Blog Tour: JUST LIKE THAT by Nicola Rendell, Stacy's review, excerpt & teasers. @AuthorNRendell @ArdentPRose
This book was so much fun! It starts off with a chance encounter at an airport, and I'm already excited because I love any kind of scene in an airport. The instant chemistry was done perfectly and I love when a book starts off by making me smile! It just felt really nice to read a trope that could have easily felt cliché but it absolutely did not. It felt real and reminded me of the humility that life brings when not everything goes your way, but you make the best of it regardless of the situation. Throw in a sexy guy with just the right amount of cockiness and I was hooked!
Told in alternating dual first person pov’s, this story flowed so well and before I knew it I was half way through. I don't always like the POV from the hero unless the book is in third person or during the epilogue, but in this story, it fit perfectly. And I loved being inside the head of Russ because he's so damn funny and hearing his vulnerability from the inside while being so confident on the outside made his character so endearing and swoon-worthy for sure!
Penny is priceless! I absolutely adore her character, she's funny and quirky and is testing her limits with her self-proclaimed NO MAN DIET. After making some bad decisions in regards to men it's easy to see why she'd want to abstain from temptation, but we all have an Achilles heel and Penny's is definitely in the form of Russ. Hot, cocky, beautiful, RUSS.
Russ is only in town for a short period of time so he decides to try his luck at a no-strings deal with Penny. This quickly turns into a passionate fling and let me tell you the chemistry between these two was truly delectable. I found myself in such a happy place while reading because the story had such a well-rounded vibe to it. Not too much drama or angst and it just made me feel good, I can't really explain it any other way than that. Plus, the writing was great and I know I emphasized how good the flow was earlier but it really was so smooth and I can't stress enough how important that is to me. I love gliding through a story and not realizing how far in I am.
As the story progressed I really loved the anticipatory feel of what was going to happen. Like I said, the angst factor isn't huge but it's great to see these two people navigate through their growing feelings for each other and not knowing what that means since their arrangement is supposed to be short lived. Some things come into question about trusting one another and there are some super hilarious moments and some really hot sexy times too! This was a great read that I totally enjoyed and will probably read again when I need something to put me in a great mood. Definitely one click worthy!
There’s all sorts of sexy Russ-rustle-rustling as he tries on his clothes. It takes all my willpower to stop myself from running over to his changing room and pressing my eye up to the slats like I’m looking through a peep hole. He slings his shirt over the top of the changing room door, then steps out of his shoes and socks. I can almost hear a drumroll in my head and then it happens: his suit pants fall to the ground.
Maybe today’s boxer briefs are light gray, like a sporty heather gray, because that would just be…
I grab a random black dress off the rack and dash into the second changing room. As I shut the door, I hear Maisie saying something like, “Boy, I sure could use some help with all these sunglasses, ahem-ahem.” But I ignore it. As the rustling next door continues, I unfasten the knot on my sundress and let it fall from my shoulders, so I’m standing in my bra and panties in front of the very unflattering full-length mirror. I’m hoping it’s unflattering. It damned well better be unflattering. But then I notice a very faint bruise on my hip, in exactly the pattern of his fingers as he gripped me last night. I slide my fingertips along it and turn to warm caramel inside.
“What kind of movie is it?” I ask him as I finagle my hands through the spaghetti straps above my head and tug the new dress down over my body. It’s a size too small and hugs me like shrink-wrap.
“Romantic comedy.” His zipper slides up. “Workplace romance.”
I shimmy into the dress and stare at my reflection. There are times in my life when I am acutely aware of that devil-angel-shoulder situation, and this is one of them. Looking at myself in the mirror, and I can almost see the two of them in position. The devil is a real vixen. Combat boots, and a raspy, sultry voice. No bullshit and a very respectable smoky eyeliner. She likes her music feminist and her tequila straight. On the other shoulder sits the angel. She’s a dead-ringer for my fourth-grade librarian. She smells like mothballs, her lipstick flakes off when she talks, and she’s big into smooth jazz. I hate her. Also, she’s pretty much always exactly right. Double-demerit.
The angel says, “Penelope Eloise Darling. Why can’t you find yourself a nice man with a steady job? That eHarmony questionnaire doesn’t take that long. Just think: you could find a nice Baptist minister in Tallahassee! At least you’d live in the same state!”
I suck in my stomach so hard that I feel dizzy, and try to pull up my zipper. Not even close. I cinch the fabric shut with one hand, suck in harder, and give it a yank. It bites into me, and I stretch the dress to the side as far as I can, testing the tensile strength of 1% spandex to its limit.
The devil takes out her hip flask and downs a pull of tequila while she considers her black nail polish. “Fuck that noise, Pen. You want him, take him. Boom. Done.”
The zipper finally cooperates. I don’t even look like myself, this thing is so tight. I spin slightly and look at my ass, over my shoulder.
Which is when the door squeaks open. I fully expect it to be Maisie, brandishing her Kindle and saying something like, “I knew I’d seen that jawline before,” but it isn’t. It’s him.
“Oh, fuck. Sorry, I thought this was my…” He trails off.
The desire ricochets between us like a pinball trapped at the bottom of an arcade machine. He’s in shorts that fit him like a glove, and a soft navy T-shirt, with a vintage Pac-Man logo, washed out and faded. And he’s found a hat, like a super-stylish baseball hat with mesh on the back. Plus, flip-flops.
I thought he was handsome before, but this, this… Casual, and carefree, and look at those shoulders. Peeking out from the sleeve of the T-shirt is the bottom edge of his tattoo on the curve of his massive bicep.
Here lies Penelope Darling, who died of a swoon.
He lets out a breathy, quiet whistle. “I’m buying that for you.”
The way he talks, that dominance, makes me feel like I’m some new but treasured thing. I’m not used to it, but one thing is for sure: I like it. Except even in my haze, it’s the angel that answers first. “No, no, no. I’ll never wear it.”
“I don’t care.”
Frivolous retail purchases especially for me? “We…should get to work.”
His eyes move up and down over me again so deliciously slowly that I feel a shiver up my spine. “I'll show you getting to work.” He takes a step toward me, and runs his hand up the side of my dress.
I grab ahold of the hanger rack behind me as my knees start to get a little wobbly. “I’ll take you to the boardwalk first. Rides. Ball-and-hammer. Funnel cakes.” He’s reducing me to bullet points. I can’t even string two nouns and a verb.
He pulls his hand away with a frustrated grunt. “Fine. But I’m buying it for you. No arguments. Got it?” he says finally, and then heads back to his changing room.
The devil turns to the angel, who’s got her lips in a tight, prudish line. But the devil? She gives zero fucks, and she raises her hip flask to me. “Here’s to romantic comedy.”
Toodles, Man Wagon.
Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
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Wedlocked by Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine
Cover Reveal: March 2nd, 2017
Photographer: Wander Aguiar
Cover Designer: Jay Aheer
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Because you have believed in them,
Celebrated with them,
Loved and encouraged them,
Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine invite you to join
Ace Samuel Locke
Saturday the Twenty-Fourth of May
At Six-O’Clock in the Evening
The Grand Floridian Hotel
4406 Palm Way
For Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After
(Free in Kindle Unlimited)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2n8U5K7
Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/24Xmoh
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Start the series!
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I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I literally finished this book with tears in my eyes. Not because of sadness, but because of the journey of this couple and their friends and I might be a little (okay, A LOT!) that we have come to the end. Every time these two authors get together, it’s like magic at their fingertips put on paper. You know you are about to get lost in the words. But this? This was like the book I never knew I needed. It surpassed anything I could have ever hoped for for Ace Locke and Dylan Prescott.
