Reading, Romance, Small Town Perfection

Small Town Perfection: Mercy


Joss Wood‘s Men of Mercy series centres around Caswallawn Security, a business set up by best friends Kai, Sawyer and Axl, named for their fallen friend Max.

When Kai discovers that partners want to make Mercy, Virginia their business headquarters in Inescapable, he doesn’t understand why.  It’s a crazy, quaint, meddling town and its the antithesis of everything he knows and understands.

Still, all work and no play isn’t good for anyone, and when he sets eyes on feisty local baker Flick, the two of them are instantly drawn together.  It’s just fun, as he’s not going to be around long, and the two of them are fine with that.  Only, when an emergency means that Kai’s going to be in town for longer than he thought, they just can’t keep their hands off each other!

In Undaunted, Axl is faced with a conundrum.  Regan, the little sister of his fallen SEAL teammate and best friend Max, is working for Caswallawn Security, and he can’t cope with it.  He’s constantly torn between his promise to Max to look after her, and the desire that spikes every time he’s near her.

When a dangerous stalker threatens the client that she’s working with, Regan knows that she can deal with it – even if Axl keeps on hovering around, implying that she can’t.  But when she eventually gives in to the passion between them, she struggles to keep the control that she’s held onto all her life…

It’s a delightful series, and I simply can’t wait to read the next book, and follow Sawyer’s romance!

Mills & Boon, Romance, Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted?

Whatever Happened to Modern Tempted? A Spotlight on…Joss Wood

In 2013 Mills & Boon relaunched their RIVA line with Modern Tempted (called Harlequin KISS in the States), an imprint that held echoes of the Temptation novels of the 80s and 90s, and the sexiness of the Modern Heat series from the 00s. 

Whether as RIVA or as Modern Tempted, I adored the books and was incredibly upset when the line stopped publishing two years ago.

So this month I’m taking a look back at the authors of Modern Tempted, at the books they wrote then, and what they’re up to now…

Joss Wood

Choosing my favourite Joss Wood Modern Tempted book was dan near impossible, but The Last Guy She Should Call just about edged it:

She’d got his number…

For savvy antiques dealer Rowan Dunn life is good – until a passport error gets her deported back to South Africa! Stranded at the airport, Rowan can only remember two phone numbers: her parents’ (definitely not an option!) and her best friend’s brother’s. As much as she hates it, Rowan knows she has no choice.

It’s time to call Seb Hollis and ask for help…

Seb is even sexier than Rowan remembers – and just as infuriating! He’s always pushed her buttons, but at least now she knows how to push them back. Maybe it’s time to start sleeping with the enemy – even though Rowan’s sure there won’t be a whole lot of sleeping going on…!

Both Rowan and Sen have issues with their parents, and so it seems perfect to throw the two of them together.  Especially when their chemistry is as hot as it is!  Their history as antagonists also adds to the depth of their connection when they finally do give into temptation.

There’s also the ending.  I love the fact that Rowan has a successful career that takes her all over the world, and I was a little concerned that the happy ever after would take that away from her, but I was wrong to worry!  Joss Wood manages to create the perfect happy ever after, without sacrificing either of her characters’ autonomy.

Wood’s other Modern Tempted books include:

  • She’s So Over Him  (It’s been ten years since Maddie saw Cale, so when he walks into her bar she has to work out just how over him she is…)
  • If You Can’t Stand the Heat…  (Pastry chef Ellie is done with guys who can’t settle down in one place, she had enough of that with her father!  But will war reporter Jack be the exception to her hard and fast rule?)
  • It Was Only a Kiss  (When Jess Sherwood walked into Luke’s office eight years ago and told him he needed to rebrand his vineyard, he dismissed her with a kiss!  But now he needs some marketing help, and she’s the perfect woman for the job…)
  • Wild About the Man  (Socialite Clem’s life couldn’t get any worse!  First she gets dumped on live television, and now she’s been dumped in a safari park, in order to keep her out of the public’s eye!  She wants out, but will Nick change her mind?)
  • Too Much of a Good Thing?  (Rugby coach Will can’t believe how gorgeous Lu is, and he’s shocked to discover that she’s been playing mother to her younger brothers for the last ten years!  Lu’s just trying to ease herself back into the dating game, and Will seems perfect…)
  • Flirting with the Forbidden  (It’s been years since Noah last had to guard diamond heiress Morgan, but now she’s back and she’s even sexier than before…  Noah managed to resist temptation last time they met, but this time Morgan’s determined to seduce him!)
  •   More than a Fling?  (Ross can’t believe that he’s just propositioned the business woman sitting opposite him, and he’s even more floored when Ally agrees…  But will they ever escape each other?)
  • Your Bed or Mine?  (Tori has terrible taste in men, and the latest Mr Wrong is the last straw.  But then she ends up in bed with her sexy new roommate Matt, who also doesn’t trust forever…)
  • The Honeymoon Arrangement  (Callie needs to get out of the country, and fast, so she agrees to be travel journalist Finn’s fake wife.  But pretending to be loved-up merges with what might turn out to be true love!)

So what’s Joss been up to since the end of Modern Tempted?

