Titles - Starting Over and New Beginnings (Hart of Seattle Series)
Author - L.E. Maguire
Genre - Contemporary Romance
Synopsis for Starting Over
Ella Martin was devastated by the events surrounding her divorce. Determined to start over, she relocates from New Jersey to Washington to be a photographer with her longtime friend, Renatta. Having been emotionally scarred by her ex-husband’s betrayal, Ella didn’t believe she would ever be able to trust another man again. Then she met Xavier Hart, a successful CEO of an investment firm. She soon discovers that she cannot resist the dangerously handsome Xavier. But her struggles with her intense jealousy and trust issues start to clash with his controlling tendencies. As their relationship develops, she discovers the reason for his controlling nature over her and his desperate need to keep her safe. When her ex-husband suddenly relocates to Washington, her past and present collide in a dangerous way.
Starting Over Goodreads
As we headed back out to Fifth Avenue, my phone vibrated in my pocketbook. I dug it out only to find that it was Stephen calling yet again. Rolling my eyes at Renatta, I told her I needed to take the call.
"What, Stephen?” I hissed, walking several steps away from Renatta.
“Ella, thank you for taking my call,” he said politely.
“I have nothing to say to you. My feelings about what you have done have not changed and will not. Ever,” I said angrily.
“Ella, please if you could just hear me out,” he pleaded.
“No, Stephen. Stop calling me. You need to move on. Goodbye.”
“Ella, wait!” Stephen shouted, but I hung up not interested in hearing what else he had to say.
Not caring that I was standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue on a busy weekday, I closed my eyes and took several deep breaths. When I opened my eyes, I was staring into the beautiful blue eyes of Xavier Hart. I jumped back letting out a yelp. A slow smile spread across his face.
“We meet again, Ms. Martin,” he purred.
I stopped breathing. I am once again a deer in headlights.
“Nice to see you again, Mr. Hart,” Renatta said.
I started at the sound of Renatta’s voice. How the hell did she get over to me so quickly?
“Ms. Stevenson.” Xavier nodded his head in her direction, but his eyes never left mine.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. My tone came out much harsher than I intended.
“I just finished having lunch at Rock Bottom with my brother, Gabriel,” he said, sounding slightly affronted. “I came out of the restaurant, and was surprised to see you standing here. I thought I would be friendly and say hello,” he said, smiling as his tone softened.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to….” my voice trailing off. “I, um, should thank you, of course, for the beautiful roses,” I said nervously. Renatta placed her hand on my arm to stop me from shuffling from foot to foot. Why did he make me feel so nervous? Was it the suit? He did look simply delicious in a gray suit, black dress shirt, and gray tie.
“It was my pleasure, Ms. Martin,” he said smiling. “I’ll leave you ladies to enjoy the rest of your afternoon. But first, may I have a moment, Ms. Martin?”
I gave a quick, panicked glance at Renatta. Her eyes widened as she shook her head urging me to go with him. Turning back to Xavier, I smiled. "Um, sure. Please, call me Ella,” I said. What the hell did he want that he couldn’t say in front of Renatta?
He took my elbow and led me a few feet away from her. Once again, a warm sensation spread through me when his hand wrapped around my arm causing me to gasp. That strange electric energy I felt on the plane pulsed between us. I saw a small smile play on his lips, which made me frown. Did he feel this strange electricity between us too?
“Ella, I’m normally not this straightforward, but there is something about you. I can’t stop thinking about you since I sat next to you on that plane,” he said. “I think it’s fate or destiny, perhaps that keeps bringing us together.” He paused for a moment. Letting out a humorless laugh, he smirked. “I know that sounds like a line, but there is something between us, and I know you feel it too. Please, have dinner with me so we can get to know one another.” His gaze was giving nothing away. “I have a function that I need to attend tomorrow evening, but I would love to see you Sunday,” he said, sounding hopeful as he smiled.
Yes, he was feeling it too. I couldn’t lie to myself any longer. The truth was I couldn’t stop thinking about him either. Hell, I was even dreaming about him.
Jersey Girl - Bruce Springsteen
I Want Out - Pat Benatar
I Want Out - Pat Benatar
Tell It To Her - Pat Benatar
It's Not You - Halestorm
Aftermath - Adam Lambert
Glitter In The Air - Pink
Bring Me To Life - Evanescence
Lovesong - Adele
Beautiful With You - Halestorm
Tonight - Def Leppard
Feeling Good - Muse
Adagio For Strings - London Philharmonic Orchestra
Hysteria - Muse
Biggest Part of Me - Ambrosia
My Review: 4 1/2 stars
This was definitely not what I expected when I started reading this. This was a suspenseful, sexy, intense, thrilling new world that Ms. Maguire has created. I was glad to see that from the beginning Ella wasn't taking any crap from her ex-husband. The more I read, the more I was glad she got away from that creeper in the first place. Stephen was such a huge jerk to Ella, and not just because of the cheating on her, although that was the final straw for her. To me he was such a huge jerk because of the things that he said and did on a daily basis. No one deserves to be treated like that. Ella and Xavier meet on her trip out to begin her new life in Seattle, a place I love. She thinks she won't be seeing him again, and doesn't think much of herself due to the things her ex has told her for years, so she ignores Xavier for much of the plane ride. Thank God that she did meet Xavier is all I have to say. Every woman needs a man like that to tell her that she's beautiful and make her feel needed and wanted; that's what Xavier did for Ella. Their story is very complex and a bit twisted due to everything they both have been through prior to meeting, but they are definitely made for each other. They just need to work out some issues. There are so many people who seem to be against Ella and Xavier, it's a little too much sometimes, but they deal with their tragedies together and that only makes them stronger, in my opinion. I'm not going to tell you very much more, other than you have to read the series to know just what they go through. Great story line that grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let you go.
