Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Humour, Mystery, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Serial, Short stories

A Wedding at Sandy Cove: Always the Bridesmaid Bella Osborne 5*#Review @AvonBooksUK @osborne_bella #romance #mystery #humour #friendship #romcom #family #novella #serial #part1 #AlwaystheBridesmaid #AWeddingatSandyCove

This is the first part in a brand new four-part serial from Bella Osborne.

This will be Ella’s eighth time down the aisle…

Ella has made it her mission in life to find every bride in their dream dress.

But every time she sends one of her happy customers off to the altar with a perfect, ivory silk gown, she thinks of those seven, hideous bridesmaid dresses hanging in her own closet.

She’s about to add another one, too, because her best friend’s wedding is now only months away. And this one, in a muddy shade of brown, might be the worst dress yet.

Ella is excited for her friend to have the perfect seaside wedding, but every discussion about flowers and centrepieces makes her feel more alone than ever.

So, Ella finally accepts her friends’ pleas to set her up on a blind date.

Ella is set to meet a handsome, gym-going estate agent. But a mix up on the night throws her into the path of Kit, instead.

Kit is most definitely not the man she was supposed to meet, but he could end up changing her life in ways she never thought possible…

Laugh-out-loud funny and full of romance, friendship and yards of white tulle, this is the perfect read to escape with.

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

An entertaining read that draws you into Ella’s world of demanding brides, ungrateful bosses, and wedding dresses. She’s a lovely character, hardworking, constantly put upon and always trying to please others. I love the mix of laugh out loud hilarity and poignant moments. The believably created friendship dynamic between Ella, Lucy and Brittany defines this story and makes it engaging.

Meeting Kit is unexpected for Ella and threatens unwelcome life changes. The plot has twists, and this first part has a dramatic ending, making reading the rest of the story essential.

Bella Osborne

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full-length novel. Since then she’s written seven best selling romantic comedies and she’s been shortlisted three times for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She lives in The Midlands, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

For more about Bella, visit her website at www.bellaosborne.com or follow her on social media.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

Good Neighbours Mary Grand 5*#Review @authormaryg @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #psychological #suspense #friendship #neighbours #relationships #secrets #mystery #MurderMystery #GoodNeighbours #BlogTour #BookReview #IsleofWight #MondayBlogs

It was meant to be a safe place to start again… 

In need of an escape from her failing marriage, Nia agrees to house-sit her aunt’s cottage on the Isle of Wight. She feels sure the cosy close in a quaint harbour town will be a safe place to hide and figure out what to do next. 

But things are not all as they seem in the close, and the neighbours who welcome her with open arms, are keeping secrets. When Nia finds the body of one of her new friends lying on the beach, she feels sickeningly sure that the killer is dangerously near to home.

Who killed her friend and why did she have to die? And if Nia discovers the answers she’s looking for, is she next on their hit list? Good neighbours may become good friends, but they can also make deadly enemies…

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The sense of menace is evident at this novel’s inception and intensifies with each event in this psychological suspense set on the Isle of Wight. The Close residents initially appear friendly and open, but they all have secrets. Nia is housesitting for a favourite aunt seeking an escape from a controlling marriage. She feels safe in the nice close where she lives, but when someone dies, the accusations start, and the sense of danger is tangible.

It is soon apparent that Nia is initially an unreliable narrator. She is likeable, and her character develops realistically and satisfyingly, becoming more self-aware and sure of herself. Nia realises she has value and can see the truth, something that is necessary for her to move on and solve the murder of her new friend Ruby. Immersive and claustrophobic, this is addictive reading.

I like the vividly described island setting, the detailed characterisation and clever plotting that hides as much as it reveals until the satisfying conclusion.

Mary Grand

Mary Grand is the author of six novels and writes gripping, page-turning suspense, with a dark and often murderous underside. She grew up in Wales, was for many years a teacher of deaf children and now lives on the Isle of Wight where her new novel, Good Neighbours is set

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books, Romance

Mystery at Lovelace Manor (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 8) Clare Chase 5* #Review @ClareChase_ @bookouture #CozyMystery #MurderMystery #Suffolk #Mystery #Village #Coastal #BookReview #secrets #family #lies #betrayal #EveMallowMystery #MysteryatLovelaceManor

Lovelace Manor has a famous past… but when a historian becomes history at its annual open day, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow is on the case!

