Man Hands, a New Romantic Comedy by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby – Book Review

About Man Hands

BRYNN

At thirty-four, I’m reeling from a divorce. I don’t want to party or try to move on. I just want to stay home and post a new recipe on my blog: Brynn’s Dips and Balls.

But my friends aren’t having it. Get out there again, they say. It will be fun, they say. I’m still taking a hard pass.

Free designer cocktails, they say. And that’s a game-changer.

Too bad my ex shows up with his new arm candy. That’s when I lose my mind. But when my besties dare me to leap on the first single man I see, they don’t expect me to actually go through with it.

TOM

All I need right now is some peace and quiet while my home renovation TV show is on hiatus. But when a curvy woman in a red wrap dress charges me like she’s a gymnast about to mount my high bar, all I can do is brace myself and catch her. What follows is the hottest experience of my adult life.

I want a repeat, but my flying Cinderella disappears immediately afterward. She doesn’t leave a glass slipper, either—just a pair of panties with chocolate bunnies printed on them.

But I will find her.

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Man Hands (Man Hands, #1)Man Hands by Sarina Bowen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sarina Bowen is one of my favorite authors – authors whose books I pre-order as soon as the links go up. While I prefer her deeper, more emotional romantic novels to this light-hearted romantic comedy, it would be unfair to compare Man Hands to HIM/US, or to her True North series, because of the change in genre. It’s supposed to be a simpler story, with less complex characters, and it is. Overall, Man Hands is satisfying and thoroughly entertaining–the perfect diversion if you’re looking for a light, uncomplicated read that just makes you feel good all over. The premise is not necessarily unique (“home improvement” themes are cropping up all over the place right now), but it’s immediately engaging. The inciting event, when the two principal characters met, is outrageous and hilarious; the dialogue is clever and funny; the principal characters are unique and relatable: a handyman (albeit a famous one), and an English professor, a cookbook writer, and a food blogger. The secondary characters are delightfully quirky and developed enough to stand on their own as this new series continues.

I love that Brynn is not a drop-dead-gorgeous, super-slender damsel in distress. Based on her description, she’s more of a BBW, struggling with the same body image and self-esteem issues many women feel when they re-enter the dating world after a divorce. I love that she happens to be just what Tom–who is still stinging from the callous rejection of his would-be fiancée–sees her for the creative, exuberant woman that she is and falls in love with her because of it. I also love that Brynn is willing to give Tom the benefit of the doubt when other heroines would be whining in their fancy cocktails. I love that they are both willing to risk their hearts while they figure out what their relationship truly is and what it means.

I look forward to seeing Brynn and Tom again in the sequel, Man Card. I thoroughly enjoyed taking a break from the holiday rush to dive into this sweet rom-com, and I recommend it without reservations.

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Pulled Under (Walker Security Series) – A Sexy and Suspenseful New Release by Lisa Renee Jones

Front cover of Pulled Under by Lisa Renee Jones

About Pulled Under

A new sexy standalone from Lisa Renee Jones…

He is blond, tattooed, and dangerous. She’s as beautiful as she is mysterious and could be his destruction…

Asher wasn’t always a member of the elite Walker Security team, he was a billionaire’s son, who rebelled against his father’s controlling hand, and ended up in New York City’s underground of drugs, rock n roll, and danger. But that is long behind him, and while his tattoos and long blond hair remain, he’s now a chameleon, far more comfortable in a suit and tie than a leather jacket.

Or so he likes to tell himself.

But now Walker Security needs him back inside the underground club scene for a police case they’re working. Women are dying, murdered, and the clock is ticking until another victim is claimed. When Asher is pulled back into this toxic world he meets Sierra, who is as beautiful as she is mysterious. A woman who calls to a darker side of him, long suppressed, unleashing it in what becomes wicked hot passion and obsession. But Sierra has a secret, one that leads her, and Asher, to a dangerous place, and game, with dangerous players, and the game is about life or death.

 teaser quote and photo from Pulled Under by Lisa Renee Jones

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A quote and photo promo for Pulled Under, by Lisa Renee Jones

An Excerpt from Pulled Under . . .

