Review: ★Blurred Lines★ by Lauren Layne

Review Blurred LinesBlurred Lines
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Lauren Layne
Release Date: August 25, 2015add-to-goodreads-button3

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In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Today bestselling 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.

Buy LinksAmazon / iBooks

Review

3 starsBlurred Lines-DirtyGirlRomance

Ben and my no strings attached relationship?
Yeah. Turns out that there are suddenly strings after all.
And I’m completely tangled in them.

I adore all things Lauren Layne, so it was an absolute no brainer decision when I saw she was coming out with a book for one of my favorite tropes; friends to lovers, to dive right in. Lauren is my go-to author whenever I need a light and easy read filled with swoony romance and endearing characters. Blurred Lines certainly fit that and then some. It was the perfect afternoon read. I simply adored Parker and Ben together. I always seem to have a weakness for the manwhores, and Ben definitely hit the spot for that. Their friendship had a solid foundation, which I really appreciated. I loved their banter the most

I think we should hook up.”
I would just like to state- for the record- that I should win a goddamned medal for not laughing, fainting, or straight up walking out of the room.

While the chemistry was definitely present between these two, they spent so much of the book denying and not seeing what was happening between them, that it became difficult even for me to see it. I struggled to see beyond their friendship to the romantic entanglements. Sure they burn up the sheets together, but I just didn’t get that butterflies in the stomach kind of connection. Usually in a friends-to-lovers book, I always sense the undercurrent of romance and sexual chemistry between the couple even when they don’t, but that wasn’t the case here. I can understand given the many years of solid friendship they had how they may fail to see it, but it just lasted too long for my tastes. Perhaps if both of them began to noticed it at least in the middle of the book than towards the end of it? For whatever reason, I just didn’t get that sense of crackling chemistry I usually get with a Lauren Layne novel.

Don’t get me wrong, this was still a lovely romance and one I’d recommend for any lover of a good friends-to-lovers trope, it just wasn’t my favorite by this author. Then again, considering I’ve absolutely loved all her other books, that’s not exactly a rough criticism. Blurred Lines was an enjoyable and steamy romance that’s easy on the angst, had great character development, but just fell a little flat on the all-encompassing romance for me.

Review: ★Worth It★ by @lindakage

Review Worth It WORTH IT
Series: Forbidden Men #6
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Linda Kage
Release Date: August 25, 2015add-to-goodreads-button3

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I fell in love once.

It was amazing. She was amazing. Life was amazing.

I lived for each time I could see her, and nothing else mattered, not that our families were enemies, our time together was forbidden, or we had to meet in secret.

Our love could conquer all.

Until it didn’t.

So I was ripped away from the love of my life and shoved into hell, forced to continue without her.

It shattered me, broke the best parts of me, left me permanently damaged.

Or so I thought.

Years later, I swear history’s trying to repeat itself because she’s back in my life, and I’m just as drawn to her as I was before. But I’m older and wiser now, and I know she should stay away from a worthless ex-con like me.

So, I will not let her in. I absolutely refuse to hurt her. I will keep her away.

Then again, sometimes risking your greatest fear to get to a smile makes everything worth it, and besides, I’m not sure I can resist her, anyway.

This is the story of how Felicity Bainbridge changed my life forever, starting one summer day long ago after I was forced to change a dirty diaper…

–Knox Parker

Buy LinksAMAZON

Review

4.5 starsWorth It- Dirty Girl Romance

I craved every little second I got to see her, but I knew I should stay away. It was torment, the two cravings rivaling and constantly churning in me, playing tug-of-war between what my heart wanted and what I knew was best.

Wow. Suffice it to say that I’m drained. This book absolutely gutted me. It was devastating and beautiful all at once and I loved every painful second of it. Worth It is unlike any other book this author’s ever written. It has much darker undertones than the other books in this series, and it’s no light read. It’s gritty, it’s emotional, it’s devastating, made you ugly cry while hugging your kindle sort of read. It’s a beautifully unforgettable second chance romance about two people that didn’t belong, but yet belonged to each other that fate ripped apart in the cruelest of ways, only to bring them back together a little more broken to put their shattered pieces back together six years later. If you don’t recall these characters from previous books, that’s because they weren’t introduced there. Linda Kage managed to flawlessly interweave them, so if you’re wondering why they got a book before Asher, trust me when I tell you that you’ll understand once you read. Both of them have such a profound connection to a few of the previous characters that I never saw coming and definitely loved reading about. This also makes this book an easy standalone, so if you haven’t read the rest of the series, you’d still be able to enjoy this one fully.

I think the worth of person comes from who you are and less from WHAT you are.”

Knox Parker is the boy from the wrong part of the railroad tracks, so to speak. His father’s a drunk, and his family are the pariahs of their town. He’s the last boy that should catch the eye of the daughter of the rich and influential Bainbridge family, but that’s exactly what happens. One chance meeting in the woods between Knox and Felicity is the start of an incredible friendship that soon turns into a unforgettable young love. Knox may only be 18 to Felicity’s 16, but that doesn’t make their love any less real.

Stop looking so sad when I don’t kiss you, and stop trying to leave when you’re sad. You’re not allowed to walk away from me unless you’re smiling.”

Worth It is told in alternating POVs, jumping from present to the past of six years ago, slowly showing the reader how they fell in love and what ultimately led to the devastating event that tore them apart. This was probably my one biggest quibble about the book. The “past” is set in our “present”. Meaning the books, movies and songs that are described are from this year; but it’s set to six years ago. The “present” doesn’t have a year, but it starts pretty much almost right where A Perfect Ten ended. I’m one of those readers that has a hard time turning off my disbelief during books, so this was a little odd for me to wrap my head around. Also there was the part about Knox (this is not a big spoiler (it’s revealed in the very first chapter), but just in case you don’t want to know more than what the synopsis gives you, I’ll hide it)(view spoiler) Luckily it wasn’t significant enough to ever take away from the story because I was completely enraptured in it.
Worth It teaser2-DirtyGirlRomanceSix years after they were ripped apart, Knox is back in the town he grew up in, but he’s no longer the boy he once was. He’s broken and he’s harboring his fair share of demons from his time in hell.

I’m just some wasted shell of space who won’t stop breathing. And I can do nothing but hurt you. There’s this stain on me. I’ll never get it out.

There’s enough hints and bits and pieces given about what he’s been through to slowly let the reader connect the buttons, and my hear absolutely broke for Knox. His life was so tragic and when the whole truth of it gets revealed, I flat out sobbed. It was one thing trying to connect the pieces, but when you’re hit with the full picture of what he’d been through, it’s absolutely devastating.
Worth It teaser-DirtyGirlRomanceIf you love broken and tortured heroes, trust me when I tell you that you will absolutely fall in love with Knox.

Felicity was a wonderful heroine. She always had this understated strength about her, and I loved the way she fought for Knox and what they once had even though he does his best to push her away because he doesn’t think he’s good enough for her now.

These last six years have been hell. Because being without you is like an open wound that bleeds and festers every day. It hurts and it’s miserable, and now you’re right here, yet you keep pushing me away.”

This book was definitely a step away from the rest of the series, but it was amazing in it’s own right. It was emotional and completely unforgettable. It’s a story that will definitely be staying with me for a long long while. It’s just one of those books that truly touches you on a visceral level with the amount of emotions it brings out in you.

With a choked sound of defeat, I crushed my mouth to hers. I had to shut her up. Her words were slaying me. Her tears were like poison. I died a hundred deaths from each aching confession. And I need her to stop before I ceased to exist.