Everyone in Saxford St Peter flocks to Lovelace Sunday, the festival celebrating the romantic history of the beautiful Lovelace Manor. This year will be even more exciting, as famous TV historian Cammie Harington is planning a spectacular stunt with a hot-air balloon for her new show.

Eve Mallow jumps at the chance to volunteer – it’s a great people-watching opportunity. But she soon realises there is no love lost between Cammie and the family who own the manor… so why did Cammie agree to come?

When Cammie’s hot-air balloon tumbles from the sky, Eve feels sure this is no accident. Alongside dachshund Gus, she sets to work investigating the mystery, piecing together all the odd things she’s seen and heard.

Could the killer be discreet Diana, lady of the manor, who fell out with Cammie years ago? Or Diana’s dashing brother Sebastian, whose dark secret Cammie knew? Why was the loyal gardener following Cammie around? And had Cammie uncovered something explosive about the manor’s past, as she claimed?

When someone breaks into Cammie’s cottage and a priceless Lovelace heirloom goes missing, Eve is sure she’s on the right track… but can she solve the case, before the killer brings her crashing down?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Mystery at Lovelace Manor sees Eve helping out at a local manor house’s annual festival. The manor has a romantic past, but the current owner, newly widowed Diana, struggles with the upkeep, and her stepbrother is of little help. When Cammie, a celebrity historian, meets with an untimely accident, Eve’s investigation is increasingly dangerous and twisted.

There are many motives and suspects in this cosy mystery. It immerses the reader in the story through amateur sleuth Eve’s methodical investigations. The characters are believably flawed, and they all have credible motives for the murders. The ending is exciting and menacing.

I enjoyed the characters and clever plotting in this engaging and entertaining cosy mystery.

Read my reviews of previous books in the series.

Mystery on Hidden Lane (Book1) – Read my review

Mystery at Apple Cottage(Book2) – Read my review

Mystery at the Old Mill (Book4)Read my review

Mystery at the Abbey Hotel (Book 5) – Read my review

Mystery at the Church (Book 6) – Read my review

Mystery at Magpie Lodge (Book 7)- Read my review

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, New Books

Cold Grave Jenny O’Brien 5*Review @ScribblerJB @HQStories #CrimeFiction #DetectiveGabyDarin #ColdGrave #Detective #BlogTour #BookReview

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare…

Seventeen-year-old Bryony Lloyd’s father drops her off at a friend’s house to study – but when he returns to pick her up there’s no sign of her, and the woman who lives in the house swears she lives alone. Bryony has vanished into thin air, and her ‘friend’ doesn’t seem to exist.

DI Gaby Darin immediately sees similarities with another missing-persons case: seventeen-year-old Christy Taylor, who vanished without warning several months earlier. There’s nothing in the girls’ personal lives to suggest trouble at home – could someone have taken them both?

After a third case is linked, Gaby knows time is running out if she’s going to find Bryony and Christy alive. After going missing over a year ago, this girl’s just been found dead.

When a tragic accident means Gaby loses a vital member of her team, she distracts herself from her grief by throwing herself into finding the missing girls. Even if it means putting her whole career on the line…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Detective Gaby Darin and her motivated detectives try to find a missing teenager whilst looking for links with a past unsolved case. Gaby’s issues, coupled with a bereft of clues case, make it an emotionally challenging time for her. I enjoyed the detailed plot, which only allows Gaby and her team and thus the reader a few clues to solve the mystery. A cleverly crafted antagonist and the impactful plot twists make this an addictive read.

Cold Grave is an excellently paced police drama whose engaging detective team and twisty plot make this a compelling crime fiction.

Jenny O’Brien

Born in Dublin, Jenny O’Brien moved to Wales and then Guernsey, where she tries to find time to write in between working as a nurse and ferrying around 3 teenagers.
In her spare time,
she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier loaves of bread. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer. Readers can find out more about Jenny and her books on her blog

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Books in series reading order, although each is stand-alone:-

Click on book title link to read my reviews.

Posted in Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Romance

The Storm Girl Kathleen McGurl 5*#Review @KathMcGurl @HQStories @rararesources #Timeslip #HistFic #ContemporaryFiction #Adventure #Mystery #Family #Secrets #Betrayal #Loss #friendship #romance #BlogTour #BookReview #TheStormGirl #Mudeford

A heartbreaking choice. A secret kept for centuries.