What a ride! We are thrown into Ace and Dylan’s wedding planning frenzy and dealing with their wedding planner, Paige. And it wouldn’t be right if the paparazzi and drama didn’t follow this couple. I refuse to go too much into the plot as this book is an experience! Just know that you truly don’t understand the depth of their love until you read this book. To witness such love is a privilege. Their love is bold and brave. Powerful and earthshattering. Loud and fierce. They love in bright colors. They love through the dark. They have been through so much to get to this point and their love never wavered or faltered. Through their ups and downs, their devotion to each other became a source of strength for them both. This book was the perfect balance of heat and passion. Laughter and tears. Make no mistake. This book is HOT! Ace and Dylan are FIRE on these pages. Titillating and sensual, these authors know to execute an engaging, yet fun and sexy storyline. The actualization of this masterpiece is felt deep inside the words of this book and its characters. I can’t say this enough. My heart was SO FULL because of this story.
Heartwarming and oh so sexy like true Ella and Brooke style, this book was EVERYTHING. I laughed, I cried, I was completely consumed by the continuation of their story and just what it took to get them to the altar. Dylan and Ace are so much more than lovers. Their bond goes deeper than most. These soul mates are unlike any couple I’ve ever read about. The talent of these authors is endless. And their ability to continuously and flawlessly execute a co-written story is simply unmatched. Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine, your words have bewitched me. I found it difficult to put this book down. There are cameos from characters from books of both authors which will have you reminiscing hardcore. Told with such precision and charm, this is a must read! Ace and Dylan your love is intoxicating and profound. Their vows had me in tears as their declaration of love in front of all those they love was nothing short of breathtaking. Wedlocked is truly an unforgettable read. It was bittersweet yet the perfect ending to the journey of these two amazing men.
Ace Locke and Dylan "Daydream" Prescott have stolen my heart again, and in this beautiful conclusion to their story they solidified that in the most memorable way, that being the wedding of the year! It was so perfect, I laughed (a lot) I cried, I swooned and I thoroughly enjoyed every word.
Wedlocked takes place a pretty much where Locked (book 2) left off, give or take a couple months. And right away I fell back into place with some of my favorite characters. You really get a mixed bag of great people in this book, including characters from Ella’s temptation series, and Sunset Cove series, and my FAVORITE women of all time from Brooke’s hilarious L.A. Liaisons series. I don’t want to focus too much on that, because this story is all about Ace and Dylan, but these characters hold such a special place in my heart and I firmly believe that the relationships formed throughout this series are what make it so heartwarming and relevant.
Dylan and Ace are back with their natural and funny banter about everything from wedding planning to awkward parents, and some pretty great sexual interactions as well, and by great, I mean hot. With these two sexy men, even the slightest innuendo is like foreplay for the reader. Ella and Brooke have taken co-writing to another level, and have truly mastered their craft and I swear they share one brain. I know everyone uses the phrase “seamless transition” and I’m sure that Ella and Brooke have heard this more than once, but it’s absolutely true and I think that only attests to how great they are as a fierce writing duo. It’s pretty remarkable.
Can we talk about the Cabo bachelor party for a minute? That was seriously so much fun, I loved every word of it! It was hilarious and clever and I really felt like it belonged in a movie. The videographer aspect of it was genius and I laughed so hard at what Ace and Dylan had planned for their friends and family. (Oh, Carlos. LOL) I’m pretty sure they did it to torture their people, but it was great entertainment for me! Definitely one of the highlights of this book amongst many others.
This book was exactly what I needed, it’s so full of love and romance and it just filled my little bookie heart in so many ways. With everything that Ace and Dylan have gone through, it was so nice to see all of those loose ends get tied up and give them peace for their life moving forward. And those wedding vows, don’t even get me started. I was a sobbing, snotting, blubbering mess and I want to thank Ella and Brooke for giving that to me because I was sincerely moved by all the words. By the end of this book I was done for, and with my red puffy eyes and wet cheeks, I sat down to write this review in hopes that people would read it and see how much this series has moved me. I hope all of my romance reader friends will give these books a chance because they are so worth it. These amazing writers put their heart and soul into their characters and you can feel it so deeply from the opposite side of the page, and I hope they keep writing together forever because it really is magic what they’re able to accomplish together.
SO YOU’RE GONNA want to keep your toes on the tail of the board and grip the rails under your chest like this,” Dylan said as he lay across the surfboard to show me the basics of his favorite pastime on the secluded stretch of beach. Not that I was paying much attention to the words coming out of his mouth. I was much more interested in the way his muscles flexed beneath the skintight Body Glove wetsuit he wore.
As he pushed himself up into a standing position, my gaze traveled down the broad expanse of his back and down to his ass.
“See how my dominant leg is in the back, and— Ace? Are you paying attention?”
“Mhmm,” I murmured as I bit down on my lower lip and continued my perusal.
Dylan turned to face me, and his hands went to his hips. “Oh yeah?” he said when I looked up. “What did I just say?”
Taking a step forward, I gave him a cocky grin and tugged him off the surfboard and onto the sand until he was flush against me. Then I let my hands roam down over the firm, round muscles of his ass. “Something about being a dominant in the back,” I said, nipping at his lobe. “So why don’t you turn around?”
A groan of frustration left Dylan then, but his head tilted to the side to let my lips trail down his neck. “You’re not gonna feel so cocky when you can’t get up on that board.”
“Oh, I can always get it up, don’t you worry.”
His hands covered my chest and he gently pushed me away. “How about you prove it, hotshot?” Then he pointed to the longboard I’d rented for the weekend. “Why don’t you show me how it’s done.”
“It’s more fun watching you.”
“Ace. Get your ass on that board.”
I squinted in the sun and grinned. “You gonna be this bossy all weekend?”
“If you’re lucky.”
I took a step back so I was by my board, and crossed my arms. I had my wetsuit on, but it was still undone and hanging around my hips while Dylan walked me through this process step by step, and my move had the desired effect. He rubbed a hand up the back of his neck and over his hair, leaving it tousled and oh so sexy.
“What?” I asked. “I’m back on my side of the board.”
“Don’t try and act innocent with me, Locke. I’m trying to teach you a new skill. One that will keep you from hurting yourself. And you’re standing there being all…” He waved his hand up and down, gesturing to my exposed upper body.
“See. Stop it,” he said, and then pointed to the board. “And zip up that damn wetsuit so I can’t see all your muscles.”
I arched a brow as I moved to slip my arms through the stretchy synthetic material, and when I reached for the zipper and pulled it up to the base of my skull, Dylan groaned.
“Okay, that’s almost worse than no wetsuit.”
“I’m sorry. You’re not checking me out, are you? Because you’re supposed to be paying close attention to teaching me something that could save my life,” I said as I turned around and made a show of bending down to get on the board.
“You having fun right now?” Dylan asked.
“Maybe a little.”
“Yeah, well, let’s hope that holds true when the wave dumps you on your ass.”
I let out a sigh and gripped the board just as he’d told me, because the truth of the matter was, I had never surfed a day in my life. I grew up in Chicago, for God’s sake. But Dylan, with his sun-kissed hair, long, lean body, and eyes the color of the sea, looked right at home with the sun shining down on him as his feet sank into the sand by my head.
“Let’s try this a couple more times here on land, and then we’ll get you out in the water. We won’t have you trying to stand up just yet. But if you can get the hang of at least catching the wave into the shore, we might be able to progress.” He crouched down and said, “Remember, toes on the tail of the board and grip the rails, and then push up.”
