***REVIEW***Malibu Secrets by MK Meredith

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Blurb:

On the verge of losing the Malibu home she inherited from her great-aunt, Addi Dekker is completely failing to prove to her family she can make it as a writer. Not exactly how a girl proves her independence. If she doesn’t want to give up her dream and go back to the soul-sucking job she just left, Addi has to swallow her dislike of Hollywood and rent the house out to the sexy-as-hell film producer.

And maybe (shhhh!) save money by secretly living there, too.

Roque Gallagher is pouring his heart and savings into his first independent film to make the industry acknowledge him for his talent and not just his family name. Addi’s home is perfect for the shoot, but she’s far too tempting. He’s never been able to handle work and a relationship, and this is the film of a lifetime. Between a shrinking budget and his director quitting, the last thing he needs is a sexy-as-sin tease like Addi. And he has a feeling there’s something she’s hiding…

Review:

Well, MK Meredith has done it again! See my review of the tasty Malibu Betrayals here. That was book one in the Malibu Sights series of saucy standalone novels that first whet my appetite for Meredith’s smooth as glass writing.

For book two she delivered her readers Malibu Secrets. Any fan of MK, or indeed of contemporary romance, will not be disappointed! This is the story of Addi Decker, the younger sister of Samantha Dekker who was the heroine in Malibu Betrayals.

Addi is suffering with what I’d call youngest sibling disorder. By that I mean she still feels as though her family view her as a child. Addi possesses nothing if not a steely determination to rid her family of that viewpoint. However, she’s hit a wall and everything is about to come crashing down on her. Addi quit her job in pursuit of her dream to become a full time published author. So far no-one is biting at her manuscript. Her great-aunt left her a beautiful house, and if she doesn’t come up with a solution soon she could lose it. Addi is a beautifully written character that’s easy to identify with if you’re a woman that’s got something about you.

Then comes the answer to her problem. The chance to rent her home out for a Hollywood movie. Hollywood has always left a bad taste in her mouth after her sisters experiences. She’s turned it down before, but now it’s looking like the last chance to save the home she dearly loves.

Then comes ex-model, Roque Gallagher who’s pouring his time and money into making a film. He has his own agenda to fulfil. He wants to prove he’s more than just a pretty face and his family name. I shit you not, this guy is HOT HOT HOT! He’s undoubtedly your next book boyfriend waiting to happen.

Addi makes a deal with Roque and allows him to rent her house. She needs more money though, so she pockets the cash for the hotel and lives out the film time uncomfortably in the house. That means going against the contract that she’s signed, not only that but she’s keeping an epic secret from Roque who she’s come to fall in love with. Let me tell you, Roque has an excellent reason as to why he hates secrets…

As always Meredith’s writing style triumphs above all else. I can’t imagine reading anything she’s written and not letting it take me into every scene. She’s the smoothest writer I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Her sex scenes are second to none and leave me hot under the collar even in the frigid cold of a British winter.

I can’t recommend Meredith to enough people. So, I’ll just end with saying that she is da’ bomb of romance authors, and you’ve sorely missed out if you don’t pick up her book today.

I award Malibu Secrets 5 easy film reels:

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***REVIEW*** Wanted Dead by Kaley Craig

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Blurb:

Banished and left homeless by her mentally unstable mother, and devastated upon learning Will has married someone else, Maggie enters into a coerced marriage with the nefarious but charming Edmond Jackson. But as 1971 draws to a close, his suspicion that she still loves Will Marshall leads to an act of violent, unforgivable rage, and the threat of death should she betray him.

Unable to leave, but determined to find a safe haven before her child is born, Maggie soon finds herself entangled in circumstances beyond her imagining, where even the voice of God cannot be heard.

Set in the 1970’s South, Maggie’s story is smart, sexy, spiritual, sorrowful, violent, and absurdly funny. Rich in period detail, with unforgettable characters, bizarre happenings, and suspenseful situations, this chapter of Maggie’s story is about the strength we find in love, and the power of promises kept.

