Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway – Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne

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In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Todaybestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?

When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.

The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.

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My sophomore year of high school, I had a short-lived friendship with this girl named Korie Hamilton.

She was nice enough.

A little too much purple eyeliner, a few too many likes sprinkled throughout her constant chatter, but we had every class together our first semester, so we kind of became friends by default.

Anyway, Korie was forever yammering on and on about how her best friend on the entire planet was Stephen Daniels, a boy she’d known for all of four weeks before promoting him to BFF status.

Apparently it was, like, ohmigod, like, the best thing ever to have a guy she could talk to without complicating things with romantic entanglements.

Please.

Real best friends can generally go more than a couple hours without mentioning each other’s name, but Korie found a way to fit Stephen’s name into every other sentence.

Just friends my ass.

I guess technically they were platonic for a while. Stephen had a girlfriend named Libby Tittles, or something unfortunate like that, and Korie had this on-again-off-again thing with her junior high boyfriend.

But anyone who’s ever seen a movie, or watched TV, or just had basic awareness of human interaction saw exactly where Korie and Stephen were heading: Humpville.

Even though Korie swore up and down that she didn’t like him like that, both of their significant others were long gone by Thanksgiving of sophomore year.

By Christmas vacation, Korie wasn’t uttering quite so many likes. Why? Because Stephen’s tongue was in her mouth before school, after school, and every freaking weekend.

But we all know how this ends, right? Just a few short months later, not only were Korie and Stephen no longer dating, they sure as hell weren’t best friends.

Their short-lived romance and ensuing breakup barely even registered a blip on the gossip chain, but I’d like to think it taught some of us high school girls a valuable lesson:

Guys and girls can’t be just friends. Or not best friends, anyway.

Shit gets too complicated.

But let’s fast-forward a few years, shall we?

I’m now twenty-four, and I have a public service announcement to make: I was wrong.

Guys and girls really can be best friends.

It is possible to have a platonic relationship with a guy where there are no romantic inklings, no sexual fantasies, and no naïve proclamations of I don’t like him like that in a torturous attempt to hide an agonizing unrequited love.

How do I know this? How do I know that a guy and a girl can be best friends without romantic entanglements?

Well, let’s see, I’ve been on the female end of one such platonic relationship for six years now.

Six. Years.

!

True story:

Ben Olsen and I met the summer before our first year at University of Oregon during freshman orientation. We were assigned to the same group in one of those terrible ice-breaking activities where you have to put a sticky note on your head and guess what kind of safari animal you are, or something, and we just . . .

Clicked?

I don’t know why we clicked in the Hey, you’re cool but I have no interest in boning you kind of way, but we did.

Maybe it was because I was in stupid insta-love with another guy in our group. Or maybe because my ovaries were hyperaware that Ben’s ridiculous good looks would lead to heartbreak. But whatever the reason, we did the implausible.

We became best friends.

And, yes, every single one of my female friends has given me the exact same warnings I gave Korie Hamilton way back when: It won’t work.

My friends are split down the middle on how it will actually go down, but they’re all convinced that it will go down.

Half think that Ben and I are soulmates who are just biding our time until marriage and babies.

The other half think that we’re going to have too much to drink one night, have awful sex, and never speak again.

Ben and I proved them wrong when freshman year ended and our friendship was still intact. Sophomore year? Repeat.

Junior year, we really upped our game. Not only were we closer than ever, but we became roommates. It happened sort of by accident when one of his housemates backed out at the last minute, and I belatedly realized I couldn’t bear one more year of dorm food, so I moved in. And it worked. So we did it again senior year.

Here we are, two years after graduation, still living together, although we’ve upgraded from crappy off-campus housing in Eugene to a slightly less crappy two-bedroom house in the Northwest neighborhood of Portland.

And yes. Still platonic as ever, with not so much as a hint of change in the air. I’m crazy in love with Lance Myers, my boyfriend of five years, and Ben . . .

Well, Ben’s on a rather awe-inspiring mission to seduce the entire female population in western Oregon.

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A sweet story of friends turned lovers that will make you swoon with its charming characters and amuse you with its witty banter.

Parker and Ben were a force to be reckoned with. They had an effortless friendship that was full of flirty exchanges, roommate antics and best friend shenanigans. I enjoyed that dynamic immensely and was definitely entertained. It also heightened the chemistry once they entered into their arrangement. Their oblivion to the connection was frustrating at times and I wanted to shake some sense into them as I cheered for them to get it together. As an outsider looking in, they clearly belonged together.

Friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite types of stories to read. Though the storyline was predictable, and the angst was nominal, the author ensured my overall enjoyment with likeable characters and a story with just the right amount of drama to keep me engaged. Though this was my first book from the author, it won’t be my last.

Overall Rating: 4 Sweet Stars

*Complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Lauren

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren’s gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

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  • JUST A LITTLE CRUSH by Renita Pizzitola
  • CRUSHED by Lauren Layne
  • AGAINST THE CAGE by Sidney Halston
  • POSSESS by Laura Marie Altom
  • AFTER MIDNIGHT by Kathy Clark
  • MAKE YOU BURN by Megan Crane
  • MY HIGHLAND LOVER by Maeve Greyson
  • BREAKING NOAH by Missy Johnson and Ashley Suzanne
  • A FASHIONABLE INDULGENCE by K.J. Charles
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Spotlight Review – Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

Before We Were Strangers

by Renee Carlino

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Atria Books |  320 pages | ISBN 9781501105777 | August 2015

See more at: Simon & Schuster

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From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.

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?

M

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Before We Were Strangers is an extraordinary story of second chances that will resonate in your soul, fill your heart and make you believe in the resiliency of love.

Sweet Perfection – those two words embody exactly how I feel about this book. With characters that will latch onto your heart and burrow in your soul, you can’t help but cling to the hope that love is strong enough to overcome anything. Even now, weeks later, I cannot stop thinking about Matt and Grace and the mark they left on my heart.