Synopsis for New Beginnings
Ella Martin, having overcome a devastating divorce, found herself caught-up in a whirlwind romance with Xavier Hart, a charismatic and successful CEO of an investment firm. As their romance quickly blossoms towards a more serious commitment, Ella continues to struggle with her intense jealousy and deep fear of getting hurt again. Ella’s ex-husband, Stephen, is still lurking in the background. Xavier’s struggle with his need to keep Ella safe only intensifies. When Stephen gets involved with someone else, Xavier is not convinced that he no longer poses a danger to Ella. When strange events surrounding Ella start to take place, Xavier believes his suspicions of Stephen are warranted, and he will do whatever it takes to keep her safe. The love story of Ella and Xavier that began in Starting Over concludes in New Beginnings.
New Beginnings Goodreads
Sometimes I really hated how hard it was to stay focused during a conversation with him, especially when I was angry and he looked so dangerously handsome. He was wearing my favorite charcoal gray three-piece suit with a crisp white dress shirt and a simple black tie. He placed the jacket on the back of one of the chairs at the conference table before stopping before me. The vest was form-fitting and really showcased his muscular arms, his broad chest, and lean waist. I knew he was trying to distract me from my question he had yet to answer, and he wasn't holding anything back based on the way he had sauntered over to me. I gave up trying to focus on his face and continued to visually feast on his lean, hard body.
Stopping in front of me, he looked down at me with hooded eyes as his unique and musky smell wrapped around me. I could feel the heat coming off his skin as he grabbed the strap of my pocketbook and lifted it off my shoulder. Sliding my bag down, he placed it on the floor next to me. “We don’t have a lot of time,” he said quietly, seductively. His piercing, blue eyes never left mine. My breathing kicked up a notch.
Grabbing my scarf, he slowly unwound it from my neck. The soft material moving against my overly sensitive skin had me fisting my hands at my side. The scarf fell from his hand and landed on top of my pocketbook. “We need to make the most of it," he said, unzipping my jacket slowly.
Walking around behind me, he lifted my jacket off my shoulders and slowly pulled it down my arms. His knuckles softly grazed down my arms as he did so. He deposited my jacket unceremoniously on the floor. “So I don’t want to fight.”
Wrapping his arms around my waist from behind, he splayed his right hand over my abdomen. Pulling my back to his front, he held me there tightly. Lifting his left hand, he swept my hair behind my shoulder. Goosebumps exploded across my skin from the light touch of his fingers and in anticipation of his mouth on me. My breath hitched as he nuzzled the sensitive skin under my ear.
Xavier didn't go unaffected either. His heart was pounding against my back. Restless hands ran along my abdomen, skimming the bottom edge of my bra, while he pressed the hard ridge of his arousal into my lower back.
My breathing became embarrassingly erratic as I fought the little spell he was trying to cast in order to keep from talking to me. “You are trying to distract me,” I said breathlessly.
“Is it working?” he asked, gently nipping my earlobe with his teeth.
Yeah, it was working all right and that was the problem.
My Review: 4 1/2 stars
This was such a great ending to this series of books. I hated everything that Ella and Xavier had to go through to get to where they ended up. But in the end, totally worth it. They both learn to deal with their jealousy and trust issues, and come to learn that the other really does have their best interest at heart. There were some truly scary moments in this book and I'm glad that everything turned out alright for most involved. They still had to deal with creepy ex-husbands and ex-girlfriends, but eventually they do get their Happy Ever After. I don't like giving anything away, so I'll just say that you really need to read this. I loved the passion that Xavier and Ella show each other day after day. Truly special. I loved quite a few scenes in this book, but my favorite was the last chapter all by itself. Ella and Xavier truly were made for each other soul mates. I couldn't have been happier with the way this turned out.
Lori Elen Maguire is a born and bred Jersey Girl who is currently living just outside Charlotte, North Carolina. She is married with two daughters and two grandsons. She is an avid reader with a passion for romance novels. When she's not reading, you can usually find her writing. She also has a special love of photography, football (Go Giants!), and all things vampire.