M. (Minx) Malone's contemporary romance series The Alexanders is one that I stumbled upon recently. I confess that the publisher declined my request for an ARC for book one of the series, but my interest was piqued and I made sure to acquire the four books available in the series to date.
Teasing Trent, is actually available free right now through Amazon's Kindle store and is a great introduction some of the characters that Malone weaves throughout her series. I will give you a warning that this novella, like Pamela Clare's First Strike, is more erotica than romance, though I'd class the rest of her series as contemporary romance. In Teasing Trent, we're introduced to Mara, the twin sister of Trent's best friend Matt. Mara, of course, has had a crush on Trent forever and it seems like Trent might reciprocate that. Can she succeed in teasing him? And if successful what comes afterwards with a player like Trent. It's a fun, short, and steamy read and I might never imagine yoga poses the same way again.
One More Day, is a great mix of romance and suspense with a dash of down home southern hospitality thrown in. Actually after reading this I wanted to be adopted by the Alexanders and go out and live with them on their farm. The warmth and sincere generosity of a family who cares enveloped both the heroine Ridley and the reader.
I have to say that I knew once I began reading One More Day that I had made the right decision to get the rest of the series as these characters quickly came to life on the page. Ridley, who might look like her twin, the SI swimsuit model Raina, confuses everyone by her down-to-earth way of looking at things, but she successfully pulls off her identity switch as she hides out with record producer (and super hottie) Jackson.
Not knowing who's after her, but with the possibility it might be her long-lost father (a mafia don according to the FBI), Ridley finds it hard to trust anyone. But the heat between Jackson and Ridley soon burns through her mistrust and the pages begin to steam. Along the way, Malone weaves in quite a few subplots and I began to really want to know what was up with Raina and Jackson's brother Nick, a financial maven. I was happy to see more of Mara and Trent and also learn a little more about the other Alexander brothers, Elliot, who owns a security firm and horticulturalist Bennett, who lives on the farm with his parents. And I wanted to give a great big hug to Jackson's two sons, particularly the one who loves spiders.
I won't give the plot away, but be prepared to laugh a lot, fan your face during some steamy scenes, and just in general enjoy a really great read.
The Things I Do for You, opens with model Raina getting the great news that she's been greenlighted for a reality television series. However at the press event to announce the series, she finds out her fiancé has returned to his soap-star ex-wife. Her world collapses, not really because of losing her fiancé, but because he was her one hope of having a child before her time ran out due to some health issues.
Remember I mentioned I wanted to know what had happened between Raina and Nick Alexander? Well this is their novel. They had a one-night stand months earlier, before Raina's engagement, and apparently went merrily along their ways. But we soon see that there is a lot more emotion there than just lust - and neither was very merry in leaving the other.
There's a Vegas wedding in the future and the Elvis impersonator is hilarious, but you'll not just find humor in this sequel, but a great deal of emotion as Raina has to learn to love and Nick has to learn to care beyond himself. Once again the Alexander family takes center stage and their warm embrace makes that transcends the page makes this series so remarkable.
He's the Man, focuses on Matt Simmons, recovering from a war injury while serving as an Army Ranger, and his physical therapist (and former babysitter) Penelope (Penny) Lewis.
Matt is the twin brother of Mara, whom we met in the prequel novella, and he's returned home with an injury that may have taken away his chance to return to active duty service. Mara arranges for their former babysitter Penny, a physical therapist based closer to DC, to rehabilitate his shoulder.
When Matt and Penny first meet in her office I think my Kindle began to overheat. It didn't matter that Malone had made clear she was seeing someone else, their chemistry was just hot hot hot.
Matt, who is like another son to the Alexanders, not only has to deal with his injury, but also with the trauma of losing his best friend in the attack that injured him. He also is a little out-of-sorts with all his friends (Trent, Jackson, and Nick) hooking up in the forever kind of way, while he remains alone.
Penny, at first introduction, seems highly professional, perhaps a little ambitious, caring, and also stuck with a boyfriend who doesn't light any fires, but offers security instead. I was surprised that Malone didn't make more of her being the former babysitter, but then I remembered that I used to babysit children one or two years younger than I was. It is definitely not a May/December romance.
