The Bad Girl and the Baby

The Bad Girl and the Baby

by Nina Croft

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Overview

The Bad Girl and the Baby by Nina Croft

Captain Matt Peterson prides himself on being able to handle anything...until he winds up as the guardian of his baby niece, Lulu. Two years and six nannies later, his well-ordered existence is in chaos. Still, he’s all Lulu has. Except, well...there is an aunt...

Darcy Butler has spent the last three years in prison for beating up her abusive brother-in-law. Her only regret is that she didn’t hurt him worse and stop him from killing her sister in a drunken car crash six months later. But now, Darcy just wants to rebuild her life. Starting with finding her sister’s child.

But Matt doesn't want an ex-con with a record for violence anywhere near Lulu. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to keep away from Darcy, himself. Despite their differences, their chemistry is combustible...and the sex is incredible! Still, it can’t possibly last. Can it?

Each book in the Cutting Loose series is STANDALONE:
* Falling for the Bad Girl
* Blackmailing the Bad Girl
* The Bad Girl and the Baby

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640633933
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 12/04/2017
Series: Cutting Loose , #3
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 260
Sales rank: 96,950
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of nine-to-five work. She's since then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary), and has settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.

Nina writes all types of romance, often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.


Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of nine-to-five work. She's since then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary), and has settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.

Nina writes all types of romance, often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

"To not doing anything stupid," Regan said, raising her glass.

Darcy scowled in response but clinked her own glass of white wine against her friend's.

"To staying out of trouble," Summer added, clicking hers gently against the other two.

This time Darcy plonked her glass down on the table, spilling wine over her fingers, and eyed her two best friends. "I'm not going to do anything stupid," she growled. "We're just here to have a drink and a good time. What's the big deal?"

Regan snorted. "Hah. The word stalker comes to mind."

"I'm not stalking him." She picked up her glass, swallowing the contents in one go as the now familiar sense of frustration tightened around her. "Okay, maybe I am stalking him. A little bit. But it's his fault. If he'd been reasonable, then I wouldn't have to do this." She glanced around the nightclub — it really wasn't her sort of scene. "Where the hell is he?"

"Just calm down," Summer said. "Don't get worked up. You know bad things happen when you get worked up."

Darcy snarled, and Summer giggled. It was good to see her so happy. Both of them. Regan positively glowed. But then, inconceivable as it seemed, they were both in love.

She was closer to these two women than she'd ever been to anyone in her life. Though she still found it hard to believe. They were all so different. In normal circumstances, they would have never met, and if they had, they would have no doubt just walked away. But it was hard to walk away when you were locked together in a twelve-by-twelve room for most of the day and night.

They'd met while sharing a prison cell in Holloway, and from the start, she'd been wary of them. Regan had seemed too cocky and Summer too shy. Besides, she'd been going through her bitter and twisted "life's unfair" stage and hadn't been inclined to be friendly. It was Summer who had brought them together. She clearly didn't fit in, had seemed way too good for that place, and Darcy had been sure she wouldn't make it through her whole sentence. Somehow, she and Regan had found themselves in the roles of protectors, only to discover that Summer possessed a core of steel, despite her fragile air.

They'd all made a vow that they were never going back to prison and a promise to one another to provide support. Darcy had offered them both a place to stay when they got out. There was a three-bedroom flat above the gym she owned in central London. Though, while they were officially still sharing, these days Regan and Summer spent more time with their men than at home. But they all made a point to meet at least once a week.

Their lives were going so well.

Hers, on the other hand, was a whole big pile of crap.

Which she would never get out from under unless she found some way to put the guilt behind her. Two months out of prison, she was still no closer to her goal. She wanted to be happy for her friends, but everything was such a mess. And she'd been putting off this confrontation, partly because the couple of times she'd actually gotten her nerve up to confront the man, it was only to find he was off in some foreign land.

How the hell was he looking after her niece, Lulu, if he wasn't even in the same country?

"Hey," Summer said, interrupting her bad thoughts. "Things will work out."

"Yes," Regan added. "They will. So get that scowl off your face. It doesn't go with your pretty dress."

