Today, I’m hosting award-winning author Julie Navickas’ latest release I Love You Today, book two in The Trading Hearts Trilogy series, a contemporary romance. Be sure to read my review. And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Because when you least expect it… and when you’re least ready for it… love happens.
Blurb: Casey McDaniels lacked direction, spending the better part of her youth boyfriend hopping, partying, and bartending – her dreams, career ambitions, and education put on the backburner in favor of a social life and steady paycheck… that is, until a new lawyer moves into town.
When sexy, smart, and brokenhearted Austin Templeton relocates from Los Angeles to Chicago, Casey can’t help but put her former lifestyle aside in favor of the sweet romance that erupts between them. Finding more than just her heart set ablaze, Austin’s own professional ambition ignites a fire beneath her – pushing her forward into uncharted territory.
But one thing’s for sure… his career will always come first. When an unexpected promotion threatens to take him back to California, Casey reels, forced to choose between the man who captured her heart and the newfound path to success he led her down.
With her heart torn down the middle, Casey leaves the choice in Austin’s hands. After all, what’s more important? A job… or love?
She huffed out a breath, tracing the cracks in the countertop with her fingers. “Did you always know you wanted to be a lawyer?”
He tossed the first piece of buttered bread into the clean frying pan. It sizzled as he increased the heat and layered a slice of cheese on top. “Unless you count the brief phase when I was six and wanted to be a garbage man, then yes.” He turned, pulling out the utensil drawer to rummage for a spatula. He tugged one free, and with wide eyes, grinned at the large bite that had been taken out of the rubber.
Casey snorted as her cheeks flushed pink. “Totally Mavis’s.” She shook her head as she reached for it, pulled it from his hands, and tossed it into the trash can. “Try that one.” She pointed to the drawer beside the fridge.
Austin searched, pulling from within an intact spatula, and smiled. He flipped the sandwich, revealing a crisp, golden brown piece of bread—not one drop of cheese out of place.
Casey scrunched her nose and eyed the sandwich. “Do you ever do anything less than perfect, Austin Templeton?”
“Huh?” He snorted and reached for a plate in the cabinet.
“Seriously. It’s kind of exhausting.” She rolled her eyes and drained her glass with a large gulp.
“Are we back to this again?” He flopped the perfect sandwich onto a plate and pushed it in her direction. “It’s just a sandwich, Case.”
Her gaze dropped to her lap, her fingers busy picking pieces of lint from her shorts.
With a sigh, Austin leaned forward on the counter. “Do I do anything less than perfect?” he whispered. “Need I remind you of the reason we met?” He took a bite of her sandwich with a raised brow. “Believe me, I do plenty wrong.”
I enjoyed the sound of the blurb so I decided to read and review the novel for the book blog tour. Having said that, I will warn readers that you must read the first book in the series, as this trilogy works as one because it involves the Templeton family, a wealthy family from California.
At the beginning of the novel, Austin Templeton, a lawyer, is tasked with setting up the Chicago office for the firm he works for. Austin is all about his job. So at the chance to please the higher-ups, he heads for the mid-west.
As for Casey McDaniels, I adored this heroine. She is down-to-earth, funny, outrageous, and a huge Cubs fan. She’s the kind of heroine readers will want as a friend. Her ambitions aren’t what drives her. It’s life. She’s about experiencing and tasting everything that she can get her hands on.
When she meets Austin, sparks fly. The two are complete opposites, but they are also partners in crime because they click that well. Casey teachers Austin how to let his hair down, while Austin gives Casey a shove in the career direction that he thinks she needs. Never mind that he didn’t ask her!
The chemistry between these two pops off the page. The romance is spot-on. Austin’s family does run some interference. Well, more along the heroine from the previous novel, I assume, must put to rest what could’ve been with Austin, so she warns her bestie Casey to steer clear of him since he isn’t what Casey thinks he is. There are also a few chapters and an epilogue POV from Austin’s sister Lauren.