As I did as he instructed, I paused in the push-up position and was rewarded when he leaned in and took my lips in a sweet kiss.
“Again,” he whispered, and I moved back down to repeat the move, and this time when I paused, I was rewarded with a deeper kiss. When he pulled away too soon, I grumbled and he laughed, straightening. “Any more of that and we won’t make it into the water. On your feet, Locke, it’s time to hit the waves.”
About Ella Frank:
Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”
A life-long fan of the romance genre, Ella writes contemporary and erotic fiction and lives with her husband in Portland, OR. You can reach her on the web at www.ellafrank.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ella.frank.author
Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Philips.
Connect with Ella:
Newsletter – www.bit.ly/1hEYtgn
Bookbub - http://bit.ly/29d67dD
Website – www.ellafrank.com
Twitter – @EllaFrank2012
FB - www.facebook.com/ella.frank.31
FB Street Team - www.facebook.com/groups/TheBrellas/
Instagram - www.instagram.com/ellafrank1/
About Brooke Blaine:
You could say Brooke Blaine was a book-a-holic from the time she knew how to read; she used to tell her mother that curling up with one at 4 a.m. before elementary school was her ‘quiet time.’ Not much has changed except for the espresso I.V. pump she now carries around and the size of her onesie pajamas.
She is the author of Flash Point, a romantic suspense standalone, as well as the co-author of the erotic series, A Desperate Man, with Ella Frank. The latter has scarred her conservative southern family for life, bless their hearts. Licked, a romantic comedy, will be released November 11th, 2015 and is the first in the L.A. Liaisons series.
If you’d like to get in touch with her, she’s easy to find - just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that’s dominated her cell phone for ten years.
Connect with Brooke:
FB Street Team- www.facebook.com/groups/TheBrellas/
Release Date: Feb. 9, 2017
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
— SYNOPSIS --
Every life is made of thousands of them, each one strung together with the next. Some are yellow and happy, some are blue and sad, and some…
Some wipe out color altogether.
“I love you,” is what I should have told Maverick.
“I’m still fighting.”
Instead I just watched him leave.
Now my husband, my everything is battling for each breath, and all I can do is stare at the machines as the clock ticks off precious minutes.
The doctors said the first twenty-four hours are critical—but every moment is critical.
You never know which will be your last.
This is our story, and I’m not ready for it to end.
— PURCHASE LINKS --
Available on Kindle Unlimited!
— EXCERPT —I’m cold sitting in one of the waiting rooms in the ICU. Maverick is still in surgery, the nurse tells me. They’ll come get me once he’s in his room. It shouldn’t be too much longer. No one else is close by. It’s just me and my thoughts.
It’s strange the things you think of to distract yourself from the real reason you’re sitting here. Me, I focus on the oil painting on the wall. Wonder how many people have stared at it and wanted to tear it down. How many liked it. Has anyone noticed that it leans a little to the left or that there’s an inconsistency in the corners of the wooden frame? Did anyone deliberate why this painting?
I’m sure it’s meant to calm the people who look at it. Doesn’t everyone find a lake dotted with sailboats calming? But the colors are all wrong. They don’t soothe me. They’re bright and bold and demanding. There’s too much crimson, too dark of navy.
I have to turn away from it. There’re magazines on the tables, but they scream at me too. Loud headlines of celebrities with large divorce settlements, jail time, and plastic surgery. The science ones boast of the newest medical advances and archeological finds. What they don’t realize is that in here, life beyond these walls no longer exists. In here, there’re only three things that matter: life, death, and the battle between them.
I shiver again. I should have brought warmer clothes.
Hugging my knees to my chest, I focus on the fake plant in the corner. There are no windows in this area, which is how I know it’s fake. It might be a fern of some sort, I don’t know. The leaves are long and skinny, but again, the color is wrong for this place.
I shift my attention to the hallway. In here, the lights are dim, but out there they’re on full and reflecting off of the cream floor. There’s a nurse at the nurses’ station, sitting behind a computer. She’s different from the one before. A moment later, another walks up to the desk. They keep hushed voices, and I hear nothing. The one at the computer lifts her eyes to me and when she meets my gaze, she offers a sympathetic smile. I don’t smile back.
I lower my head until my cheek rests on my arms, and I close my eyes. My skin is ice against my face. Cold is what it means to be alone, and right now, I’ve never felt more alone. Alone, but not lonely. No, because being lonely is different than being alone. Lonely is a fleeting state that ends. When Finley gets here, I’ll no longer be lonely, yet without Mav, I’ll still be alone.
I think about the happy moments Mav and I shared. Our time in Cancun. The dance under the stars. His smile. His silly pet name for me.
That was us. The whole, take-on-the-world, in-love us.
The us before we broke.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
As the synopsis indicates, moments are everything in this book. The moment Alieya and Maverick meet, there is this pull between them. A spark that ignites something deep within them both. They meet on vacation. In the most unconventional way. They spend their last days together until neither one wants to say goodbye. They refuse to end this and decide to see where this will go.
Fast forward and they are building their lives together. While falling in love was easy, life has thrown obstacles in their way determined to keep them apart. One night changes everything. Hurtful and spiteful words are now full with regret. Could it be their last words? Maverick is fighting for his life. These moments are now critical. I know I am vague with the synopsis. But this is a journey. One that you are to experience through the eyes and hearts of the characters. This is their heartbreaking yet inspiring story.
The writing is honest and raw. The author gives us a true and open account of the greatest love in its most hopeful moments. And its dark and lost days. We get the ups and the downs. She never holds back. The author effortlessly allows Alieya to narrate their story from beginning to end. How they met, when they loved, and ultimately how they fell. She paints their story in vivid colors. So you feel their highs. And you feel their lows when darkness takes over.
The Story Of Us is a deep and heartfelt story about never losing sight of what’s important. Never taking love and all it has to offer, the good and the bad for granted. Alieya and Maverick’s story is a testament to enduring love and all of its trials and hardship. That love is always worth it. Their story is intense and so worth every angsty moment. The author knows how to burrow her characters deep within your heart, and this story was no different. This was a poignant and thought provoking read. There were so many meaningful messages the author had for her readers. Love deeply. Love loudly. For love is brave. Worth every risk.
— ABOUT THE AUTHOR --
d. Nichole King was born with a book in her hand. During her school years, she’d hide books inside textbooks, read during recess, changing classes, and while walking home from school. She wrote her first book at the age of 11, and the re-worked version of that book is her debut novel, LOVE ALWAYS, KATE.
Her YA urban fantasy series, THE SPIRIT TRILOGY, along with her NA contemporary series, LOVE ALWAYS, was acquired by Limitless Publishing and includes a total of six books. BREAKING THROUGH, an NA science-fiction romance, is her first self-published novel.
d. Nichole King currently resides in a small town in Iowa with her supportive husband, four amazing kids, a dog, a cat, a fish, and a turtle.
--— GIVEAWAY ----
Enter to win a SIGNED PAPERBACK of THE STORY OF US by d. Nichole King! OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Title: P.I.T.A. (L.A. Liaisons, #3)
Author: Brooke Blaine
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: January 30, 2017
SynopsisAs one of the most prestigious wedding coordinators in Los Angeles, Paige Iris Traynor-Ashcroft is known for being classy, elegant, and the orchestrator of many happily-ever-afters. But in the words of Paige herself: “What a crock of shiitake.” Known affectionately (or not) as P.I.T.A. to those closest to her, she’s never been one to buy into the whole monogamy thing for herself. Sure, her BFFs are getting picked off by Cupid one by one, but his arrows have nothing on her semiautomatic. Richard “Dick” Dawson does his best to live up to his name. A long-time frenemy and manwhore extraordinaire, he thrives on pushing limits, pushing up skirts—and pushing every single one of Paige’s buttons. He’s the itch she can’t scratch, and doesn’t want to. Or does she? What happens when blazing-hot rage turns to crazy, unexplainable lust? Surely not...love? Because that would just be a total P.I.T.A.
