Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – A Rival’s Kiss by Maya Hughes

Book cover for A Rival’s Kiss (Fulton U Rivals) by Maya Hughes

A Rival’s Kiss; Fulton U Rivals #3
(An interconnected standalone within a series)

Publication Date: May 5, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Sports/New Adult Romance

Author: Maya Hughes

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars



The best Rival book yet with one of my favorite Maya Hughes couples shining through.

Willa and Ezra come from two different worlds, and I’m not just talking about two different colleges. This story contains a lot of Princess and the Pauper themes, along with them attending rival schools. Willa comes from a tight knit family, never having to worry about where her next meal comes from or having a roof over her head, a very different world from the one Ezra grew up in. This duality travels throughout the entire plot of the book and their struggle, love, and heartbreak is a beautiful story to read.

First I’ll start with what I loved about Ezra; for the harsh, never having anyone to count on, knowing where he’d be sleeping, or when his next meal would be way he grew up, he is the sweetest, nicest, and most caring individual Maya has ever written. From the very beginning of this story I was completely head over heels all in for everything Ezra. He displayed a vulnerability that is so rare, placing aside pride, anger, and misplaced hostility, instead caring so deeply about Willa and her feelings that I couldn’t help continually falling for him over and over again.

Willa was also a bright shining light, bubbling over and pulling Ezra out from the shell he liked to live in. She was the one person who didn’t allow him to hide, who allowed him to be someone other than the hulking beast he released on the field every week. The more time he spent with her the more he released that he enjoyed who he was with her, he just worried about Willa finding out about his past and ruining any potential future he could have with her.

Willa too has a complicated past, not to mention an overprotective brother that Ezra has met on the field time and time again. With the odds stacked against them, could they truly have a chance at a future?

A Rival’s Kiss is a complete standalone, however I feel the emotions hit just a little bit harder because it is interconnected to her other series. You don’t need to have read any of Maya’s previous books for this book to hit all the feels, as this book can be read as a standalone as well.


Walking away would be the smartest decision, but no one’s ever accused me of being smart. Cold, determined, brutal, but never smart.

Willa’s mine from the moment I rescue her. I protect her from a brawling crowd and she stares up at me like I’m her prince charming. No one’s ever looked at me like that. No one has ever dared to come that close.

I didn’t know she was the little sister of one of my biggest rivals. Her brother and I have both drawn blood on the field, dislocated joints, broken bones, but I’ll never want to show her that side of me.

I long to be the man she believes I am, but there’s only one way I know how to win—how to survive—and that’s ensuring my enemies lose.

Once he finds out who his sister has been dating it’ll be all-out war, and I might lose the only woman who’s ever looked at me like I’m not built only for destruction.

Changing my ways won’t be easy, but I’m willing to risk it all for her.

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Blog Tour - 2022, Excerpt/Teaser Share, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Releases - 2022, Year of Reviews - 2022

Blog Tour – Brutal Vows by J.T. Geissinger

An Irish mobster with a brutal grudge.
An Italian mafia princess with a dark secret.

Brutal Vows, an all-new steamy and powerful dark enemies-to-lovers mafia standalone romance from international bestselling author J.T. Gessinger is available now!

An Irish mobster with a brutal grudge.
An Italian mafia princess with a dark secret.

Two enemy empires joined in sacred marriage vows.

Let the hating games begin.

Grab your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
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Read Kay’s Review: Brutal Vows