Jackson Sugar: WANTED DEAD is Book Two in the Jackson Sugar Series.

Review:

You can read my review on the first book in the Jackson Sugar series here. I totally adored Kaley Craig’s, Crazy Red. I was brimming with excitement to read the second offering, Wanted Dead.

Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. This book has more going on than Taylor Swift’s love life. The problem is that I can’t say too much without spoiling in for you, but I’ll do my best.

The start of this book depicts the newly wed, pregnant Maggie. Edmond always made my skin crawl from the first book. He’s a very shifty character and when he’s in a scene he forces the hair on the back of your neck to stand on end. He smacks of an abuser even when he’s being kind. I’d love to slap his face and drag Maggie the hell outta there. Craig has penned his character with perfection, and I stand in awe of her ability to make each of her characters feel so real that you could almost smell, touch, and taste them.

Not only is Craig a master at creating vivid characters, she’s a weaver of complex plot shifts and epic storytelling. The problem being that she didn’t just break my heart at several points during Maggie’s harrowing journey; she squeezed, tugged, pulled, bashed and smashed it to smithereens.

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In the first book I watched Maggie move from an abusive relationship with her mother, Sybil, to a just as bad one with Edmond. Her hopes and dreams are dashed at every turn of the book. There are happy, sweet times to be cherished within these pages, but Maggie just can’t seem to catch a break. The ending almost nearly damn killed me, and if I resided closer to Kaley Craig it would have caused my jail sentence for assault. I’ve discussed the likelihood of another Sugar Jackson book and she’s not sure if she’s going to go ahead. Well, I bloody well demand that you make Maggie happy! NOW!

I cannot write a review on this book without mentioning the illustrations, too. If you’re going to purchase it, then I strongly suggest you head for the paperback version. I believe they are still in the e-book but they’re extraordinary enough to make you want to smooth your fingers over them on an actual page. They compliment the story wholly and force strong emotions from you in regard to what’s happening in line with the scene. I applaud the artist, Victoria Skye Cleveland for her outstanding work.

Let me warn you, this book is long. Whilst I’m not a particularly slow at reading, I’m not mega fast either. It took me ages to read. Far be it from a lacking plot line. Plot is something this book has plenty of, but I’ll admit I’m not really into awfully long stories. I really think there would have been benefit in splitting the story into two. However, if you’re a lover of a lengthier novel than most, with thrills, spills (tears), and chills you need this book in your life.

The length was the only thing I didn’t like about the book. Therefore I award Wanted Dead 4.5 cookoo clocks.

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(I couldn’t find half a cookoo clock!)

Buy links:

You guys are in luck as both of these books are currently on sale! (Yippee)

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I’ve linked to Kaley’s Amazon author page so that you can see both books:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

About the Author:

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Kaley Craig (Author) is a writer and photographer. Kaley has more than a decade of experience working within the criminal justice system, first as a peace officer, then as a criminal investigator for the defense. With degrees in Criminal Justice and Education, she has taught in both public and private schools as well as in prisons. Kaley is also a licensed social worker. Having lived in various locales across the U.S., she currently calls Atlanta home.

Victoria Skye Cleveland (Illustrator) is an actor, artist, and web designer.

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The Jackson Sugar novels, set in the 1960’s – 1970’s, tell the story of Maggie Jackson from her turbulent Georgia childhood through her life working in the criminal justice system.
Book One: Crazy Red (July 2014)
Book Two: Wanted Dead (Sept 2015)

FB author page

Art by Victoria Skye

***EXCERPT*** Kissing Katie by L.T. Kelly

Cover:

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Blurb:

Iraq war widow Katie Simmons hasn’t considered giving love another chance since the devastating loss of her husband. She’s happy sharing her love with her six-year-old daughter, Jessica. What more could she want from life?

