Nose in a Book Reviews: Trailer Trash: an 80’s Memoir by Angie Cavallari @Suburbtastic

Trailer Trash: an '80s Memoir

A nostalgic 80’s romp through Tampa trailer park living

“My Mother hated being cold.”  This is the opening line of chapter two, that leads you down the rabbit hole of Cavallari’s youth living in the impoverished ghettos of the American trailer park.

The story weaves the tale of Angie’s life as her parents uproot her family from the frigid Chicago winters and into the steamy swamp of central Florida.  After intense pressure from her Grandmother, Angie’s parents decide to purchase the Pelican Mobile Home Park, situated near the dilapidated remnants of the Godfather’s Lounge, a local watering hole for the downtrodden.   The tale is told through chapter-length vignettes, each more captivating than the last.  The cast of neighborly characters often feel so perfectly imperfect, they must be a figment of Cavallari’s imagination, rather than taken from her actual youth.  Her storytelling and descriptions transport you right into the story.

Cavallari’s life was difficult, with a narcissistic, bully of a mother and a childhood that was filled more with taking care of the trailer park than playing with children her own age.   She details her struggle with her weight when she was young and how it severely affected her psyche, all the while spinning it with a comedic undertone that leaves you shaking your head in wonder and fascination.

I enjoyed the liberal peppering of eighties pop culture nostalgia, as well as the musical references found throughout.  It was fun remembering my own youth during that same time frame and connecting with much of Angie’s childhood, even though I grew up in suburban western New York.

Check out this tale featuring the underbelly of Americana that is often joked about, but rarely detailed with such an intense magnifying glass. Remember to put on your seatbelt, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 

AngieCavallariAuthor

Angie Cavallari is an assiduous writer who has been hammering away at the craft for over 20 years. She has authored thousands of blogs and articles with some of her work featured in Huffington Post, Healthline, The Reset, SF Bay Reader, among others. A transplant to a plethora of U.S cities including her current home, Denver, Angie grew up in Florida, then moved to NYC where she picked up her husband in a bar. In spite of her propensity for wanderlust, she managed to settle down long enough to have two extraordinary kids and build a solid life with her husband of 16 years.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: How Forever Feels by @LauraDrewry – @tastybooktours

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From USA Today bestselling author Laura Drewry comes a warm and witty new Friends First novel—perfect for readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery. How Forever Feels is a sweet tale about the one that got away . . . and the one that came back.

Maya McKay’s heart is as big as Jack Rhodes’s shoulders are broad. Their chemistry is out of control, but it could never work between them because Jack is more than just best friends with her cheating ex-husband—they’re like brothers. Maya, the sensitive, practical florist, has given up on love and is ready to settle for like. But now that Jack’s around again, he’s stirring up old feelings—and turning Maya’s fantasies into irresistible reality.

Jack blew his chance with Maya years ago when he stepped aside for his best friend, Will, and he’s still kicking himself about it. Maya was promised forever once before, and she got burned. But when Jack realizes that second chances aren’t going to fall out of the sky, he seizes the moment—and the woman he’s always loved—to show her how forever truly feels.

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4star

Sigh… I really have grown to love this author and this series. She consistently delivers on plot, characterization, and swoony men to swoon over. This book is no different.

This book is Maya’s story. Heartbroken, Maya is still reeling from her husband cheating on her a few years ago. After her divorce she hasn’t seen her ex-husband’s best friend, Jack in two years. Jack is one of those loyal and dependable people wrapped up in a tall hunky package, except he’s her ex-husband’s best friend. Will, Maya’s ex has all but given Jack the ‘Bros before Hos speech, making Jack miserable with trying to please both Will and his heart.

The story was extremely well told, with characters you want to root for, even with their flaws. I really enjoyed this from start to finish.

Want to read an except?  Check it out below!

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“So what brings you to town?” Ellie asked. “And if you mention Dickhead’s name in your next sentence, you’re buying a round for the whole room.”