Their college years were fun and reminiscent of my own carefree college experience. Watching them fall in love was simply beautiful. While I adored the younger version of Matt and Grace, I fell head over heels for their older and wiser characters. I know that we would be fast friends in real life and there is a slight void left in their absence.

I experienced quite the emotional rollercoaster with this book in just the perfect doses to ensure that I will not forget these characters or this story. It’s definitely sitting at the top of my favorite reads for 2015. Though it was my first book from Renee Carlino, I can assure it will not be my last.

*I was provided a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Overall Rating: 6 STARS – This book is everything and then some.

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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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Spotlight Review – The Allure of Julian Lefray by R.S. Grey

Title: The Allure of Julian Lefray

Author: R.S. Grey

Release Date: June 29, 2015

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From: JosephineKeller@LLDesigns.com

To: LilyNBlack@gmail.com

Subject: Justin Timberlake Nudes!

Lily, you predictable perv. I knew you’d open this email faster if I tempted you with a glimpse of JT’s “PP”. Well, put your pants back on and grab some bubbly because I have much better news to share.I GOT A JOB!

As of tomorrow, I’ll be the new executive assistant at Lorena Lefray Designs. I am SO excited, but there’s one itty bitty problem: I won’t be Lorena’s assistant. I’ll be working for her older brother, Julian.

I know what you’re thinking- “But Jo, what’s the problem?”

Google him. Now. He’s the man in the fitted navy suit whose face reminds you that there’s hope yet for this cruel, ugly world. Keep scrolling…Do you see those dimples? Yup. That’s the Julian Lefray I will be reporting to tomorrow morning.

Lord, help us all…

XO,

Jo

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The Allure of Julian LeFray is a charming romantic comedy about making it in the world of high fashion and finding love unexpectedly.

Jo and Julian were fun characters with fabulous chemistry. Jo made quite the employee with her fierce determination and savvy business skills. Julian’s stunning good looks and debonair manner made him quite irresistible. Not only did their chemistry bode well in the workplace, it made for some pretty steamy encounters outside the workplace. Their witty banter kept me laughing throughout and I enjoyed them immensely.

The drama surrounding Jo and Julian, though comical at times, provided insight into their respective backgrounds and gave depth to the story. But the setting among high society and the fashion industry certainly elevate the drama levels and make this one entertaining page turner.

I am anxiously awaiting the spin-off story, The Allure of Dean Harper, which is scheduled to release Fall 2015.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

ALP AuthBio2 OwlI am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, black labs, and cold weather. Seriously, if I had it my way, I would be curled up on the couch with all of those things… everyday.

I live in Texas where I spend my free time writing and reading. My favorite authors include Mindy Kaling & Jonathan Safran Foer. I’m a comedy geek and love all things “funny”. Women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling are definitely the biggest inspirations for my writing, though I think my work tends to skew a bit smuttier than theirs.

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Spotlight Review – Racing the Sun by Karina Halle @MetalBlonde @AtriaIndies

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Atria Books | July 28, 2015 | Paperback ISBN 9781476796444, $15 |
eBook ISBN 9781476796482, $7.99 | 384 pages

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From the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky comes a new adult novel about a young woman who becomes a nanny in Capri and falls for her charges’ bad-boy brother.

When I’m traveling, I feel like the secret to my life, to myself, to really becoming, is one step ahead. It’s in the next destination, the next town I get lost in, the next stranger I talk to. It’s always next but never here . . . 

After six months of backpacking and soul-searching across the world, Amber MacLean is flat broke. There are worse places for a twentysomething to be stuck than the Amalfi Coast, but the only way she can earn enough money for a plane ticket home to California is to teach English to two of the brattiest children she has ever met.

It doesn’t help that the children are under the care of their brooding older brother, ex-motorcycle racer Desiderio Larosa. Darkly handsome and oh-so-mysterious, the young master of the crumbling villa tests Amber’s patience and will at every turn—not to mention her hormones.

When her position turns into a full-time nanny gig, Amber grows dangerously closer to the enigmatic recluse. But can she give up the certainty of home for someone whose closely guarded heart feels a world apart from her own?

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Racing the Sun is a heartwarming tale that will capture your heart with its poignant love story and captivate your senses with its stunning scenery. Karina Halle provides the ultimate escape from reality with eloquently described scenes and charming characters you can’t help but love.

I enjoyed Amber and Derio immensely. They were likeable characters with vulnerabilities that gave them depth. Amber was carefree and adventurous while Derio was isolated and hardened by the circumstances of his life. Their chemistry was undeniable and the passion was overwhelming when they finally succumbed to the magnetism.

Racing the Sun spoke to my heart and I was completely enthralled with this story. Though heartbreaking at times, I was utterly content in the end. I have added Capri to my bucket list of places to visit before I die and I have Karina to thank for that addition. The experience was unforgettable and Racing the Sun has been added to my list of favorite reads of 2015.

Overall Rating: 5+ Stars

**I was provided a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Karina

Karina Halle is the New York Times bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, The Pact, Love in English, and other wild and romantic reads. A former travel writer and music journalist, she lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails, and devours a lot of books.

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Release Blitz, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway – Consumed by You (Fighting Fire #3) by Lauren Blakely

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We are completely thrilled to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Lauren Blakely’s CONSUMED BY YOU! CONSUMED BY YOU is the third standalone novel from Lauren’s New York Times bestselling Romance Series, Fighting Fire! This passionate, high-heat fireman romance series is a three-book series about sexy fireman and the women they love and is being published through Entangled Brazen. Lauren Blakely is well known for writing sexy, heartfelt and humorous contemporary romance as well as deeply emotional new adult stories –one commonality in all her books is the scorching hot sexy times. And CONSUMED BY YOU is absolutely no different! CONSUMED BY YOU is the next book in the red-hot Fighting Fire Series and is Travis and Cara’s sexy love story.