She glanced down at herself and felt her scowl deepen. She was wearing a white sundress printed with blue flowers that she'd borrowed from Regan. It wasn't her style. And a real honest-to-God cardigan — also borrowed — over the top. She couldn't remember ever wearing a cardigan in her life before. But it did an excellent job of covering up her tattoos. She needed to make a good impression. And she really hated that. She wasn't ashamed of who or what she was, but she'd allowed Regan and Summer to persuade her into the disguise. Her normally spiky hair was smoothed back, and she'd taken out her nose stud. She could cope with all those. The real killer was the heels. Why the hell would anyone wear goddamn heels? It made no sense.

"Still scowling," Regan murmured.

She closed her eyes for a moment and took a few deep, calming breaths, sending the bitterness back down deep inside her and locking it in. She could handle this. All she had to do was let him see she wasn't some sort of violent monster. Get him to agree to meet her so they could talk like sensible adults.

"Where the hell is he?" she asked for the hundredth time, staring at the door as if she could will him to appear. "Are you sure he'll be here tonight?"

"Are you questioning my private-eye skills? Or rather, Nate's private-eye skills?"

Nate was Regan's fiancé. An ex-detective who'd given up his career to be with Regan. They were in the process of setting up a security company together, and Nate had done a little checking into Captain Mathew Peterson for her.

"No. I'm sure Nate's the best."

"Oh, he is," Regan answered with a smug smile. She raised her hand to a waiter, and a minute later, the man brought a replacement bottle and took away the empty one. Regan poured them all a glass. "Have a drink, and if he doesn't come, we will just drink some more, and dance, and have a good time. And tomorrow, you'll go see him like a normal person, and not like a stalker."

"Dance?" she said. "You're joking. I'm more likely to trip and break my neck in these heels."

But what if she went to his house and he still refused to see her. They'd only communicated so far through his lawyer, who had told Darcy that under no circumstances would she be allowed to be part of Lulu's life.

Not fair.

Lulu was her two-and-a-half-year-old niece, the only family Darcy had left; it certainly wasn't fair. But what was? And she had to concede that things looked bad. She'd spent nearly three years in prison for supposedly attacking Lulu's now dead father.

Mathew Peterson's brother.

What worried her the most was that they had the same genes. Maybe he was just as big a bastard as his brother had been. And he had custody of Lulu. She had to find out. She owed it to her sister. And once she had, maybe she could put this all behind her and learn how to move on.

She forced herself to relax. She needed to be calm, cool, and collected. It was still early, and they'd snagged an empty table, though she'd been too wound up to sit. Now she perched herself on a stool where she could see the door. Regan sat next to her, and Summer opposite.

The door yielded a steady trickle of people, and she relaxed a little ... which meant she was totally unprepared. She'd been about to take a sip of wine, and the glass froze halfway to her mouth. A large group entered together. They weren't in uniform, but she would have taken them for military even if she hadn't known. This was a stag night, but they were all dressed smartly, with short, military-style hair-cuts. All well-built. Her gaze homed in on him straight away. He was the image of his brother, and a wave of hatred washed through her. Her hand was shaking, and she put the glass down slowly.

Summer, who had been talking them through the arrangements for her up-and-coming wedding, fell silent and twisted on her stool. "Is he here?" she asked.

Darcy didn't take her eyes off him. "He's the one on the far right."

"Holy moly," Regan muttered. "I saw a photo, but it didn't do him justice. He's stunning."

"He looks like Steven."

Regan reached out and patted her arm. "I'm sorry, sweetie. But that doesn't mean he's the same sort of man."

Darcy could feel her heart beating slow and hard. She swallowed and made herself look at him objectively. There were actually significant differences. She knew he was a couple of years older than Steven, but he looked younger. Years of self-indulgence had taken their toll on Steven, who'd been slightly overweight. There wasn't an ounce of spare fat on this man. He was long and lean. At least six-foot-three and dressed in black pants and a black shirt. Short black hair, and even across the length of the club, she could see his blue eyes.

He'd been talking to the man beside him, but now, he paused, as though he could sense her watching. He turned and stared straight at her. His face was all hard lines, his nose big and bony, high cheekbones and a mouth ... On Steven, that mouth had looked sulky and self-indulgent, but on this man, it looked ... Jesus.

Get a grip.

Summer leaned in close. "He's staring at you," she whispered.

"No, he isn't."

Yes, he is.

