Release Day! LICKED by Brooke Blaine (@BrookeBlaine1) + Reviews, Teasers, Excerpt, Book Trailer & Giveaway!
When I think about romantic comedies I think about great movies like Pretty Woman and How to lose a guy in ten days. These movies I can watch over and over again without pause! These movies bring me joy and solace in a crazy un- romantic comedy world, so when I read LICKED I was seriously overjoyed and doing a rom-com cartwheel and happy clap because this book is so, SO perfect when it comes to what I want in a movie!
Oh wait… This a book??
Holy crap, I almost forgot, because it reads like one of the best romantic comedy movies EVER!
BUT-- THIS is a book, a great muther effin book!
Ry is this amazing woman who knows right from wrong, but she feels the indifference between two amazing men.
Ok, so what would you do?
The hot as hell construction worker?
How would you act?
Who would you pick?
The Sweet as hell sex on a stick!?
The hard hat phenom?
This is the biggest conundrum ever!
The choice is yours….
This book takes you to a place that you wished or hoped actually happened in your real life!
It's amazing and perfect and everything that a romantic comedy should be.
I'm so in love with this book!
Brooke Blaine serves up rom-com perfection with this witty, get the memo, sexy as hell book!
I'm sending a copy to all of my female hookers!
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
When it comes to romantic comedies, I tend to be picky. Romance for me is a given. It’s a must. I crave it when I read. But add in the funny? It either is or it isn’t. Some rom coms try to hard, while others not at all. But Licked? It had everything I need in a romantic comedy! Not only was it funny. But it was witty, creative, and I was never bored. Brooke Blaine has easily mastered how to successfully execute a true romantic comedy.
Ryleigh Phillips owns a successful ice creamery and bar. And not just an ordinary one. The names of these flavors of ice cream and drinks will have you giggling and laughing out loud. And often. While her career and business is booming, her love life isn’t. Until the night of her high school reunion once she comes in contact with her long time crush, Cameron Mathis. Through him, she also meets Hunter Morgan, who later becomes her contractor as she is doing renovations at her store. Suddenly Ryleigh finds herself falling. And not in the direction she expected.
Before you go thinking, omg a love triangle. This is SO much more than that. While Ryleigh has her choice of two amazing men, this is not the average story. Brooke Blaine puts her own spin on things. I will not get too much into the plot, as the reader is to experience the story. But I will say I was #teamHunter the moment I met him. Not only is he hot, but he knows exactly what he wants. And Cameron? He was sweet and endearing and I could easily see how Ryleigh had crushed on him since high school! But as we get older, we change. And Ryleigh is no longer that quirky high school teenager. How does a girl choose between two amazing men? Or did her heart already know the one it’s always belonged to?
I absolutely adored the writing style of Licked. The author effortlessly weaves a story that keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end. You are instantly placed within the pages and you want to be friends with the characters. You get to experience their highs and lows. I found that I wanted to be within Ryleigh’s group of friends. They were hilarious. I believe this not only shows the author’s talent in writing a story, but that also demonstrates her craftsmanship in strong character development.
Licked was such a fun reading experience. It was lighthearted, swoony, and one of those reads that you smile while reading the entire time. The characters will have you laughing out loud. Not only is the story funny, but there are also some sexy times. I am so excited for what’s to come of this series and the characters. Brooke Blaine has definitely placed herself on my buy anything she writes shelf. I highly recommend Licked if you want a true and genuine romantic comedy that will remind you of what it means to truly fall in love.
New-to-me authors scare me. I'm a bit of a chicken and like to stick to things I know. Will I get their humour? Will their writing be easy to read? Will they pull off a great angsty break-up where you're just dying for them to get back together? Will the reunion be worth it? Well, I say to myself now, DON'T BE A CHICKEN SHIT! This book was GREAT! Brooke did not disappoint at all!
So we have the high school crush, Cameron, that Ryleigh has been in love for for years. Then there is his best friend, Hunter. Ones a white collar gentleman who says all the right things. The other is a blue collar hottie, simply irresistible in my opinion. Oh how to choose?!
Even though the book isn't named "Licked" for their first intimate scene, it surely could have been. Wowie. That was HOT. When the clothes start coming off, holy shit hot chemistry happens.
It takes a very admirable man to step down in the name of love. Which kind of makes you wish that this time, that love was for him. I think either way, you can't go wrong choosing Cameron or Hunter. But chemistry is chemistry, and that kind, is not the kind you can build over time.
This story was full of cute, sweet and hot lines and loads a sugary treats. It has a great group of supporting characters, of whom I hope to get some more of in the future. Especially Quinn. She has me intrigued already! You can't write great friends without us wanting their story too. Or can you? :( And that will hopefully mean there will be more Ryleigh, Cameron and Hunter as well! Because as perfect as the ending was, I always need more.
I tugged at the edge of my apron in an attempt to avoid the three pairs of eyes staring bug-eyed at me. “And then he walked me to my car.”
“And then you…?” Shayne asked.
“Went home,” I said.
“Wait a minute, can we talk about the fact that he made you sleep on his couch?” Paige’s eyebrows were raised up to practically her hairline. “I’m sorry, but in what fucking universe is that acceptable? Why didn’t you call Quinn to pick you up?”
“He didn’t make me, geez. He passed out and it was late, and I thought maybe…you know. Morning sex.”
Shayne cocked an eyebrow. “And did that happen?”
“Well, no. Hunter made me coffee, and then Cameron woke up and…that’s it.”
“Wait,” Quinn interrupted. “You slept in an apartment with two guys and both of them had you sleeping on the couch? Jesus, Ryleigh, it’s against man-code for that to happen. Did you wear a chastity belt last night or something?”
I groaned, my head falling into my hands. Of course the girls would give me a hard time. I’d been talking up tackling Cameron at the reunion for weeks, so my body wasn’t the only one feeling let down.
Still, I was seriously regretting inviting them over for a powwow at my shop during our off hours.
“I think I need another shot of vodka in my Feisty Ho-bag now.” Paige pushed her glass stemware toward me, and I grabbed a liquor bottle from behind the bar and tipped some into her glass.
Boozy shakes. They were the bread and butter of Licked during the brunch and evening hours, and the main reason for the expansion next door. I glanced at the black tarp hanging over the doorway that led to the space I’d bought a few months ago and sighed. Construction was running behind, and it was too late to hire another company if I wanted to keep the launch date set.
And I had to keep the date set.
“So are you seeing him again?” Shayne asked, dunking her cherry through the layers of baklava bits and whipped cream on top of her Nibble My Nuts shake. “I will totally get involved if I need to.”
No doubt she’d be successful. She basically ran one of the top matchmaking companies in the city, not that you’d know it from her degrading pay scale. Her boss was a fucking nightmare, but Shayne was convinced she had to pay her dues.
“I don’t need your expert skills this time, but thank you. He’s got my number, so…we’ll see.”
“You can’t just wait around for a guy to call,” she said.
“I’m not waiting. I’ve got all that”—I gestured to the ugly tarp that hid the mess behind it—“to deal with, so I’m actually quite busy at the moment.”
The three of them gave each other “the look.” You know, the one that said, We’ve got to help our poor little friend get laid so she doesn’t end up gorging on the ice cream and boozy shakes she makes and be relegated to spinsterhood.
“Guys,” I said, placing my hands on the counter as I stood in front of them. “I’m not on my way to spinsterhood. I just have priorities.”
“I’m sure you could squeeze Cameron Mathis in,” Quinn said with a wink. “Get it? Squeeze him in…”
“More like blow off the dust, grab a key, unlock that shit, and pray there are no bats,” Paige agreed.
Oh for fuck’s sake. “All right, no more booze for either of you.”
a Rafflecopter giveaway http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/N2Q1ZTJlODQ4MTJiZTJjOGRhMDJkYTg4MmE3MzYzOjI=/?
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 â€˜quiet time.â€™ Not much has changed except for the espresso I.V. pump she now carries around and the size of her onesie pajamas. Flash Point is Brookeâ€™s debut solo novel, and she is the co-author of the erotic serial, 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 on November 11th, 2015. If youâ€™d like to get in touch with her, sheâ€™s easy to find - just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone thatâ€™s dominated her cell phone for ten years.
*** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ***
“Save Me and I’ll save you”
Wow!! The Nocte Trilogy by Courtney Cole has finally come to an end and what an ending it was to Calla & Finn Price and Dare DuBray story. They say that everything comes to those who wait!! And after waiting I'm glad to say that Courtney didn’t disappoint. I can’t even begin to tell about what I have just read as I could do it justice and it probably wouldn’t make any sense. Ha-ha, But what I will say is the Courtney continues to take you on what I can only call in the nicest possible way a complete mind F*** for one last time.
"We're all a bit mad, aren't we?"
Within the first few chapters, I'm starting to rethink everything, any ideas, any feelings that I had started to go out the window. It was a case of what I thought I knew I didn’t. So I didn’t over think it, I just went with it knowing that Courtney would steer me right. So yes, I will confess there were many times I was confused, but in a funny sort of way I didn’t mind as it was what I was expecting. The end of Calla, Finn, and Dare twisted journey was never going to be a simple.
“I really am crazy, I’m as crazy as they say. I’m crazy”
“He stares at me, into me, through me”
I am going to repeat some of what I said in my Nocte review as I feel exactly the same way. Lux is a beautifully written, poetic cleverly crafted story. With intriguing and complex characters who share a special relationship and bond. There were lots of twist and turns that are intricately woven into the story, and at first may not make sense but they will at some point. Don’t even try to figure it out just go with and you will get a story that is unique and compelling.
“You have the power to change it. You always have, and you always do. Change it to the way it should be. Do it.”
I loved the ending and, of course, it was not what I was expecting twists until the very end, and it was very clever. I totally 100% agree with Courtney’s author’s notes at the end of the book. The way you interpret the ending will come down to what you believe in and your own beliefs. If you believe in fate, Kismet and that things happen that can’t be explained (like me) you will love the ending it if not, then maybe not so much, but I don’t think you will be disappointed.
"Warmth rushes through me because Kismet always prevails. The jury has decided. I feel it in my bones."
If you haven’t started this series, then I highly recommend that you one click it today. Don’t read other reviews as this series you need to go into knowing very little to get the full experience. You will also be in a great position that you can read each book back-to-back. I will admit I had forgotten a few things, as it had been a while since reading the first 2 books. What I needed was what you sometimes get at the start of a season of my favourites shows. …..”Previously in Notce and Verum” Lol
The Nocte Trilogy has been a crazy, frustrating, unpredictable, unique roller-coaster ride and overall I have loved it. Thank you, Courtney, for your wonderful imagination and bring this story to life. Look forward to seeing what that clever mind of yours has in store for us next.
The number of times!
Series reading order
Title: The Air He Breathes
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Series: Romance Elements #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 25, 2015
I was warned about Tristan Cole.
“Stay away from him,” people said.
It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster.
But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.
We were both empty.
We were both looking for something else. Something more.
We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.
Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.
How do you put into words a book that touched your soul? Can words even come close to how much this book meant to me? How much it meant in my heart? Not sure if any words can truly describe the magic of this author’s writing of this story. But I am going to try.
Tristan Cole is left devastated by tragedy. It shatters his world. His life as he knows it is gone. He becomes angry, lonely. He is no longer living. He simply exists. To the outside he is cold and cruel. In the inside he is just numb. When he meets Elizabeth, he recognizes something in her eyes. Loss maybe? Loneliness? He sees himself in her eyes. A lost soul.
“Do I scare, you Elizabeth?” he whispered.
“Because I see you.”
After losing the love of her life, Elizabeth returns to her home determined to live for her and her daughter. But that is no easy feat. There are reminders everywhere. Her heart feels empty, her soul missing it’s other half. While she is told to stay away from Tristan, Elizabeth can’t help but be drawn to his darkness as she recognizes the same in herself. Tristan wants nothing to do with her. He fights every time she attempts to get close to him. He tries to scare her away with his harsh words and rude demeanor. But Elizabeth SEES him. She sees underneath the darkness. That maybe... just maybe there is a light somewhere in his heart. And Tristan soon recognizes that perhaps Elizabeth is his light.
“You’re beautiful. You’re a beautiful, broken kind of monster.”
The Air He Breathes is heartbreaking. You are emotionally invested the entire time you are reading. The author is brilliant in the way she crafts her story and characters. She doesn’t just give life to her characters, she breathes her heart and soul into them. This is demonstrated in the way she allows you to FEEL while reading. Every sad event, every joyous occasion...you LIVE within those pages. I am purposefully not talking about the plot as you should immerse yourself in this beautiful story.
“Her soul was scarred, and mine was burned.”
“How did two people so broken find each other’s shattered pieces?”
Tristan and Elizabeth find solace in each other, but they also find a great love. They find the missing pieces to their shattered hearts. Tristan loves fiercely. His love is LOUD. You feel his heart beat again the moment he realizes he loves Elizabeth. His love protects, his love is brave. His heart speaks love. Always. Elizabeth’s love? Her love is powerful. It’s strong. Her love never falters for Tristan. Despite their circumstances, she loves with her entire soul. So many write about love. But this story? There is none like. The Air He Breathes challenges love. It puts love against things you never knew was possible. They love through pain, heartache, and tragedy. Their love is truth. Their love is light. Their love? It saves.
“Show me the shadows that keep you up at night. Kiss me with your darkness.”
Can we talk about the writing? It’s magical and overwhelming. Every word is carefully crafted to add to the story. The author seamlessly wrote both POVs and transitioned between the present and the past. I have read other books by this author and every time I am blown away by her genius ability to write such powerful words. Words that invoke emotions. Words that you feel. Words that make you cry, laugh. Live.
“I didn’t know it was possible. I didn’t know the broken pieces of a heart could still beat for love.”
The Air He Breathes gave me LIFE. You know when someone asks you what book could you read over and over and never get tired of? This would be THE book. Don't go into this book thinking you know this story. Because you don't You'll never read one like this. Tristan and Elizabeth? I will never forget their inspiring love story. Their love overcame so much. But isn't that what love does? Love endures. It bears all things. Their love did that. And so much more.
“Maybe he loved our scars the most. Maybe the truest form of love grew from the deepest kinds of pain.”
Wow, The Air He Breathes was my first Brittainy C. Cherry book and I have to say, it’s not for the faint-hearted. It will tug at your heartstrings but don’t worry you will come out the other side smiling.
Both Liz and Tristan are living broken lives. Moving on and breathing again seems an impossible feat but what if you met someone just as broken? Just as scarred? Could it then be possible to breathe again? To live again? To maybe even love again?
This was a lovely story, I did like the way in which the characters interconnected at times and it had drama that I wasn’t expecting. I will say I was expecting to ugly cry and even though I didn’t come near, I still got a lump in my throat and discovered a new author and great characters.
There was a part in the story that I didn’t connect with, and upon discussing it with a friend; I came to the conclusion that it’s due to personal experience. We each read books differently and because of my own experiences I could never imagine this situatuion happening. It was uncomfortable to read at times and I wasn’t sure if I could fall for these characters. But grief affects others in different ways and even though I didn’t particularly like that one element of the story, it made the characters real. Warts and all.
I liked Brittainy’s writing style and I wasn’t expecting the humorous tone to her words. It worked really well and was injected just at the right time when the storyline needed it.
I loved the characters, I love the journey they embarked on and I loved the white feathers.
For lovers of serendipity and second chances, I highly recommend this book to you.
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Title: Hard As Steel
Author: Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink #4.5
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 22, 2015
About HARD AS STEEL: A Hard Ink/Raven Riders Crossover Novella
After identifying her employer's dangerous enemies, Jessica Jakes takes refuge at the compound of the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. Fellow Hard Ink tattooist and Raven leader Ike Young promises to keep Jess safe for as long as it takes, which would be perfect if his close, personal, round-the-clock protection didn't make it so hard to hide just how much she wants him—and always has.
Ike Young loved and lost a woman in trouble once before. The last thing he needs is alone time with the sexiest and feistiest woman he's ever known, one he's purposely kept at a distance for years. Now, Ike's not sure he can keep his hands or his heart to himself—or that he even wants to anymore. And that means he has to do whatever it takes to hold on to Jess forever.
They stared at each for a long moment. Jess went from feeling amused to awkward to observed…and that made her hot. Especially as she was standing there in nothing but a towel.
