Title: Sunkissed Days (Magnolia Sound #0.5
Author: Samantha Chase
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Mallory Westbrook is ready to make her move on Jake Summerford, the boy—now man—she’s been crushing on for years. Coming back to Magnolia Sound to celebrate her great-grandfather’s birthday provides the perfect opportunity to show Jake that she’s no longer a child.
The last thing Jake expected to do at his mentor’s birthday party was to find himself kissing Mallory under the moonlight. Though he’s known her for years, the thought of kissing her never crossed his mind. But the shy tomboy he once knew is gone, and in her place is a woman he can’t resist.
They have one summer before they go their separate ways. Insecurity wars with the possibility of a future together, but it could all come to an end before it even has a chance to start.
Sunkissed Days Excerpt
©2019 Samantha Chase
His first thought was finally.
But his second thought was this is so wrong.
Nudging that second thought aside, Jake Summerford put all of his focus into the responsive girl in his arms and dove in for another taste. For years he had denied that there was any attraction between himself and Mallory Westbrook.
She’d always been cute, always been sweet. But because of their age difference he’d never allowed himself to think of her as any more than a kid.
Well…she certainly wasn’t a kid anymore and he was fairly sure he was allowed to think a lot of different things about her.
Like how soft her skin was.
How full and wet her lips were.
How her family trusted him and treated him like one of their own.
Yeah, this was so wrong.
And still he couldn’t find the strength to care – not as Mallory pressed even closer and made the neediest little sound. He found his own arms banding tighter around her as he tried to think of the best place to move them for a little more privacy. Not too far away there was a party in full-swing for Ezekiel’s ninetieth birthday. There was a houseful of people, music was playing and really, it was where he and Mallory should be right now. How the hell had they gotten out here?
Oh, right. Mallory had given him a shy-yet-flirty smile and asked if he could help her move a painting from the boathouse, and like an idiot, he’d said yes.
And now look where they were.
Then a thought hit him – the boathouse! They hadn’t even made it all the way down to the pier before she had shocked him with this kiss. If he could maneuver them the rest of the way across the yard, they’d be completely out of view once they were inside the boathouse!
Carefully, slowly, Jake began to walk them further down the lawn toward the pier without breaking the kiss. The urge to swing Mallory up into his arms was strong, but right now he couldn’t think straight.
What the hell was happening to him?
He wasn’t a kid, for crying out loud! He was a man! A man who’d kissed more than his share of women. Women who…
And that’s when it hit him.
The enormity of what was happening here finally broke through and as much as he wanted to keep on kissing Mallory, he couldn’t.
Jake broke the kiss and took a step back. His breath was ragged and once his eyes focused on her and he saw how sexy she looked in the moonlight, he almost dove back in to start all over again.
“Why did you stop?” she asked breathlessly.
He swallowed hard as he tried to remember exactly why he stopped. In the moment, he knew it was the right thing to do. But now? Not so much.
How could he possibly explain to her how this wasn’t right when all he wanted to do was pull her back into his arms?
About Samantha Chase
Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
Title: Innocense Lost (Bootleggers' Chronicles #1)
Author: Sherilyn Decter
Genre: Historical Fiction
In a city of bootleggers and crime, one woman must rely on a long-dead lawman to hunt down justice…
Philadelphia, 1924. Maggie Barnes doesn't have much left. After the death of her husband, she finds herself all alone to care for her young son and look after their rundown house. As if that weren't bad enough, Prohibition has turned her neighborhood into a bootlegger's playground. To keep the shoddy roof over their heads, she has no choice but to take on boarders with criminal ties.
When her son's friend disappears, Maggie suspects the worst. And local politicians and police don't seem to have any interest in an investigation. With a child's life on the line, Maggie takes the case and risks angering the enemy living right under her nose.
Maggie's one advantage may be her oldest tenant: the ghost of a Victorian-era cop. With his help, can she find justice in a lawless city?
Innocence Lost is the first novel in the Bootleggers' Chronicles, a series of historical fiction tales. If you like headstrong heroines, Prohibition-era criminal underworlds, and a touch of the paranormal, then you'll love Sherilyn Decter’s gripping tale.
