Moment of Truth – Karen Stivali – 4.5 stars

March 9, 2015 Read in 2015, Sent 0 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Moment of Truth – Karen Stivali – 4.5 starsMoment of Truth by Karen Stivali
Published by Dreamspinner Press on 2015-03-04
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 113
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
four-half-stars
Moments in Time: Book Two

Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he's living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being "out" takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

I have to start with the fact that I really tend to enjoy everything Karen Stivali writes and have enjoyed getting to spend time with her in person at a couple of conventions.  I am also looking forward to seeing her in Dallas this year and getting to congratulate her for this wonderfully honest series.  Collin and Tanner do not have an easy road ahead of them but we get to see more of how they really feel about one another without having to hide who they are to one another.  I look forward to the next story in the series but let’s chat about this one first…

We get to see the boys in a wonderful environment where there is no judgment about being gay and they can finally be open in their affection for one another.  I adored seeing Collin start to come out of his shell and be open with his feelings even as he struggles with the loss of his family.  The way that we get to see his struggle with who he is and what he wants is heartbreaking but very honest as not everyone going thru this struggle has a great support system.  His struggle makes it difficult for Tanner to know exactly how he stands with Collin but Tanner is very patient with this and understands.  They do have some conflict but the conflict is handled well and is completely understandable when it comes.

There is also a side story with a woman from Tanner’s father’s past and someone extremely close to our boys…  I am going to be honest here and say that I hope this person realizes the major mistake they’ve made sooner rather than later as to lose someone that truly is a friend is a very sad price to pay for someone that doesn’t deserve it.  I do admit that it would’ve been nice for something to have been said earlier in the summer but I did understand why they kept their suspicions to themselves even as I wanted them to spill the secret.

If you want to see a story that builds at a realistic pace and that also shows how much pain being narrow-minded can cause someone who doesn’t fit the “traditional” mold then please read this.  It is a struggle too many people go thru in the world where in some places being gay can be a death penalty.  I have enjoyed watching their relationship build and look forward to seeing what happens when they get back to school.

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Last Breath – Jessica Clare/Jan Frederick – 5 stars

March 4, 2015 Berkley Trade 0 ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Last Breath – Jessica Clare/Jan Frederick – 5 starsLast Breath by Jessica ClareJen Frederick
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 2015-03-03
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
five-stars
From the bestselling authors of Last Hit comes the next in the steamy series that explores the exquisite power of our darkest passions . . .

Regan: I never really knew what misery was until the day I was kidnapped and sold for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two months later, I’m at a brothel in Rio when I meet Daniel Hays. He says he’s here to save me, but can I trust him? All I know of him are his sarcastic retorts and his tendency to solve every dispute with his gun. He’s also the only safe thing in my world, and I know it’s wrong to fall in love with him, but I can’t seem to help myself. He says he’ll protect me until his last breath, but I don’t know if I should believe him or even if I can.

Daniel: For the last eighteen months, one goal has dictated every action I’ve taken. I’ve left the Army, turned paid hit man, and befriended criminals all across the globe to find my kidnapped sister. In every brothel I raid and every human trafficking truck I stop, I hope the next face I find is my sister’s. In a hidden brothel in Rio, I find Regan Porter, bruised but not broken, and still sane despite her weeks in captivity. I should leave her behind or send her home, because the last thing either of us needs right now is to get involved. But with every passing minute, I find I’m less able to let her go.

MATURE AUDIENCE

I put the content warning up for this one because it has a very brutal start but damn if it isn’t worth every second of reading.  I loved Nikolai but Daniel is nothing to sneer at and his heroine Regan is definitely his match.

We met Regan in Last Hit as our sweet heroine’s nice yet more worldly roommate who gets the raw end of the deal when they are kidnapped and because she is an extra she is sold in to the sex trade.  Regan does what she needs to in order to survive but she doesn’t make it easy for the men who come to see an American cry and snivel.  She’s using every trick she can think of to check out while things are being done to her but she may be almost to her breaking point by the time a man comes to purchase her for his private use.  What she gets is a man determined to get her out of the situation and get her back to people in the states that have been looking for her.  I loved how she was so ready to fight but also was smart enough to bide her time for the correct opening.  I also loved how she worked so hard to keep it together when most would’ve given up and settled in to die.  She’s a fighter and as she spends more time around her rescuer we get to see that she isn’t completely healed but on her way to a life that will be perfect for the woman she has become.  Regan is a survivor in many ways but I loved seeing her open up to Daniel as time passes.  She deserves every bit of happiness that she gets and he will be the man who makes sure she wants for nothing.

