Bad to the Bone by Nicki Bennet ~ Audio Review

Nicki Bennett - Bad to the Bone Audio Cover 76svmTitle: Bad to the Bone

Series: Dreamspun Desires 58

Author: Nicki Bennet

Narrator: Colin Darcy

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 54 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (24th August 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again. Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom. But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Bad to the Bone is a standalone book by Nicki Bennet for Dreamspun Desires. The author is relatively new to me, but I have to admit that I have read the ebook before. I am definitely open to reading more books by Nicki Bennet in the future as well – the story seemed a bit rough but it has a whole heap of heart.

While I enjoyed the ebook well enough when I read it, I felt that there was a significant chance that I would connect to the audio more than I had to the text. It’s not anything that I’ve attached to any narrator in particular, but I find that a good performance by any narrator lifts a story that I might have enjoyed but did not love. The narrator of this particular audio, Colin Darcy, is one which I’ve enjoyed performances in the past, I couldn’t name one without any certainty unless I went to my audible library first.

As for the story itself:
Alex is a washed-up jock. He’s approximately 27/28 and is about to attend his 10 year high school reunion. Back in college an injury ended his chances to be a pro footballer. He’s since moved back to his hometown, married a woman and divorced her, and now he runs his family’s store and is involved with the local library.

In high school his best friend was Ricky-Lee, who was judged by some of the more horrible people of the town for his sexuality and his ethnicity (he’s half Comanche Indian). Ricky-Lee left after he and Alex were caught in a compromising position and Alex was unable to defend him. When Ricky-Lee comes back to town he’s grown up and although a little mysterious, there is nothing bad about this all-around good guy. Alex has to work through his own personal baggage before he and Ricky-Lee can begin to pick up the pieces of their friendship and make something more.

The story itself is fun and there is true chemistry between the two characters. However, I’m not totally happy with the development of the characters, or lack thereof, throughout the story. This is a book for those that want to read an easy romance of rekindling a lost love, and all of it taking place at a school reunion.

Bad to the Bone by Nicki Bennett

Title: Bad to the Bone

Series: Dreamspun Desires 58

Author: Nicki Bennett

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novel (210 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (15th May 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖 3 Hearts

Blurb: A second chance at first love—if he has the courage to take it.

Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again.

Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom.

But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.

ISBN: 978-1-64080-106-6

Product Link: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Nicki Bennett is not a new author to me. I’ve read and enjoyed a handful of her books, and while I wouldn’t rank Bad to the Bone as the best, it was certainly enjoyable.

Alex is something of a washed-up jock. He’s approximately 27/28, since he is about to attend his 10 year high school reunion, an injury ended his chances to be a pro footballer when he was in college.

He’s since moved back to his hometown, married a woman and divorced her, and now he runs his family’s store and is involved with the local library. Back in high school his best friend was Ricky-Lee, who was judged by some of the more horrible people of the town for his sexuality and his ethnicity (he’s half Comanche Indian). Ricky-Lee left after he and Alex were caught in a compromising position and Alex was unable to defend him. When Ricky-Lee comes back to town he’s grown up and although a little mysterious, there is nothing bad about this all-around good guy. Alex has to work through his own personal baggage before he and Ricky-Lee can begin to pick up the pieces of their friendship and make something more.

The story itself is fun and there is true chemistry between the two characters. However, I’m not totally happy with the development of the characters, or lack thereof, throughout the story. This is a book for those that want to read an easy romance of rekindling a lost love, and all of it taking place at a school reunion.

Something About Harry by Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna

Title: Something About Harry

Series: Hot Cargo 03

Author: Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: Novella (82pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 26, 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3 1/2 Hearts

Blurb: A Hot Cargo Story

Desperate for an edge in the war against the Gavenelians that will keep the Confederation from losing as many ships to the sadistic aliens as they destroy, Sasha Dmitrov contacts the space pirate he knows only as Harry, hoping the mysterious engineer will be able to pull off one more miracle. Having been warned of Harry’s disdain for the Confederation, Sasha is prepared for Harry to tell him to jump out an airlock without a space suit. The last thing he expects is an invitation to Nicodemus Vector, Harry’s shielded planetoid. What Sasha discovers is an Andromedite empath who sees far too deeply into his soul.

As they race against time for a breakthrough that will tip the scales in their favor, Sasha finds himself more and more attracted to the reclusive mercenary. But duty calls, and Sasha has a war to win before he can even think about returning to Harry’s side—assuming that either of them will risk opening himself to the other’s empathic touch.

