GIVEAWAY ~ The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young ~ Review and Excerpt Tour ~ Sarah A’s Review

From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity, and acceptance that will break your heart—and make it whole again. Order your copy of THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US today!

“I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.”

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

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One of my very favorite things about YA is how current and culturally relevant they tend to be.  I love that YA authors aren’t afraid to deal with delicate topics in a way that feels real.  The Impossible Vastness of Us was a great example of that relevancy to important societal issues.

The Impossible Vastness of Us was a very fresh story to me.  I’ve never read anything quite like it and I am finding in difficult to properly describe the what the experience of reading it was.  I went into this book thinking it was going to be more sappy romance than substantial commentary on the ills of the world.  My take away was completely opposite of what I had assumed and I am very happy about that.  Samantha Young wrote a book about the struggles and rewards of discovering the parts of you that make you and individual, whether they’re something others understand and accept or not.  Above the romance and finding love, The Impossible Vastness of Us was a story of learning to love yourself in spite of the things you may not find lovable.

There were moments in the book that veered into the monotonous, parts that seemed more like filler than plot development, but they were overshadowed by all of the intense emotions and horrors of the past that the characters experienced.  The plot of The Impossible Vastness of Us was so unique, compared to other books I’ve read, that it was easy to overlook those moments that didn’t work for me in favor of the intrigue of the rest of the book.  At one point in the book India says she used to need books to have a happy ending, but she’d come to a place where she just wanted them to have the right ending, to which her mother states that the right ending is a happy ending. That interaction perfectly sums up how I feel about this book.

When I first met the characters in this book I wasn’t sure which, if any of them, I would like or even identify with.  By the halfway point, I was sure that a few of them were beyond redemption, even if they thought they were doing the only thing they could given their circumstances.  When I read the final line of The Impossible Vastness of Us, I realized how ridiculous my pre-conceived notions were and that even if the motivations of a person don’t make sense on the surface with time and explanation understanding was easy to come by.  I fell in love with almost every character in the book and there were pieces of each of them that were things I could see within myself.

Though I’ve had several of Samantha Young’s books sitting on my selves for years, this is the first book of hers that I’ve actually read.  I was quite impressed with her writing and storytelling abilities.  She wove a plot that was interesting and felt real, while still remaining relevant to the particular circumstances each of the major players were facing.  I also greatly enjoyed her characterizations and will definitely be adding more of her books to my short list.

“This is Jay,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest in defiance at the stern look on her face.

I hated when she acted like she gave a crap.

“I don’t care who he is.” Hayley tried to fry his ass with her eyes. “You can leave.”

Jay stared back at her with as much defiance as I did, making me like him more. He turned to me and pressed a slow, intimate kiss to the corner of my mouth. “See you at school, babe.”

He laughed at the mischief in my eyes.

I waited until he’d brushed by Hayley without a word and I heard the front door close behind him. “Nice. Thanks.”

Hayley’s dark eyes narrowed into slits. “Don’t talk to me like that. I’m tired, it’s been a long day and now I come home and find my daughter being mauled by some walking hormone. Am I supposed to be happy that you’re dating some guy who looks like he’s seen the inside of prison more than once?”

“We’re not dating. We’re just fooling around.”

“Oh, well, then, why am I so upset?” She threw her hands up in exasperation.

“Hayley.”

She flinched, like she always flinched when I called her by her name (so she flinched a lot). “Don’t ‘Hayley’ me. I have a right to be upset about this.”

“Don’t be. I’m not serious about him. And I’m not getting pregnant. Anyway, you’re home early.”

“They put me on a shorter flight.” She dumped her purse on the couch as she moved farther into the room. “We’ll discuss Jay later. I need to tell you something.”

I tensed. “Yeah?”

She stared pensively at me for a few seconds before finally taking a seat by my side. “I’ve met someone.”

Dread instantly filled me.

Scrutinizing me for a reaction and getting none, Hayley smiled reassuringly. “He’s wonderful. His name is Theo and he has a daughter who’s actually your age. He lives in Boston. We met on one of my flights out there.”

My stomach churned. “How long?”

“Several months ago.”

“I knew something was going on,” I muttered.

“I’m sorry I kept it from you for so long… I just wanted to make sure it was real between us.”

“And is it?”

“Very much so. We’ve fallen in love.”

“That’s some long-distance relationship.”

“I stay with him when I fly out there. I see him as often as possible.”

I snorted. “And you think he’s faithful all the times you’re not around?”

“Don’t.” She cut a hand through the air. “Those are your trust issues, India. Not mine.”

My blood boiled with indignation. She was completely naïve if she thought for one second this guy wasn’t’ a loser. She had chosen badly before, after all. I had a right to the dread that was making me feel sick.

“I just wanted to give you a heads-up that it’s serious.”

“What does that even mean?”

“It means that if this is going where I think it’s going, then that might mean a big life change for us.”

Oh, hell.

I stared at her in horror.

Hayley sighed wearily at the expression I wasn’t even trying to conceal. “I’m going to make a cup of tea. I’m tired so we’ll talk about Jay another time.” She turned but then stopped to stare at me sadly. “Thanks for being so happy for me, by the way.”

That didn’t even deserve a response.

There was a time Hayley couldn’t give a damn about my happiness. I felt it only fair that I feel apathetic now about hers.

 

 

 

 

Samantha Young is the New York Times,  USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook& hardback June 2017

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for HeroOn Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

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BLOG TOUR AND REVIEW – Strong Enough by Melanie Harlow and David Romanov

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Strong Enough, an all-new sexy standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow and David Romanov is available now !

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Strong Enough

by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov

Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

Publication Date: June 19, 2017

I wasn’t looking for Derek Wolfe.

I wasn’t looking for anybody. All I wanted was to start a new life in America. But when I found myself stranded here with no place to go, he came to my rescue, offering me a place to stay.

He’s smart, successful, and sexy as hell—I can barely sleep knowing he’s right down the hall. And when the chemistry between us explodes one night with fierce, fiery passion, it’s hard to deny there’s something real between us.

But he does.

He says he was drunk. He says it was a one-time thing. He says he’s not into guys and what we did meant nothing.