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Praise for CONSUMED BY YOU:

A seductive tale of bets and propositions that will ignite your senses and warm your heart.” – Patricia at A Literary Perusal

“This book was amazing!! Cara and Travis are awesome together! They can go from friendly joking to smoldering lovers in the blink of an eye. A 5-Star Read!” – Book Lovers Obsession

“I totally loved Consumed by You. It was an amazing book about second chances, about finding and fighting for what you want in life, about sexy deals and, of course, about how easy is to fall in love with a firefighter as awesome as Travis Jansen, my new addition to the book boyfriend collection.” – Angelica at Collector of Book Boyfriends

The intensity that flows between Travis and Cara not only consumes them, but the reader as well.” – Liz’s Reading Life

 

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A sexy romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

She’s playing with fire…

Dog trainer Cara Bailey wants to find “the one,” but fantasizing about her sexy-as-hell client, firefighter Travis Jansen, is getting in the way. Her only option? Get the confirmed bachelor out of her system-in every position possible-so she can settle down with Mr. Right. Starting right now.

Travis doesn’t do relationships, so no matter how badly he wants the pretty little brunette, he keeps his distance. Until Cara goes and changes the game. She’ll fulfill all of his fantasies if he agrees to walk away when it’s over. But when the wildfire between them blazes out of control, it will consume everything-and everyone-in its path….

CONSUMED BY YOU is a full-length, standalone romance novel that follows Travis and Cara’s scorching story.

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“So you want dog training and sex?” he asked, still sure he was hearing things—like, his wildest fantasies coming true.

“Yes. The perfect combo.”

“Okay. And not that I’m protesting, because let me make it clear, my answer is yes, fuck yes, and absofuckinglutely yes, but why the change?”

She let go of his hands to stand up, then sank back down, straddling him. Oh, hell. There went any breathing room in his jeans. His dick did its best approximation of a flagpole.

She cupped his shoulders, looking him square in the eyes. Being this close to her was dizzying, and an absolute rush. “Because, Travis, I can’t get you out of my head. Or my body. I went on a date the other night with the nicest guy around. I think there could be something real with him,” she said, and he bristled and nearly breathed fire. The image of her on a date with someone else made his gut twist. “But all I could think about when I was out with him was sleeping with you and all the ways I want to have sex with you.” His head was fever hot. A tremor of lust slammed into him, and he grasped her waist, digging his fingers into her hipbones.

“There are so many ways I want to have you, Cara,” he whispered, hot and rough against the delicate skin of her throat, savoring the way gooseflesh rose instantly on her skin.

“And that’s what I need. You gave me the best sex of my life, starting way back when we were in high school, which is crazy in and of itself. But so it goes, and no one compares to you. Not that I have a ton of experience, but the way I see it is, I will never be able to move on and have the dream— the white picket fence, and the family, and all those things I want—if I’m still thinking of how good it is with you.”

“Don’t forget about the time after college graduation on the picnic table in the woods by the river. And then that night three years ago when you were back in town for Alycia’s holiday party, and I kissed you under the mistletoe at the party after you sang that song, and you pulled me into a coat closet and insisted on having me right then and there,” he said.

She dropped her face into her hands. “See? That’s my point,” she muttered, and then looked up at him. “All those times are messing with my head. And I can’t seem to connect with anyone else because I’m hung up on you. So the only conclusion I can come to is, if I’m ever going to meet Mr. Right, I need to get Mr. Wrong out of my system.”

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CONSUMED BY YOU is a seductive tale of bets and propositions that will ignite your senses and warm your heart. Lauren has masterfully created the perfect blend of chemistry, wit and romance in this touching tale of second chances.

Travis was sweet and stubborn. He frustrated me at times but enchanted me with his charming ways. Cara’s carefree spirit was the ultimate downfall for Travis, rendering him utterly helpless to her charismatic ways. I loved her strength and independence.

Watching these two succumb to the pull was sexy and fun. I can always count on Lauren to deliver characters that will capture my heart and a story that will leave me feeling content in the end. It’s one of the many reasons why Lauren is among my favorite authors.

This is the third book in The Fighting Fire series, but can be read as a standalone.

Overall Rating: 4 Sexy Stars

I was provided a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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And don’t miss the first two titles in the Fighting Fire series!

Burn For Me

BURN FOR ME

Melt for Him Cover

MELT FOR HIM

Consumed by You - Avaialble Now

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Author PhotoAbout Lauren Blakely:

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and she has had eight books on the New York Times Bestseller list and thirteen on the USA Today Bestseller list. Like the heroine in her novel, FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire. She recently released SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS, the first novel in her new sexy romance series Sinful Nights that became an instant New York Times Bestseller. Her new adult forbidden romance, 21 Stolen Kisses, hit e-readers in May and landed on the USA Today Bestseller list. This summer she’ll release Consumed by You, her next title in her NYT Bestselling Fighting Fire series about sexy firemen and the women they love. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, text BLAKELY + your email address to 678-249-3375 (please use the actual + sign).

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BLOG TOUR – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway – Take the Fall by Marquita Valentine

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Take the Fall

Take the Fall
Take the Fall # 1

By: Marquita Valentine

Releasing July 21, 2015

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Fans of Abbi Glines and Katy Evans will adore Take the Fall, the first spinoff novel from Marquita Valentine’s New York Times bestselling Boys of the South series. In this emotional new romance, passions run hot as a rugged, brooding Marine rekindles an old flame.

As a teenager, Seth O’Connor went to jail for a crime he had nothing to do with. He took the fall to protect the girl he loved, but the cruel realities of prison hardened him. After doing his time, Seth shuts her out and enlists in the Marines—until his grandmother’s funeral forces him to come home and face Rowan Simmons once again. The woman she’s become puts all his high-school memories to shame, and Seth wants her more than ever. Can he be honest about why he denied her for so long?

After Seth pushed her away, Rowan swore that no man would ever hurt her again. But the boy who broke her heart has become a sexy Marine, capable of fulfilling her every desire—and now that he’s back in town, old feelings are simmering to a boil. Rowan wants to stay strong, even as her body surrenders to his expert touch. She only hopes that by taking him back, she can finally help heal the wounds that drove them apart

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Nothing but death could make Seth O’Connor come home and face the girl he left behind. He had made that completely clear with seven months of ignored letters and care packages I sent him. But that wasn’t what hurt the most—oh, no.