And his stare was causing queer tingles in her stomach. Hatred. Yes, that's what it was. Maybe undeserved, but she knew she would never be able to look at this man objectively. His brother had as good as murdered her sister. How could she ever forget that?

And why would she want to?

Except that if she wanted to get to know Lulu, she needed this man's cooperation.

Breaking the link, she looked away. She picked up her wine, swallowed it in one gulp, then leaned across and filled her glass again. When she finally glanced back, the group had moved on, and he was gone from her sight.

She exhaled. She'd always thought herself to be so tough. She was the one in charge. She'd always known what to do. Now, she was floundering in a swamp of doubt.

"Are you okay?" Regan asked.

"I'm fine." She forced a smile. "It was just a bigger shock seeing him than I expected. He's so like Steven. Yet, not really. Where are they?" She didn't want to be obvious and turn around and search for him.

"At the bar, behind you. And he's still looking."

"He's probably sensing the waves of hatred."

"Maybe. But he looks ... interested."

Christ, that was the last thing she needed. She'd sworn off men until she got her life in order. She hadn't missed sex. Hadn't thought about it in a long time. There was too much else on her mind. Now, for the first time in years, she was aware of her body, and a surge of longing rose inside her, drowning out the logical arguments.

Longing for some sort of physical connection.

But with this man?

Never going to happen.

Things had to be kept on a business-like footing.

But she could almost feel his eyes staring into her back.

"What's he doing?" she asked.

"Drinking beer. Talking. Looking at you." Regan raised a brow. "So what was the plan again?"

Plan? Had there been a plan? Her brain had turned to mush. What the hell had she been thinking? That this was neutral ground? That she'd take him by surprise, tell him who she was, and dazzle him with what a "nice" person she obviously was? Get him to agree to talk to her?

Instead, she sat frozen in place.

"Can we buy you girls a drink?"

The voice came from behind her. She knew instinctively it wasn't her prey.

Summer's eyes widened in panic, and she looked to Darcy, eyebrows raised, as if to say what the hell do we do?

Regan answered. She raised her hand, showing off the dazzling diamond engagement ring, and waved her other hand at Summer. "I'm afraid we're taken."

"What about your friend?"

"What about our friend?" Regan looked at her, her lips twitching. Yeah, she was so funny. "Darcy?"

But she couldn't think of a thing to say. So she just glared at Regan.

"She's not feeling too well," Summer said.

Summer was such an angel. And Regan was a bitch. What the hell had she ever seen in her?

"Okay," the man said. "Maybe later."

Maybe never.

She sensed him walk away. And her head dropped to the table. She banged it a couple of times. Then she sat up straight. "What the hell am I doing?" Other than making a total ass of herself. "This was a huge mistake."

"They're going back," Regan said. "Talking to him. My God, I think they're trying to set the two of you up."

"I think we should leave," she said, pushing herself to her feet. "I'm just going to the ladies' room. I need to ..." What did she need? Her stomach churned. and her face was burning. She needed water. Preferably a bucket poured over her head to jolt some sense into her brain. "I'll see you outside."

She thought Regan was about to argue, but she must have seen something in her face, and she gave a quick nod. "I think you're right. This isn't the time or place for this."

They'd warned her. Both of them. But she'd just been desperate to do something, anything. And the lawyer had been adamant that she should go nowhere near his house. But tomorrow, lawyer or not, she would visit him at his home and try to explain.

The club had gotten busier, the dance floor crowded, the music louder, and she had to push her way through. She had the ladies' room to herself, and she splashed water on her face and stared at herself for a few seconds. She looked like a stranger. A pale stranger.

Three years ago, she'd lost her temper and made a mistake. Her sister had paid for that mistake with her life. Darcy was still paying. Before that, she'd always felt in control. Now everything was getting away from her. She didn't know herself anymore, and she hated that.

As she came out, she glanced at their table — Regan and Summer were gone — and she made a beeline for the entrance, taking care not to look over at the group by the bar.

She almost banged into a man as he stepped out in front of her. His hands came out, and she flinched under his touch. She backed away, and her ankle twisted in the unfamiliar heels. Only his grip on her arms kept her upright.

