Bittersweet, by Lyz Kelley: A Beautiful Addition to the Elkridge Series (Book Review)

Introducing Bittersweet

an Elkridge Novel

by Lyz Kelley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Single Parent Romance

Series: The Elkridge Series

Release Date:  August 27, 2018

Tour Hosts: Bare Naked Words

Synopsis

Cover of Bittersweet, an Elkridge NovelStarting over is never easy, but in Elkridge, Colorado, where newcomers are welcome, and friends become family, it’s possible to find yourself again.

Leza promised to return to Elkridge after she finished her FBI undercover assignment. Only the local sheriff didn’t keep his promise to be there when she returned. Now she’s searching for a way to rebuild her life.

Heath applied for the deputy position because he wanted to raise his newly-adopted niece in a small town. He’s not interested in more complications—until he meets the town’s newest resident.

Heartbroken, Leza is unable to risk having her hopes shattered again. He’s sworn to protect and serve, but Leza doesn’t want that either.

Can Heath’s single-dad charm and captivating openness heal Leza’s heart?

Click on the link below to add Bittersweet to your TBR on Goodreads!

My Review of Bittersweet

BittersweetBittersweet by Lyz Kelley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bittersweet is a beautiful story of two “lost” souls who find each other and, in doing so, begin the process of healing and becoming whole again. The theme is familiar, similar to others in the Elkridge series, and for continuity’s sake, the storylines overlap to some extent, but each book is unique, featuring interesting, well-developed characters that stay in your heart long after you’ve read the last page. And while I think Bittersweet could be read as a standalone novel, I recommend reading the series in order to fully appreciate the impact of this story and the contributions of its secondary characters to the reading experience.

Bittersweet is what I like to call a “cozy romance.” It’s warm and inviting, immersive yet easy to read. Lyz Kelly has a unique voice that infuses just the right amount of humor, heat, suspense, angst, and action to hold your interest. The reading experience itself is cozy, but the sometimes raw but always powerful emotions, plot twists, and edge-of-your-seat subplots keep you just enough on edge to keep you guessing until the end.

The Characters

Leza is a tough-as-nails former FBI agent, a survivor with a scarred body and a broken heart, looking to heal and make a home in the small town of Elkridge, Colorado – the same small town where her former lover Sam, the town’s sheriff, lost his life while investigating the same drug and sex trafficking operation she infiltrated and helped to bring down before turning in her badge for the final time.

Heath is a former Marine, scarred by the horrors of war in Afghanistan, who gave up his military career to raise his young niece, Ellie, following the tragic death of his sister. Overwhelmed by the changes in his life, struggling to make ends meet while parenting a grieving child, and studying for his new career as an Elkridge deputy, he is often exhausted, lonely, and more than a little bit lost.

Until he meets Leza, who piques his curiosity and almost immediately captures his heart.

The Conflict

Leza doesn’t want a relationship, especially with a man in uniform who could lose his life in the line of duty and force her to re-live the trauma of Sam’s death. Headstrong and stubborn, Leza is determined to make it on her own without letting anyone get too close – no matter how handsome and irresistible he is. Heath is ready to settle down and take a chance on loving Leza, and if he only had himself to worry about, he would happily do so. But he also knows he can’t risk bringing Leza fully into Ellie’s life – no matter how much he wants and needs her -until she is willing and able to stay.

Recommendation

Four Gold Stars

Bittersweet is a perfect title for this story. It is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. Lyz delicately balances the hope and despair experienced by all three of its main characters. She captures and beautifully portrays the excitement of new love, and lovingly conveys the humor and tenderness of a tough Marine who is fumbling–and sometimes stumbling–as an exhausted, well-intentioned, but inexperienced single parent. She also accurately and relatably depicts the devastating emotional consequences of trauma and loss, coupled with the overwhelming fear of losing again.

If you are a fan of Emily March and Debbie Macomber, you will especially enjoy the approachable, relatable novels of the Elkridge and the Lonely Ridge series – and I highly recommend you read them all. With fall on the horizon, these are perfect stories to warm you on the inside and out.

View all my reviews

Teaser photo from Bittersweet by Lyz Kelley

Buy Bittersweet

on Amazon US

Discover the Elkridge Series

This series beautifully captures the emotionally charged, complex dynamics that come with being part of any community. I hope you laugh and reach for a few tissues as the characters discover what it means to be loved, supported and accepted by the people who mean the most.

Available as a 6-book series or as individual titles on Amazon.com

Meet Lyz Kelley

Award-winning author Lyz Kelley resides in a small community in Colorado with her husband and several four-legged family members. She’s a disaster in the kitchen, a compulsive neat freak, and tea snob, a lover of board games, gardening, and painting.  She loves writing about strong women who have endured challenges and the men who enrich their lives.

A healing love is at the heart of her book series. Creating wounded yet amazing characters—discovering what drives them, frightens them, heals them, makes them laugh—is what gives her joy. Lyz is pleased to share that joy with her masterfully written stories.

To keep tabs on her newest releases, connect with Lyz by signing up for her newsletter at LyzKelley.com. Members receive a copy of Unmistaken and learn about thoughtful giveaways, Members may even get the opportunity to receive advanced reader copies. Check out LyzKelley.com for more information.

Follow Lyz

Website: https://www.lyzkelley.com/index.html

Newsletter Sign Up: www.LyzKelley.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LyzKelleyauthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LyzKelley

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lyzkelley/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lyzkelley/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQFoD1TFtfhff2Hb1f1iBcw

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/60669260-lyz-kelley

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lyz-Kelley/e/B01N4AYJUL/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lyz-kelley

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The Sexy One, by Lauren Blakely: Excerpt, Pre-Order & Giveaway!

