Category Archives: Lori Wilde

Review: Love of the Game by Lori Wilde

Title: Love of the Game by Lori Wilde
Stardust, Texas Series Book Three
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

A sexy sports superstar discovers his body isn’t the only thing that needs healing in this newest Stardust, Texas novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde.

With major league good looks and talent, Dallas Gunslingers relief pitcher Axel Richmond was living the good life. Even if the roar of the crowd could never distract him from the loss of his young son. But now with an injured shoulder and his career on the line, Axel is stuck recuperating at a ranch in Stardust, Texas . . . striking out only with his gorgeous physical therapist.

Kasha Carlyle has one week to get Axel back in action or she can kiss her much-needed job with the Gunslingers goodbye. And any chance to seek custody of the orphaned half-sister she never knew existed. She quickly learns that Axel’s guarded heart also needs healing . . . requiring all kinds of sneaky plays and sexy moves in extra innings.

Review:

The third installment in Lori Wilde’s Stardust, TX series, Love of the Game is an endearing romance between an injured baseball player and his physical therapist.  With strong professional ethics, plenty of emotional baggage and conflicting priorities, there are numerous obstacles Axel Richmond and Kasha Carlyle must overcome on the road to happily ever after.

Kasha has a lot riding on her new job with the Dallas Gunslingers so she works hard to ensure Axel recovers from a possible career ending shoulder injury.  Having recently discovered she has an adult biological half-sister with Down Syndrome, she is doing everything possible to become Emma’s legal guardian. Kasha was adopted as young child after a family tragedy and she is shocked by her strong emotional connection to her sister.  Equally stunning is her intense and immediate attraction to Axel and even if her professional relationship with him precludes any type a personal relationship, her need for control would never allow her to give in to her passion for him.  Having experienced firsthand the devastating effects of out of control passion, Kasha keeps a tight rein on her emotions and desires.

Axel cannot imagine life without baseball so he is extremely focused on overcoming his injury.  Although initially skeptical of Kasha’s treatment plan, he wants to avoid surgery so he reluctantly follows her instructions.  Axel is extremely driven and when finds himself at loose ends, he is forced to revisit the very painful memories of the devastating loss of his young son.  He is taken off guard by his growing feelings for Kasha but he is willing to explore the possibility of a future with her but she is incredibly resistant to the idea.  Having finally breached her formidable defenses,  Axel is very conflicted when his long held dream is within reach.

The romance element of the storyline is leisurely paced since Kasha has valid reasons to keep their interactions strictly on a professional level.  Despite her efforts to maintain an emotional distance, she and Axel genuinely like and respect one another and friendship naturally grows between them throughout the course of Axel’s treatment.  Underlying all of their interactions is a simmering sexual tension that they both try to ignore, but once Kasha decides she has to alter some of her plans regarding Emma, they decide to act on their desire.  Not too long after their relationship turns to romance, Axel is faced with a decision that makes Kasha rethink their future together.  Will Kasha stop letting the events from her past prevent her from finding happiness?

Love of the Game is an emotional, passion-filled addition to Lori Wilde’s delightfully charming Stardust, TX series.  Each of the characters is superbly developed with believable issues to overcome.  The storyline is engaging with just a touch of whimsy that perfectly balances the novel’s more serious undertones.  It is a heartfelt and beautifully rendered love story that will appeal to old and fans of this wonderful series.

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Filed under Avon, Contemporary, Lori Wilde, Love of the Game, Rated B, Review, Romance, Stardust Texas Series

Review: I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Lori Wilde

Ill be home forTitle: I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Lori Wilde
Twilight, Texas Book Seven
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

Nothing says Christmas like New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde and Twilight, TX, and now Lori returns to Twilight for a brand new heartwarming holiday tale. The matchmaking members of the Cookie Club are up to their old tricks again!