He’s lying. Because it happened again, and again, and again. And it’s better every time.

I know we could be good together, and I want the chance to try, but I’m done hiding. If he’s not strong enough to admit the truth, I’ll have to be strong enough to walk away.

Excerpt:

Figuring I’d had enough booze to blunt his effect on me, I rolled up the sleeves of my black button-down shirt and moved next to him. “I’ll help you.”

“Okay.”

I caught him trying to not to look at my wrists and forearms, and it made me smile. How does it feel to want someone and have to hide it? “You wash, I’ll dry?”

“Sounds good.”

We worked in silence, shoulder to shoulder, and I found myself increasingly—and disturbingly—pleased at the thought of him being attracted to me and being forced to conceal it. It was fucking horrible of me to take pleasure in his discomfort, but I liked being secretly wanted. Being illicitly desired. Being the object of his covert glances and maybe even his darkest, dirtiest thoughts. I let our arms touch more than necessary, as thrilled by the physical contact as I was by the thought of what it might be doing to him.

For there is no man who does not sin.

My dick started to get hard, clearly unbothered by the whiskey that was breaking down my inhibitions, pushing past all my defenses, and letting my imagination run wild.

What’s in that gorgeous head of yours, Maxim? What’s behind those cobalt eyes? What would you do to me, if I let you? What would you let me do to you?

“Carolyn is so nice,” he said, handing me the last serving dish left to be dried.

What? He was thinking about Carolyn right now? He wasn’t supposed to be thinking about Carolyn—I was, goddammit!

But I wasn’t. “Yeah.”

He turned off the water. Rested his wet hands on the edge of the sink. “I didn’t realize you had a girlfriend.”

And I heard it in his voice—the slightest edge of jealousy, so faint I might never have noticed it had I not been so hyperaware of everything about him right now. I fucking loved it.

“She’s not my girlfriend.”

“Oh.” Now there was confusion. “I guess I misunderstood.”

“She wants to be my girlfriend.”

Silence.

Of course there was silence. Maxim would never ask what the problem was. But I wanted to tell him. I wanted him to know. I wanted to share the impossible longing I felt with one person who might understand it.

“The problem is me.”

He was completely still. Before I could stop myself, I covered his right hand with my left. “Sometimes I don’t know what I want.”

He yanked his hand from beneath mine and we faced each other.

For the first time tonight, I looked him right in the eye. Nothing around us existed for me anymore. I heard only his breath. Smelled only his skin. Saw only his guarded expression.

I had to have him.

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Whitney’s Four Star Review:

4 stars for a sexy m/m novel from writing duo Melanie Harlow and David Romanov!

Melanie is one of my go to authors and when I heard she was doing a m/m book with David, I knew I’d be reading. I’m not always a fan of the whole writing duo thing and often end up disappointed. Especially when one of the authors is a newbie.

And while this book isn’t my favorite of Melanie’s, I was not disappointed at all. Even pleasantly surprised by a lot of it.

What worked? Maxim and Derek were oh so sexy together. Scorching hot. The tension was great and when they finally get together, I’d recommend making sure you’re not reading in public. Or around your kids. Ha. I also enjoyed Maxim’s character a lot. He projected a fresh innocence and inherent kindness that I adored. But he also stood up for himself and had a stubborn streak which gave him some depth. Derek’s sister, Ellen, stole many of the scenes she was in and I loved her. And the writing was actually quite good. Better than I would have expected with parts being from a new author whose first language is not English (sorry, David!).

What didn’t work? I thought the storyline itself was a little boring sometimes. Like maybe not quite enough actually happened. And I don’t know whether I really liked Derek or not. He has some great moments but he’s also kind of a jerk. And his emotional journey is kind of the point of the book so I’d like to have seen a little more from an epilogue. Maybe them a few more years down the line with a family. I can understand why this wasn’t included as it would almost be another story in itself. But I felt a little shortchanged by not seeing their relationship develop even more. As much as Derek wants to be a father, his personality is so not conducive (other than his kindness) so that would be a funny short story in the future maybe?? I feel bad for picking on him now because he really is very kind and his willingness to help Maxim really melted my heart.

So overall, I was pleased with the story and I seriously love that Maxim’s character is based quite a bit on David himself. If you’re a fan of m/m, this is a great read. If you’re a Melanie fan, this one isn’t as light or funny but you’ll still walk away happy.

#LoveIsLove

About Melanie:

Melanie Harlow writes sexy, emotional romance about strong, stubborn characters who can’t help falling in love. She’s addicted to bacon, gin martinis, and summer reading on the screened-in porch. If she’s not buried in a book or binging on Netflix, you might find her running, putting a bun in someone’s hair, or driving to and from the dance studio. She lives outside Detroit with her husband and two daughters.

Melanie is the USA Today bestselling author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, MAN CANDY, AFTER WE FALL, IF YOU WERE MINE, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s.

Connect with Melanie:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieHarlow/?fref=ts

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Twitter: @MelanieHarlow2

Website: http://www.melanieharlow.com

Sign up for Melanie’s Newsletter: http://www.melanieharlow.com/subscribe/

About David:

For David Romanov, STRONG ENOUGH is to a great extent autobiographical. Born in Russia and raised in Europe, he landed in the United States at the age of 24, where he learned a lot about cultural differences between East and West. David firmly believes in ‘The One’ and learning through love. When he isn’t traveling or educating Melanie in Russian culture, he enjoys books and the company of his husband and dog in Los Angeles.

Connect with David:

GoodReads: https://goo.gl/2Bekxz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/David-Romanov-Author-1487479804635708/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rWkfUO

REVIEW TOUR – Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

 

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes her first women’s fiction novel—an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood—perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Susan Mallery, and Kristan Higgins. Order your copy today!

 

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earth shattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

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Excerpt

“Mick?” she whispered.

“Yeah?”

“Are you feeling something?”

“You could say that,” he murmured. “You?”

She licked her lips and he nearly groaned. “I think so,” she whispered.

“That’s good.”

“Are you going to kiss me?”