Daniel was a character I enjoyed in our brief glimpses of him in Nikolai’s book but this story showed how much depth he really has.  He’s been searching for his sister who was kidnapped and believed sold in to the sex trade with some thinking she’s already dead.  Daniel will not believe it so has in many respects sold his soul to the devil in order to get news about women matching his sister’s description in the underground sex trade.  He’s rescued a few from slavery but still hasn’t found her.  He’s agreed to do the dirty work of getting Regan back with the hopes that this will also lead him to his sister and with the Bratva needing a line on a hacker.  He soon finds that not only is there more to Regan’s kidnapping than they expected but this strong woman is someone that he can’t live without even as he won’t hold her to anything.  He was amazingly patient with her and protective of her but in a way that felt natural and not smothering.  He just wants her happy and whole but doesn’t expect her to want him even as he craves her.

This story is not for the faint of heart but was very compelling and kept me cheering for Regan as she reclaims herself and also for Daniel as he gets the answers that his entire family needs to heal.  I’m gladly going to keep up with this series as they continue to release….

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The List – Anne Calhoun – 4.5 Stars – Contest

March 3, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 2 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The List – Anne Calhoun – 4.5 Stars – ContestThe List by Anne Calhoun
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 2015-03-03
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, General, Literary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
The List (An Irresistible Novel)<img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=booaholano0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00L9B7CCS">AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
four-half-stars
Who’s on top?

Matchmaker and stationery shop owner Matilda Davies brings people together. For those on her list, Tilda will find the man or woman of their dreams—whether it’s for an hour or a lifetime. But due to a painful past, the British expat has never put her own name on the list. Instead, she limits herself to emotionless and commitment-free hookups. Then she meets Daniel, who wants not just her body, but also her heart…

Daniel Logan hides the soul of a poet under the suit and tie of an FBI agent. Specializing in financial crimes, he pieces together stories of greed and ensures justice is done. He plays by the rules—until he meets Tilda. He’s drawn in by her passion as well as her mysteriousness. Daniel knows that no matter her secrets, he’s the perfect match for Tilda. But even pleasure doesn’t come with a guarantee…

Ok bear with me for a few…  This isn’t an easy book to read or review in some respects.  You need to be patient as you read this as you might be tempted to dislike the heroine but give her a chance.  She’s who she is because of where she came from and what she had to deal with growing up.  I found myself understanding her in many ways because I could see myself in her ways of protecting herself from what she sees as a fundamental flaw within herself.  The hero is someone you will not have any issues with as he is definitely swoonworthy in his devotion to the woman who captivated him from the start.

Let’s start with what I adore about Daniel:

  • His devotion to the heroine even as she tries to drive him away
  • His understanding that it isn’t him at issue but something within her
  • His devotion to his family
  • His acceptance that they are two distinct people and should be free to have their own pursuits
  • His message on the first day *you won’t see it until the end but dear lord*
  • His way of getting her to start seeing him *admittedly loved how sneaky and dirty he was*
  • His naughty as hell side *fans self*

Now let’s see what caused me to like Matilda *Tilda*:

  • Her knowledge that Daniel isn’t at fault
  • Her acceptance that she wants him even as she fears hurting him
  • Her soft heart hidden under the ice that she wears so well
  • Her ability to see what people need even as she won’t see her own needs
  • Her ability to spot something special in things that she herself doesn’t understand but craves with all her being
  • Her love for her grandmother
  • Her wilder impulsive side that is there just waiting for someone to see it and encourage it
  • Her true nature that just needs someone to truly accept her and love her

Now…  the two people who I wish would fall off the face of the earth for what they did to a younger Matilda that made her in to the seemingly cold woman who believes something is wrong with her…  well I am not going to give them away here but trust that you will want to put them in a special spot in hell for what they did to her psyche when she was vulnerable.  This of course also causes Daniel some pain as we see but you’ll love his understanding of what is truly going on and admire how much he was able to let go as much as it hurt him to do so.  This is a man worthy of love and devotion which you’ll see he eventually gets from the one woman who completes him.

 

I adored this story and since the team at Berkeley are so generous…  I have a paperback copy of this one to give away to one lucky commenter.  All you need to do is tell me something about the person(s) that ground you.  We all have someone that has held that place in our heart that we know accepts us as we are…  Mine was my grandfather Sophus who I knew loved me as I was…  Leave a comment by 3/11/15 at 11:59 pm CT for a chance to win the paperback.

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What A Woman – Judi Fennell – 4 stars – Contest

March 3, 2015 Penguin, Read in 2015, Sent 1 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

What A Woman – Judi Fennell – 4 stars – ContestWhat A Woman Published by Berkley Publishing Group on March 3, 2015
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
four-stars
After starting her housecleaning company, Manley Maids, one woman is determined to make it on her own. And what a woman she is…

Now that Mary-Alice Catherine Manley—Mac—has her hunky brothers working for her, she can sit back and watch the business roll in. But her new assignment quickly tosses that plan out the window. Mildred, her grandmother’s best friend, needs her house cleaned and Gran has volunteered Mac for the job. The problem is Mildred’s cocky grandson. He thinks Mac’s at his beck and call, but she has a few things to tell him…aside from how hot he is.