1784. When Esther Harris’s father hurts his back, she takes over his role of helping smugglers hide contraband in the secret cellar in their pub. But when the free traders’ ships are trapped in the harbour, a battle between the smugglers and the revenue officers leads to murder and betrayal – and Esther is forced to choose between the love of her life and protecting her family…

Present day. Fresh from her divorce, Millie Galton moves into a former inn overlooking the harbour in Mudeford and plans to create her dream home. When a chance discovery behind an old fireplace reveals the house’s secret history as a haven for smugglers and the devastating story of its former residents, could the mystery of disappearance from centuries ago finally be solved?

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I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher.

My Thoughts…

In a dual timeline story set in Mudeford near Christchurch in Dorset, divorced, Millie moves into an old historic former Inn needing renovation; as the work progresses, the house begins to give up its secrets. In 1784 Ester lives and works in the Inn at Mudeford. She and many townsfolk are involved in smuggling. The sense of betrayal and danger immerses the reader in the historical part of this story. Historical details vibrantly bring 1784 Mudeford to life. The Inn is the link between the past and present, and the two interwoven timelines create an engaging story full of adventure, mystery and romance.

I love the clever plotting that links the two time periods, the believable characters and the mystery to be solved.

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the coast in Christchurch, England. She writes dual timeline novels in which a historical mystery is uncovered and resolved in the present day. She is married to an Irishman and has two adult sons. She enjoys travelling, especially in her motorhome around Europe but her home is Mudeford, where this novel is set.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, New Books, Psychologist, Suspense, Thriller

Her Child’s Cry S. A. Dunphy 5*#Review #BoyleandKeneally @dunphyshane1 @bookouture #BooksonTour #Bookouture #IrishCrimeFiction #CrimeFiction #Detective #CriminalPsychologist #Suspense #Folklore #CrimeNoir #BookReview #HerChildsCry #BlogTour

‘I just want my little girl back. She’s so little, she needs her mummy. And she doesn’t even have her panda bear with her. Find her, please find her, before it’s too late.’

Little Rosie Blake has been taken. Since going missing from the hospital where she was being treated for cancer, Rosie’s distraught parents haven’t heard a word. And time is swiftly running out. They have to find her, and right away because Rosie can only survive for ten days without her medication.

With the police unable to find any leads at all, criminal behaviourist Jessie Boyle and her team are brought in to help. Who would be so evil as to steal a sick child? Narrowing down on a suspect, Jessie quickly moves to arrest them, only to discover the suspect’s dead body instead… And with no Rosie in sight, the case becomes even more desperate.

Who killed their chief suspect, and where is Rosie now? And is Rosie’s disappearance linked to the sudden revival of Dublin’s Hellfire Club, an ancient and terrifying cult obsessed with death and human sacrifice?

As the race to find Rosie intensifies, her heartbroken parents know their little girl’s time is running out. The clock is ticking, but Jessie clings on to the hope of finding her safe. Then her search leads her to Ireland’s remote mountains… Will Jessie be able to survive the deadly threat that awaits her, rescue Rosie, and get her back to safety, before it’s too late?

An utterly compelling crime thriller that will have you hooked from the very first line.

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Boyle and Keneally’s courage and their detecting and investigative skills are called upon to find a seriously ill child abducted from her hospital bed, putting her life in imminent danger. The child’s parents seem to be hiding something, and menacing darkness surrounds their investigations. The theme of evil folklore permeates this story, and the reader is never quite sure what is real.

I like the intensity and the story’s suspenseful nature; with its clever plotting and the believable team dynamic, it’s an addictive read. The Irish setting, interwoven folklore, and relatable characters make this disturbing and intriguing to read. The ending is impactful and paves the way for the next instalment in this excellent series.

S.A.Dunphy

Shane Dunphy (S. A. Dunphy) was born in Brighton in 1973 but grew up in Ireland, where he has lived and worked for most of his life. A child protection worker for fifteen years, he is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the number one Irish bestseller Wednesday’s Child and the Sunday Times Bestseller The Girl Who Couldn’t Smile. His bestselling series of crime novels (written under the name S. A. Dunphy) feature the criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of true crime books written for Audible, has been critically acclaimed and the second title in the series, The Bad Place, is an Audible True Crime bestseller. 