It had to be him. Because that was the way her shitty, crappy luck was working at the moment. She could pull free, whirl around, kick him in the stomach, and run. But that might be hard to explain tomorrow when she went and tried to present herself as a sensible, suitable aunt for her niece. She was hoping to pass tonight off as coincidence.

Was she totally deluded?

Regan and Summer were right; this was beyond crazy. More evidence that she'd lost the plot completely.

She stared at the floor for a few seconds, then set a smile on her face and looked up, straight into his dark blue eyes.

His gaze fixed on her face. "My friends won't leave me alone unless I ask you to dance."

For a second, the words didn't make sense. She shook her head. "Sorry, I have to go."

He grinned. "Come on, just one. Then they'll stop harping at me."

She needed to pull herself together. Maybe this was fate. A chance to introduce herself. He obviously liked the look of her. She should take advantage of that. What was the worst he could do — accuse her of being a stalker? Yup. Report her? That could cause big trouble with her parole.

She was taking too long to answer. And he clearly took that as a yes. His hands slid down her arms, then his palms were against hers as he took her hands and pulled her closer.

Thoughts swirled in her head, but none of them made sense.

"You were watching me." He murmured the words in her ear, and she realized how close they were. She meant to push him away, but somehow her hands came up, pressing themselves flat against his chest. "I could feel you from the moment I walked in the door," he continued. "Did you like what you saw?"

She swallowed, her throat too dry for words. In a minute, she'd get up her nerve and she'd tell him —

Her thoughts broke off as his hands slid to her waist, and he pulled her even closer. She was tall for a woman, but still a head shorter than him and her hot face pressed against his throat.

As she breathed in the warm, masculine scent, she tried to slow her racing heart. Her hands were trapped between them, but she could get away easily. Christ, she ran a self-defense class for women; she knew exactly what to do. But she made no move. Because if she did this wrong, it would be the end of her chances. She might not get another one.

His body was hard against her. How long had it been since she'd been in a man's arms? Not since before she'd been locked up. His scent, his closeness, the wine she'd had ... all mingled, and for a moment, she gave in to the lure of that physical connection she'd craved and relaxed against him.

He must have sensed her surrender, because his hands slid down to her ass and he pulled her closer. He was already hard, his erection nudging her, and things twisted low in her belly.

She had to move.

Get out of there.

This wasn't supposed to be happening. But somehow her hands slid up over his chest and gripped his shoulders. They weren't dancing, just swaying to the music, causing a delicious friction between their bodies, so her breasts tingled, and a little pulse throbbed between her thighs.

He stopped moving.

She wanted to scream. But what? Before she could decide, he released her, stepped back, and pulled a phone out of his pocket. He glanced at the screen.

"Shit," he muttered, then looked into her face. "Sorry. It's my babysitter. I have to leave."

She cleared her throat, thoughts of Lulu jolting her into awareness. "Is something wrong?"

"No, just a family thing." He appeared about to say something, but then gave a small shake of his head. "It was nice dancing with you."

