Stefan and Rand have been mortal enemies since the day they met, so Stefan is shocked when a temporary cease-fire sees the usual hostility replaced by instant chemistry. Though leery of the unexpected feelings, Stefan is swayed by a sincere revelation from Rand, and he decides to give Rand a chance.
But their budding romance is threatened when Stefan’s business deal goes wrong: the owner of the last ranch he needs to secure for the company is murdered. Stefan’s in for the surprise of his life as he finds himself in danger as well.
Hi, JL here. Today we're doing something a little different. My best pal Red (aka Sara) and I have had many discussions about certain books over the years. We email back and forth letting each other know what we find funny or hot or swoonworthy. Usually, one of us will read a book that we absolutely love and email something along the lines of, "OHMYGAWD you have to read this!!!!!!!!!!" But our longest (and my most favorite) emails are when the other one finally picks up the book the first has been raving over. Timing is one of those books. We're going to review this from the perspectives of one who has already read it (me - numerous times) and one who is reading it for the first time. And, just for shits and giggles, we thought we'd share our emails with you too.
The following review contains instances of squeeing, swooning and fangirling. May cause bleeding of the ears and eyes to roll right out of your head.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
JENNI LEA - 5 BILLION STARS
I have read this book so many times, y’all! Seriously. I think my latest count is eleventy kajillion and one. This is my go-to comfort read. Whenever I have a book hangover and I need to cleanse my palate for my next read, I read this book. When I finish a particularly dark or depressing book, I read this to make me feel happy again. If I read a terrible book, I pick this up to remind myself there’s good stuff out there. Whenever I’m bored, I’ll read this book. And, whenever I’m jonesing for some good ole Calmes Crack, I get my fix right here.
So, when Red agreed to buddy read this with me I was over the moon! Immediately the emails started coming in.
Red: "It’s been killing me since that first day when I walked in and you looked up at me and it was like I got hit by lightning.”“Fighting with you was all I had, you know?”“You know how sick I am of watching other people touch you?”The man had it really bad for me, and I never had a clue.
I AM DEAD!!!!!!
JL: I TOLD YOU!RAND IS THE BEST!
Red: DUUUUDE! I am dead. They are gonna have the sex and I am so on board with all of this. I love that he watched Stef for so long but kept his distance and was just DONE and needed to have him. THIS IS SO GOOD! I love Mary Calmes.
Red: So using this quote! LOL“If it was any more perfect, I’d be dead.”
JL: Now you see why everyone raves about Rand. I'm so happy you're finally reading this. :)
I read and re-read this book for many reasons, the biggest one being Rand. He’s the epitome of book boyfriends. He’s perfect in every way. The man can be such an asshole but the minute he opens his mouth all is forgiven and I’m swooning like a proper Southern lady.
See??? How can you not fall in love with this guy? Now, going by the quotes above, you would think Rand is a perfect gentleman. Maybe a bit mild mannered. You would be wrong. Rand is the Alpha male to end all Alpha males. He’s strong and confident and growly and bull-headed. He sees what he wants and takes it and fuck anybody who gets in his way. He takes not one single shit from anyone. But most of all, what makes him so truly magnificent to me is his heritage. You see, Rand is what we native Texans call a Good Ol’ Boy. A little bit of rough mixed in with classic Southern gentleman. And it is shown most clearly through his words. What I like to call Texasisms.“Kiss me,” he said, his eyes locked on mine, absorbing me. “Just once. If it’s bad, if I freak out or if you do… fine, we’ll forget all this.” It wasn’t a good idea. “Come on, you have nothing to lose. “I have you to lose, and I just got you,” I confessed, terrified. “You’ll never lose me, I swear.”
“Do you have any idea how long I’ve waited?”“You’re gonna be mine.”“You know, you look really good under me. I knew you would.”“I have to be closer,”“You fit me just right,”“I can’t seem to let go.”“You get that I’m not leaving your bed, right?”
“That dog don’t hunt.”...he got a wild hair up his butt…
“You’re gonna be sorry,” he growled at me. “I am fixin’ to put you over the hood of my truck if you don’t quit.”