“You want more now, and yet you don’t want it enough to make it end. And I already don’t want it to end, Sierra.” She leans into me, her head resting on my shoulder, emotion that isn’t pleasure radiating off of her and crashing into me. I cup her face and tilt her chin up, my thumb stroking her cheek. “What are you thinking?” “Nothing. Everything. Can you kiss me again already?” “Where, Sierra?”
“Where?”
“Where do you want me to kiss you? Tell me.”
“Everywhere.” She pushes to her toes, and her lips find mine, looking for an escape, trying to drive her demons away.
I want to demand her answer, make her tell me where she wants my mouth, but I feel her desperation, her need to escape whatever is in her head. And so, I press my lips to hers, I kiss her mouth, drinking her in, and I don’t taste him this time. I taste her. I taste us. I taste need and hunger and passion. “I want you naked,” I say, my hands sliding inside her jeans and panties. “In every possible way, Sierra.”
“I’m pretty sure I’m already there, and it’s terrifying.” She flattens her hand on my chest. “If you turn into an asshole, I swear—”
“You can punish me,” I promise, “and I’m still willing to offer suggestions.”
“If you turn into an asshole after I trusted you,” she says. “I won’t need suggestions, Mr. Ex-Navy SEAL who won’t be able to hide from my wrath.”
Fuck, I’m crazy about this woman. “Good thing I’m not going to turn into an asshole. I want you naked,” I repeat, and this time, I make it happen. I lower myself to one knee and take her jeans and panties with me. My arm wraps her waist and I lift her, dragging her clothing away, and setting her back down. My hands settle on her hips then and I look up at her. She stares down at me, the simmering look in her eyes all about arousal, submission. And I want that from her and not because it’s some sex game, of which I could play and play well.
I press my lips to her belly and just that easily she trembles, and it only makes me want more. Everything is more with her.  I drag my mouth lower and lower…

Photo Teaser from Pulled Under

Read my review of Pulled Under here!

More from the Walker Security Series. . .

Check out books one and three in the WALKER SECURITY series: Deep Under, book one, is available now and Falling Under, book three, is available for pre-order! All three books in the series are standalones.

MORE DETAILS HERE: http://lisareneejones.com/walker

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Perilous Trust: #1 in a Romantic, Suspenseful FBI Series by Barbara Freethy

About Perilous Trust

front cover, Perilous Trust by Barbara FreethyIn PERILOUS TRUST, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy brings you the first book in a new romantic suspense series! OFF THE GRID: An FBI Series offers five breath-stealing books filled with action-packed plot, heart-stopping romance, and page-turning suspense.

It was one dark night that brought Damon Wolfe and Sophie Parker together. They were two tortured souls, looking for escape, and they weren’t supposed to see each other ever again…

Four years later, Sophie’s FBI father, who is also Damon’s mentor, is killed in a suspicious car crash after leaving Sophie a cryptic message to trust no one from the agency. When Damon shows up looking for her, she isn’t sure if he’s friend or enemy, but she knows he could easily rip apart what is left of her heart.

The last thing Damon wants is to get involved with Sophie again. It was hard enough to walk away the first time. But she’s in trouble, her father’s reputation is under attack, and the lives of his fellow agents are at stake if there’s a traitor in their midst.

When someone starts shooting at them, they have no choice but to go on the run and off the grid. Everyone in their world becomes a suspect. They want to uncover the truth, but will it turn out to be the last thing they expect? Proving her father’s innocence might just cost them their hearts…and their lives…

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Review

Perilous Trust was my first introduction to NYT Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a tightly written, well-structured, suspenseful second-chance romance, with well-developed characters, an undercurrent of sadness with a touch of regret, and intense sexual chemistry. It hooked me from the climactic first scene and kept me turning the pages from beginning to end. I read it in less than a day, and the tight pacing had everything to do with that. It was an easy read, suspenseful enough to keep me guessing but not so anxiety-producing that I had to stop to take a breath (or dread turning the page).

Both principal characters–Damon Wolfe, an ex-military FBI agent, and Sophie Parker, the daughter of Damon’s mentor–are smart, strong, and resourceful, willing to risk everything to expose the mole (or moles) in the FBI that led to her father’s tragic death. Their shared history, forged through a common bond with a now-deceased friend, ended too soon, leaving them with some serious unfinished business. Their unanswered questions hang in the air between them, but exploring them is essential to developing the level of intimacy and the trust they will need to survive their race against a ruthless team of unknown assailants.

The secondary characters, primarily two trusted FBI colleagues from Damon’s days in Quantico, are introduced here to support the discovery of the conspiracy that could bring them all down; but they also pave the way for development as principal characters in future installments of the series. They are nuanced and prime for further development as the series continues.

