Pocket Books Presents: Playing With Fire + Giveaway

 The scorching-hot Dempsey siblings continue to fight fire with fire…
Her heart’s in his line of fire…

Heating up reading lists and leisure time long after the summer heat has cooled will be Kate Meader’s PLAYING WITH FIRE, which tells the story of rookie firefighter Alex Dempsey. She may be the only woman in Engine Company 6—and may have burned through thirty-four dates in the last ten months—but she’s got everything under control. At least until she rescues Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, from a hotel blaze.
These two have clashed before—Eli’s a brilliant politician, used to the spotlight, and Alex has no use for a man who can smooth-talk anyone into anything, including his bed. But after their headline-grabbing encounter, Alex is the one starting to sizzle…

 …but first she’ll set his world aflame…
Eli Cooper has one goal: winning the next election, and Alex, his sassy savior, may be the spark he needs to light up his sputtering mayoral campaign. “Dating” the female firefighter who saved his life is political gold, but her total lack of filter makes Eli incensed—and more than a little hot and bothered. For the sake of ratings, their bickering will have to wait until they get some privacy…
 And once these two are alone together, there’ll be no way to extinguish the flames in Kate Meader’s second sizzling installment in the Hot in Chicago series,PLAYING WITH FIRE!


My Thoughts
This is the easiest review that I have ever had to write!  EVERYTHING that Kate Meader has written in this series to date is fabulous!
Every story, from Rekindle The Flame on, is written with a realism that puts the reader into the mind and heart of each character from word one.

Though different, each of the leading men or in the case of Playing With Fire, our leading lady, Alex.
Is imbued with a hidden sense of emotional  vulnerability, which is juxtaposed against  both the riggers of their profession, and a very snarky outer persona.

As if all of the above reasons aren't enough to make you want to drop everything and run out to grab this series.  There is also a strong sense of family that features as a continuous theme in each respective read.  This bonded theme unites the Dempsey clan in both work and play.  It also makes each book a "home away from home" for audiences.
Miss Meader's books read less like stories, and more like a collection of experiences shared between friends.  Readers are truly made to feel as if they "know " the characters.  One comes to understand the nuances of the cast, and as such, is able to "get inside their heads".

While singing praises, one must not forget the romance!  Each book is ablaze with passion, sex, and romance of the highest order.  Never one for prescriptive writing, authoress Meader can be counted on to make her romance fresh and thrilling from book to book.
There is always a fully developed love story to be had.
No corner cutting here.  From back story to "happily" there is always a full on...and very sensual thrill ride to be had.

Playing With Fire:  Alex
I had to take the time to spotlight Alex's story; due to the fact that she turns the tables a bit in her story.
As the only woman featured as a lead in this series thus far, and carrying the reputation of a badass firewoman.  Seeing her play the damsel to Eli's "white knight " is quite the switch.  In the same token, seeing Eli in a romantic light is a treat not to be missed either.

Reviewer's Note:
You will note that I have kept my review rather general.  This has been for several reasons.
Firstly, I have read every volume of the series to date, and while it is my intent to interest the reader in said series; it is not my goal to spoil any aspect of audience reading experience by doing so.
Secondly, I would rate the entire series 5 stars. As such to dissect each volume here would make this review very long!
Lastly, I want you to READ and ENJOY the series just as much as I have!

Buy The Book

Hot in Chicago buy links:
Cover.FinalPlaying with Fire (9/29/15) is second in the series.
Rekindle The Flame by Kate MeaderRekindle the Flame is the prequel e-novella which will publish 11/30/15 for $1.99!
Flirting With Fire by Kate MeaderFlirting with Fire (3/24/15) is first in the series.
Melting Point by Kate MeaderMelting Point (8/31/15) is the mm romance e-novella from the series.

About Miss Kate
KateMeader (1)Kate Meader was raised on romance. An Irish girl, she started with Catherine Cookson and Jilly Coooper novels, and spiced it up with some Mills & Boon. Now based in Chicago, she writes romances of her own, where sexy contemporary alpha heroes and strong heroines match each other quip for quip. When not immersed in tales of brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, Kate lives on the web at katemeader.com,Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest.

We are excited to do a Fire Giveaway today for Kate Meader’s PLAYING WITH FIRE blog tour.  The Fire Giveaway will include Flirting with Fire and Baby, It’s Cold Outside (which includes Kate Meader’s Rekindle the Flame, the prequel Hot in Chicago e-novella which will publish 11/30/15 for $1.99!) You can visit all sites on the blog tour to enter the Fire Giveaways – but keep in mind you can only win once! U.S. only.

The Giveaway!

This is all you have to do to WIN!
1.  Tell me in the comments ehat makes you HOT AND BOTHERED!
2.  Be  18
3.  Give a valid email.
4.  Reside in the US. 

Ohhh....Cover Love: Kresley Cole's "Dark Skye" and "Macrieve" Get New Looks

Fall is here, and with it comes the final two repackaged covers from Kresley Cole’s phenomenally popular Immortals After Dark series, and what’s ours is yours!

The latest HOT Off the Press new looks:

Something a little different this time: DARK SKYE will be available in eBook format at a special price of $1.99 from October 5th to November 1st.  MACRIEVE has been chosen for a Kindle Daily Deal on 10/29, and will be available in eBook format for $1.99 on that day only.

Get A Little "Bluddy" With "Wicked Ever After" From Delilah S. Dawson & Pocket Star

Delilah S. Dawson
Pocket Star EBooks
October 5, 2015
ISBN 9781501102110

KINDLE (ebook)
NOOK (ebook)

Ever since landing in the magical world of Sang and falling in love with dashing ringmaster Criminy Stain, Tish has been waiting for the axe to fall. Until her dying grandmother’s last breath on Earth, Tish can’t bring herself to give up her all-too human frailty and commit to life on Sang as a youthful, long-lived Bludman like her handsome husband. But when a peculiar twist of fate delivers Tish’s grandmother to Sang, an unexpected chain of events forces Tish and Criminy to embark on one last wild adventure. From old friends to new and into the lair of terrifying enemies, the couple’s love and longevity will be pushed to the brink by each harrowing encounter. Is blud thicker than blood, and can Tish and Crim find their wicked ever after?

WICKED EVER AFTER by Delilah S. Dawson is the seventh and final installment in her highly praised steampunk-tinged “Blud” series of paranormal vampire romance, where romance returns to Tish and Criminy—but “happily ever after” is never ordinary in the world of Sang.

