The Stepmother by Melissa Tereze

The Stepmother
Published: 6/21/22

Hannah has no plans to stay in London. She arrives in town weeks after her father’s death expecting his wife to be an old, miserable sack of crap like her father.  Only Diane Astell is nothing like what Hannah imagined. She’s gorgeous, kind and her gaze lingers on Hannah longer than is considered polite. Is there a world in which her father’s wife is attracted to her as well or is it just wishful thinking?

Melissa Tereze pushes the envelope, or at least it should feel like that but one of the many things I love about her writing is she gives me a reason to overlook what should be taboo. Hannah and Diane have never met. Hannah didn’t grow up with Diane as her stepmother. Her father has only been married to her for three years. Those detail make me more than willing to embrace this storyline. Not to mention the fact that the person these two have in common was pretty awful to both of them.

I can’t blame Hannah for being attracted to Diane, I’m a bit in love with her myself. She has this playful nature that has been suppressed for so long and Hannah helps bring that out in her. In turn, Diane gives Hannah a sense of home, which she hasn’t had for years since her mother left and her father stopped taking an interest in her. They are both lost souls who exist but aren’t especially happy in their lives. It’s easy to walk through life thinking it’s good enough until you meet someone who makes you realize how much better it could be if you just take a chance.

Like my favorite of Melissa’s couples, Vanessa and Emma, their connection is physical but the emotional connection is just as strong.  That being said, this is a smokin’ hot book. Seriously, Melissa ups her sexy game with each book and if she keeps this up, and I have no doubt she will, I may have to invest in an industrial size fan.

An ARC was provided by the author for an honest review.



Behind Her Eyes by Melissa Tereze

Behind Her Eyes
Published: 3/20/22

Things are not going well for Abi. She has nowhere to go and ends up across from the restaurant she has always dreamed of working at. Victoria, seemingly has it all. She owns her own restaurant, Adley’s and has more money than she could ever spend. When Victoria drops her purse and Abi returns it to her, she’s so grateful she lets the down on her luck woman stay at her guesthouse. A chance meeting ends up changing both of the women’s lives forever.

Melissa Tereze does a phenomenal job of writing age gap romances, but she also excels at bringing two people from different economic backgrounds together who seemingly have nothing in common. Abi and Victoria are another one of those couples who shouldn’t work, yet they do. Professionally, Victoria, is one of the most famous and successful chefs in England but her personal life is a dumpster fire. Her marriage is over, and her daughter isn’t speaking to her based solely on a rumor spread by an ex-employee. Abi may be financially down on her luck but Victoria is just as lost. Victoria may think she’s the one helping Abi, however, she soon realizes that Abi is the one helping her. Abi helps her to laugh again and to feel alive just by being there for her to talk to.

I really like this book and these characters. Abi is sweet and so smitten with Victoria, before she’s ever met her. She realizes how much more there is to Victoria than just her beauty and success. They really get to know each other and find that they are more alike than either could have imagined. I adore Abi but I’m a bit in love with Victoria. I can’t imagine inviting a stranger to live in my guest house. Actually, I can’t imagine inviting most of the people I know to invade my space. Victoria has such a beautiful heart and doesn’t give it a second thought. You can call it a good deed or you can call it destiny. Whatever, you call it, you won’t want to miss out on another fabulous read from Melissa Tereze.

An ARC was received from the author for an honest review.

At First Glance by Melissa Tereze

At First Glance
Published: 12/28/21

Faye is a successful romance novelist who craves the kind of love she writes about. She spends her days writing at her local bistro and her evenings home alone.  An evening out with her friend Phoebe changes not only her life but also her way of thinking. The eyes of the woman who gives her a lap dance looks familiar, but she doesn’t know any strippers. She has no idea those eyes belong to the gorgeous new barista at the bistro.

Talia works at the bistro during the day just to keep herself busy. Dancing at Vision provides more than enough money for her to live comfortably. She loves dancing and is one of the best pole dancers in Europe. She thinks Faye is beautiful but would never pursue anything with her. She was burned in the past when she opened up her heart only to have it crushed.