As if he could hear her thoughts, Ike’s gaze slowly ran down her neck to her chest. She wiped at something there and the wetness on the fingers told her it had been a droplet of water from her hair. Ike watched the movement of her hand openly, hungrily, and his desire made her bold, daring, hungry in return.
Without giving herself time to second guess the idea, she reached out and lightly dragged her wet fingers against his bottom lip.
And it was like she’d unleashed a beast.
Ike grabbed her wrist and hauled her to him. He was on her everywhere. His hands in her hair, on her back, grabbing her ass and lifting her up. His tongue licked the exact route that water droplet had taken, from chest to neck to ear. And then he was kissing her, fucking her mouth with his tongue, absolutely devouring her.
Jess held on like her life depended on it, and at some point she became aware of the breeze on her bare skin. She’d dropped the towel, which meant she was totally buck-ass naked in Ike’s big arms, and she couldn’t have cared less.
Ike licked her mouth, sucked her tongue, nipped at her lips. He turned and made for the stairs, and Jess thought she might die from sheer joy and anticipation. He tasted like strength and sin and sex, and she tightened her legs around his hips as he carried her to the loft, eager to see if all of him tasted so good—or even better.
When they reached the second floor, Ike growled low in his throat and his grip tightened on her on her ass, his fingers digging in. She moaned and--
Cool air from the ceiling fan washed over Jess as Ike dropped her onto the bed—and promptly turned around to leave. Jess was so stunned she couldn’t speak. Just as he hit the top of the steps, he said, “Don’t fucking tease me, Jessica. I’m trying to do right by you, but I’m still just a goddamned man.”
If there was ever a perfect crossover novella to end one series and begin another, Hard As Steel is it! Ike and Jess were relatively unknown characters to me but in the space over just over one hundred pages, I cared for them, rooted for them and rejoiced with them!
Hard As Steel is one sexy little novella. It captured the sizzling chemistry between Ike Young and Jessica James. All Ike wanted to do was to protect Jess, he told himself she was off limits but Jess had a sass that I liked and I’m glad she didn’t take no for answer.
I love the Hard Ink series and this novella was a perfect bonus, I’m glad I got to know Ike and Jess, and the crew of new characters that were introduced just makes me hungry for the Raven Riders series.
Laura Kaye is becoming one of my must read authors. She creates real characters, evokes real feelings and provides real entertainment. Everything I could want in an author.
I highly recommend this series!
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The Aubrey Rules by Aven Ellis is the first book in the Chicago on Ice Series, along with Derna's five star review you can read the first chapter in this sweet romantic hockey book.
Title: The Aubrey Rules!
Author: Aven Ellis
Genre: New Adult
Series:Chicago on Ice
Release Date: 26th August, 2015
Some of the Aubrey Rules to Live By:
*If I’m going to indulge in French fries, I must add extra time to the treadmill the next day.
*Always keep your work and private life separate.
*Being open to new experiences will never involve eating kale.
*Never, ever date a professional athlete.
For Chicago social media professional Aubrey Paige, the rules are everything. So much so that Aubrey has painstakingly written her rules for living into a polka-dot Kate Spade notebook that she carries with her at all times. It’s her personal guidebook to living her life. These rules are the Holy Grail—ones never to be broken. They guide her actions for everything, from dealing with workplace drama to finding a great guy to date. After all, these are her own rules, built from her life experiences and observations. So they have to be perfect, right?
Or are they?
Because when Aubrey meets a cute Canadian, she suddenly finds her rules being tested and challenged in ways she never dreamed possible. Beckett Riley is the shy, quiet, determined captain of the Chicago Buffaloes, a hockey team on the verge of turning the corner to becoming a winning organization. He’s Aubrey's opposite, with so many qualities that Aubrey had listed as ones she’d never want in a man.
Yet Aubrey finds herself drawn to Beckett in ways she’s never known. And when she unexpectedly finds herself working with Beckett, she wonders if rules are meant to be broken after all . . .
The Aubrey Rules! By Aven Ellis. The first book in the Chicago on Ice Series and is Aubrey Paige and Beckett Riley’s story. Aven Ellis is one of go to author when I looking for a fun easy romance story. I loved that Aubrey had rules and I'm sure we all have rules for different things in life so just like Aubrey here are mine when is come to romance books.
The Derna Rules to live by when reading a good romance book.
#1 It must have a good storyline
Aubrey Paige lives by rules these are rules that she has written to guide her on everything that she does in her day-to-day life. She sticks to them no matter what! But when Aubrey meets Beckett Riley a cute shy hockey player Aubrey soon realises that some rules are made to be broken or if not broken then slightly amended.
**Note** I loved this storyline just perfect for an afternoon when all you want to do is snuggle on the sofa and read.
**Amendment** There is a very high percentage that my rules are not going to be broken by Aven Ellis
#2 It must have likeable characters
Aubrey is sweet, funny, independent, sassy and loves to talk. Her rules are fun to read, and I loved when she is with Beckett her talking goes into overdrive, and her mouth has no filter. Beckett is honestly a nice bloke, he’s sexy and come across is a little shy. He can be awkward, nervous and serious at times, especially when it comes to social media. However, under that nervous exterior there is a guy with a smart ass with great sense who is thoughtful and kind.
**Note**There were some likeable supporting characters. Livy and Landy are wonderful just like me Livy is a fan of Kale Chips
**Amendment** Okay, some supporting characters I may want to punch! Aubrey’s boss Mallory Slone is a cow!!!
#3 The characters must have chemistry
Aubrey and Beckett are adorable together and have great chemistry. Their relationship, it's fun, cute and entertaining to watch. Their banter is very funny, and I loved the way they tease each other. Beckett genuinely interested in everything Aubrey she does, he wants to know what's going on in her head even if it's crazy. Aubrey helps Beckett loosen up and shows him the he is loveable just the way he is. They work well together, and bring out the best in each other.
**Note** You will fall in love with these characters they are perfect together.
#4 It must have a good mix of romance, angst and entertainment to keep things interesting.
The book flows well. Loved that Aven’s adds Aubrey’s rules at the start of the chapters, and her updates and revised notes and amendments as she gets to know Beckett. The storyline is low drama and angst there are a few issues involving, jealousy, insecurities, and misunderstandings, but it doesn’t last for chapters. The romance factor is high there are some swoon-worthily moments.
**Note** Aven knows how to write great romance
**Note** Beckett knows how to make a girl feel special. Aubrey is a lucky girl.
**Amendment** Aubrey is a VERY lucky girl.
#5 I must finish the book with a smile on my face.
I had the biggest smile on my face after reading the epilogue was sweet and a perfect ending for Aubrey and Beckett. Aven Ellis always writes my kind of romance books. The ones once I start I don’t want to put down, the ones that are cute, heartwarming, flirty, humorous and entertaining, and The Aubrey Rules was spot on. If you’re looking for a feel good romance with an HEA, then this one is for you. Aven Ellis doesn’t disappoint with her engaging, faultless and witty writing style.
**Note** Of course you will get some hot hockey action also. </b>
**Note** I like when the next book is going to be about some of my favourite supporting characters. Therefore, I’m looking forward to Livy and Landy’s story where I know we will be more Aubrey and Beckett.
**Note** I was left with a craving for Kale Chips, and French fries while reading this book.
**Amendment** I’m fulfilled my Kale Chop craving as I’m eating a batch while writing this review.
The Aubrey Rules a must read for all you true romantic out there. Go one click now! I loved it.
Read Chapter One Now!
The Aubrey Rules To Live By, Rule #1: Never, ever, be late for anything.
I sprint toward the elevator in complete panic mode. This is not happening. I must be having one of those nightmares, and any second I’ll wake up.
Because if I’m not dreaming, I’m awake. Obviously. Which also means I overslept this morning. I couldn’t sleep last night due to anxiety, and I accidentally turned the alarm off on my phone instead of hitting snooze this morning. Which began a domino effect: I overslept. I didn’t have time to get my red curly locks under control with a flat iron, and I’m not going to arrive on time for a job interview with one of the chicest social media firms in Chicago.
I frantically jab the elevator button. This is my first professional interview since I graduated from the University of Washington last month. I have to get this job. I need this job.
I want this job.