 Praise for the Blud series:
“Boredom can have really strange consequences, as Demi Ward is about to discover.  Rising star Dawson ventures back to the land of Sang in the third installment of her inventive steampunk vampire series.  The dark underbelly of life in the Paris cabarets is vividly explored as this stubborn heroine must deal with the fallout from her decisions.  Gritty, thrilling and sexy—Dawson is really on a roll!”
Romantic Times, Four and a Half Star HOT on Wicked After Midnight

“Dawson has created one of the most original and refreshing worlds in a time when I thought it had all been done before…If you are not reading the BLUD series, you are missing out!”
—Under the Covers Book Blog on Wicked As She Wants

“Mesmerizing…holds the reader spellbound from its opening line until its last…This reviewer recommends you make a trip to the fascinating Sang immediately.”
—Bitten by Books on Wicked As They Come

Delilah S. DawsonDelilah S. Dawson is the author of Wicked After Midnight, Wicked As They Come, Wicked As She Wants, and three enovellas set in the enchanting land of Sang: The Mysterious Madam Morpho, The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance, and The Damsel and the Daggerman.  She also contributed a story to the star-studded urban fantasy anthology Carniepunk.  Her novel for young adults, Servants of the Storm, is available from Simon Pulse.  She lives with her family in Atlanta.  To keep up with the latest news about Delilah and her books, delilahsdawson.com.

Booksparks PR Presents: Uncovered

Author:  Leah Lax
Format:  Print
Length:  256 pages
Publisher:  SheWrites Press
Rating:  4 Stars
 In "Uncovered," Leah Lax tells her story beginning as a young teen who left her liberal, secular home for life as a Hasidic Jew, and ending as a forty-something woman who has to abandon the only world she s known for thirty years in order to achieve personal freedom.
 In understated, crystalline prose, Lax details her experiences with arranged marriage, cult-like faith, and motherhood during her years with the Hasidim, and explores how her creative, sexual, and spiritual longings simmer beneath the surface throughout her time there.
 The first book to tell the story of a gay woman who spent thirty adult years in the Hasidic fold, "Uncovered" is the moving story of Lax s long journey toward finding a home where she truly belongs."  -Goodreads
My Thoughts
Leah's story is one that resonates with anyone who has ever found themselves at the mercy of an uninformed choice, or living a life that is not based in personal truth.
The fact that the author's choice put her in such a stark and stringent environment, at the time in life when all of the things that come together to form her personhood  were on the verge of flowering, is nothing less than a travesty.

Yet, this is a travesty that many men and women stuck in loveless and fulfilling circumstances face everyday.  Losing themselves by degrees, justifying lives filled with loneliness and self denial for religion, money, marriage, children...the list is endless.

This is a very honest, and at times difficult look a woman coming to understand her place in a world that says "outside of motherhood and wifery, there is no place for her".  It is one thing to be subjected to the prescriptions of convention "on low volume" in the world at large.  To have to live one's life confined by said convention, wrapped in the legitimizing cloak of orthodoxy?
I shudder to think of it.

This is a story of hope, resilience, and the power of the spirit.  A story that transcends race, religion, class, or creed...and one that I am glad to have experienced.  

 About Leah
LeahlaxLeah Lax has won awards in both fiction and nonfiction and her work has been included in numerous anthologies and publications, print and online–including DameLilith, and Salon. Her work for stage has been reviewed in The New York Times and broadcast on NPR. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston. When she isn’t writing, you can find her out walking the dog, or playing her cello, or with her partner kayaking around the world.

 Web / Facebook / Twitter / Booksparks

Make Forever Official With "Ms. Manwhore"

25451581 Title:  Ms. Manwhore
(Manwhore # 2.5)
Author:  Katy Evans
Format:  ERC
Length:  115 pages
Publisher:  Gallery Books
Rating:  5 Stars

Katy Evans returns with a sexy novella, the final installment of the unforgettable love story that began in MANWHORE.
What lies ahead for Chicago's most envied couple, Malcolm Saint and Rachel Livingston?

Sparks flew between them in MANWHORE.

Separated by deception, the intensity and heat of their attraction turned up in MANWHORE +1.

Will Chicago's wealthiest and most notorious player finally settle down, or will one woman never be enough?

Find out in MS. MANWHORE, the ultimate conclusion to their electric, breathtaking story.  -Goodreads

My Thoughts
This is that story...
You know the the one.
Where the uber rich, jet setting, playboy finds his forever with that girl.  You know, the working-class princess.  Who manages to work his mind, body, and last nerve, until she is all that he even dares to want...ever!
Well, that is the story that is being told here... and they are sticking to it!
This is a full on gush-fest...told by Rachael. 
Chock full of all of the "please do the world a favor and get a room " specialness that make people want to hug newlyweds.  While secretly plotting their deaths.
This novella is so sexy and sweet that you are guaranteed to need at least one filling by story's end.
You haven't read forever...until you've read Ms. Manwhore.

About Katy
Katy Evans
Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love. They married and are now hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches “The End.” Which is, hopefully, only the beginning…
Find Her:

"Kissing Her Crazy" Is One Sweet But Weird Ride To Happily

25988702Title:  Kissing Her Crazy
(A Crazy Love Story)
Author:  Kira Archer
Format:  ERC
Length:  160 pages
Expected Date of Publication:  October 12,2015
Publisher:  Entangled
Rating:  3 Stars

Sometimes a kiss is so much more...

Single mom Lena Oserkowski just wants to relax at the 5-star resort where her brother is getting married. Oh, and figure out how to make one of her businesses successful enough to support her son. Her focus is thrown out of whack when Elliot Debusshere, twin brother of her new sister-in-law, swims to her rescue at the hotel pool.

Elliot is disillusioned with his wealthy, playboy lifestyle and wants nothing more than to bring some meaning and purpose to the charity he runs. When he rescues Lena from a case of heat exhaustion and meets her son Tyler, he has no idea the answer to his problems might have just fallen in his lap. Literally.

With Lena's ideas and Elliot's know-how, they might just be able to make their ventures a success. Except pleasure has a sneaky way of mixing with their business, leaving both dazed and confused. Charming as he is, Elliot isn't father material. And there's no room for a single mom and her child in his life. While the attraction between them isn't easily squashed, there's no telling the lengths his family will go to prevent a relationship.