"Yeah." Really nice.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Bad Girl and the Baby"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Nina Croft.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Bad Girl and the Baby 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
MoniqueD More than 1 year ago
Now that she’s finally out of prison after three years, Darcy Butler is ready to look for her niece Lulu. An MMA fighter, Darcy now works in a gym until she decides what the future will hold; she looks every inch the bad girl, but she must act the proper lady to convince Captain Matt Peterson to let her see her niece, nothing more. With a criminal record, she is not hoping for more. He is Lulu’s uncle has been her legal guardian since the three year-old’s parents died. Darcy had been carefully keeping track of Matt, but when they meet in person, she did not expect to find the man she hates to be so appealing. I thought THE BAD GIRL AND THE BABY sounded different, but I had no idea how wonderfully clever it would be! Nina Croft’s Darcy is a fabulous heroine: she is unapologetic, honest, direct, and a woman of convictions; she has an unusual occupation which is not just a convenient excuse for storyline purposes; she is tough and she loves being physical. Matt was such a wonderful hero as well: he is not a manwhore! Hurrah! He is in the Army, Lulu has quite disturbed his very ordered life, and Darcy upends it even more. I loved their backstories, their rich backgrounds; I loved that they were no misunderstandings, and that Darcy and Matt opted to deal with the situation like reasonable adults, and I loved that there were no clichés in THE BAD GIRL AND THE BABY; not one! Neither is the other’s type, but the situation forces them to look at each other as people, because they both want what’s best for Lulu. And this is what makes them realise that they like each other, which leads to a very believable and extremely satisfying romance. I applaud Ms. Croft for giving us an unvarnished and realistic view of abusive relationships for both sides of the fence, and how difficult it is for everyone concerned to do something, how it impacts so many lives in different ways. On the other hand, there are some delightful and amusing scenes of people who have no clue as how to be with a small child. In THE BAD GIRL AND THE BABY, absolutely nothing went as I expected, and it was absolutely brilliant! It was a very quick read, because I had to know what would happen and I loved those people! The writing is remarkable smooth and easy; the pace impeccable; and the ending just gorgeous; THE BAD GIRL AND THE BABY is absolutely fabulous! I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.
Cheryl-S More than 1 year ago
This is book 3 in the Cutting Loose series and it features Darcy, Matt and who could ever forget the little tornado, Lulu. I love strong female leads. Darcy is tough on the outside but soft and insecure on the inside. Matt is perfect on the outside but a little scared on the inside. Both are this way because of their pasts. They do say opposites attract and these two couldn’t be more opposite! There are two things they’re in sync with and the first is Lulu, their niece. She’s hell on wheels and she loves fiercely. The second is sex, with each other. These two set the sheets on fire! Great story with awesome characters! The story line had great flow. This author is amazing and I can’t wait to read more from her!
LynnB888 More than 1 year ago
Turmoil, compassion and lust are just a few of the exciting things Nina Croft stirs up in the latest book from her Cutting Loose Series! The characters we've met previously in this series have been really fun with intriguing back stories, and this one is no different! She understandably has a major chip on her shoulder, and he's so uptight he might never even give her a chance ... but all bets are off when she reaches out and gives him the info he needs to open his eyes and let her be in her niece's life! A really great read ... it's feisty yet has a warm, gentle side as well ... it's steamy, yet endearing at the same time ... and best of all, it'll steal your heart from start to finish! Darcy Butler is fresh out of a three year prison sentence for pounding on her abusive brother-in-law. She only wishes she had done more permanent damage that would have stopped him from killing her sister in a drunk-driving accident a few months later and leaving her niece an orphan! She promised her sister she'd make sure LuLu was okay if anything ever happened to her, and she's trying to do just that ... only hear guardian's lawyer keeps putting up road blocks! Army Captain, Matt Peterson has been juggling a lot for the last two years since he became the only family little LuLu had left and turned his world upside down to take her in. He knows her aunt has been trying to see her, but he doesn't want an ex-con with a record of violence anywhere near her, so he's been letting his lawyer handle it. When Darcy tracks him down and sets him straight on exactly what happened with his brother, he's left with no other option than to let her at least see their niece. As he watches her fall under adorable LuLu's spell, he can't help but feel attracted to the woman she actually is, and all that she's dealt with to be the person she is today!
belllla More than 1 year ago