Jared Nolan is currently lying low, nursing some broken bones—and a bruised ego. The former professional baseball player let himself be used by woman once, and now it could rob him of his beloved career. No woman is ever going to call the shots again, which is why, when the bossy Mac shows up, he’s going to show her who’s really in charge. He’s just not prepared for the undeniable attraction between them. And with the two of them in one house, there’s no telling who will come out swinging…

Ok I was very very bad and started this series with the last book…  OOPS!  I will be going back to read the rest and don’t believe I suffered by starting late.  This was a sweet book of two people who have been meant for one another since they were kids but as many know you don’t always know what you’ve got until it’s gone or in theory buried.

Mac (Mary-Alice Catherine) loves her life and her business even if she had to learn how to count cards in order to make her brothers help her out for a bit in order to get some much needed publicity and growth for her new company.  She’s smart and extremely caring which is why she is bound and determined to not succumb to her childhood crush when she’s stuck with him as they clean out his grandma’s house.  She gets to spend time around him as he heals from a devastating injury but is not willing to let him walk all over her.  She pushes him to be more than he expected and will not let him get away with treating her or others like dirt no matter how much he protests.  I liked her willingness to do things for others without expectation of repayment but mainly liked her attitude of taking no prisoners.  She is who she is and she doesn’t hide it from anyone.  She wants a partner but isn’t in a huge hurry to find one as she really wants her cleaning business to take off.

Jared… sigh…  I have to admit that Jared made the book for me as he struggled with who he really was and this new appreciation for who Mac is.  He struggles with seeing her as a woman finally and also with his past treatment of her.  You get to see that while she wasn’t trying to ruin the good times for him and her brothers she really was being a pest.  Both of them get to see things thru the others eyes in this and it makes you/them appreciate what they have.  He finally gets answers as to why his parents are the way they are and it helps him discover who he really is and what will make him happy.  I liked his grouchy side and once we get a bigger picture as to what makes him tick you can appreciate why he struggles so hard with what Mac means to him.  He’s something else but I did want to hurt him when he pulls his stunt near the end of the book…  was it appropriate in some respects but dammit man communication is CRITICAL!!!

Overall this was a cute book about childhood nemesis (not really but will make sense when you read) finding true love where they didn’t expect it.

Now for the good news…  I’m giving away my finished copy that was used for reviewing this title.  All you need to do is comment below with either your first crush or your first enemy… Comment by 3/11/2015 at 11:59 pm CT in order to be entered.

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Living in Secret – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 stars

March 2, 2015 Read in 2015, Samhain, Sent 0 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Living in Secret – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 starsLiving in Secret Published by Samhain Publishing on February 24, 2015
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon four-half-stars
She always tried to be good, but now he needs her to be bad…

Living In…, Book 3

Lawyers Connor and Victoria Blake had a high-powered marriage to match their meteoric careers—until a secret from Victoria’s past came back to haunt her. A year after it all fell apart, Victoria is ready for a new job, a new town.

Instead of signing the divorce papers, though, her husband has a tempting proposal—one week of no holds barred before moving on with their lives. She’s never stopped wanting him, but he’s always kept the deepest part of himself locked away.

Connor already endured one brutal betrayal in his life, and Victoria’s cut him to the core. But during a naughty game of one-upmanship with a sexy stranger, he sees a different woman, whose warmth and passion he craves like a drug.

In one week they expose dark passions that set them both free. But amidst searing desire that should fuse them together, Connor is coming to the brink of a decision to choose what’s more important. The last secret he’s holding inside, or the woman he can’t let go.

Warning: Contains a man coming to terms with his inner darkness, a woman ready to match him kink for kink, secrets, lies, and a marriage getting its sexy back. Could take readers on a one-way ticket to WTF city.

Where to begin…

Jackie always brings the angsty heroes which I adore even as I cry because of the way they hit my buttons.  I also like her heroine’s strength and the way they won’t take crap from the hero.

Victoria just wants one thing…. her estranged husband’s signature on their divorce papers.  She is getting ready to uproot her life and head to London to begin again but she needs those pesky papers signed.  She’s repressed and seemingly always in control but she hides a deep need to be accepted for who she is and not what people expect from her.  I liked her drive and also enjoyed how she was able to get under our hero’s skin but didn’t like how she expected him to bare his soul but wasn’t willing to do so in return.  She’s at her best when she finally admits what she wants and needs which doesn’t happen completely until the very end of the story.

Connor is intense.  This is the best way to describe him and when you read this story I think you’ll agree.  He’s very driven to be perfect and in control.  He’s also driven to prosecute the lawbreakers and make sure that justice is done but is very passionless when it came to his marriage.  This is a part of his extreme control and hides a man that is very good at being bad.  He craves a chance to let loose and sees using what Victoria needs to get her out of his system.  As he breaks down and gives in to his baser needs he ends up finding out that what is best for him might be to finally tell the story of his past.  I hated what he went thru as a child but liked that Victoria saw the truth behind his actions and didn’t believe the same way that Connor did.