There’s also a hell of a teaser in the epilogue for Asher’s book that’s sure to whet your appetite if you’ve been waiting for it like I have. If you’re on the fence about reading this book, I can only tell you that you need to. It may not be a light read, but it’s so worth it. I love a good second chance romance, and this one was just so beautifully tragic and yet wonderful all at once. I simply can’t give you more than that because you need to experience it for yourself. But believe me when I tell you, that that’s what you need to do; experience it.


Read this amazing series in order!

Price of a Kiss
Book #1

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To Professor, With Love
Book #2

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Be My Hero
Book #3

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With Every Heartbeat
Book #4

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A Perfect Ten
Book #5

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Review: ★Until You★ by @PenDouglas

Review-Until YouUNTIL YOU
Series: Fall Away #1.5
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Penelope Douglasadd-to-goodreads-button3

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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Penelope Douglas comes a companion novel to Bully. 

This is Jared’s story.

Have you ever been so angry that hitting things felt good? Or numb to all emotions? The past few years have been like that for me. Traveling between fury and indifference with no stops in between. Some people hate me for it, while others are scared of me. But none of them can hurt me, because I don’t care about anything or anyone.

Except Tatum.

I love her so much that I hate her. I hate that I can’t let her go. We used to be friends, but I found out that I couldn’t trust her—or anyone else. So I hurt her. I pushed her away. But I still need her. She centers me. Engaging her, challenging her, pushing her—it’s the one last part of me that feels anything anymore.

But then she went and screwed everything up. She left for a year and came back a different girl. Now, when I push, she pushes back…and I’m not sure either one of us will ever be the same.

Buy LinksAMAZON

Review

5 starsUntil You-DirtyGirlRomance

Becoming hard at heart isn’t an intersection in your brain where you have a choice to turn left or right. It’s coming to a dead end, and you just keep going, over the cliff, unable to stop the inevitable, because the truth is you just don’t want to.
There is freedom in the fall.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I was actually hesitant to read this. Last time I read a companion novel, the only thing it managed to do was make me hate the heroine with the fire of the worst kind of venereal disease. Not that I’d know what that felt like, but you catch my drift. What I mean to say, is more often then not you’re getting the same regurgitated novel you already read but in a different POV. Well this wasn’t that at all. Not even a little bit. Not even close. While this is essentially in Jared’s POV it’s a completely different book. So much so, that you can read it as a standalone, which I wouldn’t recommend since you need to see it from Tate’s POV first in Bully. You may be asking yourself, why wasn’t this just written as an alternating POV initially? Well you, my doubtful friend, clearly haven’t read the first book, because then you’d understand that no way would it have had the same effect if you got both their POVs in one book. Nope. This story was meant to be told in two books, it two different experiences, by two very different people.

I wanted her to hurt. I didn’t want her to hurt.
I hated her. I loved her.
I wanted to violate her body in a hundred different ways. I wanted to keep her safe.

I fell in love with Penelope Douglas’s storytelling in Bully, and the only thing this book managed to do was completely reaffirm that. Everything and I mean everything that I wanted more clarification and answers on in Bully was addressed here. While I adored that book, I found the reasons that Jared gave Tate for his behavior in it a little…weak. I felt like it had to be something more, something bigger for him to flip that switch and be the way he was with her. Until You delivered those answers in spades. Penelope truly allows the reader inside Jared’s head and you understand him and all his behavior so much more. Plus I loved getting more of him and Madoc and their banter together.

Anyone who sees the way you looks at her knows you don’t want to hook up with her. No, right now you’re looking at her like you want to tie her up and give her a big, fat spanking.”
Stupid ass.
I wasn’t into shit like that, or…I didn’t think I was. Never tried it. Might try it, I guess. You should try everything at least once.
Except crystal meth.

What I loved the most about Until You was that it was a totally different experience from Bully. You get to see everything from an entirely different perspective. You also get to see that year that Tate was away in France and the spiral that hit Jared. And get to experience all the events that finally lead up to his epiphany about his feelings for her.

Right at that moment, I wanted everything from Tate. Everything. Her anger and passion, her hate and lust, her body and soul.
I wanted control of all of it

Until You teaser-Dirty Girl RomanceI adored Tate in Bully and I was so happy that didn’t change seeing her from Jared’s eyes. If anything, it made me like her even more. But what this book managed to do, was endear the reader to Jared completely. The bully that you loved to hate and hated to love in the first book really lets loose his vulnerable side and you appreciate his behavior and the why’s of it so much more. It just clicks.

The hair, the outfit, it was the perfect blend of good girl and bad girl, of salvation and danger.
There was no point in lying to myself. As much as I hated her, I wanted a taste of her.

If you’re on the fence about reading this, you need to get the fuck off it! Seriously. The only thing this book will do is make you love Bully even more and fall in love with both these characters even deeper than before.
Until You teaser2-Dirty Girl RomanceAnd this is coming from a reader that has a shorter attention span than a fly. If I get a HEA in one book I’m not typically one to read a second book for them. I call it my book ADD. But this incredible book made me change my view on that completely. I’m so glad I experienced it because it only made me love their story that much more. I’m now a huge fan of this author and can safely say that absolutely anything she’ll write, I’ll read…without a second thought.

Read it. Love it. Trust me.


THE SERIES

Click directly on book covers for buy links!

Fall Away #1

20871378

Fall Away #1.5

20803962

Fall Away #2

18129852

Fall Away #3

18343413

Fall Away #4

23437291

Review: ★Bully★ by @PenDouglas

Review Bully BULLY
Series: Fall Away #1
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Penelope Douglasadd-to-goodreads-button3

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Penelope Douglas delivers an unforgettable New Adult romance that toes the fine line between love and hate…

My name is Tate. He doesn’t call me that, though. He’ll barely refer to me at all, and he’ll hardly ever speak to me.

But he still won’t leave me alone.

We were best friends once. Then he turned on me and made it his mission to ruin my life. I’ve been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got worse as time wore on. I even went to Europe for a year, just to avoid him.

But I’m done hiding from him now, and there’s no way I’ll allow him to ruin another year. He might not have changed, but I have.

It’s time to fight back.

When one brave young woman stands up to her best friend Jared, now tormenter, the consequences go beyond anything either of them ever would have imagined…

Buy LinksAMAZON

Review

5 starsBully- Dirty Girl Romance

I had loved Jared once, but now I knew, without a doubt, that “my Jared” was gone.

God. This book. I mean, THIS BOOK. Words fail me to describe just how much I loved this. I’ve had this in my kindle for what feels like ages since I got it as a freebie way back in 2013. I’ve seen it making the rounds on Goodreads and for some reason I still hadn’t read it. If I can kick my own ass for not reading this sooner, I would, because this book? This book reminded me about all the reasons why I fell in love with New Adult romance to begin with. And I’m not talking about the manufactured angst, stupid decisions, at at times gratuitous sex scenes. No. I’m talking that all-encompassing feeling, just the right amount of gut-wrenching angst, you hate but love the hero, and you want to high five the heroine kind of read. It was like it was custom written just for me.

This is how bullies are made…

Bully teaser- Dirty Girl RomanceJared will be a hero that every reader will love to hate. I sure as hell did. But as much as I wanted to hate him, I can’t deny that I was always wondering what was buried right below the surface to make him act the way he did because you just knew there had to be something. I have to say that Penelope Douglas did a phenomenal job with character development and that’s what made the book as good as it was. The characters were multi-faceted and strongly developed. You get to know both of them as the story progresses and you also begin to understand both of them that much more.
Bully teaser3-Dirty Girl RomanceWhat truly made this book for me was Tate. She wasn’t your typical NA heroine. This is a girl that had a backbone but didn’t take it overboard. She wasn’t intentionally cruel or flippant, she stood up for herself and she owned it. She was comfortable in her own skin and it was the perfect balance to the Jared’s mercurial moods.

You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all of those things, and I loved you. But now? You’re a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars.”