He cupped her face, let his thumbs trace her jawbone, his fingers sinking into her silky waves. “No,” he said quietly. “And not because I don’t want to, but because when I do, I want to know you’re ready. That you’ll feel it.”

She sighed. “Guys do whatever they want all the time, no emotions necessary. I want that skill.” Another shaky breath escaped her, and since they were literally an inch apart, they shared air for a single heartbeat during which neither of them moved.

Her gaze dropped to his mouth. “Okay, so I’m definitely feeling things.” She hesitated and then her hands came up to his chest. “Maybe we should test it out to be sure.”

God, she was the sweetest temptation he’d ever met, and he wanted nothing more than to cover her mouth with his. Instead, he brushed his mouth to her cheek.

“Please, Mick,” she whispered, her exhale warming his throat.

He loved the “please,” and he wanted to do just that more than anything. But when she tried to turn her head into his, to line up their mouths, he gently tightened his grip, dragging his mouth along her smooth skin instead, making his way to her ear.

“Not yet,” he whispered, letting his lips brush over her earlobe and the sensitive skin beneath it.

She moaned and clutched him. “Why not?”

It took every ounce of control he had to lift his head and meet her gaze. “Because I want to make sure you’re really with me, that you’re feeling everything I’m feeling. That there’ll be no doubt, no regrets.”

“You sure have a lot of requirements.”

He laughed. And she was right, it was all big talk for a guy who didn’t do relationships anymore. Still, he forced himself to step back and shut the passenger door.

As he rounded the hood to the driver’s side, he tried to remind himself of all the reasons she was a bad idea. He lived two hundred miles away and he was hoping to move his mom up by him and never come back here. Not to mention that Quinn lived an equal two hundred miles in the opposite direction and she was in a deeply vulnerable place. No way would he even think about taking advantage of that.

But when he slid behind the wheel and their eyes locked, he realized that while his mind could stand firm, the rest of his body wasn’t on board with the in-control program.

 

They say life can change in an instant …

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes her first women’s fiction novel—an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood.

Pre-order your copy in any format and receive an exclusive crossover Heartbreaker Bay meets Wildstone bonus scene, featuring Archer and Elle going to Wildstone, CA, the town in which Lost and Found Sisters takes place – read about their night in a haunted B&B!

Simply enter your order number OR upload a screenshot of your proof of purchase. Entries must be received by June 25th and you will receive content via email on June 27th!

Preorder and fill out the form here!

 

Whitney’s 4.5 Star Review

Jill Shalvis is back with her magic in a brand new series! I adored Lost and Found sisters, the story of one woman’s journey to find herself after her world is rocked with secret after secret.

Quinn is a great heroine and one of my favorite Jill leading ladies in quite a while. In fact, all of the main ladies in this story are pretty awesome. Even lost, Quinn shows strength and a willingness to always be a great person. She’s a caretaker through and through which is possibly why I loved her so much. Mick is a sexy guy who wasn’t looking for a relationship until he met Quinn. After a bit of flirting and some tension, these two set upon a rocky road where they’re both struggling to decide what they want from their futures.

The novel is actually told with three POVS; Quinn, Mick and a surprise who I won’t reveal. I loved the way the author wove together the three main characters with a few others who are sure to featured more heavily in the series going forward. Mick’s ex girlfriend is a hoot, as are several other side characters. The richness Jill can bring to a town and it’s inhabitants is consuming for me as a reader. I always want to move to the fictional towns she writes about.

Is this book a stand alone? Meh. Sort of. Quinn and Mick have resolution but there are open ended storylines for other characters and for town drama. So I suppose you could read this and stop the series (though I don’t know why!) but I bet it won’t make sense to skip this book and try to read the others as they release. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you’re a fan of Jill’s previous work. I’ve seen this billed as women’s fiction but it felt quite a bit like a traditional romance to me.

About Jill Shalvis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

 

 

 

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Roommates with Benefits by Nicole Williams

 

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Synopsis

Soren Decker. He’s the epitome of the “bad boy, good man” persona. The best of both worlds. The worst of them too. He’s the type of guy most girls would not mind sharing a confined space with, except my new roommate isn’t all swagger and chiseled abs.

He’s bossy. Messy. Cocky. Infuriating. Doesn’t believe in personal space. Has no qualms about roaming the apartment with a loincloth-sized towel cinched around his waist. Seems under the delusion he’s my personal protector (refer back to infuriating). He plays college baseball and holds down a part-time job—I don’t know where he finds the time to get on my nerves.

We’re got nothing in common . . . except for one thing. Our attraction to one another. And in six hundred square feet of shared space, the tension only has so much room to grow before one of us gives in to temptation. But really, what chance do a couple of young kids chasing their dreams in the big city have of making it?

Since Soren claims I know squat about sports (he might have a semi-point), here’s a stat for him—one in a million. That’s our odds.