I press the button again. “Come on, come on!” I begin pacing. I feel as if I want to throw up. I’m never late. I’m the girl who is ten minutes early to everything. Even for meeting a friend at Starbucks. So the fact that I’m late to the most important interview ever makes me absolutely sick to my stomach.
The doors open and I run in, but my boot heel catches in the crack. I fly forward, and my purse swings over my shoulder in a loop. I land flat on my face, and the entire contents rain down on the floor. Then I hear a clink. Like something falling down the crack between the hallway floor and the elevator.
“Miss, are you okay?” a male voice asks me. “Are you hurt?”
I immediately push myself up to my hands and knees. My curly hair is blocking my vision, and I shove it out of the way so I can see. There is a stranger kneeling in front of me.
A very handsome stranger.
One with dark-brown hair and the loveliest chocolate-brown eyes I’ve ever seen.
Who has just seen me trip, fall flat on my face, and—oh my God—is his shoe on top of one of my tampons?
I quickly begin grabbing my things and throwing them back into my Tory Burch tote. “I’m fine,” I say, keeping my eyes down, praying he somehow moves and I can swipe the tampon before he notices it. “Thank you.”
“Are you sure? You hit the floor really hard,” he says.
“Um, I’m good.”
“Here, let me help you,” he says, reaching for my lipstick case.
“No!” I cry, mortified, sticking out my hand. “Don’t!”
His large brown eyes widen in surprise. “No? You’re saying no to me helping you?”
“Yes,” I say, willing him to move his foot.
Okay, so mental telepathy only works on TV because it sure as hell isn’t working now.
I go back to scooping up the millions of receipts I had squirrelled away in my purse, along with my huge collection of drugstore mascaras, lipsticks, and Tic Tacs.
“Why?” he asks, a bewildered expression on his face.
I glance up at him as I toss my wallet back into my bag. Oh, wow, he’s super cute. I’d have to say he’s in his mid-twenties, and I can’t get over how expressive his handsome face is.
I grab my iPhone and cast my eyes back down. “It’s my mess. You shouldn’t have to help me clean it up.”
“A planner?” he asks, holding up my gold polka dot Kate Spade planner toward me. “Aren’t these out of style? Don’t you use your phone for stuff like that?”
I pause. He’s Canadian. I know he’s Canadian from the way he said “out,” with a sort of lilt at the end of the word.
“That’s not a planner,” I say, taking it from him. “It’s my rule book.”
“Yes.” I drop it into my tote as I continue to pick up stuff off the floor. “Life is chaos. I like jotting down rules for my career and love life and use them as a guide to keep me organized. Some are serious, some are funny. But they’re all designed to keep me from wasting time. So I don’t make mistakes that will hurt me and it’s fun to do an—”
“You write rules for your love life?” he interrupts.
I stop speaking. I realise he’s staring at me like I’m a puzzle he’s trying to figure out.
Then a slow smile spreads across his face. “You have an odd idea of a good time.”
Oooooooooh my. He has a gorgeous smile.
Suddenly I realize I don’t have my keys. “Keys,” I say, frantically searching around. “Where are my keys?”
He looks down. “Uh,” he says, picking my tampon up. “Um . . . here.”
GAAAAAAAAH! All of a sudden my face is burning hot.
I have a feeling it matches my hair.
Which is flame red.
I gulp. “Um, thanks,” I say, wishing I could fall down the crack in between the hallway and the elevator.
“Oh my God!” I cry, standing straight up in a panic. “My keys! My keys fell down there!” I point frantically.
“Are you sure?” he asks, standing up and peering down the gap.
“Shit! I’m screwed! I’m late for a job interview and I look like crap and you picked up my tampon, which is mortifying, and now I have to deal with the keys and who knows if I’ll get there on time and I’m so pissed off and why isn’t this elevator moving?”
And before I can stop myself, I kick the side of the elevator wall in frustration, leaving a huge scuff on my boot. Perfect.
“And now I’ve ruined my boot and this is the worst day ever!” I yell.
I glance at him. Now that I’ve had my outburst, I notice that the cute Canadian is big. 6’3 or so. His chest is massive and is hugged by the navy-blue sweater and white T-shirt he’s wearing underneath his gray overcoat. My eyes skim downward, and holy hell his thighs are huge in those jeans and--
“I stopped the elevator with the emergency button to make sure you were okay,” he says simply, snapping me from my thoughts. His voice is soothing, as if he’s trying to calm me. He walks over to it and hits another button, and the doors close and we start going down. Then he turns to me. “We can have someone call the elevator service company to get the keys.”
I throw my hands to my head. “I don’t have time for this! I have a very important job interview. Do you know what my job is right now? I stage condos for sale. I live in other people’s homes with strange furniture and I’m practically a freaking nomad because I move all the time. If I don’t get this job, I’m still a nomad with no belongings other than my rule book!”
I glance over at him. Now his brow is creased. Oh, this keeps getting worse and worse. Now I’ve blown up, kicked a wall, and told him my only form of employment is moving from condo to condo out of a suitcase.
And I’m sure the cute Canadian is desperate for this elevator to hit the lobby so he can run out the doors as fast as he can to get away from the lunatic hothead otherwise known as Aubrey.
“You could start with letting the front office know your keys fell down the elevator shaft,” he suggests. “Then I could take you to your interview. By the time you’re done, they might have your keys.”
“Whoa,” I say, putting my hand out and taking a step back. “I don’t know you. Why would I get in a car with you? You could be some kind of pervert serial killer kind of guy.”
“You think I’m a serial killer?” he asks, an amused tone in his voice.
“That’s not what I said. I said you could be.”
Suddenly he bursts out laughing. “Trust me, I’m not.”
“Why should I? I don’t know you. Just because you’re cute and say ‘trust me’ doesn’t mean I should,” I say.
Then I realise I told him he was cute.
Shit, shit, shit.
The elevator doors open, and I flee, praying the cute Canadian goes on his way. I don’t even look backward. I hurry to the front desk of the luxury high-rise.
“I have a serious problem,” I blurt out. “I dropped my keys down the elevator shaft and I-”
“You what?” the girl asks, wrinkling her brow.
“I dropped my keys down the shaft,” I repeat. “I need someone to get them. Right now. My name is Aubrey Paige and I live in 14F. And I need to have someone get them and I’ll pick them up later but I have to go and this is critical because I need them back so I can—”
“I’m sorry, you’re talking too fast,” the girl interrupts. “Aubrey Paige what?”
“Aubrey Paige! Paige is my last name. And I need to go—”
“Hold on, Ms. Paige. I need to call maintenance to see what we need to do. Now you say they fell down the elevator shaft?” she asks as she picks up the phone and punches a button.
Hold? I don’t have time to hold! I’m about to say more when suddenly the Canadian steps forward.
“Excuse me,” he says.
Another desk person glances up. “Oh, hey, Beckett,” the man says, his eyes shining. “Great game last night in LA. That’s your third hat trick of the season, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, but it wouldn’t have happened without some great passes from my teammates.”
I freeze. Teammates?
“Um, could you verify who I am for this lady, please?” he asks, nodding in my direction.
The guy grins. “This is Beckett Riley, none other than captain of the Chicago Buffaloes.”
“What?” I say, confused.
“The professional hockey team,” the man continues. “This is our captain. And one of the best players in the National Hockey League.”
I know my mouth is hanging open. This cute Canadian is a professional hockey player?
“I told you I wasn’t a serial killer,” he says, cocking an eyebrow at me.
For once, I don’t ramble. I keep my stupid mouth shut.
“So, since I’m not a criminal, I can drive you to your interview, and with James here as my witness, I promise to bring you back alive. If you’ll let me drive you, that is. But it’s your call. So what is it going to be, Aubrey?”
After a stint writing for a community newspaper and a public relations agency, and not enjoying what I was writing at all, I found myself a non-writing job and continued writing at night and on weekends. I completed multiple manuscripts that found a home under my bed. Complete it, print it, stick it in an envelope, slide under bed. It became a routine for me, similar to “Lather.Rinse.Repeat.”
Finally, years later, I wrote Connectivity. I loved this story; I loved writing for William and MK. I became brave enough to share this story with new friends who became equally as passionate about these characters and their journey. They encouraged me to submit it to a publishing house. Then, in a critique group session, wine was poured and one of my partners, Lauren Linwood, pointed her finger at me and demanded that I submit Connectivity to a publisher, telling me the words every writer dreams of hearing--this will sell. I ended up submitting Connectivity to Soul Mate Publishing and now can happily say I am a published author.