Evan Waters is headed for the big time. He’s plowing his time, money and energy into recording Spires’ debut album. Following on in his British rock legend father’s footsteps, he has big shoes to fill, a mission made more difficult by his alcoholic mother.

When Katie and Evan meet on the London Underground, she denies his advances. Evan must find a way to demolish the walls she’s built around her heart. But even if he’s successful, will he be able to provide her with the commitment she deserves and still fulfill his ambitions?

Excerpt:

“What’s wrong, Mommy?” she called up the street as Evan turned to look at Katie. His sea-green eyes homed in on hers, loaded with revelation as he glanced at Jessica then back to her. The realization that she hadn’t told him because she’d been scared he’d run slapped her already pink cheeks. Despite her protests, she hadn’t wanted him to go away.

“Hi.” She greeted him breathlessly, even though she’d stopped running long before the physical exertion had the chance to take her breath away.

“Hi.” He smiled as she stood there awkwardly and aimlessly fiddled with a stray thread on her work tunic. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?”

Jessica eyes popped from Katie to Evan, her face still screwed up, and her father’s bright-blue eyes flashing with confusion. Katie opened her dry mouth to speak, but Jessica got there first.

“Hi, I’m Jessica. Who are you?”

Evan walked around the car, stepped onto the curb and held out his hand. “I’m Evan. Do you enjoy going to the zoo?”

Jessica shrugged. “I’m six years old. Of course, I like the zoo.”

Katie chuckled at her daughter’s serious face. She could tell Jessica was trying to act grown up. Evan laughed, too.

“We could go, if you like?”

Jessica folded her arms and glanced around the street as though she were thinking about it. She loved the zoo, so she had nothing to think about. “When? Now?”

Evan nodded.

“It’s a school night, you know?” she stated matter-of-factly.

Evan nodded again. “I promise to have you back in time for bed.”

“Okay, then, we have a deal as long as my mom can come, too.”

Evan and Katie exchanged grins. “Is that okay with you?” he asked, his head dipped and his voice but a whisper.

“It’s a bit late to ask for my permission, but yes, as long as it’s okay with you?”

“Sure it is.” He opened the passenger door and pulled out a wicker basket. “We’ll have to take the train, though. I didn’t expect there to be three of us.” He nudged Jessica with his elbow and looked at Katie as though to indicate Katie might be the unexpected guest.

Katie smiled, shaking her head while pulling her keys out. She took Jessica’s school bag from her and placed it in the hallway. “Come on then,” she said, taking Jessica’s hand and pulling her alongside Evan on the way to the underground.

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“What’s your favorite animal?” Evan asked Jessica as they leaned on the railing outside the monkey enclosure.

“It has to be the penguins,” she replied after appearing to give it much thought.

“Why so?”

“Because they’re cute, funny, they’re good swimmers and they like fish.”

“Ah, just like you then.” He reached out and patted her white-blonde head.

She rolled her eyes at him. “How do you know I’m a good swimmer?”

“I saw the swimming badges sewn on your school bag.” He dramatically rolled his eyes back at her, forcing her to giggle.

Katie had stepped back. She’d hardly spoken a word since they’d embarked on the trip. Her stomach hurt, and her heart ached. Evan had been nothing but spectacular with Jessica since they’d met. He hadn’t even questioned why Katie hadn’t mentioned her daughter’s existence, but she knew the questions would come later. She’d been glad her daughter had good taste in food when Evan had produced bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon from the picnic basket. Not your usual children’s dinner, but Jessica devoured it.

“Shall we head back?”

Katie nodded. “I hope Al’s car is still there.”

Evan laughed. “It’ll be cool. Knowing Al, there’s probably a tracker on it that would blow the thief up.”

Katie laughed and grabbed Jessica’s hand. “Aw, do we have to go, Mommy?”

“Yes, bunny, remember, Evan said he’d have you back in time for bed, and…” She glanced down at her watch. “He lied. We have fifteen minutes to get home.”

“Oh man, my bad, I’m sorry.” He pressed his palm to his chest in mock horror.

