Welcome to my little part of the blog world of reviewing.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Her Moonlight Lover by Olivia Starke

“Her Moonlight Lover”

by Olivia Starke

Published by Decadent Publishing

Contemporary Erotic Lesbian Paranormal Romance


Stranded in the middle of Iowa, Bailey has to rely on the hospitality of a hot redhead with a body to die for. After skinny dipping leads to an incredible night of Sapphic loving, Bailey is smitten by the eager and willing Melanie.

When morning comes, Bailey may find there’s more to Melanie than meets the eye.


I love a woman with stamina.

She cleared her throat. “So, Melanie, you have a husband somewhere?”

She flashed that gorgeous smile. “Nope.”


She shook her head. “Nope.”


Melanie stood in waist deep water. Rivulets poured down her shoulders, dripping off her budded nipples.

“I-I’ve never been with a woman, actually.” She swept her hands in wide arcs over the surface and small waves lapped at Bailey’s chin.

Bailey stood and the other woman sucked in a breath, eyes widening. She took a step forward watching closely for any sign that her redhead might shy away. “Melanie, let me make love to you.”

She peered up through her lashes. “I wouldn’t know how. I mean I know how with a man, but….”

Bailey smiled, reaching a hand to the other woman’s upper arm, letting her fingertips trail to her shoulder then down to the delicate gold chain she wore around her neck. A tiny infinity pendant dangled from it.

Their breaths quickened.


Decadent Publishing:





Olivia Starke calls a little town in southern Missouri home. Some of the most beautiful country in the U.S., she loves the Ozarks and hikes, runs, or kayaks whenever possible. When not working at her laptop or in her retail management job, she’s playing mom to an ever expanding collection of dogs, cats, and horses who find their way to her little farm.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Some things & a laugh out loud YouTube Video

Okay, if you haven't watched this video make sure that you haven't eaten or had anything to drink because its definitely spew worthy.  Okay...I almost peed my pants.

You still have time to enter a chance to win a ebook copy Angel on Fire.  Just leave a comment on the post.  I'll draw on Monday.

Also, you still have time to enter to win a copy of Holiday Affair.  Just leave a comment on the post and I'll draw for that on Tuesday.

If you have not signed up for my newsletter, Linky, email subscription or Networked blogs, please, please do so.  I'm switching to WordPress the summer and I don't want to lose you as a follower.

Also, I'm in need of a reviewer.  Please if you can help me out or know of anyone that can, please fill out the reviewer application at the top.  Thanks. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Go Rangers!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Holiday Affair by Annie Seaton Giveaway & Review

“Holiday Affair”

by Annie Seaton

Published by Entangled Publishing

Contemporary Romance


Nothing more than a holiday fling…until he moved in next door!

Staid professor Lissy McIntyre believes that choosing a mate should be based on common sense, not runaway passion. And Lissy would certainly never pick a rolling stone like Nick Richards for long-term love. But a red-hot, tropical romance? Oh, yeah. He’s got a body just made for sinning and his sizzling kisses leave her senseless.

When Nick blows into town, he’s stunned to discover that his no-nonsense new neighbor and co-worker is the same sultry creature he seduced for one night of forbidden island pleasure. He’s unaccustomed to staying in one place for long, but he just can’t seem to keep his hands off the multi-faceted Lissy. Will Nick break loyal Lissy’s heart or will she be the one woman he simply can’t walk away from?


“Hi, Tom. Hi, Nicky. Hi, lucky ladies with Tom and Nicky,” a giggly champagne-fueled hiccough escaped her lips and Jenny dragged her into the rest room.

“Melissa!” exclaimed Jenny. “The professor is a hunk. Tell me all…you called him by his first name. Have you been out with him, or do you just know him from work?”

“Nuh, juss from work,” slurred Lissy. “He’s a nightmare to work with, very full of himself…not very nice at all.”

“What about Tom? Are you still seeing him?”

“Huh—” said Lissy “—thought he was different, but they are tarred with the same hairbrush.”

Jenny burst out laughing. “Oh, you are so funny with a few drinks under your belt. You mean brush, not
hair brush!”

Lissy tried to be serious for a minute, and had to hang on tightly to the basin to keep her balance. She squinted into the mirror and saw that her curls were out of control.

“Woo…a bit giddy,” she said. “And I’m hungry.”

Jenny pulled a chair over and sat her down in front of the mirror. “Okay, let’s fix you up.” She stood behind Lissy and tried to tame her curls down with her hand. “Speaking of hairbrushes, did you bring yours, hon?”

Lissy fumbled in her bag and tipped it out onto the bench. The contents of the bag rolled around and fell over the edge, just as the two glamorous women who were with Tom and Nick entered the restroom. She dived to the floor to catch lipstick, brushes, keys, and coins as they hit the floor.

“Oh, hello,” she said giggling. “Your legs match the rest of you.”


She put her tea on the windowsill and looked outside for a long moment. The sun was dropping behind the trees and the late afternoon sunlight darkened the room, making it difficult to see his expression.