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Posted in Animal Welfare, Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, New Books, Non-Fiction

Through a Vet’s Eyes – How We Can All Choose A Better Life For Animals Dr Sean Wensley 5*#Review @SeanWensley @Octopus_Books #memoir #AnimalWelfare #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours #ThroughAVetsEyes #DrSeanWensley

Dr Sean Wensley is an award-winning vet and lifelong naturalist who has contributed to animal welfare and conservation projects all over the world. His debut book is
about how we can choose a better life for animals, from the chickens we eat to the pets we keep.

As our societies become more urbanised, we are further removed from the reality of where and how our food is produced. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the humanisation of our pets is a risk to their welfare; with 60% of UK dogs being overweight or obese, we are effectively killing them with kindness. Through a Vet’s Eyes seeks to redress this imbalance so that we see all animals as thinking, feeling beings not dissimilar to ourselves.

There is high public and political interest in animal welfare, with current attention focused on high-profile topics such as animal sentience, humane and sustainable global agriculture and breeding pets, such as flat-faced dogs, for looks over health. To fully consider and improve the lives of animals, evidence-based information is needed to help us all understand these issues, what they mean from the animals’
perspectives and what we can all do to help.

A polemic with elements of memoir and nature writing, the book takes us through the years in which Sean trained to become a vet and shares his first-hand experience of how animals are treated and used for our benefit. It interrogates the different levels of welfare afforded to them and reveals how we, as consumers and informed citizens, can reduce our animal welfare footprint through the choices we make every
single day.

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Compassionate and compelling, the author shares his life experiences as a Veterinary Surgeon and shows how everyone can make a difference to the animals we share our lives with. The book is an intriguing mix of factual accounts of what happens in our interactions with animals, personal experiences of nature and scientific study. The observations of animals in their natural habitat are intimate and lyrically written and are a welcome contrast to some of the more disturbing facts about the lives of farm animals and other animals we as humans use to enrich our lives.

The positive take from this book is that everyone can help achieve better animal welfare, a life-affirming goal in itself, but for those less altruistic, there are positive gains for humanity in terms of better health and contributing towards saving the planet.

My interest in animal welfare drew me to this book, and I learned so much by reading it. Most people will be disturbed and saddened by some of the stories, but it’s worth the discomfort to see how we can help. Whilst this book is an excellent memoir, it is also a practical guide on how individuals can help foster animal welfare, something that everyone should read.

Dr Sean Wensley

Dr Sean Wensley is an award-winning UK veterinarian and recent President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA). He chairs the Animal Welfare Working Group of
the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), which represents veterinary organisations from 40 European countries.

Sean has contributed to animal welfare and conservation projects around the world and in 2017 received the inaugural World Veterinary Association (WVA) Global Animal WelfareAward for Europe. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of
Veterinary Surgeons and is Senior Veterinary Surgeon for Communication and Education at the national UK veterinary charity, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). His media appearances include BBC Radio 4 Today, BBC
Breakfast, BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine and The Big Questions.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Romance, Travel

Summer at the French Café Sue Moorcroft 5* #Review @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #Romance #Family #Secrets #BlogTour #Summer #relationships #Alsace #France #BookCafé #Bookshop #Café @rararesources #Friendship #BookReview #SummerattheFrenchCafé

Sparkling sun, strolls in the gorgeous French countryside, that first sip of cool, crisp wine – Summer is Kat’s favourite season. And this year should be no exception…

As soon as Kat Jenson set foot in the idyllic French village of Kirchhoffen, she knew she’d found her home. Now she has a dreamy boyfriend, a delightful dog and the perfect job managing a bustling book café in the vibrant Parc Lemmel.

But when she learns her boyfriend isn’t all he seems, it’s the start of a difficult summer for Kat. Vindictive troublemakers, work woes and family heartache follow, and the clear blue sky that was her life suddenly seems full of clouds.

Then she gets to know the mysterious Noah, and her sun begins to shine brighter than ever. But Noah has problems of his own – ones that could scupper their new-found happiness. Together, can they overcome their many obstacles, and find love again?

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

In the Alsace region of France, summer is not without its emotional complications for Kat, the manager of a bustling book café. Looking forward to a lovely summer in a job she loves, her relationship implodes with subsequent difficulties at work that threaten her career. Having her brother Solly and meeting the enigmatic Noah are the positive influences in her life, but they are not without problems, and Kat is reluctant to risk taking a chance on love again.