Jessica giggled and grabbed his hand. “I like you. You talk like you’re off the television.”

Katie’s eyes traveled from her hand to his, also being held firmly by Jessica. Her stomach constricted. They must look like a family, walking along hand-in-hand. Tears burned behind her eyes as she squeezed the little hand, stared straight ahead and tried to pretend this wasn’t happening.

The last thing she wanted was to start playing happy families then have it all snatched away from her…again.

They arrived back, and Evan kind of invited himself in. A bottle of wine remained in the bottom of the picnic basket, and he insisted on them drinking it together.

Jessica whined until Katie gave in and allowed Evan up to say goodnight to her before they went downstairs together.

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Katie’s limbs moved awkwardly once they were alone, her emotions were all over the place. She didn’t know what to say, how to act, and consequently was relieved at the sight of the offered bottle of wine. She hoped it would soothe her frayed nerves. She grabbed the bottle and busied herself trying to locate the corkscrew in the kitchen drawer.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered as she turned to face him.

“Why are you sorry?” He cocked his head.

She mirrored his movements and leaned against the counter opposite him in her tiny galley kitchen. “Because I should have told you.”

“Yes, you should have. What did you think I’d do? Run?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I think I probably would have told you if I’d thought you would take off,” she lied, trying desperately to resurrect her protective walls.

He sighed heavily and looked away from her. “You keep saying that. The problem is that you’re not giving the signals that you want me to leave you alone. They’re just words, Katie.”

“I’m fucked up, Evan. I can’t risk getting any more fucked up than I already am. Trust me, you don’t want to get involved with me, not romantically anyway. Besides, I can’t afford to feel that way ever again.”

“What way?”

“Utterly destroyed, heartbroken, completely shattered.”

“What happened to you, Katie?” he growled.

She flinched. “It’s a long story.”

He leaned forward and shifted beside her. Her fingers burst with electric energy as he wrapped his large hand over her fist and slipped the corkscrew from her hand. She turned to look at him, finding sadness in his eyes, but luckily no pity. She couldn’t stand pity. His ragged breathing picked up a notch as she stared into those amazing clear green eyes. Her breathing quickened as he smoothed his warm fingers along her jaw line.

“It’s a big bottle, and I can get more if we need it. Tell me what happened so I can understand.” His fingers reached her chin and stopped.

She blinked back tears. His head moved slowly toward her face and broke its descent down her cheek with his lips. She knew she should move away, but he still clung to her chin, and the feel of his velvety lips fluttering gently over her skin had her paralyzed in the sweetest of ways.

“Where are the glasses?” he asked, finally stepping away.

Her head spun as she shot him a look of confusion. “Oh, yes, the wine.” She brought her palm up to her forehead, trying to disguise the heat rising from her groin to her face. “I’ll get them. Take the wine through.”

He nodded, grabbed the wine and went to the living room. After he left, she steadied herself, clutching the kitchen counter and trying desperately to cling to her resolve. He’d done an excellent job at battering it. She smoothed her hands over her face and ran her fingers under her eyes in an attempt to wipe away any mascara that might be there then grabbed two glasses from the cupboard. She took a deep breath in preparation for baring all and followed Evan into the living room.

He’d taken a space on her couch, his solid arm laid out along the back and one knee perched up on the cushion. She placed the glasses on the coffee table in front of him. He’d already removed the cork, so he poured the wine into the glasses as she sat beside him, her knee pressed against his. She sipped the wine gratefully.

“Where do you want me to start?”

“The beginning is always a good place.”

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About the author:

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L.T. Kelly lives in rural Lincolnshire with her husband, two children and a mentally unstable Cockapoo named Mylo. She enjoyed a successful eleven-year career in the Royal Air Force which put plenty of stories in her writing cap. 

L.T. now divides her time between writing, being a wife, mother and an Emergency Medical Dispatcher for the ambulance service. 

It’s the writing that keeps her sane.

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