✍🏻 Professor Romance's 4 ⭐️ Read: Erin Nicholas's Sugarcoated ✍🏻

Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I guess this week finds me reading bakery-inspired romance with Katana Collins’s Beefcakes and Erin Nicholas’s Sugarcoated. This is my first foray into the literary world of Erin Nicholas, and I am finding myself hooked with the first book in her Hot Cakes series. If you don’t want to be hooked too, then you’ll want to stay away from Sugarcoated. However, you’ll want to read about the guys of Fluke, Inc, in this series because there is a hero for everyone. 

In Sugarcoated, we follow Aidan and Zoe. These two have known each other most of their lives because Aidan is Zoe’s older brother’s best friend and business partner, and his mother was best friends with her mother. Their past is deeply intertwined. As a twenty-five-year-old virgin, Zoe decides that she wants Aidan to take her virginity and prepare her for any future men in her life. She’s attracted to him, but she only wants his help, or so she thinks. When he spurns her request, it makes her feel foolish, and she believes her request is behind her…until it’s not. Five months later, Aidan is back in town, and he’s come for Zoe. See, Aidan realizes his attraction and interest in Zoe, and he’s back to claim her forever, but he has a secret. He and his partners in Fluke Inc. are also interested in purchasing her competition to her bakery. A life-long rivalry aims to derail Aidan’s plans for his future with Zoe. Will Aidan claim her heart and her virginity, or will his purchase of her competitor, Hot Cakes, burn his future?

In one word, Sugarcoated is sweet. This isn’t a “clean romance” by any means. Both Aidan and Zoe are dirty talkers, and their bedroom antics offer the spice of the story. However, their $exiness is really tertiary to this book. Instead, this is Nicholas’s story of accepting change and finding surprises in life by jumping in first and asking questions later regardless of success and failure. Aidan and Zoe are two sides of the same coin. As Nicholas develops their story, it’s clear that these two sometimes “play it safe” or do what’s “easy” to avoid failure. As the story progresses, we find Zoe taking chances and making herself vulnerable to Aidan even though the price is potential failure. Aidan encourages this in Zoe but fails to do this for himself. This conflict/double-standard becomes the tension of Nicholas’s story. As such, this contemporary romance becomes more sweet than sour. Nicholas allows you to breathe as a reader as Aidan and Zoe quickly troth themselves to each other. There is something comforting about that for this romance. You can simply sit back and be entertained by Zoe and Aidan falling deeply for each other, instead of worrying over some level of desolate angst.

If I had any criticism about Nicholas’s story, it would be its feeling of repetition. Zoe and Aidan seem to cycle around the same issues: Aidan’s want for Zoe to accept Aidan’s purchase of her “competitor” and Zoe’s worry over changes in her life and the need for “surprise” since her life is safe. There is quite a bit of reminding about how long these two have been attracted to each other. If I was a beta reader for Nicholas, I would recommend revising out these constant reminders, as they oftentimes slowed down the story progression. 

For me, Sugarcoated is a set-up for the rest of the Hot Cakes series of standalones. Yes, Nicholas has a prequel for this series on her Facebook page that introduces you to the Fluke Inc. guys. However, Nicholas has also used Sugarcoated to introduce us further to the personalities of Aidan, Cam, Ollie, Dax, and Grant. This is where she will hook you. You want to know more about the dazzling playboy Dax (his book is coming next with Forking Around), the creative, but flighty Ollie, the straight-laced Grant, and the cocky and oftentimes aggressive Cam. This is where Nicholas will grab you and help you push the button on your Amazon preorders for her books. 

If you like friends-to-lovers, brother’s best friend romances, then you will want to read Erin Nicholas’s Sugarcoated. It’s a little bit of sweet, some spice, and a lesson on letting go and accepting life as it comes your way.

In love and romance,

Professor A

✍🏻 Blog Tour & Excerpt Reveal: Roxie Noir’s Best Fake Fiance ✍🏻

BFF - BT banner.jpg

Faking it is easy.

Resisting her?

Impossible.

Best Fake Fiance, an all-new sexy and hilarious single dad romance from Roxie Noir, is available now!

Check out my 4.5 ⭐️ review HERE.rn_bestfakefiance_ebook.jpg

My life has room for exactly two women: my daughter Rusty and my best friend Charlotte — known to everyone as Charlie.

One is a feisty, tomboyish firecracker. The other is my seven-year-old. I can’t imagine life without either.

So when my ex springs a custody hearing on me, I find myself telling the judge that I’m engaged to Charlie.

The only problem? I’m not.

Time to fake an engagement.

Pretending we’re a couple will be no big deal.

We’ve been friends for years. We used to sneak cigarettes behind the bleachers. We turned cans of hairspray into flamethrowers. We got drunk on stolen malt liquor.

