Thursday, July 18, 2019

Blog Tour Book Review: Once Upon A Time In Bliss by Lexi Blake

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OnceUponATimeinBliss eBook highresAuthor: Lexi Blake
Series: Nights in Bliss, Colorado #8
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: July 16th 2019
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: Social Butterfly PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):

Go back in time to Bliss’s first happily ever after…

Once Upon a Time in Bliss, an all-new sexy romance in the Nights in Bliss, Colorado Series from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake writing as Sophie Oak, is available now!

CIA operative John Bishop arrived in Bliss, Colorado, seeking a respite from the high-stakes game of blood and lies that sent him to the worst corners of the world. A week playing the role of vacationing professor Henry Flanders would recharge his batteries, especially if he found a gorgeous woman to occupy his time.

Nell Finn has spent her life focused on helping others, but when she meets the tall and mysterious Henry Flanders, she can’t stop imagining what he might do for her. When Nell and her mother are threatened, Henry comes to her, offering his protection and comfort.

But as the threats escalate out of control, Henry discovers that the beautiful and innocent Nell is much more than a plaything. Can he save the woman he loves without exposing the secrets that would drive her away?

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of his book from Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.

Have you ever wondered how it all began? Did you ever read about two characters in a series and wondered how they got together? How they ended up where they ended up? What their lives was before that? These questions have been plaguing me ever since I first heard of Ian Taggart's old partner and the man who recruited him at the Agency, John Bishop. Then as the story went on and as the world of the Masters and Mercenaries grew bigger and Bliss and Willow Fork were added into the mix whispers began to be heard about an old CIA operative that faked his death was actually alive and well. And then we find out that he became Henry Flanders, who we know is married to Nell Finn. And Lexi Blake did it again, people, because she jumped back in time and told us their story and it was everything I could have hoped for and more.

John Bishop is a very interesting character. Throughout this book we get to see how he struggles with his life, with the choices he made, how he wants a moment to just be and not worry about catching bad guys. Which is how he ends up in Bliss. I loved seeing him go slowly from his John identity to becoming Henry. We get to see John the operative, the guy with training, the guy with the knowledge and skill on how to hurt someone, and we get to see gentle Henry, the non-violent guy, the history professor, the man who loves Nell. I loved seeing how John struggled a bit with staying in his cover identity. I loved how he talked about the danger of becoming his undercover identity, just like I loved seeing him eventually be Henry. I also love seeing how certain people I didn't expect actually helped John when he needed it.

Nell was not what I expected. In the previous books from this series she was presented as a bit... the impression I got from her was not the best, let's just say. But this book proved me wrong. She protested a lot of things and she had opinions about everything, but the one cause she stood up for that stuck in my head was also the one that provides the dramatic element in the events of this book. I thought she was more like Mel, the alien hunter, when in reality she's a very smart woman. She knew where to look and how to interpret the data she had in front of her and she stood up for what she believed in. She's a person that wants to change the world and there's nothing wrong about that.

As always with Lexi's books I devoured Once Upon A Time In Bliss. I just couldn't not read it as fast as I did, because it's just one of those stories that I've always wanted to see being told. I am very happy with what the author did with this story and how she brought it into the world of the Taggarts. Speaking of connections though...

Something Nell's mother kept saying had me do a little digging and I found another Sophie Oak trilogy that I knew nothing about, A Faery Story. Coincidence? Me thinks not. I'll let you guys decide. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it means what I think it means and that we'll eventually see this series be re-released as well.

All in all, a truly wonderful story, probably my favorite so far. We get to see the town of Bliss before this series started, before everyone found their happy ending, before everything. I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out and until then I think a reread is in my future.


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“Is there any way you could drop me off in town?”
He felt his eyes narrow because she had plans. That was obvious. He was fairly sure that he wouldn’t like her plans. “Why?”
“Because I need to start scheduling the repairs.”
That wasn’t all she was planning on doing. She was hiding something. It was right there in the way she wouldn’t look him in the eyes. And why had she talked about her mom staying with Pam Sheppard and not herself? It was time to start herding Nell in the proper direction. He crowded her. It wasn’t hard in the small bedroom.
The minute she realized how close he was, she backed up, ceding the space until her back hit the door. “Henry?”
“How do you intend to pay for those repairs?” This cabin would require extensive repairs. Everything would have to be replaced. The door alone would cost hundreds of dollars, not to mention fixing the windows. He would bet a lot that Nell didn’t have that money.
Her face flushed the closer he got. Yes, she was aware of him, finally. That was what he wanted. “I don’t know that’s your business.”
“So it’s my business to take care of this for you, but not to know how you’ll take care of yourself? Is that how you work when you help someone out? You do one piece of the job and send them on their way?” He was playing on her sympathetic soul. And her body. He leaned in. She smelled sweet, like milk and honey. Damn, but he could eat her up. And there was no way to miss the way her nipples peaked under her sweater because she wasn’t wearing a bra.
Her voice was slightly breathless. “I think it’s nice that you want to help, but I don’t need it. I can fix everything.”
He loomed over her, well aware that he was using his height to intimidate her. “How, Nell? Do you have a job you haven’t told me about?”
“I have a computer I can pawn,” she said quietly.
He’d wondered what she’d intended to do, and still his freaking cold-as-fuck heart softened a fraction. All she’d talked about on the way over here was her writing. “I thought you wrote books.”
Her back was against the wall. She had nowhere to go, and that was just what he wanted. Her eyes had dilated. They roamed from his face to his neck to his chest, taking him in even as she spoke. “I do, but I have to admit, I don’t think I’m very good at it. I keep getting rejected, so I might as well get rid of the computer. Do you have to stand so close?”
There wasn’t a trace of irritation in that question. It had been asked with a delicious breathiness that let him know she was interested.
“If you didn’t want me to stand so close, you should have gotten a bigger bedroom,” he said, well aware his voice had gone low. He stared down at her, unwilling to let her off the hook for a second. Now that he was close to her, he was damn sure he couldn’t let her go. Oh, eventually he would. He would go back to his life and she would move on with hers, but for a week or so, he was going to be in her bed. He was going to be in her body. And he was going to solve a few of her problems. “You can’t pawn your computer. How will you keep up with your protests? How will you know what to protest in the first place?”
It didn’t make any sense, but he couldn’t stand the thought of her walking into some crummy shop and giving up her computer for half of what it was worth.
“I’ll figure it out,” she replied, her eyes round.
And selling the thing wouldn’t do any good. It would be a drop in the bucket of what she would need. “It won’t work, Nell.” He backed her against the wall. “Let someone help you. I can loan you the money.”
It wouldn’t be a loan, but she didn’t have to know that until he was long gone and she couldn’t find him.
“That’s not a good idea.” Her head tilted up. “None of this is a good idea.”
But her lips, those fuck-me, take-me lips, were trembling. Her hands were moving to his waist like she couldn’t help herself, and he didn’t even want to try to help himself. Everything about his life was plotted and planned and decided on for the best of whatever fucking mission he happened to be on.
He didn’t want to think. He wanted her. That was all that mattered.
“It’s the best idea I’ve had in a long time.”

About Lexi Blake

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. She likes to find humor in the strangest places. Lexi believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome or foursome may seem.

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