Excerpt 

“Coming in,” I announced, opening the door and stepping inside. A plume of steam rolled over me, instantly coating my skin in a hot, dewy shield. “Hot shower?”
“Hell of a lot better than the cold one I took a couple of nights ago.”
His voice echoed off the walls as I focused on squeezing a glob of toothpaste onto my brush. It was difficult. I found myself quite distracted by the knowledge he was naked behind that thin shower curtain, a whole three feet away.
Just as I was about to stick my toothbrush into my mouth, the shower cranked off, the curtain whipping open right after.
Soren. Wet. Exposed.
Giant.
My eyes clamped shut, but it wasn’t fast enough. From the low chuckle he gave, he hadn’t missed my two-second gape.
“Soren!”
“Sorry. Water got cold.”
I gave him a few seconds to cover up before I opened my eyes and got back to brushing my teeth. He hadn’t covered up though.
“What are you doing? Grab a towel.” My arm flailed in the direction of where we kept our fresh towels hanging from the rack. My eyes felt like they were about to go crossed from staying focused on my reflection instead of his naked one in the same mirror.
“Out of fresh towels. Haven’t gotten around to the laundry.” He moved up beside me at the sink, reaching for his own toothbrush. He was standing so close, his wet arm was brushing against mine.
Don’t look down. Don’t look down. Don’t look at the giant—
Crap. I looked.
He was grinning at me as he brushed his teeth, my face crimson thanks to what I’d glanced at.
“See anything you like?”
My body was still buzzing from what I’d seen that I liked. I kind of hated him for calling me out on it though. I kind of even hated him for having so much to like.
“I know what you’re doing.” My eyebrow rounded as I got to work brushing my teeth too.
He spit in the sink, somehow winding up closer to me when he leaned back up. “Air drying?”
My eyes narrowed in the mirror at him. “Trying to change my mind.”
He stared back, brushing his teeth in all of his naked glory, a cocky tenor to his expression. Once he finished brushing, he rinsed his toothbrush and turned toward the door.
“I don’t need to change your mind,” he said, pausing when he was directly behind me.
When he turned, I swore I could feel his arms coming around me, pulling me into the shelter of his strong body. An involuntary shudder spilled down my back. He didn’t miss that either.
“I just need you to speak it instead of lying about it.” His eyes dropped to the back of my neck, where I knew he could see the raised flesh. I knew, because one side of his mouth lifted.
Bracing my hands on the sink, I didn’t blink as I locked eyes with him in the mirror. “It takes a lot more than washboard abs and a giant . . .” Crap. Something else. “Ego to get my attention.”
Soren leaned forward, his hands framing around the outsides of mine, his arms running the length of mine. His chest didn’t touch my back, but I could feel its expanse hovering above it. “I’ve already gotten your attention.” His eyes dropped from mine to my chest. Where it was rising and falling noticeably hard, my nipples pushing through my camisole. “I’m looking for something else.”
Another shudder, this one spilling down my legs. “What?”
His crooked smile changed into a cryptic one before he leaned back and opened the door. “You’ll see.”
“Soren—”
“Don’t worry. I’ll tell you when you give it to me.”
My fist curled around my toothbrush as I turned toward him. “I’m not giving you anything.”
“You’re giving me something right now.” He didn’t glance back before leaving the bathroom. Did he really need to have that nice of an ass when he already had a glorious package? I was screwed. “This point goes to Decker.”

 Whitney’s 3 Star Review

 I’ve always adored Nicole Williams stories.  With her charming book boyfriends and too good to be true yet sweet storylines (perfect for getting lost in!), she’s an auto-buy author for me.  And while I did enjoy many things about Roommate with Benefits, I found this book to be lacking some of Nicole’s normal magic.  Not that I didn’t enjoy it because I did.  Just not my favorite from her.
My main problem was really with Hayden, the heroine.  I sympathized with her past to a certain degree but found her to be kind of a brat and pretty insensitive to Soren’s feelings.  I kinda wanted to smack her on the head and say that he could have done better than the way she treated him.  She had her moments, of course where I found myself chuckling or cheering for her but I just never really loved her.
Soren is great though perhaps a little too flawed in the way he is portrayed.  I adored him but sometimes thought he and Hadley had more of a brother/sister relationship rather than a love interest.  And his virginity… not super believable.  However, setting those things aside he is a great guy.  Honest, loyal, fun… very swoony.  Even if he won’t pick up his laundry.  Heehee.
The story itself is fine, moves pretty quickly and I really loved the addition of Soren’s family. His brothers are hilarious!  Nicole has always impressed so even though this book wasn’t my favorite from her, I still can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.

 About the Author

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.
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GIVEAWAY & Blog Tour ~ Destroyed by MJ Fields ~ Sarah A’s Review

Beaten. Broken. Battered.

Garrett Falcon’s past, present, and future are fragmented pieces of the life he once dreamed of.

Deceits. Damned. Doomed.

Raised by a dealer and addict, Julianne Torres was born into a life she desperately dreamed to one day escape.

Two people who have lost hope. Two people who have been dealt blow by blow in their lives.

What happens when these two are forced together after years of lies that connected them but also kept them apart? Their hearts get …

Destroyed.

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After reading the first book in this series, Hammered, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be something I was going to enjoy.  Hammered was very heavy on the erotica and fairly light on the storyline and I had expected much the same from this book.  I am very ecstatic to say that I was wrong.  Yes, this book did have some pretty intense sex scenes, but they were always secondary to the Garrett and Juliana.

After reading Hammered, I wasn’t sure that Juliana could be redeemed.  I was actually pretty sure I would never like her no matter what happened with her.  She had done and said things that were seemingly unforgivable. If took some time, a lot of time – most of the book, really for her to win me over piece by piece.  Her past, her fears, combined with some bad choices by all parties made her choices much easier to understand.  She was more damaged than I could have imagined and I loved getting to witness her heal and become a person who was deserving of all the things she was sure she never would.

Garrett had his own truckload of horrific things in his past, some of his own doing and some thrust upon him by the most types of people.  The dynamic between him and his brothers, particularly Gage, made this story for me.  Their relationship started as the kind of thing nightmares are made of and slowly morphed into a beautiful demonstration of love and kindness.  The way that Gage took cared for his brothers, Juliana, and Brandon showed just how magnificent a person he was in spite of the things life had dealt him.

While there were some things I wish would have been more fully resolved, I know there is another book, Grayson’s, coming and I’m hoping to find answers in it.

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Hammered (Steel Country #1)
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USA Today bestselling author MJ Fields write books that scorch pages and melt hearts.

Her style is raw, gritty and authentic.

Love an alpha and a strong heroine? She does too.

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Blog Tour ~ Groupie by CM Stunich

Groupie
C.M. Stunich
(Rock-Hard Beautiful, #1)
Publication date: March 21st 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

“Can one of these five rockstars fill the hole in my heart? Or will I stay broken forever?”

Young, dumb, and broke.

That’s what started everything. With five dollars in her pocket, and everything she owns stuffed in the back of her car, Lilith Goode’s life is over. Done. Destroyed.

Ten words. One text. That’s what it took to change the whole world.

A crumpled concert ticket. A chance encounter. That’s what it takes to start all over again.

Five rockstars. One girl. Six dark hearts, six withered souls.
But can one broken person really put another back together again?

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(Sex Scene From Copeland’s POV)

I close my eyes, my skin achy and hot, my balls tight, my entire body this ball of energy that craves more of whatever this is, this twisted ball of four fucked-up souls.  We might just be bodies in motion, but there’s something more here.  I can feel it.