The deepest cut came a year and a half later, when he’d returned to the States from a deployment and arranged for his grandmother to visit him in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at Camp Lejeune instead of coming home to Forrestville. Naively, I had thought that time in the Marines would make him see what he missed; that even though he’d hurt me, I couldn’t completely cut him out of my life. I don’t think my heart ever stopped racing at news reports of fallen Marines.

But in the end, and once again, none of that mattered. When he got home from yet another mission, he finally came to town, visited his grandmother . . . and left before I knew it, like some kind of asshole ninja.

So, I let him go. Again.

Instead of pining over Seth, I forced myself to go out with a couple of guys, and although I had fun, it wasn’t special. But I’m living my life. I’ve been making a life without him.

Over the years, I convinced myself that I was over him. That I didn’t need him. That this hole in my heart could be filled with other things. It worked.

Liar, liar, a voice whispers in my head, but I ignore it.

A part of me wants to thank Seth for what he did. He reminded me of something I had forgotten, that no matter how much a man said he loved you, in the end, he would abandon you. Just like my dad. Just like my brother.

Although it’s not exactly fair to put Jase in the same category. Prison makes it impossible for my brother to have a normal relationship with anyone.

The only person I’ve ever been able to count on is Miss Myrtle, and now she’s gone, too. But now that Seth’s back, I feel as though time has stopped and rewound. I’m sixteen all over again, and in love with Seth O’Connor while hoping like hell he feels the same way about me.

I sniff, but I refuse to cry—I’m not sixteen anymore or hoping for anything from him. My heart aches like hell and it feels as though someone’s rammed me in the stomach a million times, but I refuse to let the hurt show. I can’t let him see me weak, but missing a woman like Miss Myrtle isn’t easy to hide. She was fun, caring, smart, and made her house a home for me.

I lift my eyes, and my gaze collides with Seth’s. The sight of raw pain residing in those dark depths makes me suck in a breath. He’s hurting, just like me. Maybe worse, since he wasn’t here when his grandmother passed.

He’d missed seeing her alive by seven hours. I hadn’t been at the hospital at the time, but from the gossip, Seth had nearly gone insane when he finally arrived. Then he’d left before I returned—just like always.

I allow myself a longer look. This is the first time in years I’ve seen him in person. He’s wearing black head to toe. His hair is cut short and his shoulders are broader than ever. When he left Forrestville, he hadn’t been so tall and wide shouldered. He hadn’t been so . . . manly looking.

His full lips flatten into a thin line, like he’s displeased at me staring at him.

Ha! Fat chance I’ll stop now.

Boldly, I let my gaze travel over his sexy face. At this moment, my pride and anger are overshadowing my grief, so I could give a damn what anyone would think about me checking him out at his grandmother’s funeral.

He looks older and harder than in the pictures he’d mailed Miss Myrtle. The man in the picture smiled and sometimes posed with a dog in his lap, all the while wearing a uniform and a gun strapped to his thigh. Other times, he would be playfully serious, with his battle buddy and brothers as he called them in his letters to her. But the man standing across from me looks ready to destroy anyone in his path.

Including me.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” the preacher murmurs as he closes the Bible. He glances up at the mourners, his expression serene. Calm. Just like you’d expect a pastor to be. But I don’t feel serene or calm. I’m a jittery mess inside. “The Gardner family would like to thank you for coming today.” The crowd begins to thin out, whispering condolences to Seth and me as they go.

“Do you want me to stay here with you?” my best friend asks, her hand slipping into mine. Piper Ross, the epitome of proper southern manners and my lifesaver since the day the two men who had mattered most to me were sentenced to jail. Her hand feels like it’s on fire, or, rather, mine feels like ice. Either way, I need the support right now.

“Or I can go to your house and handle visitors so you can have some time for yourself,” she adds.

The thought of dealing with anyone right now makes my stomach roil. “Thanks,” I whisper gratefully as another lump forms in my throat. I’ve known of only one other person as sweet and kind as Piper, and that’s my other best friend, Brooklyn Reeves. Morgan. She’s Brooklyn Morgan now.

As if she’s reading my mind, Piper continues talking. “Brooklyn would probably do a better job, but you’re stuck with me,” she says seriously. If we weren’t at a funeral, I’d punch her in the arm right now. We’ve been working on her self-esteem issues for years, but her mother has a way of undoing any progress Piper makes with a single withering glare.

Like she’s doing now. Mrs. Ross’s dark eyes narrow and her mouth pinches. Heck, she probably thinks we’re being rude for talking, even though the ceremony is over. Okay, so she probably thinks I’m rude for talking, and I’m corrupting Piper in the process.

Much to Mrs. Ross’s obvious displeasure, Piper and I have been best friends for years, but it’s a weird friendship. She’s quiet. I’m loud. She’s proper while I have no clue if the fork I’m using is the right one.

But I love her to death because she’s never backed down from being friends with me, even after Jase went to jail and everyone else at school looked at me like I was contagious.

I fight the urge to stick my tongue out at the woman, if only because I don’t want to embarrass Piper. And . . . I want to make Miss Myrtle proud. She attempted to teach me to be a lady. It’s the least I can do to act like one at her funeral.

“I’m never stuck with you.” Turning to Piper, I see the tears running down her cheeks. Taking a deep breath, I force myself to be strong. “Besides, pregnant women are moody as all get out. And so are their overprotective husbands who won’t let them fly clear across the country because of their stupid due date.”

Actually, I had been relieved Brooklyn’s doctor had put her on travel restrictions. As much as I love the girl, she isn’t a part of my past. She didn’t know me before everything went down. She only knows the tough woman I’ve become. The same one who’d hired her to help me manage Gardner’s.

Swallowing around that lump in my throat, I manage to say, “Could you go deal with everyone?”

Piper smiles and squeezes my hand. “Take your time.”

