Review: A Merry Christmas with Judy by K. Webster

a merry christmas with judyTitle: A Merry Christmas with Judy

Author: K. Webster

Year of publication: 2018

The heroine: Teacher Judy Hollister

The hero: Teacher Kent Kaufman

The blurb: Baby Jesus is missing! Miss Holland is certain the surly, mean-spirited Mr. Kaufman has stolen him. So, she sets off on a snowy night to take back the most crucial piece of the school play she’s in charge of.

But when the weather takes a nasty turn, she finds herself stranded with the wicked, yet handsome man. He’s every bit the grouch she’s used to seeing each day at school.

Until he smiles.
Until he laughs.
Until he slowly lets her chip away at the icy pieces of his heart.

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: Teacher Judy Hollister is leading the school Christmas play, but when she can’t find the plastic baby Jesus for the manger, she’s on a mission to find it. Told by her fellow teachers that Kent Kaufman, the history teacher who never smiles or interacts with his colleagues, has stolen it, she decides to drive to his home that very night and retrieve it.

She’s lucky to make it there in the snow, and when she gets stuck in the snow outside Kent’s house, he comes out to rescue her. He’s not happy with her showing up uninvited; he’s locked himself away from the world since losing his wife and child five years previously. But the beautiful Miss Hollister is making him feel things he hasn’t felt in a long time, and when she’s forced to remain at his home because of the snowstorm that hits, he has no choice but to interact with her. Will Judy finally melt the ice that’s encased his heart for so long?

A sweet Christmas story set in 1967, this novella is perfect if you want something holiday themed that won’t take long to read.

Review: Cold Cole Heart by K. Webster

Cold Cole Heart FRONT ONLYTitle: Cold Cole Heart

Author: K. Webster

Year of publication: Out today! I was kindly given a copy to read and review

The heroine: Natalie Dusana

The hero: Cole Heart

The blurb: I once was a hero. Until she kept me as her captive, tortured me, and killed my brothers.

She bred a monster.

Nothing could stop me from seeking revenge. But it was over so quickly—her easy death a mercy she didn’t deserve.

For a decade, the burning rage of what she did has transformed into something uncontrollable. Something I want to feed. Something I crave to unleash.

I want to make her pay. Over and over and over again.

Finding the evil, spoiled women sates my ravenous, vengeful soul. I hunt. I capture. I destroy. Slowly. So slowly. One, two, three, four, five… And now six.

I’m wicked and sadistic. I am Cold Cole Heart. My mission is death and their payment to me has come due.

Number six thinks she is different. Yet when I look at her, I see them. She will pay. They always do.

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: Ten years ago, Captain Cole Heart and his team were captured by Egyptian royalty. The woman, Anta, and her brother held them hostage. Beat, assaulted, starved and tortured them until they died, one by one. Of the six SEALs captured, only Cole Heart survived. He managed to escape and slay them all, including Anta.

In the present day, Cole is suffering from severe PTSD. He is made to see a psychiatrist, whom he is having sex with, and he’s able to slip out of her office and stalk women. He sees Anta everywhere; she lives inside other women, and he will have his revenge on her. She died too quickly by his hand; he never got to torture her, like she did him.

He’s already kidnapped, assaulted, murdered and buried five women in the backyard of his secluded home, one for each of his lost brothers. He just needs one more, for him. When he spots her, the woman who looks like Anta, he stalks her for a few months. Eventually, he manages to coax her into his van, where he drugs her.

Twenty-year-old Natalie Dusana has gone from one nightmare to another. Her late mother was a famous actress and left Natalie everything in her will, but after her murder Natalie was taken in by her uncle. When he dies, his adopted son, Alan – Natalie’s cousin – decides he wants the money for himself, so he keeps her prisoner, coaxes her into a sexual relationship, and then turns on her, abusing and violating her. He’s a successful lawyer, looking to be a politician, so nobody will believe Natalie if she goes for help. She tells herself she can make it to her birthday, and then she’ll take the money and run.