Innocence Lost Excerpt
©2019 Sherilyn Decter
A satisfying afternoon of chopping, stirring, seasoning, and taste-testing, and supper is ready; despite the lingering guilt over Mrs. Leszek’s situation. Standing in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room, Peggy surveys two of the new lodgers gathered at her dining room table. She savors the moment. With a contented smile, she smooths her dress over her hips. No apron for me tonight. I’m the landlady.
Peggy loves the dining room. It reminds her of childhood dinners cooked by staff. She recalls carefree afternoons, new clothes, and indulgences that provided a soft place to fall—until she fell hard for Jack.
The dining room suite had been a wedding gift from her grandmother, who never held Peggy’s impetuousness against her. Peggy adored her for it. To her, the dining room suite’s elegant Federal style implied a certain place in the world. She loved Jack and all he stood for; yet attempted to replicate that which she missed from her own childhood home. Jack used to tease
her about it, his Principessa.
She and Jack had wallpapered the walls above the wainscoting, and painted all the woodwork a bright white to match the living room. At some point, she hopes to find a carpet to go under the table, but for now, the hardwood floors gleam.
A blue and white Spode soup tureen holds pride of place on the marble-topped sideboard. The tureen had also belonged to her grandmother and was part of the china dish set that she had left Peggy in her will. When Tommy was a toddler, he had broken the china ladle. Jack had glued it back together so that, with the tureen’s lid on, the set looked perfect.
Peggy gracefully perches on the chair her lodger, Mr. Mansfield, holds out for her. She admires the table with its starched white cloth and blue and white dishes. The elegance of the Spode is a talisman for her, a symbol of where she’d come from, and a nod to better days ahead. She’s sure there isn’t a nicer set of china in any of the houses along her street.
The smile of her other lodger, Mr. Smith, suggests an air of occasion; their first dinner all together. Almost all together. Peggy taps her foot. Tommy is extremely late from school. He is only just washing his hands in the kitchen. Constable Kelly sent word that he will be detained, and asked that she put a plate in the oven for him. Peggy sharply snaps open her napkin and lays it across her lap.
What do boys that age get up to? Tommy and Constable Kelly’s tardiness sets a bad example to the other lodgers, and is disrespectful of all my hard work putting together a delicious dinner for them.
About Sherilyn Decter
Do you love flappers and gangsters? See yourself in a fedora or fringe?
The Roaring Twenties and Prohibition were a fantasy land, coming right after the horrors and social upheaval of World War I. Even a century later, it all seems so exotic.
Women got the vote, started working outside the home, and (horrors!) smoked and drank in public places. They even went on unchaperoned dates (gasp)! Corsets were thrown into the back of the closets, and shoes were discovered to be an addictive fashion accessory after hemlines started to rise. And thanks to Prohibition, suddenly it was fashionable to break the law. The music was made in America- ragtime, delta blues, and of course jazz. Cocktails were created to hide the taste of the bathtub gin. Flappers were dancing, beads and fringes flying. Fedoras were tipped. And everyone was riding around in automobiles (aka struggle buggies and I leave it to your imagination why- wink.)
Bootleggers' Chronicles grew out of that fascination. Writing as Sherilyn Decter, I will eventually have a series of historical crime fiction novels dealing with the bootleggers, gangsters, flappers, public corruption, and the general lawlessness that defined Prohibition.
Growing up on the prairies and living next to the ocean, I am a creature of endless horizons. Writing allows me to discover what's just over the next one. I live in a century old house and perhaps its creaks and groans have inspired my love of history. My husband and I have three amazing daughters, a couple of spoiled grandchildren whom I adore, and two bad dogs.
For more information about Sherilyn Decter, visit her webpage at https://sherilyndecter.com
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Willa has quite a lot on her plate. As the next in life for Alpha of the Kasun pack, she is a bit of an outcast since she hadn't shifted yet. But she seems to have adapted and moved on with her life at Havenwood High. She and several other supernaturals that aren't quite fitting in form a close group of friends. One of these is an elf by the name of Tarron
Tarron encourages Willa to find her own path and make her life her own. But the pack isn't quite done with her yet, and she's about to find out a lot about her past. As Willa and Tarron's relationship morphs into more than just friends, they both take a look at their status quo and realize that life doesn't always have to be what was planned for you - unless you want it to be.