I don’t want to take my time. I want everything to fast-forward and be over with already. I want it to be next week. A year from now. Any length of time that would put distance between me and death . . . and Seth.

“Thanks,” I whisper before she walks away. Turning my attention back to the grave, I struggle to maintain my composure. The workers are already at graveside and pulling away the blanket of Astroturf covering the mound of dirt beside it.

The world seems to shrink. The thought of all that dirt falling in on her . . . I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and then open them again, only to find Seth’s gaze on me.

My feet start moving before I can stop them. His eyes widen slightly, and my chin goes up. I can be the bigger person. I can talk to him like it’s no big deal he’s here after being gone for so long. That it’s no big deal he cut me out of his life without a real explanation.

My hands clench into fists, and I stuff them into the pockets of my winter coat before he sees them. “I’m sorry for your loss,” I say, inwardly relieved at how controlled my voice sounds.

“Thanks,” he replies in a gruff voice I’ve never heard before. I want to cry at the sound of it. I want to slap him, too. I want to know why and what the hell’s his problem. Most of all I want his stupid, muscular arms around me while he whispers, It’s okay.

He starts to leave, but I stop him by stepping slightly in front of him. “How long are you staying?” The question comes out more sharply than I intend.

Seth gives me a look and runs the side of his thumb right under his bottom lip, just like he did when we were together. “I’m not sure.”

I cross my arms over my chest, trying to hold myself together. If I don’t, my heart is liable to fall out and onto his feet, where he can grind it into the ground once more. “What do you mean you’re not sure?”

ALP PatriciaReview Owl

Take The Fall is a fun second chance romance that is sure to make you laugh with its sassy heroine and swoon over the bad boy turned Marine.

Rowan was tough and brave despite the challenges of her past and I admired her tenacity and drive. Though I was frustrated with her stubbornness at times, her shenanigans kept the story light and fun. I think we would be great friends in real life.

Seth’s pursuit of Rowan and his determination to beat her at her own games made him quite the swoon worthy book boyfriend. While his time in prison seemed to harden his heart, his experiences in the military gave him new perspective and softened him up. I adored his persistent efforts to win back the woman he loved.

I am drawn to second chance romances and I enjoyed reading about Rowan and Seth. The characters were likeable, the story was fun, and the chemistry between the two was tangible. If you are looking for a light and fun read, give this book a try. I think it would make a perfect beach read.

I was provided a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Marquita

 

Marquita Valentine is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Holland Springs and Boys of the South series, having sold more than a quarter of a million books around the world. She’s been called “one of the best new voices in romance” (Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews) and her books have been praised as “sexy, fun, and slightly addicting” (The Book Queen). When she’s not writing sexy heroes who adore their sassy heroines, she enjoys shopping, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. Married to her high-school sweetheart, Marquita Valentine lives in a seriously small town in the south with her husband, two kids, and a dog.

 

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RELEASE BLITZ, EXCERPT, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – Sweet Sinful Nights by Lauren Blakely

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We are so excited to bring you the Release Week Blitz for SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS by Lauren Blakely, the first full-length novel from her Erotic Romance Series, Sinful Nights! Lauren Blakely is well known for writing sexy, heartfelt and humorous contemporary romance as well as deeply emotional new adult stories –one commonality in all her books is the scorching hot sexy times. And SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS is absolutely no different! Brent and Shannon’s story is sexy and will keep you on the edge of your seat squirming and asking for more! This new series is a new erotic romance series, Sinful Nights, written in the high-heat, high-stakes, high-glamour style of the Seductive Nights series that readers know and love, but heading in a new direction with a new family that’s full of drama, checkered pasts and dangerous life-and-death secrets. Check out Lauren’s message below to hear more from her!

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ABOUT SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS:

A sexy, suspenseful new romance novel from Lauren Blakely, author of the New York Times Bestselling Seductive Nights series….

She was the one who got away…

Ten years ago, Brent Nichols let the love of his life slip through his fingers. It’s his greatest regret, especially since she’s all but disappeared. But when the gorgeous and captivating woman walks into his life unexpectedly, he’s determined to win her back. Whatever it takes, he won’t make the same mistake twice.

Easier said than done…

Shannon Paige has hardened her heart to the man she was once engaged to be married to. After the way he left, and after the hell she’s been through with her checkered family, there’s no way she’s letting him into her life again. The problem is, the second she sees him, he’s more handsome and charming than before. And she’s torn between wanting to fight with him and wanting to sleep with him – maybe both. Soon they fall into each other’s arms, consumed with a desire that burns through the years.

But if these two fiery lovers are going to have a real second chance at this kind of intense, passionate, bone-deep love, he’ll have to give her his whole heart, and she’ll have to give up all the secrets from her messy past.

And that messy past is about to spill over into her carefully constructed present…

SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS is book one in SINFUL NIGHTS, a four-book series. Each book will follow a new couple.

Add SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS to Goodreads here!

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ALP Excerpt Owl

She turned to look at him, and neither one of them said a word. Her green eyes were dark and intense. Her lips were so close. The inches between them were swallowed whole by the connection that crackled between them. She seemed to sway closer, and he moved in, seizing the moment.

He lifted his hand to her hair, still sleek in its twist, different from the shade she’d had when he knew her, but beautiful just the same. A strand had fallen loose, chestnut brown and curled. He touched it, ran his finger across the single lock. Time melted away as he leaned into the familiar crook of her neck. The craving for her ran so damn deep it lived inside his bones.

He inhaled her, that honey scent, a new smell that in an instant marked her.

“Shan,” he whispered, rough and gravelly, filled with so much want for her, which had built over the years, grown higher, spread further, formed roots. Inhabited him. He was desperate to have her in his arms again, to smother her in kisses that erased all the years.

“Brent,” she whispered, his name sounding like sugar on her tongue.

He buried his face in her neck, layering kisses on her soft skin. “Where have you been?” he asked, though it was entirely rhetorical. She hadn’t been with him. He hadn’t been with her. That was the answer.

“Where were you?” she countered softly.