I don't want to give away too much about the series, but I do want to encourage you to read it. I appreciate the fact that race is incorporated in Malone's novels in a way that we don't question if the character is black, white, red, or purple, but instead we get to know who they are inside. That's the way it should be in books and, more importantly, in life.
So, five stars for M. Malone's The Alexanders series. Keep an eye out this November for the holiday novella, Christmas with the Alexanders, and in January for book four, All I Need is You, when Elliot Alexander and singer Kay will have their day.
From the Publisher
The Alexanders Prequel
Teasing Trent by M. Malone
A prequel novella in the bestselling ALEXANDERS series
ONE GIRL. ONE GUY. ONE UNFORGETTABLE NIGHT.
The only thing Trent's best friend has ever asked of him is to keep an eye on his twin sister while he's deployed. Keeping her company on her birthday shouldn't be too hard. He just has to remember the promise he made to himself in college to keep his hands off her.
Which is getting harder and harder by the day.
Ever since Mara walked into her brother's dorm room freshman year and came face to face with a shirtless Trent, she's known he was The One. He's been right there with her twin brother as her biggest supporter or shoulder to cry on, whichever she needs most. The problem?
Trent has no idea how she feels.
Well, it's her first birthday without her twin and Trent's coming over to keep her company. It's the perfect time to tease him a little. A skimpy yoga outfit and a few glasses of wine later, she plans to finally have Trent exactly where she wants him. In her bed, for as long as she can keep him there.
If Mara has her way, she'll get a whole lot more for her birthday than a Hallmark card.
The Alexanders Book 1
One More Day by M. Malone
RIDLEY WELLS HAS NOWHERE ELSE TO TURN
But when a friend is murdered and her apartment is trashed, she runs to the only person she trusts, her twin sister. No one will think to look for her in the rinky dink Virginia town of New Haven.
SO SHE DOES SOMETHING SHE KNOWS IS WRONG
Of course, her luck lands her passed out in the grass in front of resident badboy, music producer Jackson Alexander. Strike 1! Then she realizes Raina's out of the country and she has nowhere else to go. Strike 2!
So when the handsome producer with the platinum smile mistakes her for her sister, she gets an idea.
Where better to hide than in plain sight?
The Alexanders Book 2
The Things I Do for You by M. Malone
A bargain. A baby. A billion things can go wrong.
NICHOLAS ALEXANDER doesn't mind being called a playboy. His charm serves him well in business and a beautiful woman is always on his arm. Except the one he's in love with.
RAINA WINTERS doesn't believe in love, so when she's dumped right before her wedding, she's more upset about losing what she really wants from marriage. A baby.
When Nick learns about Raina's dilemma, his first reaction is to leave her hanging like she left him after their steamy one-night stand. But he finally has something Raina needs, so he offers her a deal. He'll give her a baby if she gives him something he desires just as much.
Just two little words.
WARNING: This book contains encounters with a drunken Elvis, pushy mamas, tabloid shenanigans, several occurrences of bad cooking and hot sex between two people who aren't even sure they like each other. Just saying...
The Alexanders Book 3
He's the Man by M. Malone
A soldier who has lost it all...
A family that won't let go...
And the one woman who can help him get his life back.
MATT SIMMONS is over Army doctors poking him. But when his sister won't stop nagging him to see their old babysitter, now a sought after physical therapist, he gives in just to get some peace. He'll do almost anything if it gives him back his dream of being an Army Ranger.
PENELOPE LEWIS is finally putting down roots after a lifetime of moving around. She's got everything she wants, except the settled suburban life she longs for. All she needs is the perfect guy, which means NO military men.
When Matt realizes that his old babysitter is h-o-t, he's suddenly seeing the benefits of therapy. But Penny still sees him as the bratty kid she used to babysit.
Suddenly he has a new mission in life...
About the Author
National Bestselling author M. Malone lives in the Washington, DC metro area with her three favorite guys, her husband and their two sons. She likes dramatic opera music, staid old men wearing suspenders, claw-foot bathtubs and unexpected surprises. The thing she likes best is getting to make up stuff for a living. Visit her website at http://www.mmalonebooks.com/.