“Thanks for the heads-up,” Jack muttered, giving the packed house a quick glance. “The company I work with is moving one of our offices up here, so I’m keeping an eye on things to make sure it all stays on track and we get going on time. I talked to the contractor the other day and it sounds like we’re on course, so hopefully—”

“Duh!” Groaning, Jayne thumped the heel of her hand against her forehead. “You’re Gamer-guy-Jack from TMJ! That’s why I know your name—Nick told me someone was coming to take over for Keith but I didn’t make the connection between you and him. “

“You know Nick Scott?”

“Sorry.” Maya laughed. “Let me try the introductions again. Jack, this is Jayne Scott, Nick’s wife, and if he’s doing the work, you’ll have no worries about staying on track.”

“Good, because the lease we have right now is up in mid-November, so we’re already pushing our luck.”

“Nick said you work out of Seattle,” Jayne said. “So are you going to stay when the new place is finished or are you just here on loan?”

“Just a loaner,” he said. “Until Keith’s back.”

“And are you staying with”—Jayne stopped and winked at Ellie—“He Who Must Not Be Named?”

“No.” Jack blinked past Jayne and shrugged. “That hotel by the golf course gave us a good deal, so—”

“Us?” Ellie asked. It was only one word, but it covered a lot of territory.

He turned his grin to Maya. “Me and Pete.”

“Pete’s with you?” Maya cried. She’d never considered herself much of a dog person until she’d met Pete. “How is he?”

“Still the same; big, brown, and a little bit pathetic.” Jack pulled out his phone and flashed a couple pictures of his chocolate Lab, starting with the one of Pete as a chubby nine-week-old puppy and ending with a recent one of him with two tennis balls stuffed in his mouth and his right ear flopped back.

“How old is he now?” Maya asked. “Eight?”

“Coming up next month, yeah.”

They were all still gushing over him as Ellie continued to pepper Jack with questions.

“You married?”

“No.”

“Ever been married?”

“Sorry, Jack,” Maya muttered. “Ellie, the Queen of Tact, doesn’t believe in beating around the bush.”

“It’s fine.” He chuckled but Maya knew it was forced. “And no, never been married.”

“Got any kids?”

“Nope. It’s just Pete and me,” Jack said, tucking his phone away again. “I told you, boring.”

“I don’t believe that,” Ellie said, watching him through narrowed eyes. “You don’t look like the boring type.”

There was never a day that went by when Maya didn’t know how lucky she was to have these three women as her best friends, but nights like this made her appreciate them even more. Following Ellie’s lead, they spent the next hour or so dragging all kinds of stories from him; everything from him being the tall, skinny awkward kid at school, to the craziest date he’d ever been on—the girl showed up in a leopard-print catsuit complete with tail and ears—to the time he literally ran into Thor at Comic-Con.

“He’s a big sonuvabitch, that one.”

“Looked in a mirror lately, Jack?” Regan laughed.

“Yeah, easy for you guys to laugh about it,” he said. “But I wound up flat on my ass surrounded by security.”

“Way to make an impression,” Maya snickered. “There goes any chance you might have had to get him to voice one of your games.”

A slow smirk spread across Regan’s face as she sat up straighter. “If it’s voices you need, why don’t you get Maya to hit up her new boyfriend, Griffin Carr?”

“Griffin Carr?” Jack’s eyes bulged. “You mean . . . no . . . Griffin Carr? Like just-started-filming-the-next-Bond-movie Griffin Carr?”

“One and the same.f” Ellie nodded, but Maya was already shaking her head.

“He’s not my boyfriend. We’ve been out a few times, that’s it.” Okay, it was a little more than that now, but she couldn’t exactly tell the girls about it with Jack sitting there staring at her.

“Sorry, Snip, you’re going to have to give me more than that. Griffin Carr?

It took her a few seconds to say anything else, partly because she was in mid-sip of her wine and partly because she was dragging that sip out as long as she could.

“He’s been filming up here a lot in the last few years and likes to use Regan as his stylist.”

