Tuesday, 2 September 2014

{Review} The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy

16068787Posted by Melanie
Release Date: September 2nd, 2014
Finished Date: August 15th, 2014
Publishers: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 320
Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn't forgotten their warning to "stay away." For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the "special gifts" that must be left at the back of the property.

Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, his interactions with Salome take her life in a new direction. A direction where she'll have to decide between her longtime crush Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop. An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.

The Review: I thought The Winter People was a really good read filled with mystery & intrigue.
Salome is left to see to the woods surrounding her grandmother’s house whilst she’s away for the winter – filling animal feeders, leaving trinkets in tress and the likes. This is a massive deal for Salome because she fears everything about winter; the snow; the cold; the ice and most importantly, the pond in which she nearly drowned in as a child that caused her phobia of winter. She never forgot being saved, hearing voices and she never forgot the image of a monster than warned her never to come back, never to venture into the woods again. So, for eleven years she stayed away….. until now.
As Salome allows winter back into her life, 3 boys come along with it; Nevin, who always seems to be around her Grandmothers property but gently coaxes her into being comfortable there; Colton, the boy from school that she has a major crush on and again someone who would help her with her fear, never judging; then there’s Gareth who always seems to be there when she needs someone to protect her – but why does she need protecting? Everyone seems to be keeping secrets from her but then again….it’s not every day you find your family is cursed and that most of the women die in their eighteenth year, which for Salome…is vast approaching.
So, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters a lot and connected with them well. I could really connect with Salome because I have experience with phobia and anxiety and I liked how she handled herself, it is very easy to be crippled by fear the way she was and it was portrayed well, even when she is trying to coax herself to do the things she feared, it all resonated with me. There was no shortage of love interests here and they each had something good to offer her although she looked on them more as friends for the most part, the relationships weren’t rushed as most often are and that’s a good thing in YA for me.
Most of the storyline is devoted to Salome, her relationships and also overcoming her fear…. But the rest was the reason that makes this book different. She is stalked by voices, by ominous messages and visions of things that can’t possibly be there and with her phobia, it makes her think she’s going crazy but one of the boys will let her know she’s not. That’s not all though because as I mentioned, there is a curse and that is very mysterious because no one is allowed to talk about it but it has caused many of the women in Salome’s lineage to die on the same day at 18 yrs old and that is the threat that follows her throughout the book. She must unravel the curse and work out whom she needs to unravel it for and why forcing a life or death conclusion that could mean the downfall of all she has come to care about. There is a lot more to the story than this, of course there is a supernatural element as well but I don’t want to spoil that for you so I will just leave you by saying – give this a go, it’s an incredibly sweet read of a girl who after leading a sheltered life due to a crippling phobia is just starting to experience life again and the taste of first love is making it that much sweeter, who is then thrust into an unknown situation where her life is at stake and there are more people on her side than she realises so maybe, just maybe, she can beat this thing. 

Thank you to  Entangled Teen for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

{Review} Boys Like You by Juliana Stone

Boys Like YouPosted by Donna
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Finished Date: August 27th, 2014
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire   
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: ARC
Pages: 288

If I hadn't fallen asleep.
If I hadn't gotten behind the wheel. 
If I hadn't made a mistake.

One mistake. And everything changes.

For Monroe Blackwell, one small mistake has torn her family apart leaving her empty and broken. There's a hole in her heart that nothing can fill that no one can fill. And a summer in Louisiana with her Grandma isn't going to change that...

Nathan Everets knows heartache first-hand when a car accident leaves his best friend in a coma. And it's his fault. He should be the one lying in the hospital. The one who will never play guitar again. He doesn't deserve forgiveness, and a court-appointed job at the Blackwell B&B isn't going to change that...

Captivating and hopeful, this achingly poignant novel brings together two lost souls struggling with grief and guilt  looking for acceptance, so they can find forgiveness

The Review: An incredible story full of hope, Boys Like You is a heart-breaking read that is impossible to put down. 

Monroe Blackwell makes one mistake and everything changes with devastating results that has left her family a broken mess, struggling to move on with their lives. For Monroe, the guilt and pain eats away at her and she can’t find the means to take part in her normal day-to-day activities or even getting dress and out of bed. Spending time in Louisiana with her Gran might be just what her family think she needs, but Monroe disagrees. 

Nathan Everets makes one mistake and everything changes with devastating results that leaves his best friend fighting for his life in a coma and it’s all Nathan’s fault. Struggling to deal with his guilt, Nathan pushes everyone away. When he takes a job at a plantation, it’s there that he meets Monroe Blackwell and he realises that he may have found the one person who knows what he’s going through.