But unfortunately for poor Natalie, she’s been taken by Cole. He tells her from the beginning he’s a monster who will kill her, but she knows from her years of living with Alan’s abuse that her best chance of survival is to placate him. She realises pretty quickly that Cole is traumatised, suffering from delusions, and she’s so relieved to be away from Alan that she doesn’t want to run from Cole.
Over time, they form a relationship. One of dependency and desperation to be loved and accepted for who they are, despite their demons. Because of Alan’s standing in the community, however, Natalie’s kidnapping has become a focus of the FBI and they eventually track Natalie and Cole down.

What happens next is something I did not see coming, and when you realise what’s going on, you’ll be cheering for Cole to make good on his promise to find Natalie and get her away from Alan. There is an epilogue set years down the track, so you get to see what happens to them all in the end.
This book has very dark themes that could trigger, so it may not be for everyone, but if that doesn’t bother you and you enjoy dark books, this is a really good one.

Review: Heath by K. Webster and Nikki Ash

heathTitle: Heath

Authors: K. Webster and Nikki Ash

Year of publication: Out today! I was kindly given a copy to read and review

The blurb: This isn’t a typical love story. This is a story of what happens when love is so powerful and all-consuming that it has the ability to destroy everyone involved. It’s definitely not pretty and it’s certainly not a fairytale, but it’s their story and it couldn’t be told any other way.

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: Heath is a modern retelling of Wuthering Heights, a book that I have never actually read. I was intrigued enough by the premise and because one of the authors is K Webster, whose books I love, to read it. From what I can tell, it’s pretty faithful to the original book, although of course there are some changes.

The story opens with Emily Crenshaw being told a tale by her nanny, Helen. Helen used to be a maid for several wealthy families, and she knows all the players in this story. Years ago, there was a young man known only as Heath. He was rescued off the streets by Rufus Crenshaw, and raised to take over Crenshaw’s wealthy business and estate. Crenshaw has two children of his own: Hunter, whom is estranged from the family, and Catrina, with whom Heath is deeply in love.

Heath is desperate to marry Catrina and begs her to run away from him, but she runs hot and cold, even as she has sex with him at every available opportunity. It’s been agreed that she will marry Elliot Lincoln, who also comes from a wealthy family, and while Catrina loves Heath, she also loves the lifestyle money affords her. When Elliot proposes, she doesn’t turn him down, and she continues to sleep with both men.

Eventually, she agrees to run away and marry Heath, and he vows to talk with her father the next day. However, they’re interrupted by the maid, Helen, who tearfully advises that Crenshaw has died in his sleep. Hunter returns from exile and the will, ten years old, leaves everything to him. He kicks Heath out, leaving him broke and homeless.

Catrina ends up marrying Elliot, and so Heath decides he will get revenge on the man who stole his love away from him. He starts by marrying Elliot’s sister, Isabel, who is then disowned from the family. She wants a baby, and Heath eventually relents, but they are unsuccessful. After a year, Heath comes crashing back into Catrina’s life and she once again agrees to leave Elliot for him, but then she discovers she is pregnant.

Catrina goes into labour the night a storm hits, and after she safely delivers a daughter she dies in Heath’s arms. Driven mad by grief, he vows to destroy Elliot and everyone else responsible for keeping Catrina from him, including her brother. When he seeks Hunter out, though, he finds him dead in the study. Hunter’s wife, Francesca, has vanished, leaving behind their three year old son, Harrison.

Although Heath feels nothing towards the child, he knows what it’s like to be an orphan, so he raises Harrison. By the time Harrison is an adult, Heath is vastly wealthy, very powerful… and a monster. Helen agreed to go with Heath to help raise Harrison, and she is the closest thing he has to a parent.

Over the years, Elliot has raised the young Catrina, known as Cat, but he lost his business to Heath. He works for Heath at his company but has never told Cat the truth, and when she and her cousin, Isabel’s son Theo, wander onto Heath’s property which sits behind their home, they run into Helen.

The older woman only has to take one look at Theo to know he’s Heath’s son, and when she tells him this Heath goes ballistic. He sacks Elliot and throws him, Cat and Theo (who has been living with them since Isabel’s death) out of the mansion Cat’s lived in her whole life. He offers Cat a deal when she goes to him – if she and Theo move into his mansion, he’ll let Elliot keep his job. Cat, still smarting from finding out everything in her life was a lie, reluctantly agrees for her father.

