Saturday, July 6, 2013

Blog Blitz Tour: Three of Hearts and Three of Spades by W. Ferraro

Today we get to share with you the sexy men from books one and two of the Men from Hamden Series by the fabulous W. Ferraro:

Three of Hearts and Three of Spades

The books have had a facelift and now have gorgeous new covers

Three of Hearts

Mae Turney is searching for the type of life and happiness she has never known but has only dreamed about. She's fortunate enough to find a great opportunity to live in an exterior apartment of a beautiful lake house in a small town in Vermont. When she realizes the apartment and scenery are not the only gorgeous appeal but the home owner, Seth Finn, is as well, she puts it all on the line for the chance at love.  When she becomes comfortable and confident in her own skin and sexuality, Mae realizes that this place and this man is exactly what she came looking for. Knowing Seth and his three children are as special as they come, Mae bets the house, and prays she and her gamble are enough. 

Three of Hearts is the first of three books by Wendy Ferraro about the men of Hamden.  In Three of Hearts we meet Seth Finn, handsome widower, successful construction company owner and father of three.  Seth lost his wife Maggie five years earlier, shortly after the birth of their third child, Megan and since that time has not been able to face the prospect of another relationship.  Caring for his children and ensuring the success of his business has been his primary focus, until he meets Mae.
Mae Turney is an oncology nurse who relocates from Boston to the town of Hamden.  She moves into the apartment that adjoins the home of Seth and quickly befriends his three children Conner, Aidan and Megan as well as his housekeeper Lynne and sister Robyn.
Mae is not your 'typical' female lead - Ferraro has created a character that is intelligent, independent and also refreshingly curvaceous, rather than the svelte,  catwalk model figure that usually features in romance novels - this was a nice change, although almost a little overdone with repeated references to Mae's curves and 'womanly' features.
For me the relationship between Seth and Mae moved a little too quickly, particularly given there were children to consider. They had only spoken a few times, and Seth was a little rude on at least one of those occasions, before they were all of a sudden in the middle of an intense, physical relationship.   The connection between the two characters was real enough, I just thought the pace at which they moved was a little unrealistic.  
There are some great supporting characters in this story - bad boy, Dylan Cross: Seth's business partner and life long friend;  Robyn Finn: Seth's sister and the one responsible for bringing Mae into his life, Wes Thompson: another business associate and good friend of Seth; and Lynne O'Shanahan : Seth's fiery irish house keeper - all add some interest and help to keep Seth honest with himself and Mae - much to his annoyance!
As with any good romance novel there's an event that puts Seth and Mae's relationship to the test.  Without wanting to disclose the detail I was really disappointed with Seth, his behaviour in the heat of the moment was appalling - I think we were supposed to consider it part of his 'fiery' Irish blood, but for me it was extreme and difficult to recover from.  I was also a little disappointed with the resolution to the issue - it seemed like some important things were glossed over and it just felt like the conclusion came about too quickly and easily.
Having said that, I enjoyed Three of Hearts, it was a quick read with enough substance to keep me engrossed in the story.  Ferraro creates some strong characters and writes some steamy love scenes.  Three of Spades is the second book in the series and I'm moving on to that next to learn more about Dylan Cross.
3 out of 5 stars

Three of Spades

Dylan Cross is the type of man that enjoys everything female, and enjoy it he does, but always on his terms. However, his terms are pushed to their limit when Natalie Parker proposes an offer; teach her and her delectable little body, all about sex and desire. There is one catch. He has to play the part of Natalie’s madly in love boyfriend for her dying mother. Dylan signs on, and finds that separating the two is harder than he thought. Natalie’s days of shyness and lack of confidence come to a quick close as she learns what her body craves and demands in the bedroom. Soon, Dylan becomes the student as Natalie teaches him things he didn’t even know he wanted. Will Hamden’s notorious playboy, bachelor be able to keep calling the shots, or will he find that, he, himself, is just another player at the card game of life, as we all are? 

Three of Spades is the second book by Wendy Ferraro about the men of Hamden, with a particular focus on Dylan Cross.
Clearly established as the 'bad boy' in Three of Hearts, Dylan is renowned for his love em and leave em attitude. With a history of a steady string of short term, primarily physical relationships, the last thing Dylan anticipates is falling for Natalie.
Natalie Parker, a kindergarten teacher spends much of her time caring for her dying mother, Gloria. Gloria decides she needs to be "cruel to be kind" to ensure Natalie does not spend the rest of her life alone after her mother dies. As a consequence, Natalie seizes on a strategy from one of the many books she has read and decides to pay a man to pose as her boyfriend for her mother. Given her lack of relationship experience, Natalie decides she'll use the opportunity to learn about the physical side to a relationship as well.
With her strategy set and time slipping away, Natalie propositions Dylan for the role. Dylan negotiates what he considers to be an appropriate fee, establishes some terms and conditions of his own and sets out to 'educate' Natalie as best he can.
While a little predictable, the developing relationship between Dylan and Natalie is a delight to read. Dylan takes his role of 'boyfriend' very seriously, with a particular focus on his role as teacher in the bedroom. Some of the love scenes between the two are incredibly steamy and Natalie blossoms under his tutelage. As the time of their 'arrangement' draws to an end, it is apparent to both of them that there is more to their relationship than either of them intended. The question is, will Dylan and Natalie admit to themselves and each other, precisely how they feel?
There are other elements to the story that add to the intrigue and uncertainty of the outcome. We meet Natalie's brothers, Reggie and Sam, both of whom treat her badly and are trying to manipulate the care of their mother for their own benefit. We see glimpses of characters we met in the Three of Hearts and it's nice to see how their relationships are developing. There is even a disgruntled employee of Dylan's in the mix, that could have added a greater level of angst to the story if that part of the plot was a little better developed.
I really enjoyed Three of Spades, more so than Three of Hearts. There is something satisfying about a 'bad boy' coming unstuck in the game of love - although Dylan Cross is not as bad as he'd like people to think.

Ferraro includes an excerpt from Three of Diamonds at the end of the book, which, along with some of the scenes involving Wes Thompson and Lola, the new bartender at Cal's, within the book has peaked my curiosity for the next instalment in the stories about the men of Hamden.

3.5 out of 5 stars

I live in New England with my young family. I'm a stay at home mom to two very active children. For all of you who are familiar with the stress of this job, I decided to complete an item on my bucket list and write a book. When I'm not writing, you will find me cooking, reading, shopping or being silly with the kids.  
I wish you all happy reading and hope you fall in love with the men of Hamden. 

Book three in the series 'Three of Diamonds' is coming soon