Together Monroe and Nathan come together and try to work through their pain – but it’s harder than they realize. 

I wish I’d read this sooner! It’s been sitting on my kindle for a good few months and now I’m kicking myself for not reading it SOONER! It is simply an amazing read, full of pain, angst and real life situations that make your heart ache. But it’s also a story about finding first love, moving on and above all else – hope, hope that something good can good from all the sadness. It’s not often that I read a YA Contemporary story that really moves me but this did and I really want you to go read it for yourselves.

I loved the dual narratives really worked great together and I absolutely loved both Monroe and Nathan. They are both dealing with so much and I was glad that together they could finally find some relief and peace. Their story is well written, swoon worthy and so sweet. It’d probably say it was for the more mature audience that read YA and I loved that the author held nothing back and everything fit so well within the story. I’d definitely say Juliana Stone could give the likes of Katie McGarry a run for her money because for me, this was definitely on par with that. 

In all, Boys Like You is a fantastic read and I really hope Juliana Stone writes more YA. I want more! 

Favourite Quote: "It had been so long since I'd let anyone touch me, let alone hold me like this. Like we were already a part of each other. "Are you done waiting?" "Yeah," he said throatily. "I am."

Thank you to Sourcebook Fire  for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

{Review} Shadows of Fate (Shadow Born #1) by Angela Dennis

20560261Posted by Melanie
Release Date: April 8th, 2014
Finished Date: August 7th, 2014
Publishers: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 305
Shadow Born, Book 1

Redemption lies beyond the veil between truth and lies.

After witnessing her husband’s brutal murder, Brenna Baudouin lost control of her Shadow Bearer powers and wreaked havoc on her home world. Her penance: one hundred years policing hordes of supernatural misfits that spilled onto the Earthly plane after a cataclysmic war.

She’s on a routine exorcism run when she learns she’s been assigned a new partner. But there’s something about this Shadow Bearer that sparks her suspicions. Particularly when people closest to her start turning up as piles of ash.

Gray Warlow holds tight to the glamour that allows him to get close to the woman on whom he plans to wreak vengeance for betraying his people. Yet as he skillfully manipulates his way past her distrust, he begins to see her not as the heartless monster he was led to believe, but a strong, vulnerable woman.

As they work to put together the pieces of a killer’s macabre puzzle, an attraction deeper than blood and bone flares between them. And they must reveal their deepest secrets to avoid becoming the final targets,

Product Warnings
A thrill ride of supernatural proportions. Contains violent battle scenes, nail-biting suspense, crazy hot sexual tension, and enough twists and turns to make your head spin.

The Review: Loved, loved, loved this book! It had everything I could wish for in an Urban Fantasy novel and it hit the spot time and time again.
To start we get a kickass female lead with a bad history and a lot of power – nice combo! We meet Brenna Baudouin a Shadow Bearer that has been banished from her home world after she  wiped out an army of men following her husbands’ death at the hands of the very people she should have been able to trust with her life. Not only dealing with that betrayal, she is used as a scapegoat and made to pay penance in the form of policing supernatural criminals on Earth for 100 years. She has lost everything and has nothing left to lose even 90 years down the line.
Enter love interest –Gray Warlow- who Brenna is forced to take on as a partner. Gray is another Shadow Bearer and immediately gets Brenna’s back up because there is no reason for him to be there unless a) he was banished himself or b) he was sent to kill Brenna on behalf of the people who believe she is a traitor and with her penance nearly up, she believes it’s the latter. Gray is keeping secrets, Brenna knows this, he wears an impenetrable glamour that she can’t get around and that does not instil trust between them.
They form a tentative alliance however when a serial killer starts striking a little too close to home for Brenna and her friends start turning up dead. With the mystery of Grey, his powers, his agenda and the fact that he’s the first man Brenna has been attracted to since her husband and the strange happenings surrounding the quest for the killer…… Brenna has more than enough on her hands to keep her busy.
As I said, I loved this book, it was so good. I easily connected to the characters and Brenna was so admirable, here we have a woman who has a horrific history and is still paying the cost of putting her faith in the wrong people, she still mourns her husband but carries on doing her penance. Her powers are awesome, they show just how capable she is and she is more than capable of doing her job so isn’t very happy when a ‘partner’ is forced upon her. Gray was a great character too, I liked what he brought to the story, he was a good love interest and I liked how he challenged Brenna in both work and emotionally. He has a secret and it is awesome!! That’s all I’m saying but I greatly enjoyed reading how that played out throughout the book and couldn’t wait for the reveal and it ties in well with the story so well.
The actual story was great and a lot of it has to do with Brenna’s previous life and it coming back to haunt her. Someone is using demons to possess humans and they notice it’s not just the humans at risk forcing many of the supernaturals to band together to protect their own. I love these set ups where the main character takes the lead in an investigation and we watch her hunt down the perpetrator using clues, forcing information – any means necessary really and when it has a supernatural element….. I’m always interested. There was tons of action as they fight off anything that is thrown at them and a liberal amount of magic being flung around too, giving us a good idea of what the supernatural are capable of. It was such an easy, consuming read that I could not put down, with perfect pacing for me too and I was engrossed from beginning to end. It was an awesome start to the series and I’ll definitely be reading more. 5*s 