The sex scenes are intense as both of them are so repressed that when the control is gone…. when they finally let their bodies take what they crave and need… *fans self*  LOVED.

 

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The Companion Contract – Solace Ames – 4.5 stars

February 10, 2015 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2015 1 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Companion Contract – Solace Ames – 4.5 starsThe Companion Contract on February 9, 2015
Pages: 233
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
AmazonBarnes & Noble four-half-stars
Control. Submission. Power.

Amy Mendoza knew she'd never have a Cinderella story. She walked away from the ashes of her childhood on her own, and signed her first porn contract the day she turned eighteen. The money's been good, but it's time to walk away again before the life drags her down. When a mysterious stranger offers her an unusual contract—sexual companion to a recently relapsed rock star—she accepts.

Amy quickly and gratefully falls into an easy rhythm of control and submission—but it's not her client who keeps her up at night. Emanuel, lead guitarist and the man who hired her, occupies her thoughts—and soon, her bed. Their connection is intense, and although Amy knows sleeping with Emanuel isn't what she's there for—isn't what she's being paid for—what's between them is too strong to ignore. But there's more to Emanuel than Amy knows, and submitting to him might come at too high a price…

89,000 words

Wow… This was something unexpected that made me very happy as a reader.  The subject material isn’t fluffy and the heroine is definitely not the normal type but she’s very honest and open with her flaws/strengths.  I enjoyed reading the nuances and relationships that are in flux throughout this story but also enjoyed the threads that weave through the characters showing how lives evolve over a period of months.  I think what struck me most was the fact that Solace is not afraid to show you the dregs and low points but also makes the high points realistic for the characters.  There is not a perfect happy ending for all of the characters but there is an ending for them that shows they are on the path to being fulfilled.  There is no magic bullet that makes everything better but hard work and some pain can make it possible for you to find what you need.

Amy was a very strong character who is at a crossroads in her life.  She isn’t completely fond of being a porn star but hey it pays the bills and honestly her issues aren’t with the sex but that she’s feeling a bit burnt out.  She’s approached by someone she has idolized from afar to be a sober companion for a band member but this isn’t a “Hey let’s keep you on the straight and narrow” type companion…  This is a keep him sexed up and happy so he stays off drugs companion.  She’s happy to be used in this manner but she also does her part to be the other type companion.  I liked her no nonsense approach but loved seeing her internal struggle with what she wants from her idol and what she thinks is going on.  She’s smart as hell and extremely practical but is incredibly vulnerable behind her walls.  As she gets involved with our hero we get to see more of this vulnerability but strength.

Emmanuel is something else.  He isn’t easy to read but you can sense his enjoyment of Amy even as she was fulfilling the contract.  Their relationship actually builds nicely thru the story.  We get to see them interacting outside of the bedroom before they actually have sex which builds the tension.  Sure she gives him a blowjob really early in the book but most of the book is them building up to their eventual pairing and not of them being paired from moment one.  I enjoyed that buildup as we get to really see what makes them tick apart and together which made the final outcome very worth the wait.  He’s very complicated but for Amy he just is someone who also has flaws but deserves adoration and love.

I am going to have to get the rest of the stories out today by Solace and keep my eyes open for more.  This was a very well done story of recovery and owning one’s self no matter what your life’s path is…

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Quarterback Draw – Jaci Burton – 4.5 stars

February 6, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 2 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Quarterback Draw – Jaci Burton – 4.5 starsQuarterback Draw by Jaci Burton
Published by Penguin on 2015-02-03
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Playing For Keeps

Grant Cassidy knows how to be a football star—flash that dazzling smile, throw the winning pass, get the girl. But while the hot quarterback loves the game and the lifestyle, no woman has come close to catching his heart. Then he matches wits with a smart, gorgeous model, and Grant finds himself wanting more than a fling.

Supermodel Katrina Koslova might live in a world of glitz and camera flashes, but she works hard to provide for the family that relies on her. She doesn’t have time for fun—much less a boyfriend—but Grant seems determined to be the exception to Katrina’s rule.

Their explosive chemistry is undeniable, but Katrina’s afraid to let go and rely on anyone but herself. Grant intends to ease her fears and prove he’s a man of style and substance.

Ummmmm I can’t say enough about the covers for this series…  talk about needing a towel to wipe up the drool but the story in this one was lovely.

We have two people who aren’t really looking for the ONE but find it when they get paired up at a swimsuit shoot.   Grant comes in to the photoshoot thinking let’s get this over with so I can head back and relax before the football season starts.  He isn’t overly fond of these shoots but they do pay well and he is smart enough to know that football doesn’t last forever.  PR is SOOOO not his thing but hey stuck in a tropical paradise isn’t a bad way to earn some dollars but he is surprised by a connection he feels with Katrina and even more surprised by how much he wants to get to know her better.  I mean he can have any woman he wants but there is something about her that causes him to want to pursue her.  He doesn’t get very far because the one thing Katrina does well is focus and ignore men vying for her attentions.

