Review: Desire by Design by Paula Altenburg




Title:  Desire by Design

Author: Paula Altenburg


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


He stole her job, and now she’s stealing his heart.

Eve Doucette finally almost has it all. She’s free from her mistake of an ex-husband and just landed her dream job: project manager for a new City Hall and drafter of the final design. That is, until a handsome architect sweeps into town to commandeer her blueprints.

Famous architect Matt Brison is unsatisfied with his mundane life in Toronto. So when the mayor of Halifax asks him to spearhead his City Hall project, Matt jumps at the opportunity. There’s just one problem: the feisty and beautiful project lead, Eve, who isn’t exactly thrilled about her new "coworker" hijacking her design.

But when the sparks begin to fly, they both find themselves falling for the colleague they shouldn’t want. And before they know it, their already shaky foundation might come crumbling down…


I enjoyed Desire by Design and thought that the story had a lot to offer.  Eve is an extremely likable character who is struggling to come into her own after a disastrous marriage.  Her large, loud family is overbearing, and she clashes with her mother at every gathering.  She feels that she’s been nothing but a disappointment to her family, and she now has the dubious honor of being the only member to have been divorced.  Worse, her ill-fated marriage lasted only two weeks before she realized that she married a jealous, controlling, abusive man.  Vowing to focus only on herself and her career so she would avoid making another mistake, Eve dives into her position as a project manager with a gusto.  Her latest job is to oversee the construction of the new city hall building, and right from the get go, she is confronted with strife and personality conflicts – mostly with Bob, the  self-serving mayor.

When Matt Brison enters her construction trailer, Eve is in for an even larger challenge; Matt is a well-renowned architect from Toronto, and he’s been put in charge of designing the new building.  For his uncle.  You know, that annoying, self-serving mayor guy.  I loved the built in conflict here; Eve is fantasizing about how to bump him off, and now she’s stuck working with his fancy, well-paid nephew.  Matt wants to do his uncle proud for all of the support he’s given to him over the years.  Matt’s mother was a flake, and Bob tried hard to provide some stability while Matt was growing up.  Eve feels no loyalty toward the mayor and is upset about the thought of him railroading an ever increasing budget through to get his dream offices constructed.  For Eve, it’s a no-win situation.  Matt is accustomed to building nothing but the best,   and she’s getting a migraine just contemplating the budget woes she’ll have to face.  To stir things up even more between Eve and Matt, the mayor warns Matt away from Eve.  She’s nothing but a bully, he tells his nephew, and she’ll do nothing but run roughshod over him in order to get her way.  I loved how both Eve and Matt had to weave through the misconceptions people tossed in front of them about each other and make up their minds about each other. 

Just to keep Eve from resting easy, her abusive ex ends up back in town.  When Matt suspects that Eve is being threatened, he quickly dons his shining armor and offers to help her out.  Because Eve has both forgotten how to trust in others or to trust her own judgment, this is the story of her learning to believe again.  She needs to believe that others are decent and caring, and that she has the capacity to make the right decisions for herself.  Instead of reacting to her mother and her family, she needs to stop worrying about disappointing anyone and start living again.  When she finally learns to ask for help, and when she finally allows herself a second chance, I was right there cheering her on.  To make the journey even more enjoyable, Matt keeps making the worst impression possible on her parents, with hilarious results.  I really started feeling bad for the guy, because I didn’t see how anyone could ever live some of that stuff down.  It kept the story from being too angsty, and added a nice touch of humor. It made both Eve and Matt more sympathetic and gave them an added depth of character.

I picked up Desire by Design  completely on the spur of the moment. The first paragraph had me hooked, and I remained engaged in the story for the entire length.  I’m looking forward to reading more from the author, because this hit all the right buttons for me.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Guest Post: Paula Altenburg’s Top Ten Favorite Travels and Giveaway!

Please welcome Paula Altenburg back to the virtual offices this morning! Paula is here to share her Top Ten Fave Travels!  She also has a copy of Desire by Design up for grabs!  Later today, please check back for my review of Desire by Design.

