Category Archives: Molly O’Keefe

Review: Never Been Kissed by Molly O’Keefe

never beenTitle: Never Been Kissed by Molly O’Keefe
Boys of Bishop Series Book Two
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Bantam
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, Molly O’Keefe’s second novel in her exciting new series—The Boys of Bishop—features an irresistible romance and unforgettable characters in a page-turning story that delivers equal parts emotion and humor . . . with a little edge to boot.

As the daughter of a wealthy politician, Ashley Montgomery has had enough of her parents’ expectations for her future and is going her own way, volunteering to work at a refugee camp in Africa. But her act of charity turns dangerous when she takes a boat trip and is abducted by Somali pirates. Enter Brody Baxter, who was a bodyguard for the Montgomery family ten years ago and doesn’t think twice about coming to Ashley’s rescue. Handsome and tough, Brody has always done what needed to be done. So he swoops in, saves Ashley, and brings her to a place where she can rest and recuperate without the glare of the press and her demanding family: Brody’s small hometown of Bishop, Arkansas. But Ashley soon realizes that she’s not the only one in need of healing.

Holed up with Ashley in a tiny apartment over his brother’s bar in Bishop, Brody is tempted and torn in ways he never anticipated. Beautiful Ashley, vibrant despite her ordeal, fearless enough to love him beyond his wall of self-punishment, is now determined to save him. But with a little faith and a lot of love, they just may find happiness in each others’ arms.

The Review:

Never Been Kissed is another captivating romance in Molly O’Keefe’s divine Boys of Bishop series. While it is a heartwarming love story between two incredibly complex individuals, it is also a wonderful journey of healing and self-discovery for the characters as well.

When Ashley Montgomery is kidnapped and held for ransom by Somali pirates, her brother Harrison reaches out to the only man he trusts to bring her home: their former bodyguard Brody Baxter. Although it has been ten years since he worked for the Montgomery family, Brody does not hesitate to rescue her from her captors. Needing a secluded place for Ashley to recover from her injuries, Brody takes her to his small hometown, where the two fight their simmering attraction for each other.

When the opportunity arose for Ashley escape the limelight and distance herself from her political family, she eagerly set out to make a difference in a poverty stricken African village.  Her return home highlights the fact that nothing has really changed regarding her troubled relationship with her family. After spending time with Brody in Bishop, Ashley also comes to the realization that her long ago crush on him has deepened into love. She is a strong, independent woman who is not afraid to go after what she wants, but Brody has a long history of avoiding any kind of emotional entanglement. He might be willing to give into his passion short term, but he does not plan on sticking around any longer than he has to.

Brody is emotionally damaged from his childhood and although he loves his adoptive father Ed and brother Sean, he is not willing to risk getting hurt again. He returns to Bishop for short visits, helps Sean out around the family bar and leaves as quickly as possible. In order to protect his heart, Brody never asks for anything that is not given to him and it is heartbreaking watching him keep himself on the periphery of his family’s life. It is a huge step for Brody when he finally admits he wants Ashley, but he refuses to trust that what he has with her will last and he runs at the first sign of trouble.

Ashley and Brody’s relationship is slow growing and full of sexual tension. While at first Ashley is eager to send Brody away, he takes his duty to keep her safe very seriously and he resists her efforts to get him to leave. He is very reluctant to open up about himself, but Ashley manages to sneak past his somewhat formidable defenses. Their resulting romance is sweet and sinfully sexy but Brody refuses to admit that his feelings for Ashley run deeper than desire.

In addition to Brody and Ashley’s storyline, there is a secondary story arc with Sean and his romance with Cora. These two have been locked in an antagonistic relationship since their first meeting and as their interactions become a little less hostile, a surprising attraction develops between them.

Never Been Kissed is a fast-paced and engaging novel with a charming cast of likable characters. The characters are imperfect and dealing with realistic, easy to relate to issues. Ashley and Brody triumph over their individual problems with little angst and although they stumble a little along the way, Molly O’Keefe gives them happily ever after they so richly deserve.

Never Been Kissed is an splendid addition to the Boys of Bishop series and I cannot wait to read Between the Sheets, which is scheduled to release in a few weeks.

Read my review of Wild Child HERE.