Purchase your copy today!
How can I break this book down in simple terms? Ummm it's pretty easy.
READ THIS BOOK! Oh my goodness, I've been a fan of this series from day one, and this third installment has surpassed my expectations! You know how some authors decline when they have too many books in a series? NOT happening here! This book, PITA IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE! This is the third book in the L.A. Liaison's series and It's sexy, hilarious, hot, dreamy, sexy, hilarious again! Who doesn't love THAT! I suggest reading Licked and Hooker first, but that's just because I love them, this can totally be read as a standalone, TOTALLY. Just do it!
Paige and Dawson find themselves in a sticky situation. And as much as Paige wants to dissolve this problem she finds that her father has other plans in the form of blackmail. A deal is made and Paige and Dawson get stuck with each other, which should be fun since they want to kill each other. Like seriously, I would hide the kitchen knives around them. This is a story of frenemies to lovers that is delectably witty and decisively smart and in my mind, a great recipe for the PERFECT romcom! Not to mention that Brooke Blaine's writing was absolutely fabulous! It has everything you want and need and every page is filled with goodness! Like seriously every page, there was no skimming!
Paige Iris Traynor-Ashcroft is a wedding planner who ironically doesn't believe in marriage- go figure. She is also one of the most stubborn, hard headed women EVER, and you definitely don't want to cross her path on a full moon because she will rip you to shreds if she's in a bad mood. She has zero filter and will leave you in pieces if you let her, and it was an absolute treat reading her character because I just wished I could be that badass and get away with it!
Richard (dirty-dick) Dawson, but we'll just call him Dawson- on the other hand is more slick with his moves, more calculated, more Rico Suavé, Whereas Paige has no filter, Dawson knows exactly when to shut up or when to shut Paige up! He obviously loves a good challenge, because that's exactly what he gets when it comes to Paige. And ohhhhh boy is she challenging!
Both Paige and Dawson grew up as children of privilege and next door neighbors, but Paige got the short end of the stick when it came to parents so that's how their friendship begins. Unfortunately, something has soured their friendship along the way, and that has contributed to their spitfire attitudes towards one another. Their banter is hilarious with dry humor and quick witted comebacks, and I could not stop laughing! I kept thinking of Paige as a ninja because she was just so fast and quick with her dragon fire!
Paige is so mean to Dawson, and he just sort of brushes it off and gives it right back. I loved the way he handled Paige, because I'm not sure any other man could and I totally loved this dynamic in their relationship! Normally when you read books, it's the guy that's the problem child and you're reading along waiting for HIM to turn around and finally submit to his feelings. Not this time, Paige's nickname isn't PITA just because of her initials. She truly is a pain in the ass, and her and Dawson are so damn funny with their crazy ass version of foreplay!
There's also a perfect healthy dose of side characters who I just ADORE. Paige's best friends Shayne, Ryleigh and Quinn whom you've met if you read the first two books. They are hilarious together, and the book wouldn't be the same without out them--umm hello friendship goals!
This book will be on my top reads this year, without a doubt. I honestly can't say enough about it. I know I emphasized how funny it was, but it was also achingly romantic and there was this one scene that had me reading it over and over again because it was just so perfect that I had tears running down my face while holding my chest. And I don't cry easily while reading a book, damn you Brooke Blaine! I cried happy tears, I cried because I was laughing so hard tears, I cried sex tears, SO MANY types of tears! Everybody needs to read this book, it is honestly the perfect escape from just about anything! Now I just need Quinn's book to make it all perfect with a bow on top! I honestly can't wait for that!
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I seriously just finished this book with a huge smile on my face. While it was lighthearted and funny, there was an unexpected but much appreciated depth to the storyline. That sometimes love is right in front of us. Love doesn’t understand circumstance or timing. Love only knows where it belongs.
Paige Iris Traynor-Ashcroft (P.I.T.A.) is one of the most highly sought out wedding coordinators in all of Los Angeles. It’s too bad that she thinks marriage is a crock and something she will never partake in. Self-proclaimed ladies man, Richard “Dick” Dawson has known Paige since they were kids. They were quite close as where she lacked in family his parents were like her own. He knows he gets under her skin and he pushes harder anyway. They have that kind of hate hate relationship. Ha! No but really!
A night out results in their lives colliding in ways neither saw coming. And Paige is not ready to face the consequences. She is quite dismissive of Dawson, but he never lets up. She is never supposed to fall. This totally derails her plans! There is a push and pull until giving in is inevitable. But what happens when the one thing you’ve spent your life running away from is the one thing that you need the most? This author never recycles the typical storyline, and Paige and Dawson’s story continues this. She absolutely owns rom com as she puts her own spin on this genre with every book released in this series. There is an inherent vulnerability to these characters. They come across as genuine and their story is flawlessly executed in P.I.T.A. Surprisingly touching, yet laugh out loud funny this book was EVERYTHING!
Between the witty dialogue and clever storyline, this was easily a top read for me this year. Brooke Blaine is truly the queen of Rom Com! The author is a master at weaving a funny, sensual, yet passionate and endearing story that hooks you from the very beginning. I laughed. Loudly. I wiped away tears. Her talent of character development is simply unmatched. She writes with an intensity in that the sexual chemistry simply jumps off the pages! Engaging and sexy, I loved everything about this book!
P.I.T.A was simply one of the best romantic comedies I’ve read in such a long time. I am a huge fan of this entire series, but this story was impassioned as it was hilarious and I am still not over it. The author brilliantly balances heart and humor within a romantic comedy that is sure to make you a fan of hers for life.
About Brooke Blainehttp://www.brookeblaine.com/ ★ Facebook: www.facebook.com/BrookeBlaine.Writer ★ Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrookeBlaine1 ★ Instagram: www.instagram.com/brookeblaine1/ ★ Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1i2g15S ★ Brooke & Ella's Facebook Group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheBrellas If you’d like to be the FIRST to know about a new release, sale, giveaway, or upcoming signings & events, make sure to join Brooke’s newsletter: http://eepurl.com/brxPkP And make sure to follow me on Bookbub! https://www.bookbub.com/authors/brooke-blaine
Read the series!
Licked (L.A. Liaisons, #1)
Hooker (L.A. Liaisons,#2)
By: L. Duarte
Publication Date: January 23, 2017
Publisher: LD Publishing LLC
Cover Designer: Okay Creations
Everyone has a story. Mine went like this: Once upon a time, I met a boy. He was the most handsome fella in the land. I fell in love. Together, we had cosmic chemistry. I believed I would live a life of unending bliss. Until he broke my heart. Shattered it to pieces. And I lived unhappily ever after instead. The end. Or so I thought. Life found a way to reunite us. But to change that unhappy ending, I had to learn how to forgive. And my heart seemed unable to do so. This is a love story. But it is also, much more. Itâs the story of how I coped with my shortcomings, my fears and rewrote my destiny. Everyone has a story. This is mine.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
âI never met anyone who could speak so much with silence.â
Superstar, singer and songwriter, Gray Davis cancels all of her tour dates and returns home to deal with family. She returns to a place that she never dreamed of coming back to. A place where she could run into him. Galel Asner. He broke her heart. Into pieces that never mended. And he has never forgiven himself. So when she sees him in the very exact spot where she needed him the most, she is taken back by how the feelings come rushing back, but her heart is not ready to forgive. And sheâs not sure it ever will.