She’s written two books for Mills & Boon’s Modern imprint:

  • Her Boss by Day…  (Willa’s been through the most horrific break-up, but she’s determined to get herself back on her feet.  So when Rob offers to put her up and explains that he needs a new accountant, she can’t believe her luck!  Will she be able to keep away from his bed though?)
  • One Night, Two Consequences  (Remy doesn’t believe in happy ever afters, and she’s determined to live life to the full!  She’s had a fantastic night with Bo, only then she finds herself pregnant…)

She’s also written the Pytheon Security duet:

  • Claimed by the Warrior  (Jed can think of nothing worse than being his sister’s “man of honour” – he’s allergic to anything to do with weddings – but when he meets bridal salon owner McKenna, he starts questioning everything…)
  • His Toughest Call  (When Leah is targeted by an international criminal, her ex-husband moves in to keep her safe.  Seth can’t believe how overly protective he’s being, but Leah always was his Achilles heel!)

She’s also been writing books for Mills & Boon’s Desire line:


  • Taking the Boss to Bed  (When Ryan kisses a beautiful stranger, he doesn’t know that she’s his newest employee, or his best friend’s little sister!  Jaci’s burning up with desire for him, but can they make it last?)
  • Trapped with the Maverick Millionaire  (Trapped together on Mac’s private tropical retreat during a storm, Rory finally allows herself to think about that searing kiss they shared all those years ago…)
  • Pregnant by the Maverick Millionaire  (Matchmaker Brodie isn’t interested in a husband for herself, but she’s definitely up for a night of fun with Kade!  But when she falls pregnant, will his plan to raise their baby together develop into something more?)
  • Married to the Maverick Millionaire  (Cal needs a husband in name only, but her childhood friend Quinn is more interested in exploring the explosive chemistry between them…)

Joss has also released the first Men of Mercy novel, Inescapable, with the next book Undaunted due out next year:

Kai is reluctant to make Caswallawn Security’s headquarters in Mercy, Virginia, no matter what his partners say; he’s not interested in settling down in a kooky small town, but one look at Flick and he starts rethinking his stance…  Flick isn’t looking for a man, but she’s definitely interested in some fun!  One night of fun and they both put it behind them.

But then Kai has to return to Mercy when Sawyer’s called away, and soon he and Flick realise that they won’t be able to quench the fire they’ve started as easily as they though…

Joss Wood wrote her first book at the age of eight and has never really stopped. Her passion for putting black letters on a white screen is only matched by her love of books and traveling (especially to the wild places of Southern Africa) and, possibly, by her hatred of ironing and making school lunches.

Joss has a background in business and marketing. When she’s not writing or being a hands-on mom, Joss, fueled by coffee, works for a nonprofit organization to promote the local economic development and the collective business interests of the area where she resides. Her hobbies include coaching her young daughter’s field hockey team, meeting her friends for a before-work cappuccino and an after-work cup of tea, and reading, reading, reading. She is happiest with a rucksack on her back and an airplane ticket in her hand and has been fortunate enough to indulge her passion for travel by visiting many countries within Southern Africa, Europe and America.

Joss lives in a rural town in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, in an area surrounded by wild-game farms and stunning mountains. It is not unusual for her to see rhinoceroses and giraffes, antelope and zebras while driving to have tea with her mother in a neighboring town. Joss lives with her husband, son and daughter—and their pets—happily and chaotically, surrounded by books, family and friends.

Find out more about her and her writing on Facebook and Twitter.

Exploits of a Chick Lit Aficionado, Reading, Respond to Reading, Responding to Reading, Tule Publishing

Respond to Reading: Claimed by the Warrior


I first discovered Joss Wood with the launch of Modern Tempted (or KISS, as it was called in the US), back in August 2013. My review of that novel, If You Can’t Stand the Heat, was accompanied by a Mills & Boon boy (one of my male friends caroused into posing with the book) and so a love affair began.

I love Joss’ writing, which is one of the reasons why she’s an autobuy author for me. Her characters have heart and sass and there are plot twists which I love.

Claimed by the Warrior is no exception.

It’s got a typically Wood-ian hero in Jed Hamilton (yes, I`m making that a thing): a man who is strong and fiercely independent, who doesn’t usually rely on anybody else. I’m a sucker for these heroes, partly because my own fiance’s incredibly similar. There’s something swoonworthy about someone who won’t open up to anyone but the heroine; it helps create a special bond between the characters that is impossible for either of them to deny forever, however much they may want to.

And to go along with this (rather delicious) hero is McKenna Dixon. I love the way that she interacts with Jed, calling him out when he unintentionally upsets his little sister`s wedding dress shopping and standing up to him when she doesn’t think he’s being upfront with her.

The chemistry between the two of them is sizzling from the outset, with a particularly steamy scene at a restaurant standing out, but the thing that’s most apparent to both the reader and the characters, is that there’s genuine tenderness and affection amidst the heat.

In addition to all this, there’s a thriller-esque element to the story, with Jed stepping up when he realises that McKenna has a stalker, and the eventual revelation at the end came as a bit of a surprise (in a good way – I like that writers can still surprise me sometimes). Romantic suspense is a sub-genre of romance that I’m beginning to enjoy more and more, so I was delighted t see this kind of writing from Joss.

All in all, a delightful read, with Wood’s strong characterisation once more at the forefront of a darn good read.