I live in the Dallas area with my family. I enjoy clipping out recipes I will never get around to trying, working out, and chatting with friends on social media. I am particularly fond of British actors named Benedict and Henry. I love shopping and fashion and admit to being obsessed with whatever the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing. I am also obsessed with any show or cookbook featuring Gordon Ramsay.
And I do not believe in the Lather.Rinse.Repeat theory when it comes to shampooing my hair.
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To the Green-eyed Lovebird:
We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.
You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.
We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.
Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…
I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.
After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?
My heart is FULL after reading Before We Were Strangers. It’s quite possible the best book I’ve read all year!
Award winning, photographer, recently divorced, 36 year old Matt is living a monotonous life. One day, by chance he sees his past. And that sight becomes a missed connection. You feel his heart come alive. You feel his heart beat the moment he sees Grace. You are transported to this moment. Time stops. And you FEEL it. Matt tries an unconventional way to reach out to Grace. He left his heart with Grace, and now he’s ready to get it back.
Matt and Grace met in college as they live in the same building. There is an instant connection. While friends, you feel their underlying desire for each other. Once they admit those feelings, sparks fly. Their souls awaken. And you are there for every moment. The author allows you to live within the pages of the story. You breathe the author’s words. The banter is addicting. You will not be able to put this one down. Matt and Grace love with everything. With their entire being. It’s passionate, intense. Their love shatters. You as a reader are told a beautiful, unforgettable love story about two soul mates that time nor circumstance can even touch. Time did not dim the spark between them. If anything it made it more likely to ignite the moment they meet again. This story made my heart BEAT. I am vague in the plot and how its developed as this story needs be experienced. There are no words that can do this story justice. None.
“You can’t create the the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice.”
Love bears all things. Endures all things. Love? Love is everything. And the love between Matt and Grace? It will overwhelm you. Challenge everything you ever believed in about love and all it encompasses. All it is capable of. Their love is magic. Their love saves, it heals. Their love wins. I can easily say there is not one story I can compare this one too. It is in a league of its own. The story is captivating. Compelling. The character development is brilliant. And the execution of the story was well developed. What causes Matt and Grace to be apart is heartbreaking. But their reunion will have you crying sadness and joy. Their souls are forever tethered and their story attests to this.
Before We Were Strangers gave me LIFE. Every moment of this heartfelt, poignant story, moved me. I laughed. I cried. I lived. This story remains in my heart WEEKS later. This is SO much more than a second chance romance. So much DEEPER. If you could put every beautiful love story in one, the words would echo the words of this one. One should be so lucky to ever experience the kind of love that exists between Matt and Grace. Every obstacle and challenge life threw in their way, they overcame. If there was a recipe to write a deep, moving, emotional, beautiful love story this would be it. Even if I could give this story a million stars, even that would never be enough.
As I sit here in front of my laptop, I'm having trouble putting words together to express how I really feel about this book. This is a problem I always have when I find that one book that it's so well-written, so beautiful that I cannot put a string of words together to describe all these emotions that I felt while I was reading this book. This book was like no other book I have read before. This book made me feel like I haven't in a while. This book was everything that I love in a book smashed into one.
Matt and Grace met in college. They quickly became fast friends, best friends. Their love for one another began slowly, but also all at once if that makes any sense. But this one was those stories where love just wasn't enough and THAT is what made it so realistic to me. These were characters were their hopes, their dreams pulled them in different directions and I was unsure if they would come together ever. But that day, the day that Matt sees Grace in the subway, is the start of them having that second chance.
What I loved the most (which, to tell you the truth, I usually hate) is the fact that I was not only reading their present story, but I also got to see how Matt and Grace's story began. I fell in love as they fell in love, my heart broke as their heart broke in this character-driven tale. With tears in my eyes, I enjoyed the highs and the lows of this love story.
Once I finished reading it, I just did not want Matt and Grace's story to end. Their journey was a beautiful one and these are characters that I know will forever be in my heart. Renee Carlino, you have found yourself a new fan!
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women's novels. 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.
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Title: Be My Temptation
Author: Rachel Brookes
Series The Crawford Brothers 2#
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 29th 2015
Cover Designer: Wicked by Design
Photographer: Perrywinkle Photography
One night connected them.
One decision separated them.
One craving tempted them.
Ashlyn Hart was done with men, or at least those outside of her books. After stupidly falling for the charms of her cheating ex and having her heart broken yet again, she decided to create a new life. One that involved a career change, a new wardrobe, and the possibility of moving abroad. There was just one hurdle: the confident, stubborn and insanely-tempting Josh Crawford.
Josh Crawford hid behind the cliché bachelor lifestyle and a never-ending parade of women. He knew the game and played it well, but the night he tasted perfection four years ago never left him. Back then, he made a spur of the moment decision, one that he has battled with ever since. But beneath the playboy façade was a yearning that wouldn’t disappear. A craving for the only woman who could bring him to his knees: Ashlyn Hart.
Two weeks changes everything.
One night unravels the deepest of desires.
A simple taste unleashes memories that can’t be tamed.
When the girl who dreams of a happily ever after collides with the guy who lives the ultimate cliffhanger, what ending awaits them? Will fear overshadow love? Will the past play hindrance to the future, or will temptation conquer it all?
Well, let me tell you now if you loved Ky the first Crawford Brother then you are going to LOVE his little brother Josh that man is just so lush!! I like Ky but Josh I loved him. Be My Temptation by Rachel Brookes is the second in The Crawford Brothers series and is Josh and Ashlyn story. Two people shared a night one that five years later they have never forgotten; especially Josh Ashlyn was that one Temptation, who he just couldn’t forget.
“After all, no one knew it, Ashlyn didn’t even know it, but Ashlyn Hart was and would always be my forever girl”
From very early on I soon realised that there is more to Josh than meets the eye. He may have seemed like a ladies man, but he was selfless, had a big heart, and sexy alpha with all the right words. Ashlyn Hart was strong, sassy, funny, and independent, but an ex-boyfriend had broken her heart, and that make her cautious with her feelings. I like her, but once or twice I did want to give her a little shake and say just listen to what your heart is telling you.
“There was something different about Josh Crawford's attention. It made me feel like the world was spinning out of control around us but all he focused on was me”
I loved Josh and Ashlyn together and individually. The connection was high between them as was sexual tension. Their friendship/relationship was fun, flirty, sexy, cute, passionate and intense. They had to not let fear and the past stand in their way of what they want, especially Ashlyn as Josh deep down always knew what he wanted.
“Be mine today, tomorrow and forever, because we both know that we are the only ones for each other”
With Be, My Temptation Rachel has written a story about soul mates, true love, second chances, friendships and taking chances. And what you will do for that person who you know took your heart from the very first time you saw them. The one person who no matter what happens you will always want, them be your forever person. I adored this one, which wasn’t a surprise and loved being on Josh and Ashlyn journey.
“A risk is worth taking if it leads to a happily ever after”
Loved the way Rachel writes with such passion, she is such a talented writer. I just can’t help but love her characters and have great empathy for them. She never fails to pull on all my emotions I swooned, laugh, cried, got anxious, and wanted to punch someone while reading this one and those sexy scenes were hot!! Love the epilogue it left me with a grin on my face. It was the perfect ending for Josh and Ashlyn.
"You hold my heart in those pretty little hands of yours Ashy, I can’t survive without you.
It was good to see that all was well in the world of Ky & Eden, love that Rachel give us a different side of Eden. Rachel also introduces two hot sexy characters that will be getting books in the future Ashlyn’s brother Austin and his friend Ben Hunt. Let me just take a moment to talk about Ben Hunt from the snippet that we get of him, it was just enough to leave a lasting impression. I know that I’m going to love him and has alpha ways. I can’t wait for his book.
Fans of Rachel’s will love this one, and I suggest you one click today and meet the gorgeous Josh Crawford. I would also suggest that if you haven’t read Be My December then you should one click and read that one first. If you have not read one of Rachel’s books before, then I suggest you start today, and one click the Breathe series as you won’t be disappointed.
Check out these teaser
Read the first book in the series Be My December
December 16th, a cold winter’s night, four years ago.