She’s beautiful, vivacious, spontaneous, and she loves my daughter to death. It’s the perfect answer: we fake it for a few months, then go back to our lives.

Until we touch, and sparks fly. Until I can’t take my eyes off her. Until I can’t stop thinking about what she’s got on under her coveralls.

It takes one kiss.

One touch.

One shared secret and suddenly, I’m not pretending anymore. I want her, I need her in ways I didn’t know I could.

But there’s a lifetime of friendship between us, and falling in love with Charlie could risk everything.

BFF - AN

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2H59gPQ

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Excerpt:

“This is an intervention,” Eli says.

“For what?” I ask.

“For kissing,” Seth says, taking his place next to Eli, mimicking his stance. “Y’all are terrible kissers.”

Several thoughts all trip through my brain at once. Heat flushes my face. I take a step back.

“Neither of us is kissing you, Seth,” Daniel says, also crossing his arms over his chest.

“Don’t speak for the lady,” Seth says, suddenly grinning.

Next to me, I can feel Daniel’s whole body go rigid.

“The lady’s not kissing you either,” I say before Daniel can say anything.

“No one is here to kiss Seth,” Eli says, shooting him a look. “We’re here to help you kiss each other, because I’ve seen puppets kiss more convincingly than you two.”

A quick flutter of anxiety moves through my chest, waving through me like wind through a wheat field.

“What puppets have you been watching?” I ask, after a second.

“You can find some real weird stuff on the internet,” Daniel offers.

“Spoken like an expert,” says Eli.

“He’s not the one who brought up puppet porn,” I say. “Apparently, you’ve been watching—”

“Everyone quit talking about your perversions and focus,” Seth says, raising his voice. “No one is kissing anyone, except that you—” he points at Daniel, “are kissing her—” he points at me, “because you need people to think you’re actually engaged.”

The flutters are only getting faster, stronger, a gale force wind through the wheat fields because I really do want to kiss Daniel and I really don’t want to do it in front of his brothers, presumably while they shout helpful make out tips at us.

“They’re Eli’s perversions,” I say. “I’ve never even seen—”

“No one is leaving this room until you stop talking about puppets fucking and start kissing,” Eli says, firmly planted in front of the door.

Daniel just sighs.

“Is this because of yesterday?” he asks.

Despite being trapped in an attic and being told to kiss me or else, he’s somehow the calmest person here right now because of course he is. Daniel’s always the calmest person around.

“Yes,” Seth says.

“Obviously,” Eli confirms at the same time.

“I’d be the world’s shittiest brother if I saw that travesty and didn’t do something about it,” Seth goes on. “You,” he nods at Daniel, “have somehow gotten yourself into a ridiculous situation where you need to convincingly make out with her,” he nods at me, “to keep custody of your daughter, and you,” he nods at me again, “have inexplicably agreed to this farce. I agreed to do your taxes, by the way.”

“Thanks,” I say.

“And by God, Daniel, I’m not letting Rusty move to Colorado with the progeny of a demon and a swamp beast, so you better shut up and kiss Charlie.”

“No one kisses normally in front of cameras,” Daniel says. “Look, we kiss just fine. Yesterday there was a photographer saying something, practically everyone we knew was there—”

“Is it just me, Seth, or do those sound like reasons to practice?” Eli says, turning to his brother. “Call me crazy, but maybe they should get better at kissing in public instead of just hoping it never happens again.”

“I do believe you’re correct, Eli,” Seth says. The two of them are talking like they’re in an infomercial, and it might be the most irritating thing I’ve ever heard. “And since they’re not leaving this room until you and I are satisfied, they may as well get—”

“Fine,” Daniel finally says, then unfurls his arms and looks over at me. “Sorry,” he says, his voice softer, gentler.

“They do kind of have a point,” I say, even as my insides twist. “Yesterday wasn’t great.”

Finally, Daniel half-smiles, and he smiles at me, not his dumbass brothers, runs one hand through his hair in his nervous-and-trying-not-to-show-it gesture.

“It was pretty bad,” he admits.

“You jammed your nose into my eye,” I say, laughing.

“You bit my chin,” he teases.

“You—”

Eli clears his throat obnoxiously.

“Come on,” Seth says, spinning a finger in the air in the universal can we get a move on gesture.

I take a deep breath, turn to Daniel, quiet the flutters, and look up into his sky-blue eyes for a split second.

Then we kiss.

About Roxie

I love writing sexy, alpha men and the headstrong women they fall for.

My weaknesses include: beards, whiskey, nice abs with treasure trails, sarcasm, cats, prowess in the kitchen, prowess in the bedroom, forearm tattoos, and gummi bears.

