Friday, 24 February 2017


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To the Studs
Bound by Design #1
By: Roxanne Smith
Releasing February 21, 2017 
Lyrical Shine
In To the Studs (Bound by Design  #1) by Roxanne Smith, Neve Harper believes that her neighbor, Duke Kennicot, is attracted to men and he hasn't bothered to tell her otherwise. So, when Neve sets her sights on Duke's boss instead, Duke is willing to help her by becoming her partner in renovating the man's cabin in the Ozark mountains. Except what starts off as Duke offering his help, turns into so much more, especially when secrets come to light that could hurt the friendship they've built. Can Neve forgive Duke so they can have a shot at happy ever after, or will they lose the one person that's come to mean so much to them?
When I started reading this book, I didn't like the heroine. She was too direct and too harsh in the way she spoke to people, and she really annoyed me. But the more I read, the more she began to win me over, even if she was too honest at times and tactless in her delivery of getting her point across. However, in saying that, she has good reason to be the way she is. She's been lied to too many times to give anyone a chance and I could understand why she doesn't let anyone get too close.
As for the dialogue, it was intense due to the main characters back stories, the obstacles they face on their journey to happy ever after and what happens at the end to one of the main characters. There are secrets that someone is desperate to keep hidden. Will Neve and Duke learn the secrets before it's too late? However, there was also some really good banter between the hero and heroine that I loved. Duke doesn't allow Neve to get away with everything she says to him and isn't afraid to call her out on things if she goes too far, which she does when she embarrasses Duke's boss. Also, I liked that the hero finally stood up to his ex-wife and didn't allow her to get away with what she was doing anymore. I felt sorry for the dog as well as the hero and I liked that Neve helped him deal with his ex, because the woman was taking advantage of Duke when she didn't have the right to. 
Overall, I did really end up enjoying this story, encompassing a wonderful hero that deserved a second chance at love; a heroine with plenty of passion for her career that needs someone in her life to love her unconditionally, no matter how insensitive she could be; and which had a fast-paced plot that ended really well, despite what happened to one of the main characters. But what I liked the most is how Neve realized she was in the wrong and made things right with those she needed to. Moreover, I liked how things turned out for her and Duke, especially once she learned the truth about his gender preference when it came to relationships. Certainly, their growing relationship hits a few snags when she learned the truth, but I'm glad they could overcome the obstacles they faced to get their chance at forever love. I would recommend To the Studs by Roxanne Smith, if you enjoy a story where the hero and heroine have great chemistry because of their banter.

No one says no to fiery but talented home designer Neve Harper—which is how she convinces her elusive neighbor, Duke Kennicot, to help out with her latest renovation job. Not only is Duke a design aficionado, he’s got the inside scoop on the cabin’s owner. And since Neve’s ulterior motive is a romance with the boss, Duke is her ideal wingman. Except from the moment they’re alone in the remote Ozark mountain location, Neve discovers Duke is just as headstrong—and a whole lot sexier—than she ever realized. Duke has always made it clear she’s not his type. Yet the simmering tension between them says otherwise….

Duke had been warned to steer clear of hot-tempered Neve, but his resolve is lessening with every heated exchange—and every smoldering touch. By the time Neve unearths a dangerous, age-old mystery buried on the property, Duke is ready to do just about anything to keep the brazen beauty safe…. 
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Duke waited until Angel Face shuffled into the elevator before rapping his knuckles across Neve’s door. He avoided men around Neve at all costs. Being gay was harder than he’d thought it would be. Was Angel Face superhot? Should he make a smutty comment or smile coyly at his butt as he walked past?
I need gay lessons. Hell of a thing to come to terms with, especially after two years of pulling it off.
Pajama-clad and curled into a ball on her ultrachic sofa, a beige monstrosity set square in the center of the high-ceilinged room atop a thick white rug, Neve didn’t pause in shoving yogurt-covered pretzels down her gullet to bother with a greeting. The scenery didn’t differ—sofa, pajamas, snacks, bad television—but she seemed more subdued than usual.
He sat next to her and snatched the remote from the coffee table. “Just because you renovate and design for a living doesn’t mean there aren’t channels besides HGTV. Why can’t I live next door to a chef? Or a chiropractor. Someone useful.”
“I’m assuming it’s because you were a real asshole in a previous life.”
“Can we watch Survivor, maybe try a movie once in a while?” He swept a lock of his hair over his shoulder and grinned as Neve rolled her eyes.
She’d never hidden her envious love of his hair. “Do you do that on purpose? Play with your hair and wear tight black jeans and T-shirts to torture straight females?” She turned her attention to the flipping channels on the television. “Because I would.”
“Really? If you were a hot lesbian, you’d deliberately entice straight men? That’s brutal.”
“That’s me. Brutal.” Normally, she made proclamations like that with a little more pride.
Duke chewed his lip and looked her over. She had her glossy, coffeecolored hair pulled into a rakish bun on the top of her head, wore her favorite plush robe over plaid pajamas, and one hand steadily ferried pretzels from the bag to her face.
Pretzel crumbs and all, he’d still get hard if he stared too long. Neve joked about converting him, but if she ever made an honest effort, he wouldn’t hesitate to wrap her killer legs around his waist like a bow, wind a lock of her silken hair through his fist, and make good on every vulgar fantasy he’d concocted over the last two years.
Duke shifted to find a more comfortable position in his awkwardly tight jeans, jeans growing tighter with each vivid image popping into his cranium—Neve on her back with her hair fanned out like a dark halo, Neve’s haughty mouth humbled by a moan of ecstasy, his palms on the inside of her thighs, spreading— Jesus Christ, man. I need to get laid.
A Florida native, Roxanne Smith has called everywhere from Houston to Cheyenne home. Currently residing in Roswell, New Mexico, she’s an avid reader of every genre, a cat lover, pit bull advocate, and semi-geek. She loves video games, Doctor Who, and her dashing husband. Her two kids are the light of her life and provide ample material for her writing.

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  1. This sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out. Hopefully, I'll be able to handle the heroine's attitude.

  2. Thank you for sharing your lovely review!