The sex was good—it was great, actually—but it wasn’t their be-all, end-all.  No, it was their outlet.  Whatever they did, however kinky, dark, twisted, or different, it was all just an expression of their love, a way to get as close as possible, to keep the blackness inside their souls at bay for another night, another day.  No, the touching, joining, rubbing of their bodies wasn’t the answer to all their problems, but it was the symptom of their solution.

I blink past the swirl of literary porn inside my head and drive myself into Lilith harder, deeper, rocking the couch and everyone on it with each thrust.  A single movement of my hips drives my cock into Lilith, slides her pussy along Ran’s shaft, pushes Muse deeper into her throat.  I control the entire thing, moving us in this strange, wild rhythm that shouldn’t work but totally does.

It’s Lilith that comes first, before all of us, screaming and arching her back, her lips temporarily falling off Muse’s shaft as she digs her nails into Ran’s shoulders and shudders around me and him both, squeezing us with her body.  It’s intense and long, but I keep moving through it, even as she tries to collapse, holding her up by tightening my fingers on her hips.

As soon as she recovers a little, Lilith sits back up and wraps a hand around Muse, pulling him back to her mouth, squeezing the base of his dick as she swirls her tongue along the underside, teases the sensitive spot just beneath the head.

I enjoy watching that, moving faster and harder, feeling my pulse race inside my head, my skin tightening as an orgasm builds up quick and desperate inside of me.  Muse comes next, both hands on the back of Lilith’s head as he makes these wild sounds low in his throat, making Ran buck and thrash beneath us.  I realize he’s coming, too, and hold a steady pace, sweat dripping off my chin onto Lilith’s perfect round ass.  Once I drop my gaze down to the joining of our bodies, I can’t look away, watching her take both Ran and me, soothe away some of that darkness in our souls with the beauty of her own pain.

“Fuck, sweetheart,” Ran gasps, shaking and quivering again as Muse stumbles away and collapses into one of the swivel chairs.  But Lilith and me … we’re not done.

Carefully and quickly, I pull out and toss my condom into the trash, putting a new one on and pulling the sweaty crying girl into my lap.  Because she is crying again, and that’s okay.  She can cry as much as she wants.

I swipe a tear away with my thumb as I pull her onto my shaft, filling the space where Ransom just was and curling my arms around her waist as she rides me.  Those hunter green eyes finally meet mine, searching and tearing through me, asking me what secrets I have to uncover, making me actually want to spill them all.

It’s her next orgasm that finally gets me, her body grasping tight, her face pressed into my neck, hot lips against my pulse.  Her bare breasts smashed up to my chest, I groan and we both end up screaming a little, making so much damn noise that Michael comes storming out of the hall to stare at us.

The look in his eyes … it’s pure hunger.

C.M. Stunich is a self-admitted bibliophile with a love for exotic teas and a whole host of characters who live full time inside the strange, swirling vortex of her thoughts. Some folks might call this crazy, but Caitlin Morgan doesn’t mind – especially considering she has to write biographies in the third person. Oh, and half the host of characters in her head are searing hot bad boys with dirty mouths and skillful hands (among other things). If being crazy means hanging out with them everyday, C.M. has decided to have herself committed.

She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C.M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.

Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to e-mail her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.

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BLOG TOUR AND REVIEW – Sex in the Sticks by Sawyer Bennett

 

 

Wake up and feel the wood! In the first of a series of irresistible standalone romances from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett, a city girl rediscovers love and lust in the Alaskan wilderness.

Valentine French may be the sassiest dating columnist in New York City, but the abundance of metrosexuals in her adopted metropolis is seriously cramping her style. Where are the beefy all-American boys? Hoping to find some inspiration, Val heads to Alaska, where the men outnumber the women fifteen to one and wrestle grizzly bears for sport. Or so she can only imagine. Suddenly the most eligible bachelorette in a town full of horny lumberjacks, Val is writing her best columns ever. But if she doesn’t get her nose out of her laptop, she just might miss out on Mr. Right.

Logan Burke is the sheriff of the little podunk town that Val finds so charmingly backward. He’s not that different from the guys she’s using for her little experiment; it’s just that one date would never be enough for Logan. As he listens to Val complain about love over beers in the local tavern, he realizes that she can’t see the forest for the trees. Because if she would ever give up her Prada bags and fourteen-dollar martinis, Logan would give her the only luxury that matters: his heart.

 

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Whitney’s Four Star Review

I love the mountains, Alaska and hot bearded men so when I read the synopsis for Sex in the Sticks, I said “Where do I sign up?!”.  And oh yeah, Sawyer Bennett writes about the best, steamiest, hottest sex scenes ever.  So this book was a no brainer for me.
Our heroine, Valentine, cracked me up.  As a privileged big city girl, she was so totally unprepared for her new life in the Alaskan wilderness.  She’s a little crazy, a little funny and despite the fact that she’s a rich girl, she is very sweet and likable for most of the story.  There were a few times where she really lets loose that she got on my nerves a little but she always redeemed herself with her strength and perseverance.
And Logan… holy hotness, he is swoon worthy.  A hot guy with a heart of gold, a little touch of alpha, and did I mention he’s a cop?  Yeah, you shouldn’t even be reading this review anymore.  Just go buy the book.
But if you are still reading this, then I can tell you was entertained from page one.  There’s a good balance of sweetness, humorous and sexiness that Sawyer Bennett does so very well.  The story was fast paced and flowed well.  I loved watching Valentine tough up a little, the side characters were a ton of fun.  I don’t know who will be next up in the series but I do know that I will be reading it.
Recommended for a quick, light read!

AuthorPhotoSince the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released more than 30 books and has been featured on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists on multiple occasions.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active toddler, as well as full-time servant to two adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or a combination of the two.

 

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BLOG TOUR, REVIEW AND EXCERPT – Damnable Grace by Tillie Cole

 

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Synopsis

EVEN THE BROKEN, THROUGH LOVE, CAN FIND GRACE…

Secrets never stay hidden.

The burden of guilt never lifts from the heart.