Christmas in Twilight, Texas, is all merriment and mistletoe. The Cookie Club is whipping up their most festive sweets, the townspeople are scrambling to get their holiday shopping done, and Joe-a hometown guy with a restless heart-is dreaming about the woman he wants to kiss most…

…And who happens to be staying at his sister’s place over the holidays, while Joe’s sister is away. But Joe isn’t quite sure he wants to be a living Christmas present to runaway law student Gabi Preston.

Joe thinks the sassy sweetheart he nicknames “Trouble” won’t inconvenience anything but his healthy sex drive. But when he discovers the reasons Gabi escaped from her life, he aches to give her everything she’s never had. As the magic of the season draws them together, the gift of love is the only one worth giving…

Review:

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Lori Wilde is a delightfully charming holiday romance. This seventh installment in the popular Twilight, Texas series is another heartwarming love story that old and new fans are going to love.

A startling realization about her career path is the impetus behind Gabi Preston’s decision to swap houses with an on line friend. Gabi wants to experience the picture perfect Christmas and the picturesque town of Twilight, Texas is just the place to celebrate the upcoming holiday. Gabi needs a little distance from her über successful and career oriented parents before breaking the news that she is not finishing her degree. After years of blending into the background and putting others’ needs ahead of her own, she is also hoping to discover her true authentic self while she tries to decide what she wants out of life. Gabi is a little ill prepared for the rather rustic living arrangements awaiting her but luckily, sexy Joe Cheek is close by to teach her all she needs to know about life in the country.

Gabi is a little reserved and quiet but she is also very kind and quite compassionate. She does not like to rock the boat and she always does what is expected of her. She loves her parents but they are not very close and while she does not want to upset them, Gabi knows it is time for her to decide her future based on her desires not theirs. She quickly begins to make friends in Twilight and as she takes over her fellow swapper’s volunteer duties, Gabi begins to get a sense of what she wants for herself both professionally and personally.

Joe has lived an interesting and eclectic life as he travels from place to place working different jobs. Despite his wanderlust, he is close to his family and after his grandfather’s accident, Joe drops everything to return to Twilight to run the family Christmas tree farm. He has a bit of a bad boy past but he is caring and loyal to his friends and family. Although he is quite happy working the farm, Joe is not sure that he is ready to settle down and stay in one place. As circumstances change with his family, Joe is forced to take a close look at his lifestyle as he tries to decide if it finally time to put down roots.

Both Joe and Gabi are instantly attracted to one another, but since her stay in Twilight is temporary, they are hesitant to act on their desire. Once they decide to indulge in a no strings fling, complications arise when Joe’s past collides with his present and Gabi becomes aware of his reputation when it comes to the ladies in town. Gabi’s impending departure is always in the forefront of both of their minds and although their feelings for one another begin to deepen, she still plans on leaving. Once she deals with the unresolved issues from her past, will Gabi decide to follow her heart?

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Lori Wilde is a sweet yet sensual romance. The plot is a little predictable at times but there are enough unexpected twists that the storyline remains fresh and engaging. The cast of characters is appealing and easy to like. The romance between Joe and Gabi is an absolute joy to watch unfold and although there are obstacles in their way, they manage to figure out how to make their relationship work. This beautiful holiday story is sure to be a hit with old and new readers of the Twilight, Texas series and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys small town contemporary romances.

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Filed under Avon, Contemporary, I'll Be home for Christmas, Lori Wilde, Rated B, Review, Romance, Twilight Texas Series

Review: Love at First Sight by Lori Wilde

Title: Love at First Sight by Lori Wilde
Cupid, Texas Series Book One
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length:
Book Rating:

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

In the first in a dazzling new series, Lori Wilde welcomes us to Cupid, Texas, where every wish for love comes true . . .

“When it hits, you just know . . .”

Natalie McCleary couldn’t believe her eyes—a lean-muscled, darkly tanned, nearly naked man stood in her path . . . and then it hit her: love. Everyone always told her it would hit like a thunderbolt, and she never believed them. But now she knew: practical, sensible Natalie was head over heels in love—with a stranger.