Top Ten List of Favourite Travels by Paula Altenburg

As an adult I’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to do some traveling. But likewise, as a child, I was fortunate to spend a lot of time traveling through books. Therefore, I’m dividing my list into two – places I’ve traveled in fact, and the places I’ve gone to in fiction.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Narnia

Fiction. If you’ve been to Narnia for real, I want to meet you.

2. Greece

Fiction. I loved reading about the mythology and the ruins, and it’s on my bucket list.

3. Brussels

Fact. It’s full of history, and it’s the home of the European Parliament – the old city is gorgeous. I saw the best parade ever in this city, too. Gay Pride knows how to party.

4. Stonehenge

Fiction. I’d love to see it for real, but happy to see it through fiction.

5. Paris

Fact and fiction. Beautiful city, although its perspective of the French Revolution seemed a bit different than what I’d read about in A Tale of Two Cities and The Scarlet Pimpernel. I also don’t believe Jean Valjean really wandered those sewers. The smell would have killed him.

6. Amsterdam

Fact. My husband’s a local. The Red Light District is pretty dull during the day.

7. Providenciales

Fact. My sister lived there for seven years. It has the most beautiful beaches in the world.

8. Middle-earth

Fiction. Damn it.

9. The Swiss Alps

Fiction. I loved Heidi and Heidi Grows Up when I was 6.

10. Africa

Fiction. King Solomon’s Mines, to be specific. I really, really want to be able to say I’ve been chased by cannibals.

Thank you, Paula!!

Giveaway Time!!

Ready for your chance to win a copy of Desire by Design?  Just will out the widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win? You can purchase Desire by Design by clicking the links below:



About the book:

He stole her job, and now she’s stealing his heart.

Eve Doucette finally almost has it all. She’s free from her mistake of an ex-husband and just landed her dream job: project manager for a new City Hall and drafter of the final design. That is, until a handsome architect sweeps into town to commandeer her blueprints.

Famous architect Matt Brison is unsatisfied with his mundane life in Toronto. So when the mayor of Halifax asks him to spearhead his City Hall project, Matt jumps at the opportunity. There’s just one problem: the feisty and beautiful project lead, Eve, who isn’t exactly thrilled about her new "coworker" hijacking her design.

But when the sparks begin to fly, they both find themselves falling for the colleague they shouldn’t want. And before they know it, their already shaky foundation might come crumbling down…

Interview with Tracy March, Author of Girl Three and Giveaway!


Please give a warm welcome to Tracy March! She’s visiting the virtual offices today to chat about her new release, Girl Three.  This is  romantic suspense , and it’s published under Entangled’s Select line.  After the interview, Tracy has an awesome giveaway that you have have to check out!

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Tracy March] Smitten wife, travel and adventure lover, Washington Nationals baseball fan, The Bachelor watcher, Diet Coke addict, Cheez-It aficionado!

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Girl Three?

[Tracy March] Dr. Jessica Croft finds out her sister’s suspicious death was classified as natural, but she suspects murder. Her sister was a beautiful lobbyist who worked in Washington, DC. Jessie heads to DC to pursue elite suspects who’d kill to keep their secrets buried. This leads her to irresistible security consultant Michael Gillette, who knows more about her sister than he’s willing to tell. Ultimately she reveals a controversial fertility scandal that involves the mysterious Girl Three, risking her career, her heart, and her life to expose the truth.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Tracy March] I read a book called The Baby Business by Harvard professor Debora Spar that reveals how money, science, and politics are involved in the fertility industry. I was fascinated and disturbed when I learned about the controversies surrounding stem cell research, surrogacy, egg swapping, and designer babies. After reading the book, so many “what-if” questions flooded my mind and gelled into the story and characters that ultimately became Girl Three.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Jessie?

[Tracy March] Smart, cautious, and determined.

[Manga Maniac Café] If Michael had a theme song, what would it be?