“And?”

“And a few months back, he and Regan made a deal where she’d be his stylist for an indie film he was doing if he’d agree to play on our slo-pitch team in a charity game, which is where he and Maya met.”

Jack nodded. “Right, I remember Will saying something about the game.”

Ellie nodded pointedly. “I’m guessing Dickhead neglected to mention that Griffin was all over Maya like white on rice.”

“But she was playing hard to get,” Regan added. “Because she thought he was a sleazeball.”

“And I already admitted I was wrong,” Maya said, forcing a dry laugh. “And that I shouldn’t believe everything I hear or read about him, so can we get over that, please?”

Regan popped a couple peanuts in her mouth and grinned. “I’m telling you, Jack, that game was one of the best things I’ve ever witnessed; we had Griffin putting the moves on Maya for all the world to see, and we had Dickhead and his skank with front row seats to the show. It was beautiful.”

Maya was sure Will’s scowl that day had little to do with the fact that Griffin was hitting on her and more to do with the fact that Stella spent the entire game the same way every other woman—and a few of the men—did: drooling over Griffin and doing whatever she could to get his attention.

A better person might not have found any satisfaction in Will’s misery, but Maya never claimed to be that good of a person.

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Displaying Laura.jpegUSA Today Bestselling author, Laura Drewry had been scribbling things for years before she decided to seriously sit down and write. After spending eight years in the Canadian north, Laura now lives back home in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, three sons, a turtle named Sheldon, and an extremely energetic German shepherd. She loves old tattered books, good movies, country music, and the New York Yankees.

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Hockey Romance Review Roundup

hockey
As the NHL playoffs began back in May, I started reading a handful of hockey romance novels.  Needless to say, once I started I was sucked into the hot, sweaty world of hockey heaven.   I figured I’d save you all a lot of time and give you the reviews of some of the favorites I’ve read this year.


Elle Kennedy’s Off Campus Series


dealThe Deal – book 1 in this series

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I loved this book.  The witty banter between Garrett and Hannah (Wellsy) was delightfully refreshing. The pacing was well done and the plot was carefully crafted.

I thought the author did a really good job capturing Hannah’s trepidation but strength in overcoming her past. I loved how tender and compassionate Garrett became over the course of the book. The development of their friendship, to friends with benefits didn’t feel rushed. I really couldn’t put this book down and finished it at about 5:30 this morning.

Great job Elle Kennedy. This was the first book of yours I’ve read and I can’t wait to get my grubby little paws on your other books, including the next in this series!

If you love New Adult and are tired of many of the tired and clichéd books currently out there, give this one a whirl. I promise you won’t be disappointed

mistake

The Mistake – book 2 in the series

3 1/2 stars

I didn’t love this book as much as The Deal, but it was still a light, fun read.  The witty banter that I came to enjoy in the first book was there, but for some reason I didn’t quite click with Logan and Grace the same way I did with Garrett and Hannah in the first book.

The story revolves around Logan and Grace.  Logan is the hot hockey player that can hook up with any puck bunny that crosses his path.  When he meets Grace, the quiet studious girl he makes a stupid mistake that pushes her away.  He spends most of the story trying to get back in her good graces.  I enjoyed how Kennedy handled Grace’s virginity and didn’t make her a naïve sexual scaredy cat.  I wished the pair was together more than they were apart.  All in All, a fun romantic read.


Lynda Aicher’s Power Play Series


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Game Play – book 1

4star

I really enjoyed this one. The story revolves around Samanatha, an former Olympic hockey player who’s searching for a life after Hockey. Dylan Rylie plays for the Glaciers and is in a pivotal year of his career. The pair meet up during a meet and greet and end up falling in bed.

