Because I Can by Tamara Morgan

22446824
Grade: A-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Montgomery Manor #3
Published: 10/13/14
Reviewed by Anne
287 ebook pages

“Monty” runs the family hotel business and the family’s charitable giving.  He likes the second more than the first, but he knows he’s expected to do both, and he works hard to live up to his father’s expectations.  That means he’s a little boring and he’s not very good at all at socializing.  He’s a very serious man, and he doesn’t think that’s a bad thing.

Georgia is the handywoman on the Montgomery estate.  She stronger and more capable than Monty and most other men in the world.  She succeeds in a world very few women are part of.  Working for the Montgomerys and others around town leaves her with the money and time to manage the local home building charity.  She’s stubborn and surrounded by three overprotective brothers, but she’s got a crush on Monty.

When Monty wants to break out of his shell a bit, he agrees to help out on Georgia’s latest homebuilding project.  The more they see of each other the more they like each other.  Maybe they have more in common than it first appears?

I can’t sing Georgia’s praises enough.  I think she’s the more unique heroine I’ve read all year and I loved her!  She’s tough and she’s capable and she’s intelligent.  And none of this is ever an issue with Monty.  He’s not put off by her ways or her non-polished looks.  This was so refreshing to read!

There is a lot of humor in this book, too.  It had me grinning throughout the story.  Monty is turned on by Georgia’s boots, Georgia’s brothers are interfering, and Monty practicing dirty talk by recording himself so he can self-critique – you know that doesn’t end well!

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about the book was Monty’s family, especially his sister who swept in and steamrolled Georgia into a makeover – even if it was something Georgia was eventually ok with.  However, that was a small piece of the whole story, and it was totally made up by the strength of every other piece.

I highly recommend this story.  It’s going on my Best of 2014 list!  Do you have any stories with unusual heroines to recommend?

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November Rain by Daisy Harris

22066351

Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m
Series: Fire & Rain #4
Published: 9/2/14
Reviewed by Anne
117  ebook pages

You like m/m?  Then you should read this story.  Right now.  Please, stop reading this review, go buy this book, read it and come back.

What?  Not convinced yet?  OK, fine, let me explain to you why you should read November Rain.

First, there’s the characters.  Gruff and tough Joe is a Seattle cop.  He’s shopping for a new sweater (to wear to his ex’s wedding – ugh!) when he meets the young sales clerk, Elias.  Elias’ parents immigrated from Africa just before Elias was born.  Their bias against homosexuality has kept Elias not only in the closet, but very, very innocent.  Elias pushes Joe’s buttons in all the right ways, but before he can ask for Elias’ number, he ends up getting shot in the leg by a customer who is harassing Elias.  Elias is so drawn to Joe, and so concerned for his health that he shows up at the hospital to check on Joe.   This starts an interesting relationship between Joe and Elias.

Joe is stubborn and having a hard time dealing with his injury.  He’s not sure what to make of Elias’ eagerness and withdrawl, but he’s trying to figure it out.  Elias has more backbone than he appears to.  He knows what he is and isn’t willing to do and put up with, and he stands up for himself when needed, and wow is that a joy to read!  The sex between these two is dirty and hot, and sometimes messy and emotionally painful.

The secondary storyline is interesting, too.  It’s about Elias’s slightly older brother and his wife.  Since Elias’ parents moved back to Africa, they are the only family Elias has left.  He’s scared of their reaction if they find out he’s gay, and he’s also worried about the two of them.

Really the only complaint I can come up with is that things work out a bit too well for everyone.  And, honestly, that’s not really a complaint.  I’m fine with some sunshine and rainbows in my reading!

So, if you’re up for some really great characters who stand up for themselves and admit it when they’re wrong, along with some wonderfully smutty m/m sex, I highly recommend this book by Daisy Harris!  It’s going on my Best of 2014 list!

Even better news, it turns out this is the fourth book in the series!  What?  It stood alone just fine, but I can’t wait to go back and read the others!  Daisy Harris’ blog says that the first book, Fire and Ashes will be free until September 5!

 

Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl

21966886
Grade: A
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Jackson: Girls’ Night Out #0.5
Published: 7/1/14
Reviewed by Anne
84 pages

Jake is a widower and a fire chief.  Lauren, a librarian, is divorced from a close friend of Jake’s.  The fire station and the library are in the same building.  Lauren and Jake know each other, and each is attracted to the other, but neither has been ready to move on from their first marriages.  But it’s been years, and their mutual attraction and some observant friends are pushing them to do something about it.

Go read this book.  Now.  Seriously.  This is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read.  Darn near perfect.  Lauren and Jake both have grown children.  They’re both doing fine on their own, though they’d love a little companionship.  Watching them circle each other, and then finally move on each other?  So much fun!

It’s got an awesome “caught in the act” scene.  Reading about Lauren and Jake figuring things out was really just perfect from beginning to end.

I’ll leave you with a quote:

“Is that all it takes to make you happy?  Mid-priced Scotch?”

She laughed, but as her laughter died away, her eyes snapped with heat.  “No, actually.  It takes more than that to make me happy.”

Her voice had gone low and warm, and regardless of worry or guilt, Jake was damn sure not going to miss that hint.  “Lauren,” he said, setting down his drink. “Are you drunk?”

“I’m a little buzzed.”

“How buzzed.?”

Her gaze slipped own to his chest.  “Buzzed enough to tell you that I love watching you run without a shirt on.”

“Oh.”  That blasted all thought from his brain and left him blank for a moment.

“You’re really sexy.  I shouldn’t tell you that, but I’m buzzed and I really want to tell you.”

“Lauren—“

“Because you walk around without a shirt like it’s no big deal.  Like you don’t even know.  And Jake?  It’s really, really…” She reached out her hand slowly, fingers brushing over the fabric of his shirt.  “Distracting.”  p.44