He lifted his face and looked her in the eyes as he brushed the back of his fingers along her cheek. “Thinking of you,” he said.

He didn’t know how he’d gone from breaking two glasses to finding her falling into his arms. But that was where they were. He cupped her cheeks in his hands. “You’re so fucking beautiful,” he rasped out, and then he crushed her mouth. He consumed her lips. He kissed her hard, and greedily, and the world around him turned black and small. It faded into a speck of nothingness because there was room for nothing else in his world but her.

Message from Lauren:

Dear Readers:

I am thrilled to share some exciting news with you! Many of you have been patiently waiting for SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS, the story of Brent Nichols and the woman he loves. Many of you already know Brent since he’s the younger brother of Clay Nichols, from NIGHT AFTER NIGHT….The good news is this-SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS is Book One in a new erotic romance series, Sinful Nights, written in the high-heat, high-stakes, high-glamour style of the Seductive Nights series that readers know and love, but heading in a new direction with a new family that’s full of drama, checkered pasts and dangerous life-and-death secrets.

SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS kicks off this new series with a fiery, passionate, and suspenseful story of two lovers reuniting after ten years. Each book in this series follow a new couple and will be set against the backdrop of sin, money, sex, greed, passion and love in the city of Las Vegas. Brent’s love interest is Shannon Paige, and she has three brothers. Yep, you guessed it – each of her brothers will be getting a book! And while each book in the Sinful Nights series follows a new couple, get ready for a storyline that will carry across the entire series — a story of danger, risk and high-stakes suspense.

 

Q&A about the Sinful Nights series:

Does this take place after the events in the Seductive Nights series?

A: Yes. This story begins one year after the final Seductive Nights book.

 

Can I read this if I haven’t read the Seductive Nights series?

A: Yes! You won’t miss a beat if you start with SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS. That’s why it’s Book One!

 

Brent is Clay’s brother. Does this mean Clay will be in SWEET SINFUL NIGHTS?

A: Why yes! He will indeed appear in a handful of scenes!

 

Is this series similar to the Seductive Nights series?

A: Absolutely. The hero in book one is a Nichols man! Nichols men are known for being dirty, passionate and fiercely loyal! You can also expect scorching hot sex scenes, dirty talk, high-class and glamorous settings, and passionate love. Have I mentioned the heat :)?

ALP PatriciaReview Owl

Lauren Blakely has done it again!! Sweet Sinful Nights is a sexy second chance romance with an edge of suspense Las Vegas style. I was so thrilled to meet and spend time with the newest Blakely Boy, Brent Nichols, and his love interest Shannon. This erotic tale of love and second chances was the perfect read for a recent reading slump and I loved every minute.

This dynamic duo had some major hurdles to overcome and some baggage to deal with in the heart of Sin City. Brent and Shannon definitely belonged together and my heart hurt for the years they lost and the tragedies endured. Their chemistry was undeniable and the time they spent apart only intensified their feelings.

Brent definitely matured in the years spent apart and had come to terms with the choices he made and what was truly important. Shannon was no stranger to change with tragedy and misfortune striking her life. But she was tough and strong and determined – all qualities I adore in the women Lauren writes.

I LOVE the chase…LOVE IT…and I thoroughly enjoyed Brent’s pursuit of the one who got away. I admired his persistence and Shannon’s attempt at resistance. But the heart wants what the heart wants and denying the pull was a futile attempt.

Lauren’s ability to consistently give me characters I adore and stories that are as sexy as they are exciting is one of the many reasons she ranks among my favorites. If you enjoy second chance romances, give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Overall Rating: 5 STARS

I was provided a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. But I purchased a copy too.

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And be sure to watch for the next titles in the Sinful Nights series!

SINFUL NIGHTS series on Goodreads

SINFUL DESIRE – Sept 29

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SINFUL DESIRE on Goodreads – Sept 29, 2015

SINFUL LONGING on Goodreads– Jan 2016

SINFUL LOVE on Goodreads – March 2016

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About Lauren Blakely:

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in her novel, FAR TOO TEMPTING, shethinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her bestselling series include Caught Up in Love, Seductive Nights, No Regrets and Fighting Fire. She recently released Forbidden Nights, a standalone novel in her New York Times Bestselling Seductive Nights series that became an instant New York Times Bestseller. Her next book is 21 Stolen Kisses, a new adult romance filled with angst and romantic tension, releasing in May. This summer she’ll release Consumed by You, her next title in her NYT Bestselling Fighting Fire series about sexy firemen and the women they love, and Sweet Sinful Nights, the first book in her new series Sinful Nights. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, text BLAKELY + your email address to 678-249-3375 (please use the actual + sign).

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Sinfully Sweet Summer Giveaway!

What would make your summer sinfully sweet? A new iPad Mini to catch up on all of your summer reading or a mini vacation?

Lauren is so thrilled that you are spending part of your summer with Brent and Shannon that she decided, as a special thank you, to give one lucky reader an iPad Mini or a gift certificate to their favorite hotel chain ($250 value).

Enter here for a chance to win!

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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW – Try (Temptation #1) by Ella Frank

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Try – verb: to make an attempt or effort to do something or in this case…someone.

Sex. Logan Mitchell loves it, and ever since he realized his raw sexual appeal at a young age, he has had no problem using it to his advantage. Men and women alike fall into his bed—after all, Logan is not one to discriminate. He lives by one motto—if something interests you, why not just take a chance and try?

And he wants to try Tate Morrison.

Just coming out of a four-year marriage with an ex-wife from hell, a relationship is the last thing on Tate’s mind. He’s starting fresh and trying to get back on his feet with a new job at an upscale bar in downtown Chicago.

The only problem is, Tate has caught the unwavering and unwelcome attention of Mr. Logan Mitchell – a regular at the bar and a man who always gets what he wants.

Night after night Tate fends off the persistent advances of the undeniably charismatic man, but after an explosive moment in the bar, all bets are off as he finds his body stirring with a different desire than his mind.

As arrogance, stubbornness and sexual tension sizzles between the two, it threatens to change the very course of their lives.

