Tuesday 25 April 2017


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By: Jody Holford
Releasing April 25, 2017
Penner Publishing

In Caught Looking by Jody Holford, inheriting a house from her Aunt is the best thing to happen to Frankie Vaughn. Instead of continuing to put on a happy face when she's anything but in living the life of a socialite, Frankie moves to Minnesota only to discover three boys living in the rundown home she's moving into. Will she give the boys shelter and the chance at the life they might not get if they go into foster care, or will her growing relationship with suspended major league baseball player Ryan Walker; a man who has been recently falsely accused of taking drugs keep her from being the wonderful guardian the boys deserve?

Ms. Holford really impressed me with the last book she released, and this book was just as entertaining, fast-paced and a story that captured my undivided attention from the very beginning, because of the changes Frankie is determined to make in her life. She needs to get some space between her and her family, otherwise she'd drown in the fakeness of high society and never escape. Will the small town she's moved to help her find happiness? However, it was from the moment the hero and heroine met that I loved, because Ryan does his best to remain impartial to the heroine, but it's palpable that he's attracted to her and doing his best to fight it.

As for the dialogue, it was well-written and intense due to the main characters back stories, especially that of the hero; and all this couple go through once Frankie discovers the three kids inside her Aunt's house. Ryan is a big time baseball player who has been betrayed by those he should have been able to trust. Will he ever be able to trust another woman? Will he ever be free from his wife and best friend's betrayal enough to play baseball again? Then there's the situation with the three boys Frankie finds in her Aunt's house. They've been through so much, and I could understand why the heroine was so hesitant to make the decision about whether to put them in Foster Care or not. How could she do it when there was the possibility that they'd be separated? Especially when all the boys had were each other.

Both the main characters were well-developed, extremely riveting and I loved every moment they conversed. Frankie wasn't afraid to tell Ryan off when he was being a jerk or acting jealous. Those moments made me smile, especially when they're talking about the state of the house the heroine is moving into and when he gets jealous over another man wanting to spend time with Frankie. I also liked how kind, caring and determined the heroine was to help the three boys, as they need someone like her; someone that won't give up on them.

While Ryan, I felt sorry for him when it came to everything that's happened to him, which forced him to take mandatory leave from his baseball career. The paparazzi are intolerable, forcing him into hiding until everything is sorted. What decision will he make in the end? Will he retire or return to his career? Furthermore, I liked the decisions that Ryan made when it came to his career, his future with Frankie and everything he does for the kids. Really, he's good for them the way he encourages them to follow their dreams, which is proven by what he does for Carter.

Overall, Ms. Holford has delivered a delightful read in this book where Ryan and Frankie have plenty of chemistry. It also delivered moments where I could feel the character's emotions along with them, most especially towards the end with the news Frankie learns. However, in saying that, the way this story ended was perfect, as Ryan was determined to win Frankie back by any means necessary. Does the saying 'a way to a woman's heart is through her stomach' ring true? Is Frankie happy about what Ryan has done to prove he wants to be with her?

And lastly, the epilogue warmed my heart, because of the tight bond Frankie and Ryan still have with the three boys, despite what happened. The boys certainly have the hero and heroine wrapped around their little fingers. I would highly recommend Caught Looking by Jody Holford, if you enjoy books by authors Jennifer Shirk, Victoria James, Sonya Weiss or Coleen Kwan.

Sometimes loving enough means letting go…
Major league baseball player, Ryan Walker, takes a mandatory leave of absence to escape the paparazzi and the false drug charges against him. All he wants is a little peace of mind out in the middle of nowhere.

Eager to rid herself of the empty socialite life, Frankie Vaughn moves to a rundown home in Minnesota that she inherited from her aunt. But Frankie is shocked at what she discovers inside: three young boys. When Ryan discovers that Frankie, his new neighbor, has taken on the three homeless kids as her own, he has a new hope for humanity.

Despite how easily and lovingly Ryan takes to Frankie and the boys, his past just might be the reason Frankie can't adopt the boys. Now, Ryan must choose between loving them or letting them go. Can he walk away from what he's been looking for all along?

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As he edged near the property line, he caught sight of toned, shapely legs swinging from the branch of a tree. His neighbor was doing pull-ups. On a tree.

“What the hell are you doing?” Ryan said the words to himself, his finger sliding off of the trigger. Frankie hadn’t heard him. Her earbuds’ cord was connected to the iPod strapped to her arm. He repeated his question, louder, and she startled, dropping from the limb she’d been holding. Pulling her earphones out, she smiled and gave a surprised laugh. Lust curled tight in his stomach at the sound. Which pissed him off since he didn’t need more complications in his life.

“Hey. Didn’t see you there, neighbor.”
She wiped the sweat off her brow with the back of her hand. Strands of hair were escaping the ponytail sitting high on her head. She put her hands on her hips, gulping in air, still smiling. His eyes roamed over the tone and definition of her arms. Arms weren’t supposed to be a turn on. They were just something to have wrapped around you. Along with legs. But legs were a turn on. Still, he couldn’t take his eyes off of her arms. They led up to sleek shoulders and a graceful collarbone. When his eyes met hers, she was grinning and he knew he’d been caught looking.
“You’re doing pull-ups on a goddamn tree?”
“Um, it’s my tree,” she said, looking back and forth between him and the tree. Small as she was, the tree didn’t look like it could hold its own branches, never mind a person’s weight.
“Actually, it’s smack in the middle of our property line. So stay the hell off it and get a pull-up bar.”
She rested a hand on the bark and smiled at him with something like fire flashing in those blue eyes. Her breath was a bit uneven, but firm. “I’ve never shared a tree with anyone. It feels like a big step.”
He bit back a smile. “Funny. This tree needs to be cut down. It’s rotted.” He kicked at the trunk to show her what he meant.
“Don’t kick our tree,” she said, not even trying to hide her smirk.
“It’s not safe.” Jesus. She was hard to be irritated with. Which, oddly, only irritated him more.
“And as much as I appreciate your neighborly concern, Ryan, I can take care of myself. And our tree. See, my home gym isn’t quite set up yet so I’m using what’s available. If you want, we can work out a schedule for tree use.”
There was as much sarcasm in her stance as in her tone. This time, the grin spread before he could stop it.
“You’re feisty.”
“You’re a jerk.”
“Yeah. But it’s still not safe. I have an extra pull-up bar in my garage. You put it in the frame of a doorway. I’ll grab it and bring it over,” he said, hoping the gesture served as an apology.
Which he was man enough to admit she deserved from him.
Frankie’s eyes widened and she took a step back, wariness overshadowing her amusement.
“No thanks. I’m not ready for visitors.”
He arched an eyebrow. “I wasn’t planning on coming for tea.”
She gave a rough laugh. “I don’t need anything from you, Ryan. I’ll pick another tree. Or do push-ups.”
She backed away, the unease in her eyes fascinating the hell out of him. She didn’t want him over. And not because he was a jerk. She waved one perfectly shaped arm over her head as she went back to her house.

He turned the weed trimmer back on, purposely turning his body in the other direction. He wasn’t going to stand around and watch her go, even across her yard. He’d never watch a woman leave again. Once was enough.

Jody Holford is a multi-published author who has a soft spot for happily ever after. So much so, she tattooed the words on her arm. She’s a mom and a wife, a friend, sister, daughter, teacher, and book-lover. Her stories have a little bit of heat and a lot of heart. And maybe, some swoon-worthy moments that will make you smile.



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