Both Tarron and Willa make some tough choices and learn to stand up for who they want to be and who they really are. I loved that our first look into Havenwood High wasn't all about the popular girl or guy finding true love. It was about the outcasts and how many times they are the most interesting people in the room.
Title: Hot for a Cowboy (Smokin Hot Cowboys #4)
Author: Kim Redford
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Content Rating: R
Two flames burn way hotter than one...
Eden Rafferty has lost it all: big time career, high-profile marriage, and just about everything she owns. Coming back to Wildcat Bluff with her tail between her legs, the only person who can help her heal is cowboy firefighter Shane Taggart. But nothing is simple, and their high-octane past is just the beginning of their current problems…
Hot for a Cowboy Excerpt
©2019 Kim Redford
After Shane left, Eden sighed in satisfaction, feeling more at home than she had in years. They were carrying on a long-held tradition in their families of eating together at the dining table. She opened a cabinet and selected the white plates with black barbwire motif around the edges that brought back fond memories. She set them on the table along with silverware and napkins.
Fortunately, she’d already had her shower and put on a red T-shirt, cutoffs, and flip-flops. All she needed to do now was make a meal for them.
As she set to work, she noticed she was happily humming a tune. She stopped in mid-pie-slice. She didn’t remember being happy like this when she was married to Graham. They were always running here and there, trying to find time for each other or maybe not trying hard enough.
She glanced around the kitchen—cabinet to countertop, refrigerator to stove, cookie jar to toaster. Who knew such a small thing as putting together a meal in a beloved home could make her feel so happy? Suddenly she realized that it didn’t require being a star, talking to a large audience, or taking home a big paycheck to feel sublimely happy. It just took being with the right man in the right place at the right time.
And in that moment of clarity, she felt every single last brick--thud, thud, thud—drop out of her protective wall. With that sudden change came a feeling of vulnerability but also a feeling of freedom and new beginnings. Home sweet home.
She picked up the platter of sandwiches and carried it to the table, where she set it in a place of honor. She walked back into the kitchen and picked up the aqua-tinted glass pitcher of sweet tea. As she poured the amber liquid over ice in matching aqua glasses, she hummed to the sound of crackling ice.
After she added the glasses to the table setting, she cut two big wedges of pie, set them on dessert plates, and carried them to the table. She stepped back, proudly looking over her creation with pleasure. She’d never been a happy homemaker with Graham. They’d been too busy, too distracted, too often gone from home. Now she wanted the happiness she remembered from childhood when warm cookies, cold tea, and simple sandwiches eaten with loved ones made life special and worthwhile.
When she heard Shane’s footsteps in the hall, she felt her heart pick up speed. Just the idea of eating a meal with him completed her happiness.
When he wrapped his arms around her waist, tugging her back against his broad chest, she felt tears fill her eyes. How long had she wanted to be loved and treasured like this?
“Table looks pretty,” he whispered as the heat of his breath fanned the delicate whorls of her ear. “But you’re a whole lot prettier.”
“Flattery will get you everywhere.” She placed her hands over his arms and held him tight, feeling the fabric—gone soft and pliant from so many washings of his cutoffs and T-shirt—rub against her.
“I’m about to choose you over food.”
“Don’t you dare! I worked long and hard on those sandwiches.” She tried to twist out of his embrace, but he simply spread his hands across her stomach and held her tighter.
“You’re going nowhere till I let you.”
She knew that was true because of his superior strength but also because she wanted to stay nestled in his arms. And yet, she wanted them to sit down at the table and eat together like a family, as they had done so many times when they were young. “Sooner we eat, the sooner we get to the hot tub.”
He groaned, as if in great pain, nipped her earlobe, let her go, and quickly sat down in front of a plate.
She joined him at the table, savoring the moment as she looked across at him and picked up her glass of tea.
He grabbed his sandwich, took a big bite, chewed, and swallowed. “Real good, but I know something better.” He gave her a steamy look with hazel eyes gone dark.
She gave as good as she got as she bit into her sandwich, wishing she’d made them smaller, anything to get to the hot tub as quickly as possible.
