Love Least Expectedby Meredith Bond, Aubrey Wynne, Valerie Twombly, Kris Calvert, Nessie Strange, Kishan Paul, Isabella Harper, Michaela Miles, Kat Published 03 Feb 2015
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Nine stories. One happy ending.
Under the Mango Tree - Meredith Bond
Lakshmi is a good 18th century Indian girl who should not be avoiding her chores and enjoying a mango while hidden amongst the high branches of the mango tree in her mother’s garden. She truly should not be seen by a man who is not a member of her family—an Englishman, no less. And she absolutely should not even contemplate speaking with this man. But Lakshmi has never been one to follow the rules. This time, though, it could ruin—or make—the rest of her life.
Rolf’s Quest - Aubrey Wynne
Baron Rolf Arbrec, the royal wizard for King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, is burdened with a centuries–old quest to free his descendant, Merlin. To lift the enchantment, he must find true love without the use of magic or deceit, something that has eluded the male generations before him.
Finding genuine love is no easy task, even for a wizard, If he cannot break the spell and fails his quest, future generations will be deprived of their chance for happiness. When Melissa steps from his dreams and into his arms, he realizes his need for her love runs deep and she is more than just a way to free Merlin.
Lady Melissa Garrick travels to London to meet her betrothed. Along the way, she encounters a man who haunts her dreams and makes her reconsider her destiny. Torn between loyalty to her family and her intense attraction to Rolf, she struggles to remain an obedient daughter. Though she desires him, will she defy her family and turn her back on her betrothed? Or will time run out and Rolf be doomed to a life of discontent and bitterness like his ancestors before him?
Fall Into Darkness - Valerie Twombly
Eli lives by his own rules and bows to no one, even when summoned before the Tribunal Seven. They deem the hunter has lost his humanity and sentence the angel to earth with one mission: find some compassion or be condemned to hell.
Ashley considers herself a freak. With one glance into a person’s eyes, she foresees their death. When an attack brings a handsome stranger to her rescue, she can’t help but be drawn to his steel–blue gaze.
Fate will bring them together but desire could bond them for eternity.
Roses are Wrong, Violets Taboo - Kris Calvert
On the night before Valentine’s Day, floral and greenhouse owner, Alexander Chase Tabeau should be preparing for the biggest day of his family’s business. Instead he’s drowning his sorrows at the Voodoo bar after burying the only real parent he’s ever known—his grandfather, Pops. The rugged and handsome man promised Pops he would get his life together, leaving behind a string of undesirable women and focusing on what was most important—family.
Rose Westwood has always known what she wanted and planned her life down to the tiniest detail. She’s packed up her belongings and is ready to take a new and challenging position with her company as their first female vice president. Not wanting to be alone on her last night in Tampa, she stumbles into what she never planned on—the best night of her life.
With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Rose and Chase spend one night confessing their hopes for the future and their failures of the past. After opening their hearts to one another, the morning after sheds new light on their destiny. Can one night together change them both forever?
Alphabetical Disorder - Katie Stephens
Everyone in Mason’s Circus understands and respects the powers of the resident gypsies—the Romani tribe—and most steer clear of any involvement. But when Susie gets caught in a web of prophecy and magic that brings danger to the troupe, her non–Rom interpretation turns out to be flawed. She pushes aside the man of her dreams to date alphabetically, in the hopes of saving her circus family.
Sam has had his eye on Susie since she joined the company. He’s puzzled by her actions, but not blind to the way she responds to him. A patient man by nature, he battles his need to claim her immediately or allow her game to continue. When disaster strikes, they join forces with their Romani friends to stop the curse before it destroys the circus.
Love’s Not Viral - Nessie Strange
Twenty–four–year–old bartender Aster Sanderson’s life is turned upside down when drunken Hollywood actor Bradley Stone snaps a picture of her...and tweets to his 12.8 million followers that she’s his fiancee. As the internet blows up with the news and gossip flies out of control, she’s left feeling helpless. This has to be a misunderstanding, right? But when the actor in question shows up on her doorstep, it’s clear he’s unhinged and she soon becomes a prisoner in her own home (literally).