It’s like music to my ears, that way of speaking. As I am a displaced Texan who has been away from my home state for far too long, I sometimes get a little bit homesick. But reading words like these eases the heartache some by making me feel like I’m home. I can actually hear the accent in my head when reading and let me tell you, Rand has the sexiest voice! Sort of a cross between Randy Travis and George Strait.
“You were made just for me,” he said, leaning back and panting, staring down into my face. “Only for me… this is gonna be a forever thing, Stef, me and you.”
Anywho, as hard as it is to believe, there’s a lot more to this book than just Rand. This has all the cracky goodness you’ve come to expect in a Mary Calmes book. There’s action and adventure, an MC who is golden-perfect and everyone loves him (especially women), orphans, murder and, of course, some seriously hot love scenes. I mean, hot damn Mary can write passion like no other! Makes me break out in a sweat just reading it.
JL: Damn! I forgot just how hot this book is."Scream my name, Stef... scream it loud."UNF!
Red: And I read it at work! It was so hot. I loved Rand being all I need to be inside you... He gets dirty when they do it in the laundry room too. SO GOOD.
And Mary Calmes writes mature, thought provoking literature that makes me feel smarter just from having opened the book. It’s so proper I feel as though I should get dressed up in my Sunday best before reading.
Red: Mary Calmes keeping it real and classy! LOL "I squeezed her so tight she farted."
JL: Haha! I was waiting for you to get to that part.
Last but certainly not least, I feel I must comment on the new cover. Because damned if that ain’t Rand gracing it. I thought about finding some hot cowboy gifs and pics for my review but really, what can compare with that cover? My mama always said don’t mess with perfection and that cover is so freaking perfect so no cowboys pics for this review.
So, what did we learn from this review? Probably not much of nothin’ except that Rand is perfect, Mary Calmes is a goddess and Jenni Lea has a serious addiction to crack. I am a Calmes Crack Whore and proud of it. If you're looking for a coherent review, you'll have to read Sara's below 'cause all I've got left to say is a bunch of squees and sighs and words of praise to She Who Can Write No Wrong.
Now, excuse me while I go read this again and again. I'll be gone awhile so don't wait up!
SARA - ALL THE STARS!
When it comes to Mary Calmes there are a good number of readers who get why I can’t get enough of her books. But there is one reader, one whom I love and adore who told me I would love a book from her (my first) with a ginger cowboy… and I loved that book. This reader, this amazing woman also told me that I would be able to handle my first shifter book, because it was by Mary Calmes and not only did I handle it, I loved and totally understood the magical world that was built around Logan and Jin Church. So when it came for me to finally read this book, the story of Rand and Stefan… who else would I buddy read it with than my darling and gorgeous, Jenni Lea.
I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. It’s just timing.
Where oh where do I begin with this? Well first I knew who the couple was and when I learned that Stefan was best friends with Rand’s sister, Charlotte, I was waiting for the meet cute to happen because meet cutes are my favorite but I didn’t get one. Instead I got a meet rude courtesy of one Rand Halloway to one adorable Stefan Joss and I was not a happy ginger. It really set a tone for Rand but I was assured by my girl that he has the qualities of my favorite type of Alpha Male – the redeemable asshole – so I let it slide and waited for him to fix the mess.
Rand Holloway was, as a rule, stoic, sarcastic, blunt, and unaware of his own strength.Rand Halloway is also crack no, he’s not tainted like crack, Rand is a pure as the white driven snow and I cannot stand the way his words melt me into goo because he’s not real. He needs to be real. With all the technology we have why can’t someone create 3D models of Calmes perfect men and make them real? At least make them purchasable so I can hide them in my closet and play with them at will… don’t look at me like that! Can you imagine putting a life-size Rand on a horse and watching his hair move and those thighs grip and him tap the tip of his hat as he… what was I saying? Oh yeah, I LOVE RAND!
Red: I love that the "shoot first and ask questions later" ranch hands with guns across their laps are thanking Stef for making their boss happy and their lives a bit easier! It's a crack up how easy most folks are taking this and how Rands mom keeps hinting that she knows and holy shit is Charlotte gonna flip when she finds out!
JL: I told you the crack was especially potent in this batch. It's complete fantasy. Totally unrealistic. But I wouldn't change a single word of it. That's what makes it so special.