By the time they got to the pie, she almost giggled because they were wolfing down the food as if they were at an Olympic event.
“Pie’s better than I expected,” he said as he quartered the piece and made it disappear.
“It’s good.” She took smaller bites, but she was in no less hurry to be done and gone. She’d had enough family time at the table. She wanted her hands on him and his on her.
He drained his glass of tea, picked up his plate, and stood up. “I’ll set this in the kitchen and go get a bottle of wine. Meet you at the hot tub.”
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Title: Lost Souls (Soul Charmer #3)
Author: Chelsea Mueller
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Get out of Hell free card? Not for Callie Delgado, Gem City’s newest soul charmer. Sin and salvation collide in this gritty and action-packed urban fantasy.
Callie’s magic is finally her own. She and Derek dispatched Ford. They should have been able to breathe, but layers of sin run deep beneath Gem City. Another mob boss quickly rises, and his sights are firmly set on Callie—and her family.
Mobile soul rental shops begin to bite at the Soul Charmer’s business. His retribution is wicked, but the blowback threatens to crush Callie. If she can’t maintain the tenuous balance of souls in Gem City, more lives will be lost.
Only the more magic she uses, the more danger finds her. A break-in, pools of blood, and bare shelves at the Soul Charmer’s store force Callie to choose the fates of others. But which can she live with? Losing her city, her love, her family …or her very soul?
Lost Souls Excerpt
©2019 Chelsea Mueller
“I’ve worked security at four other buildings.” Benton held up as many fingers. His nails were short and black. Whether from blood or dirt, Callie didn’t care to guess.
She stood behind him and leaned forward to speak into his ear. Stale cigar stench clogged her nose. “You’ve worked jobs, but haven’t paid the Soul Charmer.”
Benton surged closer to the bar. His whiskey sloshed over the lip of the glass and onto his fingers. He slammed his shoulder backward and shifted to face Callie. The wide, milky eyes and taut tendons in his neck eased. Idiot. He licked the spilled liquor from his fingers. “I have experience, but they still won’t even let me take their exam.”
She gave two fucks about his ability to get a job. “That must suck. You owe the Charmer.”
“What do you mean?”
That’s not how this worked, and he knew it. “Cash or souls.”
“I ain’t got anything on me.”
“How are you paying for that Wild Turkey?”
Benton shot scattered looks in either direction. “It just you?”
It was, and normally she hated that. Her boyfriend Derek typically made these collection calls. He looked the part. Hulking and covered in leather and scars. She hid her wounds on the inside, and wielded dark eyeliner as war paint. Not exactly scary mofo material. Callie needed more from Benton than a simple rented soul, though, and that information need to be acquired alone.
About Chelsea Mueller
Chelsea Mueller writes gritty contemporary fantasy. She founded the speculative fiction website Vampire Book Club, blogs about TV and genre fiction for numerous websites, and is co-chair of SF/F charity Geeky Giving. She loves bad cover songs, dramatic movies, and TV vampires. Chelsea lives in Texas, and has been known to say y’all.
For the latest updates, join her email list at ChelseaMueller.net or follow @ChelseaVBC on Twitter and Instagram.
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Title: Kingdom of Sand & Ashes
Aladdin, but not as you remember it….
On the dusty streets, around the bustling bazaars, being overlooked by a Sultan’s Palace was a land. A land of magic, secrets and treasures buried deep beneath the desert.
Through Arabian nights, dark forces are at work. Dark forces that can threaten the peace of everyone in the Kingdom. Watch our authors as they answer the question, can three wishes save the day?
Join our award winning and USA Today best selling authors for nine action packed fantasy and contemporary retellings with Sultans, sorcerers, romance and more magic than a genie’s lamp can hold.
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Covetousness had a bit of a darker feel to it than the previous books in the series. From the very beginning there feels like there is a cloud over Graysin as she travels to Havenwood Falls after hearing of the death of her sister. When she arrives and things don't seem to add up.
Everett is instantly intrigued by the woman sent to help design the new library restoration. And he works with her to uncover secrets of the past, his gargoyle nature to protect and guard will be put to the test. He finds himself helping Graysin figure out what happened to her sister. I really wanted more about this - I felt like I was completely left out of some important details.
