I read this book over a year ago, before the birth of the blog, and it’s still one of my favorites, so I wanted to post my initial review. I haven’t been able to read it a second time, but my feelings haven’t changed. I have read other books by J. T. Geissinger, but this one is still my favorite.
How do I even put into words how much I loved this book? I had never read any others by this author; it caught my attention when I saw that a friend had given it 5 stars on Goodreads. A review there referenced The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, which is one of my very favorite books of all time. I don’t give many 5-star reviews, so a book really has to blow me away to earn one. This book did.
It is one of those books that I immediately wanted to read again the second I finished it, so I could go back and find all the clues that the author left along the way to the very satisfying ending. I borrowed this from Kindle Unlimited but am going to purchase my own copy so I can savor it at my leisure.
I loved Theo, and the unique ways that he and Megan had to find to communicate since Theo is incapable of using his voice. I liked most of the side characters, especially Coop. I would definitely read a book all about him and his backstory.
Every book gets to a point where the couple has a conflict. You know it’s coming, you think you’re prepared for it, and when it arrives, sometimes it’s so intense, you have to take a break from the book and read something else for a while. At least that’s how it is for me. I had to take a break for several days, which is longer than normal, but my anxiety was so great that I couldn’t continue reading until I was in the right mood to handle the conflict and its resolution. A lot of books have a silly conflict, where the couple has a misunderstanding that could have been avoided if they’d simply talked to each other. (The author even references this kind of situation in the book!!) This conflict was not that simple, and I needed a few days to prepare myself for it.
This book really is unlike anything I’ve ever read, and it is such an amazing story. I can see that it will be the kind of book I return to, even if it’s just to read a little bit of it at a time, just like The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Title: Beauty in the Broken
Author: Charmaine Pauls
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Six years ago, Harold Dalton framed me for theft and sent me to jail to steal my diamond discovery. He gave his daughter to Jack Clarke in exchange for the excavation rights. Today, I’m free, and I’m coming for him with a vengeance. Six years of cruelty make beasts out of men. I’m going to take back what he stole from me, and more. I’m not interested in his properties or shares. I don’t want his small change. I want his biggest asset. Beautiful, mentally unstable, Angelina Dalton-Clarke. Worth billions, she’s the wealthiest widow in the country, and also the craziest. Her self-harming tendencies had Jack declare her incompetent before he put a gun to his head and blew out his brains. Lina isn’t allowed to touch a cent of her riches. Her father manages her finances. He has all the signing power. As her husband, that chore will fall to me. But if she thinks I only want her for her money, she’s sadly mistaken.
Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.
After relocating to Chile with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published nine novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles. Two of her shorts have been selected by the International Literary Society for an anthology from across the African continent.
When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in France with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.
Jason is a cynical rich playboy.
He doesn’t take life seriously.
He doesn’t believe in settling down.
Eileen’s twenty-seventh birthday is almost here.
But as always she’s an afterthought in her parent’s minds.
Her family is too busy planning a shotgun wedding for her older sister to pay attention to her. And now she has to help.
It’s just another year where she’s overlooked.
But the best man is smoking hot.
He actually notices her, and makes her feel special.
Jason doesn’t believe in commitment, but Eileen intrigues him.
She’s not the kind of girl he usually hooks up with.
She doesn’t even fall for his charm.
He’s made it his mission to convince her that he’s not the shallow man she thinks he is.
But can Jason give up his playboy lifestyle to become the man Eileen needs?
Well Suited, the final standalone in the
Red Lipstick Coalition Series from Staci Hart, is available now!
Chemistry is my love
I’ve always been able to separate feelings
from chemosignals. A shot of dopamine, a dash of serotonin, and a sprinkle of oxytocin—and bam.
You’re in love.
And when egg meets sperm, you’re
I couldn’t even be surprised as I stared
down at the little blue plus sign, because I knew exactly when and how, and with whom it happened.
When: approximately five weeks ago. Who: one night stand. How: prophylactic malfunction.
The upside? I don’t have to go looking for
a suitable mate.
Genetically, he’s the cream of the crop.
His musculature is a study in symmetry and strength, his height imposing and dominant. He is a man
who thrives on control and command, a man who survives on intelligence and resourcefulness. A
perfect male specimen.
