Mini-Reviews: Taken by the CEO, The Millionaire's Gamble, & Hard Pursuit

Taken by the CEO (The Scandalous Wentworths #1) by Stefanie London
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
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It was only supposed to be a little white lie. When Emmaline Greene pretends to be Sarah, the confident, sexy woman she wishes she could be, she figures no harm, no foul. Her one-night stand will never find out. Wrong. The gorgeous guy she slept with isn’t just amazing in bed…he’s also her new boss.

Parker Wentworth has a lot to prove. He’s just been appointed CEO of his family’s company and is tasked with repairing its scandalous reputation. He can’t afford any distractions or complications. Too bad the attractive blonde he takes to bed turns out to be both. So why can’t he forget the incredible night they spent together and move on?

And why does he have this need to know the real Emmaline?


False identities, little white lies, & romance? I was intrigued as soon as I read the synopsis. I couldn't wait to see how Parker and Emmaline went from being two strangers sharing one romantic evening to  having a boss-employee relationship. It spelled D-R-A-M-A.

The verdict? Taken by the CEO was a super sexy & enthralling romance from start to finish. Stefanie utilizes a dual POV here, alternating between Emmaline and Parker. I found both characters to be likable. When the book begins Emmaline is looking to find herself again after a painful and messy divorce. She's done with being the sweet and wholesome Emmaline. Instead, she wants to be sexy and alluring, someone who doesn't think twice. It was easy to root for her, and I loved seeing her slowly become more confident when it came to her work and her romantic life. Parker, on the other hand, is happy with being all-work-and-no-play. He views romance as a distraction, and after witnessing his parents marriage fall apart he finds it hard to believe true love lasts. Parker was swoon-worthy for sure! You could smell his confidence from miles away. However, contrary to what Parker may thinks he is meant for love & romance. I loved seeing his more passionate and caring side come out as his romance with Emmaline progressed. The plot here mainly revolved around moving on, family, and romance of course! I liked the romance - Stefanie definitely knows how to write super sexy scenes. And I also enjoyed the focus on family when it came to Parker's character. It was interesting to see how he fit in with his family, and where he decided to go from there. It also didn't hurt that I found his siblings to be charming. I look forward to reading more about them in the future.

3 stars!!

The Millionaire's Gamble by Sarah Ballance
Release Date: July 11, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
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Wealth has a price. Everyone wants something from you. For one woman, that something was my DNA. One minute, she was kissing me like we were going to strip it down and go at it. And the next, she was ripping out my hair for a paternity test—and threatening to torpedo my latest deal. I don't play these kind of games. And that damnably sexy woman with the alluring eyes and mistaken agenda is about to learn that the hard way…

Millionaire scion Jagger Hamilton didn't father Kennedy Price's nephew.
That doesn't mean he can't use the situation to his advantage. She wants
him to take a paternity test. He wants her in his bed.

He shouldn't.

She's blackmailing him, and she's playing dirty. He could try to use the
famous Hamilton charm to turn her into a powerful ally… But she makes him feel… Way. Too. Much.

Kennedy Price isn't asking much. Just for the powerful, sinfully hot, and
notorious playboy to be a decent human being. But he's used to using that
filthy, sensual mouth for getting what he wants.

And he wants her.

She’s determined not to fall for him. But there's no avoiding his charisma,
or his bed, where she threatens to lose more than the standoff between them. She just might lose her heart.

Three reasons why I loved The Millionaire's Gamble?

(1) The scorching hot chemistry!
(2) The tiny mysteries sprinkled throughout! Was Jagger truly Kennedy's nephew's father? If not, who was? Also, why was Kennedy's boss so set on keeping his hotel property?
(3) The ending! Gosh, I was so giddy and smily and even a tad bit sad. It was perfect!