I get only a glimpse of the woman in the window before the curtains fall back into place and she disappears, but the image of her is seared onto my retinas.
Dark hair, red lips, olive skin.
A black, low-cut dress.
Acres of cleavage.
And eyes that glittered silver in the afternoon sun like the flash of coins at the bottom of a wishing well.
She can’t be Liliana, the lass I’m here to meet. I’ve seen pictures of her. She has a sweet, innocent face. A shy, lovely smile.
The woman in the window looks like she’d only smile if she were slitting your throat.
Mindful of the armed guards, I say in Gaelic to Kieran, “I thought the lass’s mother died?”
Standing beside me, he follows my gaze and looks up at the blank window.
“Aye. Why?”
“Who else lives here?”
He shrugs. “Dunno. From the size of the bloody place, probably a thousand people.”
She’s not a servant, that much I know. There wasn’t a hint of servitude in those flashing eyes.
She looked more like a warlord about to lead an army of soldiers into battle.
“This way,” says the guard nearest to me. He nods toward an arched opening in the brick wall that leads from the circular driveway into an interior courtyard.
Dismissing the thought of the mystery woman, I button my suit jacket and follow behind the guard as he leads Kieran and me away from the car. The other guard walks behind us. We’re led through the lushly landscaped courtyard to a set of enormous carved oak doors, flanked on either side by towering marble columns.
The main house looms over us, three sprawling stories of beige limestone with elaborate balustrades and scrolled iron balconies, topped by a line of Roman centurion statues gazing down at us from a ledge on the red-tiled roof.
Inside the main foyer, the décor becomes even more ostentatious.
Naked cherubs frolic with hairy satyrs and woodland nymphs in colorful frescoes on the walls. Instead of one drop-crystal chandelier overhead, there are three. The floor is black marble, the carved mahogany furniture is edged in gilt, and my eyes are starting to water from the kaleidoscope glare of stained-glass windows.
Under his breath, Kieran says, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Looks like Liberace hurled his lunch all over the bloody place.”
He’s right. It’s fucking awful.
I have to force myself not to turn around and walk out.
“Ah, Mr. Quinn!”
I turn to my right. A man approaches with his hands spread open in greeting.
He’s fit, of average height, and somewhere around forty. His dark hair is slicked back with pomade. Wearing a navy blue pinstripe suit I can tell is custom made, a powder blue tie with a diamond tie pin, a chunky diamond watch, and a gold pinky ring on each hand, he oozes wealth, privilege, and power.
His cologne reaches me before he does.
His smile is blinding.
I hate him on sight.
“Mr. Caruso, I presume.”
He grabs one of my hands in both of his and pumps it up and down like he’s a political candidate campaigning for my vote.
“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Welcome to my home.”
“Thank you. It’s a pleasure to meet you as well.”
He hasn’t stopped grinning or shaking my hand.
Ten more seconds of this shite, and I’ll break those Chiclet teeth of his.
“This is my associate, Mr. Byrne.” I extract my hand from Caruso’s death grip and gesture to Kieran, who inclines his head respectfully.
“Mr. Byrne, welcome. And please, both of you, call me Gianni. I prefer if we’re all on a first name basis, don’t you?”
I’d rather blind myself with acid, you wanker.
Kieran politely offers his name. I offer nothing. There’s an awkward pause while Caruso waits, but he gets the hint and suggests we retire to his study to speak in private.
After what feels like a death march through miles of echoing corridors, we arrive at the study. It’s probably larger than the law library at Notre Dame. We sit across from Caruso in a pair of leather chairs so uncomfortable, they had to be designed by sadists.
I haven’t been here ten minutes, and I’m already regretting the fuck out of this.
Until she walks in the door.
Dark hair, red lips, olive skin.
A black, low-cut dress.
Acres of cleavage.
Not only cleavage, but long legs and an hourglass figure that would make any man stupid with lust.
If he wasn’t too busy being turned to stone by the ice in her eyes, that is. I’ve never seen an attractive serial killer, but I bet this is exactly what she’d look like.

About J.T. Geissinger
J.T. Geissinger is a #1 internationally bestselling author of twenty-seven novels. Ranging from funny, feisty rom coms to intense, edgy suspense, her books have sold over five million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages.
She is a three-time nominee in both contemporary and paranormal romance for the RITA® Award, the highest distinction in romance fiction from the Romance Writers of America®. She is also a recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book and the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy.
She’s a Southern California native currently living in Nevada with her husband and rescue kitty, Zoe.

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