If you do read this novel, invest in the trilogy, because the arc from the first novel spills greatly into the second, and it looks like the author set up the third book within the second novel. I do wish Austin and Casey could’ve had their own novel without the upcoming third novel getting involved, but these books don’t operate as standalones. You must read all three novels.
I must say I do like the Templeton family. They are tight-knit and tend to meddle in each other’s love lives. Not so much because they don’t trust their siblings to make the right decision. More along the lines they care that much.
As I said, I really enjoyed Austin and Casey’s romance. Right up until the end, the author keeps us guessing about what will become of these two. The tension was awesome. Do yourself a favour and invest in the trilogy. It’s a great series and a wonderful family to meet.
Secrets always have a way of coming out.
Blurb: Mavis Benson made a huge mistake. Scratch that—colossal mistake. Twice. Sleeping with her high school sweetheart’s twin brother definitely wasn’t part of the plan… nor was falling in love with him.
But that wasn’t the only complication Mavis faced. When an unplanned pregnancy upends her life at seventeen, Mavis skips town to spare her boyfriend, Josh Templeton, from the fallout. With only a letter of apology, she disappears, but not before confiding her secret to Josh’s brother, Austin.
When Austin resurfaces in her life years later, he brings the past to Mavis’s doorstep. Josh wants her back, Austin isn’t willing to surrender, and the path to happiness isn’t clear. Caught between both men, Mavis must choose between the brother for whom she broke her own heart, and the brother who picked up the pieces.
I LOVED YOU YESTERDAY is a heart-pounding reveal of best kept secrets. The truth is never easy, and neither is putting down this page turner. Fans of Nora Roberts and K.G. Fletcher will want to get a copy of I LOVED YOU YESTERDAY.
~Winner of the ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN IN COMMUNICATIONS CLARION AWARD.~
Austin pulled back, his breathing heavy. The cologne on the collar of his shirt intertwined with the scent of coffee—sandalwood and Columbian coffee beans fusing in her nostrils.
Mavis opened her eyes, meeting his icy blue gaze six inches away. She stared, finding more in his eyes than she’d ever witnessed before—more than the passion that fueled their relationship.
“My brother sees you as the same girl he loved back in high school,” he whispered. “He wants you to move home, into his house, and ready to bake cookies with a ring on your finger. He’ll pretend the last ten years never happened.”
She pressed a hand over his chest, pushing to increase the distance, but his hold held firm. “Austin…”
“I see you, Princess, the new you. The you that survived. That’s the woman I want, the one who hops on a plane in the middle of the night. The one who loses bets and puts herself out into the world. The one who solves problems, and figures shit out, never one to admit defeat. I want the woman who thrives.” His hand pressed hers into the beat of his heart. “That’s the woman I want, the one I fell in love with in a hotel room in Chicago.”
Her lungs didn’t want to work, each breath held captive in her throat. The love spell he’d cast dizzied her brain, fogging her ability to think. She blinked, staring blankly at the profession of love tumbling from his lips—from the lips of her friend turned… lover?
“You don’t love me, Austin,” she mumbled, pushing away from the hold he held over her.
His eyes closed, releasing her from the challenge. “The hell I don’t, Mavs.” He slumped in his seat, his fingers kneading his forehead. “You let Josh love you because he loves the memory of you, a girl you used to like.” He snorted. “But me? You can’t even fathom my feelings for you because you don’t love yourself as you are today.” He pointed to her, his finger shaking. “And until you realize how fucking incredible you are…”
Julie Navickas is an award-winning, nationally recognized contemporary romance novelist, known for her keen ability to tell heart-wrenching, second-chance love stories through relatable characters with humility, humor, and heroism.
She is also an award-winning university instructor and serves as the executive director of The Writing Champions Project. Julie earned master’s degrees in both organizational communication and English studies with an emphasis in book history, as well as a bachelor’s degree in public relations, graduating cum laude from Illinois State University.
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