The story was just the right amount of romance and sports. I particularly loved that the heroine was a strong athlete and not some random hookup. The plot moved nicely and while Sam ran away at times when I didn’t really understand her motivation, but Dylan was amazing and way more patient and forgiving than I might have been. Just a nice fluffy hot read. Looking forward to the next in the series.

power 2

Back In Play – book 2

3 1/2 stars

This is the second in the Power Play series, and it was an okay read. It felt more like a stand alone book than part of a series, which disappointed me a little bit since I really enjoyed the first book in the series and the characters.

This book was about Scott, the captain of the Glaciers and Rachel a mild mannered school teacher who happened to be visiting Minnesota for a wedding when she meets the famed hockey player. Scott is getting old for his sport and has had one too many injuries to his knee, causing him to be addicted to Vicoden. The owner of the Glaciers can read between the lines and decides not to renew Scott’s contract partially because of this.

He leans on Rachel to help him kick his habit in hopes of being able to return to the Glaciers for one last run for the Cup. He stays with her for the summer and their insta-love is all flowers and roses until he decides to go back to Hockey.

The story was pretty predictable, but well written and the characters were well rounded and likeable. I didn’t fall in love with this pair like I did in Game Play with Dylan & Samantha.

Power 3

Penalty Play – book 3

4star

I really liked this book, almost as much as the first one, which I fell in love with. My only beef with this one was by about 2/3 of the way through, the heroine got so in her head and whiny, that I found myself skimming most of Jaqui’s POV because of it. Just a little too heavy handed for me. I did like Henrik quite a lot and how patient and kind he was. I enjoyed that he was more of a relationship guy and not a ‘player’ like the previous heros in the series.

All in all a nice fun read, especially if someone’s really into Hockey player stories, like I am right now.


Pilots Hockey series by Sophia Henry


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Delayed Penalty – book 1

4star

I enjoyed this book quite a lot.   The story revolves around Auden, a girl raised by her Russian grandparents when her parents died when she was young and Aleksander, a star Russian hockey player for the Pilots.  Auden is hired to be Aleksander’s translator even though he doesn’t really need one.  He just doesn’t like talking to the media.  Their relationship changes quickly to romantic and did feel a little bit rushed.   The perspective of two adults still grieving the loss of a loved one was well done. I loved how solid Aleksander was as a character.  All in all, a nice read, although not very steamy and with limited hockey time.   Still curious to see what the next in the series holds.


Hometown Players series by Victoria Denault


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One More Shot – book 1

3 1/2 stars

One More Shot is an angsty little tale about  second chances.   The story revolves around Jordan and Jessie, childhood friends who tried to take their relationship to the next level.  Unfortunately miscommunications abounded and they ended up breaking each other’s hearts.

Six years later they meet again, and Jordan is hell bent on getting Jessie back and making up for his past mistakes.  Filled with meddling families and witty dialogue.

I really wanted to love this story, and I liked Jordan and Jessie’s characters, but their issues seemed a bit contrived.  All in all, a nice little read.  I am really looking forward to book 2 in this series, as I liked Luc’s character quite a bit.


Atlantic City Hustlers series by Veronica Forland and Susan Scott Shelley


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Simmering Ice – book 2

3

Simmering Ice is one of those stories that I really wanted to love, but ended up just being an average read for me.  Annie, a physical therapist runs into professional hockey player, Alec when the team comes to the hospital she works at to do some community service to visit sick children.  The attraction between the pair seems a bit instantaneous and far fetched.

Annie just got out of a bad relationship and Alec’s attraction to her is curious.  Her insecurity is causing her to question everything.  Alec lost his wife to cancer and is trying to move on, and Annie is the perfect person to do that with.

My main issue with the story was that Annie was too much in her head and made assumptions that felt forced.  All in all, it was a bit predictable, but a nice enough story.


Cold Fury Hockey Series by Sawyer Bennett


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Ryker – book 5

3

This story is about Ryker, aka “Brick”, the goalie for the Cold Fury Hockey team and the newest and only female GM in the NHL, Gray Brannon. Gray also happens to be the daughter of the CEO of the team.

The team and much of the media believe that Gray is way out of her league and has no business being a GM because she’s a girl. No one cares that she was an olympic hockey player and one of the top scouts for the team before becoming the GM.

