RELEASE BLITZ ~ Head Start (Cedar Tree series #7) by Freya Barker

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Book: Head Start
Series: Cedar Tree #7
Author: Freya Barker

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Margreet Asselbergs
Hosted By:Francessca’s Romance Reviews

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Kendra Schmitt puts most of her time into the new clinic in Cedar Tree, which is now almost running full time. With her schedule a bit more predictable, she finally considers a personal life and concedes to a disastrous blind date. Always the responsible one in her family, she has avoided any kind of entanglement. In particular with a certain young investigator.

Junior member of the GFI team, Neil James, has seen and experienced more than most at his age. When his team becomes part of a task force investigating a series of murders in the area, his protective instincts kick in. The victims’ profiles closely match that of a certain physical therapist.

Neil has been trying unsuccessfully for over a year to get closer to Kendra. Now that she might be in danger, he’s determined to break through her resistance and goes all out to win her trust.

Especially now that the killer’s focus appears to zero in on Kendra.


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Early Feedback

Freya Barker is a master at her craft. She weaves stories that are gripping, intense, deal with serious issues and yet are heartwarming and real. They give you hope and make you feel like you are one of the characters. ~ Kez’s Korner

Another superb book by one of my favourite writers. You certainly get plenty for your money with this one . ~ Goodreads Review

Head Start is one of the best new stories. We get mystery, drama, and love.
Freya Barker is a brilliant, insightful and awesome author. ~ Goodreads Review

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“Why not? It’s half-price, one of those short notice deals.” My sister resorts to the pre-adolescent whine that gets our mom to cave every single time. Unfortunately, Karly hasn’t yet figured out that it does the opposite for me.
“Because those things are like floating sausage fests.”
“You’re such a stick-in-the-mud. Mom said she’d come too.”
Oh my God. Like that is any sort of enticement. I have to swallow hard to shove the contents of my stomach back down where they belong. I automatically turn my back to the waiting room when I hear the tell-tale ding of the door opening. “Not helping your case, Karly. Just sayin’… I’m not into quick, convenient fucks. Especially when most of the guys on those trips are looking to score as much and with as many as they can manage in the shortest possible time frame. Not keen on being the dessert buffet for a bunch of young idiots, hopped up on Viagra. Besides, as I told you a month ago, I’ll be moving house in two weeks, so I can’t come. End of story. You and Mom have fun, but count me out.”
By the time I get my nympho sister off the phone, my eyes have rolled heavenward a few more times. I should have spared one eye-roll to confirm it actually was my next patient coming in. It wasn’t. A familiar face with a toothy grin is leaning on the damn counter, right behind me. Instantly, my German ancestry betrays me with the robust blush I feel burning on my cheeks. Fabulous.
“What can I do for you, Neil?” I say none too kindly. One of his heavy eyebrows lifts all the way up, and the grin slips into a smirk.
“That, is a loaded question,” he teases, “especially given the tantalizing conversation I just overheard.” The heat on my face has now reached my hairline while I curse myself six ways to Sunday. “By the way, I like that color on you,” he mumbles, tapping me on the cheek.

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I’ve not been looking forward to writing this review as it just confirms that this is the last book in a series that I absolutely love!!! Freya and the Cedar Tree ‘gang’ grabbed me from the dirty phone call scene in book #1 and I’ve been hooked ever since.

This series gives us strong, protective and fiercely loyal ‘alpha’ males, female leads who have faced more than their fair share of heartache, rough and very tough times and more but have come through it all standing proud, courageous and more powerful than they realise. We also get action packed storylines that twist and turn and have you an emotional mess, great camaraderie (especially amongst the women), laughs, intense attraction and smoking hot sex (especially in the kitchen!!) and HEAD START continues this theme!!

This is Neil and Kendra’s story. We’ve previously met both characters in the series – Neil more so as he is part of the GFI team. It was interesting finding out more about both characters, especially our male lead as he always seemed so laid back and easy going, never hinting at the history he had!!

The suspense in this book was intense. In previous books we’ve seen our Cedar Tree ladies go through kidnapping and life threatening events but the plotline weaving it’s way around Kendra in Head Start had me a total mess. Freya knows how to write one helluva heart-stopping, emotionally draining tale that has you wondering what in the gods name is gonna happen next while at the same time giving us such feelings of family, belonging, love and acceptance..

It’s honestly beyond my understanding why Ms Barker isn’t as well recognised and acknowledged as she should be given the standard of work she produces.

I’m really sad to see the end of the Cedar Tree series but cannot wait to find out what Freya has in store for us next!!!

HEAD START is a definite 5* read that should not be missed!!!



“Have you got the Head Start review done?”

“Ehhhhhhh……………….” avoids answering my blog partner in crime bestie and procrastinates further……….

“I really need that review?”