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Filed under Bantam, Boys of Bishop Series, Contemporary, Molly O'Keefe, Never Been Kissed, Random House Publishing Group, Rated B+, Review, Romance

Review: Wild Child by Molly O’Keefe

Title: Wild Child by Molly O’Keefe
Boys of Bishop Series Book One
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Bantam
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, this sizzling romance tells the story of a sexy small-town mayor and a notorious “bad girl,” who discover that home really is where the heart is.

Monica Appleby is a woman with a reputation. Once she was America’s teenage “Wild Child,” with her own reality TV show. Now she’s a successful author coming home to Bishop, Arkansas, to pen the juicy follow-up to her tell-all autobiography. Problem is, the hottest man in town wants her gone. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to convince a cookie giant to move its headquarters to his crumbling community, and Monica’s presence is just too . . . unwholesome for business. But the desire in his eyes sends a very different message: Stay, at least for a while.

Jackson needs this cookie deal to go through. His town is dying and this may be its last shot. Monica is a distraction proving too sweet, too inviting—and completely beyond his control. With every kiss he can taste her loneliness, her regrets, and her longing. Soon their uncontrollable attraction is causing all kinds of drama. But when two lost hearts take a surprise detour onto the bumpy road of unexpected love, it can only lead someplace wonderful.

“Molly O’Keefe is a unique, not-to-be-missed voice in romantic fiction.”—New York Times bestselling author Susan Andersen

The Review:

As I have come to expect from Molly O’Keefe, Wild Child is a deliciously steamy romance that has plenty of substance. It is a light read in the sense that there is no angst but there is definitely a lot of depth to the characters and the plot.

At first glance reality star turned author Monica Appleby and small town mayor Jackson Davies share little in common. Monica’s sordid past and wild teenage exploits have been vividly detailed in her auto-biography Wild Child while Jackson leads a pretty quiet and rumor free life raising his teenage sister, Gwen. Their two very different worlds collide when Monica returns to the small town of Bishop, AR to write a tell all novel about a tragic event from her childhood. Negative publicity is the last thing Jackson needs while Bishop is participating in a nationally televised competition for a relocating factory that will resuscitate the town’s dying economy.

The similarities between Monica and Jackson are apparent at their first contentious meeting. Both are very different than their public personas and they are very good at hiding who they really are from other people. Neither of them had very little choice in the direction their lives took. Monica’s mother dragged her into the limelight while the unexpected death of Jackson’s parents left him in charge of his teenage sister.

Monica and Jackson quickly enter into a very hot and incendiary sexual relationship but their pasts soon derail their relationship. Jackson’s relationship with Gwen is distant and things between them are becoming increasingly rocky. Monica has successfully avoided her mother Simone for several years, but Simone’s unexpected arrival in Bishop lead to several unpleasant confrontations between the two.

Wild Child is a delightfully charming romance and while Jackson and Monica are flawed and imperfect, they are very appealing. Their problems are not glossed over, and the resolution of their issues is handled in a realistic manner. The secondary cast of characters adds another layer to this intricately plotted story and hopefully Molly O’Keefe has plans to bring us their stories in the future.

Another fabulous book by a very gifted author that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys contemporary romances.

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Filed under Bantam, Boys of Bishop Series, Contemporary, Molly O'Keefe, Random House Publishing Group, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Wild Child

Review: Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O’Keefe

Title: Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O’Keefe
Crooked Creek Ranch Series Book Three
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Bantam
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 370 pages
Book Rating: B+

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

In this poignant and deeply sensual new contemporary romance—perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson—Molly O’Keefe proves that lost loves don’t have to stay lost forever.

Dallas TV morning show host Madelyn Cornish is poised, perfect, and unflappable, from her glossy smile to her sleek professionalism. No one knows that her iron will guards a shattered heart and memories of a man she’s determined to lock out. Until that man shows up at a morning meeting like a bad dream: Billy Wilkins, sexy hockey superstar in a tailspin—still skating, still fighting, and still her ex-husband.

Now the producers want this poster child for bad behavior to undergo an on-air makeover, and Billy, who has nothing to lose, agrees to the project. It’s his only chance to get near Maddy again, and to fight for the right things this time around. He believes in the fire in Maddy’s whiskey eyes and the passion that ignites the air between them. This bad-boy heartbreaker wants a last shot to be redeemed by the only thing that matters: Maddy’s love.