âThe very absence of you in my life is the greatest source of pain. Being with you would never be oblivion.â
Gray and Galelâs story is unlike anything youâve ever read. Itâs seamlessly told between past and present, allowing the reader to see how their love came to be and how it fell apart. You are placed deep within their heartbreak. Without going into the detail of the plot, this book is heartbreaking, yet one of the most beautiful and heartfelt stories you will ever read. There are many twists and turns that you never see coming. There is a backstory to everything and nothing is at it seems. I found myself completely consumed by this book. Your heart will beat for this Gray and Galeâs story. It will move you. Itâs so much more than a story of lost love, hope and forgiveness. Itâs an experience.
âI flew through infinity. Time, space, became boundless because my soul, when united with Galelâs, became unlimited.â
Despite his actions so long ago, Galelâs love has never been so strong. So determined. The guilt he carries is heavy and you feel it throughout the book. And Grayâs reluctance to look at him the way she once did is unwavering. There is an intensity thatâs felt when these two get together. Even with what occurred in their past, their electricity still remains. And Galel wants nothing more for Gray to see how much heart still belongs to him. To feel how strong his heart still beats for her. His soul is tethered to hers. And you feel it with every declaration of love he makes. He loves Gray fiercely. His love protects. Covets. Consumes. But is love enough? Can his love overcome what kept them apart so long ago?
âThe feelings I had for Galel were more than love. They were a dependency, madness, sickness. Or perhaps it was true love defined. An unrepentant insanity that lurked inside the soul and could not be purged.â
I got lost in the words of this book. It reads like poetry. I was mesmerized. Completely engrossed within the story. The author writes in such vivid colors. You see everything she writes. Her words are loud when they need to be. And when they are silent, you still hear and feel everything. Her words and the emotions she elicits simply jump off of the pages. The author writes with such purpose and meaning. And this is felt with the thoughtful development of her characters and the execution of the story itself.
âAnd together, we were in unison with the infinite and massive universe. There was no beginning and no ending, for we were our very own alpha and omega.ââ
Flightless is a deep and poignant story. One that I will never forget and will stay with me for a long time to come. Even with darkness, there is light. Gray and Galelâs story is a testament to all that love can endure and overcome. Itâs a reminder that even when evil tries to destroy, love always prevails. Destiny always overrules. Everything. Every time. If I could, I would talk of this authors words forever.
AMAZON US - http://amzn.to/2iWTYxD
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I stepped back. Not literally, just figuratively. I did that with every concert. I allowed my mindâs eyes to hover over me and my fans while I analyzed and dissected the unique relationship between us.
As I watched the multitude of peopleâa beautiful kaleidoscope of different races and social statusesâmy heart, in utter bliss, roared.
The audience held their hands upwards as if in an offering or a request. I never knew which. In perfect synchrony, their arms rolled in waves like the swaying of a stormy sea. Their voices cried out my name, and the smell of their sweat and the heat of their mingled bodies emanated from them, unfurling to me like the sweet perfume of incense.
I held the mic near my motionless lips and stared at them. At that moment, I became one with thousands. At that moment, I took back from the crowd all the energy I had fed them. And their vibe made me high and drunk. It was my personal Nirvana. The kind of rapture that can only be attained through uttermost intimacy. A oneness I had only felt with one other person. A person who had severed that connection and shattered my heart into a million shards of pain.
I worshiped them as they adored me. The exchange of atomic energy contained nuclear power. I was drained from giving. They were wasted from receiving. But we were both impossibly happy and satisfied.
My motionless lips finally moved, uttering the final words for the night. The parting words. âGood night, Sydney!â I waved a hand back at them. âYou looked beautiful tonight. All forty thousand of you.â
I bowed. They deserved my reverence. People had spent their time camped outside the venue waiting for a closer glance at me. They had spent their precious earned money to see my performance. They were worthy of my respect and gratitude.
Another wave of a hand. A kiss. Another bow. And I was out. Another show was done. Eight more to go.
I jogged backstage and gave the mic to Jeremy, my makeup artist, in exchange for a bottled water. He opened a portable case containing all the potions that would quickly improve my appearance for the meet and greet.
Before I took a swig from the bottle, Clara, my assistant, brusquely interrupted my post-concert ritual. She snatched the bottle from my hand and returned it to a confused Jeremy. âGray. With me,â she demanded, grabbing my elbow and urging me toward my changing room.
I glanced back at the stunned face of Jeremy. It was time for meet and greet with the VIPâs. I needed to freshen up. My makeup had all but melted under the stage lights.
Once inside the privacy of the room, I demanded, âWhatâs going on?â
She raised a finger and said, âWait.â
I opened my mouth to protest. Instead, I swallowed the words. Clara was usually a chatterbox; her clipped words quickly clued me in that something was seriously wrong.
As I waited, Clara dialed a number on her phone. Her silence became as unnerving as the red glare of an alarm light.
âBetty, I have Gray,â Clara said. Wordlessly, she shoved the device in my hand. The door closed with a thud after she exited in a flurry of silent drama.
âMama?â I asked holding the phone to my ear.
âHey, Puppy,â Mama said in a soft, almost regretful tone.
âWhatâs going on?â I asked. Silence filled the other end of the line, only increasing my concern. Mama knew I had just left the stage. She followed my tour from home. Minute by minute. It was unusual for her to call me so soon following a show.
âHow was, um, the, um, concert?â she asked.
âMama, did you call me to ask how the show went?â I furrowed my brows and every hair on my body stood at attention. Mama knew my routine during a tour. After a performance, I had a brief meet with fans and then I would go on hours of silence to rest my vocal cords. Although she knew she could call me at any time, she never called until at least ten hours following a show.
âMama?â I prodded after a long silence.
âI have cancer,â she said bluntly.
The phone connection was perfect. No static. But Mamaâs words hummed in my ear with a tunnel-like quality. Distorted, altered, garbled. My mind, however, had remained sharp and alert. Without much thought and after a brief pause, I uttered the words, âIâm coming home.â I hadn't said those words in over a decade. Somehow, they didn't taste as foreign as I had imagined they would.
âGray,â I said. The word hovered on my tongue, saturating my taste buds with an acrid taste. âGray,â I repeated, letting it roll off my tongue. I did that a lot. It was my name.
Often, I mused about my name. It hadnât been given to me because it was fashionable. Nevertheless, it had a history. My history.
When I was little, I liked to fancy its origin. The sky, I would think, was painted gray the day I was born. I loved the theory. The unattainability of the infinite mass of gray made it a great namesake. Whenever gray clouds hovered in the sky, I would lay on my back and stare at them, dreaming that when I grew up, I would build an enormous ladder, climb it, and touch the gray painted dome. It was all, of course, a foolish childâs dream, born out of vain imagination. I wasnât born during the day, nor was the sky gray. And it was most definitely not the inspiration behind the choosing of my name.
I was born in a graveyard. Serene Hills Cemetery, it was called, though its surface was flat. It was a fall night, October 20th, approximately 11 pm.
They found me covered in vernix. I used the term âtheyâ loosely. A dog found me. A female German Shepherd mix that went by the name of Sunshine. Her fur was golden. Shiny like sun rays. I had a newspaper cut-out of her. Itâs black and white, but it described her that way. In the shot, she looked straight at the camera, two vivid round eyes dotting a long and alert face. She had the knowing stare of someone who was aware she had done a good deed.
Obviously, I donât recall the details surrounding my birth. I was an infant. But I had Mama tell me the story so many times, which after a while, the images ingrained in my brain like the roots of a tree embedded in the fertile soil. They became so real in my imagination that it felt as if they were my recollections.
I was a born a preemie. Weak, small, and blotchy-faced. I was skin and bones with a mop of black spiky hair, and a bad case of a cold.
A miracle, they called me. But I knew I was no wonder. I happened to have the perfect concoction of healthy lungs and a loud cry. These, and the sharp canine sense of hearing and smelling had saved me. I didnât believe in miracles. Not anymore.
When they found me, decay from the trees covered the ground on a fascinating palette of colorsâan array of red, yellow, purple, brown, orange, golden, bronze.
I used to question why the leaves change colors and fall off the branches. According to a scientific explanation, leaves are a weak and feeble part of a plant. So, before the weather gets severely cold, the trees should toughen up to protect themselves. Or simply dispose of the leaves, the weak part.
Personally, I believe they turn colors before falling as revenge. A personal vendetta. And for that I applaud them. They turn their death into a poetic and alluring sight. That line of thought made me believe death was beautiful. It fascinated me. Itâs more interesting than birth, although similar.
I had been abandoned under a pile of dead foliage. According to the police investigation, it appeared my birth mother had buried me under the leaves. Hid me. Like a criminal attempting to cover its tracks. Supposedly, I spent the night under a cocoon of leaves. The treeâs decay was soaked with blood and amniotic fluid.
According to Sunshineâs owner, they were walking on the sidewalk by the cemetery when she heard a whizzing sound. Sunshineâs owner discarded the noise as being the cry of squirrels.
Sunshine didnât. At odds with her sweet nature, she became agitated and broke loose. She squeezed through a small gap in the fence and disappeared between the gravestones, leaving her owner in a frenzy.
Less than a minute later, Sunshine returned. Her mouth muzzled around my small waist, my umbilical cord dragging, rattling the decayed leaves.
I found my story fascinating, unique. Or so I told myself whenever I got teased at school.
The hospital staff called me the Graveyard Miracle. Soon after, Gray for short. It stuck.
I spent three months in the hospital. Thatâs where Mama worked. The graveyard shift. She fed me. She bathed me. She caressed my skin. âMy heart had not a chance. It fell madly in love with you,â she said, whenever she told me my story. Her pale hand, dotted with freckles, caressing my black, straight hair.
When I became her child officially, she quit the night job. âI had brought home my very own Graveyard Miracle.â
She found a day job at a pediatric clinic, occasionally helping at the hospital for extra income. She continued working at the clinic throughout my childhood, adolescence, and after I left home. She remained there until cancer said, âNo more.â Until cancer said, âI want your time. From now on, you are going to dedicate every waking hour to me. Iâm egocentric. I want it all. I want your flesh and the total sum of your soul.â
Thatâs why I was there, sitting in the back of a limousine Clara had rented to pick me up from JFK airport and take me home.
âWhen should I schedule your flight to LA?â she had asked. âOnly a one-way ticket for now,â I responded.
32 Lorelai Lane, my childhood home. It was a small Victorian-style house, built in 1929. The colorful foliage of a maple tree and an oak tree framed the dwelling as if it was extracted from the pages of a fairy tale book. When I was little, I used to fancy my house was lovely. The most enchanting place in all realms. Staring at the house, I discovered that I still thought that. It was the most magical place in the world because it was the place that humans refer to it as âhomeâ. And home is a thing of fairy tales. Rare and pure.
The car door was wide open, awaiting me. I climbed out. The driver stood straight as a pole. His hands perfectly folded in front of him, his face impassive. I wondered how long he had stood there, waiting for me, questioning my sanity. The luggage was lined up at the front porch. His face remained expressionless when I pulled a generous tip from my purse and handed it to him. âThank you,â I murmured.
He drove off, the sound of the engine trailing off into the quiet street. It was late at night. The crisp air smelled of burnt wood and autumn, reminiscent of bonfires and fireplaces.
I crossed the stone path leading to the front steps.
The hinges of the front door squeaked, and Mama slowly appeared as light spilled out from inside the house. She leaned against the doorframe, cocked her head, her eyes fixed on me. She knew me so well. She knew I needed the time.
I peered up, carefully examining Mamaâs face. It had been only two months since I had last seen her, but she appeared decades older. Even under the porchâs pale yellowed light, I could detect the lines circling her mouth. Small bags sagged under her eyes, and her plump skin appeared loose, dripping like melting wax. Her hair showed inches of gray and her usual square and proud shoulders were smaller, fragile. But what got my attention the most were her eyes. Their vivid green had turned opaque.
The grief and sorrow in her stare set my feet in motion, and I climbed the steps.
When mama stepped forward, the old wooden floor groaned and creaked under her feet. She came to a halt at the top of the stairs. Her lips curved into a small smile, and her arms spread open in an inviting hug.
As I stepped forward, my legs felt wobbly with the weight of so many years of absence.
I have found that there is only one thing better than reading, and that is writing. I am always torn between the two. I am also frequently torn between chocolate and coffee. However, I emphatically do not like the month of February, lies, and flies. For me, bravery is defined by the courage to do what we fear the most. I live in Connecticut with my husband and two children. Drop a few lines. I would love to hear from you.
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L. Duarte is offering a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner!
From USA Today Bestselling Author, Renée Carlino, comes a totally unique love story that is sure to make you question what’s out there . . . or who.
“My guardian angel is a drunk.”
Evelyn Casey's life is at a standstill. She's in her mid-twenties, struggling with the dating scene in San Francisco. Nothing seems to be working out, and she’s starting to think that she’ll live out her days in her crummy apartment with her overbearing roommate, Brooklyn. It's absurd, but sometimes Evey longs for a guardian angel to show up and save the day.
And then he does. Seriously. His name is Lucian and he's a guardian angel, been on the job for two thousand years. His sudden presence in her life is both good—he's brilliant, witty, and warm—and bad—he's brilliant, witty, warm, and hot as ----. But as perfect as Lucian seems, he’s got problems of his own. He’s taken up drinking and he’s brazenly inserted himself into Evey’s life, going against the greatest cosmic law ever created.
For Evey, the rules are simple: You are not allowed to hook up with your guardian angel. But sometimes fulfilling your destiny requires a leap of faith, a confrontation with God.
Yes, God as in God.
AMAZON PRINT http://amzn.to/2eozBc
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
“Love is selfish, isn’t it?”
Evey Casey is living a life that isn’t going anywhere. Her job and love life are at a standstill. What else can possibly go wrong? Well she meets a man who claims to be her guardian angel. And he’s drunk. Lucian. He’s easily the best looking man she’s ever met. This can’t be possible. Why would someone like her have an angel with the life she is living? Well Evey is about to learn so much about her life that she could have ever imagined. Lucian awakens something in her soul. A spark she never knew existed. Lucian knows there are consequences, but he’s tethered to Evey. And now that she knows about him. He simply can’t let go.
"You are everything to me. You're the dream, the air, the reason, the cause for my whole existence."
Evey and Lucian’s connection was quite instant. They embark on their own journey to love without any abandon. There is so much that goes unanswered. So much to explain. So much that can’t be explained. One thing that cannot be questioned is their unyielding faith in what they have in each other. A love story that is unexpected but heartfelt. I think the lesson here is that no matter how far fetched, challenging, or vulnerable love is, love is worth that risk and leap of faith. Always.
"I'd die ten thousand deaths for you."
I found this book to be a quick read. It wasn’t anything particularly earth shattering or life changing, but it was likeable. While Lucian Divine was quite different than her usual stories, I do commend the author for stepping outside the norm and giving her readers an intense yet unique love story. It is truly unlike anything I’ve ever read.
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com
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“Take me, all of me, broken and in pieces, or say to hell with me.”
This book will break your heart!
From the best-selling romance author of THE EDUCATION OF SEBASTIAN comes a sexy, heart-breaking and heart-warming story about one man and his dog. (Standalone)
Alex is lost and alone, with only his dog, Stan for company. He doesn’t expect kindness from anyone anymore, but sometimes hope can be found in the most unlikely places. He has a second chance at happiness, but there’s a dark side to Alex, and a reason that more than one person has called him crazy.
Single mother Dawn is doing just fine. Except that her ex- is a pain in the ass, her sister isn’t speaking to her, and her love life is on the endangered list.
At least her job as a veterinarian is going well. Until a crazy-looking guy arrives at her office accompanied by an aging dog with toothache. Or maybe Alex Winters isn’t so crazy after all, just … different.
Dawn realizes that she’s treated him the same way that all the gossips in town have treated her—people can be very cruel.
Contains scenes of an adult nature.
This is a standalone novel with no cliff-hanger.
“I had a really nice time today, Alex. We both did.”
He nodded slowly, seeming to ponder my words.
“You don’t like that word?”
His reply wasn’t acerbic, if anything, he sounded thoughtful.
“I haven’t had a whole lot of nice.”
I wondered if I should take his words as an opportunity to dig deeper, but he seemed more closed off now and a little sad, and I didn’t want to spoil such a lovely day.
“Nice is good,” I agreed evenly, and was happy when he forced a small smile. “Thank you—for everything.”
I leaned across to kiss him on the cheek, surprised by my own boldness. His eyes widened and he sucked in a quick breath.
Was the world still spinning or had time frozen as we sat there, creatures in the dark our only witnesses?
Is love a disease? An affliction? Or is it something catching? Can you catch love, can you hold it in your hands, can it be communicated like a plague? Or is it like an infectious laugh that makes your eyes water and your stomach hurt, even though the joke isn’t funny?
I’d begun to believe I was immune to love—the kind that exists between a man and a woman. Instead, I’d been gifted an ocean of love for my daughter. I thought perhaps that had filled me full, leaving no room for other love. Other loves.
My lips tingled from the roughness of his day-old stubble.
And is it love when you want someone’s smile as much as you want their body? When their laughter softens your words to a prayer?
My heart began to race.
Or is it sheer animal lust, a torrent of hormones assaulting your blood, heating you from the inside out?
He reached out to touch me, questions in his shadowed eyes as he cupped my cheek. I sighed and leaned into him, eyelids fluttering.
My mother always says it’s the softness of men that she loves most, because it’s at the center of them. Their outsides are hard with muscle; their bodies large, larger than hers—or mine—heavier, stronger. So when a man’s touch is soft, when his fingers drift across your skin like sunbeams, then you’re seeing into his soul.
I never understood. I never believed her.
So gently, so very gently, he pressed his dry lips against mine, and I wrapped my arms around his neck, kissing him back.
He tasted of coffee, and he smelled like sunshine and pine forest.
Gentleness turned to want, and want turned to need, and I thought my mother was wrong. I wanted to feel the strength of his body surrounding me, on top of me. I wanted to feel his hardness against me, inside me. I was wearied by supporting the weight of my family alone. I wanted someone to carry me. For just a little while. A single moment.
The wooden arm of the chair pressed into my ribs as I leaned across, and I tried to ignore it. But Alex lifted me onto his lap, shocking a gasp out of me that ended with a soft laugh, because maybe he’d read my mind, because maybe he wanted the same things I did. And then we were kissing again. Again and again for the longest time, hesitance turning to urgency, and long languid kisses to heated mouths and hot sighs.
My fingers fumbled to find the hem of his shirt as I floundered my way down his chest, sliding my palms across warm skin that left shivers in their wake. I started pushing the material upward, and Alex leaned forward and dragged the shirt off, tossing it to the ground impatiently.
All day, I’d longed to touch, yearned to taste, feared to want. I was tired of caution, weary of wading through life alone. If this was just one night, I’d celebrate it forever, and if it was more … well, that was a bridge still to be crossed, a land waiting for discovery.
My hands swept down his back, reading his skin with my fingers as if sight didn’t exist, while we continued to kiss, tongues tasting, learning and teaching. I gripped his biceps, my fingers digging into the ridge of muscle, shuddering with pleasure as he cupped my breast with one hand, the other anchored behind my back to stop me from falling.
I’d already fallen for Alex Winters, man of mystery, animal lover, gentle soul, wounded warrior in the battle of life. Or maybe that’s just life. We’re all survivors, one way or another.
Jane is a writer of contemporary romance fiction, known for thoughtful stories, often touching on difficult subjects: disability (DANGEROUS TO KNOW & LOVE, SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM); mental illness (THE EDUCATION OF CAROLINE, SEMPER FI); life after prison (LIFERS); dyslexia (THE TRAVELING MAN, THE TRAVELING WOMAN).
She is also a campaigner for former military personnel to receive the support they need on leaving the services. She wrote the well-received play LATER, AFTER with former veteran Mike Speirs. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk1CyB8c0xA )
To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.
But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.
For some, they are real life.
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.
I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.
I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.
The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.
In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.
And I am soon to become one of them.
I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…
… or at least I was, until I met Achille.
And everything changed.
As my papa’s G5 began its descent, I looked out of the window beside me and waited for the plane to break through the clouds. I held my breath, body tense, then suddenly the burnt-orange remnants of daylight flooded the plane, bathing the interior with a soft, golden glow. I inhaled deeply. Italia.
Fields and fields of green and yellow created a patchwork quilt below, rolling hills and crystal-blue lakes stretching as far the eye could see. I smiled as a sense of warmth ran through me.
It was the most beautiful place on earth.
Sitting back in my wide cream leather chair, I closed my eyes and tried to prepare myself for what was coming. I was flying to Florence airport, from where I would be swiftly taken to the Palazzo Savona estate just outside of the city.
I would meet Prince Zeno.
I had met him twice before—once when I was four, of which I had no memory, and again when I was ten. The interaction we’d had as children had been brief. If I was being honest, I had found Zeno to be arrogant and rude. He had been thirteen at the time and not at all interested in meeting a ten-year-old girl from America.
Neither of us had known at the time that that our betrothal had been agreed upon two years prior. It turned out that the trip my papa had taken to Umbria when I was eight was to secure a forever-bond between the Savonas and the Acardis. King Santo and my father had planned for their only children to marry. They were already joined in business; Zeno’s arranged marriage to me would also strengthen both families’ place in society.
I thought back on my New York farewell of nine hours ago and sighed. My parents had driven me to the private hangar and said their goodbyes. My mama cried—her only child was leaving her for a new life. My papa, although sad to see me go, beamed at me with the utmost pride. He had held me close and whispered, “I have never been more proud of you than I am right now, Caresa. Savona Wines’ stock has plummeted since Santo’s death. This union will reassure all the shareholders that our business is still strong. That we are still a stable company with Zeno at the helm.”
I had given him a tight smile and boarded the plane with a promise that they would see me before the wedding. And that had been that.
I was to marry Zeno, and I hadn’t protested even once. I imagined to most modern-day women living in New York, the process of arranged marriages sounded positively medieval, even barbaric. For a blue blood, it was simply a part of life.