Talia and Faye complement each other perfectly, even though, on the surface they shouldn’t fit at all.  Faye’s initially shocked to discover Talia is the dancer from the club. She quickly realizes that Talia is so much more than her job and she wants to know her. We should all strive to be like Faye, to not judge someone for what they do but to see the person they are inside. Talia is a pole dancer, but she’s so much more than that and Faye’s see’s all of the things that make her special.

Talia wants nothing more than to bring the Faye’s smile back, but can she trust that Faye won’t hurt her the way everyone else has. Melissa Tereze is one of my favorite writers. The way she takes the time to develop her characters makes me feel like I know them completely, her books are always super sexy but are also deeply emotional. And I absolutely love how regardless of the age differences between the characters, they both behave like adults and communicate with each other.

Faye’s mother is an absolute gem of a character and made me laugh out loud several times. She’s completely without a filter and I love that in my characters. Phoebe, Faye’s best friend is the judgmental asshole in the story, who sees nothing wrong with paying Talia for a lap dance but doesn’t see her someone worthy of her friend’s affection. So many people sit in judgment of others and what we all need to do is to look at the person, not the preconceptions we have in our heads of who they are. This is yet another stellar book from a wonderful writer.

ARC given by the author for an honest review.



Always Allie by Melissa Tereze

Always Allie
Published: 11/3/21

Always Allie by Melissa Tereze is simply a beautiful story. It is one that shouldn’t be missed. If you like a second chance romance that will warm your heart this is a perfect story for you.

Cassidy Lewis returns to Plumstoke after three years when her mother passes away suddenly. She had fled the small town life to make her dreams come true of running her own floral shop in London. She not only left her hometown behind but the town sweetheart Allie Campbell. Cassidy is now married to Danielle, who is way too busy at work to accompany her home for her mother’s funeral. Cassidy isn’t only dealing with her mother’s loss but with the guilt that she didn’t come home enough to see her.

Allie Campbell never stopped loving Cassidy despite how heartbroken she was when Cassidy left town. Now that Cassidy is back, Allie is the person she turns to for comfort and Allie is determined to be the friend she needs to help her get through her loss, even to her own detriment. Can Cassidy’s marriage survive or will the love that her and Allie once shared be reignited?

Allie is simply the sweetest. She loved Cassidy’s mother and thought she would one day be her mother in law. Her sudden death shakes the entire town. The moment she sees Cassidy walk in to the local bar she knows that love is as strong for her as it always was and she will do anything for Cassidy. It’s completely easy to fall in love with Allie. Cassidy is a little harder. But as someone who couldn’t wait to get out of my small town when I was younger, I can understand her desire to escape small town life and make it in the big city. The way she did it left a hole not only in Allie’s heart but Cassidy’s as well. Making amends for the past can help open up possibilities for the future.

The supporting characters are there to listen to Allie and Cassidy as they experience the pain of loss and the confusion over their unresolved feelings. Helen and Ash are wonderfully supportive friends and Cassidy’s dad, while dealing with the loss of his wife, holds onto Cassidy and hopes to never have to let her go again. Danielle, Cassidy’s wife is just plain awful. She has no redeeming qualities and I wish very bad things for her. In some ways, I think Cassidy believes that she deserves someone as awful as Danielle because of how she left Allie. But no one should have to suffer time with Danielle. I have so many bad feelings about this woman!

Melissa Tereze brings us flashbacks that give us insight into Allie and Cassidy’s past relationship and how absolutely perfect they were for each other.  I enjoy flashbacks when they benefit a story and these fit perfectly. When I finish a book I want to feel like it was time well spent and I want to keep a little bit of the characters in my heart.  Allie and Cassidy made it into my heart maybe more than any of Melissa’s other characters. That is saying something because I have a lot of love for Vanessa and Emma from Mrs. Middleton and Dom and Blair from Playing for her Heart. But there is just something irresistible about second chance love, especially when one has to work hard to redeem themselves.

Melissa Tereze is one of those authors who can bring the steam but is equally adept at bringing the sweetness of love and the sorrow of loss. Always Allie will always be one of my favorite of her books and I highly recommend it.

ARC received from the author for an honest review.