The only drawback for me was the delayed introduction of the primary villain. I found it a bit “too convenient,” and consequently, the end came together a bit too quickly (and felt a little too easy). It seems rushed, especially after the build-up of other evidence in the case. And, while the sexual attraction between Damon and Sophie was steamy, when they finally gave into temptation, their sensual encounters felt a little flat for me.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this story and felt deeply for all of its characters. I love crime dramas, so romantic suspense is my favorite go-to genre. I gravitate to darker, breath-taking, heart-pounding romantic thrillers; but to be honest, this well-crafted story was a respite for me. It was suspenseful without being terrifying, which made it a perfect, relatively light weekend read and a perfect start to a series I’m eager to read and certain to enjoy.

An Excerpt from Perilous Trust

“Why did you run away from your apartment, your friends, your father’s coworkers? Why did you just disappear, Sophie?” Damon asked.

“Because someone killed my dad.”

“It’s possible it was an accident.”

“You don’t believe that any more than I do.”

“Maybe not, but I think something specific spooked you.”

“You mean like the two men I saw going into my apartment building?”

“You saw the men who broke into your apartment?” he asked in surprise.

“I don’t know if they were the ones, but they could have been.”

“What did they look like?”

“Law enforcement, maybe—I don’t know.”

Damon stared back at her, and she could see him running through her words in his head. “Why would you be afraid of law enforcement when your father is FBI?”

“Gut instinct,” she lied, knowing she wouldn’t have been afraid at all if her father hadn’t told her to be. “And it looks like I was right to run. If I’d gone to my apartment, who knows what would have happened?”

His lips drew into a hard line. “Look, Sophie, I want to help you.”

“Why? Why on earth would you want to help me?”

His gaze darkened, and the air sizzled between them as they found themselves back in a place probably neither of them wanted to revisit, but they were there all the same.

“We’re not friends,” she said quickly, needing to break the tension. “We’re not anything. We haven’t seen each other in four years. Why do you care where I am, what I’m doing? Is it because of loyalty to my dad? That has to be it, right? Nothing else could have made you drive all the way up here.”

“I should have called you after that night,” he said.

“I’m not looking for an apology.”

“Aren’t you?”

“No. Maybe. No,” she said, hating to sound so uncertain. “None of that is important now. I have bigger problems.”

“Then let’s talk about now,” he said, relief in his eyes as he changed the subject. “I respected your father. He was a mentor to me. I owe him for that, and I know that he would want me to help you. He trusted me, and I hope you can trust me, too.”

“I don’t know if my father trusted you,” she said, shaking her head.

Surprise and anger flared in his eyes. “Why would you say that?”

“Because he told me not to trust anyone from the bureau, and since you’re an agent, that includes you. Please, just go. Just leave me alone,” she pleaded, desperate to get him out of the cabin before she did something even more stupid—like start to trust him. “I’ll disappear. I’ll go somewhere no one else knows about. You don’t have to worry about me. You’ve done your duty. You came after me. You did that for my dad. Now do something for me—leave me alone. You’ve managed it for four years. You can keep going.”

His mouth tightened. “I’m not leaving you alone. You won’t be safe. You can’t get help from a friend, because you’ll put them in danger, and even if you are very careful, you’ll make a mistake. You don’t know how to stay off the radar, but I do. You’re going to have to trust someone at some point. You’re going to have to put your anger aside and let it be me.”

Before she could answer, she was suddenly hit with a shower of glass from the nearby window.

What the hell had just happened?

Another pane blew out, and something whizzed by her ear.

Damon grabbed her arm and pulled down as a third window exploded.

Someone was shooting at her!

 

Meet Barbara Freethy

Barbara Freethy is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of 60 novels ranging from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Traditionally published for many years, Barbara opened Fog City Publishing in 2011 and has since sold over 7 million books! Twenty-three of her titles have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists, including one title, SUMMER SECRETS, which hit #1 on the NYT. In 2014 Barbara was named the Amazon KDP Bestselling Author of all time! She was also the first Indie writer to sell over a million books on Barnes and Noble.

Known for her emotional and compelling stories of love, family, romance and suspense, Barbara is a six-time finalist and two-time winner in the Romance Writers of America acclaimed RITA contest for her novels DANIEL’S GIFT and THE WAY BACK HOME.

For more information, visit her website at www.barbarafreethy.com

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