Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Release Day Spotlight & Review: Final Siege by Scarlett Cole

Former SEAL Malachai “Mac” MacCarrick is all about the future he’s created with his Navy brothers in Eagle Securities, taking assignments in the most dangerous places, and doing things no one but ex-military would attempt. But when an urgent phone call brings his troubled past—and the woman he once loved—into the present, it’s a chance to redeem himself that he can’t refuse. 

An investigative journalist researching an explosive story, Delaney Shapiro tells herself she got over Mac—and his role in her brother’s death—a long time ago. But the first moment she sees him at her bedside in an overseas hospital, she knows it’s not true. Every moment together rekindles the desire that once burned between them, and now that she’s a target for an emerging Russian arms dealer, Mac won’t let her out of his sight. To protect her, he’ll risk it all—including his life…

Final Siege (Love Over Duty, #2)Final Siege by Scarlett Cole

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book two in the Love Over Duty series doesn't disappoint as I dived into another suspenseful novel featuring the hot guys at Eagle Securities.

The tragic death of his best friend Brock shaped the man Malachai 'Mac' MacCarrick became when he decided to live his friend's dream of becoming a Navy SEAL. Fifteen years later, he and his brothers have set up Eagle Securities to continue the legacy. When he received a phone call from a military hospital in Germany about Brock's sister, he doesn't hesitate to go to her bedside because, after all these years, she's still the woman who holds his heart even if she's his ex-girlfriend.

Investigative journalist Delaney Shapiro doesn't understand why her ex, Mac MacCarrick is at her bedside when she wakes up in hospital. Once over her confusion, his commanding presence makes her realises, despite the passing of years she still has feelings for him; a fact she doesn't want to acknowledge. When her investigation causes her to be a target, she reluctantly accepts Mac's assistance to keep her safe, only the more time they spend together, the closer they become.

Both protagonists were deeply affected by the death of Brock, but one of them holds the key to a secret that has been withheld out of loyalty all these years. However, when the past is preventing Mac and Delaney from rekindling their relationship, one of them decides to tell the truth in the hope the new information it is sufficient knowledge to lay the foundations to rebuild a future together.

The tension and explosive chemistry between Mac and 'Button's' are palpable, as both realise their feelings for each other run far deeper than they thought. This second chance romance highlights time hasn't eroded the love they once shared as fate brings them together once more.

Just like Under Fire, book one in the series, I loved the pace and suspense of the narrative and particularly enjoyed the continuity plot from book one, although both are standalone novels. One fact I hope we discover in book three is the fate of Ghost as well as Cabe's story.

5 stars

***arc generously received courtesy of St. Martin's Press via NetGalley***

View all my reviews

Born in England, Scarlett Cole traveled the world, living in Japan and the United States before settling in Canada where she met her own personal hero – all six and a half feet of him. She now lives with her husband and children in Manchester, England where she's at work on her next book. She is the author of The Strongest Steel.

New Release, Author Interview and Review: All We Knew by Jamie Beck

Author: Jamie Beck
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Hunter Cabot deeply loves two things: the international tea company he’s helped his father build, and his wife, Sara. From the moment he first saw her wide smile on their college campus years ago, Hunter fell hard. Yet now, with other family members pushing to sell the thriving business and Sara grieving their failure to start a family, he’s suddenly facing the crushing loss of both.
The relentless ambition that Sara once admired in Hunter is now driving them apart. Each missed doctor’s appointment, neglected dinner date, and family squabble accentuates their differing priorities. Still, Sara struggles to create the home life they’d envisioned, until unsettling developments—both personal and professional—push them to the breaking point.
When love is put to the ultimate test, can Hunter and Sara stop fighting each other long enough to fight for their marriage?

1. All We Knew is an interesting title for a romance novel. How does it relate to the plot of your book?

I tend to think of my books, and this one in particular, as love stories more than “romance” novels. With this book, in particular, I didn’t want the title to sound too cute. Because this is a marriage-in-trouble story, the title relates to everything they thought they knew about each other and love and marriage. And to everything they need to learn about how to make marriage last.

2. College sweethearts, now a married couple, Sara and Hunter have been through a lot together. How are they the same as when they first met? How are they different?

I think their core personalities are the same. In fact, that is part of the problem for Hunter. He doesn’t understand why she is so disappointed in him when, in his mind, he’s the same man she married. He’s not wrong, but what he doesn’t recognize is that their circumstances have changed, and those changes require him to also change. As for Sara, I think she was more independent in the beginning of their relationship, but when the children she presumed they’d have never came, she lost her way. Now she’s drifting about, making the best of her relationships within the dysfunctional Cabot family while missing the close-knit family she left behind in California.