But ex-Navy SEAL Dade Vega wasn’t about to be a stranger for long. He’d ridden into Cupid on his motorcycle, vowing to keep a promise he’d made to a military buddy. But a single glimpse of Natalie—soaking wet and unexpectedly tempting—changed his life forever.

But how can he offer her his love, when he can’t even promise to stay in one place for longer than a week?

The Review:

In Love at First Sight, the first novel in Lori Wilde’s Cupid, Texas series, generations of the Greenwood women fall in love at first sight. Heroine Natalie McCleary has yet to experience this amazing phenomenon. That is until she catches a glimpse of Dade Vega. Are her feelings love? Or good old-fashioned lust?

After a plane crash that killed her parents and left her with permanent limp, Natalie has helped raise her younger, Zoey, with the help of her extended family. Natalie takes her responsibilities seriously, and she always makes safe decisions. She has a successful business and she helps answer the Dear Cupid letters written by people seeking romantic advice.

Dade’s search for his close friend and foster brother, Red Daggett, brings him to Natalie’s bed & breakfast. Dade is drawn to Natalie but his abusive childhood has left him cynical when it comes to trust and love. Growing more and more concerned about Red’s disappearance, Dade eventually confides to Natalie the reason behind his stay in Cupid and she eagerly assists him in his investigation.

The relationship between Dade and Natalie is more realistic than I anticipated. Both characters questioned whether what they were feeling for one another was in fact love and not lust. They also took the time to get to know one another before acting on their intense passion. The sexual tension builds to a fever pitch and their resulting love scenes are quite sensual.

The overall story is well-written but it is a little slow paced at times. The characters are quite eclectic and well-developed but there are so many introduced that it was hard to keep track of everyone. The mystery aspect of the storyline is very well done and even though I had a good idea of who the villain might be, Ms. Wilde does throw in a few unexpected surprises.

A sweet romance with a charming cast of characters, Love at First Sight is a delightful and light-hearted romance that old and new fans of Lori Wilde are sure to enjoy.

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Filed under Avon, Contemporary, Cupid Texas Series, Lori Wilde, Love at First Sight, Rated B, Review, Romance

Review: A Cowboy for Christmas by Lori Wilde

Title: A Cowboy for Christmas by Lori Wilde
Jubilee, Texas Book Three
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

It’s Christmastime in Jubilee, Texas, but Lissette Moncrief is having a hard time celebrating . . .

Especially after she accidentally smashes her car into Rafferty Jones’s pick-up truck. Yes, he’s a whole lot of handsome—from the tips of his boots to the top of his Stetson. But he’s no Christmas present. Lissy’s not about to let herself get whisked away by his charming ways and words . . . only to watch him drive away in the end.

But what Lissy doesn’t know is Rafferty’s in town just to meet her—and to give her a share in a windfall that doesn’t rightly belong to him. At first, he just wants to do his good deed and get out. But one look at this green-eyed beauty has him deciding to turn this into a Christmas to remember . . . making promises he’s determined to keep—whether she believes in them or not.

The Review:

A Cowboy for Christmas, the final book in Lori Wilde’s Jubilee, Texas trilogy, is a poignant yet heartwarming romance between a widow and her newfound brother-in-law.

Following her husband’s death in Afghanistan, Lissette Moncrief is stunned when she learns Jake named his half-brother, Rafferty Jones, as the beneficiary of his military life insurance and death benefits. The discovery that her son, Kyle, is slowly going deaf turns her world upside down and sends her into panic mode. Determined to find financial security and stand on her own two feet, she creatively comes up with a plan to expand her bakery business. But when Rafferty arrives in Jubilee to give Lissettte the money that rightfully belongs to her and Kyle, will Lissette forgo her independence and accept the charming cowboy’s offer of help?