Katrina is used to doing everything with extreme control.  She has had to raise her younger siblings from an early age and her focus is on keeping the modeling career going in order to provide for them.  She has no time or desire to pursue a relationship or to be honest even have fun.  Her life revolves around her siblings and nothing will take her focus from that.  When she meets Grant she’s struck by their chemistry and the fact that she wants…  simple as that… she wants….  This is not something she is comfortable with and it leads to tension between them as Grant works hard to get her to let him in.

I liked both of their focus on family and that it means everything to both of them.  The romance between the pair builds nicely and has moments where the issues seem a bit too difficult to get over but I loved how compromise and valuing each other ended up being central to it working.  Grant does sort of walk all over barriers to get to Katrina but it was meant well and honestly was what she needed in order to really embrace living for herself and not just wrapped up with her siblings.

Her siblings were priceless and good kids so I loved their part in helping her realize that they would be ok with Katrina having a life….

Now for the fun stuff… I can’t believe I’m going to do this but I must get better about letting paper copies go so…  If you’d like to win my finished review copy of this title…  What sport do you find you love most?  One commenter will be lucky enough to win as long as they’ve entered by 11:59 pm US Central Time on Feb 11, 2015.

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Last Hit – Jessica Clare/Jan Frederick – 5 stars

February 5, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 1 ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Last Hit – Jessica Clare/Jan Frederick – 5 starsLast Hit by Jessica ClareJen Frederick
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 2015-02-03
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
five-stars
From two bestselling authors—the first in a deliciously bold new series that takes readers to the most dangerous edge of desire . . .

Nikolai: I have been a contract killer since I was a boy. For years I savored the fear caused by my name, the trembling at the sight of my tattoos. The stars on my knees, the marks on my fingers, the dagger in my neck, all spoke of danger. If you saw my eyes, it was the last vision you’d have. I have ever been the hunter, never the prey. With her, I am the mark and I am ready to lie down and let her capture me. Opening my small, scarred heart to her brings out my enemies. I will carry out one last hit, but if they hurt her, I will bring the world down around their ears.

Daisy: I’ve been sheltered from the outside world all my life. Home-schooled and farm-raised, I’m so naive that my best friend calls me Pollyanna. I like to believe the best about people. Nikolai is part of this new life, and he’s terrifying to me. Not because his eyes are cold or my friend warns me away from him, but because he’s the only man who has ever seen the real me beneath the awkwardness. With him, my heart is at risk . . . and also, my life.

*hangs head in shame* Yes I know Mel..  I know..  bad Stephanie for not reading this earlier…  I’m just a bad, bad girl…  *snickers*

Anyway I have to say I am mad at myself for not deciding to pick this up earlier but I am glad I finally read it because man oh man is Nikolai something else.  There is not a lot of sexy times in this book but you know what…  IT DOESN’T NEED IT!  There is so much tension in this book that you won’t miss the main event and will be happy when these two finally have that moment.  This book is more about two on the surface different people that really are the perfect match.  We have sweet, virginal (yes… VIRGINal) Daisy, who is so naive and overwhelmed by life in the real world, and Nikolai, who is  jaded and in his eyes filthy not fit for anything good.

The journey these characters take is one of discovering your worth, your heart and finally living free from the tethers of your past.  I adored seeing Nikolai struggle with small talk and how to court Daisy.  He’s so used to just having sex as a form of stress release and it meaning nothing than a way to take the edge off that trying to woo someone is just a foreign concept to him.  This is a man who has no friends but has only existed to kill and earn money.  He has a heartrending past and watching him finally become fully human was beautiful.

Daisy is fully human but has spent her life being isolated from the outside world by a man who was battling his own demons.  I loved her enthusiasm about even the tiniest things and appreciated that she didn’t hate her father but wanted to do nothing more than help him.  Her guilt where he was concerned is honest and raw which I appreciated.  I also liked that she understands how naive she is but doesn’t use it to throw up her hands and quit.  She’s stubborn and strong which shows as things come to light.  Her ability to see Nikolai as a human being is tested but thankfully she sees thru to his core personality even as she feels betrayed.

I personally cannot wait for Daniel and Reagan’s story to unfold next plus look forward to seeing more of Nikolai/Daisy in later stories.  If you are looking for a book that is more about tension and building a relationship even if it is shrouded in lies then this one is for you.

 

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Manwhore by Katy Evans – Excerpt Reveal!

February 4, 2015 Tours 1

 

manwhore

manwhore cover

RELEASE DATE: March 24th

MANWHORE

book #1 of ‘the manwhore series’

Is it possible to expose Chicago’s hottest player—without getting played?

This is the story I’ve been waiting for all my life, and its name is Malcolm Kyle Preston Logan Saint. Don’t be fooled by that last name though. There’s nothing holy about the man except the hell his parties raise. The hottest entrepreneur Chicago has ever known, he’s a man’s man with too much money to spend and too many women vying for his attention.