I live in California with my very own sexy, bearded, whiskey-loving husband and two hell-raising cats.

Connect with Roxie

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http://roxienoir.com

✍🏻 Release Blitz: Read D. Kelly’s Dating Roulette Today! ✍🏻

🔥 DON’T MISS THE SUMMER’S HOTTEST BEST FRIEND ROMANCE!!

D. KELLY’S DATING ROULETTE IS AVAILABLE NOW! 🔥

There’s only one rule – Don’t commit a dating sin.

Bexley

Seven Dates.

Seven chances to win my heart.

It’s not hard –

Don’t put ketchup on your eggs.

Don’t wear tasseled loafers.

For the love of all that’s Holy, don’t ogle the waitress.

See? Simple…

Yet no one can get it right.

Tristan

Dating Roulette.

It’s Bexley’s game.

Correction – it’s her life.

A constant rotation of dates.

You might get one; you might get seven.

No one has ever gotten to eight.

There’s only one rule –

Don’t commit a dating sin.

I’ve watched for years and bided my time.

Now, it’s my turn to play.

And I play to win.

START READING DATING ROULETTE TODAY!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/33gENI4

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2xzkSFy

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

“This story is one of the most romantic I have read in a long time!” –Words We Love By Blog

“I can’t even with this book. Talk about swooning from start to finish.”–OMGReads Blog

“It’s sooo sweet, perfect, romantic as hell, intimate and the swoon-worthy anticipation of what might happen is everything you could want in a friends to more romance.” –B.C. Booklover

Bexley,

You’re out of town, but our date is tomorrow. Adam came over tonight and asked me if I’d marry you. Typical random, out-of-the-blue Adam BS. It got me thinking, though, about you and me, and what we’re doing.

We’re taking a huge risk with our friendship, and I can’t help but think that means something greater than either of us are considering. Would we have jumped into this if we weren’t ready for more? After a night full of reflection, I can honestly tell you . . . I wouldn’t have. My feelings for you have been growing for the last ten years. I know we’re not there yet, not at that place in our relationship, or as the case may be, non-relationship since we’re still working through these dates. But I wanted you to know that someday, when the time is right, I will absolutely marry you. In fact, there’s nothing I’d like more.

After date seven, you have to make a choice. To keep seeing me or to move on and start seeing someone else. I’m hoping it will be to keep going, but maybe I’ll have a better understanding of what you want after the third date. After all, that seems to be the defining date in most of your dating cycles.

How about I make you a promise?

Don’t break my heart, and I will never break yours.

D. Kelly, author of The Acceptance Series, The Illusion Series, and standalone companion novels Chasing Cassidy and Sharing Rylee, was born and raised in Southern California. She’s a wife, mom, dog lover, taxi, problem fixer, and extreme multi-tasker. She married her high school sweetheart and is her kids’ biggest fan.

Kelly has been writing since she was young and took joy in spinning stories to her childhood friends. Margaritas and sarcasm make her smile, she loves the beach but hates the sand, and she believes Starbucks makes any day better.

A contemporary romance writer, D. Kelly’s stories revolve around friendship and the bond it creates, strengthening the love of the people who share it. For all things D. Kelly, you can visit her website: http://www.dkellyauthor.com.

FOLLOW D. KELLY:

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/239952459522719/

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Kelly/e/B00J8QGIVC

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The author will be giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card on her FB author page. Please go here to enter —> https://www.facebook.com/dkellyauthor

✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 4.5 ⭐️ Review: Roxie Noir’s Best Fake Fiance ✍🏻

Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

As a relatively new reviewer, I love receiving information about new authors. Roxie Noir is a new author to me, and I was excited to read her newest book, Best Fake Fiance. Now, I have to admit. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the title. It’s not the most original. However, the blurb had me interested in the “friends-to-lovers” and “fake fiance” tropes. I will admit that “friends-to-lovers” is not my most favorite trope to read. It’s pretty far down on my list, but there was something about the blurb that intrigued me:

  • Hot guy
  • Best friend
  • Custody battle

And I was in. 

Roxie Noir’s story surprised me exceedingly. Yes, this is the second book of a series The Loveless Brothers (I will definitely be tuning in for more; I’m thinking Levi Loveless’s book will come next), and I never felt confused, having not read the first book. This is a standalone that simply happens to exist in a series. 

Best Fake Fiance revolves around Daniel, the second oldest Loveless brother, and his best friend, Charlotte, or Charlie. These two have been best friends since they were eleven, so they have lived a lot of life together. In his early twenties, during his irresponsible period, he sleeps with a woman, and she becomes pregnant with his child. Daniel know he has a child until his daughter, Rusty, is nine months old. Growing up quickly, he gains custody of her, and he becomes a great father who holds full custody of her. 

