This debut novella from Clarke Collins is a steamy contemporary romance set in Chicago with relatable characters, humor, and poignancy. From the blurb:
When uptight Eli crosses paths with world-weary Naomi, culture clash ensues. After a strained encounter, the pair later discovers that what they share in common outweighs their differences. ICE CREAM CASTLES is a May-December romance that explores grief, understanding, and acceptance, with a passionate twist. It will leave you wanting more.
Buy it now at Amazon for $2.99. Also available on Kindle Unlimited.
UK – Amazon – £2.27 – Also available on Kindle unlimited.
About the Author
Clarke Collins is a not-so-average Midwestern American mom by day and vivid dream wrangler by night. Aside from her vast consumption of romance and speculative fiction novels, her writing inspiration comes from an array of influential talents, across artistic disciplines and genres. A perfect life for Clarke is one filled with books and infinite time to read them all.
I’m warned that Carter Hayes is heartless.
He’s part of the screw crew.
He’ll just use you and leave you.
He’s ruthless and always gets what he wants.
Just look for the trail of broken hearts and dreamy sighs and you’ll find him.
“Hot as sin, Carter.”
I don’t have time to fall head over heels for any guy. Besides, he’d never notice someone like me. I have a three step plan. Get through college. Get a job. Get my sister out of the hell hole I left her in. That’s all I have time for.
That’s until I hear of the betting pool the guys started. Whoever screws me first gets the money. The moment Carter looks at me, I know it’s only because of the bet.
I tell myself our first kiss is only for show.
I hate my heart for falling for his irresistible charm.
For one foolish moment, I actually want him to be my first earth-shattering love. All it takes for me to give in is a little attention, a cocky smile, and a fake promise of a happily-ever-after.
When I’m surrounded by crumpled sheets and the smell of sex, I realize I let him have me for four hundred dollars.
To save what little pride I have left, I pretend it didn’t mean anything, that he’s just one last screw before we all leave college.
I’ve spent the last four years lying to myself. When I’m ready to take the final step of my plan, and save my sister, guess who walks through my front door?
This is a full-length, stand alone, unrequited love/second chance romance.
Note: The book ends at 77% with samples of Predator and Protector.
Pages 219 – Available as a paperback or on Kindle/Kindle unlimited.
I received a free ARC copy for an honest review.
Carter Hayes and Della Truman, both go to the same college, but both in very different social groups.
Della is keeping her head down, working at a local diner to save up money to look after her sister after college. Della and her sister lost their parents who sadly passed away when they were young. Leaving Della to step up and provide the best life for her little sister.
Della is in her final year of college. So far she has kept to her books, worked late nights, and gone home when she can. She comes across as a protective girl, but tends to act first and think things through later, jumping to conclusions and impulsive, this doesn’t always work out how she planned, especially in her final year of college when she meets Carter Hayes.
Carter is part of the “Screw crew”, well known for picking up girls and then leaving ASAP. He has been labelled Heartless, mess with him and he is sure to get you back far worse than you dished out.
I found Carter to be a quiet man unless approached, however he has a very caring heart hidden under his tough exterior.
Della is having a hard time when part of the crew Rhett keeps hitting on her. Rhett is known at the beginning of this book for never giving up when he sees a girl he wants.
After Della uses some smart ass remarks to challenge Rhett he is more intrigued. Rhett decides to place a bet that who ever gets Della into bed by the end of the year will win £400, at this point Carter walks in willing to defend Della but she is having none of it. Della become feisty and rude, this of course sets Carter off to the point he lets her know how he feels.
Even though Rhett comes across as a jerk at the beginning, the screw crew are more like brothers and do actually respect women. They help one another, and would never hurt anyone. They just happen to be a very attractive group of men that women throw themselves at, but not Della. Well she thought she wouldn’t but Carter was different, more challenging and matched her.
Rhett- “You never use your strength against a woman. You’re not fucking stronger to hold them down. You’re stronger to protect them asshole”.
Della doesn’t realise the groups kindness and caring manner until she walks home late after work one night and two drunk men make advances at her.
She was extremely lucky that the 5 guys from the screw crew were driving by. Once they see she is in distress and realise what the two men are trying to do, the boys jump into action. Rhett and Carter protect her while the others sort the two men out. After this Della becomes included in their family, against her choice of course. The guys help her with her car and take genuine interest into how she is feeling.
Throughout the book I enjoyed reading how Della and Carter fought. They obviously were attracted to one another but refused to give in. When they did they would both become defensive and show hatred.
After college 4 years later, a lot has changed for Della, she has had to grow up considerably and take over a diner left to her. She was struggling but getting by. Then she bumps into the screw crew and Carter! Some big surprises are to come his way and they are both forced to face each other and their feelings head on, but this time they can’t think about themselves.
The whole book was amazing, i was kept on my toes and did not expect to read what happened when Carter and Della meet again. These two characters are both strong in their own way and I fell in love with them both, they have both had to face a lot in their life but now they have to come together. This book also gives the reader a chance to see the story from both their sides of life, by each chapter focusing on one or the other.
Michelle Horst has definitely included fun, humour, erotica and overall a great page turner. I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in the series. They are all stand alone books but link into the series by following each of the 5 men.
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He had a hungry look in his eyes. He had been searching, seeking, until he found me. I was burning under his gaze, I wanted to rip my clothes off, I wanted to run away. Who was this beautiful man and what did he want from me?