The night my innocence was stolen, the night I made the mistake of saying no—a mistake I’d never make again.
The dream of a ‘happily ever after' was now a locked away myth. I promised myself that I’d never return to the place of my worst nightmare, that I’d never let anyone get close, but then again, I never thought I’d meet someone like him.
The intense, confident and beautiful Ky Crawford.
I had no plans to become someone’s Prince Charming.
I couldn’t be. I refused to be. My plan was simple—do whatever it takes to correct my biggest mistake, my one regret that now controlled my life.
I was on track. I had plans, but then everything changed when I saw her—the girl in the red jacket, the girl who I was told couldn’t say no.
The reserved yet stunning Eden Rivers.
A girl who can’t say no.
A guy who craves redemption.
A chance encounter?
It all comes down to this.
Be My December?
Rachel Brookes lives on the east coast of Australia where beaches, kangaroos and surfers roam free. Writing angst ridden love stories with a pinch of craziness, a dash of drama, a cup of romance, a spoonful of sexiness and delicious men to season is what she loves to do. Rachel sometimes forgets to eat, sometimes forgets to sleep and sometimes can’t remember the last time she cleaned her apartment but that’s because she is in a long term relationship with her laptop. When she does step away from her laptop, she spends her time with her amazing family or attached to her kindle catching up with all of her favorite book boyfriends. Books currently available include The Breathe Series – Just Breathe, Breathless and Breathe Again. The standalone, Be My December, will be released August 2014.
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Release Day Launch - The Song of David (The Law of Moses #2) by Amy Harmon ~ Ava's Review and Gift Card Giveaway!
Title: The Song of David
Author: Amy Harmon
Series: The Law of Moses #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 13, 2015
Cover by: Hang Le
She said I was like a song. Her favorite song. A song isn’t something you can see. It’s something you feel, something you move to, something that disappears after the last note is played.
I won my first fight when I was eleven years old, and I’ve been throwing punches ever since. Fighting is the purest, truest, most elemental thing there is. Some people describe heaven as a sea of unending white. Where choirs sing and loved ones await. But for me, heaven was something else. It sounded like the bell at the beginning of a round, it tasted like adrenaline, it burned like sweat in my eyes and fire in my belly. It looked like the blur of screaming crowds and an opponent who wanted my blood.
For me, heaven was the octagon.
Until I met Millie, and heaven became something different. I became something different. I knew I loved her when I watched her stand perfectly still in the middle of a crowded room, people swarming, buzzing, slipping around her, her straight dancer’s posture unyielding, her chin high, her hands loose at her sides. No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first thing I saw?
If heaven was the octagon, then she was my angel at the center of it all, the girl with the power to take me down and lift me up again. The girl I wanted to fight for, the girl I wanted to claim. The girl who taught me that sometimes the biggest heroes go unsung and the most important battles are the ones we don’t think we can win.
“When you’re with me. I feel like I glimpse a David nobody else knows is there. It’s the Song of David, and nobody else can hear it but me.”
I get excited when it’s time for a new Amy Harmon book because I know I’m going to experience an amazing story filled with unique characters as well as a plot that will break my heart but mend it at the same time.
The Song of David was no different and for that I’m truly thankful. Amy can write anything and I’ll read it. I finished the book days ago, yet every teaser or quote I see has my eyes watering. Amy’s talent is creating characters that I care for deeply, so much so, I feel protective of them and if they hurt I hurt. That’s storytelling at its finest for me.
We met David ‘Tag’ Taggert in book one, The Law of Moses, and in order to get the optimum experience you need to read this series in order. I was surprised to find Moses featured so heavily in David’s book, it worked exceptionally well but I think in order to appreciate why, you need to uncover Moses and Tag’s friendship in book one first.
Tag is unsettled in life. Scarred by the loss of his sister, he deems himself unworthy of love. He ‘d be the first to put his neck on the line for the people that mean the most to him yet he still feels he doesn’t deserve this in return. It isn’t until he meets Amelie and her younger brother Henry that cause him see the world and his self through a different set of eyes.
“Everyone is loyal is loyal to him, but it’s only because he was loyal first, because he stuck his neck out for them. Not because they asked, but because they needed help. It kind of became Tag’s purpose. I saw him change, saw him decide to live, to fight, to embrace life. I watched him find himself.”
I adored both Amelie (Millie) and Henry’s characters. Each were exceptional in their own right and formed the heart of the story. I loved Millie’s fearless attitude, and her gentle loving of David was exactly what they both needed.
“The world was a scary place for most people. For Amelie, it was downright lethal. She was completely vulnerable. If the world it too flat, people like me will slide right off. And yet she didn’t hesitate at all.”
““David?” I almost looked around to see who she was talking to and then remembered my own name. It sounded different on her lips.”
Amy has a way of creating not just two notable main characters but the supporting cast play an integral part in her stories as well. In TSoD Henry stood out for me. Tag took Henry under his wing and taught him to stand up for himself and to believe in who he was as a person. As if I needed even more reason to fall for David. I was already hook, line and sinker by chapter two!
“He’s the eyes. I’m the heart. He’s the hands, and I’m the head.”
The Song of David had me in tears, but that came to no surprise, as heart wrenching and Amy Harmon have now become synonymous for me. I cared deeply for each character and I was frantically messaging my friend throughout as I was on the edge of my seat, dreading the outcome. I trusted Amy and her words, they are forever uplifting and healing but my anxiety was high and I thought what if David’s book in the one to break me, what if it doesn’t end the way I want it to.
Of course there was no need to panic. I was left with a full heart and a smile on my face and I hope you are too. This series is one not to be missed.
Buy it. Live it. Love it.
“I’d rather have a piece of a dream than no dream at all.”
Amy Harmon has written seven novels - the USA Today Bestsellers, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, Infinity + One and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her newest release, The Law of Moses, is now available. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at www.authoramyharmon.com
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Release Blitz - Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard #4) by Christina Lauren ~Ava's Review and Excerpt
Title: Beautiful Secret
Author: Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful Bastard #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 14, 2015
New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author Christina Lauren’s Beautiful and Wild Seasons series hook up in Beautiful Secretfor an erotic intercontinental romp that celebrates the best of both worlds!
When Ruby Miller’s boss announces he’s sending her on an extended business trip to New York City, she’s shocked. As one of the best and brightest young engineers in London, she knows she’s professionally up to the task. The part that’s throwing her is where she’ll be spending a month up close and personal working alongside—and staying in a hotel with—Niall Stella, her firm’s top urban planning executive and The Hottest Man Alive. Despite her ongoing crush, Ruby is certain Niall barely knows she’s alive…until their flirty overnight flight makes him sit up and take notice.
Not one for letting loose and breaking rules, recently divorced Niall would describe himself as hopeless when it comes to women. But even he knows outgoing California-girl Ruby is a breath of fresh air. Once she makes it her mission to help the sexy Brit loosen his tie, there’s no turning back. Thousands of miles from London, it’s easy for the lovers to play pretend. But when the trip is over, will the relationship they’ve built up fall down?
“and when I made it up to his eyes…I registered with horror that he was watching me eye-fuck him like it was my job.”
Oh how I have missed this writing duo and their fabulous words.
Beautiful Secret is the story of Niall Stella and Ruby Miller. Niall is reserved and vulnerable when it comes to getting back on the horse after his marriage of eleven years is no more. And Ruby Miller has been lusting after the stoic, handsome man for the last six months. So what happens on a month long business trip? Some boundary pushing and some sizzling chemistry just for starters.
“Yesterday, Niall Stella didn’t know I existed. Today, I’d practically flown to New York in his lap. In twenty-four hours I’d gone from Ruby Miller: Secret Admirer and Semi-Stalker, to Ruby Miller: International Travelling Mate.”
Christina and Lauren proved that a guy in a business suit could be as hot (if not hotter) than a knuckle-scraping Alpha. I loved the way in which Niall presented himself. He was aware of his limitations and his inexperience with Ruby. Her vivacious personality should’ve had him running for the hills but it didn’t. Niall saw something in Ruby that he yearned for. He wanted to shed his old life and embrace what Ruby could teach him. He wanted to feel, to want, to desire and to be desired.
“Was it enough for you?” he asked, and I knew he wasn’t looking for false praise or ego boosting, he was simply wondering. “More than enough. I don’t think people appreciate the awesomeness of a good fingerbang.”