Red: It is and now someone is trying to kill Stef! I just love the hell out of it. I have been reading at work since I pulled something in my neck and really can't do much but sit here and grimace. The book is totally helping!
Also, I adore the friendship between Stefan and Charlotte. It's so damn pure and good and crazy insane!
JL: Heh. Most people don't like Charlotte. I do though.
Red: I was just ranting about how can people NOT like Charlotte in a draft! I'm nuts but Stefan just showed up at the ranch and Rand said he thought he missed his chance and made me cry.
JL: I've heard people say she's super annoying but I never thought so.
JL: You know who Charlotte reminds me of? Aruna. A bit whackadoodle but in an endearing way.
Red: I love the women she writes as companions. Aruna was nutty but she FIT Miro just like Charlotte fits Stef.
JL: Yes, exactly! I can't see Stef having anyone else as a best friend. Or Miro either.
JL: A best friend should be able to call you out on your shit while supporting you 100% anyway. Love you, not in spite of your flaws, but because of them. This is Charlotte. She's fierce and strong and perfect for Stef.
Red: Exactly! Even when she needs Ben in a different way she still needs Stef and I LOVE that she knew Rand and Stef were hot for one another but would never own up to it so she just let them play it all out. She's great!
I honestly don’t know where to go from here with this review, wait, I lied. I want to talk about Charlotte for a minute because I loved that girl. I loved how she and Stefan became roommates and before they could be separated, they moved off campus together. I adored how fiercely these two loved one another and how loyal they are. Stefan is nothing without his best friend and Charlotte would be nothing without Stefan. Even when he isn’t the holder of all her secrets anymore as she prepares to walk down the aisle to wed Ben, he is everything to her! It was great to see her not only want Stefan around but need him. It’s a special kind of need that is only between the best of friends and these two are indeed that. Without one another, they wouldn't survive and their friendship is twisted and terrific. They have no boundaries with one another and it's great because sometimes, you need that one person who knows it all, the down and dirty behind all the pretty and still loves you no matter what. But along with being Charlotte's best friend, Stef stands up for all that she loves as well, including Ben, and all that he has done for Charlotte endears him to May which aids in her acceptance of Rand and Stef being together. They are soul mates! Ugh.Also, I mean, she’s Rand’s sister so without her, they never would have met and BOOM! She is amazing.
“You don’t have to be my knight in shining armor for me to love you dearly, desperately, and totally. And not just because you saved me, not because we shared this secret, but because of all the rest… all our history.”Back to the romance of the story. It was everything I could hope and want for in a Mary Calmes book. We have the Alpha Male with the heart of gold. The beautiful golden boy who everyone loves and wants. We have a wonderful cast of family and friends and we have guns and bullets with men running for their lives and being saved by the one they loved, men being held close and chastised all while being told just how much they are loved and wanted. Sigh. This was so good. An enemies to “call a truce for the wedding” friends to the all-out swoon fest that is named Rand Holloway romance. Seriously? I fell so hard for these two and that new cover IS ALL THE RAND ALL THE WAY! Those eyes… ridiculous and sexy and so full of heart.
Red: Charlotte is reading Stefan the riot act about how he just disappears from peoples lives and I think I am Stefan. After admitting that, do I get a Rand of my own? Cowboy can lay his ownership on my ginger ass anytime he wants and do it with coconut oil if the olive isn't available.
JL: Lol!Well, if that's all it takes to get a Rand, plan on me disappearing from time to time.
Red: I'm done. What the fuck do I do with my life now? Do I wait for the new version of After the Sunset or just read the one I have because I need more.
Red: Sigh. I just loved this. I am trying to write more coherent sentences other that SQUEEE and UNF and Oh shit, Duck Stef and run from the dudes trying to kill or feed you!
JL: Haha! That's how most of my Calmes reviews are.
When do we get the new and shiny version of book two??? I have a need for it. A strong need, baby.
Okay, I’ll stop now because I have a butt load of highlights with notes that just say “Re-Read” because they were too great to read only once. Who the hell am I kidding? This book is too great to read only once. Someone cover me… I’m going back in!
Tune in next time when we review After the Sunset, the second book in the Timing series!
Find it at Dreamspinner Press and on Goodreads!