Born and raised in The Order of David, Sister Phebe knows nothing but cult life. Head of the Sacred Sisters of New Zion, Phebe was groomed from childhood for one purpose: to seduce. Prized as a harlot, as a New Zion whore, Phebe is taken from the doomed cult by Meister, the notorious leader of the Aryan Brotherhood. Taken as his possession. Taken to be the woman who will obey his every sexual demand. Under his heavy hand, Phebe finds herself in a place much worse than she could ever have imagined… with absolutely no one to help. And no glimpse of hope.

Xavier ‘AK’ Deyes is content with his life as Sergeant-At-Arms of the Hades Hangmen. Leader of the infamous ‘Psycho Trio’ and ex-special ops sniper, AK knows how to fight. Experienced in warfare and schooled in military operations, AK is vital to the Hangmen. When his Vice President needs help retrieving his missing sister-in-law, Phebe, from a Klan-funded trafficking ring, AK volunteers to go in. AK remembers the redhead from New Zion. Remembers everything about her from the single time they met—her red hair, blue eyes and freckled face. But when he finds her, heavily drugged and under Meister’s control, her sorry condition causes him to remember more than the beautiful woman he once tied to a tree. Saving Phebe forces hidden demons from his past to return. A past he can never move on from, no matter how hard he tries.

As AK fights to help Phebe, and in turn she strives to help him, they realize their secret sins will never leave them alone. Kindred broken souls, they realize the only way they can be rid of their ghosts is to face them together and try to find peace.

Despair soon turns to hope, and damaged hearts soon start to heal. But when their deep, painful scars resurface, becoming too much to bear, the time comes when they must make a heavy choice: stay forever damned; or together, find grace.

Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and very mature topics. Recommended for age 18 and over.

 Excerpt

“Well?” Ky asked.
Tanner ran his hand over his head. The brother hadn’t attended one of our cookouts or slutfests in weeks. Not that he ever entertained himself with sluts—still too hard for his piece of pussy down in Mexico. He’d been busy trying to track down Meister. Unlike most of the white-power shit Tanner and Tank grew up with, this Meister was untraceable and off the grid. As much of a computer whizz kid as Tanner was, Meister was proving to be one slippery fucking snake to pin down.
“Gotta be honest, I didn’t think I was anywhere close to finding anything on this prick.” Tanner nodded toward Tank. “We knew of him, of course. I knew he had dealings with my father and uncle, just never met him myself. He’s Aryan Brotherhood, but works closely with the Klan. And there’s nothing on him. No email traces, no invoices, no texts. Nothing.”
I gritted my teeth and glanced at Styx, who was listening closely. Ky wasn’t originally gonna tell the prez about the plan to get Phebe, because of his fucking wedding, but that didn’t last long. Styx knew something was up with his VP. He read him like I read Flame and Vike. So Ky fessed up, and Styx was all for the plan. He’d had to push his wedding back by a month anyhow to get the pastor Mae wanted to conduct the ceremony, so he had time to kill.
“But you found something?” Ky translated as Styx signed.
Tanner sighed, the black circles around his eyes showing how hard the brother had been working. “I got something.” He shook his head, and my blood ran cold. I knew whatever he had found wasn’t good.
Tanner opened the file in front of him and threw a photograph toward the prez. Styx looked at it, then gave it to Ky. “Some middle-of-nowhere ghost town?”
Ky passed the picture around. Vike handed it to me, and I studied it. It was an aerial shot, and the picture was grainy, but from what I could make out, it was just a huge piece of land scattered with decrepit old buildings.
I passed the picture along. “Fucker owns this?”
Tanner faced me. “Yeah, or at least his father did. He’s dead now, but the deeds are still in his father’s name. Been in the family for decades. Took me a while to trace it.” He shook his head. “Meister is notorious among the Klan. Right, Tank?”
“Yeah,” Tank agreed. “Never met him either, but we’d all heard of him. Prick has been mobilizing for years for the race war they think is coming. Real serious, Oklahoma-City-bomb shit. From what we’ve heard, the guy has a one-track mind when it comes to advancing the white race. You think Hitler was fucked up? Well, imagine if he had a kid who was one built motherfucker, with a fucking carbon copy of his psycho mind; and you’ve got Meister. Fucker ain’t even German. Just wishes he was, spouting German phrases around like he’s born and bred Berlin. Delusional asshole.”
“This ain’t gonna be easy,” Tanner finished, looking at me, Vike, Flame, Hush and Cowboy. It was the five of us who had agreed to go looking for Phebe. Hush and Cowboy nodded at me to let me know they were still in.
“So he’s in this ghost town?” Ky asked, translating Styx’s sign language again. “If so, we’ll all just go in and get him, make the fucker talk and tell us where he’s got Phebe.”
Tanner sat forward. “He ain’t just living in the ghost town or hiding out. That’s where he has his enterprise.”
“Enterprise?” Ky echoed. It was his own question this time.
Tanner nodded. “From what I can tell, it’s a fucking brothel. Members of the Aryan Brotherhood, Klan, or Klan sympathizers, can go there for a night or a few days at a time.” Tank shifted uncomfortably next to him. “Ain’t sure, but I’m thinking it ain’t just getting your dick sucked and fucked. It’ll be real fucked-up shit. If Meister’s reputation is anything to go by, we would be walking into an organized, armed hellhole.” Tanner’s eyes darkened. “I get the Klan has a reputation for being full of backward rednecks. I ain’t gonna lie—growing up, most of my father’s cronies were that way. Thick as fuck and couldn’t do shit without screwing it up. Skinheads, lower-ranked soldiers, you know?”
“But there were some members that weren’t,” Tank continued. He cast an embarrassed glance at Tanner. “We weren’t, for starters.”
Tanner nodded. “It’s not the norm, but some of us were good. Smart, strong fighters, or just outright fucking psychos. The skinheads and rednecks are the foot soldiers. The likes of us, the likes of Meister, are the fucking SS. The planners, leaders, the generals—the ones who believe in the cause so much that they’re fucking lethal with what they’ll do, what they’re capable of. Meister is true Aryan Brotherhood; he’s preparing for war. He’s the real fucking deal.”
“And now he’s in our neck of the woods to stir up shit?” I asked.
Tanner nodded. “Comes from northern Texas. Never moved our way before. But the Klan are building day by day, joining forces with other white supremacist gangs—like the Brotherhood—and with the shit that’s on the news twenty-four-seven, blacks and whites at each others throats, he’s moved to the headquarters.” The brother’s jaw clenched. “To my father and uncle, who’ll be protecting him from being found out by the feds.” He sighed and ran his hand down his face. “From what I can figure out, this ghost-town brothel of his has only existed in the last year or so. He’s looking to fund something.”
“They ain’t dealing guns?” Cowboy drawled. “I thought that’s what Rider said the contract with the cult was for?”
“Rider was sure it was guns. At least it was when he was dealing with the Klan—it was all about arms. The Klan was selling them on and taking a cut.”
“His fucking twin,” Hush spat. “He changed the arrangement, didn’t he? When Rider was locked up in cult prison?”
“Think so,” Tanner said after a few seconds of silence.
“Then what the fuck are they dealing? What was Judah giving them if not Israeli guns?”
“Women.”