“Ehhhhhhh……………….” Runs off to reread and write review late as usual…………….

“Where’s your fecking review?”


“But you’ve read it before”

I know! But Oh Boy, second time is just as good…………………


Sooooo eventually……………….

Here I go attempting to do justice in any way shape or form to Head Start, Cedar Tree #7, the last in this series and what a way to play out. I loved the twists, turns, surprises and suspense, I loved that the whole gang is in here, the banter is thick and fast, heavy with sarcasm, wit, affection and love, I adored Neil and Kendra, the dynamic between them, his determination to woo and win his woman, her insecurities; so very real and relatable, the hidden layers peeled away to reveal very much a man not a boy and the book boyfriend cougar moments Freya gave me!

If you have followed The Cedar Tree series then you already know as I’ve said before that Ms Barker writes real, heart-warming, emotional, hot books with characters whose banter, friendships and stories will have you rooting for them, getting serious feels for them, purchasing new batteries for toys because the sex is HOT as FUCK, and she effortlessly throws in suspense, intrigue, fabulous funny sarcasm and humour. She dares to go where few authors will risk, writing older characters with health issues, disabilities, the reality and the fantasy seamlessly intertwined and breathtakingly beautiful.

The overwhelming factor for me that makes all of these such an enjoyable read is the amazing banter between all the characters, primary and secondary. The affection, humour and love shines through, the teasing, flirting, arguing, dirty sexy talk and insults flung around through these books make them a pleasure to experience. Like every family, whether blood or choice, they will frustrate and exasperate you – you will be rooting for them while screaming at them!

“What just happened? I asked still a bit stunned when he has me tucked in the passenger seat. “Family; Cedar Tree style. That’s what just happened.”


This for lovers of the series will probably be the most highlighted and quoted part of the book, simple but with such impact and is Cedar Tree summed up.

The delightful surprise to this final book, Head Start, is we have a younger man claiming an older woman (I reserve my right to call dibs on said boy toy!), as well as twists and turns with a heavier dose of suspense and intrigue that keeps you guessing  in what for me was the most mystery thriller orientated story of the series, and as with each and every one of The Cedar Tree books it has its own personality, its own quirks, each couple very different, each journey told with such sensitivity, warmth and so flawless that no matter which man, woman, trial and tribulation is being told we are committed, invested and 100% so deeply involved that when we finish it’s sad because these characters are not just fiction that brings a few hours pleasure, they are people who live in our heads, to each of us the image may be different, the interpretation to a certain extent our own, but real, inspirational, giving pleasure and memories that live on long after that final page, reread and loved long after publication.

Neil showed hidden depths and went from being a secondary character with whom I hadn’t really bonded to a man boy of my fantasies, Kendra has a strength and inner beauty I never expected, as a couple they worked so well.

BUT I am going to say here and now in print that if I had to pick just one, only one it would be Gus.


Because he has the biggest balls…….

Ask Emma!

Read Head Start.

You’ll get it!

But yeah, if it was just one, Gus.

And Caleb.





About The Author

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Freya Barker craved reading about ‘real’ people, those who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, hot monkey sex and some thrills and chills in their lives – So she decided to write about them.

Always creative, from an early age on she danced and sang, doodled, created, cooked, baked, quilted and crafted. Her latest creative outlets were influenced by an ever-present love for reading. First through blogging, then cover art and design, and finally writing.

Born and raised in the Netherlands, she packed her two toddlers, and eight suitcases filled with toys to move to Canada. No stranger to new beginnings, she thrives on them.

With the kids grown and out in the world, Freya is at the ‘prime’ of her life. The body might be a bit ramshackle, but the spirit is high and as adventurous as ever. Something you may see reflected here and there in some of her heroines…. none of who will likely be wilting flowers.

Stalker Links


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Other Books In The Series


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Slim To None


Hundred To One


Against Me


Clean Lines


Upper Hand


Like Arrows


Other Books By Freya Barker

From Dust


Cruel Water


About Book Loving Pixies

We live to read!!! Our favourite genre is PNR - yep, we are more than happy to admit that we are complete #parawhores...... saying that, we will read and review a real mix of genres - from the better known authors to new-to-us authors and everything in between. We hope you like our posts/reviews and enjoy our blog. Thanks for stopping by our site!!!

Posted on 05/05/2016, in Authors & Books, Blitz, Blurb, Endorsements, Excerpt, Favourites, New Releases, Recommended, Reviews, Teaser and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Me again…… now having read Rebecca’s review as well….MORE FUCKING TEARS, but I’m also choking myself laughing, because ….. Rebecca!! Love you girls much!! xox Freya B.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay. Tears. Thank you SO much for the amazing review as well as the constant and firm vote of support. MUAH! xox Freya B.

    Liked by 1 person

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