Read about Peter and Blaise in Hot Cargo and about Ryan and Juo in Healing in His Wings.

ISBN-13: 978-1-61581-781-8

Product Link: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: Sasha has Bliase get in contact with Harry, a reclusive creature highly intelligent, to get a leg up on the war. What he discovers upon meeting the man is an intriguing and highly attractive being. The two hit it off and create astounding chemistry together.

I have to say all in all I was disappointed with this series. If you’re looking for hot sex and romance this is the series for you. If you’re looking for a combo of romance, suspense and action this series was lacking in the action and suspense. There was a serious lack of details in each book. It seemed as though those were glanced over in favor of the physical and romance aspects of the book.

O.k. read for me.

Hot cargo by Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna

Title: Hot Cargo

Series: Hot Cargo 02

Author: Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna

Genre: BDSM, Science Fiction

Length: Novel (294pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 2, 2009)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts

Blurb: Captured and accused of piracy, privateer Blaise Risner, captain of the Golden Stallion, finds himself in a clinch – literally – with Confederation Admiral Peter Keller, who promises to see justice done by way of hard labor. But when the chemistry between them rivals the heat of the twin Talixin suns, the dominant admiral decides he wants to handle the rehabilitation of the provocative pirate himself. After their first close encounter, Blaise figures that serving Keller in such a personal capacity won’t be such a terrible sentence.

Keller dispenses his own forms of painful justice and sensual discipline, which usually involve a not-so-resistant Blaise on his knees bound and determined to give as good as he gets. The privateer can’t deny that suffering the handsome admiral’s punishments makes him burn like the fires of the Horsehead Nebula. Serving in the roles of prisoner and captor defines their ‘relationship’, but no power can stop a shooting star … the star of startling passion that flares every time they touch.

Just when Blaise thinks he can navigate the treacherous asteroid field of emotion to find common ground with Keller, an interstellar war tears them apart. Through it all, Blaise’s desire for his captor stands as tall and strong as the monoliths of Maraven, and he’ll go to the very edge of the galaxy and back if that’s what it takes to crack the ice around the admiral’s heart.

ISBN-13: 978-1-93519-250-3

Product Link: Dreamspinn Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: Peter uses his position to use Blaise as he see’s fit which did not sit well with me. Blaise is accused of piracy. Seeing no way out of it he makes a deal with Peter to serve out punishment as he see’s fit.

Peter seemed a bit too aggressive to me. I did not really care for his attitude toward Blaise then all of a sudden he changes his tune.

This story fell flat for me. I wanted to like it but could not due to Peter as I did not care for him as a character at all.

O.k. read.

Healing In His Wings by Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna (2nd edition)

Title: Healing In His Wings (2nd edition)

Series: Hot Cargo 01

Author: Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: Novella (123pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (April 28, 2010)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3 1/2 Hearts

Blurb: A Hot Cargo Story

When the Starfire is struck by a mysterious and deadly plague, the captain and crew have no choice but to throw themselves on the mercy of the healers of a nearby, uncharted planet. First Officer Ryan Nelson accompanies the sickest patients to the planet’s surface, where he is put under the supervision of Juo-ta-ri, an apprentice to one of the healers who is helping the crew. The two have barely begun to explore the chemistry between them when Ryan’s body betrays him and he falls ill as well. Now it’s a race against time to see if Juo can bring the fever down before Ryan’s hallucinations kill him.

First Edition published in the Dreamspinner Press anthology Size Matters.

ISBN-13: 978-1-61581-408-4

Product Link: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: The ship Ryan is on is struck by a deadly plague. They contact an unknown planet and ask for help. The angel beings on the planet agree to help and collect the sick to care for. Juo is a healer and takes Ryan in when he comes along with the sick. The two grow closer together but Ryan comes down with the plague.

While I liked the overall story I was honestly expecting more explanations about the disease and where it comes from plus the actual treatment of the crew but the story focused on Juo and Ryan. It felt more like a regular contemporary story to me.

It was an o.k. read.

Stronghold by Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna Guest Post & Excerpt!

Nickie Bennett & Ariel Tachna - Stronghold Banner

Hi guys, we have Nicki Bennet & Ariel Tachna popping in today with their upcoming re-release Stronghold, we have a brilliant guest post and a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~

Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna - Stronghold Cover

Stronghold

(All For Love 03)
by

Nickie Bennett & Ariel Tachna

“Are you surprised that strength is drawn to strength?”