[Tracy March] Skyfall by Adele

[Manga Maniac Café] Name one thing Jessie is never without.

[Tracy March] Suspicion. During the entire story of Girl Three, she never knows who to trust.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things will you never find in Michael’s bathroom?

[Tracy March] Patterned towels, scented lotion, or a shower scrunchie.

[Manga Maniac Café] What is Jessie’s greatest regret?

[Tracy March] Jessie regrets that she allowed herself and her sister to grow apart for a couple of years before her sister was murdered. Her guilt over this is a large part of what drives her to solve the mystery of Girl Three despite the danger she faces.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Tracy March] I’m influenced by the stories, talent and voices of other authors—especially those of Sandra Brown and Tana French. I’m also influenced by news and current events that spark ideas for stories, and I’m always fascinated by what drives people to do the things they do.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Tracy March] Silence, Diet Coke, and duct tape for the mouth of my internal editor! ?

[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Tracy March] I am still completely smitten with Alma Katsu’s book The Taker which is the first in a trilogy about love and betrayal that transcends time and mortality. It’s a gothic historical with a modern twist and characters that will fascinate and haunt you. As if that wasn’t enough to captivate me, Alma writes like a provocative angel. If you haven’t read this epic tale, I recommend that you grab a copy—now! ?

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Tracy March] The Scarlet Letter is my all-time favorite classic, featuring my all-time favorite heroine, Hester Prynne. I fell hard for the heady themes in the book, and that compelled me start reading more modern tales, looking for the same sort of feel.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Tracy March] I enjoy travel and adventure—like ziplining in the Swiss Alps and snowmobiling on the Continental Divide. I also like being active, riding my bike, and getting in a good workout where I squeeze in some reading while I’m on my elliptical trainer. I love Saturday date nights with my superhero husband that usually include pizza and a Dairy Queen Blizzard. *yum* And I’m a true-blue Washington Nationals baseball fan. I try to catch as many games as possible, although I have to ration myself when I’m on a deadline!

[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Tracy March] Readers can visit my website at where they can sign up for my newsletter and find my social media links. Here’s where I am on Twitter: @Tracy_March and Facebook: Tracy March. I look forward to connecting with everyone! ?

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!


Ready for a chance to enter for a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite or one of the 5 rings that Tracy’s giving away? Just fill out the widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase links:


Barnes & Noble:

Book Depository:

Link to trailer:

About the book:

Dr. Jessica Croft has avoided the players, the power, and the passions of Washington, DC. But when her estranged sister’s suspicious death is classified as natural, Jessie resolves to expose the murderer. As she pursues elite suspects who’d kill to keep their secrets buried, she encounters sexy security consultant Michael Gillette, who knows more about her sister than he’ll admit.

Michael has a vested interest in Jessie’s plight. Her sister died on his watch—while he wasn’t watching. His plan to find her murderer becomes complicated when Jessie’s father hires him to protect Jessie, and his interest turns from professional…to romantic.

Jessie and Michael must unravel a mystery rife with political agendas, deceit, and betrayal. When confidential papers reveal a fertility scandal surrounding the enigmatic Girl Three, the two realize the danger of exposing the truth. Who is Girl Three? And will the murderer kill again to keep a secret?

About the author:

Award-winning author Tracy March writes romantic thrillers influenced by her career in the pharmaceutical field, and her interest in science and politics. She also writes lighthearted romances inspired by her real-life happily ever after.

Always up for travel and adventure, Tracy has flown in a stunt plane, snowmobiled on the Continental Divide, ziplined in the Swiss Alps, and been chased by a bull in the mountains of St. Lucia. She loves Nationals baseball, Saturday date nights, and Dairy Queen Blizzards—and rarely goes a day without Diet Coke and Cheez-Its.

Find Tracy March at:





Spotlight: Tragic: Rook and Ronin by J A Huss and Giveaway!

