Review of One Night Scandal with Excerpt and Giveaway!

 

Series: The McNeill Magnates #9
Author: Joanne Rock

Publisher: Harlequin Desire

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: September 1, 2018

 

Blurb
One night to remember with the perfect cowboy…
Or one step toward the perfect revenge?
Nothing in Hannah Ryder’s plot included a scorchin’-hot fling with a drop-dead sexy cowboy. Especially when her cowboy turns out to be Brock McNeill—a potential enemy with ties to the man Hannah wants to destroy. When an accident claims Brock’s memory, Hannah is caught in an intricate web of scandal. Falling dangerously for the one man she shouldn’t trust…

 

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SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW

One Night Scandal is the 9th novel in Joanne Rock’s The McNeill Magnets series, but can mostly be read as a standalone except for the inundation of the usual cast of thousands found in series novels. The other thing that is an exception is that there is an obvious story thread being carried over and in this one it’s the existence of a blackmailer who has the McNeill family on tenterhooks.

Regardless, this romance between cowboy Brock and actress Hannah is an enjoyable fantasy that will transport the reader to Brock’s family’s ranch where Hannah is making a movie with a slimy director who took advantage of Hannah’s younger sister, Hope. It’s Hannah’s hope (no pun intended) that she will bring the director down after he makes a move on her or some other member of the production team.

Meanwhile, Brock and his family are dealing with the tension caused by a blackmailer. They suspect that it’s someone affiliated with the movie.

While the POVs of Brock and Hannah are to be expected, a third one is launched with Brock’s half-sister, Scarlet, an actress wannabe. I don’t know if Scarlet has had her own book or if she will have one upcoming (although she seems to be having a solid romance), but giving her a plotline in the novel seems a little out-of-place. Although Scarlet is feisty and interesting, this subplot takes away from Brock and Hannah.

Brock and Hannah are almost like a fairy tale with their immediate, intense attraction, which they act on in a rather steamy beginning. Later, Brock, wanting to date Hannah, invites her to dinner, which ends up being at his house because of security issues. At his dinner, he wears a tuxedo and she a beautiful dress and high heels while feasting on a tasting menu supplied by a gourmet chef. On a ranch. While sipping splendid champagne. So, yeah, this is a wonderful fantasy. (Unless these things really happen on ranches?)

There is some mystery and family drama, which carries the story along. Brock gets amnesia when a fixture falls on him (I thought this would have been engineered by some bad guy, but, nope, just coincidence).

While this is only the second novel of Rock’s I’ve read, I would probably enjoy reading more because she certainly knows how to craft a story to keep the reader turning pages.

If you dream of wealthy cowboys who have been known to dress in tuxedos for a dinner at home, this is your novel. It’s escapist fun with some intrigue.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


rating: 4-butterflies

4 butterflies out of 5 butterflies


 

Excerpt
The cowboy’s voice smoked through her, heating her insides and sending a shiver of
awareness over Hannah’s skin.
Did she want a ride?
Her subconscious was going to have way too much fun tormenting her with that image in her dreams tonight. For now, she needed to stop fantasizing about sexy
Brock, the rancher who turned her inside out with just a handful of words and a
smoldering gaze.
Her legs were still unsteady after whatever it was that had passed between them inside the barn. She’d had meaningful relationships in her past. Men she’d loved. And yet no one had ever given her the sizzling shock to the system that she felt
from being around this stranger. Swallowing hard, she braced herself as she
turned around to refuse his offer.
“That’s okay. I don’t mind walking.” Her voice was soft and breathless when she needed it to be firm and sure. “I, um, could use the fresh air.”
She could also use a new libido. One that wasn’t quite so susceptible to tall, muscular cowboys. It must be because of all the stress she was under with her sister.
She’d latched onto a pleasurable distraction and now she couldn’t quite let go.
Brock folded his arms across his impressive chest. God, his arms were amazing, too.
She wanted to skim her hands up the triceps and over his shoulders. Instead,
she jammed her restless fingers in the back pockets of her jeans along with her
phone.
“You’d probably be fine,” he acknowledged. “You must have walked over here in the dark in the first place, although the moon was higher at that hour, making the path
a lot easier to follow than it will be now.”
She had been thinking the same thing since she didn’t remember exactly where she’d broken through the brush to find the cabin. Nightfall in this part of Wyoming was nothing like it was in Southern California. Here, there was no ambient light of
any kind. Just deep blackness and stars.
“I’ve got my phone,” she argued, although she was beginning to wonder what else might be out there in the wilderness surrounding the ranch lands. She’d heard wolves—or some kind of wild dogs—baying in the distance on the walk over here. “The cabin I’m staying in is just through there.”
She pointed vaguely, trying to see any kind of trail.
“I’m not sure calling someone will do you any good if you meet up with a bear. Or an
elk. Or some other wild animal that wasn’t expecting company at this hour.”
She didn’t want to be foolish. So, in spite of the out-of-control attraction, she figured
the best thing to do would be accept the ride and get home as fast as possible.
And put this encounter out of her mind.
“Is your truck nearby?” she asked, peering around the barn. During the shoot, there’d
been a couple of golf carts and two trucks parked there.
A smile curved that hard mouth of his. Nodding, he relaxed his arms and walked past
her, close enough for her to feel the warmth of his body, close enough for his
sleeve to brush hers.
“My horse is right this way.”
“Horse?”
Her belly flipped.
Not because she minded riding a horse. Only because it implied a proximity that…
A shiver stole over her skin. Her nerve endings danced in anticipation of touching him.
Something her brain knew was a very, very bad idea.
“I—” Her voice wasn’t even there. She licked her lips. Tried again. “I’m not sure—”
“You’ll be fine,” he assured her, holding a hand out for her while he stood next to a dark horse with a glossy coat. “I’ll help you up.” He flipped the ring for her foot
so it was easier for her to see. “Step into the stirrup and you’ll be home in
no time.”
Her heart pounded a chaotic, fast beat. But stalling wasn’t going to get her home any
faster. She understood that much. Willing herself to remain calm, she stabbed
the toe of her tennis shoe through the foothold.
Brock’s hands were quick and efficient as he boosted her up onto the saddle. He didn’t linger. But he might as well have been massaging her naked body for how her
skin reacted under her clothes. Her thigh tingled. Her waist…
She wanted his hands there again. Before she could gather herself or prepare for more, Brock swung up onto the animal behind her. His chest was against her back. Her hips tucked into the cradle of his lap, his strong thighs bracketing hers.
There was no space. No distance. And it felt so good she couldn’t have spoken if she’d tried. The only thing she didn’t like about it was that she shouldn’t like it
so damn much…

 

 

Author Bio

Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at
regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing
community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree
in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing
skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann.
When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite
sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded
sons.
 
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