Lissette’s marriage to Jake was over long before his death, so while she is saddened by his loss, she has quickly picked up the pieces of her life. Now realizing how much of herself she gave up in order to keep the peace with her troubled husband, Lissette is struggling to change from the passive, people pleasing person she has become. Lissette carefully weighs her options and does not rush into making decisions which often leads to her giving in to other people’s demands rather than rock the boat by expressing her own opinions.

Rafferty has a weakness for helping people in need. Caring for his mentally unstable mother and younger siblings forced him to grow up way too fast. His strong sense of responsibility will not allow him to walk away from Lissette and Kyle so he cleverly devises a plan that will keep him in Jubilee where he can help Lissette without wounding her pride.

Rafferty and Lissette are attracted to one another from their very first meeting, but neither of them is ready for a serious relationship. Rafferty is sensitive to Lissette’s need to stand on her own and he is careful not to push her in a direction she is not ready to go. He is supportive without being overbearing and he provides her with some much needed self-confidence. Lissette’s transformation from meek and mild to more assertive is a slow but realistic process. It is not easy to change lifelong habits, but with Rafferty’s assistance, Lissette stands her ground and emerges from a few skirmishes a much stronger woman.

A secondary storyline involving Lissette’s mother-in-law, Claudia provides added conflict. Claudia’s devastation over Jake’s death is compounded by Rafferty’s arrival in Jubilee. Deeply ashamed by her past actions, Claudia is terrified her secret will be revealed and she strikes out at Lissette in fear.

A Cowboy for Christmas is more serious than the other books in the Jubilee, Texas series. Lori Wilde deftly handles some difficult subjects with sensitivity and without angst. The romance between Lissette and Rafferty is sweet and while they fall in love over a short period of time, it never feels forced or rushed.

A Cowboy for Christmas is delightful novel with appealing characters and a sensational storyline that I highly recommend.

Read my reviews of the other books in the Jubilee, TX series HERE.

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Filed under A Cowboy for Christmas, Avon, Contemporary, HarperCollins, Jubilee TX Series, Lori Wilde, Rated B, Review, Romance

The Cowboy and the Princess by Lori Wilde

Title: The Cowboy and the Princess by Lori Wilde
Jubilee, Texas Book Two
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

Brady Talmadge was a cowboy with five unbreakable rules:
1) Never pick up a pretty hitchhiker
2) Avoid damsels in distress
3) Never order chili at a truck stop
4) Always trust your gut
5) Never tell a lie . . .

This is what happened when he broke all his rules . . . and got into a whole lot of trouble!

On the run from an arranged marriage, Princess Annabella of Monesta dons the guise of a hitchhiking cowgirl. But when she finds herself drenched, alone, and hungry, she has no choice but to trust the tall Texas horse whisperer who offers her a ride. He’s like no one she’s ever known—a strong sexy man who says just what he thinks. And when one wild kiss leaves her breathless, she quickly realizes she’ll give up everything to spend a lifetime of night times in his arms. But how can there be happily-ever-after with palace guards hot on her trail?

The Review:

The second installment in Lori Wilde’s Jubilee, Texas series, The Cowboy and the Princess is a charming love story between two very unlikely people. Annie Coste (Princess Annabella) has lived a sheltered and privileged life. Before her arranged marriage to a stodgy older Prince, she decides to experience all the fun things she has ever wanted to try. A fortuitous meeting with footloose and fancy free horse whisperer Brady Talmadge takes Annie to the delightful town of Jubilee. Brady and her newfound friends provide Annie the opportunity to enjoy the adventures she has been dreaming about her whole life.

Annie is a delightful breath of fresh air. Innocent and naive, she views the world around her with almost childlike wonder and it is so much fun seeing things through her eyes. Annie is incredibly prim, proper,very intelligent… and completely out of her element. She is excited to live on her own and she is thrilled to accomplish ordinary everyday tasks. Annie finds joy in simple pleasures and her excitement is felt by everyone around her.