“Why…why? I came to you last Saturday and you threw my feelings back in my face.”

“I was ashamed of my behavior all week. I was scared you would take it as a commitment if I responded to you.”

“Did I ask you for commitment?” she asked, her voice frosty. “Me. This is me. Remember, I don’t do commitment, Nick. You know how I feel about that. I don’t believe in the sort of physical attraction we seem to have for each other ending up in any long lasting relationship.”

“I know,” he replied. “But I didn’t trust you. I thought I could avoid hurting you, but I think I did the opposite.”

He watched as she wrapped her arms around her chest and appeared to go into self-preservation mode.

“Not at all. I barely gave you a thought. I was busy all week with the research. It’s not long till we go the Cook Islands and I have a heap of writing up to do. I will admit I was a little embarrassed about my behavior at the restaurant, so I kept a bit of a low profile at the university.”

He knew she was not being honest with him and it amazed him how well he could read her, but he didn’t want to push his luck and upset her even more. She turned away from him and looked out the window, her arms still crossed in front of her. There was also no way he was going to let her know that all he wanted to do was come over and hold her. Not sex, just comfort.



I have been intrigued from the first press release from Entangled when they announced the Indulgence line.  As most of you know, I'm a Harlequin fanatic and when the line was described that would be somewhat modeled after Harlequin books and that Lori Wilde was heading it up.  Well, Lori is no longer with them but I was still intrigued.  Holiday Affair is my first book in the line and I was not disappointed.

Ms. Seaton has a written a great book with plenty of angst, sexy hero, smart heroine, smokin' sex and a lush tropical location.  Our story starts off with Lissy on  a vacation to scatter her grandfather's ashes.  She didn't expect to have a one night stand with a seaman on the boat that she was traveling on, much less have him as a neighbor and colleague when she got back home.  Lissy is a intelligent when it comes to her work but an emotional mess when it comes to men.  She keeps company with a co-worker at work, Tomas, and much to her surprise its her one night stands older brother.  Lissy and Tom have a companionable relationship and when he proposes marriage because neither one of them is looking for love in a marriage, she thinks about it.  What she can't stop thinking about is the sex that she had with her own night stand. 

Nick is at a crossroads when he meets Lissy on the boat.  He has just finished his research for a paper that he is working on and has a job at a university that will help him finish up his paper.  He never imagined that the woman that he seduced would be his colleague or his neighbor.  Nor did he factor in that she would be seeing his older brother.  He had been down that road before with his brother and it wouldn't go down it again.  He wants Lissy but he is scared.  Scared of the feelings that she makes him feel and want. 

I really enjoyed Lissy and Nick.  Put two emotional messy people together, shake it up and see what happens.  While when they were together it was hot, intense and emotional, it was also tender and loving.  Lissy was the first to recognize that all that had at first was a sexual relationship but once she dug deeper, she really did love Nick.  On the other hand, it took a talk and a haircut with his mother to realize what was right in front of him.

Overall, I really enjoyed Lissy and Nick.  Their road was rocky and intense but Ms. Seaton didn't sugarcoat their emotions and reluctance to give themselves totally to each other.  Plus, I really felt like I was in the lush tropical location.

4 1/2 Harlies and a recommended read



Barnes & Noble:


Annie Seaton lives on the edge of the south Pacific Ocean on the east coast of Australia. Recently retired from the world of full time work, she is fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing, and has had instant success! Her first two books were both published on the same day.

She writes across genres: steampunk, historical  and paranormal romance, romantic suspense but her favorite genre is contemporary romance

She lives with her own hero of many years. Their two children are now grown up and married, and two beautiful grandchildren have arrived. They share their home with "Bob" the dog and two white cats, Boycat and Girlcat.

Annie’s working life was spent in education from early childhood through  to teaching trainee teachers at university. She has worked as librarian, teacher, technology consultant and university tutor.  She has now retired and spends her days writing down all the stories in her head.

When she is not writing she can be found in her garden or walking on the beach... or most likely on her deck overlooking the ocean, a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc in hand as the sun sets.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Angel on Fire by Jacquie Johnson-Interview/Review

Please welcome debut author, Jacquie Johnson to Harlie's Books.  She has gracely answered ten questions for Harlie. 

Harlie's Review is below the interview. 

