Review: Seducing the Playboy (Hot Nights, Book 2) by Amanda Usen

Seducing the PlayboyReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.

Roman Gallagher has a visit from Jenna Cooper. The reader at this point is treated to a scene of instant combustion. I feel that this book should come with a warning – it’s going to make you hungry. And if you love to cook, you may want to get out some of your favorite recipes. I can see gaining weight with this book – picture reading this story in a bakery or sitting outside of a restaurant.

One thing that I absolutely loved about Jenna was her attitude. I could almost picture her sticking her tongue out. And Roman is a man who knows how to cook. And what I love about Roman’s character is that he doesn’t stand a chance against Jenna’s will.

Our author shows her readers that there are all different types of hunger and she definitely knows how to feed that need. She also does a great job of seducing and teasing her readers. There’s just enough to get a reader’s imagination flowing. And then there are the fantasies. The sad part is that you can get this book read in one day. I’m glad to see this is a series. Into The Fire is the first book of the series should you need to get caught up. Another sad part is that I can’t find anything about book three. We’ll just have to be patient.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Seducing the Playboy (A Hot Nights Series Book) (Entangled Brazen)

Who Hasn’t?

LusciousGuest blog by Amanda Usen, author of Luscious

Have you ever just wanted to start over? Walk out the door and never come back? Get in the car and not tell anyone where you are going or when you will be home? Hop on a bus? A train? A cruise ship?

Perhaps a better question would be: who hasn’t?

I am the first to admit that I married a nearly perfect guy. Not only does he support my writing career, he cooks, cleans, adores the children and is more fun than a barrel full of puppies. I keep my trap shut when my friends are complaining about their husbands. What am I going to do? Make something up?

And yet…all that perfection is a lot to live up to. When I write all day and don’t touch the dishes and the laundry, sometimes my husband comes home from work and starts cleaning. Am I delighted? Nope. I feel guilty. Angry. Like a failed housewife. Naturally, I pick a fight with him for the perceived criticism. And he fights back by saying he doesn’t mind doing it, so why do I care if he does it? Now some would call him passive-aggressive and others would label me certifiably insane. My point is this: even stable marriages aren’t seamless. I’ve sat on the front steps and gazed down the street, daydreaming about what it would be like to walk away to a new life. I’d never do it—because I’m NOT certifiably insane. I just have a few issues, like most people.

At this point, let’s add the fact that I have three kids, six pets and four part-time jobs. It’s not my husband I want to escape. It’s my to-do list. I adore my life and everyone and everything in it. I’d never walk away, not when I have Olivia, the recently-divorced chef heroine of my new book, Luscious, to do it for me! She did not have a perfect marriage. Her husband cheated on her a zillion times and nearly ruined her restaurant because he was such a lousy cook. If you’ve read Scrumptious, you know exactly why Olivia is ready to run—her marriage is over, she hates her job and her two best friends have fallen in love with each other. She plans to quit her job, sell her house and get lost in Europe, but first she has to go to Italy and tell her parents she doesn’t want to run the family restaurant anymore. I channeled my own frustrations to write Olivia, and then I gave her a vacation. With the freedom to do some soul searching, Olivia rediscovers her cooking mojo. With her longtime crush Sean Kindred along for the ride, Olivia finds romance. But will any of her epiphanies translate to rebuilding her real life? Or will it all go up in smoke?

For me, that’s the beauty of reading or writing a romance. I can take a vacation from my own frustrations and live someone else’s life for a while. I’ll suffer their troubles, and my own problems will seem trivial in comparison. Since it’s a romance, it will end happily, and I can return to reality with a sense of optimism. Or maybe I’ll fall in lust with the hero and want to have make-up sex with my husband. That works for me, too. This is not to say that reading romance novels can solve marriage problems! Remember, I’m the first one to admit I lucked out in the husband lottery. Many of our “problems” are caused by me, and cooling off with a book is how I work my way around to a sincere apology. A glass of wine works sometimes, too. Or a snack. All three at the same time is my idea of a vacation, since I can’t take off for Italy like my character, Olivia.

Amanda UsenI’m a simple woman – books, beverages and food put me in a better frame of mind. Although it is smooth sailing in marriage land right now, I’m about to dive into “Can’t Buy Me Love” by Molly O’Keefe. My beverage of the moment is Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay, a wine I helped harvest while doing research for Luscious, and I’m eating as much grilled bruschetta as humanly possible. What about you?

GIVEAWAY: For the chance to win a copy of Luscious, tell me what you are reading, drinking or eating…because I’d never ask you to dish on your relationship! (Contest open to US and CAN. Ends August 7, 2012.)

Buy: Luscious

Why is it so Darn Hot When Commitment-Phobes Make the Commitment?

Guest post by Amanda Usen, author of Scrumptious

Oh, boy. Back in the day, before I met my perfect husband, I never met a bad boy I didn’t want to…date. Emotionally unavailable men were my favorite flavor. The more distant the man, the more I wanted to stand beside him. It started in high school when the uber-cool artistic senior drama dude took an interest, and then gave me my first taste of “it’s not you, it’s me,” a few months later.

I was hooked, so hooked I dated (off and on for THREE YEARS) a psychology major in college who responded to my every legitimate relationship complaint with “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Even my perfect husband appeared to be a bad boy when I met him. I call him my sheep in wolf’s clothing because he tricked me. (Thank goodness.) Oh, yeah, I had it bad. The question is: why?

What is it about the men who don’t want us, the guy we can have for a night but not a relationship, or the one that got away, that enchants us? And why is it so intoxicating when they finally succumb to true love? These questions fascinate me. Although I broke my bad boy addiction and am now unconditionally adored, I still live with the ghosts of boyfriends past. I can’t chase them anymore (marriage will do that to a girl) but I can bring them to life in my characters.

In Scrumptious, I deliberately set out to create the baddest boy of them all, Joe Rafferty. During his two years at Culinary Arts College, he slept with “every available female, a few unavailable ones, three mail clerks, and at least one chef-instructor.” Joe is a traveling chef-for-hire so commitment-phobic that the only thing that could get him to consider settling down is a deathbed command from his mother.

Enter Marlene Bennet, a love ‘em and leave ‘em pastry chef who imagines “a night with Joe would be an experience to remember. Fondly.” When he turns down her proposition, he becomes the ultimate challenge…a man whom everyone has had – but her.

What are the perfect ingredients of a bad boy?

In Joe’s case, he’s tall, dark and delicious. He’s such hot chef hardly anyone can keep up with him on the line. He’s left a trail of broken hearts behind him, so he’s jaded. Most alluring of all, he’s got issues, little holes in his heart just waiting for the right healing touch. In my opinion, that’s what makes a bad boy.

He’s attractive, talented, experienced and hurting, even if he doesn’t know it or won’t admit it – especially if he won’t admit it. If you can get that guy’s attention, then you are special. And if he decides you are the one, then you have triumphed where all else have failed. *Sigh* Triumph is incendiary.

But that’s just my opinion. I’m a sucker for a hot guy with a bored expression and the first one to admit I’ve got a competitive steak. What about you? What do you think makes a bad boy? And why is it so sweet when the “unattainable man” finally commits?

Buy: Scrumptious