Rusty is now seven years old, and her mother decides to sue for custody. There are several complications with this for Daniel, so he lies to the judge, stating that he’s engaged…to Charlie. After asking Charlie to live out the lie at least until after the court hearing deciding custody is settled, Charlie agrees, knowing it will be difficult but realizing it is necessary so that Rusty can remain with Daniel. What neither of them realizes is their interest in the other and how this arrangement will bring those feelings to the surface. Will Daniel and Charlie become a real couple? That is the focus of this book. 

From the beginning of Best Fake Fiance, I LOVED Daniel and Charlie, mostly Charlie. Like I said at the outset, I like the “friends-to-lovers” trope, but it isn’t my favorite. Oftentimes, in those stories, one of the characters has more feelings than the other friend, and the character spends most of the story wooing their friend. The one who is being wooed tends to fight his/her feelings, and this puts the friendship in jeopardy. It’s not a bad plot device; it’s just predictable. 

With this story, Noir has done something a bit different. Both of them have repressed feelings of the other. They share a moment in the past that has to be pushed deep because life happens. Neither of them believes they can have a relationship beyond friendship…until they can. And that’s the exciting part of this book. There isn’t the tension of one character liking the other character more and having to spend the story negotiating for a relationship. These two have mutual feelings, but Rusty tends to complicate it. 

As such, together, Daniel and Charlie are the best parts of a relationship. For one, their love is grounded in friendship. Noir makes a point at multiple times in the story to note how Daniel and Charlie simply talk. They genuinely like each other, love aside. Since they have this level of friendship, when the story goes awry (as all good romances do), Charlie and Daniel miss that level of friendship beyond their love relationship. That was my favorite part of reading the story, and I think it’s the genius of Noir in this book. 

Secondly, while Charlie and Daniel complete each other (she’s flighty and unorganized and he’s rational and ordered), together they are funny. There is so much witty banter between these two in and out of the bedroom, and I loved them as a couple in every way. Additionally, since they are opposites, this also sets up the tension. Charlie believes she is too much of a risk; that she is “not enough” for everyone, not just Daniel. And it’s this flaw in her character that drew my heart to her. You can’t help but love her because she is so hard on her self. She is the most likable character in the story even when she makes mistakes. I found myself making notes about her every time she diminishes herself because she struggles to see her power. And her power is there, carefully clutched in Daniel’s heart. Noir makes you fall deeply in love with Daniel and Charlie, and their story makes the “friends-to-lovers” trope work in a way that I personally have yet to read, which excites me. 

Even more, Noir’s style is interesting. She has a way of putting words on the page that isn’t redundant and repetitive to other authors. I found myself appreciating the images she creates in the ways she characterizes the people in her story. We get a strong sense of Daniel and Charlie, but she also continues to characterize Daniel’s family. I asserted at the beginning of this review that I believe Levi’s story will be next. That comes at the way Noir took the time in this story to give us a sense of Levi. And he isn’t the only one. We learn more about Eli, Seth, and Caleb too. For me, that’s intriguing because she doesn’t leave the supporting cast as flat characters; Noir takes the time to give dimension to everyone. 

Now, if I had to critique anything in the story, it would be in the handling of the custody battle, namely Daniel’s ex, Crystal. I give kudos to Noir in creating a man who is emotionally responsible for his daughter. As a child of divorce, I too had a Daniel for a parent in my life. My mother had every reason to speak ill of my biological father, but she didn’t for the same reason that Daniel doesn’t: he wants his daughter to love her mother. It’s important that Noir places these words in his mouth and offers up his responsible actions. There is definitely a message here about handling divorce and children’s feelings in more mature ways. However, there were holes in the story as it relates to the custody battle. For one, we never do find out if Rusty knows that her mother is married and pregnant. I would have liked a discussion between Daniel and Rusty to develop this portion of the story more. As well, Crystal doesn’t reenter the story until over halfway through the story. I kept waiting for her to wreak more havoc on Daniel’s life, requesting more visitation time or rescheduling times with Rusty earlier in the story. I made a comment in my book, wondering where she was. A few chapters later, Rusty has a visitation with Crystal, but I think this battle should have been intertwined earlier in the story as Daniel is developing his feelings and relationship with Charlie. Again, that’s my only big critique of the romance. 

Roxie Noir’s Best Fake Fiance is the best of the fake fiance/friends-to-lovers story tropes. Honestly. I didn’t intend to go into this book thinking that I would love it as much as I did. This is really a story about wanting and getting something more than you think you deserve. It’s also about making the best decisions for children even when parents aren’t together. Between Daniel’s and Charlie’s big hearts, this book has so much soul that I am looking forward to the “heart” of Noir’s other books in the series.

In love and romance,

Professor A