Top ten things you don't know about me:

1.  Cotton or Silk?
I wore silk until I had kids.  Now, I wear a mix of both.  Cotton’s easier to wash and the amount of laundry I do increases each year as the kids grow.  I thought sending one child off to school would reduce my laundry duties but that hasn’t worked out according to plan.  Still, I can’t wait for the days when I can go back to silk.  Neither can my husband.    
2.  Champagne/beer/wine?
I’m a white wine fan, preferably Chardonnay or Riesling.  It is not uncommon in the evening for me to be writing away with a glass within reach.  My husband laughs a bit at this.  I am a self-professed lightweight.  A big night for me would be a glass and half.   
3.  Plotter/pantser
 I’m a combination of both.  I plot first but when my muse dictates a twist or turn, I go with the flow.  I’m a planner who has learned that some of the best things in life come as a surprise, like my twins. 
4.  Describe your workspace
 I work primarily at a square wooden table in the middle of my kitchen.  Since I homeschool, my younger daughters do their schoolwork at the table as well.  This way I’m available for questions as needed.   On rare occasions, I’ll work at a small desk in my bedroom when I need quiet, not that I ever find absolute silence in my house with three kids, a husband and a dog.
5.  Sports fan or just tolerate it?
I’m not a sports spectator by nature.  I’d rather play than watch.  I’m not the type to turn the TV on for a Bulls, Cubs, or Bears game --- can you guess where I live?  I grew up playing basketball, softball and volleyball and even played softball in college for a while.  Admittedly, I do enjoy watching my kids compete in gymnastics and tennis but I think most parents do. 
6.  Who is your biggest influence on writing?
 That’s a tough question to answer.  I’m a voracious reader and love all kinds of books.  Tom Clancy is one of my favorite authors, but I also enjoy Nora Roberts, Johanna Lindsey and John Jakes.  The one thing they all share is the ability to create an entertaining story and bring their characters to life.
 7.  Favorite food –
 Potatoes are my favorite food.  You can bake them, mash them, fry them and even make soup from them.  Ice cream is a close second. 
8.  When did you start writing? 
My first foray into writing occurred when I was in elementary school and I entered the local short story writing contest.  Although I didn’t win, the judges commented on my active imagination.  While the other kids wrote about sports and playing at the park, my story involved a female orphan living in Victorian England who was run over by a carriage.  Obviously, I was heavily influenced by what I was reading myself, (Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights).  I stopped writing fiction after high school, setting what I thought were childhood dreams aside to focus on college, law school and a legal career.  Needless to say, I continued to draft essays, research papers and eventually legal briefs.  My aspiration to write a novel returned a few years after I stopped practicing law to homeschool my daughters.  I missed writing and realized that this was my chance to let my imagination run free and write what I wanted.
9.  If money were no object, where would you like to live?
I’d still live in my not-so-little anymore hometown.  It’s a good place to raise a family.  However, once the kids were in college, I’d travel and see the world.
  10.  What's next for you? 
I’m planning to release my second novel, Dilemma, in June.  Dilemma is the story of Alexis Winters who has just started a new career and life in Chicago.  As she learns that practicing law is about more than trust and justice, the young labor and employment litigator struggles to balance her ethical obligations to her client with her own values.  When childhood friend turned investigative journalist Ryder Prescott insists that her client is involved in wrongdoing and that he needs her help to prove it, Alexis is trapped between a desire to help her childhood love, do the right thing and protect her career.  Alexis walks a fine line to find out how far is too far and when rules are meant to be broken while she and Ryder grow closer in spite of the history between them. 
I’m also working on Sean and Emily’s story, second book in the Angel Investigations series, and on a young adult novel. 


All Angela wants is to understand why her father, security specialist Mac McKenzie, dropped dead on a sidewalk in Boston. Instead, she is thrust into the midst of an international conspiracy when she discovers that her father was working on a classified project at the time of his death. Now, the FBI, a terrorist and a killer have her in their sights.
Former Navy SEAL turned undercover operative, Chase Romero thinks his boss is overreacting when he orders Chase to small town America to protect Angela. But he changes his mind when her home is burglarized and “accidents” begin to happen. The real question becomes, how can he keep her safe if he keeps tripping over his own heart?

After shooting an intruder, Angela flees the scene, and the FBI issues a warrant for her arrest. On the run for her life and her freedom, she places her trust in Chase. As they travel from New England, to the nation’s capital, to the shores of Lake Michigan, the trail – and their attraction – grow hotter. Together, they team up to prevent a global financial market meltdown and face a killer who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the project Mac protected with his life.


When I closed this book, I couldn't decide how I was going to talk about it.  This book is a romantic suspense with some hilarious moments thrown in and there were parts of the book that were laugh out loud funny for me.  At times with Angela, I kept picturing Ben Afleck as the young Jack Ryan.  (Worship Jack Ryan)  This is good thing...

When Angela goes home to handle her dad's affairs after he suddenly dies in Boston, things just don't seem to add up for her.  Why would a reasonable healthy man drop dead?  What was he protecting that would cause his sudden death?  Good questions for Angela to ask but when she starts asking, the "accidents" start happen to her, she starts questioning every thing in her past.  She decides to investigate her dad's death and that lands in her in nothing but trouble.

Enter Chase.  Chase's boss just so happens to be Angela's godfather and has ordered Chase to protect her.  Chase is one of those hero's that just grabs you from the start and doesn't let go.  He will do anything to protect the woman he is beginning to fall in love with and won't admit it.  Trying to keep Angela from harm, chasing the bad guys and dealing with his boss keep Chase busy but makes him think about his life and what he wants out of it.