Her savior? Bradley’s handsome—and seemingly normal—older brother, James, who quickly stirs up feelings she never expected. Can they disarm the ticking time–bomb that Bradley Stone has become before any more damage is done? And is their mutual attraction the result of these unusual circumstances...or could it become something more?
Taking the Plunge - Kishan Paul
Since graduating high school, Eve Cambridge has dropped ten dress sizes, became an RN, and dumped her jerk of a boyfriend—all on her own. So when her high school crush shows up in her life, she does what any normal self–reliant woman would do—pepper spray him.
Since inheriting the family plumbing business, Pete Russo has tried to make the best of a career he never planned for. He’s made his share of mistakes, but he’s worked hard to learn from them. Now that he’s run into Eve, he’s not so sure he isn’t making another one. After all, she did almost blind him.
When logic and emotion don’t agree, which path should they follow?
The Trouble with Never - Isabella Harper
Summer McKenzie is starting fresh. With her soon to be ex–husband in another state, she’s ready to start over in her small Texas town. That is, until she runs into the one person that has never gone too far from her memories, or her heart.
Since graduating college, Caleb Davis has planted roots in the form of a thriving BBQ business. He’s got everything he’s ever wanted, except the one woman that he could never have. It’s clear she’s had a painful past, but he wants nothing more than to create a promising future.
Will she let love heal old ones, or will she let her fears push him away?
Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate - Michaela Miles
Eleanor Carrara is angry. At the world, at the people who had her committed to the institution, and at the people holding her captive in it. When the sexy, but calm and stoic Chris becomes a fellow resident of the facility, things begin to change. He taunts her, challenges her, and even makes her cry. But her anger dissolves as she realises he’s the one person who may be able to break through the armour built around her heart.
Christopher Tailor feels nothing. Haunted by the memories of his awful past, he is institutionalised, and utterly alone in the world. Meeting Elle changes everything. She’s conceited, rude, and completely unaware that in some ways she’s just as broken as he is. But something about her gets under his skin. He takes a chance and shares his secret with her.
Falling in love was the last thing Chris and Elle expected. But for them to consider having a future together, they first have to let go of their past and trust the system imprisoning them both.
"Love Least Expected" Reviews
"I'm Here to Clean Your Pipes, Ma'am"
Taking the Plunge by Kishan Paul is surprisingly deep for a novella. It's also sweet and fun.
Eve had a crush on Pete in high school. Her crush intensified when Pete stood up for her against the bullies taunting her for being overweight. Pete didn't have it much easier. He dreamed of attending college and pursuing his own life, but his family's poverty and mother's cancer forced him to follow his father into the plumbing/construction business. Pete dealt with his pain by getting addicted to pain pills.
Fast forward eight years and Eve has dieted her way to a slimmer figure. Pete's also shed unwanted weight by sloughing the drug addiction off his back. Eve helps her uncle by checking on a rental property only to run into Pete the contractor at the unit. And what a first meeting it is -- she pepper sprays him! He doesn't recognize her either because the spray blinded him or she's lost so much weight.
It doesn't appear the two will see each other again until Eve brings her brother Chris to a NA meeting, where they run into Pete. Eve has no idea how to support her brother, but Pete may have some good ideas for her.
I like how the characters' backgrounds unfolded page by page. And the sexual tension between Eve and Pete leaves me with much anticipation! Apparently this story is part of a full-length novel to be published later this year.
I didn't get a chance to read the other stories yet but hope to check them out.
Yes, I read (past tense) a romance book. Nine short stories, to be exact. I know, it is very shocking. Especially for anyone who knows me. This is a genre I just can't even convince myself to like, but every February, as we get ready to celebrate Crap Day (haha), I force myself a little out of my comfort zone, and choose a few short stories that catch my attention.
In this situation, one of the authors (Michaela Miles) contacted me, curious as to whether I would want to give their anthology a try. After reading over each story's synopsis, I noticed that there were a couple in there that caught my eye, and decided to give it a go.
There's actually a little something in here for every romance lover - historical, paranormal, fantasy, southern, and contemporary. And, to be completely honest, they weren't half bad ... for romance.
Under the Mango Tree: This was a nice little love story. I liked the characters and the fact that they both went against what was "right" to be together. And I like the beautiful way Meredith writes.
Rolf's Quest: I am a fan of historical fiction, especially when it has to do with Arthurian legend and British royalty. I liked this one - in fact, I think it was my favorite.