And the whole package is wrapped up in
a flawlessly tailored suit.
I’m having this baby, and he insists we’re
well-suited to have it together. And what’s worse? He wants more, in the way of love and
But love isn’t real. It’s just a product of
And if he changes my mind about that,
we’re both in trouble.
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Staci has been a lot of things up to this
point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a
waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to
break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook.
She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.
From roots in Houston to a seven year
stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally
north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading,
sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.
Imperfect Match, a sexy friends to lovers standalone romance, from New York Times bestselling Corinne Michaels & USA Today bestselling Melanie Harlow, is available now!
Rule number one for a professional matchmaker?
Don’t fall in love with your client.
I screwed that up when I fell for my best friend, Reid Fortino. He’s gorgeous, successful, and sexy as hell. I figured it would be easy to find him a match—and save the family business at the same time.
But the more time I spend attempting to find the perfect girl, the more I realize how much I want him for my own. What’s the harm if we give in for just one night?
I should have known that would never be enough.
Now I’m on the verge of losing my job and my heart.
We were an imperfect match from the start, but I don’t know how to let him go.
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What would it be like to have her that way? Skin to skin? Breathless and begging? My body inside hers?
I want answers, I think as I open the door to our building.
No, I need them.
I take the elevator up to our floor and go right to her apartment. Using the key she gave me, I unlock her door, smiling that she still hasn’t changed the lock, and head inside.
“Reid?” She jumps off the couch and I freeze.
Jesus, she’s fucking beautiful. I’ve seen her a million times like this, but I don’t know what it is—I can’t breathe.
Her hair is piled up on top of her head in some sort of nest, the glasses that she swears she doesn’t need are on, and her legs … God, her legs. Long, sweet, slender … they would look perfect around my neck.
“What are you doing here? If this is about …” She stops talking and looks at me, her eyes full of confusion as I watch her chest rise and fall.
I walk toward her, unable to stand still. My hands grip her cheeks, and I pull her mouth to mine. Her gasp is swallowed by the searing kiss. Her fingers wrap around my wrists and I don’t know if she’s trying to stop me, but I’m going to keep going until she does.
Yet she never does. Instead of pushing me away, her hands move to my hips.
Willow kisses me back.
She kisses me like this is the only option.
She kisses me harder and more passionately than the last time.
She gives as much as she takes and I fucking revel in it.
This is crazy, but I don’t care. It’s right. It’s everything that finally makes sense. I wondered what it would be like and now I know—it’s fucking perfect.
“Reid.” She says my name and then pulls my mouth back to hers.
I kiss her, loving how our mouths fit and the way her tongue feels against mine.
“Tell me to stop.” I give her an out that I pray she won’t take.
“Tell me now, Wills.”
I’m desperate for her. Seeing her tonight, knowing she was spying on me, did something to my heart that I can’t explain. It was the answer to the question that neither of us was willing to face.
There’s something here.
Maybe it’s new. Maybe it’s always been there but we didn’t see it. Maybe Willow and I needed to be pushed. Whatever the reason, the outcome is this.
She touches my face. Her fingertips are soft, and she moves her thumb to my lip. “I can’t. I don’t know what’s happening, but I don’t want it to stop.”
“Good, because I don’t think I could.”
My mouth is back to hers the second the words are out.
“I have loved every second of this series and I hope that there will be many more installments to come. This series has everything that I look forward to in getting my love and romance fix.”—Twin Spin
“An absolute must-read . . . To Have and to Hold is fabulous.”—The Romance Reviews
“Five stars . . . [To Have and to Hold is a] crackling read that’s full of emotion and drama.”—Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews
“A great story that unfolds beautifully . . . There’s a great balance of drama and romance, and I really liked the characters and their journey.”—The Escapist Book Blog
“A well-crafted welcome addition to a great series . . . [with] plenty of passion.”—I Love Romantic Fiction
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD (RETURNING HOME, BOOK THREE)
He doesn’t remember her. She cherishes every moment of their time together. Is there any hope for a second chance?
Hunter Cross has lost a year. There’s a gap in his memory, and the woman who is living in his house has disappeared into it. He slept with her, fell for her, loved her—and he doesn’t remember any of it.
He knows he should send her away—except for one little thing. At night, when she slips into his bed, his body remembers hers.