King Santo Savona died two months ago. The shareholders of his many Italian vineyards, the stakeholders in Savona Wines, had expected his son, Zeno, to immediately step up and take charge. Instead, Zeno had plunged himself into the party scene even harder than before—and that was quite a feat. Within weeks my papa had flown out to Umbria to see what could be done.
The answer: our imminent union.
If you're looking for a sweet fairytale romance then this book is definitely for you. Me? Not so much. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the story, but I had hoped for just a little bit more intensity.
I loved the fairytale aspect of the story. Little girl dreams of marrying her perfect Prince Charming. Young woman is on the road to marrying a real (ish) prince, even if he isn't her ideal one. She would have had anything she ever needed. Except for the true love part.
With the situation surrounding the surprise (predictable to me, but still a good story) I wished there was a bit more turmoil to the whole issue. It was sad and changed the lives of a family, but I wanted more drama from those involved. I needed more resistance. More conflict. It seemed too easily resolved. I wanted a fairytale wedding. I wanted to hear them speak those heartfelt vows to each other.
It really seems like I have a lot of "I needed" and "I wanted" but I really did! I mean, if you love Tillie's writing (as I do) this will be a must read for you. It just missed a little bit of something special to me.
It was an incredibly adorable story (especially that epilogue) with very sweet and loveable characters. I do think there is a certain someone that needs his own story and deserves his very own fairytale too;)
One winner gets a Signed Copy of A Veil of Vines + Limited-Edition The Future Mrs. Marchesi T-Shirt
Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.
After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.
Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.
Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.
When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.
Blog Tour: Mr. President by Katy Evans, Kat & Stacy's 5 STAR reviews! @authorkatyevans #Vote4Hamilton
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From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Katy Evans comes a sizzling new contemporary romance.
He's won the hearts of millions. But is he willing to lose his?
I met the president’s son when we were both young. Matthew Hamilton was handsome, polished, and intelligent. I’d never met a guy like him.
He promised me that he’d never run for president. I promised that if he did, I’d be by his side.
Three terms later, an invitation to join Matthew Hamilton’s campaign is the most exhilarating opportunity I’ve ever experienced. I'm determined to make a difference; he is determined to win.
Focused on his goal, Matt is steadfast, ruthless, and disarming. All eyes are on him and his popularity is surging. But soon, the next possible president of the United States is possessing me in more ways than one—and despite the risks, I'm helpless to resist.
We're stealing touches, stealing moments, and stealing away at night. But our chemical connection is quickly becoming dangerously combustive, putting not only my heart, but Matt's chance at the presidency on the line.
Winning will take everything. Walking away will be the hardest thing of all.
This is a perfect presidential fantasy! I'm sure many Americans wish they had a candidate like Matt Hamilton running for president!
There was never a dull moment in this story. Right from the beginning we get the good stuff. It starts with the present, then just when you think you're going into the story one way, it totally rewinds to the past where it all began and we ride all the back to the present again. To that moment. The one moment we've been waiting for throughout the entire story then all of a sudden...SEE YA NEXT YEAR READERS! LOL oh Katy you kill me with this stuff!
I love romances that are fast. I love getting to know the characters together as they are getting to know each other. No long drawn out back stories. Although, it does make it easier that they've somewhat known each other for years. Charlotte's little girl crush has grown into a full fledged adult affair. One that could bring them both down. I loved the sneaky get-togethers. The stolen glances from across the room. The fantasies in their heads coming to life on every page. It was a story loaded with tension fuelled hot fun romance on every page. Katy is a pro at writing the drawn out sexual tension that just makes you want to scream. Her words are so easy and fun to read, it makes me want to reread the story again ASAP.
Matt Hamilton for the win! Katy Evans for the win! This was a really fantastic read!
Matthew Hamilton!! Ohhhh my is this man something special! I've read all of Katy's books and this was such a departure from what she's written before, and I'm so excited that she tried something new because it is definitely working! Katy is known for writing these male characters that make you fall in love with them and this book is no different. Because when I say that Matthew Hamilton is a dreamboat, that is a gross understatement! With our own election so close I only WISH I could vote for him!
I absolutely LOVED Charlotte! She was so strong and unselfish and unbelievably adaptable and supportive and I love reading heroines like her because she just seemed real. Charlotte Wells has been in politics her whole life, with her dad being in the senate and Matthew's dad being a past president, their paths crossed when Charlotte was just a young girl. And now that she's all grown up, Matthew is running for president, and she's all a mess of nerves and excitement. She's just been invited to work as a political aide on his campaign, and she realizes the crush she had on Matthew as a little girl has developed in to something much more powerful than she could have ever imagined.
I just love the immediate chemistry between Matt and Charlotte, and if anyone knows how to write great build up, it's Katy Evans. She writes the most achingly sensual slow burn you will ever read and you will be craving it at the turn of every page. This book flew off the pages with steamy sexual tension and beautifully erotic stolen moments!
There's a forbidden aspect to this romance, and that's what makes it even more appealing. Wanting what you can't have is exactly the problem that Charlotte and Matt face, and Katy does an amazing job at keeping you on your toes throughout their whole wild ride. And of course, there's a cliffhanger!! Oh my god I might die, but thank god this series is just a duet because I don't think I could handle a trilogy at this point! This might be my new favorite by Katy, and that's saying a lot!! But believe me when I say that you need The White House series in your life, it is a true readers delight and a great fantasy!
Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.
Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her
titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly
a dozen languages across the world.
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About BEHIND CLOSED DOORSMy name is Roman Cavenaugh and I’m kind of an asshole. Running a company isn't easy, especially when everyone expects you to fail, so being a jerk? It comes with the territory. I don't have time to mess around, and I sure as hell didn’t see her coming. Cara Hamilton—she was supposed to be off limits…a temporary employee brought in during my assistant’s maternity leave. But, in the blink of an eye, she became so much more. An obsession I couldn’t shake. So yeah, I may be an asshole, but now, I finally had a purpose, and soon, she would be mine. All’s fair in love and war…
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I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Roman Cavenaugh is a bit of a jerk, but we later learn he has his reasons. And your heart will ache for him. He’s been doubted his entire life. Compared to his brother in all things. So this is the way he knows how to survive. Cara Hamilton storms into his life in a way he never sees coming. After following her boyfriend to NY, she lands a job as Roman’s temporary assistant while his is out on maternity leave. She is all the good in the world. And he can’t seem to shake her. But she’s not for him to have. Roman plays his usual role as the intimidating CEO, but Cara sees through that façade where no one else can.
Cara annoys Roman to no end and it is so fun to watch. She’s quirky and intruding and gets under his skin like no other. They have a special chemistry. It’s almost intriguing to see them together. They bring out their true selves in the other. But with secrets and certain pasts lurking in their background, do they even stand a fighting chance?
Behind Closed Doors was a hot yet sweet and heartfelt story. As with all J.L. Berg books, she puts her own unique twist on this book. Roman learns to let down the guards around his own heart. That love doesn’t see circumstance or ability. You can love through all things. And Cara sees that her good and pure heart was meant for Roman and him only. I found their story to be quite consuming, raw, and genuine. There’s not too many stories where the author allows you to really see the heart and soul of the hero. Although a bit battered and broken, his heart still beats. He finds solace in his love for Cara. This isn’t an easy love story, but its theirs. Once again the author has given us a beautifully written story with characters that will stay with readers for a long time to come.
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About J.L. BergJ.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series, The Walls Duet, and the Lost & Found Duet. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC. Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter
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