Blog Tour - After This Night (Seductive Nights #2) by Lauren Blakely ~ Ava's Review, Excerpt and Giveaway
"I am so glad you walked into my bar, and into my life, and into my heart."
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
I enjoyed part one of Clay and Julia's journey, two sexy characters with a seductive storyline but at the end I was left wanting more. I wanted more from each character, more depth, more feeling and a greater bond between them. I got what I wanted in spades during their second part. I adored After This Night. Clay and Julia are now one of my favourite couples of Lauren's. By opening up to each other and revealing their vulnerable side, it in turn let me in as the reader and I was on their side all of the way.
Julia is a strong book heroine so of course she wins brownie points from me. She is rather stubborn but I got where she was coming from, she wanted to deal with her troubles in her own way. It would have been easy to accept help but she was in this far and was determined to see it through. Towards the end I did worry her determination would wreck her chance of happiness with Clay but after cooling off, she came to her senses and let's be honest, she could only resist Clay for so long. ;-)
"You can rest your head between my legs while I massage you."
He laughed, "If I'm between your legs, there's no massaging going on. Unless it's of you and with my tongue."
Clay. Oh Heavens above, Clay Nichols, what a man! In book one he gave off this aloof persona, he wasn't looking for a serious connection..blah blah.. Of course, Julia changes all that for him and what we get to see in After This Night is the man underneath the hard exterior and oh boy did I melt! He was just the right mixture of Alpha male and secret sweetheart.
"No man has ever wanted a woman like I want you. No man has ever craved a woman as deeply as I crave you. And no man has ever fallen this hard and this fast for a woman."
"How have you fallen?" She asked, overwhelmed with all she felt for him, with the way her body seemed to reach for him, to need him.
"With everything I have. There is no part of me that isn't in love with you."
This time it was Clay begging Julia to open up and let him in. He wanted to protect her and take her troubles away but he also respected her and gave her the space she needed to do it on her own. Even at the end, I was never mad at him, his actions came from his heart and he was protecting Julia once again. Oh, he is one of my favourite book boyfriends without a doubt!
"He knew better than to lie to himself. He was doing this because he'd made the choice to trust her. The alternative-being without her-was too much to bear."
I really enjoyed Lauren's writing (as I always do) but this book just sucked me in, I was awake well past 2am until I had savoured every word. The main storyline centred on Julia and the trouble she was left with due to her douche of an ex, as this was the focus, it allowed the characters to take centre stage and that's the main reason I was able to fall for both of them fully. I loved the interaction between them, their flirty emails and 'entertaining' phone calls. It all contributed to strengthening their relationship and by the time they met again, I was ready to throw myself at Clay if Julia didn't!!
"Why do you like me tied up sometimes?"
"Because." He cupped the back of her head in a strong hand.
"Because the way I feel for you is so out of control that this is one way for me to feel control again,"
"She ran a thumb over his lips, watching his eyes float closed as he hitched in his breath. "I'm already drunk on you, Clay."
"Stay that way," he said. "I need you to stay that way."
My other favourite thing about this series is the way it connects with each book so far. I love seeing other characters pop up and they are included in a fun way, even settings from Lauren's other series' got a mention. It creates a familiar world and one that I don't want to end any time soon.
Having just arrived home from The Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans, one thing that stuck out for me was the definitions of romance, from sexy, erotic to erotica. Many authors described erotic romance playing an integral part in a couple's relationship. The sex isn't there as a filler, no it drives their relationship forward and during each scene something changes for a character. As I read After This Night, this couldn't be more evident. Julia and Clay were the closest they had been during these scenes, they bared all to each other and it was some of the most erotic scenes I had read. These scenes weren't just written for entertainment, they bound Clay and Julia to each other, thus deepening my connection to them and their story line.
"Neither of them said another word as he looked at her as if he were inhaling her, as if the very sight of her was oxygen in his lungs. Electricity charged through her under his gaze. She wanted him to eat her up, to taste her, to touch her all over. Everywhere-this man needed to be everywhere on her body, in her body, in her heart, in her mind."
"He took possession of her mouth, his lips devouring hers as he rocked deeper into her. He kept her restrained with his body, his arms, his cock, his lips, his tongue, his power his control that he desperately need to balance his obsession. She felt it all too, every ounce of him, of his desire and his need for her. Giving herself to him, she let him take her how he had to, because when he did, he brought them both over the edge."
After This Night is my favourite Lauren Blakely book to date. I can't recommend it highly enough and I urge you to read and fall in love with these characters and one of my favourite authors immediately!
“I wish I were there wearing your clothes right now.”
He laughed. “That’s what you want to be doing? Because I’d like to be fucking you if you were here.”
“Well, that too. But then I’d put on your shirt.”
“You like that, don’t you?”
“I know you do too,” she said.
“I do. Seeing you in my shirt and your heels is my kryptonite.”
“Oh, is that it? That’s your kryptonite?”
“Or maybe it’s just that you are,” he whispered, admitting more than he wanted to.
“I think the same could be said here.”
There was a pause, and though they were three thousand miles apart, the silence was heady. He was in a drugged-out state tonight. This woman was his pill, and closeness with her was what he craved most even as he feared she would destroy his heart. Smash it to a million tiny pieces and eat it for lunch. But he had a built-in barrier in distance, and with no trips to San Francisco on his immediate calendar he saw nothing wrong with this temporary moment of relief from the pressure inside of him from wanting her. They couldn’t be together in any meaningful way, and he couldn’t get hurt if he didn’t actually see her. Right? Right, he answered for himself.
“What are we doing, Julia?” he asked, and he was sure she could hear the longing in his tone, but he didn’t care. There was no need to hide it after they’d just broken down and pleasured themselves together.
“I wish I knew,” she said, her voice wistful and full of yearning. “I really wish I knew.”
He heaved a sigh, trying to sort out his thoughts, but his brain was a mixed-up mess and he didn’t know how to untangle all the threads. Or if he wanted to remain tangled up with her instead.
“What are you going to do when we hang up?” he asked, changing direction.
“Read a book.”
“What are you reading these days?”
“A crazy story about a guy who treks across Antarctica.”
“That does sound crazy.”
“Yeah. He’s kind of hallucinating and talking to penguins right now,” she said with a small laugh.
“Can you blame him? I have to imagine if you’re stuck in the polar ice cap that talking to penguins might be a rare source of comfort.”
“As long as he doesn’t eat the penguins I’ll keep reading it.”
“Here’s to no penguin meals in the books we read.”
“What will you do?”
“I suspect I will fall fast asleep and dream of a beautiful redhead on the other side of the country.”
“She would like that dream very much,” she said in a sweet voice, the kind that worked its way beneath all the hard edges in him, and settled deep in his heart. “Will I talk to you again soon?”
He took a fueling breath, and put his armor back on, steeling himself. “I don’t know the answer to that.”
Don’t miss the prequel novella, FIRST NIGHT, and the first full-length novel, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, in the Seductive Nights Series!
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Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He’s Mine, Playing With Her Heart, and Trophy Husband. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.
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