I can’t remember the last time a book kept me up all night, completely incapable of setting it down for even a second because I needed to know what happened next. I was sucked in from just the first chapter and read this in one sitting. This is exactly the kind of angst that I’m starving for. Imperfectly perfect, rage inducing and yet flawless. That probably doesn’t even make sense, but if you’re an angst whore like me, you’ll know what I mean. My absolute favorite trope is the enemies-to-lovers, hate/lust thing and Bully delivers that in spades. While there were parts I wanted more from, I still can’t rate it down for that simply because this book absolutely enthralled me. So much so, that I couldn’t even bat an eyelash at any minor quibbles it may have had.

We can be confused about what is good for us but not about what we truly want.

Bully teaser2-Dirty Girl RomanceSimply put, it was amazing. Just amazing. This is a book that I recommend to any lovers of New Adult romance. I have found myself a new author to obsess over and my only regret is not reading this fantastic book sooner.

Yesterday lasts forever.
Tomorrow comes never.
Until you.


THE SERIES

Click directly on book covers for buy links!

Fall Away #1

20871378

Fall Away #1.5

20803962

Fall Away #2

18129852

Fall Away #3

18343413

Fall Away #4

23437291

Blog Tour, Review & #Giveaway: ★Make Me★ by @mstessabailey

Blog Tour Make Me- DirtyGirlRomance MAKE ME
Series: Broke and Beautiful #3
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date: August 11, 2015add-to-goodreads-button31

MakeMe

In the final Broke and Beautiful novel from bestselling author Tessa Bailey, a blue collar construction worker and a quiet uptown girl are about to discover that the friendzone can sometimes be excellent foreplay.

Construction worker Russell Hart has been head-over-work boots for Abby Sullivan since the moment he laid eyes on her. But he knows a classy, uptown virgin like her could never be truly happy with a rough, blue-collar guy like him. If only she’d stop treating him like her personal hero—a role he craves more than oxygen—maybe he could accept it.

With the future of her family’s hedge fund on her shoulders, Abby barely has time to sleep, let alone find love. And her best friend Russell acting like a sexy, overprotective hulk any time their Super Group goes out in public definitely isn’t helping her single status. But after a near-tragedy lands Russell in her bed for the night, Abby’s suddenly fantasizing about what he looks like shirtless. Chest hair and tattoos—who knew?

As Russell struggles to keep Abby at a safe distance, she begins to see through his tough-talking exterior—and acknowledge her own feelings. Now she’s ready to turn the friend-zone into foreplay…and make him lose control.

Buy LinksHarperCollins / Amazon / B&N / iTunes / Google Play

Excerpt

Chapter One
Day one hundred and forty-two of being friend-zoned. Send rations.Russell Hart stifled a groan when Abby twisted on his lap to call out a drink order to the passing waiter, adding a smile that would no doubt earn her a martini on the house. Every time their six person “super group” hung out, which was starting to become a nightly affair, Russell advanced into a newer, more vicious circle of hell. Tonight, however, he was pretty sure he’d meet the devil himself.They were at the Longshoreman, celebrating the Fourth of July, which presented more than one precious little clusterfuck. One, the holiday meant the bar was packed full of tipsy Manhattanites, creating a shortage of chairs, hence Abby parking herself right on top of his dick. Two, it put the usually conservative Abby in ass-hugging shorts and one of those tops that tied at the back of her neck. Six months ago, he would have called it a shirt, but his two best friends had fallen down the relationship rabbit hole, putting him in the vicinity of excessive chick talk. So, now it was a halter-top. What he wouldn’t give to erase that knowledge.During their first round of drinks, he’d become a believer in breathing exercises. Until he’d noticed these tiny, blond curls at Abby’s nape, curls he’d never seen before. And some-fucking-how, those sun-kissed curls were what had nudged him from semi-erect to full-scale Washington monument status. The hair on the rest of her head was like a…a warm milk chocolate color, so where did those little curls come from? Those detrimental musings had lead to Russell questioning what else he didn’t know about Abby. What color was everything else? Did she have freckles? Where?Russell would not be finding out – ever – and not just because he was sitting in the friend zone with his dick wedged against his stomach – not an easy maneuver – so she wouldn’t feel it. No, there was more to it. His friends, Ben and Louis, were well aware of those reasons, which accounted for the half-sympathetic, half-needling looks they were sending him from across the table, respective girlfriends perched on their laps. The jerks.Abby was off-limits. Not because she was taken – thank Christ – or because someone had verbally forbidden him from pursuing her. That wasn’t it. Russell had taken a long time trying to find a suitable explanation for why he didn’t just get the girl alone one night and make his move. Explain to her that men like him weren’t suitable friends for wide-eyes debutantes and give her a demonstration of the alternative.

It went like this. Abby was like an expensive package that had been delivered to him by mistake. Someone at the post office had screwed the pooch and dropped off the shiniest, most beautiful creation on his Queens doorstep and driven away, laughing manically. Russell wasn’t falling for the trick, though. Someone would claim the package, eventually. They would chuckle over the obvious mistake and take Abby away from him, because really, he had no business being the one who’s lap she chose to sit on. No business, whatsoever.

But while he was in possession of the package – as much as he’d allow himself to be in possession, anyway – he would guard her with his life. He would make sure that when someone realized the cosmic error that had occurred – the one that had made him Abby’s friend and confidant – she would be sweet and undamaged, just as she’d been on arrival.

Unfortunately, the package didn’t seem content to let him stand guard from a distance. She innocently beckoned him back every time he managed to put an inch of space between them. Russell had lost count of the times Abby had fallen asleep on him while the super group watched a movie, drank margaritas on the girls’ building rooftop, driven home in cabs. She was entirely too comfortable around him, considering he saluted against his fly every time they were in the same room.

“Why so quiet, Russell?” Louis asked, his grin turning to a wince as his actress girlfriend, Roxy, elbowed him in the ribs. Yeah. Everyone at the damn table knew he had a major thing for the beautiful, unassuming number whiz on his lap. Everyone but Abby. And that’s how he planned to keep it.

“I know why,” Ben said, causing Russell’s stomach to catapult itself across the bar. Before he could change the subject, Ben pulled his student-turned-main squeeze closer and continued. “He doesn’t need to give us advice on girls anymore. His powers have been diminished.”

“We’ve slain the beast.”

Ben and Louis toasted their plastic beer cups without a single glance at one other. Why was he friends with these two again? Oh right. The power of beer had brought them together. Praise be to Heineken. Smug as they were, though, Russell knew humor was their way of showing support. If it wasn’t humor, it would be sympathy, aka dude kryptonite.

“What kind of advice did he give you about us?” Roxy wanted to know, shooting Louis and Ben stern glances.

“Uh-uh.” Russell shook his head. “I’m calling bro confidentiality on you both. That includes pillow talk and supersedes any and all forms of sexual coercion.”

Ben adjusted his glasses. “That reasoning, however, should lend some insight into what you ladies missed.”

Honey leaned across the table and patted Russell’s arm. “It all worked out in the end, big guy. Who knows? You might have had something to do with it after all.”

Russell opened his mouth to respond, but whatever he planned to say withered in its inception because Abby spun in his lap again, sending the world around him into slow motion. A left jab of her scent – which after careful consideration he’d termed white grape sunlight – caught him in the chin and he barely restrained the urge to shout oh, come on, at the top of his lungs. Her big hazel eyes were indignant on his behalf, mouth pursed in a way that shouldn’t have been sexy, but damn-well was. She’d snapped her spine straight, hip bumping his erection in the process.

Please, almighty God, just kill me now.