The Review:

Crazy Thing Called Love, Molly O’Keefe’s third installment in her Crooked Creek Ranch series, is an intense romance between Madelyn “Maddy” Cornish and Billy Wilkins. The sexual chemistry between this volatile couple is hotter than hot, but their unresolved and complicated history causes Maddy to keep an emotional distance from Billy. Thrown together when Billy undergoes a makeover on Maddy’s morning show, their passion proves irresistible. But when Billy wants more than a sexual relationship, will he find a way to breach Maddy’s defenses?

Maddy and Billy’s childhood friendship eventually turned to love and they married young while Billy was in the early days of his hockey career. Their greatest downfall was a lack of maturity that eventually leads to their painful divorce. Maddy and Billy are so afraid of being hurt again, both keep everyone at arms’ length and they devote themselves to their careers. When they meet again fourteen years after they split up, they discover that their desire for one another is stronger than ever and while Billy is willing to risk his heart again, Maddy is not.

Maddy and Bill’s turbulent past is revealed through flashbacks of key events of their relationship. These glimpses offer valuable insight into their marriage and subsequent divorce. The details of Billy’s abusive childhood are heartbreaking and explain his dedication to his career. It also gives readers a greater understanding of why he reacts to certain situations the way he does.

Ms. O’Keefe does not hesitate to put her characters (or her readers) through an emotional wringer and this is certainly true in Crazy Thing Called Love. Maddy and Billy are two extremely complex and wounded characters and their past and present relationship is quite tumultuous. It is sometimes frustrating watching Maddie refuse to let go of her anger towards Billy, but I could certainly sympathize with her reasons for it. Despite his gruff exterior and bad boy behavior, there is an air of optimism surrounding Billy and I loved the tantalizing peeks of the gentle and caring side of his personality.

Out of all the novels in the Crooked Creek Ranch series, Crazy Thing Called Love is my favorite. I was intrigued by Billy since he was first introduced and it was well worth the wait for his story. It is an wild ride that is full of emotion, passion and heartache, but the growth of both Billy and Maddy personally and as a couple makes it a satisfying journey. Be prepared for laughter and tears as this dynamic couple find that love is even sweeter the second time around.

Click HERE for my reviews of the other books in the Crooked Creek Ranch series.

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Filed under Bantam, Contemporary, Crazy Thing Called Love, Crooked Creek Series, Molly O'Keefe, Random House Publishing Group, Rated B+, Review, Romance

Can’t Hurry Love by Molly O’Keefe

Title: Can’t Hurry Love by Molly O’Keefe
Crooked Creek Ranch Book Two
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Bantam
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

From award-winning author Molly O’Keefe comes a wonderfully written contemporary romance about second chances at life and at love.

Victoria Baker, the penniless widow of a disgraced financier, is ready to stand up, be counted, and make a new life for herself and her beloved son in Texas. She’s taking over Crooked Creek ranch, her birthright, and turning it into something special. All that stands in her way is Eli Turnbull, a rugged, too-handsome cowboy who wants the land just as badly.

If Victoria wants a fight, Eli will give her one. He’s devoted his life to Crooked Creek, and he’s not about to let some pampered city girl-even one as brave and beautiful as Victoria-turn it into some silly spa. But Victoria’s and Eli’s burning anger and frustration only fuel heat of another kind: uncontrollable passion. And soon they each realize that the person standing in their way is the one they can never do without.

The Review:

Molly O’Keefe’s Can’t Hurry Love is a wonderfully messy and incredibly passionate love story between two emotionally wounded people. Victoria Baker and Eli Turnbull will have to make peace with their pasts and each other if they have any chance of a future together.

For part of Can’t Hurry Love, Victoria and Eli are difficult characters to like. They are both hurting and terribly wounded by their pasts. They are each trying their hardest to hurt one another as they fight over the Crooked Creek ranch. Their behavior is appalling and deliberately destructive. It is just a matter of time before the situation between them explodes and when it finally does, neither will emerge unscathed. Their antagonism ends in a shocking display of passion that forces Victoria to take drastic measures.

And that is finally the turning point for both Victoria and Eli. Victoria finally finds her backbone, gets off her butt and makes some decisions about what to do with her life. It is a slow process and she occasionally stumbles. But she is finally making progress dealing with her guilt and shame over her husband’s misdeeds and she is slowly regaining her sense of self and her confidence.