The Millionaire's Gamble introduces Jagger and Kennedy. Kennedy is feisty and headstrong, and I adored her to pieces! She's someone who puts family first, no matter the risk involved, and I appreciated that about her. Not many people would go out of there way to hunt down their nephew's supposed father. I did, however, wish she wouldn't have been so hard on Jagger, especially when the truth began to come out. Jagger, on the other hand, is arrogant and cocky but there's something about him that makes him irresistible. I loved how to the point he was - he didn't skirt around the truth or saying the "right" thing. His fear of "R" word (aka relationship) was the perfect mix of frustrating and funny. The scene towards the end regarding this was one of my favorites.

The Millionaire's Gamble is a short reading - falling under 200 pages - but it never felt like an incomplete story. I was happy with the romance, the character development, and the details involving the hotel property.  I especially loved that the later of the three brought Jagger's foe/Kennedy's boss into the mix. He was such an adorable old man! I'll be curious to see where this series goes from here - I'm hoping for more about Kennedy's sister!

4 stars!!

Hard Pursuit by Sheryl Nantus
Release Date: February 26, 2018
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
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Trey Pierce has spent years helping the Brotherhood, using his computer skills to dig out secrets and help deliver justice. But there's one mission he's yet to finish––finding out who killed his best friend. A chance meeting with Ally Sheldon gives him a new lead, one that comes with some baggage.

Executive Ally Sheldon has to find her wayward brother if she wants to save her company. Pretending like nothing is wrong is getting to her. But when the sexy Trey is assigned to her to help her case, focusing on what's most important is difficult.

Never in his life has Trey been more attracted to a woman, but she’s hiding something. And that something may just destroy them.

This is a STAND-ALONE SINGLE TITLE book, perfect for readers who love alpha military heroes and the women they’d die for.


Combining mystery, action, and will-they-or-won't-they romance, Hard Pursuit is one wild ride! 

Ally and Trey were likable characters. Ally amazed me with her poise and strength. She was the ultimate fixer for her family's company, never failing to make things look picture perfect when behind closed doors it was the exact opposite. In Hard Pursuit, Ally is torn between two choices: staying with her chaotic, dysfunctional family or striking out on her own. From the start, I hoped she would go with option two. I'm all for putting family first, but goodness, Ally's family was insane. The amount of pressure her aunt and uncle put on her to take care of their son/her cousin was ridiculous. A grown man shouldn't have to babysat, especially when he's supposed to be the head of the company. Over the course of the book, Ally began to figure out what she wanted, and grew because of it, and I couldn't have been happier. It was so awesome to see Ally began to stand up for herself and demand to be heard. Trey, on the other hand, is the tall, dark, and handsome type. It took me slightly longer to warm up to him, but by the half-way point I was team Trey all the way. I loved seeing him use his computer skills to discover new clues, and I especially loved how he was with Ally. He saw more in her than she saw in herself, and because of that he urged her to ask for more, to demand more. He was the ultimate supporter. 

As for the plot, there was action, mystery, and even some dire stakes. I appreciated that we jumped right into the mystery and action from the first page. I thought Sheryl did a great job of building up the suspense regarding Ally's missing cousin. I constantly wondered if he was dead, kidnapped, or just hiding out, spending money he didn't have. I also liked how Sheryl used this plot line to bring about Ally and Trey's relationship as well as bring the rest of the brotherhood into the picture. 

There were two things, however, that left something to be desired. The first was the second half of the book. From the whirlwind start, I expected action and thrill to be a constant throughout, but that wasn't always the case. Instead, Hard Pursuit began to lose steam, especially when certain story lines were concluded and new ones were introduced. The newer ones weren't nearly as captivating. Secondly, I wished the romance had more heat. There wasn't much to it, and while I enjoyed the build-up, I wish there would have been more couple time between Trey and Ally. 

Overall, Hard Pursuit is a solid three star read. It's one of those unfortunate cases were a good book began to get stale the longer it went on. Despite that I look forward to reading more by Sheryl. 

3 stars!! 

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