“Russell gives great advice,” Abby protested and Russell would have smiled if he wasn’t busy earning his master’s degree in boner-soothing meditation. She really had no idea her outrage only made her sweeter because it looked so unnatural on her. “Remember the man on the first floor of our building? The one who used to clear his throat loudly every time we walked by?” She waited for Honey and Roxy to nod. “Russell told me the next time it happened, I should just shout TROUBLE at his door. I did. And it hasn’t happened since.”

When Louis and Ben started laughing into their beers, Russell flipped them off behind Abby’s back. What his friends knew that Abby didn’t? As soon as she’d told him the problem, he’d paid a visit to their downstairs neighbor and explained that trouble would find him if he so much as breathed in Abby – or any of her roommates’ – direction again. Hence, the single word being so effective. Russell was trouble.

But as Abby turned a bright, encouraging smile on him, swelling his heart like an inflating balloon, he recognized that his brand of trouble had nothing on Abby’s. She didn’t even know how dangerous she was to his health. Because while Abby was the package that had been delivered by mistake, he’d gone and fallen for her, despite his attempts to simply be her friend.

And maybe it was his imagination, but the loss of her seemed to loom a little closer each day. Like any minute now, she would peer a little closer and realize he was in imposter. Loss was something with which Russell was familiar. Loss had cut him off at the knees at a young age, made him hyper aware of how fast it could happen. Whoosh. Chopped off at the knees. So he was already in damage control mode, hoping to limit the fallout when she inevitably headed for a younger version of Gordon Gekko. For now, it was all about keeping a comfortable gap between him and Abby.

She scooted back on his lap to make room for the waitress who had returned with a round of drinks, and Russell gritted his teeth.

Okay. Comfortable definitely wasn’t the right word.

***

I have friends. I have friends now and it’s glorious.

Six months ago, when Abby Sullivan had placed the ad on Craigslist, seeking two roommates to share her Chelsea apartment, her highest hope had been for noise. Maybe it sounded silly, but apart from the Ninth Avenue traffic trundling past and the occasional shouting match on the street, her life had been so quiet before Honey and Roxy showed up. She’d been hoping for hair dryers in the morning, dishes being tossed in the sink, singing in the shower. Anything but the void of sound she’d been living with, alone in the massive space.

Then, oh then, she’d gone and done something even more impulsive than placing an advertisement for massively discounted rent in cyberspace. She’d blurted upon meeting them for the first time that she didn’t need help paying the rent; she merely wanted friends. Unbelievably, it hadn’t felt like a mistake to reveal such a pitiful secret to a couple of strangers. There had been a feeling when all three of them first stood in the same room that it would work out, like a complicated math equation that would prove itself worth the work.

Now? She couldn’t imagine a day passing without them. The guys had been an unexpected bonus she hadn’t counted on. Especially Russell.

As they walked crosstown toward the Hudson River where they planned to watch the Fourth of July fireworks, Abby smiled up at Russell where he towered over her. She received a suspicious look in response. Suspicious! Ha! It made her want to laugh like a lunatic. All the way back to her furthest memory, she’d been reliable, gullible, sugar-filled Abby to everyone and their mother. Even Honey and Roxy, to a degree, handled her carefully around subjects that might offend her or hurt her feelings. She was too grateful for their presence to call them on it, though. Sometimes she opened her mouth, the words I’m not made of spun glass hovering right on the tip of her tongue, but she always swallowed them. They meant well. She knew that with her whole heart. Maybe someday, when she was positive they wouldn’t vanish at a rare show of temper—the way people always did when she bared a flaw—she’d tell them. Until she worked up the courage however, she would stay quiet, and appreciate her new best friends for the colorful positivity they’d brought into her life.

But Russell? She appreciated him even more for getting mad at her.

Such occurrences were her favorite part of the week. Russell stomping into the apartment, grumbling about her not checking the peep hole. Refusing to go out on a Saturday night until she changed into more comfortable shoes. Giving her that daunting frown when she revealed they’d had a leak in the bathroom for three weeks and hadn’t yet called the super to repair it. He’d had it fixed within the hour, but he hadn’t spoken to her the entire time.

It was awesome.

Because he kept coming back. Every time. No matter what—no matter what she said or did—he never washed his hands of her. Never got so fed up with her admittedly flighty behavior that he skipped a hang out. Or didn’t respond to a text. He was the steadfast presence in her life she’d never had.

No one spoke to Abby at her job. She’d been hired after graduating at the top of her Yale class and placed in a silent power position at a hedge fund. Her father’s hedge fund. So she could understand her co-workers’ reticence to invite her for happy hour. Or even give her a polite nod in the hallway. At first, she’d been prepared to try anyway. Force them to acknowledge her in some small way, even if it was just passing the stapler in the conference room. Then she remembered. When she forced her opinion on people, or had an outburst, they went away, and didn’t come back for a long time.

Her coworkers assumed she sat in her air-conditioned office all day playing Minecraft or buying dresses online. And why wouldn’t they? She’d done nothing to sway that notion. In reality, however, she worked hard. Showed up before the lights came on and stayed later than everyone else. Brought work home with her and often, didn’t get to sleep. She had no choice.

Stress tightened like a shoelace around Abby’s stomach, but she breathed through it. Tonight was for fun with her friends. Tomorrow morning would be soon enough to face her responsibilities.

“It’s the shoes, isn’t it?” Russell demanded, encompassing Abby, Roxy and Honey with a dark look. “This always happens in the eleventh hour. You girls started limping around and we just have to watch it.”

Ben sighed. “Here we go again.”

“No, really. I think I’ve finally figured it out.” Russell swiped impatient fingers over his shaved head. “You ever heard of sympathy pains? When my sister-in-law gave birth, my brother swore someone was firing a nail gun into his stomach. To this day, the guy has never been the same.” He pointed at Abby’s electric blue pumps. “Women wear these evil creations around to confuse us. Sure, they make a girl’s legs look good, but that’s the black magic, my friends. They want us to feel their pain and not understand why.”

Louis turned, walking backwards on the sidewalk so he could face them. “I have to admit, I’m with Russell on this one.” He smiled at Roxy’s outrage. “You could go barefoot and it wouldn’t make a difference to me.”

“I’ll round it out with a third agreement,” Ben chimed in. “I like Honey in her Chucks.”

That statement earned Ben a kiss from Honey and a groan from Russell. “I’m thrilled you assholes have found a way to use my amazing logic to earn points.”

Abby loved the familiar argument simply because it was familiar—a routine she had in common with others—but she had to admit her feet were throbbing. After a night of dancing, the crosstown walk was giving her blisters. She wore heels all day at the office, but they were sensible and low-heeled. Nothing like the stilettos she’d borrowed from Roxy. In fact, now that she’d acknowledged her tired feet, every part of her seemed to sag with exhaustion, as if she’d finally given her bones permission. “I can end this argument right here,” Abby interrupted with a weary, but determined smile. The group stopped to watch as she slipped off her shoes and placed her bare feet back onto the cool sidewalk with a hearty sigh. For some reason, everyone’s gazes swung to Russell who – God love him – was frowning at her like she’d just crashed his beloved truck.

“A new tactic, gentlemen. Take note.” Their four friends laughed at Russell’s ominous tone, but Abby stayed pinned under his scowl. Although now, his scowl had a hint of uncertainty behind it. “Put them back on, Abby. You’re going to step on something. Broken glass, or—”

Abby breezed past Russell. Honestly, he worried constantly for no reason. They were only a few blocks away from the river and the streets were well lit. What was the worst that could—

Her feet left the ground, her gasp cutting off as she was cradled against Russell’s big chest. His expression was hidden, thanks to the streetlights shining blindingly above his head, but Abby knew from experience, he would be annoyed. She couldn’t prevent the smile from spreading like wildfire across her face, feeling as if it reached as far as her chest. It seemed impossible, but somehow she’d earned a place among these people who cared about her. Friends. Good friends. The kind you can’t live without.