I loved this book from the start.  Angela is smart, sexy, resourceful and a raw newbie when it comes to field work for the FBI.  She usually sits at a desk so being chased, shooting someone and having a partner is a somewhat confusing thing for her.  Factor in falling in love with her protector and dealing with family secrets, it would make any one's head spin.  Not our Angela.  She plunges forward and with the help of her friends and Chase, she becomes stronger and more sure of what she really wants out of life.  Chase has some life issues to deal with too.  In love with Angela, he knows that the life he had led is not one way for Angela.

I didn't see the twist at end and it was a great surprise.  The secondary characters that were introduced were great and I can't wait for Sean's story. 

I highly recommend Angel on Fire for anyone that likes a fast paced, sexy romantic suspense story.  I can't wait for more of this series and to see what happens to Angela's two friends and Sean. 

4 1/2 Harlie's and a recommended read

Monday, April 23, 2012

Closing Cost by Liz Crowe Review/Giveaway

Major Giveaway Announcement
I am giving away a $50 gift card to Zazzle for Stewart Realty merchandise.  Just leave a comment and I will draw a winner using Random.org on Saturday.  Good luck everyone.


Love conquers all? Not likely, according to Sara Thornton. She's spent eight years coming to terms with the new parameters of her life while resigning herself to the idea that “happily ever afters” are best left to fairytales. Sales manager for her successful real estate office and juggling an added element of responsibility she never thought she'd face, Sara continues to struggle with the men in her life. Love, for her, has only meant hurt, broken trust and anger; all of which she’s completely banished from her life, so she claims.

Jack Gordon has come a long way since his early days of obsession with Sara. As the general manager of Stewart Realty, his own level of responsibility for the well-being of others has ramped up. He’s even honed his caretaking skills, now that he has someone who loves him unconditionally.

Continuing to invest effort and rebuild their relationship, he and Sara grow close as friends. Despite this, his ultimate question remains unanswered; the one he keeps asking, no matter how many times she says no. Sara isn't prepared for the keen focus of his need--to have her back, once and for all. Her stubborn resistance nearly rips both lives apart

The epic third book to The Realtors series, Closing Costs brings Jack and Sara truly full circle. Proving that the heat of lust and obsession; the need for control and to be mastered in many areas of life can lead to love — surprising you when you least expect it – if you will only allow it. 


OH.MY.GOSH...the perfect ending for an imperfect couple.  That really about sums it up.  Liz wrote a fantastic trilogy about two imperfect people that were perfect for each other.  From their meeting in Floor Time to the end of Closing Costs, the emotions from both Jack and Sara for each other have been from one end of the spectrum to complete other end.  Their journey was emotional, heartfelt and at times, heartbreaking. 

From the beginning of Jack and Sara's story to the end (for now), it has never been easy.  Real love is never easy.  Between miscommunication, pride, their own issues within themselves, I have always felt the love that they had for own another.  When Sara ends up being a mother, she only sees her daughter and no one else.  Jack has grown since the last time we saw him.  He is determined to be a part of Sara's daughter's life and its not easy.  Sara is still afraid to love Jack and fully commit to him.

I simply loved Closing Costs.  It is a beautifully written conclusion to an epic story about two stubborn people in love with each other and the ups and downs that come with "real" relationships.  Ms. Crowe writes "real" romance with "real" people and it shows.  You can feel the emotions and cry/laugh/sigh/get mad with them.  That is what great story-telling is all about.  And no, I didn't throw my Nook this time.

Please don't miss out the last chapter for Jack and Sara.  It is best read in order and be prepared to cry, laugh and get mad but only to cheer them on for their happy ending.

5 Harlie's and a definite recommended read


Here are the winners from last week.  

Hunky Hero Blog Hop winner is:  Sue Sattler at proudarmymom32@yahoo.com

Email is on the way.

An Uncommon Sense winner is:  Lynn at fingershankins@yahoo.com

email has been to sent to CBLS

Honorable Intentions winner is:  bn100candg@hotmail.com

I'll need your snail mail address.

Congratulations to all the winners and there is more to come this week.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A couple of things and reminders on Giveaways

Just a few things...

Don't forget to leave a comment on the Hunky Hop.  I'll pick a winner on Sunday.

Also, if you want a chance to win Catherine Mann's new Desire, leave a comment on my review.

I'll pick a winner on An Uncommon Sense on Monday, so leave a comment.  :)

I'm going to be gone most of the weekend with family commitments and I have some diabetes classes that I'm taking all day Saturday so I'll be in and out.  Mostly out...

Please don't take offense if I don't putter around on the web this weekend and don't answer real soon.  I'll catch up.

I want to thank everyone for coming out this week on the blog.  Its been a rough couple of weeks in Harlie's life, so coming out and leaving a comment or just reading the blog has really been a godsend.  Next week doesn't look any better but I'm saying a little prayer. 