Brady is such a complex protagonist. He is kind-hearted, laid back and easy going which makes him appear to live a carefree life. He is a loyal and steadfast friend and his ability to read horses is incredible. But don’t let this good-natured cowboy fool you. Brady is full of hidden depths and he is keeping some dark secrets.

I absolutely loved the relationship between Annie and Brady. Their romance is slow growing and they really took the time to get to know one another. Their dates are incredibly sweet and wowza! The sexual tension between them is positively sizzling.

While most of The Cowboy and the Princess is light-hearted and just plain fun, there are some serious issues that this couple must deal with. Annie quickly realizes there will be implications with Brady and her new friends when her deception is uncovered. Brady’s past brings an unexpected complication to his carefree lifestyle. Annie and Brady’s road to “and they lived happily ever after” has a few obstacles and roadblocks they must overcome.

The Cowboy and the Princess is an enchanting feel good novel that fans of contemporary romances will enjoy. There are a couple of things that were easy to predict, but the overall story is well written and quite original. The resolution of the novel is perfect and Lori Wilde gives Annie and Brady the fairy tale ending they so richly deserve.

Read my reviews of the other books in the Jubliee, TX series HERE

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Filed under Avon, Contemporary, HarperCollins, Jubilee TX Series, Lori Wilde, Rated B, Romance, The Cowboy and the Princess

The Cowboy Takes a Bride by Lori Wilde

Title: The Cowboy Takes a Bride by Lori Wilde
Jubilee, TX Series Book One
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 389 pages
Book Rating: C+

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

Ex-champion bull rider-turned-cutting-horse cowboy Joe Daniels isn’t quite sure how he ended up sleeping in a horse trough wearing nothing but his Stetson and cowboy boots. But now he’s wide-awake, and a citified woman is glaring down at him. His goal? Get rid of her ASAP. The obstacle? Fighting the attraction he feels toward the blond-haired filly with the big, vulnerable eyes.

When out-of-work wedding planner Mariah Callahan learns that her estranged father has left her a rundown ranch in Jubilee, she has no choice but to accept it. Her goal? Redeem her career by planning local weddings. The obstacle? One emotionally wounded, hard-living cowboy who stirs her guilt, her heartstrings, and her long-burned cowgirl roots . . .

The Review:

The Cowboy Takes a Bride by Lori Wilde is an emotional but very sweet love story. With her estranged father’s death, unemployed Mariah Callahan gets the opportunity to leave the big city behind and begin a new life in Jubilee, Texas. She is instantly attracted to Joe Daniels from their first tempestuous meeting, but Mariah is not planning on staying in Jubilee. Nor does she plan on losing her heart to the sexy cowboy.

Mariah Callahan and Joe Daniels are emotionally wounded protagonists. Mariah’s inability to let go of her bitterness and resentment over her father Dutch’s abandonment results in serious trust issues. Her unresolved issues with Dutch frequently come between her and Joe, and affect her ability to commit to a relationship with him.

Joe is still mired in grief from his wife Becca’s death. He shared a close friendship with Dutch and he is devastated by his unexpected death. Afraid of losing another person, Joe is unwilling to risk his heart with Mariah.

Joe and Mariah’s relationship slowly unfolds throughout The Cowboy Takes a Bride. They gradually form a close friendship and begin to open up and share their feelings. Their friendship turns to romance but that is when the communication ends and both characters begin to make assumptions about the others’ thoughts and feelings. Which then ends up in the “Big Misunderstanding” plot device that seems out of character given Joe and Mariah’s previous ability to talk to one another. Their reconciliation is sweet yet rather unbelievable.

The Cowboy Takes a Bride is an enjoyable romance. Lori Wilde has an engaging writing style, and the story flows well. If you are looking for a light romance with appealing characters, then you are sure to enjoy The Cowboy Takes a Bride.

I am looking forward to the next installment of the Jubilee, TX series.

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Filed under Avon, Contemporary, HarperCollins, Jubilee TX Series, Lori Wilde, Rated C+, Romance, The Cowboy Takes a Bride