Especially Russell. Her favorite.

“You were put on this earth to make me crazy, Abby. You know that?”

“I’m not sorry about it,” she whispered. “Does that make me a bad person?”

“No. It makes you a woman.”

She muffled her laugh with the use of Russell’s shoulder. “Men make women crazy, too. It’s not a one-sided affair.”

He frowned down at her. “What would you know about it?”

That question coming from anyone else might have embarrassed Abby, but for all Russell’s bluster, he never judged her. Not for her lack of a love life, anyway. Shoes were another matter altogether. “I know things.”

Things, huh? Maybe Louis and Ben should spend more time at their own apartments.” His arms flexed as he hefted her higher, with minimal effort. “Do you actually like watching the fireworks or is this just a patriotic custom we’re upholding?”

“No, I love fireworks.” She tilted her head back and looked at the sky. “Everyone forgets over the course of the year how incredible fireworks are. You know? They forget until they’re standing beneath them again. You don’t like them?”

He stared ahead as he answered. “I like that you like them.”

Abby smiled, knowing Russell would have to be extra gruff for the remainder of the night to make up for that slip. And needing to torture him a little over it. “That’s how I feel when you make me watch the Yankees.” She laid a hand against his cheek. “It’s worth it just to see your adorable man eyes light up.”

His sigh was sharp, but she caught the corner of his mouth kicking up. “All this time, I thought you were enjoying it.”

“The blooper reel is my favorite.” Drowsiness settled more firmly over her and she stifled a yawn against his shoulder. “Also, I love when kids in the audience catch foul balls.”

“Crowd. It’s called a crowd.”

She hummed in her throat, eyelids beginning to weigh down. “I knew that. Just seeing if you were paying attention,” she murmured.

Russell chewed his bottom lip a moment, worry marring his features. “You’re so tired lately, Abby. Everything okay?”

“Totally fine,” she lied. “Just going to rest my eyes a minute.”

Positive he would wake her up when they reached the Hudson, she wound her arms around his neck and dozed off. It was the first time she’d slept in three days.

Review

4 starsMake Me-Dirty Girl Romance

Day one hundred and forty-two of being friend-zoned. Send rations.

I love a steamy New Adult romance and I love Tessa Bailey. Add into all that her gift for writing alpha men that I pretty much drool over and it’s really a no brainer. Having not read the previous two books in this series, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. That synopsis ultimately sealed the deal. Construction worker? Friends-to-lovers? Tessa’s dirty talkers? SOLD!

You were put on this earth to make me crazy, Abby. You know that?”
“I’m not sorry about it,” she whispered. “Does that make me a bad person?”
“No. It makes you a woman.”

Russell Hart has been in love with Abby since he first saw her on her front porch all those months ago. Being her best friend has been a special kind of hell for him, especially since her innocent naivety towards all the dirty dirty things he wants to do to her does nothing to diminish his lust. He wants her with a fire that only burns brighter and hotter with each passing day, but he knows that the likes of him will never be good enough for her. Her family can buy anything he owns three times over, how can he possibly provide her with the life that she’s accustomed to?

Abby Sullivan is a good girl. Growing up in the world of the rich and entitled has guaranteed that she’s deathly terrified of ever showing any signs of imperfection for fear that she’ll be left. It’s happened with her friends in high school, and it’s even happened with her parents. So now perfection is what she strives for, even if it means working herself to the bone at her father’s multi-billion dollar hedge fund company. The attraction between her and Russell is always crackling with electricity, until the one night where a dash of alcohol finally brings it raging to the surface.

You like the way I look?” Hands braced on either side of her hips, he leaned down and sucked her left nipple into his mouth. “That’s good, angel. You’re looking at the first man to tongue-fuck your uptown pussy.”

Make Me Teaser- Dirty Girl RomanceAs much as I loved Russell’s dirty mouth and even dirtier sexy ways, he was also an exercise in frustration for me. His inability to believe he can offer anything of worth for Abby and be good enough for her made me want to reach through my kindle and shake the ever loving stubbornness out of him. The man was downright infuriating. Add into that his inability to voice out those concerns with a woman that’s supposed to be his best friend, and I was waffling somewhere between ragey and damn near homicidal. Luckily Abby helped balance things out nicely. I’m always afraid with virgin heroines that they’ll be too naive and mousy for my tastes, but Abby wasn’t that. While she deals with a good dose of her own insecurities, she was also incredibly endearing. I’m not even sure what exactly about her that did it, but she was a heroine I liked from the very beginning.

The sexual chemistry between Russell and Abby was off the walls hot. Make Me certainly delivers on that signature Tessa Bailey steam and then some!

Six months of you sitting on my lap. Wiggling around and laughing, no idea I wanted to fuck you through a wall. Don’t you DARE call me a tease. I’VE been teased. I’m so fucked up, I can’t hear your name without getting hard.”

As much as Russell frustrated me with his thought process, his insecurities were rooted in a very dark place and the more you find out about that, the better you understand him. I equal parts wanted to slap him and hug him…(and definitely do him because HELLO dirty talker!)

I don’t ever want to be inside anyone else, Abby. I want you to unzip my pants whenever you’re wet and know I’ve been waiting- just fucking WAITING- to get inside my girl’s pussy. I want you to forget how it feels to sit down anywhere but my lap, right on top of my dick. Yours. It’s yours. I’m yours.

Having not read the previous two books never lowered my enjoyment of this one and I can definitely attest that it may easily be read as a standalone. I don’t think Tessa Bailey is capable of writing a book that I don’t enjoy the hell out of, and Make Me was no exception.
About the Authorhighres-MJB_5140.jpg

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey lives on Long Island with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

 

 

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Review: ★On The Ropes★ by @cariquinn

OtR Review

Title: On The Ropes
Series: Tapped Out #3
Author: Cari Quinn
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Release Date: July 1, 2015
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He’s willing to die for vengeance, until she gives him a reason to live…The fighter…

Giovanni Costas is the newest hotshot fighter in New York City’s underground MMA scene. From the outside, he’s on top of the world. Winning all his matches, getting all the women he could ever want. The truth isn’t nearly so bright. Isolated and alone, far from his family in Vegas, he’s struggling with inner demons that threaten to swallow him whole.

The stakes…

The more Giovanni fights, the closer he gets to the people who ripped away the most precious thing in his life. Eradicating them is his only focus…until he meets his reason for turning his back on the seedy world that has consumed him for two years.

The biggest battle he’s ever faced…

Carly Anderson is living a double life. A culinary student by day and a dancer by dark, Carly spends her nights in a cage of her own choosing. Flirting with danger is the only thing that dulls the pain from her past. When she catches the eye of the wrong men, it’ll take the right one to save her. If Giovanni doesn’t break her—and himself—in the process…

Warning: please be advised this book contains content some may find triggering (sexual trauma) and also contains graphic sex, language and violence that may not be suitable for underage readers.

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Review 4.5 stars

On The Ropes-DGR

He’d have me on my back in a minute and be inside me in twice that. And I’d let him…hell, I’d beg him. Because he was the only one who’d ever made me feel this way, like my skin and bones weren’t strong enough to hold my heart inside. He was everything.
Too much.

It’s been one year, a month, 3 days, 2 hrs and 58 minutes since I read Shadowboxer and been hounding Cari for a book for Giovanni and Carly. But who’s counting, eh? Tapped Out is a series that reads like it was custom written just for me. It’s everything I love in romance; gritty, sexy, action-packed, with a dash of suspense, and fantastic characters. Now if you know me, then you know there’s nothing I love more than a good alphahole. When Gio was first introduced as a secondary character in Shadowboxer, between his bad boy vibes and the barely restrained violence about him drew me in like a moth to a flame. Add in him being a successful MMA fighter with manwhoring tendencies and I. Was. Sold. But there was also something incredibly broken about him too. It’s clear that Gio was hiding some dark secret and pain and I was practically salivating to finally find out what it was.