4.5Stars I loved this story. It is a great written story with two great characters. I loved how Darcy was a tough strong woman but also has a soft side which she doesn't show very often. And Matt was truly great I loved that he was always honest, didn't hide in the bushes but always said the truth and was not scared to talk about his feelings. The plot is great and it is all combined together in a great book that I truly enjoyed reading. I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars--heartbreaking and dramatic 3.75 stars--THE BAD GIRL AND THE BABY is the third and final instalment in Nina Croft’s contemporary, adult CUTTING LOOSE erotic, romance series focusing on three friends-Summer, Regan and Darcy – three women who met in prison while serving sentences for crimes of passion. This is gym owner and MMA fighter Darcy Butler, and SAS Captain Matt Peterson’s story line. THE BAD GIRL AND THE BABY can be read as a stand alone without any difficult. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary but I recommend reading the series in order for backstory and cohesion between the three former inmates who became the best of friends. Told from dual third person perspectives (Darcy and Matt) THE BAD GIRL AND THE BABY follows Darcy Butler as she struggles to gain access to the little girl her sister left behind. Three years earlier Darcy was sent to prison for beating up her sister’s husband Steven-a man who routinely abused and battered Darcy’s older sister; and the man who would eventually destroy all of their lives. Fast forward to present day wherein Darcy has yet to meet her two-year old niece, now in the care of her former brother in law’s brother. Enter Captain Matt Peterson, the man with whom Darcy will fall in love. What ensues is the building relationship between Matt, Darcy and their niece Lulu, and the potential fall out when Lulu’s paternal grandparents, back in Australia, offer a permanent home to the child with whom Darcy has fallen in love. Darcy Butler is a tattooed fighter; a woman who isn’t afraid of physical confrontation but a woman who battles between her head and her heart. Falling in love with Matt Peterson meant he had the ability to break her heart, a heart Darcy believes was hardened upon the death of her estranged but beloved sister. Matt Peterson knew only one thing and that was the woman who claims to be his niece’s aunt is the same woman he believes to be psychotic stranger. Matt’s attraction to Darcy is tempered by the prior knowledge of Darcy’s assault against the brother he barely knew, and her physical appearance that would not be accepted as an army captain’s wife. The relationship between Darcy and Matt is strained by Matt’s preconceived notions about his brother’s former sister in law-a woman he believes to be a drug, addled fighter who routinely goes around beating up people she doesn’t know. As the story line progresses Matt begins to see the ‘real’ Darcy Butler, a woman whose heart had been broken too many times in the past; a vulnerability that was slowly breaking down the barriers around our heroine’s heart. The $ex scenes are seductive and passionate without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. THE BAD GIRL AND THE BABY is a story of opposites attract / enemies to lovers but struggles with a spate of preconceived notions from a number of the story line characters including our leading couple. Through a series of lies told by his brother Steve, Matt believes Darcy to be a danger to Lulu and everyone he loves; and Darcy is a woman who sacrificed everything to protect a woman, who in the end, died at the hands of the man she claimed to love. A lack of communication, and the fear of rejection and loss keep our couple at arm’s lengths but none more so than Darcy Butler who fears losing the man and the young child she had grown to love. The premise is dramatic and heartbreaking.
nelriv More than 1 year ago
This was the third in the series. We had met Darcy in the past 2 books, and if you haven't read them I am going to encourage you to. Darcy was trying to meet with Matt who was her niece's uncle who had custody of her. Darcy has just recently gotten out of jail for attacking Matt's brother. We come to find out how horrible and abusive this guy was. Matt had only heard bad things about Darcy so he did not want her around Lulu. When they meet their is instant attraction that they both try to fight because it is not a good idea...Boy does that change..I always enjoy reading of past characters..I wont tell you more so that you can read for yourself..Enjoy!
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
The Bad Girl and the Baby is a sweet (and sexy!) story about family, redemption, and finding love. It's the last in the Cutting Loose series, but definitely works as a standalone (how did I not know of this series before? I must go back and read Regan and Summer's stories!) Even though this is the second book in a row I've read with a military guy taking over the guardianship of his young niece (and it's hard not to see the appeal of a big, strong man a bit over his head caring for a little girl, amirite?) this book has a totally different premise, with a heroine--the baby's aunt--still on parole after nearly three years in prison for beating up that same baby's abusive father. I liked that Darcy didn't make any excuses for her past--even though she technically did "do the crime" there were definitely extenuating circumstances there--and that Matt was so open to looking into the truth of what happened, once he actually sat down and had a conversation with her. I loved that both of them were so determined to do what was best for LuLu, and the whole opposites attract aspect of their relationship made every scene between them that much more delicious. Ms. Croft did a fantastic job of showing that the two of them couldn't possibly be together, yet allowing them to find a way to achieve the impossible in the end. Happy sigh! (Or maybe I should give a quiet "woof!" instead? ;)) Rating: 4 stars / B+ I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Linnyc More than 1 year ago
