CATALYST: Sometimes who we really are lies buried just beneath the surface…
After learning she’s inherited a house in the beachside town of Soul Harbor, Georgia, Addison Harmon and her best friend decided to take a much needed vacation before the pressures of life after high school suffocate them too heavily.
But what Addison finds isn’t a chance to recoup from a bad break up and hang out with her best friend while she decides what she wants to do with her future. What she finds is Kace Sullivan—a sexy guy she can’t seem to get enough of—someone who with one touch reveals a seductive world full of magick and secrets Addison isn’t sure she’s ready to be a part of.
CONJURE: Sometimes to understand the present you have to conjure up the past…
The last thing Addison Harmon needed was to become tethered to the broody, often seemingly cold, Theo Van Rooyen, but that’s exactly what happened.
Forced to partner up with Theo to figure out a way to break the tether, Addison soon realizes she may have bitten off more than she can chew.
CONFINED: Sometimes the things in life that seem to confine us most are often the ones that save us…
To Addison Harmon becoming initiated appeared to hold the answers to her every problem—all except what she would do after, when the tether was finally broken. But when the after Addison imagined isn’t the one unfolding before her, she finds herself tangled even further in a web of secrets, lies, and betrayal.
It’s not until Addison is captured by the last person she ever suspected would betray her that she’s forced to rely on herself for survival.
Questions will be answered. Trust will be misplaced. And hearts will be broken.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
I have said it before and I will say it again, I love trilogies!! This is the perfect type of read for me: I don’t have to give up characters I love too quickly and the story really has time to develop and unfold. I got exactly what I wanted with Jennifer Snyder’s character-driven Tethered Trilogy.
Soul Harbor, Georgia is not where Addison saw her life but when her adoptive parents tell her she has been left a home there, Addison is compelled to check it out. The house is old but totally livable, there’s a beach within walking distance and, the locals are definitely worth investigating. In a very, very short amount of time, Addison finds herself a delectable boyfriend, a new job, a hidden room in her new home and, a very curious little cat. Though she doesn’t initially understand how everything in her new home is tied together it isn’t long before Allison begins to understand her place in Soul Harbor.
Within moments of meeting Addison, Kace discovers something he has been hoping for his entire life, the awakening of his powers. As a life-long resident of Soul Harbor, Kace understands intimately that magic is a very real thing and now that Addison has moved to town, the balance of power can be restored. Though Kace is absolutely attracted to Addison he would be lying if he said the draw of her magic and the emergence of his weren’t a factor. For Addison, the whole idea of magic is something she is certainly open to and she thoroughly gets that she feels different when Kace is around but what Kace ultimately wants from her may not be something she can give. You see, in order for Kace, Addison and, their friends to awaken the full potential of their powers, they have to be initiated as a group. Furthermore, in order for them to wield strong magic and cease being reliant on hoodoo, they must always work together as a group. Well, isn’t that a lot to dump on a girl within the first two weeks of coming to town?
Just like Kace, Theo has lived in Soul Harbor his whole life but his experiences have been markedly different. For Theo and his family, the balance of power is just fine and so long as the potential magic-wielders stay in the realm of potential, Theo and his family will be just fine too. As hoodoo practitioners, Theo and his family are responsible for providing the magic and spells to those who need and/or require them. As you might well imagine, in a town that is well aware of magic, Theo and his family are seen as a necessary evil. For most of his life, Theo has had something of a chip on his shoulder and mixing with the locals has never been his thing. Until Addison moves to town. In a most unexpected turn of events, Theo and Addison find themselves tethered together and though neither want the connection, they have it and it seems only Addison’s initiation can break it. See where I’m going with this?? :)
The Bottom Line: Over the course of three reads, Addison, Kace, Theo and, a whole host of others try and work through a multitude of problems including relationships, burgeoning magic, threats against Addison and, what will become of each of them either with or without magic. The various mysteries are spread out nicely throughout the reads, the action is all kinds of cool with both magic and hoodoo thrown in, the naughty bits are kept at an appropriate level for the genre and, in all the Tethered Trilogy is just a really good read!! This is one I can heartily recommend to lovers of paranormal, lightish mystery and, love triangles. Go forth and one click, dear reader!
About the author and where to find her:
Jennifer Snyder lives in North Carolina were she spends most of her time writing New Adult and Young Adult Fiction, reading, and struggling to stay on top of housework. She is a tea lover with an obsession for Post-it notes and smooth writing pens. Jennifer lives with her husband and two children, who endure listening to songs that spur inspiration on repeat and tolerate her love for all paranormal, teenage-targeted TV shows.
SHATTERED SOUL was my debut novel and no, you haven’t seen the end of me yet…
“I was the little girl who loved you from afar. I was the woman who gave herself away for you and ended up losing a lot of who she was.” “Then allow me to give back some of what I stole.”
After being dumped by her fiancé, Eleanor Carrington flees to Paris to stay with her self-medicated mother. While keeping her mom from popping pills like gummy bears, Eleanor launches a new, no-strings-attached life plan with absolutely NO falling in love whatsoever. On her part at least, because her self-esteem could do with one or two Frenchmen of him—to schmooze his way into her heart again. She grew up loving the/this/that man until he dumped her five summers ago. Whatever shit-show/life drama she’s just been through was a stroll. What Zach put her though was a climb up Mount Everest. Barefoot. In a bikini.