Now I wasn’t hiding from trouble. I was seeking it, eyes wide open.

UntitledCarly Anderson was first introduced as the younger sister of fighter, Mia Anderson. While on the surface she seems to be a good girl, underneath is a bad girl just itching to get out. Carly has also been crushing hard on Giovanni since she first bumped into him at the same gym where Mia trains. Even though Gio fairly successfully killed her school girl crush when he walked away with another woman in front of her, there’s still something there. But now, it’s not something that Carly is willing to chase anymore. She’s focusing on her school and training to be a chef, and leading her double life as a topless dancer at a high end club that no one knows she works at.

dancing fed something dark and depraved inside me, a beast that wouldn’t be tamed.

Carly may only be 18 years old, but this is no blushing ingenue. The girl is tough as nails and doesn’t exactly shy away from male attention. She craves the men’s lusty looks like a drug. But one night, she allows her flirtation to temp the wrong man and gets thrown head first into something she has no hope of escaping…not without Gio’s protection.
OtR-DGRGio has been making a diligent effort to stay away from the young beauty that tempts him like no other. She’s too young, too innocent, too good for the likes of him and the danger that constantly surrounds himself. He sold his soul to the devil for a chance at revenge, and there’s no turning back the hands of time now that it’s all been set in motion. He’s too deep in to see a way out. He may not be able to give Carly what she wants, but he can be her protector…and because he can no longer deny the pull between them, her lover.

I wanted her soaked, swollen. Open to me in a way she’d never been to another, and never would be again once I was gone.

Carly and Gio together were absolutely magnetic. But there’s so much more going on in this book than just the budding romance between them. There’s the mob, there’s Gio’s revenge for what he lost, there’s the lingering effects of what happened with Mia in Sneak Attack. All of it culminates together for one quick paced and entertaining as hell read.

OnTheRopes3-DGRGio is the son of one of the biggest mob families in the city and turning away from that to the side of the enemy has put a price on his head. Can he keep Carly safe long enough to exact his revenge without succumbing fully to the dark side himself? Guess you’ll just have to read to find out.

On The Ropes was everything I’ve come to love about Cari’s writing. It’s gritty, emotion, and lawd but the woman can write a sex scene like no one’s business. There’s plenty of secondary characters thrown in the mix that made the story unfold like a movie behind my eyes. As much as my interest is piqued by Slater, I’m absolutely dying for a book for Dante. Dante is Gio’s older brother that has been in the “family business” that Gio turned his back on. After the events that unfold in this book, I’m even more curious for his story. Hell, who am I kidding? I’ll be stalking Cari incessantly for it.

As much as I loved Fox and Mia from Shadowboxer, I think I liked Carly and Gio together even more. They were so different and yet together…they fit. Their chemistry was absolutely sizzling.

Underneath him, I felt full possessed for the first time in my life. I hadn’t been fucked. I’d been owned.

OnTheRopes4-DGRCarly was everything I love about a great heroine. She took no shit from anyone and gave as good as she got.

If this series hasn’t hit your radar yet, you may have been living under a rock. If you enjoy your romances with a dash of dark and grit, it’s a must read. Tapped Out is definitely in my top 5 list of favorite fighter series and you can be assured that each upcoming book will be going straight to my auto-buy list. I love the absolute fuck out of it. While each book may be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the series in order to truly enjoy it. You would have a much better understanding and appreciation for the characters having that backstory on them.

READ THE SERIES IN ORDER

Blog Tour, Review & #Giveaway: ★Chasing River★ by K.A.Tucker

CR Review Tour Banner_edited-1 CHASING RIVER is a Suspenseful Romance novel, and the third novel in K.A. Tucker’s Burying Water Series, published by Atria books, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster. CHASING RIVER is set to be released July 7, 2015! If you haven’t already, be sure to grab BURYING WATER and BECOMING RAIN, the first two books in this thrilling series!!

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Armed with two years’ worth of savings and the need to experience life outside the bubble of her Oregon small town, twenty-five-year old Amber Welles is prepared for anything. Except dying in Dublin. Had it not been for the bravery of a stranger, she might have. But he takes off before she has the chance to offer her gratitude.

Twenty-four-year-old River Delaney is rattled. No one was supposed to get hurt. But then that American tourist showed up. He couldn’t let her die, but he also couldn’t risk being identified at the scene—so, he ran. Back to his everyday life of running his family’s pub. Only, everyday life is getting more and more complicated, thanks to his brother, Aengus, and his criminal associations. When the American girl tracks River down, he quickly realizes how much he likes her, how wrong she is for him. And how dangerous it is to have her around. Chasing her off would be the smart move.

Maybe it’s because he saved her life, or maybe it’s because he’s completely different from everything she’s left behind, but Amber finds herself chasing after River Delaney. Amber isn’t the kind of girl to chase after anyone.

And River isn’t the kind of guy she’d want to catch.

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Review

3.5 stars

Chasing River-DGR


So…Where’d you meet this guy?”
“At the park one day. He kind of…ran into me.”
“Sounds romantic.”
“It was, in a way.” If pipe bombs could be called romantic.


I’m not sure why I didn’t realize from reading the synopsis that Amber Welles is the twin sister of Jesse Welles from Burying Water. Although I was hoping this book would have one of the 2 characters that were introduced in the previous one, I have to say I was excited when realized out who Amber was. Always the good girl to her troublemaking twin brother, I couldn’t wait to find out what her story will bring. I have to say,
while I enjoyed this book, comparing to the first two it was probably my least favorite in the series. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, because it really was. I adore KA Tucker’s writing style and her ability to bring her words to life. With the previous two books being in Oregon, it was a great change of pace to get the beauty of Ireland in this one.

Amber Welles is coming off a break up. She’s always been the good girl, the good daughter, popular girl and all around perfect. She has a great job as a nurse, she has great friends (or so she thinks), but she’s yearning for more. So she makes herself a bucket travel lists and sets off for sights unseen. But when she gets lost in Dublin, a run in with a guy with piercing green eyes leaves her rattled in more ways than one.

River Delaney has been on the wrong side of the law before, mostly thanks to his criminal older brother and his ties to the IRA. He’s not looking to be caught there again. When he follows his recently out of prison brother and catches him laying a pipe bomb in the middle of St. Stephen’s Green, he’s not exactly shocked. But when he sees a lost American tourist about to run right into the bomb’s path, he knows he has to do something. So he saves her and takes off before he can be tied to anything.

Amber can’t seem to get the man that saved her life out of her mind and when she’s able to track him down to his family’s pub, she knows that she needs to get to know him. He affects her like no other man has in her life. He’s also the exact opposite of any man she’s ever dated, and yet she’s inexplicably drawn to him.

Although I wasn’t sure what to expect from Amber with her good girl thought process, she really pleasantly surprised me. I really enjoyed her character and the way she chased River even though it wasn’t in her comfort zone. River was a hero that I liked straight away. He’s sweet and caring but with a little edge to him. I loved the relationship he had with his brother Rowen. Though I was shocked at the development between Ivy and Rowen. (Wonder if this book is the last we’ve seen of him?)

So why not more stars? I felt that for the type of reader I am there was a little too much concentration on history and suspense than the romance. While that may work very well for other readers, I found it added a certain disconnect for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting to read about but not something I would typically turn to, if that even makes sense. This series isn’t too heavy on the romance and it’s not the HEA endings I usually like. It’s suspenseful and gives the reader a very satisfying HFN. I just found the previous two books to be a little more enjoyable. The Burying Water series isn’t heavy on romance or steam. If I had to rate the steam on a scale of 1-10, I’d say it’s a 3. That’s not why I read this series, though. It offers something different from the usual mainstream romance you’d find. It has suspense and mystery with the added element of romance. I just felt a slight disconnect with this one for reason I can’t quite put my finger one. That being said, I’d definitely recommend this book for fans of the series.