Thank you to Angela Dennis & Samhain Publishing for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, 30 August 2014

{UK Giveaway} Black Lace Books Giveaway

We're here today with a fantastic giveaway from Black Lace Books. 
If you've not heard of Black Lace Books are a UK publishers are apart of Ebury Publishing and they have been publishing erotic fiction written by women since 1993 and have sold more than 4 million books!  

Today they have kindly offered ONE lucky winner a book bundle of their erotic titles as pictured on the left. One lucky winner will win a copy of 

So fancy your chances at winning? All you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter details. There are loads of chances for extra entries and please remember UK ONLY! Sorry international peeps, but we do have an International giveaway going on the blog, so check that out. 
Good luck!

Friday, 29 August 2014

{Review} Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch

20799220Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 14th, 2014
Finished Date: August 16th, 2014
Publishers: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 432
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast tale of loyalty, love, and finding one’s destiny.

The Review: Remarkably well written, unique and amazing, Snow Like Ashes is a fantastic debut novel and a YA fantasy story that you can’t miss. 

Meira has lived her whole life knowing that the Kingdom she belongs to – Kingdom of Winter was defeated and leaving the remaining survivors enslaved in work camp run by the Kingdom of Spring. Meira and the remaining eight survivors that weren’t captured have been on a mission for the past sixteen years to try and take back what they’ve lost and help their King back into his rightful place. But without their magic – which was lost during the battle, their journey won’t be easy. 

When Meira is finally given the chance to show what she is capable of, she’s finally doing something she loves – helping her cause, but the mission doesn’t go to plan and soon Meira’s life has changed for the worst. Can Meira sacrifice her own happiness in the name of her Kingdom and give up the one boy that means the world to her in the process?

This was just the type of read I was looking for!  It had been a long while since I’d read another fantasy wise and it just reminds me that I really need to read more of it. Snow Like Ashes is simply stunning read. What stood out for me was how original it is. I don’t recall every reading a story quite the same and for that reason I loved it. It was so exciting to unravel this imaginative world. The magic was unique and very interesting. And it had a fantastic plot that kept my attention all the way through. Fantastic characters that was easy to fall in love with. But more so, so many twist and turns that I didn’t expect. And when they were revealed, talk about mind-blown. I finished this story needing more – it’s that good. 

As I mentioned, Snow Like Ashes has a fantastic set of characters. Meira is amazing, she’s strong, determined and she’s more than happy to bend a few rules to get what she wants. She could be quite rash sometimes but I loved that she wasn’t one of these characters that lets herself be walked all over. It’s good to have a strong heroine and Meira was that. I loved Mather, Theron, Sir; all of the secondary characters were second to none.  

Now Meira’s relationship with Mather is very touching, I loved them together and I could see why she liked him so much. I was definitely rooting for them two to start with, but here’s where things get interesting. Yes, there is a tiny and I mean tiny love triangle. It’s not one that consumes that whole story. It’s the right added touch and gives you some fantastic romance moments. Prince Theron was impossible not to love. He and Meira don’t have the best set up but for then it seems to work and they find they have more common than they though. I’ve got to say, I don’t know who I’m rooting for. Apart of me wants to say Mather’s so Meira can have the relationship she’s always wanted. But then I want to say Prince Theron for the fact that it’s something new and surprising and the way she feels about him is something different. Either way, I can’t wait to see how this plays out and I hope I have front row seats to it. 

In all, Snow Like Ashes is a gripping read – one full of magic, suspense and loyalty. I am so pleased with this book – so go read it!  