Fall Into Darkness: This was an interesting story, but I could have done without the sex (I would consider this erotica). Unfortunately, it doesn't come to any real conclusion. But she does plan on concluding the story in a second book (and I think I may have to check it out, just to see what happens). I liked the character of Eli.
Alphabetical Disorder: An interesting story - one I quite liked - but the end left me with questions and the epilogue was sex with some discussion of the previous events, which didn't seem to go with the way the rest of the story was written.
Fall Into Darkness: This is another story I would consider erotica, but a good storyline. Only the beginning - another story that doesn't quite end, and we have to read the next one in the series to see what happens, but I am curious to see where this goes.
Love's Not Viral: This story really pissed me off. The Bradley character made me angry with his behavior, and the fact that the police just ignored her plea for help, instead believing she was some crazy woman on her period, really made me want to scream. There was a nice twist, though. Even though I thought the story nicely written, I felt like the thing with James was just a little too easy.
Taking the Plunge: This was a cute story. I liked the connections that they unknowingly had from their past. Hearing his thoughts on what saved his life when he was younger was beautiful.
The Trouble with Never: After ending her marriage and going back home with her best friend, she never expected to find what she really wanted had been there all along. Cute romance.
Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate: This was my second favorite in the book. I really liked how much the two characters grew individually, and together.
Note: I received a copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Please remember that this server is my opinion based on my own personal impression of the book.
I will start with as a whole! I love love it. You can not go wrong here. 9 books some with historical settings, some with paranormal, and some contemporary and romance a plenty! Loved every page and wish there were more box sets out there like this! I would own every one! It has everything I love in romance books!
Under the Mango Tree
What a cute story. I loved it so much. Never read a book set in this area and I am so drawn in. Lakshmi is wonderful and was a joy to read about. Connecting with her was easy and when I first started I didn't think that I would. A great read!
Oh I really loved this one. Wizardry and tales of Merlin! Amazing. I loved the plot here and how the romance built between Rolf and Melissa. A bit suspenseful and a bit of romance in an adventure through the past! A great read!
Fall Into Darkness
Eli's quest to find his compassion is amazing. I love how this story plays out! I just wish it was longer. This one was over too quickly for me! I wanted more here. It may just be my favorite of the collection. Ashley is great and just what Eli needs.
Roses are Wrong, Violets Taboo
Gotta say I love the title. It just pulls you in. A one night stand that leads to so much more! I freaking loved it. One night stands are often hard for many to deal with, add in the fact that you told the other person everything and things can get complicated. I loved this and I will be reading more work from this author in the future.
So much angst in this one. I really feel pulled in here. I wanted Susie to quit pushing Sam away. I loved his patience and how the ending comes together. I this this is a great read and one many will enjoy!
Love's Not Viral
Oh how I loved this one. So great! The plot here is amazing. You would think being the fiance of a Hollywood star would be great! HAHAHA this is just great. I love it and I can not wait to read more from this author. I really can't wait. Aster and James are great and I loved the chemistry between them. A great read!
Taking the Plunge
So cute! This is by far the cutest read in the book. I really liked it and I know many other readers will as well. I loved how the two run into one another. I laughed so hard when Eve pepper sprayed Peter! Best part in the whole book! Great read!
The Trouble With Never
Oh a southern romance! Set in Texas and full of sweet southern love. I freaking loved Caleb and wish there were more men like him. This is quite a read and full of all the great things southern romances have.
Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate
With a title like this you can't go wrong. Now its time to read Elle and Chris's story. I freaking loved it. It is amazing and most definitely my favorite book in this collection. A great collection of stories and this one tops the cake! Such a great read!
If you are in the mood for romance, this book has something for lovers of several genres, and even though they are short stories, most of the tales will lead into future stories, so you might be left wanting more, but your needs will be fulfilled (eventually...) The storytelling of these nine authors is magical and will keep your interest until the very last page.
Under the Mango Tree: This is a cute little tale of two people meeting and being attracted to each other, despite what society thinks is proper. Lakshmi and Huntley should not have even met, yet they are so attracted to the other, they desire to marry. The picture that is painted here is quite vivid. I enjoyed this trip into the past and was delighted to realize the characters were actually the parents of a character in another book. I also enjoy seeing a glimpse at the traditions of another culture and learning how Lakshmi was to be wed, not for love but because of a contract that her father made. This was not my first book read by this author, and will definitely not be my last.