Come back on Monday morning because I have one heck of a review/giveaway to start off the week.  :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Authors on Reviews: To Comment or Not To Comment?

Here is the question that was posed to us to blog about today. 

Should Authors Comment On Reviews?

When I was approached to blog about this subject, I was a little reluctant.  I mean, I have friends that are authors.  Most of them, I don't review for obvious reasons.  Some don't want me to review for them because I can be brutally honest in a review.   I've been told that they would rather have me as a friend than a reviewer.  I can understand and respect that from authors.  If you follow this blog, you will notice that most reviews are for authors that I don't know or I have been asked to review their books.  Even more so, the books that I have reviewed are from blog tours that I participate in, too.   I do have authors that send me books, too. 

I realize that reviews are subjective.  Its a reader's opinion.  And that's just what a review is...an opinion.  Not everyone is going to love your book.  Take 50 Shades of Grey...some reviewers have worshiped and loved that book; some of absolutely hated it.  Does the author really care what people actually think of the series?  Probably not.  On the review sites that I frequent, she never once left a comment.  What this particular author cares about in all honesty is the free publicity that she has gotten out of the reviews and the media.  She has a movie deal now.  Did she think that her fan fiction was going to cause this much media coverage?  No, she didn't.  I think that one of the reasons why she didn't comment on her reviews was because she knew better.  Yes, she knew better than to post a comment.  The reviews were polarizing enough. 

As a reviewer, when I post a review I don't expect the author to comment.  Shoot, I'm just happy if people come by and read it much less leave a comment.  For an author to leave a comment is a bonus for me.  I appreciate an author coming by and reading my review of their work but its not necessary for this reviewer. 

The only thing that I ask authors to remember when they read a review of their work...we, reviewers, do not get paid for our opinion or our blog.  We review books because we love to read.  I am not God, nor do I think that I am God.  I'm just a person that likes to read and write reviews.  I know that I'm not popular with some authors and readers at times.  I used to care but not so much anymore.  My opinion is my opinion.  I can agree to disagree with other reviewers/bloggers and authors.  It happens more times than you think.  On some review sites, they have dual reviews and its interesting to read the two different opinions on one book. 

In conclusion...do I think that authors should comment on their review?  I'm not sure.  As a courtesy to the reviewer, an email would be nice.  Comments?  Depends on what kind of feedback the author wants from the review and the readers that have left comments.

Authors, feel free to leave a comment about the blog post.  :)  Reviewers/readers, what do you think?  Do you like it when a author leaves a comment?  Does it make you want to buy that author's book just because they left a comment?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Uncommon Sense by Serenity Woods-Giveaway

“An Uncommon Sense (Sensual Healing, Book 1)”
by Serenity Woods
Published by Samhain Publishing
Contemporary Erotic Romantic Comedy

The giveaway is a copy of An Uncommon Sense.  Do you believe in mediums?  I do.  I believe that some people have the ability to talk to people when they have passed.  Please leave a comment and an email address to get in touch with you.  I will draw a winner on Saturday.  Good luck.


All six senses tell him she’s the one.

High school science teacher Grace Fox doesn’t believe in any of that woo-woo stuff. So it’s easy to laugh off her friend’s prediction that she’ll have swear-out-loud sex with the next man who walks through her classroom door.

Who knew that local celebrity Ash Rutherford would have the time to attend his daughter’s parents’ night? Or that the Viking lookalike would trigger an attack of klutziness? He may or may not see dead people, but he certainly got a good look up her skirt.

A doctor turned medium, Ash spends his days communicating with unseen spirits. When it comes to his moody daughter, though, he hopes down-to-earth Grace will give him some insight. The racy lingerie she hides beneath her prim and proper clothing is an added bonus he didn’t expect.

Their attraction is instant and blazing hot, but Ash has been burned before. His ex-wife didn’t believe in his abilities, and no way is he going down that road again. At least not until Grace accepts the possibility there might be life after death. And the ghosts of his past are laid to rest. 

Product Warnings:  Contains a real live Viking, proof of life after death and sex on a 1970s sheepskin rug, but absolutely no Barry White. 


(1,200 words)

“You are going to have wild, passionate, swear-out-loud sex with the next man who walks through the door.” Mia read the prediction aloud from the astrology section of her magazine.

“Even if I did believe the position of the stars could tell my future, I’d know you made that up.” Grace continued to study the latest batch of science exams. “And anyway, that doesn’t sound remotely like something I’d do.”

“Have sex?”

Grace put a big red cross against the answer she’d just read. “Very funny. I meant swear. I would never swear during sex. Very unladylike.” She read the next question. What happens to your body as you age? And then the answer. You get intercontinental. Massaging her forehead, she drew another red cross. Jodi Rutherford barely appeared to have retained enough information from her biology lessons over the past ten weeks to fill a postage stamp.

“That explains a lot.”

Grace shot the teacher sitting next to her an exasperated look. “What’s that supposed to mean? And will you please stop trying to distract me? I want to get these finished before I go home.”