Trina Levine is heartbroken, alone with her memories. Hunter won’t claim any of it—not the joyful days, not the steamy nights. It’s like Trina Levine dreamed it, and it hurts like nothing else could.
Except when Hunter cries out in his sleep and Trina comforts him. At those moments, Hunter’s body knows hers, and for a few, brief, blissful moments, Trina’s sure everything will be okay again.
Stepping through the glass gate doors at SeaTac. Striding, head up, not uniformed, as she’d expected, but clad in jeans, a gray T-shirt, and hiking boots. A backpack slung over both shoulders.
Trina felt like she’d never seen him before, and maybe she never really had. Because before, he’d been somebody’s dad. Somebody’s husband. And then friendship had morphed into love, so she’d never had that first-time-I-laid-eyes-on-you, love-at-first-sight moment. No heart stopping, no breath catching, no hormones firing in one big surge—
Not till now.
Because, damn. Dark hair and dark eyes, stubble smattered over his jaw, shoulders that poured off strength. Six-foot-plus of him, moving with intention. He was a guy who’d catch your eye on the street, pheromones setting you back on your heels before you’d registered that you’d turned to look. The hardness of his features, the everyman handsomeness, made an impression only after it was too late to decide how you felt about his appearance.
There were more lines in his face than she remembered—the laugh crinkles at the corners of his eyes, yes, but deep lines in his forehead, too. His eyes combed the crowd, looking for someone.
I’m right here.
Then his gaze swept past her and locked somewhere else, and his pace quickened until he was almost running. Behind her, someone broke away, flip-flops smacking heels.
Clara ran to her father and threw herself into his arms, forgetting Trina’s and her grandmother’s warnings to be gentle with him. Clara was laughing and crying and trying to tell her father everything that had happened in the last year, all at once.
“Slow down, baby.” Hunter knelt so he could hug Clara in earnest. “Slow down. We’ll have plenty of time.” He was smiling, looking so much like the man Trina remembered, and she realized she was silently pleading for him to raise his eyes and search her out. To turn that smile on her. And she shook her head, because this moment wasn’t for her. It was for Clara and Hunter. Trina would have her moment later. When she and Hunter were alone.
Hunter raised his head, and her heart skipped.
But his eyes caught on something behind her, and he rose and strode forward: “Mom.”
Trina wasn’t going to panic. She clutched her welcome home, hunter sign tighter, and tried to slow her pulse down.
Homecomings are weird, Hunter’s mom had told her when Trina met her flight several hours earlier. Don’t get your expectations up too high.He’ll need some time and space, and then it’ll be like he never left.
Plus, Trina had known they’d have to play it a little cool, to maintain the fiction for the girls.
In the meantime, Trina would remember what he’d said to her. Not only I love you, but also, I know my feelings, and they’re not going to change.
Hunter’s mom, Linda, was getting the full Hunter. Or the half Hunter, maybe, because Trina was pretty sure that Hunter at full strength would have swept both mother and daughter off their feet. Certainly in all her fantasies he’d swept her off her feet.
But with his chest wound just barely healed—a wound that had almost killed him—he wouldn’t be sweeping anyone off her feet for a while.
A hand snaked around her waist. Phoebe, at her side. Her daughter, awkwardly twelve and yet so beautiful, with that coltish mix of woman and little girl.
Phoebe was clearly feeling as awkward and left out of this homecoming as Trina was, and wanting solidarity.
That was the moment when Trina started to feel really, truly freaked out. Because she was fine with the fact that homecomings were weird and fine with Hunter’s priorities being for his daughter and his mother and fine with the secrecy that they’d agreed to keep up a while once he got back, but—
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Photo credit Susan Young
USA Today bestselling author Serena Bell writes contemporary romance with heat, heart, and humor. A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen carefully, and you can often find her scribbling in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head.
Serena’s books have earned many honors, including an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Apple Books Best Book of the Month, and Amazon Best Book of the Year for Romance.
When not writing, Serena loves to spend time with her college-sweetheart husband and two hilarious kiddos—all of whom are incredibly tolerant not just of Serena’s imaginary friends but also of how often she changes her hobbies and how passionately she embraces the new ones. These days, it’s stand-up paddle boarding, board-gaming, meditation, and long walks with good friends.
L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.
Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets people’s’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.
She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.