Logan doesn’t do relationships. Tate doesn’t do men. But what would happen if they both just gave in and…tried?

GENRE: M/M

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ALP PatriciaReview OwlNote to Reader: I listened to this title via audible. As such, my review reflects that experience.

I finally stepped outside my comfort zone to give this book a “try” and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. While I had only read one m/m prior to Try, this book was far superior in intensity, hotness and overall enjoyment.

The characters were great guys with fabulous chemistry which made them easy to love. It was difficult to watch them both struggle with their insecurities about the feelings they had for one another. But the connection they shared was nothing short of beautiful and I was thrilled with the experience of watching them fall for each other.

While there were an abundance of memorable moments, I’d like to take a minute to appreciate the EPIC HOTNESS of the phone sex. That scene was EROTIC & UNFORGETABLE. I never knew two men could be such a turn-on, but let’s just say that tumblr is your friend when your imagination is lacking.

This is book one in the series and the remaining books are currently available. So if you have been looking for your next erotica read, give these boys a try. Tate & Logan will make sure you don’t soon forget them.

Overall Rating 4-4.5 Stars

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Take (Temptation #2)

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Trust (Temptation #3)

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I am first and foremost a proud Australian, but currently reside in Texas with my husband.

I love to read and write contemporary and erotic romances, but I also like to step outside of the box at times when it comes to telling a story that really speaks to me.

I absolutely adore dessert. I could skip the main meal and head straight to the dessert line every time…especially anything that is covered in caramel.

I am a GLEEK (yes I admit it… So? It makes me happy), on the other hand I love Dexter and he makes me happy too, so analyze that!

I love to sing really bad at the top of my lungs, and I often have conversations with myself.

Some of my favorite authors include; JR Ward, Tiffany Reisz, Nalini Singh, Lori Foster, Lauren Dane, SJ Frost and many more.

Last but certainly not least, I am the author of The Exquisite Series, Blind Obsession and most recently Try.

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REVIEW, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY – The Way We Break (The Story of Us #2) by Cassia Leo

Happy release day, Cassia! The Way We Break is book 2 in Cassia’s The Story of Us series and is available today!

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ALP Synopsis1

Live the truth…

The truth about Hallie has torn Houston and Rory apart for a second time. Houston is finally unburdened of the secret his sister confided in him, but
now he must deal with the aftermath.

He has vowed to set things right for Rory, and he’s determined to get her back. But the destruction left in the wake of Hallie’s letter is not the only
obstacle he must face. Houston must find a way to win Rory back by showing her their story isn’t over yet.

..or live the lie.

In her desperation to move past the anguish of Hallie’s secret and Houston’s lies, Rory seeks solace in Liam. When Liam is transferred to another tech
company in California, Rory jumps at his invitation to leave Portland, and her broken heart, behind. In California, Rory finds a friend who opens new
doors for her in the literary world. But does this new friend have ulterior motives?

The Way We Break
is the second book in The Story of Us Series, which follows the tumultuous love story of Rory and Houston. The sequel and final book in the series, The Way We Rise, will be released September 2015.

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THE STORY OF US SERIES ON GOODREADS

The Way We Fall (Book One): HERE

The Way We Break (Book Two): HERE

The Way We Rise (Book Three): HERE

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Available for $.99 during release week!

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THE WAY WE BREAK
Available for $2.99 during release week.

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THE STORY OF US SERIES CASTING IMAGES

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THE WAY WE FALL BOOK TRAILER

THE WAY WE BREAK PLAYLIST

THE WAY WE BREAK PLAYLIST

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December 4, 2014

Liam’s  truck hits  a  bump  and  I’m  yanked out of my thoughts. The  scene  before me materializes, then reality punches me in the gut. We’re now bumping along a narrow road at Pioneer Cemetery. The rain is coming down so hard, I can barely see the grave markers. But I remember quite clearly we have to take the first right and go all the way down until the road begins to curve left.

Liam parks the truck and reaches for the umbrella in the cab.

I place my hand on his arm to stop him. “I need to go alone.”

He nods. “Okay, but you need to take the umbrella.”

I take the green umbrella from him and gaze into his crystal-blue eyes. “Thank you for bringing me here. It means a lot to me.”

He smiles faintly. “I know.”

I push the passenger door open and stick the umbrella out of the truck so I can open it before I step into the downpour. The rain batters the nylon and a few fat drops hit the back of my head as I hop out of the truck. Landing in a shallow puddle, I mentally curse myself for wearing sneakers instead of rain boots.

I  slam  the  truck  door  shut  behind  me  then  slog  across  the  soggy  grass  toward  the second-to-last gravestone in this row of markers. The ground sloshes under my feet as the rain batters my umbrella, making it almost impossible to hear my own thoughts. The smell of wet stone and decaying earth is overwhelming.

A deep chill settles into my bones the nearer I get to the end of the row. I walk between the banks of stone crosses and Gothic tablets memorializing people who were once as alive and vibrant and loved as Hallie. Finally, I reach the plain stone marker with Hallie’s name on it and my fingers tighten painfully around the umbrella handle.

The stone reads “Hallie R. Cavanaugh. May 14, 1990—December 4, 2008. A much loved daughter, sister, and friend. Forever in our hearts.”

Six years later and I still can’t believe it. Like it’s just an elaborate hoax and Hallie is going to walk up behind me right now and say, Gotcha! The rest of my life seems hazy and incomplete when I try to imagine it without her. She won’t be my maid of honor. I won’t be her firstborn’s godmother. We won’t be playing bingo together in a nursing home. She’s just gone.

The cold seeps inside my twill jacket and I instantly begin to shiver. Wiping the tears from my face, I kneel before the gravestone, paying no mind to the muddy rainwater soaking through the knees of my jeans. I reach out and trace the H of Hallie’s name.

“Hallie.” I whisper her name aloud. “I miss you so much.” The patter of the rain on my umbrella fills the spaces between my words, a solemn drumbeat. “I’m sorry… I’m sorry I never saw this coming.”