He laughed, shaking his head as he focused on his hands knotting his tie. “The things you say.”
I agree with Niall Stella completely. The things Ruby said had me laughing aloud. I loved her honesty and because her parents were psychologists, it meant Ruby was used to talking things out, breaking them down and analysing them. The opposite of what Niall was used to and Ruby certainly taught him a thing or two, even if it was his to his detriment nearer the end. But Niall was hot and after all, a mere human so he was quickly forgiven (by me at least, Ruby had a better resolve and quite rightly so). And that was my favourite thing about Ruby. I loved her independence and her level of self-respect. Even though she wanted to give into Niall a thousand times, she had to do what was right for her and come to a conclusion in her own time. I’m all for girl power!
And will we mention the sexual tension and crazy build up to intimacy between Niall and Ruby?? CLo were all about the delayed gratification and not only did this work for the emotional storyline but it ignited the hunger in each character as well as me, the reader. I just knew it was going to be worth the wait!
I was trying to put my finger on what I loved most about Christina and Lauren’s books. I know without a doubt, I will fall in love with unique characters and flawless writing. And as I was reading Niall and Ruby’s story, about a man trying to navigate life post-divorce and a woman trying to remain true to herself without giving it all up for her long time crush, it came to me; Christina Lauren write about REAL people. Their stories are relatable and their characters are ones I wish were real because I’d make them my friends. Love is awkward, life is hard and the struggle is real and I think the ladies capture that in the truest way but they always leave you with hope and happiness. So I read these books, not just to be entertained but also to be excited for my own story and what may lie ahead.
If you have never read a Christina Lauren book then I urge you to rectify that right now!! Beautiful Secret can be read as a standalone, their story is contained in this one book but in order for you to smile and ooh and ah when Max, Will and Bennett appear, I say read them ALL and make it quick.
I never want this group of characters to run out of stories. I’m in it for the long haul. As new characters like Crain are mentioned, no matter how fleeting, I find myself thinking, so what’s his story? What would his book be like? So I really hope CLo have lots of plans up their sleeves because I for one am already hungry for more.
P.s. I'll even let the girls off with the lack of epilogue. Surely that means the story isn't over yet....
I looked up to see my brother’s smug expression.
“Now that we’re alone,” Will began, “I think we can all agree to drop any pretense that we’re not ruined for civilized conversation, yes?” Each of them nodded in agreement and beside me, his glass now refilled, Will raised his tumbler to take a small swallow of scotch. “I also think we can all agree Bennett will be an important consultant on this case.”
“The conference?” I asked, confused.
“It’s an all-too-common predicament,” Bennett added dryly. “Knockout intern. Boss in denial. I’ll draft up a step-by-step plan of containment.”
I blinked, swallowing thickly as I realized what they meant. “She’s not my intern. I have absolutely no say in her career.” I shook my head, frustrated because it was exactly the wrong thing to say. “I’m not . . . that is to say, she’s not interested. Nor I.”
All four men laughed.
“Niall,” Will said, leaning his elbows on his knees. “She nearly dropped her drink in your lap when George asked if she was interested in anyone.”
“Was going to say the same thing,” Bennett said.
“And something tells me she’d be first to volunteer to clean it up,” Will added.
“Well, maybe that’s because she’s interested in someone who works with us at R-C.”
“Yeah. You.” Max lifted his glass and finished the last of the amber liquid.
“Sincerely,” I said, fighting a smile. “She’s a fantastic girl, but she’s certainly not a romantic option for me.”
Tilting his head, Bennett asked, “What color are her eyes?”
Green, I didn’t say. I shook my head as if I didn’t know.
“What was she wearing?” Will asked.
A blue dress that hit just above her knee, I didn’t say. A delicate gold chain around her neck and a ring on her right ring finger that I had to resist asking her about until George bulldozed in and asked about a boyfriend.
I rolled my eyes, and my brother laughed again, this time pointing his drink at me. “Blokes don’t notice these things unless they’re interested.”
“Or George,” Will added, and George reached over to grab the back of his neck and try to pull him in for a kiss.
“Well, it’s apparent I needn’t think on this any further,”
I said. “You’ve all decided for me.”
“It’s what we do,” Will said, adjusting the skewed collar of his shirt as he settled back into his chair. “It’s a sickness, we know.”
“I thought we’d lost that muscle, honestly,” George said.
“It’s a relief to know we still have it in us. The ladies will be so proud.” Max rapped his knuckles on the table as he made to stand. “Alas, I’d best be off. New routine: Sara gets the baby to sleep; I do the midnight bottle feeding.”
“Finally taking a bottle from you then? Guess you smell like a woman, too,” I said to Max, reminding him of the little dig he’d thrown my way on my last visit.
Max laughed and patted me on the back, and we all stood, a silent agreement in place that we were ready to call it a night. I watched my brother gather his things and say his goodbyes, feeling the same mix of pride and longing for what he was headed home to: a wife, a daughter. A proper home.
“Kiss the girls for me,” I requested as he made his way out of the bar. He waved a hand, retreating, and then disappeared from view.
Christina Hobbs (but you’ll always hear Lo call her PQ) used to spend her days in a junior high counseling office surrounded by teenagers. Married to the cutest boy in school, she has a thirteen year old daughter, is an unapologetic lover of boy bands and glitter, and also likes to steal Lo’s shoes.
You can follow their shenanigans at: their website or @lolashoes (Lauren) & @seeCwrite (Christina) on Twitter. On Tumblr! where we post kissing gifs and writerly stuff and Wattpad for short stories and sneak peeks!
For official information about their books, events, interviews, movie news and more, follow @beautifulbastrd.
Release Day Blitz ~ OWNED: An Alpha Anthology by Lilliana Anderson, Chelle Bliss, Callie Hart, Lesley Jones, Jani Kay, Nina Levine, Lyra Parish, Lila Rose, Pepper Winters ~ Reviews, Teasers and Giveaway
Prepare to be Owned...
Lose yourself in this collection of never before seen novellas from nine best selling authors from around the globe.
And the best part - they contain controlling alphas, feisty females and story lines that will have you holding your breath.
Don't miss out on this great anthology by:
Lilliana Anderson – Deep Cover: Case 001
Chelle Bliss – Resisting
Callie Hart – Rebel **
Lesley Jones – Reed **
Jani Kay – Debonaire
Nina Levine – All Your Reasons
Lyra Parish – Single: Volume One
Lila Rose – Finding Out
Pepper Winters – Forbidden Flaws **
PLEASE NOTE: There are several novellas that are complete and a few that are previews of full novels that will be released at a later time. The stories with an asterisk (**) beside them are previews of full novels. All others are complete.
There are also some that are series starters.
The Owned: An Alpha Anthology will only be available for a limited time and is intended for a mature audience.
Forbidden Flaws by Pepper Winters
Oh Em Gee! Forbidden Flaws in sex on a stick! Or more specifically Cas Smith is. That was hot! Forbidden Flaws is a page-turner, I couldn’t read it quick enough, but at the same time I wanted to savour it. We are given the bare minimum of details, enough to know Saffron is making a huge decision with her life and everything is up in the air. Cas Smith is an enigma, he is strong and silent but there is a flash of vulnerability and I can’t wait to explore that more in the full-length book.
“I know whatever is going on with us will only last a few hours. I want you, but I don’t want you inside my head.” Pain shadowed his eyes then disappeared. Bending over me, he kissed me fleetingly. “I’m already in your head, Lace. Just keep me out of your heart and you’ll survive.”
Saffron and Cas meet under the unlikeliest of circumstances. But once Cas sees scantily clad Saffron he needs to have her if only for a night. Both agree to keep it merely sexual but even in their short time together, there was a hint of more. Saffron makes a decision that will change her path, leaving Cas high and dry and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.
“Chemistry, Lace. Just chemistry.” I shook my head. “No. Not just chemistry. I’ll fight to forget about you the minute this is over, but you’ll live forever in my dreams.”
I adore Pepper Winters and Forbidden Flaws is no different, this novella was highly erotic and super charged with tension. Cas and Saffron didn’t even know each other yet their connection was palpable.
“The pain he mentioned crippled me, too. It throbbed in my clit. It screamed in my nipples. I wanted him to touch, not look. I wanted him to bite, not lick. And I wanted him to fuck me.”