Mia grinned. It was nearly seven o’clock on a typically cool New Zealand October evening, and moths had started to flit around the strip lighting. Even though the parents’ evening had been the busiest of the year, the stream of visitors to the auditorium was starting to wane, and the teachers sitting at the rows of tables were beginning to pack up their laptops and books. Neither she nor Grace had seen a parent for fifteen minutes, and she was quite clearly bored. “I meant that your reaction to my prophecy accounts for why you’re still a spinster at the ripe old age of twenty-nine. If you’ve never been with a guy who could make you swear out loud during sex, it would explain why you haven’t come close to settling down.”

“Don’t call me a spinster,” Grace grumbled, turning over the page. “And anyway, I’m only a year older than you. You make me sound like I’m eighty-five.”

“You dress like you’re eighty-five,” Mia said impatiently.

“What’s wrong with the way I dress?” Grace frowned as she looked at her clothes. Her neat pencil skirt and white shirt were hardly retirement-age clothing. Okay, maybe the flat, sensible shoes, hair in a bun and glasses were a bit more “traditional schoolmistress meets university librarian”, but she hardly looked as if she should be vacationing with the over-fifties.

“You’re practically Victorian.” Slim and pretty, with thick, shiny black hair, Mia always wore the latest fashions.

“Because I don’t have a skirt above my knees and my shirt unbuttoned to my cleavage?”

“Grace, honestly. You’re beginning to worry me. You really should try to have sex at least once each decade, you know, or you’ll forget how to do it.”

Grace stared at the floor in front of her desk and tipped open her hands in protestation. “Mia…do you mind?” When her colleague remained quiet, she tried to concentrate on the paper in front of her. Then she groaned. “God, listen to this. ‘If conditions are not favourable, bacteria go into a period of adolescence.’ I mean, honestly.”

Mia laughed. “Whose paper is that?”

She put another red cross on it. “Jodi Rutherford’s.”

“Ooh.” Mia perked up. “The medium’s daughter? I didn’t know you taught her.”

Grace sighed. “Oh Lord, don’t you start. What is it with the women in this school? One mention of that guy and I swear their bodies undergo some kind of chemical change, turning them into goo.”

“Grace Fox, seriously, have you not seen him? What the hell is wrong with you?”

Grace put her pen down impatiently. “Of course I’ve seen him. Well, a photo of him. You can’t avoid it. His picture’s been plastered over half of Wellington for the last week, for crying out loud. But he’s just a guy. Two arms, two legs. Nothing that warrants all the mooning about.”

Mia shook her head. “Now I know there’s something wrong with you. Sweetheart, Ashton Rutherford is sex on legs. Seriously. He’s, like, six-foot-four and played lock for the Hurricanes.”

“That means absolutely nothing to me, Mia.”

Mia rolled her eyes. She was an avid Rugby Union fan. “They’re the tall ones who jump up at the line-outs.”

“Is that supposed to impress me?”

“Don’t you find him a little bit intriguing? A rugby-playing doctor who became a clairvoyant—don’t you think that warrants even a little bit of interest?”

Grace snorted. “Any man who gives up a serious profession after years of training to become a fortune teller needs his head tested.”

“He doesn’t tell fortunes. He’s a medium. He speaks to dead people.”

Grace gave her a look. “This conversation does not sound like something I’d be even vaguely interested in. I’m packing up now. It’s nearly seven.”

Mia sighed and started logging off on her laptop. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me he could have been coming to see you tonight.”

“I honestly didn’t expect the guy to turn up. I’m sure interest in the welfare and progress of his only daughter is way beneath such a superstar. On my to-do list, informing you which students’ parents were coming tonight was right at the bottom.”

“He wouldn’t be at the bottom of my to-do list,” Mia mumbled.

“Mia, honestly.”

“You sound just like your mother when you talk like that.”

Grace shuddered. The ultimate insult. “Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it. You seriously need to get laid, though.”

Tell me about it. She didn’t say that, however. Instead, she said, “For the love of…will you desist?”

“Next guy that walks through the door, I’m telling you. Look—the door’s opening…”

“Please don’t let it be Professor Michaels,” Grace muttered as she got on her hands and knees to pull the plug of her laptop out from underneath the wall heater, making Mia laugh out loud at the mention of the overweight, balding, officious deputy principal who drove them all to distraction.

Mia’s laughter turned abruptly into a gasp. “I don’t believe it.”

“What?” The lead was stuck. Grace pulled it hard, but it had somehow got wedged against the plug of the heater and refused to come out.

“Well, this is going to be interesting.”

Grace took the plug in both hands but it still failed to move. “Sweetie, I don’t care if he’s Robert Downey Junior, I am not having sex with him.” She leaned all her weight on the lead, and all of a sudden, it gave and pinged out of the wall. She fell backward, banged her head and ended up sprawled in a most ungainly fashion facing the parent who was waiting at the foot of her desk.

“If you’d turn down Robert Downey Junior I guess I don’t stand a chance,” he said, amused.

Grace looked up at the face of the man she’d seen plastered on billboards all across town and then turned slowly to face Mia, whose eyes were practically falling out of her head. Mia stared at her and made a slight gesture with her hands, bringing them together, making Grace realise she was facing the guy with her legs open, giving him a splendid view right up her skirt.


(1,200 words)

His stormy-blue eyes met hers. This time, there was something other than amusement in them. Grace’s cheeks grew warm at the sparkle of interest glittering in their depths.

“There’ll be none of that,” she said before she could think better of it.

“Of what?”

“Any funny business.” Her cheeks grew even hotter. “I’ll help you, but it will be purely a business relationship.”

“Of course.” The amusement was back.

“I’m sure you usually only have to bat your eyelids at a girl and she turns into mush, but I’m not that kind of girl.”

“Actually, I beg to differ. I’d known you precisely two seconds and you swooned at my feet.” He winked at her.

“I did not swoon.”

“There was definite swoonage going on. You were practically Victorian.”

“That’s the second time tonight I’ve been called Victorian,” she said indignantly. She patted her bun self-consciously. “Mia thinks I dress too conservatively.”

He ran his gaze slowly down her and then back up again. “On the surface, maybe.”

She frowned, not understanding, then realised when he grinned he was referring to what he’d seen when she’d sat on the floor before him, legs apart. Her stockings and garter belt. And maybe even her black, silky teddy. Oh God, I hope the teddy was covering everything.

“Oh.” Her cheeks burned again. “You did see.”

“Sorry, but you were right in front of me—it was difficult not to see everything.”

“You didn’t have to mention it. That was extremely impolite.”

His eyebrows rose. “You’re giving me lessons on being polite?”

She thought about it. “Touché.”

Smiling, he tapped her nameplate. “Are you really a Miss? Or is that just school-teacher licence?”

“Are you asking whether I wear nice underwear for a partner or whether I wear it for myself?”

He hesitated. Then he grinned. “Yes.”

“Then just ask, for God’s sake. I hate having to rummage around in people’s words looking for the true meaning behind them.”

He nodded. “Duly noted.”

She zipped up her laptop case. “I’m single. I happen to like pretty underwear.”

“So do I. So that’s two things we have in common.” Smiling, he pushed himself to his feet. “We’d better go. I think you’re getting the evil eye.”

Grace looked up, surprised to see they were the last two people left in the auditorium. Professor Michaels was standing in the doorway, tapping his foot impatiently, waiting to lock up. “Oh.”

“Come on. I’ll walk you to your car. It’s dark outside.”

She put the register and pen in her bag, slipped on her jacket and walked with him out of the auditorium, nodding to the professor as they passed and apologising for keeping him waiting.

“Jeez,” said Ash as they went out into the cool night air and walked down to the main road. “What a weird guy.”

“I know. Mia told me I was going to have swear-out-loud sex with the next guy who walked through the door. I was terrified it was going to be him.”

He stopped walking and looked down at her, smiling. “And instead you got me.”

She glanced up. She was five-feet-eight, hardly short for a woman, but he still towered over her. He was like essence of man. She was acutely conscious of the way his shirt sleeves stretched across his generous arm muscles. “You’re not Robert Downey Junior,” she said, a little breathlessly.

He smiled. “No.” His eyes glittered in the light from the street lamp.

“You are gorgeous, though.”

He gave a short laugh. “You really have no control over what comes out of your mouth, do you?”

“Not when I’m nervous. It lands me in heaps of trouble.”

“I kind of like it. I don’t have to worry about what you’re thinking.”

“I can see how that might be appealing.”

They studied each other for a moment. An impish smile gradually spread across his face. “Swear-out-loud sex, huh?”

Her cheeks grew hot. “Mia’s words, not mine.”

“It sounds like an interesting prediction.”

“I don’t believe in predictions.” She swallowed. His eyes had turned quite hot. “Or swearing.”

“You don’t swear?”


“Not even during sex?”

Her eyes widened. “Mr. Rutherford!”

“Yes, Miss Fox?”

“I…” For once, words failed her. He was a man who thought he could speak to dead people. He was certifiable, almost certainly delusional, and quite possibly an outright fraudster.

He was also the most gorgeous guy she’d ever met in real life, and the way he was looking at her made her knees go weak. She wrapped her arms around the laptop case as if it were a breastplate that could protect her.

“You’d be surprised how many predictions I’ve made that have come true,” he said, his deep voice husky.

She swallowed. “Well, for a start, Mia made up the stupid horoscope, and she’s usually about as accurate as a stopped watch.” Her voice was faint. “And secondly, there’s no such thing as the ability to see into the future. We exist at a fixed point in time. It’s not possible.” She lifted her chin determinedly.

He smiled. “Even a stopped watch is right twice a day.” His gaze had settled on her mouth. Ohmygod, he wants to kiss me.

