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Wicked Nights: Men of Discovery Island #2 by Anne Marsh with Excerpt and Giveaway

Good morning and welcome to my stop for the latest release from Anne Marsh:  Wicked Nights, book 2 in her Navy Rescue Swimmer Trilogy.  Please be sure to check out the other tour stops, read on for an excerpt, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win a $25 amazon gift card from Anne Marsh.

Book Review:

Some friendly and not always friendly banter and competition form the basis for this story.  Piper and Cal are cleverly drawn, both with their own issues and things to prove.  They had met one another as children, and now, years later they are renewing their friendship as adults, but it still carries that boys vs. girls tension that is familiar from elementary school playgrounds.  Now all grown up, they have both started to build their lives and careers, Cal after his hitch with the Navy, and Piper’s making a success of her dive business after success in the competition venue.

These two are delightful and cleverly drawn, Piper’s determination and drive to be the best she can and move past her surprisingly well-detailed and developed issues.  Piper is a ‘heal yourself by helping others’ sort of woman, and her determination and willingness to open herself to those emotions and feelings if they will help  someone else is a wonderful trait that shows how burdens shared are burdens lightened.

Cal is the ultimate man’s man: a former SEAL and more close-mouthed and a very competition-driven, goal driven man. The contest with Piper to get both the contract and the ‘director’s chair’ in their sexual antics are the perfect impetus to help him work through his own issues. What he doesn’t realize is that Piper’s commitment, determination and skill are the perfect foil for his own take no prisoner’s approach and the hesitancy that he hides behind that mask of bravado soon develops cracks with Piper’s presence.

These two have an incredible chemistry and banter, and their scenes together are palpably laden with tension, both sexual and competitive and Marsh manages to include moments and situations that feel familiar and give a real sense of the characters.  Their interactions were delicious and fun, and their pairing felt successful and real.  My only complaint was a large portion of the plot was consumed with information about diving, and while interesting it did seem to disrupt the trajectory of their relationship. Overall, this story was unique and fun to read, with characters that I enjoyed and wanted to see happy.

 

Wicked Nights: Men of Discovery Island #2 by Anne Marsh with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Wicked Nights
Author: Anne Marsh
Series: Men of Discovery Island #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Harlequin Blaze
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 224
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Downpour IndieBound Audible

Goodreads


About the Book:

Winner takes it all…off

Former diving champion Piper Clark never loses. Unfortunately, if she doesn't land this lucrative contract, her diving business will fail. Worse still, it will be at the hands of her childhood nemesis, Cal Brennan—six feet of hard, rugged former Navy SEAL. So Piper proposes a wager: whoever loses the diving contract must take orders from the winner…in bed.

Cal needs this contract for his own reasons. A former rescue swimmer, he may be having a few issues with diving since his last mission ended, but Piper doesn't need to know that. Something about her impulsive nature makes Cal rise to the bait, and there's nothing he'd like more than to show Piper exactly what rules are good for.

All bets are on. And someone's about to start playing dirty….

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

Tasty Excerpt

 

Piper was naked.

 

Okay, so, she wasn’t totally naked, but a man could dream.

 

Somehow, he’d timed his arrival at her slip for the precise moment she grabbed the zipper running up the back of her wet suit. Undeterred by his presence—because surely she’d heard him snap her name—she pulled, the Neoprene suit parting slow and steady beneath her touch.

 

Hello.

 

Each new inch of sun-kissed skin she revealed made certain parts of him spring to life.

 

If someone had asked him what the over-under was on his seeing Piper naked, he’d have bet heavily against his spotting so much as a sliver of her bare flesh. If he’d expressed an interest, Piper would have shot him down, hard and fast. After all, she didn’t like him any more than he liked her. Their shared past was proof of that.

 

Even as he reminded himself she’d spent most of their early days trying to either torment or kill him, his eyes were busy. Piper’s arms were spectacular, strong and toned from hour after hour of pulling herself through the water and then back up into the boat. Diving wasn’t for the weak, and she’d had a professional platform-diving career long before the accidental collision five years ago between his boat and her Jet Ski had destroyed her right knee. After she’d rehabbed on the mainland, she’d up and moved full-time to Discovery Island. Island gossip hadn’t shared with him the reasons behind the move, but since he’d come back himself, he had to assume she simply loved the place as much as he did. Now she was looking sexier than any stripper, uncovering skin tanned a rich golden brown from time outdoors. The way she’d braided her water-slicked hair in a severe plait only drew his attention to the deceptively vulnerable curve of her neck.