Brick is the super single dad to two adorable daughters. I found much of this story to be completely unrealistic. The complete lack of professionalism between Gray and Ryker was astounding, not to mention how perfect and/or cliched to the point of eye rolling.
Just an average read for me.


So there you have it.  If you’re looking for hot, sweaty athletic men, you’ve come to the right place.  Pick one of these great reads up, and you’ll be hot under the collar.

Until next time,

Michela

Nose in a Book Reviews: Need You for Keeps by Marina Adair

Need You for Keeps (St. Helena Vineyard, #6)Need You for Keeps by Marina Adair

My rating: 3 1/2 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars

Genre: Romance

I enjoyed this book. The first one I’ve read in this series. It was a little hard at times keeping all the characters straight, maybe because I haven’t read the others first??

The story revolves around Jonah, the hunky no nonsense law man to Shay’s larger than life enthusiasm to save all the neglected animals in the world. It was a nice juxtaposition between these two main characters.

Shay left a life behind and is trying to start over, but is having a hard time in the town filled with meddling neighbors calling the police on her. Shay fosters animals, mostly dogs and a few cats. The problem is, she’s only allowed to have four total, and Shay can’t seem to stop herself from trying to save every last one.

Jonah is the straight as an arrow deputy with the local police department, vying for the soon to be vacant Sheriff’s position. He has a soft spot for Shay and her wacky antics even though he can only blur the line so many times. When they decide to stop being antagonistic between each other, the story steamed up fast.

My issue with the story was Shay sometimes was a bit too flighty for even her own good. I loved how much Jonah cared for the town and really tried to do what was right even if it meant making himself look silly to make a point.

Can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this for an honest review.

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Nose in a Book Reviews – Soldier On by @SydneyALogan

Soldier On Sydney Logan Blog Tour Horizontal

Will his call of duty break both their hearts?

Losing her father in Desert Storm has left Stephanie James with a bitter soul when it comes to the military. As a college senior juggling a full course load, Steph’s only goal is to graduate with honors at the end of the semester. She’s focused, determined, and a firm believer in all work and no play. Then she meets Brandon Walker at a New Year’s Eve costume party. Despite his disguise, Steph finds herself attracted to the camouflaged soldier who curls her toes with a scorching midnight kiss.

Brandon is an engineering major and ROTC student from the hills of Kentucky. Growing up as the son of a major general has given Brandon firsthand knowledge of the struggles military families sometimes face. Now that his father’s memory is fading, Brandon is even more determined to make  his dad proud and graduate as an officer in the United States Army. Then he meets Stephanie, and suddenly, his focus is less on his military service and more on the pretty brunette who has stolen his heart. When he becomes aware of Steph’s resentment toward the military, he worries their relationship is doomed.

When faced with the realization that she’s fallen in love with a soldier, can Steph’s wounds from the past be healed with love in her present . . . and in her future?

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Regular Price: $2.99 (ebook) 

Also available in paperback

Buy it on Amazon

 

nose in a book review

Soldier OnSoldier On by Sydney Logan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4star

Genre: Military Romance

I have had the privilege of reading a few of Sydney Logan’s stories and I think this one might be my favorite yet.

It the past, I’ve faulted Sydney for creating heros that are just a bit too perfect, and I must say, this time around, Brandon is the perfect mix of swoon and dumbass. He has his flaws and it is in those flaws that make him more relatable as a character.

The story is based around Steph and Brandon. Steph is a college student with her main focus on graduating and her studies, while Brandon has been planning on being a soldier his whole life and feels the pressure of his family’s military history weighing on him.

When Steph meets Brandon at a frat costume party she has no idea that the man behind the camo face paint is actually a soldier. When he gives her a kiss at midnight, she can’t get him out of her head, but without a name and only a twinkle in his eyes to remind her of who he actually is, she figures she’ll never see him again. Surprise, surprise, she ends up running into him in her women’s study class.

