Under Locke

He’s not really an asshole…

What an amazing rollercoaster of fierce emotion and tangled need.

Dex is an asshole. But Iris is determined to make a new beginning. He can criticize her clothes. He can give her the meanest glower on the planet. When she overhears him calling her a useless idiot and a bitch, she decides her imprisonment under his thumb will last only long enough to add something to the measly $76 in her bank account. Then he can kiss her lily white, because she’s finding another job. One where she doesn’t have to tiptoe, or avoid looking her wildly attractive yet bastard of a boss in the eye.

And then he lets his armor crack. Sly humor, unwavering loyalty, stubborn protectiveness and irresistible hugs infiltrate her defenses. Suddenly she loves it when he mutters Ritz. When his hand curls around the nape of her neck. He’s everything her mom wanted her to avoid. He owns a motorcycle, he’s tatted up and he’s an ex-con. But he takes care of everyone around him. He’s a successful businessman. He’s addictive and layered, and gets under her skin.

She turns to him when she can’t trust anyone else, and he would sacrifice everything to keep her safe.

This is my favorite Zapata novel yet. It’s an absolutely intoxicating, unparalleled slow burn, enemies to lovers, bad boys with hearts of gold, taming of the beast. I loved every second of it.

Warning: The intimate scenes are very explicit, and the level of steam is off the charts.

Float Plan

It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Anna and Keane are both running away from their lives. They both have been run through the gristmill by recent tragedy, and are trying to pick up the pieces and put themselves back together.

Keane wasn’t part of Anna’s plan. But neither was Ben’s death. And now she feels overwhelmed and abandoned and rudderless. An able seaman, willing to help her sail to Puerto Rico free of charge seems like a godsend. Soon, sharing her tiny space with him doesn’t seem weird. Soon, she looks forward to his cheeky grin and it no longer fazes her when he grabs the Capt. America mug for his morning coffee.

Keane is dazzled by Anna. By both her self-effacing beauty and her vulnerability. By her grit and her determination. He has his own demons to fight, but he would gladly spend the rest of his days watching sunsets with her. And when Anna finally begins to deviate from the course set by others abd sail where her heart longs to go, he hopes she’ll want him by her side.

I loved loved loved this story about second chances, finding the bottomless well of courage to face the hard days, climbing through your grief and carving your own path.

Talk Bookish to Me

Everyone grows up eventually…even college boyfriends.

Talk Bookish to Me was a perfect escape about second chances.

Kara and Ryan were inseparable in college- that couple nauseatingly wrapped up in each other and joined at the hip. The tied with a bow, rose colored glasses couple everyone else was envious of. But they were young, and life got in the way. They couldn’t keep doubt and mistrust from intruding on their relationship – and they are both still nursing the wounds from their mutual meltdown.

Kara still hates Ryan with the fire of a thousand suns. He broke her trust and shattered her heart. And now he’s standing on front of her – miraculously the groomsman in her best friend’s wedding. She wants to thrash him with the roundkick of all roundkicks. But she wants to lean into the crook of his neck and feel his arms around her too. And her competing desires make her grumpy and mean.

When a disaster named Duke strikes, Ryan and Kara become victims of forced proximity. Kara offers up her space because she is trying to help her best friend and keep the momentum and inspiration going so she can meet the deadline for her new romance book. The coincidence of Ryan’s sudden appearance and the banishment of her writer’s block is not something she wants to examine too closely.

The charge between them is inexorable and they can’t ignore it. If they choose each other again, there’s a very definite possibility that their secrets will drive them apart again. Is the heartache and surrender worth it?

I loved this sweet romantic comedy. A huge thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Meet Me in Paradise

This book was so wonderful.

It’s about the many different kinds of bravery. It takes courage to carry on, courage to step outside your comfort zone, courage to let go.

It’s about the sacrifices we think we are making for those we love, but are actually walls we are erecting for self-preservation. It’s about tearing down those walls brick by brick.

It’s about self-deception and erroneous assumptions.

Marin agrees to leave her cocoon of ten years for a sisters’ getaway. It turns into another type of adventure altogether when she meets Lucas. As he shows her around the island, she doesn’t recognize her flirty, forthright alterego. She takes risks, embraces danger, and loses her moorings.

The reason behind Marin’s solitary escape will turn her world upside down and result in an epiphany that changes her life.

Recommended if you settle in with this spectacular debut:

-A box of tissues within easy reach.
-No early morning appointments because you won’t be able to put it down once you pick it up.