Category romances are often some of my favorites when I’m stressed and overwhelmed and so I was pretty thrilled to be approved for three ARCs from three different lines so I could bring you another post like this! From the Harlequin Desire line, I read Second Chance Love Song by Jessica Lemmon, which I adored to the tune of buying a physical AND ebook copy of the book, as well as buying the other books in the series, not all of which are even by her! From the Harlequin Romantic Suspense line, I read Guardian in the Storm by Carla Cassidy and from the Harlequin Romance line, I read Awakened by the CEO’s Kiss by Therese Beharrie. Thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for these e-ARCs! Now let’s talk about these titles, shall we?
Second Chance Love Song by Jessica Lemmon
This second chance romance between country music superstar and bad boy, Cash Sutherland, and journalist, Presley Cole was captivating for me. The blend of music and the two professions for our romantic leads, the fascinating side characters, and the “mystery” of who Sutherland’s extremely famous love song, “Lightning” was about just got me. I devoured this book and I will likely return to it again and again because it immediately catapulted its way into my favorites list.
For a little more background, Cash and Presley dated in college and then Cash broke up with Presley to move to Nashville and pursue his music career. Now, Presley needs a big story to get a promotion and so she’s off to uncover who “Lightning” is about with the help of Cash’s brother. He’s in need of some positive PR after getting charged with a DWI (allegedly bogus). As the two come back into one another’s orbits, things that they thought were in the past come up again. I definitely recommend.
Guardian in the Storm by Carla Cassidy
Unfortunately, the other new to me author that I tried in this round of Harlequin categories was not as much of a success. This romantic suspense’s strength was that the external suspense plot seemed fairly well paced… mostly. The weaknesses were that the characters and the writing suffered in many places in a way that I can’t necessarily clearly pinpoint. I tried to figure out how to put it into words, but so far all I’ve got is that something felt off to me. I do not recommend.
The plot itself is that Simone’s father was murdered, rather senselessly, and FBI Agent Brad has to keep her safe because after breaking protocol, Simone winds up the target of the accused murderer’s father. They hole up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and eventually give into the attraction between them. The romance was frankly not believable on top of all the other issues I had with the overall writing and choices the book made.
Awakened by the CEO’s Kiss by Therese Beharrie
I really love Beharrie’s writing so I think my overall enjoyment of this book suffered from my mood rather than any actual flaws with the book. For me, Awakened by the CEO’s Kiss struggled to hold my attention for more than a chapter at a time and I never fully fell into the story. There’s a bit of an amnesia plot here so that could be part of it, but honestly, I’m not sure. I do know that I love Beharrie and the fact that my enjoyment of this book wasn’t entirely there is not going to stop me from reading many more books from her in the future.
Essentially, the premise here is that widow, Brooke Jansen, is in need of a housekeeper to help her out until her newest app launches and so she hires Tyler Murphy’s sister through a service. She is startled when a man appears in her place and Tyler is startled too though for different reasons. About five years ago, Tyler thought he and Brooke were building something and then she disappeared. Now he’s filling in for his sister and doesn’t understand how Brooke won’t acknowledge him. The two build a friendship even with this past between them.
Have you read any of these three? Do you want to? Let me know!