Kissing Her Crazy
by Kira Archer
Copyright © 2015 by Kira Archer. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Chapter One
Elliot aimed his most enticing smile at the bikini-clad brunette who was making her third circuit past his chaise lounge. He was glad his sunglasses covered his eyes so he didn’t have to put forth the effort to make the smile genuine. It wasn’t that she wasn’t completely hot. She was. And usually he’d be more than interested. But lately, he’d gotten a little tired of the bevy of girls only too willing to be seen on the arm of Elliot Debusshere.
That realization surprised him a bit. He’d always enjoyed the perks that came with being the only son of two very successful parents. His sisters had been much more sheltered. Controlled. One had taken to it better than the other. Lilah was, and continued to be, their mother’s perfect little angel. Only his twin Cherice had had the courage and drive to get out on her own. Do what she wanted. Be happy. He envied her.
And now, he was sitting poolside at the island resort hotel where Cher would soon marry the blue collar man of her dreams, much to their parents’ dismay. Elliot wanted to stand up and cheer every time he thought about it. He’d always admired Cher’s independent streak. He’d just never had much desire to emulate it. Until recently.
His life bored him, plain and simple. It was shallow. Empty. Filled with friends who weren’t really his friends and women who only wanted him for what he could buy them. His “job” running the family charity was mostly something his parents let him do so he’d have something on his resume. And so far, he’d hardly done anything with it. To be honest, he’d barely done enough with the charity to qualify as work. But for months now, he’d been trying to rectify that situation. His parents, however, were used to how things were run and weren’t too enthused about changing things.
He could charm the cash out of the cold-hearted clutches of their friends at the annual fundraiser without breaking a sweat, and they were more than happy for him to keep doing that. But it wasn’t enough for him anymore. The money was ferried out to so many different charities he doubted it really made a difference to any of them. And it should. He wanted to up the game. But they’d shot down every idea he’d come up with for redirecting or expanding the charity, dismissing him without even listening.
He took a sip of ice water and frowned. Refreshing, but not nearly strong enough to dull the raw mass of depression that had been eating at his gut since he and his parents had had their last little talk. It had surprised the hell out of him that he actually cared about running the charity. Sure, it had always been a great way to get chicks. Everyone loved a philanthropist, right? But ever since the last charity event, where he’d actually met some of the kids that they donated to, there had been a niggling feeling in the back of his mind that he wanted to do more. He suddenly wanted to make a difference. Perhaps it would make his parents happy if he promised them he’d raise double the money they brought in last year. He needed to prove to them that he was more than just a spoiled playboy, or he’d be stuck in this rut forever and an even worse waste of space than he currently was.
“God, you’re a morbid son of a bitch,” he muttered to himself, taking another swig of water.
“Hey, there, mind if I sit down?” The brunette from earlier sat down on the chaise next to him, apparently having worked up the nerve to approach.
Elliot plastered his charmer smile on his face, shoving down all the unpleasant emotions roiling through his system. He couldn’t run from it forever, but for a few minutes at least, flirting with a beautiful woman might make him forget about his parents, his so-called job, and his boring life.
“Not at all.” He sat up and held out his hand. “I’m Elliot Debusshere.”
“Stacy Connors,” she said, slowly sliding her hand into his so her fingertips lingered along every inch of his hand and palm before coming to a rest.
Nice move. He wondered how long she’d practiced it and then gave himself a mental kick. He didn’t even know her. She might be a perfectly genuine person.
“Would you like a drink?” he asked, waving a waiter over.
“That would be great, thanks. It’s hot out today.” She flipped her thick, chocolate-hued hair over her shoulder, giving him a better view of her body beneath her skimpy lace cover-up.
He didn’t miss the quick glance she raked over him, taking in not only the body he made sure looked impressive, but also the expensive watch on his wrist, his designer sunglasses, and the number to the penthouse suite he told the waiter to bill her drink to.
He knew her type. And usually he’d be very interested. But for some reason, he couldn’t keep his mind on her or the nonsense coming out of her mouth.
Elliot’s gaze wandered over the other guests enjoying the deluxe pool grounds. Water slides flowed from fake mountains, and an aquarium was set into one side of the pool, which gave the guests the illusion of literally swimming with the fishes—and a few sharks, if he wasn’t mistaken. There were a lot more kids around than he was used to.
The hotel had other pools he could have chosen. But this one, with its waterfall and palm trees sprinkled liberally around, had felt more tropical, like he was relaxing in some jungle oasis rather than at a five star resort.
The woman beside him asked him something, and he turned to ask her to repeat the question when he caught sight of a total knockout standing ankle deep in the opposite side of the pool. But what had caught his attention wasn’t the fact that her modest, one-piece swimsuit clung to her like plum-colored perfection, accenting her blond coloring and showcasing her beauty in a way that the skimpiest bikini never could have. Or even the fanny pack she wore around her waist— Who wore those anymore? It was the look of sheer terror on her face.
Her eyes were wide, staring at a little boy standing in the shallow water near the aquarium.
“Tyler!” she shouted. “Get out of the pool right now!”
Stacy tsked. “Some people. If you can’t control your kids, you shouldn’t bring them out in public.”
Any interest Elliot might have had in her evaporated.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go. If you’ll excuse me,” he said. He stood and gave her a sharp nod before heading toward the pool.
The woman had waded a little farther in. Her face was completely bloodless, so pale even her lips had lost their color. Her gaze darted from the child to the surrounding water like they were standing in a river of molten lava instead of a pool not more than three feet deep.
Elliot wasn’t sure what he could do to help, but he was going to find out.

Lena paced back and forth near the edge of the hotel pool, her heart pounding in her throat. The pool sported a large ramp that sloped gently into deeper water instead of the typical cement lip and the water lapped gently at her toes. That was as far as she’d go. Under normal circumstances. She and any body of water, no matter how large or small, did not mix. Ever. And if Tyler wouldn’t get out, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do.
“Tyler Nathaniel, you get out of the pool right now!” she called again.
Tyler, nearly drunk with joy over his first foray into a massive, watery wonderland, pretended not to hear her.
She couldn’t really blame him. The pool had been designed as a child’s fantasyland come to life. Waterfalls, water spouts, and jets sprouted out in every direction. One wall of the pool even butted up to an aquarium. The wall was thick Plexiglass, enabling the kids to “swim” with the exotic fish.
While Lena knew there was no logical chance of the fish and her child actually touching one another, she’d done her best to steer Tyler clear of that wall. No need to make the whole swimming thing even more dangerous than it already was. Especially for an inexperienced kid like Tyler. Heck, he’d never done more than run through the sprinklers in their backyard before. Even those little plastic baby pools had been too much for her to handle.
But when he’d seen the amazing pool at the hotel where they were staying for her brother Oz’s wedding, Tyler had begged her and she’d finally given in. After all, swimming was a totally normal part of life. For most people. And she didn’t want to inflict all her fears on her child. But still… What if she couldn’t get him out?
Panic clawed at her throat, and she choked back tears. He was having a good time and theoretically, she knew he was safe. With a life vest and arm floaties, he wasn’t likely to drown in the waist-deep water he stood in. Especially with a lifeguard on duty. But it was time to go, he wasn’t interested in leaving, and she couldn’t go in to get him.
“Tyler!” she called again, trying to keep the fear from her voice. She didn’t want to freak anyone out. He ducked under another waterfall, his laughter echoing from behind the water.
“Come on, Tyler, we need to go. You can come back later.”
“Ten more minutes!”
“No, Tyler, now!”
He giggled and ran farther off, water spraying around him as he splashed away.
She hated resorting to bribes and usually didn’t need to. Tyler was a pretty good kid. But enough was enough. At that moment, she’d promise him anything as long as he got out of the damn pool.
“Tyler, it’s time to go get some ice cream! Don’t you want to go get a nice, big hot fudge sundae? You can get extra sprinkles.”
“No, I wanna swim!” he said, splashing around.
That surprised her. Tyler loved ice cream more than any other food in the world. Okay. Bigger ammo.
“I’ll let you stay up past your bedtime tonight.”
No response at all.
“You can play the Xbox that’s in our room!”
That one made him pause. She didn’t usually allow him to play video games. Finding an Xbox in their hotel room had been the highlight of the trip for him until he realized he wouldn’t get to play it here, either. She was sure that bribe would work. And it looked like it might until one of the other kids excitedly shrieked. A shark had come up to the glass for a visit, and all the kids were getting as close as they dared. A huge grin broke out on Tyler’s face, and he headed straight for the wall.
Terror flooded through Lena. The water was now up to Tyler’s waist. And there was a freaking shark ten feet away from him! She didn’t care if there was glass between them. She wanted her baby out of that pool, now!
“Tyler!” She knew her panic was showing. She was drawing stares from other parents. One of the lifeguards had taken notice and was assessing the situation, unsure what to do, since no one was actually in danger. Well, maybe she was, from hyperventilating. She couldn’t seem to draw a deep breath.
“Tyler, get out right now! I’ll take you shopping. You can pick out any toy you want.”
Nothing. He didn’t even look at her.
“How about we get you your very own Xbox? Do you want to go get an Xbox? You can play it every day!”
His little hand pressed against the glass, and Lena’s heart jumped into her throat. Her stomach roiled. She slid a foot farther into the water, her whole body trembling. It was up to her ankle. She hadn’t had any part of her body completely submerged since she was two years old and had almost drowned in her grandparents’ hot tub. She’d taken off her arm floaties when her mom wasn’t watching and had stepped right in. And had immediately sunk. She didn’t even remember the exact incident. But every time she got near any body of water, she could feel the pressure of all that liquid weight crushing her, pushing her down to the bottom, just like it had that day. Why did she let her own child traipse right into a watery death trap from which she couldn’t extract him? What kind of mother was she? And how the hell was she going to get her son when she could barely force herself to put more than her foot in the water?
There were enough people in the pool… Maybe she could convince a few to line up so she could walk across their heads. Or have them pass her around like in some concert mosh pit. She’d even ask a nice, strong guy to give her a piggy back ride if it would get her to Tyler without having to go in the water any deeper.
The boy laughed and pounded on the glass. The shark jerked and swished its tail.
“Tyler! Get out right now,” she shouted, no longer caring who was watching.
The lifeguard climbed a few steps down from his tower, still confused but obviously wanting to get her and her kid away from the pool before she had a full-on panic attack. He’d better hurry.
Before he could get all the way off his tower, a leanly muscled man with artfully tousled hair and a smile on his face that would charm a used car salesman, came up to him. He clapped the lifeguard on the back and said something to him that made the guard nod and climb back up his tower.
No, no, no! He needs to rescue Tyler! Lena slid her other foot into the pool, closing her eyes briefly against the wave of terror that strangled her. She waded in up to her shins, biting her lip to keep back the whimpering scream that crawled up her throat. Black spots flickered at her vision, and the world tilted slightly, but she fought it back, sucking in one breath after another until the world righted itself. She needed to get to her son.
The man who’d spoken to the lifeguard yanked his shirt over his head and kicked off his flip-flops. He waded into the pool, aimed a megawatt smile at her, and held up a hand in a slight wave. Her stomach unclenched a fraction. He looked a bit familiar. Actually, he reminded her of Cher, her soon-to-be sister-in-law. They had the same hair color, similar features. But she hadn’t met him before. Still, something about him calmed her a bit. He waded across the pool toward Tyler, and Lena almost collapsed, her head swimming with unreleased adrenaline and overwhelming relief.
She backed out of the water, her body relaxing a few more degrees now that it was no longer imminently in danger from drowning. And yes, she knew that was an exaggeration, but at that moment she didn’t care.
The man made it to Tyler. He leaned down to talk to him. Tyler immediately grabbed his hand and dragged him closer to the glass. Lena closed her eyes and groaned. She’d given Tyler the stranger-danger talk a million times and still he was way too friendly with strangers. Especially men. And no, he probably wasn’t in any danger from the kind, charismatic man who was crouched in the water pointing at fish with him, but still. You never knew. He should have at least looked back to her for permission to speak to him.
They talked a little more, and then Tyler jumped up and down, a huge grin on his face. He held his arms up to the man who swung Tyler up on his shoulders and started walking toward her. Tyler looked so natural sitting up on the man’s shoulders, giggling and chatting away. She’d have to take the man out to dinner or something to thank him for rescuing her baby.
The world spun around her again, and she wasn’t sure if it was from sheer and utter relief that Tyler was safely out of the water, the insanely hot sun she’d been standing in for the better part of the afternoon, the fact that she’d been up to her shins in water for the first time in twenty-four years, or the realization that the tempting man with the amazing smile had an incredible body to match. Her panic had eclipsed anything else, including the toned muscles and broad shoulders of her new hero. But with her son safely out of harm’s way, it was hard not to notice. The man had the body of a freaking god, all tanned and hard, streams of water running down his chest and glistening in the sun.
The stranger took Tyler down from his shoulders, and his smile warmed the residual ice from her blood that Tyler’s stunt and her own little foray into the pool had put there. Her son’s hand slipped into hers. She looked up at the man to say thank you.
The last thing she saw was the smile dropping off his face before everything went black.
My Thoughts
While Lena and Elliot's story is very sweet, it is also a case of 'been there...done that'.
Overwrought, single, attractive, young, and very sexually frustrated mother.
Privileged, charming, dissatisfied, attractive, and very rich man.
Precocious, rambunctious, and adorably irresistible child.
Romantic tropical setting.
Learning curve. (man and child)
Great sex!
This book.

The fact that the leading lady and her gent are brother and sister-in-law.
So things get a little complex at large family gatherings.
Who cares!
And speaking of large family gatherings...
Let's not forget the reason that we are all gathered here in the first place.
His sister's and her brother's WEDDING!

This book is very sweet, and the premise is one that has been done.
The way that it is done in this instance however, is a bit weird.
In short, this is a very fluffy and sweet romance that you can read in one sitting,
with a curve-ball or two thrown in for much needed shock value.

 About Kira
Kira Archer resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kiddos, and far too many animals in the house. She tends to laugh at inappropriate moments, break all the rules she gives her kids (but only when they aren't looking), and would rather be reading a book than doing almost anything else. She has odd, eclectic tastes in just about everything and often lets her imagination run away with her. She loves her romances a little playful, a lot sexy, and always with a happily ever after.

 Find Her: @kiraarcherbooks     Facebook      Website     Pinterest     Instagram   


Love And Blackmail Make The Promise Of Forever All The Sweeter Prize In "The Engagement Game"

26228094 Title:  The Engagement Game
Author:  Jenny Holiday
Expected Date of Publication:  October 5th, 2015
Format:  ERC
Length:  TBD
Publisher:  Entangled/Indugence
Rating:  5 Stars

The black sheep of the old-money Rosemanns, advertising executive Marcus has made his own way in the world—and done extremely well for himself—but his family is still pressuring him to join their investment firm and settle down with a quiet, unobjectionable girl.

Which is why the sexy Rose Verma is the perfect date for his family’s charity ball. A bleeding-heart lefty from the wrong side of the tracks, Rose has never met a stray dog she didn’t love or a polka-dotted mini-dress she couldn’t rock. Marcus has enough dirt on Rose to “convince” her to play along. And if he lets it slip that they’re engaged, all the better.

But all’s fair in love and blackmail, and Rose is ready to play a few cards of her own…Goodreads

The Engagement Game
by Jenny Holiday
Copyright © 2015 by Jenny Holiday. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Chapter One
Rosie glanced down at her buzzing phone.
Josephine Withers
Her initial reaction—what the hell?!—was followed by panic. Something had to be wrong for Jo to call. Texting was one thing—it had been grandfathered into their friendship—but talking? With their voices?
Rosie had been exchanging paper letters with her best friend Jo since Jo’s family moved away when both girls were twelve. Since then, they had religiously exchanged a letter per week. A letter. Written by hand. On paper. As they grew up and long-distance telephone calls became less of a big deal, Rosie stubbornly clung to the idea of a weekly handwritten letter—you didn’t just abandon a tradition that had been going strong for fifteen years—though they also emailed and texted pretty much daily.
But calling? Jo knew Rosie hated the phone. The last time they’d spoken on the phone was two years ago when Rosie’s dad died. Heck, they saw each other in person for visits more than they called each other.
“Hello?” Rosie was breathless. The way her stomach fluttered, it might as well have been tonight’s Match.com date. Rosie had high hopes that the guy, who was presenting extremely well via text, would turn out to be “the one.”
“I think you made a mistake,” said Jo, “with your last letter?”
Rosie wanted to say, “Huh?” but Jo was talking so fast she couldn’t squeeze it in.
“I thought if I called you might still have time to fix it don’t yell at me I know you hate talking on the phone I’m going to read it and then hang up and it will be like this never happened.”
“Uh, okay?” was all she could think to say in response to that epic run-on sentence.
“Dear Mr. Rosemann—”
Rosemann. As in Marcus Rosemann. As in millionaire Marcus Rosemann, to whom she had just sent a thank-you letter for his sizeable donation to EcoHabitat Toronto, the nonprofit for which Rosie worked.
“Thank you for your generous gift in support of…”
Oh, no. No, no, no, no.
Rosie dropped the phone as adrenaline surged through her limbs, making them shake. When she picked it up, Jo was still talking.
“It’s donors like you, whose regular commitments we have come to rely on, who will truly help us realize our goal: a city in which humans and animals—and their habitats—can coexist peacefully.”
Sending the donor thank-you letter to Jo, and the gossipy, nattering note intended for her best friend to Marcus Rosemann wasn’t just a mistake, to use Jo’s term, it was a fireable offense. As the charity’s fundraising manager, she was the last person who should be making such a careless error. “Shit, shit, shitballs!”
“Sweetie, calm down. You do everything at that place. You’re allowed to make one mistake,” Jo said.
“Triple shitballs!”
“Who’s lined up as tonight’s Mr. Thursday Night?”
Every Thursday night, Rosie went on a date with a guy from one of the many dating sites she used, and Jo had adopted Rosie’s practice of referring to each of her suitors as “Mr. Thursday Night.” Rosie appreciated that Jo was trying to change the subject, to return her attention to something mundane and routine, but she had to fix this letter mix-up. She had to fix it now. “Jo. I love you, but I gotta go.”

Dear Jo,
I’m a day late writing this. I thought about forging the date, but I knew you would KNOW somehow, so I’m just going to come clean. I’m a day late. So shoot me. I was busy this weekend.
With what, you might ask? Was I busy with the latest Mr. Thursday Night, one Mr. Mark Larson, second grade teacher?
Yes, but not in the way you might think.
But, oh, my dashed hopes! Wah! He taught seven-year-olds! He was kind and gentle! He did not have (as far as I could tell) a secret wife/child/family/cocaine habit/sex addiction/storage locker full of vintage typewriters. (He did, however, have an unfortunately untidy—bordering on gross—beard in this whole “I look like a logger but I’ve never even been camping” way that seems to be all the thing. But a girl can’t have everything. A girl becomes suspicious, in fact, when presented with everything. So I was good with the beard. Mostly.)
The problem was not the beard. It was that in addition to teaching seven-year-olds, he had the alcohol tolerance of one. Which would not have been a problem if he had owned up to this, and we could have adjusted our consumption accordingly. But three tequila shots later, he was barfing in my lap. On that new dress I texted you a pic of.
So when I got home, all I could do was make a cup of tea and take a shower. I was not in letter-writing mode. And here I thought I might make a Mr. Thursday Night into a Mr. Friday Morning. No. A thousand times no. Maybe I should start listening to my mother.
But! Once more unto the breach, dear friend! If I want to find a boyfriend, I’ve got to get back onto the horse, right? I have a couple options for this Thursday and am leaning toward TallDoctor83, with whom I’ve exchanged a few messages. Who doesn’t want a tall doctor, right? If I had pink eye, he wouldn’t even have to stoop to examine me. (Har! Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here all week.)
And what about you? The hubs is still adoring you, no doubt? (As he should!) And Toby? Is he conjugating French verbs yet? Or still only just rolling over? The last pic you sent was so ridiculously cute it made my teeth hurt, and if I didn’t love you so much, I would hate you.
What the? Marcus turned the letter over, as if the back of the pink floral stationery would yield some clue as to the prank someone was obviously playing on him. Nothing. He grabbed the crisp ivory envelope it had come in. Yes, all was in order here. The return address was EcoHabitat Toronto, the ecosystem conservation charity he’d been financially supporting since his mother died nearly a year ago.
But instead of the usual canned thank-you letter from whichever wizened gray-haired society matron was currently chair of the board, he had this…pink thing.
There was a tap at the door, two soft raps he recognized as his assistant. “What is it?” he asked when she popped her head in, murmuring apologies. Carla never came in when he’d blocked off work time.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, looking close to tears, which was highly unusual for the take-no-prisoners admin assistant.
“What’s happened?”
“Your father’s on the phone. I know you said no calls from him, but I—”
He knew immediately what she wasn’t saying. The thought that his father had been bullying his capable and loyal assistant shoved him right into that familiar groove, the one lined with four decades of resentment.
“Put him through.”
“I tried telling him—”
“Put him through.”
Carla nodded and backed out of the room. A moment later, his phone buzzed. He picked it up. “What?”
“Are you bringing a date Saturday?”
Here we go. “I told the aunts I don’t know yet.”
“It’s forty-eight hours away, Marcus.”
“And why have you taken such an interest all of a sudden? The Fall Ball was Mom’s thing.” And we all know how much you cared about her.
“All eyes will be on our family,” his father lectured. “Especially this year, with your mother…gone.”
Marcus snapped a pencil in half.
“Don’t you think it’s time you settled down?” his father went on.
Marcus heard everything his father didn’t say. Come back to the firm. Get married to someone I approve of, and have two-point-three kids. Conform.
It would be easy enough to find a date. Any of the women he saw casually would be delighted to accompany him to the social event of the season. “I’ll bring someone,” he snapped, and hung up. But the moment he did so, he regretted his easy capitulation. He scrolled through the contact list on his phone. All of these women were…perfectly suitable. Most of them were wealthy and ran in the same circles as his family. All had impeccable manners and social instincts. His father would be pleased to see any of them on his arm on Saturday.
He returned his attention to the absurd letter from EcoHabitat Toronto, staring at it as if it were a life preserver keeping him tethered to his sanity.
The ink was green, for God’s sake.
It wasn’t like he objectively gave a shit about EcoHabitat. But his mother had. So it irritated the hell out of him that this “xoRosie” person was sloppy enough to mix up her letters, which was what he assumed had happened. Marcus had no tolerance for carelessness. It signified a lack of discipline. Wasted potential.
He had half a mind to march over to EcoHabitat’s office and give xoRosie a piece of his mind. Or maybe xoRosie’s boss. The only thing stopping him was the thought that that was something his father would do.
He pulled up the charity’s website, which was a complete mess—not at all intuitive, difficult to navigate. Perhaps instead of money, he should offer his company’s services pro bono to straighten it out. A professional ad agency could do a lot for EcoHabitat.
Eventually, he managed to land on a page labeled, “The team.”
Ah—there she was. Rose Verma, fundraising manager. He cocked his head, squinting at the overexposed headshot next to her bio. In addition to a better website, EcoHabitat also needed a better photographer. But even so, it was easy to tell that she was a beauty. Long black hair, a killer smile. She looked a little like that TV star that Lauren, his executive creative director, was obsessed with. Mindy Something.
So she was sloppy, undisciplined, and beautiful.
He picked up the shards of the pencil his father had caused him to destroy, and an absurd idea took hold. An evil-genius idea.
Why the hell not?
Yes, the train wreck known as Rose Verma would do quite nicely.

“All right, if that doesn’t dazzle TallDoctor83, he should change his handle to TallBlindDoctor83,” Hailey declared, capping the lipstick she’d just applied to Rosie’s lips. EcoHabitat’s receptionist moonlighted as a makeup artist, and she always insisted on doing Rosie’s face for her Thursday night dates. Sometimes the looks were a little extreme—with her goth style, Hailey herself looked like a cross between a MAC saleswoman and the Corpse Bride—but the result of her makeup applications was always better than anything Rosie would have been able to achieve on her own.
Since Rosie was meeting TallDoctor for drinks at the upscale Thompson Hotel, she’d asked Hailey to give her a classic smoky eye. Her personal makeup artist had added a matte magenta lip. Rosie eyed her reflection in the hand mirror Hailey held. She looked good. Sometimes, when she saw herself like this, dressed up and made up, she thought back to her lonely, miserable middle school years. After Jo had moved away, she’d had plenty of alone time to fantasize about what life would be like when she escaped the white-bread suburb her family lived in, where she stuck out like a sore thumb. Back then, she’d imagined herself an independent career woman living in the big city, getting ready to go on a date. And look at her now. “I would never have known to try a color like that,” she said of the lipstick. “How do you do that?”
Hailey winked as she packed up her cosmetics bag. “It’s a gift.”
Rosie gave herself a final once-over. If only she weren’t so damn tall. “Well, if he’s into Indian giantesses, he will definitely be dazzled.”
“Who isn’t into Indian giantesses?” Hailey deadpanned.
“Um, the last Mr. Thursday Night, and the one before that, and the one before that.” So maybe she wasn’t so far from the gangly, awkward teenager who didn’t fit in. Because although she went on plenty of first dates these days, second dates—not so much.
“I don’t know if you can really say that about the last one. If he hadn’t barfed on you, who knows where things would have gone?”
It was true. To be fair, Rosie was—outwardly, anyway—not the awkward ugly duckling anymore. She rejected men more than they rejected her. She was on Mission: Boyfriend, but she wasn’t going to settle for just anyone. She was looking for a life partner, after all. A father to her future children.
She was looking for love. So she had high hopes for TallDoctor.
She always did.
“You going home first? Want to walk to the subway with me?” Hailey asked.
She shook her head. “Nope. I’m not boarding any critters at the moment, so there’s no need to make a pit stop. I have tons to do here, anyway. Mr. Carroll wants—”
“Ah, ah, ah!” Hailey showed Rosie her palm. Then she looked at her watch. “It is 6:27. I’ve been off the clock for fifty-seven minutes, and I won’t tolerate any talk about Mr. Carroll. The fact that Mr. Carroll is in charge around here and not you is a crime against humanity.”
Rosie grinned. EcoHabitat’s executive director was universally disliked by his staff. He was basically an incompetent, mansplaining ass, so it was easy to see why. Rosie sometimes felt bad for him, though. It must be difficult to go through life so completely clueless yet with responsibility for important things like, oh, say, the well-being of entire ecosystems. But Hailey, who was young and still undisappointed by life, had no tolerance for human failings of any kind. Still, Rosie appreciated the show of loyalty. She pretty much did everything that was in her job description and half of what was in her boss’s. In her more ambitious moments, she fantasized about deposing him somehow. Mr. Carroll’s ineptitude got in the way of so many of their projects.
“Hit the lights, will you?” Rosie said as her friend waved good-bye. “I’ll leave out the back when I’m ready.”
The lights in the hallway flicked off one by one, and Rosie heard the thunk of the heavy door at the top of the stairwell. Her office was located on the third floor of the converted Victorian that housed EcoHabitat. It had been left to them by a wealthy benefactor three years ago. Though it had allowed them to move out of the cramped, expensive space they had been renting in a nearby office building, the place was still a little rough around the edges. They’d been plowing what they used to pay in rent into renovations, but having started from the ground level and worked their way up, they hadn’t made it to the third floor yet.
In truth, Rosie kind of liked the creaky old bedroom that functioned as her office. The slanting attic walls still papered in a Laura-Ashley-style pattern from the 1980s and the uneven wood floors had a lot more charm than her cubicle at the old place.
“Rose Verma?”
She shrieked and reared back, which caused her chair to roll backward toward the door, and, given the slope of the floor, she just kept rolling. There was nothing to grab. She glided ingloriously to a stop at the feet of the visitor.
The ridiculously hot visitor.
He had blue eyes with laugh lines around them and thick, premature salt-and-pepper hair. With his gray, exquisitely tailored suit, he looked like a corporate lawyer, or a banker.
“I’m Marcus Rosemann.”
Or, you know, the head of an ad agency and one of EcoHabitat’s most important donors.
Another shriek. The reaction was involuntary. She rolled back to her desk and literally banged her head against it a few times. Why not? It wasn’t possible to humiliate herself with this man any more than she already had. Head still resting on the desk, not caring that her speech was muffled by her arms, she said, “Please tell me you got the second letter.” The letter she’d FedExed, explaining the mishap and assuring him that the lapse had nothing whatsoever to do with the general standards of professionalism and decorum observed by the organization.
“Mr. Rosemann, so nice to meet you,” he said, his voice oddly devoid of inflection. She lifted her head from its hiding place and narrowed her eyes. Was he mocking her? “Your mother was such a devoted advocate of this fine organization. I’m delighted to finally meet her son.”
She sat all the way up. “How did you get in here?”
“How can I help you, Mr. Rosemann?” He held up the letter. She’d known he had it, but, oh God, seeing it there, the flowery stationery clasped in his big hands—it was too embarrassing. “Especially given the recent mix-up with our correspondence. How will I make it up to you?”
Geez. Was he really so mean that he would come here and throw an innocent mistake back in her face? “Because the receptionist left before you got here, so I’m not really sure how you got in.” Her instincts told her that she, if not her pride, was perfectly safe, but the rational part of her brain was starting to realize that she was alone in the building with this angry stranger who was holding in his hands not only her letter, but the fate of her continued employment at EcoHabitat. Because all he would have to do is call Mr. Carroll, and that would be it for Rose Verma, fundraising manager.
“If by receptionist, you are referring to the heavily pierced woman with the fauxhawk, she let me in on her way out. She told me that even though it was obvious I was lying about ‘the 1983 thing,’ at least I was actually tall.”
“Oh, she thinks you’re TallDoctor83!” Yeah, Marcus Rosemann looked like he had a few too many years on him to be born in 1983. If she had to guess, she’d peg him as late thirties. But he was certainly tall—she could see why Hailey had made the mistake. She had a feeling if she stood up, he’d still have a good few inches on her. That hardly ever happened.
She stood. Yup. She still had to tilt her head back a little to give him a look.
He took a step forward and waved the letter back and forth. “Do you want me to examine you for pink eye?”
In another context, the question could have been a joke. Rose had a lot of experience recognizing jerks, though, and the deadpan delivery and the slight curling of his lip made it clear that Marcus wasn’t kidding. And that he was a jerk.
But he was an epically handsome jerk—wasn’t that always the way? She looked closer at him. His eyes weren’t straight up blue. They had a tinge of gray. And his five o’clock shadow, like his hair, was streaked with silver. Dear God, she had a weakness for scruff on a man.
He looked right back, one eyebrow raised.
Still a jerk, though. These rich philanthropists often were—they were the grown-up versions of captain of the football team, or the head cheerleader.
It was just that rich philanthropists weren’t usually so…delicious. Her cheeks started to heat. So she capitulated, ceding the weird staring contest she seemed to be having with Marcus Rosemann.
Marcus Rosemann! What was the matter with her? The fate of her job hung in the balance here, and that was more important than any amount of personal mortification and/or attraction she might be experiencing.
So she took a step back—and a deep breath. “Mr. Rosemann, so nice to meet you. Your mother was such a devoted advocate of this fine organization. I’m delighted to finally meet her son.” He lifted his eyebrows when he realized she was parroting his earlier words exactly. She kept going. “How can I help you, Mr. Rosemann? Especially given the recent mix-up with our correspondence? How will I make it up to you?”
“You’ll come with me to the Fall Ball Saturday night.”
Whaaaat? The sense that she was maybe getting this slow-motion train wreck under control evaporated. “Excuse me?”
“It’s a charity ball my family organizes,” he said, as if this explained everything.
“I know what it is.” EcoHabitat had been the beneficiary one year. They’d raked in more than their usual annual fundraising take on that one night.
“It’s going to benefit breast cancer this year. My mother died of it ten months ago.”
She knew that too, but the way he stated it so matter-of-factly took her aback. Rebecca Rosemann had been a big supporter of EcoHabitat and had served on its board until she became too sick to continue. “I was so sorry to hear about her passing. We all were.”
“So you’ll come.” It wasn’t a question.
“You just met me!” Was this guy on crack?
He held up the letter. “And yet I feel I know you so well.”
“I am sorry about that.” She made a face. “Mortified, actually.”
He stepped inside the small office, filling it with his commanding presence, let the letter flutter down to her desk, and looked between it and her, a question in his eyes.
“You just met me,” she said again, as if saying it enough times would make him see how ridiculous he was being.
“Is that idiot Tony Carroll still in charge around here? He and my mother go way back. I’m sure he’d be very interested to learn how careful his employees are with correspondence to EcoHabitat’s major donors.”
Her mouth fell open. “Are you blackmailing me?”
The crinkles around his eyes deepened as he pressed his lips together. It looked like he was trying not to smile. “I believe I am.”