The main issue is that Steph hates the military. Her father died during Desert Storm and she blames it all on the US Army. Brandon has been a career military brat and has always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and be a soldier. The issue is that he’s been lying to Steph once he found out about her hatred for everything he believes in.

The pair has great chemistry and their back and forth banter was lovely to read. With that said, I still wanted to bang their heads together and tell them to get over themselves. Steph is stubborn to the Nth degree and Brandon is knowingly deceitful. Both qualities don’t lend themselves to my favorite characteristics, but thankfully Sydney Logan did a great job navigating the fine line between too much and too little

All in all, another great story told by the capable hands of Sydney Logan. This was a wonderful read about finding yourself, allowing yourself to forgive your past and to move forward into something magical.

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About the Author

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Sydney Logan is an Amazon bestselling author and holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. With the 2012 release of her debut novel, Lessons Learned, she made the transition from bookworm to author. Her second novel, Mountain Charm, was released in 2013. She is also the author of four short stories – Mistletoe MagicThe Little Drummer BoyForce of Nature, and Stupid Cupid. A native of East Tennessee, Sydney enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat.

 

Website – Facebook – Twitter

Nose in a Book Reviews: Deeper by Robin York @RobinYorkNA

Deeper (Caroline & West, #1)Deeper by Robin York

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Genre: New Adult

Lordy, this book. I loved it! It was angsty dosed with a heaping spoonful of smut, some of my favorite desserts!

Caroline never imagined that the man she grew up loving would betray her in one of the worst ways possible – spreading pictures of her in very compromising positions. What she thought was a simple breakup turns vicious when the images spread like wildfire across the web and the college she attends. When she realizes how extensive the damage is to her online persona, she fears her future and the dreams she held so dear are now ruined.

West is the bad boy pot dealer that Caroline knows of, but doesn’t really know. She remembers him from her first day of school, but with her father’s insistence, steers clear of him. That is until Caroline’s Ex starts making comments and adding fuel to the inferno Caroline is already dealing with. She accidentally gets hit by a rogue punch when West and Caroline’s Ex get into a fight, sparking the catalyst for their friendship.

West and Caroline aren’t friends. But Caroline shows up at the bakery West works at every night. They dance around having an actual relationship for a long time, but the push and pull between them is lovely.

West comes from a very different background than Caroline and after her father’s stern threat on the first day of school he steers clear. He also can’t pretend he’ll ever fit in to Caroline’s privileged world.

I love how lovingly York has created her characters. Each is amazingly flawed in their own ways. I adore how focused West is to help his family in any way he can. And Caroline, once she pulled on her big girl panties, I loved how kick-ass she became. She didn’t let her humiliation rule her life, instead rose above and started over.

All in all, I LOVED this book. Robin York has written what I think is one of my favorite NA books and I can’t wait to read what else she comes up in this genre. Well done and I can NOT wait to read book two in this series.

Go preorder Deeper, it really was a fantastic read.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: Roman Holiday #1 Chained

Roman Holiday 1: ChainedRoman Holiday 1: Chained by Ruthie Knox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4star

Genre: Romance

Ruthie, Ruthie, Ruthie… how I love thee so. It doesn’t seem to matter what you write, I fall in love. This first installment of a five part mini-series is no exception.

The story begins with Ashley, a woman who is having a pretty bad week. First her beloved grandmother dies never telling her she was ill, leaving Ashley reeling with guilt, sorrow and confusion. Confusion about why her grandmother would sell her vacation property that Ashley had always assumed she’d inherit. Instead it now belongs to a development group headed by the handsome and steely, Roman Diaz.

Unable to think of something better, she chains herself to a tree on the property in an effort to stop the demolition of her family’s vacation retreat. Of course chaos ensues and Roman decides to personally take care of the new pest infesting his property.

The entire story is completely engaging and in true Ruthie Knox fashion, sweet. Not in a sickly sweet way, but in one that you just can’t help but devour. Really looking forward to the continuation of this series.

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