Heath decides to groom Theo to take over everything and when Theo expresses his love for Cat, Heath proclaims the young woman as Theo’s property. But what neither of them count on is Cat’s attraction to Harrison, which is mutual. It seems history is repeating itself – a young lady from a wealthy family is promised to someone from the same social standing, but falls in love with an orphan who comes from nothing. Even though he should be sympathetic to Harrison, Heath will not allow it to happen.

Despite their best attempts, Cat and Harrison fall in love and run away together, vowing to wed with Elliot’s approval. Heath does something drastic to stop the wedding from happening, but Harrison intervenes and does not allow the woman he loves to be taken away from him.

They marry and have Emily, who is fighting her own attraction to her best friend, Finn Browning. She finds herself reluctant to get involved with him because he’s from money, but listening to the story about how her parents met and fell in love makes her realise what she’s known from the day she met Finn – she belongs with him.

The authors did a great job of writing the book seamlessly so that you can’t tell it’s been written by two authors instead of one. I also enjoyed all the small references to Wuthering Heights – Cat had two friends called Anne and Charlotte and there was a horse called Bronte. They also wrote the first part about Heath and Catrina in such a way that it felt like it could have taken place centuries ago, despite all the cultural references to the present. The sex scenes and language are explicit and graphic, but they work well for the characters.

Heath is a story about true love found and true love lost. It’s a story about hate and revenge, and how losing love can drive a person mad. It’s also a story about love conquers all, even in death. If you love Wuthering Heights, you will love this book, and if like me you’ve never read it, give it a go anyway. You won’t be sorry.

Review: Hale by K Webster

haleTitle: Hale

Author: K Webster

Year of publication: 2018

The heroine: Rylie Hale

The hero: Hudson Hale

The blurb: He’s my everything. I would die without him.

Because he infects me. My brother. He’s inside my mind. My thoughts are black and bruised. Twisted and wrong. A secret that eats me alive, but one I’ll take to my grave.

And then it happens. He sees inside me.
Understands the darkness. Loves what he finds. I’m contagious. It’s true. Now, he’s sick too.

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: I’m going to put a warning up for this book before I review it, because it involves a taboo subject: this is about a sexual relationship between a brother and sister. Not step. Not half. Full blood. If this is not something you can stomach, this is not the book for you.

But if you can handle reading a story about a taboo subject that’s very nicely done, you should give Hale a try. Hudson Hale has a baseball scholarship and a long term girlfriend called Amy. His four years younger sister, Rylie, is in her last year of high school. She has struggled a lot for years because she is bipolar, and their parents have done everything they can to help Rylie with her illness.

But what nobody knows is that Rylie has a secret, something she calls the sickness: she’s in love with her brother. She hates Amy because she knows Hudson has had sex with her and thinks she can never compare because she has no curves or bust. She knows wanting her brother is wrong, so she tamps it down.

When their parents die suddenly, their lives are thrown into chaos. Rylie goes to live with her maternal aunt and uncle and Hudson is feeling pressured by Amy to get married. He’s worried about his sister, because she’s not coping with the death of their parents. He hates being away from her. She’s all he has left, and he’s desperate to protect her and keep her safe.

They’re drawn to each other in a way he never thought possible. As they spend more time together, Hudson starts to feel something for Rylie he shouldn’t. They both fight it, the sickness, but it consumes them until they give in to it.

They do their best to keep it a secret, but inevitably they’re caught, by both Hudson’s roommate and their aunt, the latter of whom has suspected something for awhile. Hudson has a fight with his uncle and is arrested, but the charges are dropped when Rylie does something that shatters them all. Eventually, Hudson and Rylie leave and move interstate to start a new life together, where nobody knows they’re related and they don’t have to hide how they feel.

Given the subject matter, this could have been a terrible book, but Kristi did a really great job with it. It challenges you to think about society and the way love is viewed. If you’re able to put aside the fact that Rylie and Hudson are siblings, this is a really interesting love story and one worth reading.

You can only buy this book from Kristi’s website, which I have linked above.