I like that while the characters are interconnected, the books can easily be read as standalones. So if you haven’t read the previous two books, you wouldn’t be even a little lost jumping right into this one. I would recommend the other two books simply because they were fantastic and it does give the reader a better understanding of some of the secondary characters that make an appearance.

ARC courtesy of publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
47891_ChasingRiver_QuoteCards_3And don’t forget BURYING WATER and BECOMING RAIN, the first two books in this thrilling series…

Burying Water

BURYING WATER

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Becoming Rain

BECOMING RAIN

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About the Author

Author PhotoBorn in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

 

 

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#NewRelease & Review: ★Rock My Heart★ by @JeanHaus

Rock My Heart 
Author: Jean Haus
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: June 6, 2015
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Raised in poverty and violence, Gabe Reed wears a could-care-less attitude like a shield. He expects life to suck. It always has, and he is usually the one to screw it up even more. Drumming for the college band Luminescent Juliet started as a way to release the built up rage inside of him. But when the band signs with a label, Gabe begins to envision a different life. He just needs to stay out of trouble and follow the court orders of his probation.


April Tanner knows most people view her as perfect. From her icy looks to her college four point, she cultivates the persona since it helps keep people at a distance. Because behind her perfection, April constantly struggles with a past that she is trying to atone for but can’t face.

Though Gabe and April seem worlds apart, fate throws them together and forces them to see beyond the fronts they each present. But even an emerging friendship mixed with a growing lust might not be able to overcome the walls built of guilt and insecurity and abuse that stand between them.

This story can be read as a standalone.

*New Adult for language and sexual situations.*

This intensity, this desperation, this is what I want from him. His fierceness send music in my veins, the notes a fast, rhythmic crescendo that exposes his need for me, and drives my need to equal the wildness of his. Together, we’re a flying, building tempo, our sensual energy changing to prestissimo- the fastest tempo- in an instant.

Ever since I was first introduced to this fantastic series a couple years ago, I’ve been waiting for Gabe’s book. Something about the silently brooding and manwhorish drummer has always called to me. And after finishing his book, I gotta say that Jean Haus has definitely saved the best for last. I absolutely loved it!

While you may technically read this book as a standalone, I highly recommend you read the series in order to truly get the appreciation for all the side characters. The author does a fantastic job of giving all the background without making it be redundant for those that have been following the series; but it’s definitely best read as a series. Jean Haus is one of those authors that I wish more readers knew about. Her ability to weave music into her writing always gives an additional layer to her books. It’s actually one of the things I’ve grown to love most about her writing. She doesn’t just write a rockstar romance, she gives you the music element to go along with it.

Gabe Reed is the drummer for Luminescent Juliet. He’s a man of little words and barely contained violence. His less than favorable childhood pretty much assures this…

His band is on the route to true fame, but his position in it isn’t quite as guaranteed. His anger issues and short fuse to violence has given him a record. And although he’s not quite as threatened by Romeo’s girlfriend for the position of a drummer that he had originally lost to her now that she has her own band, he’s still filled with doubt. The last thing he needs is the presence of the ice princess at his court mandated group meetings…

April Tanner isn’t what she appears. Keeping a tight reign on her facade is the only thing that keeps her from coming apart at the seams.

I have issues. Tons of them. Most people do. I’m just far, far better than most at hiding them. The root of my issues, the real reason, the burden I live with every day, will never come out…Not in the future. Just not ever.

While she may understand that the perception of what she seems to be is what causes the look of contempt on Gabe’s face every time he sees her, it doesn’t help her fight her attraction to him any more. When Gabe walks into her group therapy meetings, she’s forced to deal with the tension between them head-on and it’s not long before the spark between them fly.

As different as Gabe and April are, somehow together they make perfect sense. Their road to a relationship is rocky at best and filled with dark secrets and tragic pasts. But it’s also beautiful and emotional. As cold as April comes off on the outside, inside is she’s shattered.

Her friendship with Romeo and ties to the band hurt her as much as they help her for reason that are trickle fed to the reader. She keeps such a tight control on her life and her emotions, and yet at the same time she’s punishing herself for a tragic past and attempting to atone for it.

Gabe has issues of his own. He definitely doesn’t make it easy on April with his assumptions of good girls like her being too good for the likes of him. As much as he fights it, he also can’t help the bond he soon begins to feel for her. When he offers to complete a bucket list from April’s cousin that passed away tragically young is the catalyst for their unlikely relationship.

I have to say that I absolutely loved these two together. As much as neither of them are perfect, together they made perfect sense. Rock My Heart was the perfect combination of emotional and sexy. It’s everything I’ve come to love about NA and wish more books in the genre had. It’s not the typical cliche ridden romance. The characters and their stories have so much depth; and that goes even more so for this book. I absolutely loved it and would recommend for any lovers of NA or rockstar romances.

New Release & Review: ★Rush★ by @GordonGina

 
Author: Gina Gordon
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Release Date: May 12, 2015

In this edgy, sizzling romance for fans of Monica Murphy and Abbi Glines, a bad boy shows a straitlaced law student how to slow down and savor the good things.

Everly Parker is about to graduate from law school, always busy, and can’t stop rushing through life. Her late grandmother left her a bucket list of meaningful, can’t-miss experiences, but she hasn’t completed a single one. Then searing-hot Max Levin bursts into her world. As a casting director for a porn production company, Max is loaded, cocky, and all wrong for Everly. Still, she’s tempted enough to cross the first item off her list: Go out with someone you’d never give the time of day.

Inheriting a porn empire isn’t every guy’s dream (well, actually, it probably is), but Max isn’t complaining. It’s just that until he meets Everly, he has no idea what he’s been missing. As the pressure mounts to take over the family business, Max can’t help wondering what would happen if he chose Everly instead. So far, his life has been a wild ride, but only Everly promises the greatest rush of all: love.

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Review

4 stars

He might not be the man I should want, but maybe Max Levin was exactly the man I needed.

What a pleasant surprise this book was. If you’re looking at the blurb and thinking this is yet another fluffy book about bad boy meets straitlaced good girl, think again. This story and the characters had so much more depth to them than the cover and blurb leads you to believe. Having loved all of Gina’s Brazen titles, I didn’t think twice before deciding to read this book and what a great decision that was!

She was the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted, but I wanted her anyway.

Everly Parker is the quintessential good girl. She’s as straitlaced as they come. Having grown up in the shadow of her parent’s success and constant pushing for perfection, she doesn’t know how to be any different. She’s pre-law and on her way to follow in her parent’s successful law footsteps. But deep down inside, in a part of her that she rarely listens to, something niggles her. Something that points to unhappiness and to question if law is what she really wants and what makes her happy. Having lost her nan, who was the only lively spirit in her family, she’s a little lost now. Especially since her nan left her one final letter before her passing; a letter that lists all the things that Everly should do. Something that would take her out of her comfort zone and perhaps leads her to the happiness that she truly craves.

Max Levin is the prince to a porn empire. But don’t let that description fool you. While he has the sizzling good looks, the charming personality, and enough money to keep him in designer clothes for years to come, there’s much more to his character. Max is the son to porn royalty. His mother was a famous porn star while behind the scenes she was an amazing mother, friend and wife. I loved the way that she was portrayed. There was nothing wrong with her and she was never ashamed of who she was. His father is the famous producer of one of the most successful porn production companies and Max stands to inherit it all. But while something like this should be every hot blooded man’s wet dream, Max isn’t fulfilled by it. He longs for something…more. And when he meets the beautiful but straitlaced Everly in a coffee shop while interviewing “talent” for his company’s next movie, he knows just what that something is. And when he spots Everly’s list, he knows just how to get it. He volunteers to help her complete it, starting with number 1, going out on a date with him, someone who she wouldn’t normally give the time of day to.