I CAN NOT wait for their full story, their time together may have been a flash in the pan but I know it is far from over. The writing was top notch and I fell in love with Cas within a handful of pages.
“When this is over I want the bed smeared with chocolate and cream and you painted in cum and cake.”
You need to read this novella and meet Pepper’s newest Characters!
All Your Reasons by Nina Levine
“The moment I touch him, I feel it and I know he feels it too, because eyes show it. There’s an undeniable spark between us.”
“I told you what I want, and I’m going to get what I want.”
This first part introduces you to the characters. Jett and Presley are a hot sexy together, and I liked them. The ending leaves knowing that there will be drama ahead for them. I enjoyed this one, the first I that I have read from this author, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
Single Volume One by Lyra Parish
When her best friend shows her a different way, she could get what she needs with no strings attached. She meets Parker Williams, someone who stirs up feelings that she hasn’t felt in a long time, and who is going to break all her rules.
“Parker Williams would be the beginning of my end. Parker Williams would completely destroy me.”
I loved this one it was a hot sexy read, and I can’t wait to read more and see how it all works out for Roxane and Parker.
Debonaire by Jani Kay
Tyler grew up in poverty and has had to work hard to become a top a Wall Street stockbroker. He doesn’t do relationship has no time for love. When his colleague has to go away on business for three weeks, Tyler is stuck with his intern. Something that he is not happy about until he meets her, and maybe three weeks won’t be so bad after all.
“I’ve never reacted to a woman like I’m reacting to her.”
Australian Brooklyn Bennett has also had to work hard for what she wants raised be a single mothers she has learned never taken anything for granted. Landing an internship with a prestigious firm in New York for six months is a dream come true, and she eager to learn all she can. When Brooklyn meets Tyler, she soon learns that he is someone who could teach her a lot more than just business.
“I hadn’t been with a man in so long, and although I thought I didn’t care, Tyler Sinclair was awakening a side of me I preferred dormant.”
Debonaire was a quick easy read, and I can’t wait to read the next instalment.
Meet The Owned Authors
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of a man : dressing and acting in a stylish and sophisticated way : urbane, attractive, charming and confident
Debonair and sexy-as-sin Tyler Sinclair has fought his way from poverty to the top as a Wall Street stockbroker. Hungry for success, ambitious for power and glory, he doesn’t have time for messy emotions like love. When his colleague is called away on business, Tyler is stuck with an intern he never wanted and doesn’t have time for. Three weeks of torture await him.
Raised by a single mother, Brooklyn Bennett is an Australian girl who works and studies hard to achieve her dreams. She scores an internship with a prestigious firm in New York for six months. Focused on her career, she can't afford to lose sight of her goals. Love is not on her agenda.
From the moment Tyler lays eyes on the girl with the golden hair, strange accent and sassy attitude, something about her intrigues him. Can he teach her all she needs to learn without losing his heart? Can he make her yield to him not only in the boardroom but also in the bedroom? Will a few nights of passion change the way they both feel about love . . . or is it just about sex, money and desire?
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Alexis Romera isn’t ready to die.
She may not have a choice.
The president of the Widow Makers MC is determined.
The Los Oscuros cartel is going down.
The one thing Rebel must do to make that happen?
Keep the girl alive.
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Goodreads ~ Amazon Author Page
Saffron Carlton is the darling of the big screen, starlet on the red carpet, and wife of mega producer Felix Carlton. Her life seems perfect with her overflowing bank balance, adoring fans, and luxury homes around the world. Everyone thinks they know her. But no one truly does.
The silver limelight is tainted the day the couple announce their divorce.
Raised in squalor, fed on violence and poverty, Cas Smith knows the underbelly of the world. He’s not looking for fame or fortune. He’s looking for a job to get him the hell away from the danger of illegal fighting, and comes face to face with the woman who ran all those years ago.
Unable to turn down her job offer, he agrees to be her bodyguard and personal trainer, all while she hides her secrets.
He had no intention of letting her back into his heart.
But neither of them were prepared for what happens when forbidden and flawed collide —fracturing the world they know, changing the rules forever.
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Some things won’t stay buried…
Drake Jefferson has been missing for years.
Wanted by the very people who hired him, he left behind his job, his life, and his love to pursue a career of the criminal variety.
Caitlin Saunders, Drake’s ex-wife and one of the AFP’s best analysts, is doing her best to move on after losing the love of her life. Originally a part of the team that managed Drake’s operation, she gave up her field role the day she realized he’d turned. And she hasn’t trusted a soul since.
One phone call in the middle of the night will force her back to active duty - a suspect in an ongoing case has been captured and they insist they have information on Drake – they just aren’t willing to talk to anyone but her.
That information will change everything she believed to be true and send her down a path that could land her in the exact position Drake ended up in.
It will take every skill set she has, just to keep her head above water as she learns that right and wrong don’t always follow the rules, and that when you’re fighting for love – there are no rules.
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I belong to no one.
It’s the way I’ve chosen to live. Master of my own destiny, finding my way through this bullshit thing called life
I learned from a young age how to get my way. Being a woman isn’t a weakness. It’s the opposite. I’ve spent my life being surrounded by four overbearing brothers, but I’ve never been a wallflower. Independent and unwilling to be tied down, I grabbed life by the balls and lived it to the fullest.
I was enjoying myself, minding my own business at my brothers wedding. Then WHAM.
Ever have a man walk into your life and alter your entire universe? My answer would’ve been no before he tempted me into his bed.
I’m talking about the big damn bang.
Everything that I thought was right, suddenly spins on its axis and bitch slaps me in the face.
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In a moment of weakness, Ivy Morrison tells a lie, a lie which will leave her scrambling for a solution and quick. The perfect solution comes well-packaged in the form of broody and sinfully sexy Fox Kilpatrick, courtesy of Find Your Soul Ma...te online dating service. Desperate times is most definitely a call for desperate measures. With no other choice, Ivy convinces passionate yet possessive Fox to help her in her time of need.
Fox ‘Killer’ Kilpatrick is still caught up in his past, a past of anger and death, which his biker brothers desperately want him to recover from. Losing a bet, Killer finds himself on a blind date with Ivy, the woman who is set to turn his world upside down.
Following your heart is never easy, neither is following an unknown path, but finding out may just be worth the journey to possibility. Only together, will Ivy and Killer discover if it was worth the risk after all.
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After failing miserably at love, Roxane VanBuren swears off men but not before her determined best friend shows her all the advantages of being single. After a wild weekend full of sex, old-flames, and secrets, Roxane is desperate to forget it ever happened.
But she learns it isn't that easy.
Since becoming the President of VanBuren Investments, she knows how important it is for her professional and personal life to remain separate from one another. If the two were to mix, the rumors could possibly ruin her reputation, which is bad for her and bad for business. To avoid that, Roxane allows rules to define and guide her every move. Unfortunately for her, Parker Williams is determined to break them all, one at a time.
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She was mine.
Our love, unquestioned.
Our futures planned.
But she didn't show.
All that we had, all that we meant, and after all that was said, she just didn't show.
That one act from her, changed everything, but it especially changed me and from that moment on, there was no going back.
No words of love, no whispered promises, just sex and drugs and rock and roll. No one gets a piece of Reed but what they will get is the night of their life, the chance to let go, break their own rules and the best, the dirtiest, filthiest sex ever... Along with the other four people in my bed.
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When heartbreaker meets ball breaker, sparks will fly.
Rockstar, Jett Vaughn, isn’t against settling down, but no woman has ever held his attention long enough for a relationship to develop. That is until he meets Presley Hart. She’s confident, opinionated and headstrong. She drives him to the edge of crazy, but he can’t deny how she makes him feel.
He wants her heart, but she only wants his body.
Presley’s not against giving her heart to a man, but she has too many reasons why he’s not the one to give it to. Jett isn’t a man who will take no for an answer though. He’s about to declare war on her reasons and take what he wants.
5 + Stars
9 Ways To Fall
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Best Of 2013
Brittainy C Cherry
Depths Of Lake
Ellie Di Julio
Everything I Left Unsaid
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Hard To Come By
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Spend The Night: Episode 2
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The Law Of Moses
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Time For Love Series
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Yesterday's Half Truths