ALP PatriciaReview Owl

The Way We Break is the intensely turbulent continuation of Rory & Houston’s story. It’s sure to shatter expectations with characters who will surprise you and a story full of twist and turns. Cassia definitely brought some of that WOW factor I was expecting at the conclusion of The Way We Fall.

“Saying good-bye to the things that cause you pain sometimes means saying good-bye to the things and the people – the addictions – who once brought you pleasure.”

Rory and Houston’s story continues in the same non-linear timeline and dual POV as TWWF. Much like book 1, it kept me engaged and my mind racing as I wondered where the story was headed. I experienced a range of emotions and reactions as truths were revealed and the story unfolded. I wanted them both to find the closure and happiness they deserve and yet I was torn by whether or not that meant they should be together. The start of their relationship and their tumultuous history certainly complicated my feelings on the matter.

“We need truth. And that’s all I’m offering. Just give me a chance to show you that nothing else matters to me anymore expect you and the truth…”

My heart broke for Rory repeatedly as she faced heartache and havoc throughout the story. I need her to find peace…she deserves to find peace. As for Houston, the verdict is still out on him. Though he certainly redeemed himself in this book, I can’t help but feel some anger towards him for the past. In the words of a very wise friend, it was an “impossible situation” that landed these two where there are and I am clinging to the hope that they will rise.

We are left with one hell of an ending and some unfinished business that I look to be resolved in the concluding book, The Way We Rise, which is expected to release August 21, 2015.

Overall Rating 4 Stars

I was provided a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Cassia Leo Bio Pic

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading – sometimes both.

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RELEASE BLITZ, EXCERPT, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – 21 Stolen Kisses by Lauren Blakely

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We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Lauren Blakely’s 21 STOLEN KISSES!! 21 STOLEN KISSES by Lauren Blakely is a standalone New Adult Forbidden Romance from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author being published by Bloomsbury Spark! Lauren Blakely is well known for writing sexy, heartfelt and humorous contemporary romance as well as deeply emotional new adult stories. 21 STOLEN KISSES is a beautifully written forbidden romance that will have you holding your breath and turning the pages as fast as you can!

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ABOUT 21 STOLEN KISSES:

When I first met him I resisted.
Like any forbidden love, I told myself he was a crush, and it would pass.
That was a lie. It never faded.

And I never expected he would fall for me just as hard.

There were so many reasons that should have kept us apart, least of all, the decade that separated us.
Growing up in New York City, I learned early on that love is a double-edged sword.
Love broke up my parents, love took away my friends, and love — the big, intense, never-been-like-this-beforelove — landed me in therapy.
Now I’m heading to college, and it’s time to give love a clean slate again. But, can I really start over when he’s still in my life?
Because the one man I’ve always wanted, is also the only guy I absolutely can’t have…
And he wants me just as fiercely.

Can I settle for anything less than the love of my life?

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He inhales sharply. The look in his eyes says we’re crossing into the danger zone again. It’s the only place I want to be with him. Because when we’re there, nothing between us feels dangerous. Everything feels right.

“I turn eighteen in a few more weeks,” I say, like my birthday is an open invitation for us to slam back into each other.

He nods. “I know.”

A breeze blow by and rustles his hair. A lock falls out of place. Instinct takes over. I raise my hand to reach for his hair.

But he’s faster. He grasps my wrist, and the second he does, the moment expands. It stretches and unfolds into the thing I will replay tonight and tomorrow and the next day. I stare at his hand clasped around my wrist, flashing back to all the times he held my hand, touched my wrist, and ran his fingers along my arm. I shiver as the memories collide, the past slamming into the present.

I look up from our hands to his eyes. Blazing, full of heat. Full of all that restraint from him that I know so well.

ALP PatriciaReview Owl

21 Stolen Kisses is a charming YA romance about one young jaded heart’s journey to finding restoration, restitution and happiness.

“It was an epic love letter, and it was all I’d ever wanted in my life – to feel that kind of epic love.”

My heart broke for Kennedy who was wise beyond her years thanks to a manipulative and duplicitous mother. Her youth was essentially stolen from her when Jewel’s secrets became her own. To complicate matters, she found love with the one person who was totally and completely off limits.

My heart ached for Noah as he longed for the one woman that brought contentment to his life. He was gentle and genuine, something Kennedy needed immensely. But loving someone is supposed to be easy and pure. It’s certainly not supposed to feel so good and be so wrong.

“This kind of love doesn’t come around often, and you have to seize it, fight for it, and protect it if need be.”

This story will enchant you with its forbidden nature and tug on your heartstrings as these two deny the connection they share in the interest of impropriety. Though Kennedy’s behavior often seemed mature for her age, it’s certainly attributable to her upbringing and exposure to mature content at such a young age. As for Noah, I am quite smitten with this newest Blakely Boy. He makes a fine addition to an already stellar lineup of swoon worthy heroes.

This is a standalone novel that contains all the things I have come to love from Lauren: a strong heroine, swoon worthy hero, sweet romance, character growth, drama and humor to keep things interesting from beginning to end. The story was told in alternating POV, which provided insight into both character’s minds. The angst and sexual tension were minimal which seemed appropriate for the YA theme. Overall, I really enjoyed Kennedy and Noah’s story.

I was delighted to receive a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Overall Rating 4-4.5 Stars.

 ALP AuthBio1 Owl

Author PhotoAbout Lauren Blakely:

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and she has had seven books on the New York Times Bestseller list and eleven on the USA Today Bestseller list. Like the heroine in her novel, FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her bestselling series include Caught Up in Love, Seductive Nights, No Regrets and Fighting Fire. She recently released Forbidden Nights, a standalone novel in her New York Times Bestselling Seductive Nights series that became an instant New York Times Bestseller. This summer she’ll release Consumed by You, her next title in her NYT Bestselling Fighting Fire series about sexy firemen and the women they love, and Sweet Sinful Nights, the first book in her new series Sinful Nights. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, text BLAKELY + your email address to 678-249-3375 (please use the actual + sign).

 

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