Magnus Redman became my boss and my lover. I was young, innocent and inexperienced, the opposite of him, and he knew just how to penetrate the soft core of my mind until all I could think about was him. Our passion was intense, crazy, sexy, white hot and dangerous, just like him. I craved him like a drug, his hands, his body, his teeth……
But then hidden secrets and painful revelations from the past threatened to tear us apart. And we found ourselves battling a powerful force hell-bent on revenge and destruction. How much would we be willing to sacrifice to save the ones that we love?
Kindle Edition, 259 pages
3.97 star rating on Goodreads with 31 ratings.
5 star rating on Amazon with 6 reviews (Kindle Edition via Amazon Only £1.99 UK)
I was sent an ARC of this book for an honest review.
Lenna and Magnus come from two very different backgrounds, or so they thought.
Lenna lives with her best friend Sarah at college. Lenna needs some extra cash to get by, when she starts working in a mansion as a cleaner/hostess.
This is when Lenna meets Magnus, a tall handsome and intriguing man. Lenna is attracted to him and becomes willing to agree to his requests, practically weak at the knees.
The story was fast paced, Magnus at the beginning comes right out with “i’m a vampire” no questions, no secrets, just the truth. The first scene between them is him feeding off her, the sexual tension between them both and the chemistry is instant, but Lenna was warned by her boss at the beginning that being with Magnus comes with risks. The erotic scenes were few, however very heated and not over done. Definitely an adult book.
Lenna was always safe until her grandfather passes away, then all of a sudden a group of vampires called the Vamposi take a lot of interest in her and threaten not only her life but that of her friend Sarah. Magnus feels forced to intervene and protect Lenna.
However there are secrets that even Lenna didn’t know about her grandfather, once he passes she is forced to face the truth head on, but how will Magnus feel when the truth is revealed and they are both forced to discuss their past.
The book travels between the world of Magnus as well as Lenna, giving a great insight into their feelings, past and present. As well as delving into another character “Richard” – his character is revealed in the finale and I didn’t even see it coming.
To find out where the title of the book comes from you have to read the book, all the way to the end, all is revealed.
The ending was very unexpected, new paranormal creatures came into the story, Magnus has secrets that I didn’t even guess throughout the book and overall Lenna becomes a bad ass. very empowering.
Overall I loved this book, I was engrossed. I am very much looking forward to the second book because this story definitely finished with a cliffhanger, and I NEED to know what happens next for these two.
Books like this one are reasons why I love paranormal fantasy books. They send your imagination wild, and I am lost in a whole new world.
If you enjoyed this review feel free to check others I have done and,
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After making a fatal mistake on the job, Lina Zuendel seeks shelter in a Seattle assisted-living facility as their live-in nurse. But peace is not what she finds. She soon hears tales of ghosts haunting the house, and of two tragic deaths that took place in the 1930s. Unexplained events send her to ask questions of the handsome resident houseboy.
Ren Schultz, a seemingly young live-in houseboy, tries to avoid his growing attraction to the new nurse. His secrets are too dangerous to share, no matter how lonely he has become. But Lina is persistent, and soon uncovers dark truths that no one else has dared to face.
As their attraction grows, so does the intensity of the paranormal activity. Can their love survive the mysteries that lurk in the old sorority house?
Review – ARC copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Lina is a nurse who made a mistake on the job, one she regrets even though the family of the deceased patient are not pressing charges, and the hospital wish to keep her. She decides to leave the hospital environment and embark on a new journey working in a Residential home in an old styled home which has it’s own back story. Quiet, peaceful and a fresh start.
She leaves her old friends/room mates behind, as well as trying to get over the fact that her ex boyfriend is now suddenly in a committed relationship literally 3 months after breaking up.
Lina meets Ren, a houseboy who has been working at the home for years, never seems to leave and keeps himself to himself. Even after warnings of not getting to close by the manager Marla, Lina is still smitten and proceeds to get to know Ren, not before long they develop a close friendship.
Ren and Lina both have issues in their life, however Ren has a little bit more hidden beneath the surface. That is until Lina decides to take one of Ren’s diaries, and discovers a whole new truth to why he is on “house arrest”.
The book is a very lighthearted romance book, main focus is on Lina and Ren but there are the odd appearances from Mrs B, Marla, and an unwanted ghost that everyone is suspicious about, whether you believe in them or not. Lots go bump in the night.
I liked the twist and turns of this story, I was constantly engaged between the romance brewing between Ren and Lina. I liked that the secondary characters were enough to push Lina and keep the story flowing, I enjoyed the banter between the residents, it kept the story light hearted even when there was some dark parts.
The story line never dragged, a little mystery, romance, drama, supernatural and a few spooks along the way. But not a horror story.
I never would have guessed the ending though, that was a surprise, and well written by the author.
I have fallen in love with these two characters, I felt so sorry for Lina. Being a nurse myself I can only imagine how bad it feels to make a mistake on the job and the guilt way you down.
Ren – he was sweet throughout, mysterious, caring and an honest man. Well honest when he could be without there being a threat of Lina leaving, if she knew the whole truth.
I am now hooked on the Author Molly Ringle and her art of story telling. To keep me intrigued like this is rare and only a few authors have managed to keep my attention throughout, I definitely recommend this book to you all.
You can check out the reviews on amazon via the links above, other reviews can be found on Goodreads – link below to my reviews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars