Ian takes a surprisingly romantic turn.

Although Summer has a very close friendship with her childhood friends, she always holds a little piece of herself back from them. Instead of confiding in them, she puts on a happy face and keeps her strongest emotions to herself. This defense mechanism works perfectly well until her past and present collide and she comes very close to ruining her friendship and, quite possibly, her future with Ian. But help arrives from a surprising source and Summer has a few revelations about her parents and her friendships that help her heal the wounds from her past.

The budding romance between Ian and Summer is full of misunderstandings but lack of communication is probably their biggest issue. For two people who think they know one another inside and out, it turns out they really don’t know each other very well at all. Even worse, they are both guilty of assuming they know what the other person is thinking and this leads some frustrating conversations where they keep their true feelings hidden.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the novel is the close-knit friendship between Summer, Ian, Rick and Dee. Ian, Rick and Dee are more than Summer’s friends; they are her family. The three have been with Summer through good times and bad and their support for her is unwavering. But as they soon discover, their good intentions have undesirable consequences that have hindered Summer more than they helped. Fortunately it is not too late for Summer to make amends for her past behavior and she embraces what she has in life instead of lamenting what is missing.

Summer’s Road by Kelly Moran is a wonderful story of forgiveness, friendship and love. The cast of characters is appealing and beautifully developed. The story line is engaging with plenty of strong emotions. A heartfelt novel that fans of contemporary romances are sure to enjoy.


Filed under Contemporary, Kelly Moran, Rated B, Review, Romance, The Wild Rose Press

Review: The Argentine Triangle by Allan Topol

argentineTitle: The Argentine Triangle by Allan Topol
A Craig Page Thriller (#4)
Publisher: SelectBooks
Genre: Contemporary, Political, Thriller
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publicist


After a fall from grace and drastic cosmetic surgery in Switzerland, former CIA director Craig Page is enjoying a new, exhilarating life racing cars across Europe. But when new dangers threaten America and an old friend goes missing during a covert mission in Argentina, will Craig be ready to step up to the plate? Undercover in the glamorous world of Buenos Aires’ wealthy elite, Page finds himself on the brink of a terrible discovery. General Estrada and Colonel Schiller have plans for Argentina, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. A world of brutality hidden in the classified secrets of Argentina’s Dirty War comes to light, painting an image of the cataclysmic future awaiting Estrada’s South America. To expose Estrada and put an end to his plot, Page is forced to implement every instinct, skill, and tool in his arsenal. But when it comes time to close in for the kill, Page meets with unexpected complications-love, lust, and a lethal game of cat and mouse. Hard on the heels of The Russian Endgame comes Allan Topol’s next great thriller. Rife with the exotic backdrops and hairpin plot turns that put Topol on the best-seller list, The Argentine Triangle is a heart-stopping foray into human vice coupled with power accelerating towards catastrophe. In a world fraught with global conspiracy, Craig Page is king.

The Review:

The Argentine Triangle is another exciting political thriller by Allan Topol starring Craig Page.

Craig’s new career as CIA Director comes to an abrupt end when he becomes a political scapegoat for President Treadwell and his closest advisor, Edward Bryce. Fearing for his safety, Craig undergoes dramatic plastic surgery to conceal his identity and amid concerns for his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth, they mutually agree to (temporarily) end their relationship. Now pursuing his longtime dream of racing cars , he agrees to his old friend and current CIA Director Betty Richards request to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of an undercover agent (and friend) in Argentina.

Page’s investigation leads directly to General Alfredo Estrada and his sidekick Colonel Schiller. Estrada’s career began during Argentina’s Dirty War and he is once again poised to stage a coup and put Argentina’s leadership back in the hands of the military. Following an important discovery that could lead to a substantial financial windfall for Argentina, Estrada begins to implement his diabolical plan. Manipulating a young journalist into helping him carry out his nefarious plot, Estrada has ensured Edward Bryce’s co-operation with procuring arms for Argentina.

With the operation completely off the books, Page relies heavily on his instincts and a few contacts as he delves into Estrada and Schiller’s scheme. Unsure who to trust, Craig is forced to make risky decisions that could have devastating results. He is, at first, primarily concerned with Ted’s whereabouts but once he uncovers the truth about Estrada, he is compelled to stop him from carrying out a devious plan that could have catastrophic consequences.

While The Argentine Triangle shares a few similarities to other novels starring Craig Page, Allan Topol keeps the storylines fresh with his ingenious use of factual historical events. He does a credible job combining bits of history with intriguing suppositions of what could happen if the wrong person assumes power and the end result is a thought-provoking and action-filled adventure. The political element raises questions about power, influence and corruption in the US government that are troubling and well within the realm of possibilities.

Overall, another fast-paced and compelling novel old and new fans of the genre do not want to miss.

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Filed under Allan Topol, Contemporary, Craig Page Thriller, Political Thriller, Rated B, Review, SelectBooks Publishing, The Argentine Triangle