 

But this was Piper.

 

So dragging his tongue over her skin and tasting all the places where she was still damp from her dive should have been the last thing on his mind. He’d read her the riot act about her careless driving and say his piece about tomorrow’s business meeting. Then he’d go his way and she’d go hers. After all, he’d been back on the island for almost six months and had managed to avoid all but the briefest of interactions with her. They said hello, goodbye (he suspected she preferred the latter) and nodded tersely at each other from across the street. Life was much quieter that way, because Piper invariably did plenty of yelling when she spent too much time around him.

 

The wet suit hit her waist.

 

Neither short nor tall, Piper had medium brown hair, brown eyes and a slim build. Those cut-and-dried facts didn’t begin to do the woman in front of him justice, however. They certainly didn’t begin to explain why he unexpectedly found her so appealing or why he wanted to wrap an arm around her and take her down to the deck for a kiss. Or seven. He didn’t like Piper. He never had. She’d also made it plenty clear he irritated her on a regular basis.

 

So why was he staring at her like a drowning man?

 

And…score another point for Piper. Like many divers, she hadn’t bothered with a bikini top beneath the three-millimeter wet suit. His kiss quota rocketed up to double digits.

 

“Piper.” His voice sounded hoarse to his own ears. Focus. Adrenaline rushed through him, sweat dampening his skin. He forced himself to breathe in, slow and easy. To push his heartbeat down and make the sudden energy pumping through his veins work for him. This wasn’t a rapid rappel down to a crash site to search for survivors or a midnight recon of a hostile-infested beach. Nope. This was Discovery Island, a good place with good people. He was home.

 

Without acknowledging his greeting, she bent over, shoving the heavy suit down her legs and his throat went dry. Game over. Silver earbuds, which explained why she hadn’t answered him, flashed as she shimmied, working the suit off. Like always, Piper was off in her own world, marching to her own beat. Ignorant of his presence, she gave him ample opportunity to admire the longest, sleekest legs he’d ever seen. Her blue-and-white striped bikini bottom was all practicality, although the conservative cut still clung to her butt. Her water-darkened braid slid over her shoulder, and he wanted to fist her hair, holding her in place as he ran his hands up those legs and parted her for his kiss. Which made him a first-class bastard, even if he kept those thoughts to himself.

 

Yeah. But she clearly had more than one advantage on her own side.

 

He didn’t negotiate, he reminded himself. He acted. Decided, he approached the boat, knocking on the side to draw her attention.

 

She jumped, her head swinging around toward him. “If it isn’t my favorite SEAL.” She flashed him a grin as she popped the earbuds out, taking in his soaking-wet jeans and damp T-shirt. “Had a mishap?”

 

She knew precisely what had happened.

 

He dropped down off the dock, onto her boat. Deliberately, he let his feet hit the deck hard, savoring her little flinch. She wasn’t as off balance as she’d made him, but it was something. He’d take every advantage he could get because, Christ, she still wasn’t wearing a bikini top. Instead of covering her breasts or grabbing for a towel, she glared at him as if this whole situation was his fault. She was lucky her slip put her out of the line of sight of the other boaters in the marina and he was the only one who could see her. Piper flashed him, and any thoughts he’d had of being a gentleman flew out of his head. He imagined cupping her soft curves in his palms, rubbing his thumbs over the tips. He’d just bet she was a moaner, and—

 

He jerked his gaze back up to her face. “We’ve got to talk.”

 

 

 

 

About Anne Marsh

I live in Northern California with my husband, two kids and four cats. After ten years of graduate school and too many degrees, I escaped to become a technical writer. When not planted firmly in front of the laptop translating Engineer into English, I enjoy gardening, running (even if it’s just to the 7-11 for slurpees), and reading books curled up with my kids. The best part of writing romance, however, is finally being able to answer the question: “So… what do you do with a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures?”

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