3. What attracted Sara and Hunter to each other when they first met?

He was immediately attracted to her sunny smile and the personal warmth that emanated from within her. She was attracted to his drive and enthusiasm.

4. How have their feelings (and attraction) changed or evolved over time?

No. They are still attracted to and in love with each other. The problems come down to failed communication and a bit of the friction that comes after the initial thrill of attraction between “opposites” begins to wear down.

5. How do they keep the romance alive post-honeymoon?

Hunter is very generous and loves to make grand gestures (gifts, trips). To him, that’s enough to keep the romance alive despite his eighty-hour work weeks. Sara provides Hunter a sense of belonging and comfort he gets nowhere else, and is thoughtful of the little day-to-day things to make his life sweeter.

6. Marriages often face rough patches, and Hunter and Sara’s is no different. What problems are they facing both as a couple and as individuals?

Sara is missing her family, especially now that she’s been unable to get pregnant despite two years and a failed IVF. She quit work to reduce stress, but having too much free time on her hands is creating a different kind of tension. Hunter is also facing a major personal crisis. He’s spent his entire life (since the age of thirteen) preparing to run and eventually take over the family business from his father. Now his father and stepmother are planning to sell it. For him, this is not only a betrayal of a promise, but also a loss of identity.

7. With infertility a major issue in this novel, there must have been some difficult scenes to write. What was one of the hardest?

I don’t want to answer this with specifics because the two hardest scenes will be spoilers, and I know many readers do not like to read spoilers before they’ve read the book. I can say one took place after one of Sara’s appointments, and then the other is toward the end of the book after a certain meeting with Hunter’s sister at his father’s house.

8. What is your favorite scene from the book?

I really liked the fight scene between Hunter and Sara that takes place in his home office. I love how it shows that arguments can range from anger to passion and then remorse within a blink of the eye.

9. And finally, who is the next Cabot in your series that readers will be hearing from next?

Hunter’s half-sister Gentry has a story to tell. I love her book. It’s more fun than the first two Cabot novels because she is young, sarcastic, and her hero is a really interesting humanitarian EMT who teaches her a little something about what matters in life.

I read All We Knew as a standalone and its book two in The Cabot's series.

Hunter Cabot is CFO of Cabot Tea Company and has been working as long as he remembers to prepare to eventually take over the running of the business from his father. It's one of two passions in his life; his wife is his other. However, when his father and stepmother plan to sell the business, his world's thrown into turmoil especially when the love of his life doesn't see his point of view because of a personal battle they are fighting.

Coming from a large family, Sara Cabot wants a family of her own but after failed attempts at IVF she's distraught especially when her husband chooses to focus on his battle to save the company he was born to run.

I jumped in blind with this novel and I'll admit I wouldn't have chosen it because of the difficult topics entwined within the narrative. Yet, I became sucked into and enveloped within the story as Hunter and Sara work through their problems to keep their marriage together. Their love for each other is unquestionable however, their upsetting predicament highlights problems within their relationship and neither are on the same page to solve them. It's incredibly emotional as the couple navigate the peaks and troughs caused by their current circumstances and the author nails the impassioned feelings beautifully.

Jamie Beck is undoubtedly known for writing realistic stories and All We Knew can't get any more real when you can identify with the protagonists because character traits are so similar to yourself and loved one. Sometimes, the dialogue between Hunter and Sara made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on-end when exchanges are so convincing it's like an echo. I'm nothing like Sara and have never experienced the heartbreak she has endured, but that doesn't stop the heartfelt and often upsetting dialogue between her and Hunter sounding eerily like conversations I've heard or experienced before on a personal level. Ms Beck wholeheartedly brings her protagonists to life in a way that blew me away.

This is only the second novel I've read by this author and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the previous one, All We Knew is even better. This is a heartfelt love story between two people who managed to drift in different directions but able to find their way back and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next instalment in this series as Gentry Cabot is definitely someone of interest.

***arc generously received courtesy of Montlake Romance via NetGalley***

Jamie Beck is a former attorney with a passion for inventing stories about love and redemption. In addition to writing novels, she also pens articles on behalf of a local nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth and strengthening families. Fortunately, when she isn’t tapping away at the keyboard, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.

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