Excerpt Reveal Banner for The Sexy One, by Lauren Blakely

From NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a swoony new standalone romance…

THE SEXY ONE

Want a romance guaranteed to make you melt? Get ready to fall in love with The Sexy One on October 17th!

Pre-Order NOW!

Book Cover, The Sexy One, by Lauren BlakelyiBooks: http://apple.co/29Lj1QJ

Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/2aceDNv

Kobo: http://bit.ly/29ZSezN

BN: http://bit.ly/2agPLDj

Sign up for Lauren’s newsletter to receive an alert when THE SEXY ONE is live on Kindle on release day at http://laurenblakely.com/newsletter/.

About The Sexy One…

Let me count the ways why falling into forbidden love is not my wisest move…

  1. She works with me every single day.

Did I mention she’s gorgeous, sweet, kind and smart?

  1. She works in my home.

Playing with my five-year-old daughter. Teaching my little girl. Cooking for my princess. Which means…

  1. She’s the nanny.

And that makes her completely off-limits…But it doesn’t stop me from wanting her. All of her.

***

The other nannies in this city don’t call him the Sexy One for nothing. My boss, the amazingly wonderful single father to the girl I take care of every day is ridiculously hot, like movie star levels with those arms, and those eyes, and that body. Not to mention, the way he dotes on his little girl melts me all over. But what really makes my knees weak are the times when his gaze lingers on me. In secret. When no one else is around.


I can’t risk my job for a chance at something more…can I? But I don’t know how to resist him much longer either…

photo of a man with his shirt and tie undone, with a quote from The Sexy One, by Lauren Blakely

An Excerpt from The Sexy One…

“Your language skills are better than your French-braiding skills,” she teases as she shuts her iPad.

I pretend to be insulted. “So not true. I can do French braids with my eyes closed.”

She shakes her head. “Somehow, I doubt that.”

“I’ll prove it to you.”

She tilts her head, and her hand freezes on her purse. “Prove it?” she asks quietly.

Somehow I’ve thrown a gauntlet I didn’t realize I was tossing. I do the only natural next thing—follow through. “Sure. Got one of those hair tie things?”

She nods slowly. “Yes, but . . .” Her voice trails off. Then she resumes the thought. “You really learned to French braid?”

I nod. “Hayden insisted on it,” I explain then study her face. Her pupils are dilated, and she blinks. Ah hell, I’ve made her wary with my remark. “I don’t have to prove it. I was just teasing,” I say, giving her an out. Mildly flirty comments are one thing—hands in hair are another.

A small grin spreads on her face, as she dips her hand into her purse and produces a black elastic band. “No, I insist. You were horrible last time. Have at it.”

She drops to the floor, scoots over to me, and with her shoulder, she nudges my right knee.

Hello, slippery slope. Funny to see you again so soon.

Her other shoulder bumps my other knee. There’s no need to think—I widen my legs more and let her settle in between them. I’m seated on the couch, she’s on the floor, and she waits for me to braid her hair.

As I stare at her lush, blond locks, the breath escapes my lungs. For a moment, it’s as if I’m hovering in a state of suspended want. Like this is the real line we’re crossing. Not me bringing her dessert, or touching the corner of her lips, or gazing at her face longer than I should. Not even sending texts about a pair of wild birds or making comments about showers and nudity.

But this.

Touching her hair.

Fuck, I love her hair.

I slide the tie over my wrist, then gather up some strands near the top of her head. “Confession,” I say in a quiet voice. “I watched a few YouTube videos after you taught me.”

She leans back, and I can feel her smile. “Like I said, prove it.”

“It’s on.” I focus on the task of separating her honey-blond hair into three sections, running my fingers through them like a comb. I lift the first strand and lay it over the middle one, then the left, gathering more hair into the next section.

After I failed at her first French braid lesson, I took it upon myself to learn. I don’t like not being able to master basic skills. A man should be able to braid his daughter’s hair.

And his woman’s hair.

“How does it look?” Her voice sounds a little breathy.

“Like it was braided by a man who learned by watching YouTube videos,” I answer.

She laughs lightly and leans into me more, inching closer. My hands still for a moment. I feel like I’m in high school again. Like I have a crush on a girl, and I don’t know what to do, where to go next, what to say.

The thing is, I do know. I just don’t know that I should. But I know what I want. There’s no doubt in my mind. I want to touch her, to kiss her, to feel her body press against mine. Even the chance to touch her like this is intoxicating, a rush of blood to the head. Her waves of hair are soft, and they feel spectacular falling through my fingers. I can’t picture a single thing besides running my hands through these strands as I kiss her, as I touch her, as she moves beneath me.

Want The Sexy One in Audio? 

The audiobook will release the same day as the eBook on October 17th and will be narrated by Sebastian York and Andi Arndt!

Photo of a couple kissing, with a quote from The Sexy One by Lauren Blakely

Meet Lauren Blakely

Photo of author Lauren BlakelySince self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that’s full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends. She lives in California with her family. With eleven New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than sixty times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire as well as standalone romantic comedies like BIG ROCK, MISTER O and WELL HUNG, which were instant New York Times Bestsellers. In the fall she’ll release THE SEXY ONE, a swoony contemporary romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter at laurenblakely.com/newsletter.

Keep Up With Lauren…

Website: http://www.laurenblakely.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenBlakelyBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenBlakely3

Newsletter: http://laurenblakely.com/newsletter/

Lauren Blakely Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6860216.Lauren_Blakely

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