Overall, this was a fantastic book and a great look at the darker side of Havenwood Falls and some of the ancient creatures that live there. I just wish I'd had a little more completion - loose ends just weren't quite wrapped up for me. Maybe they will be in another story?
Love, Fate & Loyalty really takes a close look at the pull shifters have to their mates - whether they want to feel it or not. We have a set of dual relationships and love stories running through the story that revolves around two mountain lion shifter sisters.
At first, I felt like there was a good sister and a bad sister, but as the story unfolds and we get to know them, I came to realize that there were a whole bunch of misunderstandings running through their lives. Highlighting this strained relationship - Reeve returns home and "steals" Asters long-time boyfriend in a matter of minutes. But it's the mating call - so I can't really be too mad about it. Super sad for Aster, but even she knows there wasn't anything to be done about it.
But while Reeve's life may seem to be sunshine and rainbows, she has a mad-man (cat?) on her heels. And when he finds Havenwood Falls there are all sorts of horrible things that happen - and one really awesome thing.
This was a really great book, and I was shocked at how much story was packed into the pages. I hope we get to see more of the sisters, even as side characters, as the series continues.
Title: Bad Influence (Bad Bachelors #3)
Author: Stefanie London
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Content Rating: R
He’s the bad bachelor who inspired it all…
Annie Maxwell had her whole life figured out…until her fiancé left her when his career took off. If that wasn’t bad enough, every society blog posted pictures of him escorting a woman wearing her engagement ring. To help the women of New York avoid guys like her ex, Annie created the Bad Bachelors app. But try as she might, Annie just can’t forget him…
For bank executive Joe Preston, his greatest mistake was leaving the love of his life when she needed him most. Now, all he wants is to make things right—and she won’t have him. But when Annie’s safety is threatened by a hacker determined to bring down her app, Joe is the only one she can turn to. He’ll have to lay himself on the line to prove to Annie that he’s a changed man. But will their hard-won bond survive the revelation that Annie is the one pulling the strings behind Bad Bachelors?
Bad Influence Excerpt
©2019 Stefanie London
“You’re not thinking about seeing him again, are you?” Darcy shoved the sleeve of her sweater up, exposing her elaborate tattoos. “Please tell me you’re not in self-destruct mode.”
“I’m not,” Annie said, unsure which of the two things she was actually addressing.
She should be repulsed by the thought of having Joseph back in her life. Spitting in anger that he’d waltzed back into Manhattan and was hanging around “their place” without warning her. But the fact was, Friday night had shifted something between them. He’d come to her rescue when she’d needed him.
This time. Let’s not forget that his presence and attention are conditional.
Darcy pulled on a pair of pink rubber gloves and wrenched Annie’s mother’s old, squeaky taps. “Look me in the eye and tell me you’re not thinking about seeing him again.”
The answer should have been an immediate absolutely not, but the words didn’t spring to Annie’s lips. “Maybe it’ll give me some closure.”
“It’s been three years. What other information could change the way you feel?”
“I don’t know.”
“The answer is none. Nothing will change what happened.” She squirted detergent into the basin and Annie watched the luminescent bubbles multiply under the hot water. “Think about the reasons why he might want to talk to you. Stay the hell away. Trust me, your sanity will thank you.”
Of course, she knew Darcy was right. When Joseph had walked out, she’d fallen to pieces. Her friends had helped put her back together. They’d crashed at her place that first night—Darcy and Remi sleeping on the cramped pullout sofa bed—to make sure she got up the next morning and ate a proper breakfast. They’d stood by her while she called her boss and asked for a few days off to deal with it. They’d plied her with wine and pizza and cheesy movies.
They’d gone to the hospital with her after her mother’s mastectomy, held her hand, and promised her that everything would be okay. Things he should have done.
“What are you two gossiping about?” Her mother appeared in the doorway, a knowing smile on her lips. Only she wouldn’t be smiling if she actually knew that their “boy talk” was about he who should not be named.
Darcy shot Annie a look. “Your daughter is harassing me about my charity run.”
Connie snorted. “That sounds like her.”