Mysterious. Privileged. Legendary. His entire life he’s been surrounded by the press as they dig for tidbits to see if his fairytale life is for real or all mirrors and social media lies. Since he hit the scene, his secrets have been his and his alone to keep. And that’s where I come in.

Assigned to investigate Saint and reveal his elusive personality, I’m determined to make him the story that will change my career.

But I never imagined he would change my life. Bit by bit, I start to wonder if I’m the one discovering him…or if he’s uncovering me.

What happens when the man they call Saint, makes you want to sin?

EXCERPT

I look very different than the girl Saint met in his office. But I don’t feel any different. My nerves are frayed to the edges as I give my name to a bouncer at the entrance and I’m allowed into the club, every part of me snug and tight in my dress as my black heels hit the floor.

Whereas M4 was all museum-like, the Ice Box is pure dark decadence. Ice sculptures sit on pedestals around the room. Cages with body-painted dancers hang from the ceiling. A bar with white and blue lights stretches from one wall to another.

Strobe lights flash across the space as I get jostled by the crowd. The bass thumps as the song “Waves” by Mr. Probz plays for the dancing crowd. Drinks are flowing on shiny silver trays, and the drinks are so adorned—by fruits, olives, salt glitter or colorful liquid swirls—they’re like artworks. This isn’t a normal swanky club. It’s the rich boys’ club and everywhere you look are beautiful people wearing beautiful things.

“I met him! God! When he said hi I thought I’d faint…!”

My nerves eat at me as I hear that, because I know for sure they’re talking about him. Trying to breathe, I wind deeper into the club, wishing for Gina so bad I ache. The room is packed with women, some clearly on the hunt, others already paired with someone, a few hanging out with their friends. I breathe slowly, in and out, telling myself I can do this. It’s just a club. I can have some fun. It’s been a while since I’ve gone out to a club, and never a club like this, but it doesn’t matter. I can interview people, and if I’m lucky, I can do more than that.

After scanning the area and trying to find the best spy-spots, I go to the top level and that’s when I get the best look at what’s happening downstairs at the most crowded corner.

And speak of the devil. My heart stops a beat when I see that dark head of his, and that loathed, burning knot in my stomach squeezes with a vengeance. I swear no one in my life has ever made me this nervous.

He sits with his arms stretched out behind him, a wine glass and two women vying for his attention as he chats with his friends. His masculine face is illuminated in certain angles when the lights flash—his beauty unprecedented.

Okay. Breathing. Do I want him to know I’m here or not?

A watery sensation seems to spread down my limbs as I force myself to go downstairs. I wind a path to the ladies’ room and worm myself through the throng of bodies toward a wide mirror above a set of modernist floating sinks. A group of women preen at themselves while I look our reflections. To my right, a woman pouts her red lips, and to my left, her friend pouts her pink ones. Me? I’m still me, but I look extravagant, like I was born here. I look very different than the young girl in coveralls he met. Will he even recognize me like this?

“You going to the after-party?” Red Lips asks Pink Lips as they retouch their lipsticks.

“No key yet.”

“Lookie lookie.” Red Lips waves a keycard in the air.

There’s squealing in the room and she tucks the key into her bra. “Mine!”

“So there’s an after-party?” I ask them.

“At Saint’s penthouse,” one says, nodding.

“How do you get invited to this party?”

“A hundred keys are distributed during the evening.”

A sudden thought of stealing the very key she’s just tucked into her bra flickers through my mind. I mean, it’s just a key. It couldn’t possibly be a felony.

“Babe,” she tells me, “stop giving my key the eye! I’ve been waiting three years to get a key like this. Go and work your ass out there if you want one. Only the finest asses make it.”

“Thanks,” I say, turning to look at my ass in the mirror questioningly. Gina says I’ve got a great ass. It’s perky and the perfect handful, some would say. But would Saint say that?

I sigh and lean against the wall, then I spot all the little writings on an open stall door. I narrow my eyes, forcing my focus.

Malcolm for my baby-daddy

I sucked Saint’s cock

Tahoe rammed me right here

Callan licks cunt like a caveman

I head back into the noise and try to find a good spot for spying when I see him again. The two women won’t leave his side and now my stomach for some reason feels jumpy, annoying me. One of the blondes takes a shot from the waiter, licks the rim, and then adds salt.

Saint edges back and watches her with an expression of casual boredom, but his lips are curled, as if he’s having some fun.

I’m so engrossed watching—a little too fascinated and a little bit disgusted—I don’t realize a guard has walked up to me until he’s right in my face. He signals to the back of the room—to where Saint’s best friends are now watching me. Saint isn’t even looking my way. Oh no, he’s too busy being entertained, still wearing that almost-bored smile. Maybe they need to take their tops off to get him excited?