Favourite Quotes: "Just keep breathing. No matter what happens, no matter who turns on me, no matter what pompous swine thinks he has power over me, I am still me. I will always be me."

Thank you to  Balzer + Bray for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

{Review} The 100 (The Hundred #1) by Kass Morgan

17333779Posted by Donna
Release Date: September 3rd 2013
Finished Date: August 17th, 2014
Publishers: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Source: For Review
Format: eGalley
Pages: 352
No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents -- considered expendable by society -- are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.

CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves -- but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.

The Review: After becoming a huge fan of the TV series and eagerly awaiting the second season, I decided I wanted to find out a little more about where it all started. I was already pre-warned that the book and TV show has many differences but still, I wanted to try it and I was pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable the book is.

No-one has stepped on Earth since the nuclear war that wiped everything out. The remaining humans have lived on a spaceship living their lives under rules and regulations, until the startling discovering comes that they are running out of Oxygen and if they don’t act fast and try to reduce the population, their live in space will come much sooner than any of them ever hoped.

In a bid to save everyone, one hundred children who have been locked away for breaking all kinds of rules are now being sent on a dangerous mission back to earth against their will. Their job will be to find out if Earth is liveable for the remaining society to join them. But once they reach Earth, they find that things aren’t what they’ve been lead to believe and soon they’re fighting for their survival. Can one hundred keep themselves safe while in the worse conditions?

I really enjoyed The 100. I didn’t think it was the most exciting book out there but it was certainly one I enjoyed reading. I think it definitely helped that I already felt like I knew the characters because of watching the TV show – yes, there are many differences but I enjoyed discovering the changes that were made from the book to the show.

Being narrated by four different points of view could put some people off however, I found I enjoyed it. Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass were all great to get to know and reading their stories and how they grew up and about the relationships they had with others was interesting. The love connection between Bellamy and Clarke was a little strange at first, but found by the end I quite liked it. I also kind of picture Glass as Raven from the show. She was the only one I didn’t know anything about before starting but I actually really enjoyed her character. With her being on the ship, I thought we’d get more inside information to what is happening with the ship, however even though I enjoyed her story, I kind of felt it wasn’t really needed because she’s just a passenger – she doesn’t have any inside knowledge which was pretty disappointing. I’m kind of hoping that changes with the next book especially with how things were left.

I think the biggest thing from the book which ultimately stops me from being able to rate it top marks is that no a lot happens story wise until the last couple of chapter and even then it lacked the excitement that usually comes from the ending of a story. It was a little rushed if anything and I felt that it the danger was added a little earlier it would have been a little better.

In all, The 100 was an enjoyable read and I think it’s perfect for fans of the TV show as long as you’re prepared from the differences. 

3.5 flowers! 

Thank you to Little, Brown Books for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

{Blog Tour} 12 Days of Lucky Harbor UK Giveaway

Welcome to the 12 Days of Lucky Harbor Tour by Jill Shalvis! 
We're hear today to show you a sneak peak at He's So Fine and we have an awesome giveaway for you too. 
So, looking forward to He's So Fine and One In a Million by Jill Shalvis? 
If so, here's your chance at a sneak peek at He’s So Fine......

