The Cottage Next Door by Natasha Moore
This novella is a re-release that was initially published in 2014 by a now-defunct small publisher. This book was not on my radar back then, but luckily, it is today! I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of loves lost and moving forward through grief. Both of our main characters, Hunter and Sylvie, are struggling with the loss of their respective spouses. Hunter lost his high school sweetheart wife in a sudden and tragic car accident years ago. Sylvie’s process was a bit more drawn out. Her husband was severely injured while participating in an extreme sport, while he only technically died recently, he has been lost to her for many years. A mutual friend sends them both to neighboring cottages on the beach to help them clear their minds and figure out their futures. It was not this mutual friend’s intention to play matchmaker but, should it happen, it’ll be all the happier!
As I’ve come to expect from author Natasha Moore, the characters are richly developed. The baggage they carry from their spouses’ deaths reads remarkably realistic and the pace at which love blooms is decidedly spot on. Moore also writes sex and intimacy beautifully, with the appropriate level of steam (hot!) and emotion (deep). Moore’s heroines are always my favorite – they are strong, self-assured, and confident in their actions. This level of agency is always a turn on for me. Her heroes are often a bit stubborn but not unreasonably so. They are willing to learn from their past and are happy to move forward with life…eventually. Natasha Moore has a unique ability to pack a lot of punch into a novella without rushing the story or leaving intimate details uncovered. The Cottage Next Door does not disappoint in this regard. I found the storytelling tight, the pacing perfect, and the conflicts relatable. The characters are endearing, albeit grumpy and sad but also incredibly engaging. I give this one two thumbs up, you should definitely check it out.
Meant to Be by Nan Reinhardt
This is the second book in Reinhardt’s Four Irish Brothers Winery series. While I have not read it yet, it is booted up on my Kindle and will be my next reading endeavor. The plot basically had me at hello with its friends to lovers trope. I can’t wait to finish this post, so I can get back to reading! This book releases on July 18th.
Can a near-tragedy help two best friends realize they’re meant to be so much more? Best friends since grade school, high-powered Chicago attorney, Sean Flaherty, and small-town mayor Megan Mackenzie have always shared a special bond. When Sean is shot by a client’s angry ex, Megan rushes to his side, terrified she’s about to lose her long-time confidant. Upon his return to River’s Edge to recuperate, Sean discovers that his feelings for his pal have taken an undeniable turn for the romantic. While Megan struggles with an unfamiliar longing for Sean, she worries that he may be mistaking a safe place to land for love. Can Sean help her realize that they are truly meant to be so much more than friends?
See Me by M. Jayne
For Seasoned Romance audio lovers, the first book in Jayne’s The Novus Pack series is ready for your eager ears! See Me pretty much has it all; it’s a paranormal romance (Lycan pack, seers, shifters, oh my!), erotic with a touch of BDSM with a definite hint of fantasy. Our heroine Theodora Morrissey (Theo) is all about returning to college after all these years to complete her graduate degree. The Lady, Goddess of the Lycan world, has different plans for her. Unbeknownst to Theo, she’s a seer and finds herself on a random airstrip in Nebraska and possessed by the Novus Pack of Werewolves. Just a regular Thursday? No, there is absolutely nothing “regular” about Theo’s new path. The leader or Laird of the Novus pack, Raider Black is committed to mate the daughter of a neighboring rival pack. Unfortunately for him, the attraction he feels for this new Seer in town throws him for a loop. I do love the impossible situations fated mates tend to bring to the table!
Summer at Urchin’s Bluff by Eliza Bennetts
This is the first book in Australian author Eliza Bennetts’ series Seasons. Emma Stapleton is fresh off of a failed 14-year marriage. She takes her 12-year old son away on a beach holiday to lick her wounds and sort out her life’s new trajectory. A beautiful beachside town is all well and good for the soul until Emma meets the small town’s confirmed bachelor, Cole Merchant. Can Emma’s heart survive when the dangerous dark cloud she left behind follows her to what she hopes to be her new beginning?
Finding Kate by Cynthia MacLean
Finding Kate is the first book in MacLean’s Tangled Road series. Our heroine sets off on a journey to a foreign land to escape the troubles of her life; a life she has decided to move on from, altogether. She’s given herself three months to explore, but what will she do when that time is up, and reality comes crashing back in? This book debuted at the end of June, but I loved the cover and blurb so much, I decided to put it on my radar for July!
Daring Proposition by Chandra Ryan
Releasing on July 23rd, Daring Proposition is the first book in Ryan’s Scandalous series and boy ol’boy, it has definitely piqued my attention! For anyone that thinks life, love, and sex stops after forty, Daring Proposition should shut that mindset down nicely! Our newly divorced heroine, Tori, decides to stop playing it safe and finds herself in a MMF relationship with the town’s bad boy tattoo artists. All I can say is, let the reading begin!
Sweet Home Alaska by Beth Carpenter
A Heartwarming Harlequin, Sweet Home Alaska is book 5 in the Northern Lights series. If you prefer your heat level low, this one feels like a good fit for you. Our hero, Dr. Scott Willingham, heads to Alaska to finally shut the door on his former love interest, Volta Morgan. Naturally, once he comes face to face with her, after a 10-year separation, the sparks don’t just fly, they explode into something that feels remarkably like home for the good doctor.