While Eli is starting over, all of his secrets are revealed. He is emotionally stunted and up until now, incapable of having a normal relationship. He is finally leaving the bitterness of his past behind and concentrating on the future. And in embracing his future, he is relieved of the burdens of his past. We begin to see the warm and caring man that is hidden beneath all the anger he feels toward the Baker family.

Eli and Victoria’s relationship is an emotional landmine, but the passion between them is explosive. Their sex scenes are raw, gritty and intense. But underneath all the hurt feelings and anger, are two people who are perfect for one another if they would just have the courage to give love a chance.

The one person that everyone has a healthy relationship with is Victoria’s son Jacob. Jacob is a typical little boy. He loves horses and he has a serious case of hero worship for Eli. Eli is wonderful with Jacob, and it is through this relationship that readers see the gentler and caring side of Eli. Victoria is a mother bear and a bit on the overprotective side, but she is a good mom. For all the uncertainty and turmoil going on in her life, she is on solid ground with her son.

One of the most enjoyable storylines revolves around Celeste Baker. Celeste is the ex-wife of Victoria’s father and an aging supermodel. Her relationship with Victoria is complicated and they tend to tiptoe around one another. It is nice to see them finally resolve their issues and work toward a common goal. Celeste eventually provides Victoria unwavering support and dispenses some pretty sound (and much needed) advice.

One of the most interesting story arcs is the older woman/younger man romance between Celeste and one of the contractors helping with the ranch renovations. It provides a great deal of insight into Celeste and explains a lot about her character. It is fascinating watching the sparks fly and passion simmer between these two unlikely lovers.

In Can’t Hurry Love Molly O’Keefe delivers a powerful story about redemption, forgiveness and love. It is full of heartache and it is almost painful watching the damage that Eli and Victoria inflict on one another. But watching them emerge from their darkest days stronger than they ever imagined makes the sometimes difficult but incredibly emotional journey worthwhile.

Read my review of Can’t Buy Me Love HERE.

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Filed under Bantam, Can't Hurry Love, Contemporary, Crooked Creek Series, Molly O'Keefe, Random House Publishing Group, Rated B, Romance

Can’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe

Title: Can’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe
Crooked Creek Series Book One
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Bantam
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

A beautifully written contemporary romance about second chances at life and at love, set on a booming cattle ranch in Texas-perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susan Mallery, and Rachel Gibson.

Tara Jean Sweet knows who she is-white trash, through and through-and she also knows she’ll never let any man steal her heart. So when elderly Lyle Baker takes her under his wing, giving her a stake in his leather business, she agrees to help the dying man out by playing the part of his fiance. He’s putting on the act in an effort to drive his grown-up children back to his ranch in Texas; he knows they want his fortune, and won’t let him marry the buxom blonde. His plan works, and soon Luc, a ridiculously handsome hockey star, shows up, along with his half-sister Victoria. When Luc and Tara meet, the sparks are immediate and blinding, and their fates are further tied together by the strange terms of Lyle’s will. But can their connection survive the truth about Tara Jean’s past?

The Review:

Can’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe is a funny, poignant, and emotional romance. Tara Jean Sweet is not proud of her past but with Lyle Baker’s friendship, she has finally turned her life around. Now a successful hockey player, Luc Baker has left his father, abusive childhood and Texas behind. But as Tara and Luc quickly discover, the past does not always stay in the past.

Can’t Buy Me Love is a well-written contemporary novel with a delightful cast of characters. The main protagonists are beautifully developed with realistic flaws and imperfections. Tara Jean and Luc are complex characters with complicated pasts. They have more than their fair share of emotional baggage and although their obstacles sometimes seem insurmountable, together they overcome the serious issues facing them.

The sparks fly between this wonderful couple from their very first meeting. The sexual chemistry between Luc and Tara Jean is sizzling hot. Their sex scenes are tremendously sexy and exceedingly passionate.

Can’t Buy Me Love is a fast paced romance with an exceptionally well-developed plot. The characters are multi-faceted with believable problems to conquer. With an incredible amount of emotional depth and substance, Molly O’Keefe brings her readers a captivating and intensely sensual love story.

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Filed under Bantam, Can't Buy Me Love, Contemporary, Crooked Creek Series, Molly O'Keefe, Random House Publishing Group, Rated B+, Romance