Chapter 1
For a guy balancing his weight between the fly bridge of his boat and the dock, thinking about sex instead of what he was doing was a real bonehead move. Cole Donovan was precariously perched on the balls of his feet above some seriously choppy, icy water. So concentrating would’ve been the smart move.
But he had no smarts left, which was what happened when you hadn’t had a good night sleep in far too long — your brain wandered into areas it shouldn’t.
Sex being one of those areas.
He shook his head to clear it. It was way too early for those kind of thoughts. Not quite dawn, the sky was a brilliant kaleidoscope of purples and blues and reds. Cole worked with a flashlight between his teeth, his fingers threading new electrical wire through the running lights on the stern. He only had a couple hours before a group of eight was coming through for a tour of the area.
That’s what he and his two partners and best friends did — they hired out themselves and their fifty foot Wright Sport boat, chartering deep sea fishing, whale watching, scuba diving … if it could be done, they did it. Sam was their financial guy and boat builder. Tanner was their scuba diving instructor and communications expert. Cole was the captain, chief navigator, mechanic, and – lucky him — the face of Lucky Harbor Charters, mostly because neither Sam nor Tanner were exactly service-oriented people.
They’d had a warm Indian summer here in the Pacific Northwest, but October had just recently roared in like Mother Nature was pissed off at the world, and maybe in need of a Xanax to boot. But business was still good. Or it had been, until last night. He and Tanner had taken a group of frat boys out, and one of the idiots had managed to kick in the lights running along the stern, destroying not only the casing but also the electrical.
Cole could fix it. There was little he couldn’t fix, but as he got down to it, a harsh wind slapped him in the face, threatening his balance. He kicked off the dock so that he was balanced entirely on the edge of the stern. Still not for the faint of heart, but after seven years on an oil rig and two more running Lucky Harbor Charters, Cole felt more at ease on the water than just about anywhere else.
He could smell the salt on the air and hear the swells smacking up against the dock moorings. The wind hit him again, and he shivered to the bone. Last week, he’d been out here working in board shorts and nothing else, the sun warming his back. Today he was in a knit cap, thick sweatshirt, cargo pants, and boots, and he was wishing for gloves like a little girl. He shoved his flashlight into his pocket, brought his hands to his mouth, and blew on his fingers a moment before reaching for the wires again.
Just as they connected, there was a sizzle and a flash, and he jerked, losing his footing. The next thing he knew, he was airborne, weightless for a single heartbeat…
And then he hit the icy cold water, plunging deep, the contact stealing the air from his lungs. Stunned, he fought the swells, his heavy clothes, himself, eyes open as he searched for the flames that surely went along with the explosion.
Jesus, not another fire. That was his only thought as panic gripped him hard. He opened his mouth and—
Swallowed a lungful of sea water.
This cleared his head. He wasn’t on the oil rig in the gulf. He wasn’t in the explosion that had killed Gil, and nearly Tanner as well. He was in Lucky Harbor.
He kicked hard, breaking the surface, gasping as he searched for the boat, a part of him still not wholly convinced. But there. She was there, only a few feet away.
No flames, not a single lick. Just the cold-ass swells of the Pacific Northwest.
Treading water, Cole shook his head. A damn flashback, which he hadn’t had in over a year—
“Ohmigod, I see you!” a female voice called out. “Just hang on, I’m coming!” This was accompanied by hurried footsteps clapping on the dock. “Help!” she yelled as she ran. “Help, there’s a man in the water! Sir, sir, can you hear me? I’m coming. Sir?”
If she called him “sir” one more time, he was going to drown himself. His dad had been a sir. The old guy who ran the gas pumps on the corner of Main and First was a sir. Cole wasn’t a damn sir. He opened his mouth to tell her so, and also that he was fine, not in any danger at all, when she took a flying leap off the dock.
And landed right on top of him.
The icy water closed over both their heads, and as another swell hit, they became a tangle of limbs and water-laden clothing. He fought free and once again broke the surface, whipping his head around for the woman.
No sign of her.
Shit. Gasping in a deep breath, he dove back down and found her doing what he’d been doing only a moment before — fighting the water and her clothes, and herself. Her own worst enemy, she was losing the battle and sinking fast. Grasping the back of her sweater, Cole hauled her up, kicking hard to get them both to the surface.
She sucked in some air and immediately started coughing, reaching out blindly for him and managing to get a handful of his junk.
“Maybe we could get to shore first,” he said wryly.
Holding onto him with both arms and legs like a monkey, she squeezed him tight. “I’ve g-g-got y-y-you,” she stuttered through already chattering teeth, and climbed on top of his head, sending him under again.
Jesus. He managed to yank her off of him and get her head above water. “Hey—“
“D-don’t panic,” she told him earnestly. “It’s g-g-gonna be o-o-okay.”
She actually thought she was trying to save him. If the situation wasn’t so deadly, Cole might have thought some of this was funny. But she was turning into a popsicle before his very eyes, and so was he. “Listen, just relax—“