Romance is a theme of this story, but it’s conflicted with Kat and Noah’s emotional past and his current family drama. Blended families are another predominant theme explored through Kat and Noah’s experiences. Lies and secrets complicate their lives, and they have to work hard to be together.

Despite the angst and the drama, there are many lighthearted moments in this realistically plotted story, and I particularly enjoyed those with Kat’s cute dog Angelique. I also enjoyed the believably flawed characters, the storytelling, and the vibrant setting.

Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has reached the #1 spot on Kindle UK and Top 100 on Kindle US. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Her novels, short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, International Thriller, New Books, Political Thriller, Thriller, Travel

Outcast Chris Ryan 4* #Review @ExSASChrisRyan @ZaffreBooks @rararesources #MilitaryThriller #BlogTour #BookReview #Outcast #politicalthriller

After single-handedly intervening in a deadly terrorist attack in Mali, SAS Warrant Officer Jamie ‘Geordie’ Carter is denounced as a lone wolf by jealous superiors.

Now a Regiment outcast, Carter is given a second chance with a deniable mission: locate SAS hero-gone-rogue, David Vann.

Vann had been sent into Afghanistan to train local rebels to fight the Taliban. But he’s since gone silent and expected attacks on key targets have not happened.

Tracking Vann through Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Carter not only discovers the rogue soldier’s involvement in a conspiracy that stretches far beyond the Middle East – but an imminent attack that will have deadly consequences the world over . . .

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

SAS Warrant Officer Jamie (Geordie) Carter is courageous, intelligent, and a recent hero, but he still trains soldiers in Chile, despite his skills. A lone wolf’s strengths in dark combat make him a threat to the hierarchy, and he has made powerful enemies. With his career on a downward trajectory, he loses his cool, and the end of his SAS career seems inevitable. A deniable operation in Afghanistan finding a lost operative seems his only option. He finds himself in Afghanistan and Tajikistan after the withdrawal of western forces, looking for the man who changed his life.

Atmospheric and full of action, this military thriller is addictive reading with its integral authenticity and contemporary setting and themes. Geordie is believably flawed but likeable. His military skills are unrivalled but tempered with a humanity that makes him relatable. The twists are good—the sense of danger and not knowing who is trustworthy increases the suspense.

I like the characterisation, authentic plot and the real-time focus of the story.

Chris Ryan -Image credit Mick Kavanagh

Chris Ryan was born in Newcastle.

In 1984 he joined 22 SAS. After completing the year-long Alpine Guides Course, he was the troop guide for B Squadron Mountain Troop. He completed three tours with the anti-terrorist team, serving as an assaulter, sniper and finally Sniper Team Commander.

Chris was part of the SAS eight-man team chosen for the famous Bravo Two Zero mission during the 1991 Gulf War. He was the only member of the unit to escape from Iraq, where three of his colleagues were killed and four captured, for which he was awarded the Military Medal. Chris wrote about his experiences in his book The One That Got Away, which became an immediate bestseller. Since then he has written over fifty books and presented a number of very successful TV programmes.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Romance

Whisked into the Billionaire’s World Nina Singh 4*#Review @ninasinghauthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #Romance #fairytale #MillsandBoonTrueLove #HarlequinRomance #MillsandBoonInsiders #BookReview

A proposal she can’t say no to!

When hotel manager Clairey has no choice but to halt the hotel’s most important wedding, she finds herself fired…and face to face with Drex, the groom’s billionaire brother. She’s stunned by his proposal that they fix the mess she’s made together! But, catapulted into Drex’s opulent world, Clairey’s unprepared for the inconvenient feelings that blur the lines of their convenient partnership…

 

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

This sweet romantic story has a Cinderella vibe, and if you accept that this is closer to a fairytale than reality, it is a good relaxing read.

After a rash but well-motivated attempt to stop a wedding, Clairey is out of a job. Drex is used to clearing up after his younger brother, but now he has responsibility for his young niece and needs help. Clairey and Drex, both victims of a troubled upbringing, are attracted to the other on many levels, and their emotional connection is as strong as their physical attraction. Still, neither sees it, causing conflict in their fledgeling relationship.

Clairey seems very accepting, always falling in with Drex’s plans, but she is motivated by her love for him and his niece. Drex is under pressure from his vast business empire and unwilling to pursue his attraction and feelings for Clairey as he is her boss. Still, eventually, after much heart-searching, he realises he loves her.

This book is an escapist romantic story between two likeable protagonists who deserve their happy-ever-after.