This is the final one of the Cutting Loose, Bad Girl books & it doesn’t disappoint. You don’t have to have read the previous two books as it is a standalone but you will want to read them all. Darcy is the MMA fighter who has served 3 years for beating up her abusive brother in law. Her sister died in a drunken car crash & left baby Lulu being brought up by Matt. Military Matt had an orderly life until first Lulu & then Darcy came along causing chaos. His spark with Darcy is undeniable but not what he thinks he needs. I love Darcy & she deserves her HEA even though she had to work for it. The fire & passion between these two was really hot, I loved them both! This great book has all the surprises & twists you would expect from Nina.
DaneWeimMama More than 1 year ago
Nina Croft continues to entertain with another fantastic read. The Bad Girl and the Baby is the third book in the Cutting Loose series but each can be read as a standalone. I have been looking forward to Darcy's story since the first book& it didn't disappoint. Loved it! I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
MusicInPrint More than 1 year ago
Just released from Prison, Darcy Butler has one goal in mind; to seek out her niece Lulu to insure she is well taken care of and happy. Railroaded and incarcerated for three years for trying to protect her sister from an abusive husband has left her broken. Guilt shadows every day for her because while she was away her sister was killed while a passenger in a car driven by her drunk husband Stephen. Although Lulu lost both of her parents she has adjusted to a life with her uncle Captain Matt Peterson. Croft has created strong characters in Matt and Darcy along with a unique and different romantic plot. Enjoyed this author's skill. "A copy of this book was provided by Entangled Publishing, LLC via NetGalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got hooked on Nina Croft’s writing when I picked up the first book in her paranormal series The Order, “Bittersweet Blood”. (Warning: Do NOT buy the box set featuring the first three books plus a novella unless you don’t want to get a single thing done until you’ve read them all — they are that addictive.) Her latest release is a great contemporary with an interesting plot. The two main characters aren’t looking for love, but end up finding it while struggling with several issues. The couple, Darcy and Matt, come together through the love of their orphaned niece, but neither is very comfortable dealing with a child, especially one so spirited. I appreciated that both characters dealt with their doubts and fears in being able to handle that kind of responsibility. As for the romance...! Darcy and Matt have an intense connection and when they get together it is sexy as hell. It was fun to watch these two navigate from strangers with misconceptions about one another to hesitant friends to scorching lovers and, eventually, true partners. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a new book in The Order series to devour!
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
Loved this one!! It's a wonderfully written story with some pretty amazing characters and a story that will break your heart and give you hope at the same time. Matt Peterson never expected to find himself caring for a small child on his own. Add in the fact that the child can be more than a handful and he knows he's way over his head. Raising a child that goes through nannie's like some kids go through underwear on top of his military career leaves him knowing something has to change. Dealing with the child's aunt is the last thing he need but it looks like dealing with her is exactly what he's going to have to do. When Darcy Butler drops some life chaning truths on him he knows nothing will ever be the same. Great read and one I recommend to everyone.
Lori-Gonzo More than 1 year ago
I was waiting for this book since I read the first in the series. Darcy was so strong and kickass. I loved how fierce she was. And the fight, or rather sparring scenes, were fantastic. Darcy and Matt were a perfect example of opposites attract. I loved how they looked across the room and just connected. Oh the heat! But what was more perfect was their relationship with Lucy. She almost stole the story, she was way too cute. I loved seeing Regan, Summer, and Nate as well as meeting Gary and Angie. They really brought some funny scenes as well as emotional support with a little touch of reality checks. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
Linda__ More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! This is a fast paced contemporary romance that kept me turning pages just as quickly as possible. Darcy is the bad girl who just got out of prison and Matt is the good boy soldier who got custody of their shared niece after her parents died and while Darcy was in prison. Matt believes Darcy is nothing but trouble and is committed to keeping her away from his niece. Unfortunately, while his facts might be technically accurate, he's gotten it completely wrong... This is a must read for fans of the genre. While this is part of a series, this is a stand alone novel, however its so good that you really owe it to yourself to read them all. Put this one at the top of your list, you'll be glad you did.
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
Nina Croft struck gold with her Cutting Loose series. The message behind the series is a powerful one. We all make mistakes, but it's not the mistake that shapes us but the lessons we learn from them. Out of desperation, these women have made some hard choices and pay the price for them. Will their lives ever be normal again. The Bad Girl and The Baby is Darcy turn to reveal her truth. Struggling with sorrow, guilt and determination, she is ready to take back her life and find her only living relative. The problem is Matt Peterson keeps getting in the way. How is an ex -con supposed to redeem herself in the eyes of the man that holds her future in his hands? Give him her heart and trust him to do the right thing. Darcy and Matt are as gritty as they come with a lot of baggage standing in the way of a happy ending, but the thrill is hoping their make it to the other side.