As she stood there with her bright pink mouth hanging open, Marcus almost started laughing. But that would have ruined the menacing vibe he was going for. Rose Verma was the perfect date for the Fall Ball—the perfectly imperfect date to rile his father—and he had to have her. He pulled out his phone. “Give me your contact info. I’ll pick you up at six on Saturday.”
As he watched her eyes narrow, he fancied for a moment that he could see the gears turning in her head. “We have a new campaign that just launched this week. We’re trying to restore a network of ravine wetlands throughout the city that are on a migratory path for native songbirds.”
“So the little birdies have a home?”
She pursed her lips. It was hard not to stare at her mouth while she talked. It really was an unnatural shade of pink. “That is correct, though the ravines are home to lots of other wildlife, too. We’re in need of a lead donation to really kick off the project with a splash.”
“Are you extorting me?”
She raised her eyebrows, as if to challenge him. “You started it. You know, what with the blackmail.”
Damn, this woman had chutzpah. People didn’t usually talk to him like this. Actually, people never talked to him like this. He had a feeling Rose was what they called irrepressible. That wasn’t a quality the women in his social circle had in abundance. Which meant his father was going to go apeshit when he met her. “You tell me where to pick you up Saturday, and I’ll bring my checkbook.” This was going to be worth every penny.
She narrowed her eyes then, suspicious, as if he’d pulled one over on her even though he’d just agreed to her terms. “Does this suddenly seem a little, I don’t know, unsavory?”
“You mean like prostitution?”
“God! No! Well…yes.”
“Think of the birdies.” He handed her his phone. “Enter your contact info.”
“Oh, no!” she exclaimed, looking at the display on his phone. “Is that the time?”
“You have somewhere to be?” he asked as she entered her info, tossed him the phone, and began shutting down her computer.
“Yes! A date. In five minutes. Damn! I hate being late.”
That would explain the bright lips and heavy eye makeup. He let his eyes slide down her body. And the aqua sequined top, tight jeans that hugged her curves, and lime green heels. All the bright colors stood in dramatic contrast to the curtain of straight, black hair that hung to the middle of her back and, in the front, Bettie-Page-style curled bangs. “Somehow, I think your boyfriend will be inclined to forgive.”
“Oh, TallDoctor83 isn’t my boyfriend. Yet.”
“Right.” He let his gaze flicker down to the letter, which was still lying on the desk. “TallDoctor83 is tonight’s Mr. Thursday Night. Here’s hoping you don’t incite your date to vomit this time. Do you go out every Thursday night?”
“Yes, I do.” She snatched the letter and shoved it in her purse. “Internet dating is, alas, the way of the modern world.”
“Well, there is always blackmail.” He’d been going for a hint of levity, thinking maybe it was time to stop being so overtly rude now that he’d gotten what he wanted, but she just glared, shooed him out of her office, and locked the door. “I have a car,” he said. “Let me drop you off.”
She shot him a skeptical look. “That would be great, actually. Cabs are impossible this time of day, and I really hate being late.”
They descended the stairs silently, and when his car pulled up to the curb, she planted a hand on her hip. “You have a driver.” When he didn’t answer, she rolled her eyes and added, “Of course you do.”
He held the door open for her and slid into the backseat next to her. “Nate, we’re taking this lovely lady to…”
“The Thompson Hotel,” she said.
“Nice. So, let me take a wild guess. Your date is a doctor. A tall one.”
She didn’t answer, just looked at Nate and inclined her head a little. He forgot sometimes that the trappings of his lifestyle weren’t normal for everyone. “Oh, he’s sworn to secrecy, aren’t you, Nate?”
“Yes indeed,” his longtime driver replied.
“Still,” he said, reaching for the button that raised a tinted glass partition between the front and back seats. “If you want privacy, we can do this.”
“Sorry, Nate!” she called. Then she whirled on him and said, “A chauffeur? Really? You’re, like, the one percent, aren’t you?”
He shrugged. To him, it was a simple cost-benefit analysis. He had clients all over the region, and he spent a lot of time in the car. Given what he billed hourly, if he could use that time to work, Nate’s salary more than paid for itself. Plus, it was good for impressing women.
The one next to him just snorted in what appeared to be disdain. Damn, Rose Verma just said whatever she wanted, reacted however she wanted, context be damned, didn’t she? He had chosen well.
“So, TallDoctor83,” he said. “If 1983 is his birth year, that makes him, what? A little older than you?”
“I’m ByAnyOtherName86, if you’re fishing for my age.”
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. “Clever,” he said.
“Though no one ever gets the reference. I’ve gone out every Thursday night for the past year, and it’s only been commented on twice. And both times the guys thought Romeo and Juliet was romantic. I was like, dudes, they were teenagers, and they died.”
He leaned in while she was babbling and sniffed the air near her neck—which caused the fuchsia mouth to clamp shut. “You do smell good.” It was true. He couldn’t place the scent, but he liked it. It was bold, almost herbal. A refreshing change from the heavy floral scents the women in his family’s social circle favored.
She burst out laughing at that, which discombobulated him momentarily, as it was not the reaction he expected. “Perhaps your date will be literate as well as tall,” he said.
“I don’t have high hopes, to be honest.” She sighed and fell back theatrically against the back of the seat. “Well, that’s not true. I always have high hopes. It’s just that they’re usually dashed. I can count on one hand the number of second dates I’ve gone on over the past year. I had one guy that lasted three weeks, which is a record.”
Rose Verma definitely came from the other side of the tracks. In addition to smelling different than the women in his social circle, she also possessed a kind of chatty forthrightness that the careful, sophisticated women he knew wouldn’t be caught dead displaying. “What happened to him?” he couldn’t resist asking, though small talk wasn’t really his thing.
“Oh, what happened to him is that his wife found out about us, and I believe she cut off his balls.”
He whistled.
“Yeah. I’d thought of every possible question you might want to ask a person you met on a dating site, but somehow ‘Are you married?’ slipped my mind.”
“Why do you keep at it?” Internet dating seemed so undignified. “Why not just meet someone in the actual world?” He wasn’t the relationship type, but all the women he casually dated, he met through friends or at parties.
When she didn’t speak right away, he thought maybe she wasn’t going to answer. But then she sighed and said, “I have no idea why I’m telling you this, but years ago, I told my mother that when I turned thirty, if I was still single, I’d let her fix me up. My birthday is in a couple months, and that is not a road I want to go down. So my clock is ticking. Some people have a biological clock. I have a boyfriend clock.”
He almost laughed. Her mother sounded not unlike his father. Of course, Rose’s mother probably wasn’t a sociopath. “So hope springs eternal.”
She squared her shoulders and smiled. “It does. God knows why, but it does.”
They’d pulled up in front of the hotel. “Do you have a dress? For Saturday, I mean? It’s black tie.”
“Yes, I have a dress,” she shot back. “We can’t all be the one percent, but I’m not a total peasant.”
He held his hands up in a gesture of surrender. She was prickly, this one. All the better to stick it to dear old Dad. “All right, I’ll pick you up at six.”
“Don’t you mean Nate will pick me up at six?” When he didn’t answer, she just shook her head. “Thanks for the ride. This has been…really, really weird.”
My Thoughts