All three men fit in perfectly with the lavish surroundings, but I can’t look at the other two. Only at Malcolm. Malcolm’s dark good looks blend with the shadows like Hades in his own little corner of hell.

Suddenly he laughs over something one of the blondes does and he turns a little, his eyes landing straight on me—and stopping there.

I feel his stare like a hit of adrenaline. I want to look away, but I can’t, I feel trapped. I don’t know if I made this up but I could’ve sworn his chest jerked as if he sucked in a breath.

Does he recognize me?

Do I want him to?

Suddenly the atmosphere is so heavy I can’t breathe. My lungs feel like rocks and I really can’t breathe. As he rakes me in one fast, complete sweep of his eyes that makes my stomach grip nervously, he takes in my pumps up to my long blonde hair, and I become aware of my dress hugging the top of my thighs, my hips, my abdomen, my breasts and even my ass. Oh god. I force myself to follow the guard in his direction, every step accelerating my heartbeat. In that black suit and without a tie, the top button of his shirt open and his hair a bit rumpled, Saint is the embodiment of luxurious and decadent and sin. He is Sin Itself and I feel like an absolute…virgin.

He stretches his long legs out before him, his stare fixed on mine without any seeming inclination to move away.

“Mr. Saint,” the guard clears his throat. “The gentlemen had me summon her.”

Although his smile doesn’t waver, the look on his face is completely remote and unreadable.

“Here she is, gentlemen,” the guard then tells the other two—the blond and the copper-haired men looking at me like lunch.

“Tahoe,” the blonde says.

“Callan,” the copper-haired says.

Saint merely pats the blondes on the butt and sends them on her way, then he reaches out to take my elbow somehow in an instinctive gesture that brings me a strange sense of comfort. I don’t know anybody else here, so when he tugs me to his side, I go down and sit next to him on the edge of the long booth.

And that’s when he leans his dark head over to me and murmurs, “Malcolm.” His voice is so deep and rumbling, I shiver.

“Rachel,” I lamely offer.

He raises his eyebrow and stares at me. What are you doing here, Rachel? he seems to ask.

I’m wondering what to say, when Tahoe lifts his drink and drains it. “You’re up past your bedtime.” The Texan oil baby. Oozing charm, drawling out the words.

I don’t know why but I’m acutely aware of the position of Saint’s body in relation to mine. He just straightened fully in the booth and somehow shifted so his arm is very noticeably stretched out behind me.

“Like they say, no rest for the wicked,” I answer Tahoe with an extra-wide smile, my heart pounding over Saint’s nearness.

Suddenly I can smell him. Just him. Among all the mingled scents in the room, it’s Saint somehow in my lungs, in every breath. He radiates a vitality that draws me like a magnet. It unnerves me but something in his presence, so close to me, soothes me too.

“Apparently there’s a dress code—Saint had to drop his tail and horns at the door,” Callan jokes as a waiter sets a drink before me.

“Oh yes.” I tug the hem of my skirt self-consciously, “I had to drop half my dress.”

“Did you now?” Tahoe asks.

“T.”

One word, one letter, from Malcolm.

“Yeah, Saint?” Tahoe returns, lifting his eyebrows.

“Dibs.”

I almost spit out the drink. I cough and slam my hand to my chest, and Saint calmly reaches out to take my drink from my hand and sets it aside.  “Okay?” he asks, ducking his head and peering into my face.

I give one last cough and squeeze my eyes shut and nod, and when I open my eyes, Saint is the only thing I see. I find him staring at me in such a penetrating way I can feel the stare in my bones.

“Did you just get to the party, Rachel?” he asks.

As he waits for my reply, he reaches for my cocktail and extends the glass out to me. His wrist is thick and looks so strong, so golden, his skin smooth, his arm dusted with a little bit of hair as I cautiously take it from him, our fingers brushing.

Tahoe reaches for his coat pocket and waves whatever he extracted in the air. “Saint! May I?”

Excitement leaps in my chest when I realize it’s the key!

“Not happening, that’s not her scene,” Malcolm murmurs besides me.

“Aw! Come on, let me give her a key. She’s a dime, man,” Tahoe drawls.

I’m so disbelieving, I’m not even breathing as Malcolm slowly stands. I follow him up, staring up into his face in confusion.

“What do you mean it’s not my scene?” I demand. I feel like there’s no gravity when he stands so close to me. I’m dizzy. Confused. And unexpectedly hurt.

For the first time since we met, he looks at me like he’s actually losing his temper…with me. He leans closer and puts his lips close to my ear. “Trust me when I tell you, it’s not your scene. Go home,” he whispers. He sends me a look laden with warning and walks away, blending into the crowd.

Tahoe and Callan stare at me, speechless. “That’s a first,” Tahoe mumbles and heads away.

I feel myself burn in humiliation and confusion. Worse is that, when I go outside, the same man who drove us around the day before walks over to me.

“Miss Livingston, a pleasure to drive you,” he says, hanging up his phone as if Saint just called him. He is a huge man, with a bald head, an earpiece, and no expression. A second later, he’s opening the car door of the Rolls for me.