For the last six years, the gypsy healer Raúl has lived a life he never dreamed possible. Gerrard Hawkins has stood at his side, his love a source of silent strength like nothing Raúl has ever known.

When a letter from Gerrard’s estranged father forces them in separate directions—Gerrard back to England to make peace with his family and Raúl to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for his annual pilgrimage—Raúl expects to suffer for their parting, but he holds on to their plans to meet again in France when Gerrard has satisfied his father’s demands.

Gerrard left England never expecting to return, especially after he pledged his life and love to Raúl. Yet he cannot dismiss his father’s offer of peace without some acknowledgment. When he arrives in England to find tragedy, his sense of duty toward his family’s tenants wars with his promises to Raúl.

As tensions mount and illness spreads in France, Raúl stands as a bastion of hope, but his strength is not limitless. Gerrard is the rock he leans on, and without that strength, Gerrard’s arrival in France may come too late.

Release date: 28th November

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The Cattle Baron's Bogus Boyfriend by Nicki Bennett ~ Audiobook

nicki-bennett-the-cattle-barons-bogus-boyfriend-audio-coverTitle: The Cattle Baron’s Bogus Boyfriend

Series:  Dreamspun Desires

Author: Nicki Bennett

Narrator: Rusty Topsfield

Genre: Contemporary, Cowboy

Length: 5 hrs, 15 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (8 July 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: It might be a sham to his boss, but it’s all too real to him.

Administrative assistant Jonah Hollis has nurtured a hopeless crush on his boss, millionaire cattle rancher Lincoln Courtwright, ever since he started working for him. But hope is kindled when Linc and beautiful rodeo star Melissa Cutler break up just weeks before the biggest event of the Dallas social season, the Cattle Baron’s Ball, and Linc asks Jonah to accompany him in her place.

Is it all a ploy to make Melissa jealous? Can Jonah fit into Linc’s world? It takes some encouragement from his roommates and his best friend, Caylee, for Jonah to agree. Before long, Jonah dares to believe Linc might just feel something for him, until interfering family and a series of misunderstandings threaten his fragile dream of happiness.

Product Link: Audible USAudible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: The Cattle Baron’s Bogus Boyfriend by Nicki Bennett is an installment in the Dreamspun Desires series (all books are standalone, by different authors and totally unrelated). I have to admit, that I actually read this one some months ago when it came out, but snapped up the chance to hear the audio because it was such a sweet and delightful story.

This also happens to be the second book I’ve heard narrated by Rusty Topsfield and I have to say. If the next narration is like the first two, Rusty Topsfield will become an instant favourite to listen to and would consider a book based on his narration alone. At the moment that list for me of favourite narrators only has John Solo and Nick J Russo. Rusty Topsfield is a versatile narrator and manages to come through with the necessary emotion and strength required of many characters.

Much like the first time I read The Cattle Baron’s Bogus Boyfriend, I was drawn immediately because I immediately recognized it as something I would see in such Harlequin/Mills and Boon plot. In fact, I think I have read at least three MF stories from Harlequin where millionaire cowboy/cattle baron falls in love with his PA (though in the MF scenario, the PA always ends up pregnant and unless this was paranormal M-preg, I don’t see that happening here, lol). This book, for me, was as enjoyable to listen to as it was to read.

It was everything that I expected and hoped for and I absolutely loved it. Even the drama at the end, because of course there is miscommunication, is straight exactly what you’d see in many other romances, though doubtless readers will be thinking “that does not seem real, wait and talk, damnit!” The story follows Jonah Hollis, the administrative assistant to cattle and oil, Texan millionaire Lincoln Courtright. He also happens to be gay and has a hopeless crush on his boss, despite the fact that Linc has a girlfriend. But when Lincoln’s relationship breaks down, Jonah finds out that things are not always what he thought they were and his billionaire boss, if nothing else, to form a friendship with Jonah.

There is a rather quirky cast of supporting characters, all of whom are a joy – I particularly love Jonah’s BFF Caylee and his BFF in Texas, Wes. I would love a story for Wes and Linc’s foreman. Wes is one of those minor characters that take on a life of his own without taking away from the main characters. The end, while satisfying is also insanely cute. I absolutely love it, all the loose ends are tied together and the important people in both Jonah’s and Linc’s lives are involved. This is the type of story that will give you a goofy smile.