 

 Whitney’s 4.5 Star Review

I never liked MC romance until I read Tillie Cole. I just couldn’t deal with the lifestyle and the way it was portrayed (whether or not it was authentic) and had no desire to read them. Then a guy name Styx and his group of rough, at times violent, but loveable guys showed up.

Five books in, I still get drawn into each book in this series more than the last. While I do have my favorite (#FlameWhore), I’ve had a special place in my heart for all of the Psycho Trio since book one. With AK’s story, we get to dive into the ex-military sniper’s past and just what turned him into the man he is now.

He and his love interest Phebe’s story is a wild ride of violence, suspense, heartbreak, love and self-forgiveness. Like Tillie’s other books in the series, it’s not easy to read. Themes of drug abuse, rape, torture and violence are woven into the story. I don’t often care for books with such detail but the author’s ability to create a sense of hope and redemption for her characters keeps it from being overwhelmingly dark for me.

I adore series like the Hangmen because each book builds on the last (yes, you must read in order) and while each book wraps up a story, it also gives clues into the next. Even though AK and Phebe are the main characters, honestly, my favorite parts of the book were still Flame and Maddie and their role with Ash. I cried, of course but they were tears of relief and happiness for these characters.  Phebe’s reunion with her sister and Grace was particularly moving.

Any fans of this series will find this a welcome addition to their Hangmen collection and I can’t wait for the next book! Not quite sure whose story it will be but I have some theories!

About the Author

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.

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Review Tour ~ The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry ~ Sarah A’s Review

Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.

I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.

Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.

Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.

Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.

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I am DEVASTATED this series (of completely independent stand-alones) is over.  Devastated.  Each book is so unique, each couple so wonderful, I fell deeply in love with each word and each story affected me deeply.  I am sure that these books are ones I will revisit when I need something that speaks to me on a soul level.

Graham and Lucy’s story was devastating and perfect in a way I didn’t even see coming.  They had both lost so much and continued to lose more than they deserved, but they let those losses mold them in completely different ways.  Their differences were the most beautiful part of their story.  Lucy was perhaps one of the most beautiful souls to have ever existed and she used the spirit that was inherently her to show Graham there was so much more to life than anyone had ever shown him.   Being on the journey with him as he learned how to trust, to open himself up, to truly love was a wonderful thing.

Just as important as Graham learning how to live and love was both Graham and Lucy learning that your family is so much more than the people with whom you share DNA.  I had no idea that the idea of family and the importance of that support system would play such an important role in this book, I am glad it did though.  The healing, the hope, the love Lucy and Graham needed to know could only be complete from people important to them in other roles of their lives.

After reading romance for years I found The Gravity of us to be wildly refreshing.  It didn’t rely on any of the tropes we’re so used to seeing, none of the devices to push a couple together that are used so often.  Yes, there was a little friction as Lucy and Graham figured out how to operate in the other’s comfort zone, but that is true for any couple that’s ever existed.  I appreciate how Brittainy C. Cherry slowly wove their souls and hearts together without ever taking the road that would have been arguably easier and more expected.

I’m in love with Brittainy C. Cherry’s writing.  I have read several of her books and each of them has imprinted itself on me in wonderful ways.  Her storytelling has a way of making me see things in a different light, of making me understand things in a way I would have never considered, it makes me feel like a more empathetic person.  With each word I read in her books I can feel the love she has for her craft and how she strives to make that art her own.  I can’t say enough about how deeply her writing makes me feel, but I will say that not taking the time to experience her work is doing a disservice to yourself.

 

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Lucy

We didn’t know how to act with one another after our first kiss. Our situation wasn’t the norm when it came to building a relationship. We did everything backward. I fell in love with a boy before our first kiss, and he fell for a girl who he wasn’t allowed to have. Our connection, our heartbeats, matched one another in our fairytale world, but in reality, society deemed us as an awful accident.

Maybe we were an accident—a mistake.

Maybe we were never supposed to cross each other’s paths.

Maybe he was only meant to be a lesson in life and not a permanent mark.

But still, the way he kissed me…

Our kiss was as if heaven and hell collided together, and each choice was right and wrong at the same exact time. We kissed as if we were making a mistake and the best decision all at once. His lips made me float higher, yet somehow descend. His breaths somehow made my heart beat faster as it came to a complete halt.

Our love was everything good and bad wrapped in one kiss.

A part of me knew I should’ve regretted it, but the way his lips warmed up the cold shadows of my soul…the way he left his mark on me…

I’d never regret finding him, holding him, even if we only had those few seconds as one.

He’d always be worth those tiny seconds we shared.

He’d always be worth that soul-connecting feeling we created when our lips touched.

He’d always be the one I spent my nights dreaming of being near.

He’d always be worth it to me.

Sometimes when your heart wanted a full-length novel, the world only gave you a novella, and sometimes when you wanted forever you only had those few seconds of now.

And all I could do, all anyone could ever do, was make each moment count.

After we went home that night, we didn’t talk about it at all. Not the following week, either. I focused on Talon. Graham worked on his novel. I believed both of us were waiting for the right time to come up for us to speak about it, but that was the tricky thing about timing: it was never right.