Rolf's Quest: I enjoyed this Merlinian tale. The story is so interesting, easy to follow, very vivid, and wonderfully written. I was transported right into the story. I could feel every breath, caress, flutter in my heart, and the warmth of love right along with the characters. I cannot wait for the continuation of this story! At the end, I exclaimed my happiness. You will fall in love with Rolf and Melissa and wish for their happiness and for Merlin’s curse to be broken. I LOVE ROLF!
Fall Into Darkness: You will love this story and absolutely be angry that it ends where it does.
Things you will love: See the image at the right? That was Valerie’s image of Eli, and that is exactly how you will picture him while reading the story. YUM. She has a way of describing everything that is so visual, you see it all playing in your head like a movie. This story gives you an intriguing twist on angels and how they can mate. You’ll be a bit disturbed at the hellhounds. You’ll also need to change your panties after the steamy stuff. I also loved that Ashley sees how people die when she looks in their eyes, and she doesn’t understand why. Lots of things to love in this short story.
What you will be angry at: The end. Where the story ends will have you throwing things, yelling at your e-reader, and cursing the heavens that there isn’t more… yet. I can’t wait to see more of Eli and Ashley’s story. Will they mate or won’t they? This is a must-read. You might get angry at the end, but it’s a must-read.
Roses are Wrong, Violets Taboo: This was a tasty little number. I enjoyed the quick attraction between Rose and Chase, but I also loved that they didn’t rush right into the sack (I mean, they waited an hour or two). They did actually take some time to talk and learn a little about each other. I would love to read more of their story. I’ll probably never look at a crab leg the same way again. It was a steamy story and left a few questions that I would love to see answered when the story continues. Why was Rose so set on leaving? Will the couple work out? I’m looking forward to the continuation, because they way the story ended left me a little frustrated not knowing for sure that they get their happy ever after.
Alphabetical Disorder: I was so excited to read this story. I love circus tales. The intrigue of the curse was also so interesting. I loved Susie and Sam’s chemistry. I felt like I was under the tent watching what was going on. This was a great romance, and the added mystery of the curse… I flew through the story and was sad to see it end. I’ll definitely be looking for more of Katie’s circus tales. .. wait, I already proclaimed my love for Rolf... I might adore Sam even more. I've already asked the author for more circus tales. So now I'm (im)patiently waiting.
Love's Not Viral: I wasn’t sure what to expect from this story, as the author doesn’t normally write contemporary romance. But I was pleasantly surprised. The premise of the story was great. What would you do if a celebrity decided to announce to the world that you were engaged, even though you only met in passing the previous evening? And for him to show up at your house, with no intent of leaving? How crazy is the guy? Aster is a great girl to read; she is smart, sassy, feisty, and headstrong. When Bradley’s brother, James shows up to save the day, they wind up locked in her bedroom. Could the insanity run in the family or is James a surprising perfect match for Aster? I won’t ruin the tale. It’s a fun read that will have you wondering what you would do in her shoes.
I was not compensated by any of the authors for this review.
When I first started reading this anthology, I thought I would be able to number them in my review from most to least liked. After reading all these wonderful stories, there is no way to do that. I love each one and they are all very different complex stories! I really cannot wait to read more stories with the characters below!
Under the Mango Tree-Meredith Bond
This one pulled me in right away. I have always had an interest in aristocracy, but this was Indian aristocracy and I have never really seen or read any, so it was a mystery to me. I also loved that Lakshmi had a twin brother, so that made the story even more interesting. The description of the Sari's is beautiful. I also loved how they had such an unconvential meeting, it was very realistic.
Rolf’s Quest-Aubrey Wynne
Who doesn't love a story with Merlin in it? In this story he isn't so much of the hero he usually is. I loved Rolf and Melissa's characters, they fit right in the time period. This story is very witty and intelligent, and of course has one of my favorite things: aristocracy!
Fall Into Darkness-Valerie Twombly
I have never read a story about angels like this before. I read this story fast and loved the characters, and all the twists in the story. I wanted more when it was over!
Roses are Wrong, Violets Taboo- Kris Calvert
I really felt for the main character Chase (Alex), he is really having such a hard time. Sometimes it seems when we are at our worst something wonderful happens. This happens for Chase when Rose walks in the bar. Chase is so romantic and there is just no way you couldn't love this guy.
Alphabetical Disorder-Katie Stephens
This story was so cute and witty. Susie is trying to hard to do the right thing, she even sacrifices her deepest desires for her carnival family. The Romani is mysterious and interesting. I would love to read more novels involving the circus, I didn't know carnival life was so interesting!
Love's Not Viral-Nessie Strange
This story was so believeable. An actor is a little off mentally and decides to snap a picture of an ordinary girl, and tell the world they are going to get married! I loved Aster's personality and how she just wanted her life, even if it was just antique furniture and dying her hair over being with some glamorous actor.
Taking the Plunge-Kishan Paul
I loved this story but not just because the main character had red hair! Eve is a great character, her instincts are believeable. The thoughts she has in her head are thoughts most of us have in certain situations. I loved Peter too, he went through so much in the story. It's a beautiful will they? won't they? story!
The Trouble With Never-Isabella Harper
Of course I loved this story too, since it took place in Texas. I thought it was so cute that Summer's love interest has a BBQ business, and she's considering opening a bakery. They are perfect for each other! However, her ex-husband did a lot of damage to her. This story is a good reminder to not stay with anyone who controls you and makes you into someone other than yourself.
Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate-Michaela Miles
This story was different and I loved it. Eleanor is in the mental hospital and she meets Christopher. You may want to have chocolate nearby while reading this story, since Eleanor has links to a big Chocolate chain! It was the perfect story to end this wonderful anthology on.
So there you have it. I recommend this anthology to everyone (18+). If you are single (like me) go ahead and read it! This will get you in the Valentine's Mood even if you don't want to be! It will put some happiness back in your heart and soul, and give you a warmth that you may need during this weather! If you get this anthology for the 99 cent price, you are in for a very sweet surprise! I will re-read this one for years to come.
This review can originally be found on Olivia's Catastrophe: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/20...
So, in anticipation of Valentine’s Day I day I have picked up a more romantic read! It’s a bit weird to review though, because it was a collection of short stories and excerpts of longer novels… and it is hard to peg a rating on them as a whole! So the rating above is an average score, and now I will write a few sentences about each story individually.
Under the Mango Tree
This was a pretty simplistic story. The characters were simple and the storyline was too. It was about arranged marriage and was a historical fiction. I wanted more of the Indian feel too it (India was where it was set.) 3 stars.
This was a pretty good fantasy, but this is a hard genre to have as a short story. I wanted more world building in it. There was a hint at insta love and a very little love triangle. But I did like Melissa’s courage here. 3 stars
Fall into Darkness
Loved it! Just loved it! I loved the angels that were included, the characters were brilliant and there was a great explanation of everything even though this was purely an excerpt. There is some language and explicit scenes though. Well written. 5 stars.
Roses are Wrong, Violets Taboo.
In here the roles were reversed: it was the girl who wanted a one night stand and the guy who was looking for commitment. I was okay, but pretty much purely an explicit scene with some hint of building characters through hints of difficult lives. 4 stars.
I’m sorry, but I thought this story was ridiculous. I thought the idea was silly and not well explained. And the explicit scene at the end was completely unnecessary and added nothing to the story. 2 stars.
Love’s Not Viral
This was a pretty crazy and unrealistic story plot, but I still loved it. I think the characters were the best bit, and simply how entertaining the story was itself. A bit of language. Aster was not my kind of girl, with her tattoos and piercings, but I loved her anyway. 5 stars.
Taking the Plunge
Such a sweet story, but dealing with some pretty serious themes here, such as bullying, death, cancer and addiction. The characters were well done and realistic and I want to read more of this story! 5 stars.
The Trouble With Never
There was a divorce theme. Nice, clean romance and loved the characters. I see a lot of development in store for them and this was just the beginning of it. 5 stars.
Keep Calm & Eat Chocolate
I thought this story was a bit unrealistic and had a too good to be true ending to it, but I liked it nicely enough. There isn’t much for me to say, but it was a nice story to sum this collection up. 4 stars.