TRAGIC:  Rook and Ronin, #1
By J. A. Huss
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Published May 15, 2013
Science Future Press

Rook Walsh is TRAGIC

Because life so far – just sucks. Some girls get parents. Rook got the foster care system. Some girls get Prince Charming. Rook got an abusive frog. Some girls get lucky…

Rook got a second chance.

And she took it. Because when fate throws you a bone – you grab it with both hands and run.

Antoine Chaput knows the minute he spies Rook in his photography studio that she’s got The Look. The dark and desperate look he must have to land the exclusive TRAGIC media contract.

Rook is paired up with top model, Ronin, and he’s everything her abusive ex-boyfriend wasn’t. Patient, gentle, happy, attentive, and sexy! He knows exactly what to do to make Rook blush for Antoine’s camera.

Rook’s luck changes in an instant and suddenly she’s the darling of the modeling world. It’s a dream job to go with a dream guy and all she has to do is look pretty and follow directions. But there’s always a price to pay – and Rook is about to get the bill.

New Adult Contemporary Romance *Mature Content* Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language usage

**Does contain strong language

I gather up all my clothes and stick them in the stackable washer in the closet just off the bedroom. The breeze caresses my naked limbs and gives me the chills, but I enjoy it. The goose bumps travel up my arms and spread out to my whole body. I shiver for a second and then head to the kitchen.

And stop dead in the living room.

Ronin fucking Flynn is sleeping on the couch.

What is he doing here? My eyes track to the front door and I suppose it’s my fault, I left it open. There’s nothing but a screen door between this apartment and the terrace. My gaze wanders back to the sleeping man. He’s lying on his stomach, his one arm tucked underneath him, the other falling over the edge of the cushion, and he’s shirtless.

And then I realize I’m naked.


He stirs and I make a break for the bedroom. It’s one thing to let him see me naked half hidden in darkness and quite another to be fully illuminated by the bright morning sunshine. I wrangle the sheet around my body and then head back to the living room, wistfully looking at the washer that contains every single article of clothing I own.

"Ronin!" I say loudly.

Nothing except a half-muffled snore from him. Lord, this man has the most perfectly chiseled and muscular back I’ve ever seen. Both hands pull up and go under his face, like he’s blocking out the sunlight, and this gives me the perfect opportunity to study his flexing biceps. The muscles are thick and hard-looking near his shoulders. They curve down, dip into a little valley, and then climb once again.

I lean down and smell him.

"Why are you sniffing me?" he asks groggily.

"Uh—" Because you smell delicious, the inner Rook says. But luckily the outer Rook says, "I’m checking to see if you’re drunk. Why are you sleeping on my couch?"

He peeks up, opening one eye in my direction, squints, and then croaks out some words. "I love your outfit." He grins, winks, and then drops his head back down into his arms.

"Are you leaving?" I ask, frustrated and confused at the same time. "I mean, why are you here?"

"I told you I’d come back with dinner. But when I got here, the lights were on and you were in bed. I only sat down for a second to think up a rational excuse to wake you up, but I guess I fell asleep." He raises his head again, grins sheepishly, and then rolls over on his back, tucks his hands behind his neck, and flashes his perfect body at me as he closes his eyes, probably confident that I’ll be checking him out.

I do check him out. It’s quite hard not to notice that he’s got the perfect six-pack abs and that absolutely adorable fuzzy happy trail you see on a shirtless designer jeans model. Hmmmm… maybe he is that model? "You have no shirt on."

Yes, after all that gawking, I finally manage the obvious.

He opens the one eye to look at me again. "Neither do you."


Purchase your copy Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.


J. A. Huss likes to write new adult books that make you think and keep you guessing. Her favorite genre to read is space opera, but since practically no one reads those books, she writes new adult science fiction, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and books about Junco (who refuses to be saddled with a label).

She has an undergraduate degree in horses, (yes, really–Thank you, Colorado State University) and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology from the University of Florida. She used to have a job driving around Colorado doing pretty much nothing but shooting the breeze with farmers, but now she just writes, runs the New Adult Addiction and Clean Teen Reads Book Blogs, and runs an online science classroom for homeschoolers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway