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Bethany Churchill is tired of men who turn to her after being rejected by her twin. The sisters are physically identical, but that doesn't mean they're interchangeable. While Bethany is tough, independent, realistic, and smart, Marci seems almost ethereal. Bethany is fiercely protective of her sister, but she's convinced she's nowhere near as sexy. Bethany's latest relationship went bad when she realized the creepy guy was only using her to get to her sister.
Lucius Ryder is a hunky SWAT officer who also happens to be Marci's landlord. "Luscious" lives in the building and is loved by his tenants, who all happen to be down-on-their-luck women. He even looks the other way when Marci bends the rules of her lease, allowing Bethany to practically move in with her. Lucius has plenty of female friends, but no one has ever affected him the way Bethany does. He wants to get close to her. Very close.
Bethany doesn't quite understand why Lucius seems so interested in her, and she isn't exactly comfortable around him. Sure, he's hot, but he's all wrong for her. She's certain he wanted her sister first. Women are after him in droves. Besides, his job is far too dangerous for her peace of mind. But Lucius isn't giving up. Can he convince Bethany that she's the only one he wants?
LUSCIOUS packs a whole lot of story into a few pages. There's the suspense of a stalker, the danger of Lucius's job, and plenty of one-on-one time for Bethany and Lucius. Well, maybe not quite as much as they hope, but at least the audience is appreciative. One of my favorite things about Lori Foster's stories is the involvement of family and friends. Relationships are rarely limited to the two people most intimately involved. Lucius and Bethany are no exception!
IT'S ABOUT TIME by Erin McCarthy
Trish Jones is a prosecutor. She's driven, aggressive, and successful. Those qualities tend to scare off most men, but Trish doesn't have much use for men, anyway. She's hanging out at bar after being stood up by her latest date, but she discovers that she really isn't in the mood to drink. Trish just wants to be alone, but the bartender asks her to help keep an eye on his buddy, Caleb. Men aren't exactly on her good side at the moment. Even worse, this one is well on his way to being drunk. But Trish is always willing to do a favor for a friend.
Caleb Vancouver has been divorced for a couple of years. He knows it was the best decision for both of them, but now his ex-wife is getting remarried to a much older man. Caleb rarely drinks and hasn't been with a woman since his divorce, but he has every intention of changing both of those things, tonight. But for some reason, a pushy, annoying woman keeps trying to interfere with his drinking. Why won't she leave him alone? Caleb can't seem to chase her away, so he might as well talk to her. He's surprised to find himself attracted to the woman.
Trish doesn't normally go for big, muscular guys. Or guys who get drunk. Or guys who are only looking for a quick roll in the sheets. But for some reason, Caleb seems different. Maybe she should give him a try. It's only for one night, right?
At first glance, Caleb and Trish seem like such an unlikely couple. What fun it is to discover that not only did they have a lot in common, but they actually like each other. I hoped they wouldn't turn away from each other after just one night. I love the combination of wit and wisdom that Erin McCarthy brings to her characters. And did I mention steamy? IT'S ABOUT TIME is a great story all around.
WISH YOU WERE HERE by Amy Garvey
Mackenzie Pruitt just inherited a beach house from her beloved aunt. It isn't much more than a tiny cottage with a dilapidated shed out back, but it's a huge improvement over her apartment. Plus, she owns the place. Mackenzie has been working hard to fix up the cottage. Now, she's trying to get the shed renovated into photography studio.
Leo Dawson is a carpenter, and he's very good at his job. But there are certain things from his past that he would prefer to keep hidden. He's a recovering alcoholic, but that's the least of his issues. Leo has worked hard to leave his past behind and build a new life and career. The last thing he wants to do is get involved with a client, but the woman who just hired him for renovations isn't making things easy. Mackenzie Pruitt is almost irresistible. He can't seem to keep his hands off of her, especially since Mackenzie is every bit as interested as he is. But Leo is sure she won't want him once she finds out about his past. Can he hide his secrets forever?
WISH YOU WERE HERE deals with some pretty serious issues, adding quite a bit of depth to these characters and their lives. I can't help but admire Leo, especially the way he takes full responsibility for his problems. And while Mackenzie is a sweet, hardworking person, she is far from fragile. She can handle whatever comes her way. I hoped Leo would have enough faith in himself and trust in Mackenzie to tell her the truth before he loses her.
BAD BOYS OF SUMMER is one of those rare anthologies where every story is equally strong. Which hero will you like best? Will it be the gorgeous SWAT officer/landlord with the heart of gold? How about the divorced, muscle-bound hunk who's finally ready for someone new? Maybe you'll choose the brooding carpenter with a hidden past. Pick up BAD BOYS OF SUMMER and you can have all three!
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