“Ma! You’re supposed to be on my side.”
Her mother walked over and wrapped her arms around her, her head barely coming up to Annie’s chin. She smelled like lemon and sweet basil and perfume. Like always. It struck Annie, even now, that her mother’s shape was so permanently changed. She’d decided not to have reconstructive surgery after the double mastectomy—one to address the cancer and one as a preventive measure—having always hated her huge bust. But they’d never actually talked about it. And Annie hadn’t wanted to pressure her mother when she knew it was still a painful topic.
Her mother and Sal had always been determined to “protect” their kids from anything painful in life, including their health problems. At the time, they’d hid Connie’s diagnosis until it was decided she needed to have surgery. Had Annie known about her mother’s situation earlier, she might never have agreed to go to Singapore. Perhaps with that on the table from the get-go, things might have turned out differently between Annie and Joseph.
But it hadn’t, and knowing her parents were inclined to harbor such big secrets had made Annie jittery. And untrusting.
Wow, and the hypocrite of the year award goes to…?
“You know I love you, topolina. But you are a giant painin the ass sometimes.” Connie’s loud laugh ricocheted off the worn linoleum and weathered walls.
“Charming,” Annie replied, extracting herself from her mother’s embrace and heading behind the breakfast bar to gather more dishes. “Let me know when we want to do dessert, and I’ll get some coffee going.”
“Soon. The girls have gone for a walk and the boys are in the garage.” She attempted to muscle her way into the kitchen to help, but both women waved her away.
Connie rested against the breakfast bar. Her once-chocolate-brown hair was now peppered with gray. The lines had deepened around her eyes, which still had a mischievous twinkle, and she wore her signature bright-pink lipstick.
To Annie, she would always be the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth. And the bravest.
“So,” Connie said. Annie’s ears pricked up at her tone. It was the I’ve heard something interesting tone. “When were you going to tell me Joseph is back in town?”
Darcy made a choking sound and Annie froze, her back to her mother as she dried one of the white ceramic platters. “Huh?”
“I ran into Zia Mariella at Costco, who said she’d had lunch with Anna-Maria from down the street, and she had spoken with Petra—Petra who’s married to Tony—whose grandson works for one of the banks, and he read an article saying Joseph is now the chief something-or-other.”
Annie blinked as her brain took the necessary time to catch up with her mother’s story. “Wait, which Petra?”
Connie ignored her question and narrowed her eyes. “Did you know?”
Darcy looked like she was about to back out of the kitchen, so Annie grabbed her wrist, shooting her a Don’t you dare leave me look. Crap. What was she supposed to do now? She never lied to her parents. Ever.
“You did know.” Connie’s lips flattened into a line so thin that almost all of the pink lipstick disappeared. “How could you not tell me?”
“I didn’t think you’d want to know, to be honest.” Annie tucked her hair behind her ear. Shit. This was not a time for her tells. When it came to dealing with her mother’s warpath, the mantra needed to be: Show no weakness!
“Well, I do.” Connie planted her hands on her hips. “So now I can tell him to leave again. He’s not welcome in this city.”
Her mother would definitely freak the hell out if she knew he’d been in Annie’s apartment.
“Thanks, Mayor Mama. I’ll be sure to revoke his Connie visa.” She rolled her eyes.
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When Sherry heads out of town to forget a cheating ex, she finds herself heading to Havenwood Falls. This was a little odd, because she isn't a paranormal creature, but it seems like the town and its guardians know more than I do.
When she's rescued from an accident by Rusty - a lone wolf in every sense of the word - and stranded in his cabin to wait out the story, they are somewhat forced to get to know each other better. Here is where I wanted a lot more than what I got. I know the mating urge for a werewolf comes out of nowhere according to most lore, but I thought there wasn't enough resistance from him as a lone wolf, and there wasn't enough confusion, moving to acceptance, and finally moving to love from her.
You get plenty of conflict between Sherry and her ex though when he shows up looking for her. I really enjoyed watching a strong woman that refused to let anyone take advantage of her, and do it without turning into a hard and jaded person.
Old Wounds had so many good elements that were just cut a little short. I feel like the story just didn't have enough time to fully develop the characters and the plot.