 The Engagement Game is a book that you just can't help falling for. That one in a million moment when all the wrong pieces fit all the right places to create a compulsively readable story that proves impossible to put down.
Leading lady, Rose Verma, has always been a little much.
Much too tall.
Much too opinionated.
Much too outspoken.
Much too colorful.
Much too ethnic.


Much too, seems to be just enough for self-made millionaire, ad-man, and mogul, Marcus Rosemann.
The sparks start to fly between these two right from the moment that a mistake in correspondence sends a very intrigued Marcus barreling into Rose's office, and a very uneven floor sends a very panicked Rose on a none too graceful collision course with destiny.

There is so much to love about these two characters. While they seem as opposite as day is to night, on the surface. The deeper that one looks, the clearer their undeniable fit becomes.

You will notice that I make little to no mention of the book's "engagement" premise.
The reason for this being that in this case, it is little more than a plot driving agent for the story. This story is so well crafted, and the characters so engaging that one's focus tends to remain with the who's of the situation, rather than to wonder into the realm of the why's and wherefore's.

Unlike many books featuring the rich man/poor woman trope, both Rose and Marcus are full-grown adults. As such, there is no story wasted on the "doe in headlights" mooning of the hapless and untried ingenue over the "worldly and experienced" rich and ohh so alpha male.
In fact, it is the sensitive and conservative Marcus, who seems to learning quite a few lessons in "learning to love 101" from the brilliantly beautiful whirling dervish who is unafraid to speak her mind and learn his heart.

Think you want to read it now?
Wait...there's more!

Marcus is Jewish, Rose is Indian and they live in...
(wait for it)
Can I get a YAY for diversity!

It seems that authoress Jenny Holiday, pulled out all the stops when writing what comes across as an effortlessly fluid, seamlessly constructed, utterly enjoyable, Contemporary romance.
This is a book that has a universal appeal that defies both categorization or definition.
It is a story that is meant to inspire,enlighten, and most importantly...make you remember that...
"Actions speak louder than words."

*I was supplied with a copy of this book in exchange for the honest review provided.*

About Jenny
 Jenny Holiday started writing in fourth grade, when her awesome hippie teacher, between sessions of Pete Seeger singing and anti-nuclear power plant letter writing, gave the kids notebooks and told them to write stories. Most of Jenny’s featured poltergeist, alien invasions, or serial killers who managed to murder everyone except her and her mom. She showed early promise as a romance writer, though, because nearly every story had a happy ending: fictional Jenny woke up to find that the story had been a dream, and that her best friend, father, and sister had not, in fact, been axe-murdered.

From then on, she was always writing, often in her diary, where she liked to decorate her declarations of existential angst with nail polish teardrops. Eventually she channelled her penchant for scribbling into a more useful format. After picking up a PhD in urban geography, she became a professional writer, spending many years promoting research at a major university, which allowed her to become an armchair astronomer/historian/particle physicist, depending on the day. Eventually, she decided to try her hand again at happy endings—minus the bloodbaths. 

Find Jenny:  Web / Goodreads / Twitter