We fell to the bed in a tangle of limbs and I lost myself in her kiss. In her touch. In everything that was real. I didn’t know this strange feeling creeping into my chest, creeping into every part of me, but it rushed through me like a freight train, obliterating everything in its wake- my rules, my senses, and I feared, my heart.

This was so much more about the sex, though. Max and Everly certainly don’t fall into bed together right away or even soon. Gina builds up enough sexual tension to really make it burn, and I for one, loved it. You really get to know both the characters before the sex enters the picture. You get to care for them, understand them and what makes them tick. That’s not to say that these two don’t burn up the sheets together once they finally get together.

She sank down on my cock, and it was the hottest thing I’d ever seen. I might be invading her body, but she was invading my soul.

It was absolutely fantastic.

This was so different from anything I’ve read by this author before, and I loved it. I enjoyed everything about it; the story, the secondary characters, the romance. While it wasn’t that unforgettable all encompassing 5 star read, it was the perfect light and steamy and solid 4 star one. I really hope to see a book for Ben next because that set up was absolutely delicious.

If you’re looking for a NA romance that’s full of heat but never lacking on story, you need to check this one out!

#NewRelease & Review: ★The Friend Zone★ by @Kris10Callihan

The Friend Zone (Game On #2)
Author: Kristen Callihan
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: May 5. 2015

Gray doesn’t make friends with women. He has sex with them. Until Ivy.
The last thing star tight-end Gray Grayson wants to do is drive his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car. But he needs the wheels and she’s studying abroad. Something he explains when she sends him an irate text to let him know exactly how much pain she’ll put him in if he crashes her beloved ride. Before he knows it, Ivy Mackenzie has become his best texting bud. But then Ivy comes home and everything goes haywire. Because the only thing Gray can think of is being with Ivy.

Ivy doesn’t have sex with friends. Especially not with a certain football player. No matter how hot he makes her…
Gray drives Ivy crazy. He’s irreverent, sex on a stick, and completely off limits. Because, Ivy has one golden rule: never get involved with one of her father’s clients. A rule that’s proving harder to keep now that Gray is doing his best to seduce her. Her best friend is fast becoming the most irresistible guy she’s ever met.

Which means Gray is going to have to use all his skills to get himself out of the friend zone and into Ivy’s heart. Game on

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 Excerpt

The backs of his fingers skim up my arm, raising goose bumps on my skin. “Nice top.”
Even though it’s thirty degrees out, I chose a black silk tank that hugs my waist but gathers loosely over my breasts. A tie around my neck holds the top secure. That I am braless is not lost on him. He stares at my stiff nipples as his fingers drift to the bow at the back of my neck and give it a little flick. “Take it off.”“W-what?”“Let me see those sweet tits you’ve been teasing me with since you walked in the bar.”“I—” My breath catches. “No. I’m not taking my clothes off for a stranger.”

He doesn’t look away. “But you want to, don’t you? You want me to look at you.” He bends his head until his lips are at my ear. “You’re dying to expose yourself, to let me see those pretty pink nipples.”

My skin draws tight. I struggle not to sway into him.

He leans back, his attention on my top again. “Untie the bow.”

“Someone might come in.” Despite our play, my fear of getting caught is real, though not completely unwelcome.

“They won’t. I took care of it.”

I believe that. Gray would cover all the bases. In his own way, he’s as much of a planner as I am. But I can’t think of him as Gray now, not when he’s doing this for me.

His fingers are back, skimming over my inner arm, teasing the edges of my top. “Just a little peek.”

My breasts ache so badly, they’re hot, heavy, the silk covering them an irritant. With shaking hands, I reach up. The fabric tugs against my neck then comes free. It slithers over my skin like a caress.

He sucks in an audible breath as my breasts are exposed. I see myself through his eyes, sitting half-naked in this dim back room, my nipples puckered, my breasts quivering with each shallow breath I take. The vulnerability of it feels naughty, forbidden, and I nearly whimper.

A noise of pure satisfaction leaves him. Not bothering to lift his gaze from my breasts, he reaches out, runs the tips of his fingers over my nipple. I’m so sensitized now the touch sends a bolt of pure, searing lust straight through me. I flinch, clench my teeth to keep still.

He hums, strokes me back and forth as if he owns me. “So pretty.” He grazes me again.

“You like that, sweetheart?”

Eyes closed, I bite my lower lip and nod.

I feel him move. The wet flat of his tongue drags over my nipple. My eyes fly open on a strangled cry. He grins up at me, his mouth hovering at my breast. It isn’t his usual cheeky grin but something more wicked. “Mmm. Delicious.”

He takes a step closer, and I swallow convulsively. Gray’s voice lowers. “I wonder where else you taste good. You want to show me, sweets?”

I’m practically panting now. My hair swings as I give my head a hard shake. He leans in, trailing the blunt tip of his finger up the curve of my breast. I nearly yelp when he gives the stiff peak a quick, crude pinch.

His smile is pure male smugness. “Lift up your skirt and show me where you’re wet.”

Review5 stars


You are the happiness I never realized I needed.

Have you ever started a book and from just the first few pages known that you have a 5 star on your hands? You know what feeling I’m talking about. The permanent goofy smile, the warm and fuzzies in your stomach, the I’ll-just-read-one-more-page-and-before-you-know-it-you’re-done, book butterflies kind of feeling. That’s exactly what happened to me. Now I loved The Hook Up and I was equal parts dying and dreading this book. Why? Because it’s hard to follow up on a book that you loved. But honest to gawd, I think I loved this one even more. Why?

1. There was Gray

If you love the manwhores but hate about reading all their conquests and about them generally being a giant douchebag for most of the book until they hit their epiphany, well my picky friends, meet your holy grail hero. Gray was absolute perfection from the very start. Well, don’t get me wrong, he’s not perfect perfect. But there were NO other women. None. Not even flirting. But oh was there texting. Which brings me to my next reason.

2. The banter/texting.
Oh. My. Gawd. The texting!

If you don’t have a goofy grin on your face reading each of the texts between Ivy and Gray, we’re not reading the same book. Seriously.

3. Ivy
I loved her. No seriously. I loved her. She was sassy, sharp-witted, 6ft of awkward dancing awesome. I just loved all her quirky imperfections and the fact that she wasn’t your typical dainty tiny heroine.


And, God help me because the truth is Ivy has become a craving in my blood, racing through me hot and thick.

Clearly Gray had no issues with that.

4. The friends-to-lovers trope
Gah. Just gah. I think this may have been my favorite friends to lovers romance I’ve read this year. That slow burn, that sizzling sexual tension. Perfection. I loved that their friendship was what developed first but with a clear underlying of attraction. And if you follow my reviews than you know I love me my slow burn. Why? Because when it finally implodes, it’s bound to be delicious…

And for my curious fellow perverts out there, yes there’s a verra good dose of steam here. I got two words for you: Bar. Scene. You’ll see.

So in case my list of feels wasn’t clear enough, I loved this book. I loved everything about it. Even the little thing that happens towards the end. To me, it fit the story and just added a little more depth to the characters and their romance.

Kristen Callahan hit it out of the ballpark once again. (Get it? Sports metaphor. Ha!) And I absolutely cannot wait for more in this series. Like maybe, hopefully, fingers crossed, Dex? I do love me those lumbersexuals.

Would I recommend this book? Hell yes! Read it, fall in love with the characters, laugh like a loon, and not regret a perfect second of it.

 

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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