She gave a little shake of her head. “You’re flirting with me.”

“Am I?”

“Men don’t flirt with me.”

“I can’t believe that.”

“I scare them off.”

He laughed. “Now that I can believe.”

“Don’t I scare you?”

He stepped a little closer to her. “Not in the least.”

She looked up into his dark blue eyes. Her skin prickled with his nearness. She desperately wanted to kiss him. But she knew she couldn’t. It wouldn’t end well. She couldn’t bear to see the disappointment in his eyes.

 “Don’t,” she whispered. “I’m not your type of girl.”

 “Oh? And how do you know what type of girl I like?”

 She moistened her lips with her tongue, not missing the way he watched her. “I know. I’m sure you like confident women, who’ve read the Kama Sutra from cover to cover and know massage techniques and own special equipment.”

 “You mean like power tools?”

 “Don’t make me laugh. I’m trying to be serious. I meant…” How on earth had she got herself into this conversation? She’d only just met the man, for crying out loud. “I mean, I’m sure the women you date are sexy and very good in bed and I’m…not.”

 His eyebrows rose. “What makes you say that?”

“I…I’ve been told.” Her cheeks grew hot again.

He stared at her. A frown marred his forehead, and something like anger shone in his eyes. Then, gradually, his smile reappeared. “Maybe you just need more practice.”

“I’m a schoolteacher who dresses like she’s stepped out of the Victorian period. How good in bed do you really think I am?”

His smile widened. “Dresses on the outside.”

He was talking about her stockings again. She moistened her lips once more. “Silky underwear doesn’t make a woman sexy.”

He gave a small laugh. “Oh, I beg to differ.” He gave her a curious, amused glance. “You are an exceptionally sexy woman, Miss Fox. And I am sure that, given the right location, the right encouragement and the right man, you would be exceedingly good in bed.”


(250 words)

Grace pulled up in front of the house and turned off the engine. She got out and leaned across to collect her bag and papers from the passenger seat, giving him a beautiful view of her backside. She was wearing a pale pink skirt made of some floaty material that the wind had great fun playing with, showing him her stocking tops before she smoothed it down impatiently. Oh yeah. This woman was hot enough to make him hard at twenty paces.

She turned, locked the car then walked across the large, circular drive toward him. A chiffony white blouse peeked from under her cream jacket, and she’d wound the red scarf with the glittery thread loosely around her neck. He felt the usual sweep of relief at the knowledge that he’d been right.

She wore her light brown hair pinned up in a bun again, although the wind had teased some tendrils from the tight knot. They curled around her face, doing their best to soften the furious look plastered across her features and the blaze of her eyes beneath her Tina Fey glasses.

“Hi,” he said, trying to defuse the bomb before it exploded.

She walked up to him and glared, her beautiful brown eyes snapping with anger. “What the hell kind of game are you playing? Are you having me followed? How on earth did you know my scarf was under my bed?”

So angry rather than intrigued, then.

“You’re welcome.” He stepped back. “Won’t you come in?”


4.5 Stars – Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

This is my first book by Serenity Woods, and I can honestly say I will be reading more.

This is a great story with a little mix of everything you would want from a romance, a little paranormal with one of the main characters being a medium, and a teenaged daughter going through the adjustment of dealing with her dad dating for the first time after her parents’ divorce, the death of her mother, and a skeptical woman who has been hurt by the crazies she has dated in the past.

First we have Grace the tenth grade high school teacher, with absolutely no verbal filter on her mouth, who dresses like a Victorian spinster on the outside with racy lingerie underneath. Then we have Ash Rutherford the Viking lookalike father of one of her students, picture in your head Eric from True Blood (yummmmmm). Ash is a doctor turned medium, meaning he can communicate with the dead. He is a local celebrity doing shows similar to John Edwards. Grace is the ultimate skeptic, until she attends one of his shows with her two best friends, and receives a message from her dad.

This is not your typical sappy romance; you get a full range of emotions from laughter to almost tears. I honestly just really liked these two people, and want to see them get their HEA. There are some really hot sex scenes including one on a 1970’s sheepskin rug, but also a lot of heartwarming scenes. I really liked the paranormal aspect of this book. It was done without being cheesy. What I like most about this book was that the fact that Ash's daughter was not thrown into the back ground. Jodi was not just a sprinkled in character. She was as important to the romance as Ash and Grace.\

I can’t wait to read the rest of the books for this series.


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Serenity Woods lives in the sub-tropical Northland of New Zealand with her wonderful husband and gorgeous teenage son. She writes fun, flirty, and sexy contemporary romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and hunky but approachable heroes. She’s won several romance writing competitions and is a member of the Romance Writers of New Zealand. She would much rather immerse herself in reading or writing romance than do the dusting and ironing, which is why it’s not a great idea to pop round if you have any allergies. You can check out all her books at http://www.serenitywoodsromance.com.

Twitter:  @Serenity_Woods