Our January BestStellar is
Of Smoke & Cinnamon by Ace Gray!

 Camilla Collins hasn’t gone home in thirteen years. As much as she loves her family, their tiny hometown in the folds of the Colorado mountains holds too many memories. Memories of a life barely lived and a love barely realized. No matter how she thrives, AJ Jenkins is the man she compares all others too. He just so happens to be the one that broke her heart. Seeing him, seeing the life she might have had with him, has been a very convincing reason to celebrate the holidays in the Pacific Northwest, happy in the rain instead of the snow.

AJ Jenkins isn’t exactly bitter and frigid. It’s the below freezing temperatures, the knee deep snow, and the death of his chronically ill father dragging him down. That is until Cam Collins finally comes home for Christmas. After thirteen years, he’d almost given up on seeing her. And was incredibly happy about it. But thirteen is unlucky for a reason, and apparently that reason is still a klutzy, gorgeous, living memory determined to poke holes in his barely hanging on heart with death defying stilettos.

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H’s 5 Diamond Review

Of Smoke & Cinnamon showcases everything I love about romance novels. I get the small town, cozy goodness and a second chance with ‘the one’ that got away. The warm feeling of returning home for the holidays after years of staying away. I enjoyed all the positive vibes of spending time with family and friends, spreading cheer and joy during the best time of year. The tension of facing painful memories head-on when scorching chemistry is thick in the air. This is a fantastic example of a feel-good story that will embrace you in a perfect cuddle, especially during the cold winter months.

Camilla Collins has avoided going back to Willow Creek for thirteen years. There’s too many unresolved issues waiting for her there, mostly wrapped up around one man. AJ Jenkins has been waiting for an explanation from his high school sweetheart for over a decade but when she finally resurfaces, the hurt is suddenly too fresh to deal with. Reconciliation isn’t easy, especially when both sides still feel the burn.

The numerous underlying themes are my favorite here. Scene after scene offers something new to obsess about, from special recipes to re-creating moments from the past. The aspects and elements all piece together flawlessly.

There’s so much depth to this author’s writing style. She doesn’t use simple, easy descriptions to get her point across. Ace digs deeper, pushes boundaries harder, and pours more depth into the pages to give the reader an ultimate experience. Getting lost in this book was effortless and uplifting. It’s an emotional journey I’ll never forget and will desperately plead for more.

Barely behind me, Cam is bent over the pool table, angling at a difficult shot. Those painted on jeans accentuate curves I don’t remember her having. Curves I want to paw. Then there’s the mysterious tattoo. It cuts across cream colored skin and I want to lick it—lick her—despite everything between us.
To make matters worse, she makes the near-impossible shot. The Cam Collins I know is three things: uncoordinated, callous and the world’s worst pool player. I’d had to help her with every shot she ever took, my body wrapped completely around hers, my hands guiding her every movement. Almost every time she’d look over at me rather than the ball.
But she’s well on her way to running the table.
How long has she had these skills? Did she develop them because I wasn’t there? My heart twists at the thought.
Or, worse, could she always do this, her mind so accustomed to angles and trajectories, but wanted my hands on her?
I don’t know why I’ve thought of the possibility, but it’s the most dangerous one yet because it sucks me back to that warm summer night when we’d played the best game of pool of my life. I’d helped her with each shot. She’d wiggled her ass up against my crotch too many times to count. Just when I thought I was going to have to take her home then jerk off, she’d grabbed my hand and pulled me out to the 13th green behind Molly Merithew’s house.
Crickets chirped, punctuating her labored breathing. There was the slightest warm breeze tickling my skin. I never asked if it was the breeze or me that peaked her nipples when she shimmied out of her white eyelet linen top. I couldn’t really ask anything as Cam stripped naked behind the willow trees and let me have her for the first time, bathed in moonlight. When we snuggled under the stars she wore nothing but my flannel.
I never got that shirt back. I’d sworn off anything remotely related to vanilla, too—that’s what Cam tasted like.
That’s what the hidden taste in the bourbon was.
Fuck pool. Fuck this delicious bourbon. And fuck Cam Collins.
Author Bio
Ace Gray is a self-proclaimed troublemaker and connoisseur of both the good life and fairy tales. After a life-long love affair with books, she undertook writing the novel she wanted to read, which culminated in her first release STRICTLY BUSINESS and followed with, well, quite a few more. When she’s not writing, she works in craft beer. Originally a small town, Colorado girl, she now loves rainy days, shellac manicures, coffee shops and bourbon—all of which are bountiful in her adopted home of Portland, OR where she runs amok with her chef husband and husky pup.
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