All for One by Nickie Bennett & Ariel Tachna Guest Post & Excerpt!

nicki-bennett-and-ariel-tachna-all-for-one-fbbanner_dsp

Hi guys, we have Nicki Bennet & Ariel Tachna popping in today with their upcoming re-release All for One, we have a brilliant guest post and a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~

nicki-bennett-and-ariel-tachna-all-for-one-cover-s

All for One

(All for Love 02)
by

Nickie Bennett & Ariel Tachna

Aristide, Léandre, and Perrin pledge only three loyalties in life: their king, their captain, and their passion for each other. So when the musketeers discover a plan to accuse M. de Tréville of treason, the initial impulse to kill the messenger, Benoît, is tempered by their need to unmask the plotter. But their first two suspects, the English ambassador and Cardinal Richelieu, prove to be innocent, forcing the musketeers to delve deeper into the inner machinations of the French court.

Meanwhile, Aristide finds himself falling in love with the ill-fated messenger, a blacksmith without a home who rouses all of his protective, possessive instincts. Benoît, however, has no interest in any man. Torn between desire and duty, Aristide must find a way to protect the king and clear his captain’s name—all while heeding the demands of his heart.

Release date: 23rd September 2016

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Checkmate by Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna Guest Posts & Excerpt!

Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna - Checkmate Banner

Hiya peeps, we have Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna stopping by today with their upcoming re-release Checkmate, we have a brilliant guest post from both Nicki & Ariel where they chat of having one brain between them… er sharing a brain & writing together, and there’s a great excerpt. So check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~

Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna - Checkmate Cover s

Checkmate

(All for One 01)
by

Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna

When sword-for-hire Teodoro Ciéza de Vivar accepts a commission to “rescue” Lord Christian Blackwood from unsuitable influences, he has no idea he’s landed himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate King Philip IV of Spain and blame the English ambassador for the deed. Nor does he expect the spoiled child he’s sent to retrieve to be a handsome, engaging young man.

As Teodoro and Christian face down enemies at every turn, they fall more and more in love, an emotion they can’t safely indulge with the threat of the Inquisition looming over them. It will take all their combined guile and influence to outmaneuver the powerful men who would see them separated… or even killed.

Release Date: 25th July 2016

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Under the Skin by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

Title: Under the Skin

Author: Nicki Bennett & Ariel Tachna

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Length: Novel (196pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (5th September 2011)

Heat Level: Scorching/ Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Police detective Patrick Flaherty has no illusions about Russian mobster Alexei Boczar, but that doesn’t stop his fascination with the bodyguard to one of the most ruthless families in Chicago’s growing Eastern European crime community. From the moment Patrick meets Alexei’s eyes over the body of another Russian mobster, Alexei is a thorn in Patrick’s side, refusing to cooperate with the police and turning all of Patrick’s questions back on him. Alexei’s hard-as-nails persona whets Patrick’s professional determination to get the information he’s sure the gangster is hiding, while personally Patrick just wants to get his hands on Alexei’s hard body.

The tattoos marking Alexei’s skin tell the story of his criminal past, but the more Patrick learns about Alexei, the more he wants to know, until he finds himself over his head in a relationship that might cost him his job and could well cost Alexei his life. Alexei is equally fascinated by Patrick’s willingness to overlook his past and even his present associations, but he has secrets of his own that could drive a wedge between them forever.

Review: Patrick is a detective who has done something incredibly stupid…he’s fallen for a mobster.   If anyone ever found out it wouldn’t be just his job in jeopardy, it could also mean his life. Alexei lives his life in shadows, secrets and purpose but now a police detective is cracking his shell.

I thought this book was brilliant, the chemistry between these two men was off the charts; they can’t stay together but they can’t stay apart; both of them wishing for something that can never happen because no matter what, one will always be police, the other vor (Russian mobster). The twist and turns of this book was fascinating, the storyline rock solid and the characters were well put together, we get brief glimpses of Alexei’s past and it is not pretty but we do get to understand what is driving the Russian. Even though Patrick is in love with the big lug he does not compromise his work ethic, he might bend it but not break it.

There are hot and plentiful sex scenes, there is danger, mystery and suspense, and there is soul searching, heart break and doubts.  There is joy, love and happiness and most of all you sit there and wonder how, how can these two men from such opposite sides make this work.   How can they overcome the obstacles between them to be together? and even when you start to feel hope as secrets come out you know that nothing for these two men will be easy.

So what would I recommend….hot sex, mystery, danger, suspense….do I really need to go on, this is a must read book.