Sometimes you just had to leap and hope you didn’t fall.

Hi! I’m Brittainy! Join me as we travel through my mind as a Romance Author. This includes such things as my random thoughts, tricks, tips, things I’m learning, things I’m re-learning, things I’m forgetting, and my weird ways of crafting stories.

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REVIEW – The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

 

the hot shot AN

 

TheHotShot Amazon-2First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

 

 

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Excerpt- CHESS

Grumbling, I toss on some black lounge pants and my oversized Tulane t-shirt and head to the drugstore.

My head throbs by the time I get there, and my insides are writhing. I rest my hand against my lower stomach and grab a basket before calling James to complain.

“I swear,” I tell him as I grab a bottle of painkillers. “It’s like this entire day has been cursed.”

He snickers. “Curse. Get it? Curse?”

I roll my eyes, even though he can’t see me. “Laugh it up. Meanwhile, it feels as if someone is playing Battleship in my uterus.”

“Poor Chessie bear. At least we know why you were in such a foul mood.”

A flush washes over my cheeks. “Yeah.” Lie. Lie. Lie. A tub of salted caramel gelato makes its way into the basket.

“Tell me you’re getting some gelato,” James says.

I smile. “Just grabbed it.”

“Salted caramel?”

“You know it.”

I find the feminine products aisle and search for my brand. “I’m going to go home, take a long bath with my gelato, and forget this fucking day.” Forget Finn. “And then I’m going to go on Amazon and buying a freaking year’s supply of tampons so I don’t have to make these kinds of emergency runs anymore.”

A low, deep chuckle rumbles from behind me, and all the tiny hairs lift on my arms.

“But you’ll still need your gelato,” a familiar—fuck me, seriously?—voice points out.

My insides swoop even as my cheeks burn.

“Who is that?” James asks in my ear.

I slowly turn on one heel. “The plague,” I say, glaring up at Finn Mannus’s smiling face.

“From asshat to plague.” Finn scrunches up his brow. “I’m not sure if that’s a step down or a tie.”

“Who is that?” James nearly yells now.

I don’t take my eyes off Finn. “I’ll call you back.”

James’s squawks of protest cut off as I hit the end button.

“Are you stalking me, Mannus?”

Finn a rests his hands low on his lean hips. “Having a healthy amount of conceit myself, I have to admire yours, but no, buttercup. My buddy Woodson lives a few blocks away. It’s poker night. I’m stocking up on beer.”

It’s only then I notice a twelve pack tucked under his other arm.

“And tampons?” I ask, with a pointed look around the aisle we’re standing in.

“Not tonight,” he says easily. “Though we used to keep a pack of them back in college. Light flows were perfect for stopping up bloody noses.”

A snort escapes me. “Now there’s a visual.” Somehow, I’ve taken a step closer to him. He’s freshly showered, the golden brown strands of his hair still damp at his temples. And I wonder if he’s just come from the gym or practice. “So back in college you went and bought these tampons?”

“Nah,” he says with a cheeky smile. “I’d ask one of the girls hanging around to get me some.”

“Of course you did.” My nose wrinkles with annoyance.

“Give me a little credit, Chess. I’d buy them now if I had to.”

“Hmm…” I eye him, trying not to return his smile. If only because it’s more fun when he teases. “So why are you in this aisle now, if not for potential nosebleed needs?”

“That’s easy.” He steps closer, a warm wall of muscle and clean scent. “I heard your voice.”

For a second I just blink. “You recognized my voice?”

His gaze darts over my face as if he’s trying to get a read on why I’m gaping at him. “Not to be…ah…rude, but you’re loud when you talk on the phone.”

“Yeah, but… You recognized it.” We’d only just met. It occurs to me that I’d recognized his both times he’d snuck up on me. Then again, his voice is distinctive, flowing like hot honey when he’s relaxed or hammering down like iron to rock when he’s taking command of a situation.

A soft flush of pink tints the tips of his ears. If I wasn’t staring at him, I might have missed it. He shifts his weight. “Was I not supposed to?”

“No. Yes.” I shake my head and laugh. “I don’t know.”

He grins then. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”

“I’m not flustered.” I am.

 

THS1

 

Whitney’s Four Star Review

*Note this is book four in the Game On series and the timeline runs somewhat concurrently with Dex’s story. However, this can be read as a stand alone. You’ll just get a little more out of the characters if you read in order.

The Hot Shot was a little like a shot in the dark for me. I’ve looked forward to it since I’ve liked all the books in this series but neither Chess nor Finn have had big roles in any of the previous books which I think was cool because I didn’t have any pre-conceived notions about who these characters were or how they should act.

I adored Chess’ character from the time she was introduced. She’s tough, doesn’t take attitude from anyone, she’s a little on the reclusive side but still fun. I think her independence really shined through and I like that she had a hard time being vulnerable when her life when to heck in a hand basket. The way she handled the football players during the photo shoot scenes had me cracking up and those were probably my favorite part of the book.

Finn is a pretty great hero. His kind heart mixed with his playfulness won me over despite the fact that he’s kind of a jerk initially (not too much though!). He just guards himself and doesn’t want to be close to anyone who might be trying to use him. He excels at flirting with Chess and I loved their banter and their friendship. Actually, I loved that I could really feel their friendship before they became romantically involved. I don’t mind insta-love in books usually but it’s always nice when a couple can spend time as friends and really get to know each other first.

I had two other distinct moments in this book that were my favorites BUT I can’t really discuss them as they be kind of spoilery. I will say that one leads to Finn and Chess becoming roommates and the other involves and ex of Finn’s that made me want to hug the snot out of Chess and be her best friend.

Kristen’s writing is fast paced and there are a few slow parts but they don’t last long. The chapters flow well and though I thought the ending was maybe a little rushed, I was happy how things turned out. I’m hoping the author can squeeze a few more books out of this series with a couple of remaining football players!

If you’ve enjoyed the previous books in this series, then you’ll like this one too. If you haven’t read the others then anyone who enjoys NA and/or sports romance will love this series!

About the Author

KCauthor

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

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