Seriously?

Did Saint call him just now and ask him to escort me home?

Aware of people staring and seeing me being led to Saint’s car, I climb into the back of the car and I murmur my thanks simply because it’s not this man’s fault.

The car smells new and expensive and, like him. A bottle of wine and water bottles ride with me. There’s music in the background and the temperature is just right. The perfect luxury of it all tempts me to run my hands down my dress and look down at myself in confusion. What is wrong with me?

I feel as if he pulled the rug from under me and reminded me what I’m up against. The top of the species. Somebody ruthless.

I can’t take the heat in the back of my ears and on my cheeks. I sag on the backseat and set my forehead on the window. Focus, Livingston! Exhaling, I grab my phone and try to write down all the details about what I saw, but I can’t right now. I just can’t do anything but ride here, in his car, wondering why I feel so vulnerable.

COMING SOON

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About the Author:

Hey! I’m Katy Evans and I love family, books, life, and love. I’m married with two children and three dogs and spend my time baking, walking, writing, reading, and taking care of my family. Thank you for spending your time with me and picking up my story. I hope you had an amazing time with it, like I did. If you’d like to know more about books in progress, look me up on the Internet, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Website: www.katyevans.net

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Email: authorkatyevans@gmail.com

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Radio Silence – Alyssa Cole – 5 stars

February 3, 2015 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0 ★★★★★

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Radio Silence – Alyssa Cole – 5 starsRadio Silence by Alyssa Cole
Published by Carina Press on 2015-02-02
Genres: Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Fiction, General, Multicultural & Interracial, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 169
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Radio Silence (Off the Grid)<img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=booaholano0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00N0MYHC2">AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
five-stars
No one expects the apocalypse.

Arden Highmore was living your average postgrad life in Rochester, New York, when someone flipped the "off" switch on the world. No cell phones, no power, no running water—and no one knows why. All she and her roommate, John, know for sure is that they have to get out, stat. His family's cabin near the Canadian border seemed like the safest choice.

It turns out isolation doesn't necessarily equal safety.

When scavengers attack, it's John's ridiculously handsome brother, Gabriel, who comes to the rescue. He saves Arden's life, so he can't be all bad…but he's also a controlling jerk who treats her like an idiot. Now their parents are missing and it seems John, Gabriel, their kid sister, Maggie, and Arden are the only people left alive who aren't bloodthirsty maniacs.

No one knows when—or if—the lights will come back on and, in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there's a fine line indeed between love and hate. How long can they expect to last in this terrifying new world, be it together or apart?

Book one of Off the Grid

69,000 words

I have to give credit to both Alisha Rai and Bree for getting me to notice and read this title.  I hadn’t really paid attention to it until I saw them on Twitter gushing about the title and then I needed to read it.  I am so glad I took a chance on it because it was AMAZING.

My review is not going to do this justice but you really need to take a chance on this title because:

  1. We have a strong heroine, Arden, who is struggling with finding her place in this new reality.  She’s honest about her issues but also is very open to change.  I loved her struggle with guilt about not spending time with her parents but appreciated that she didn’t use that as an excuse to fall apart.  She is a good person to have on your side because even with everything that is going bad in the world she won’t let it keep her down.  She’s tough, caring and oh so a match for…
  2. Gabriel… dear lord is this man HOT.  I loved his surly exterior as he becomes the man in charge and tries to keep everything as normal as possible in a world where nothing is the way it should be.  Answers are not forthcoming from the outside world but he is not one to fall apart.  His surliness masks a really sweet man who truly loves his family and is fascinated by Arden even as he growls at her like he can’t stand her.  There is so much to this man and I enjoyed getting to see his personality over the course of the story.
  3. John…  bless his heart..  He’s such a sweet, funny man who brought some much needed laughter as he realizes he has NO SOCIAL MEDIA or ELECTRONIC GAMES…  I mean what the HELL man…  How can we all survive without Twitter….  He’s also a good foil for the intensity of Gabriel.
  4. Maggie is also available as a bit of drama but also a nice resource for Arden in this world gone wrong.  I liked how strong she is even as young as she is.  She’s very smart in many ways but we get to see her vulnerability as she struggles with missing her parents and worrying about a boy she was starting to know via social media.  I liked how she showed that she was capable of being more than just the kid sister who needs coddling although I wanted to hurt her when she did something incredibly stupid.

Overall this book kept me enthralled not only because of the sheer chemistry between our main pair but because of the world that they find themselves in.  I want to know more about what exactly is going on … I mean we don’t know exactly what happened or how widespread it is or…. seriously you will be wanting more more more as you read this just because we don’t know.  I look forward to more of this series and will be keeping a close eye out.  I’m also going to be *ahem* slightly stalking Alyssa in order to find out about more stories from her as she kept me engaged every step of the way thru this one.

GO GRAB THIS ONE NOW!!!

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