“H-hang onto m-me,” she said, and … dunked him again.
For the love of God. “Stop trying to save me,” he told her. “I’m begging you.”
Her hair was in her face, and behind the strands plastered to her skin, her eyes widened. “Oh my God. You’re trying to commit suicide.”
“What? No.” The situation was ridiculous, and he was frustrated and effing cold, but damn, it was hard not to be charmed by the fact that she was trying to save him, even as she was going down for the count herself. “I’m trying to keep you from killing me.”
The flashback of the rig fire long gone, Cole tread water to keep them afloat as he assessed their options. There were two.
Shore. Or boat.
They were at the stern of the boat, much closer to the swimming platform than to the shore. And in any case, there was no way his “rescuer” could swim the distance. Though Cole was a world class swimmer himself, he was already frozen to the bone, and so was she. They needed out of the water … fast.
With a few strokes, he got them to the stern of the boat, where he hoisted his so-called rescuer up to the platform, pulling himself up after her.
She lay right where he’d dumped her, gulping in air, that long, dark hair everywhere. Leaning over her, he shoved the wet strands from her face to better see her and realized with a jolt that he recognized her. She lived in one of the warehouse apartments across from Lucky Harbor Charters.
Her name was Olivia Something-Or-Another.
All he knew about her was that she hung out with Sam’s fiancĂ© Becca, ran some sort of shop downtown, dressed in a way that said both “hands off” and “hot mama,” and he’d caught her watching him and the guys surfing on more than one occasion.
“Y-y-you’re bleeding,” she said from flat on her back, staring up at him.
Cole brought his fingers to the sting on his temple and, perfect, his fingers indeed came away red with his own blood. Just a cut, no less than he deserved after that stupid stunt of shocking the shit out of himself with the wiring and then tumbling into the water. “I’m fine.” It was her he was worried about. Her jeans and sweater were plastered to her. She was missing a boot. And she was shivering violently enough to rattle the teeth right out of her head. “You’re not fine,” he said.
“Just c-c—cold.”
No shit. “What the hell were you thinking?” he asked, “Jumping in after me like that?”
Her eyes flashed open, and he discovered they were the exact same color as her hair — deep, dark chocolate.
“I th-th-ought you were d-d-drowning!” she said through chattering teeth.
Cole shook his head. “I didn’t almost drown until you jumped on top of me.”
“What h-h-happened?”
“I was working on the electrical wiring and got shocked and fell in.”
“S-s-see? You needed help!”
He absolutely did not. But arguing with her would get them nowhere, and maybe dead. “Come on, the plan is to get you home and warmed up.” Rising to his feet, he reached down and pulled her up with him, holding onto her when she wobbled. “Are you—“
“I’m f-f-fine,” she said, and stepped back to look down at herself. “I l-l-lost my favorite b-b-boot rescuing y-y-you.”
She called that a rescue? “Can you even swim?”
 “Y-y-yes!” She crossed her arms over herself. “A l-l-little bit.”
He stared at her in disbelief. “A little bit? Seriously? You risked your life on that?”
“You were in t-t-trouble!”
Right. They could argue that later. “Time to get you home, Super Girl.”
“B-b-but my b-b-boot.”
“We’ll rescue the boot later.”
“We w-w-will?”
No. Her boot was DOA – dead on arrival. “Later,” he said again and grabbing her hand, pulled her across the platform, through the stern. He needed to get her off the boat.
She dug her heels in, one in just a sock, one booted.
“What?” he asked.
Still shivering wildly, she looked at him with misery. “I d-d-dropped my ph-ph-phone on the dock.”
“Okay, we’ll grab it.”
“Y-y—yes, but I d-d-didn’t drop my keys.”
“That’s good,” he said, wondering if she’d hit her head.
‘Y-y-you don’t get it. I t-t-think I lost my k-k-keys in the w-w-water.”
Well shit. No keys, no getting her inside her place. This wasn’t good. Nor was her color. She was waxen, pale. They couldn’t delay getting her out of the elements and warm. “Okay, Plan B,” he said. “We warm you here on the boat.” Again he started to tug her along, needing to get her inside and below deck, but she stumbled against him like her limbs weren’t working.
Plan C, he thought grimly, and swung her up into his arms.
She clutched at him. “N-n-not necessary—”
Ignoring her, he got them both into the small galley, where he set her down on the bench at the table. Keeping his hands on her arms, he crouched in front of her to look into her eyes. “You still with me? You okay?”
“Y-y-y—” Giving up, she dropped her head to his chest.
“Not okay,” he muttered, and stroked a hand down the back of her head and along her trembling frame.
Truth was, he wasn’t much better off. His head was still bleeding, and his shoulder was throbbing. He had nothing on her though. She was violently trembling against him. Easing her back, he got busy. First he cranked the heater, then he opened their linens storage box, pulling out towels and blankets, which he tossed to a stack at her side. “Okay,” he said. “Strip.”

Jill ShalvisNew York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras with her family and far too many assorted quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental.                                                       
Look for Jill's latest, THEN CAME YOU, on shelves and ereaders now, and get all her bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold. Also, visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.                                             Connect with Jill on Facebook: http://facebook.com/JillShalvis