Now a club-owner in Paris, Zach is intrigued by the troubled woman who was once the sweet girl he had to give up. Offering a shoulder for her to cry on is what he owes her. Loving her is what he lost the right to. Because there’s a reason he broke up with Lenor and that reason is why she’s in Paris.
But Paris is called the City of Love…
Will he be her turn at love?
*** You Turn is a contemporary adult romance and part of the Second Chances series. However, Lenor’s story can be read as a stand-alone novel. There is no cliffhanger. ***
About the author and where to find her:
Marion loves to share happy vibes, talk book crush, fictional boyfriends and sexual chemistry with like-minded people. And because she spends most of her days on her own deep inside her writing cave—and under the grey London sky—, you are welcome to come and say ‘hello’ from time to time. Just to make sure she doesn’t sink into insanity. Her friends, family and arch-enemies (there are quite a few) will be forever grateful for your help.
The author is giving away (1) CHANEL Beauty Bag ($150 retail value, International), (1) Signed Copy of YOU TURN and (1) $20 Amazon Gift Card (International), and (1) Signed Copy of YOU TURN and (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card (International)!! You can enter on her Facebook page!
A Week In New York Playlist:
A New York State of Mind: Alicia Keys
No More Tears (Enough is Enough): Barbara Streisand & Donna Summer
Same Kinda Man: Candice Glover
One Night Only: Jennifer Hudson
I Wanna be Your Lover: Prince
Ain’t Nobody: Chaka Khan
All The Lovers: Kylie Minogue
About the author and where to find her:
I write sexy, romantic, contemporary novels – the kind I like to read! Ruined by romantic mini-series of the seventies and eighties, I love all things romantic. There’s not enough of it in real life so I’ll settle for books and films. I love the rain, the West Wing, London, days when you don’t have to wear make-up, being alone, being with friends, elephants and champagne.
Two stories so deeply intertwined, you’ll think you know how they intersect…but you’ll be wrong….
Zack Martin: The day I met Emily Bennett my whole world changed. Sure, we were just kids, but I was old enough to know my life would never be the same. She was my best friend. My destiny. My fate. I wasn’t wrong…I just didn’t know how twisted fate could be.
Nikki Fallon: After the death of my mother, moving from my dark and dreary trailer park to sunny California, I was focused on one thing – finding a sister I’d only just learned existed. Falling in love with him wasn’t part of the plan. But he filled a void I never knew was possible to fill. He had to be my fate. My destiny. Until the day I finally found out who my sister was…and how twisted fate could be.
My Rating: 3½/5 stars
Nikki always knew the day would come when her mother’s body simply gave up; between the bipolar disorder and the diabetes, she just couldn’t last forever. Nikki simply hoped that day wouldn’t come before she turned 18 and could legally be on her own. If wishes were dreams, right? Her mother dying certainly sucks but the real suckage sinks in when Nikki finds out not only was her mother keeping secrets, she kept some very, very big secrets like an aunt and a twin sister Nikki never, ever knew about. With her choice being foster care or her aunt, Nikki takes a leap of faith and moves to California with her aunt.
As Nikki is trying to sort out and adjust to her new life and make sense of the mysteries left over from her old life, Zack is doing good just to continue breathing. Emily, his girlfriend and partner in crime since the age of nine has died and his last memories of her are of anger and the fight they had. For more than six months, Zack has refused to go to school, refused to see his friends and, generally refused to live his life. The despair and guilt are almost more than he can bear and the very thought of moving beyond Emily is damn near crippling. In an effort to help their son finally begin to live his life again, Zack’s parents insist he return to school and the life he knew before that fateful night.
Zack’s first meeting with Nikki is perhaps the most significant moment of his life. For the first time in what feels like forever, he feels a spark of something deep in his soul. Nikki is new to the area and the school and has no idea about Zack’s past or what it is that makes him seem so very lost and desperately sad. What both know for sure is that they are interested in the other and they have to find a way to make that interest fit into their respective lives. The feeling out process for both is at times funny, at times sweet and, at times riddled with guilt and misunderstanding. Both Zack and Nikki are still very young and have dealt with incredible loss recently and so, the thought of happiness for themselves and with someone else causes an increased level of guilt mixed with their burgeoning feelings for one another. On top of all the mixed up and confusing feelings is the ongoing mystery of Nikki’s twin sister and the crazy neighbor lady who is virtually stalking Nikki. Neither Zack nor Nikki are in any way prepared for the resolution of these mysteries and when the truth finally comes out, all of the happiness that they have recently found with one another is torn apart.
The Bottom Line: Left Behind is a solidly written read from Vi Keeland and Dylan Scott. Though I did enjoy this read and had no difficulty getting through it, I can’t honestly say there is anything here that just blew me away. Once the story gets rolling, the light mystery is pretty easy to unravel and that just leaves a love story. The love story is riddled with angst, desire, and, some humor but it really doesn’t offer anything new or exciting. I liked both Nikki and Zack and certainly rooted for them along the way but I didn’t ever feel like I had a real connection with either character. Would I recommend this read? Sure. It’s a straight-forward and easy read that will keep your attention as most light reads will.
Excerpt from Left Behind:
He looks up and I watch his eyes take me in. Slowly. They rake over me, dropping from my eyes to my glossed lips down to my exposed shoulders. Taking his time, he follows the neckline of my simple, yet body contouring sundress, lingering when he reaches my full breasts. I’m sufficiently covered, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t aware that the dress showed off my assets well. Tight around my chest, gathering snuggly at the waist, with a scant amount of cleavage. Just enough coverage to still leave something for him to imagine. And I watch his face change as his imagination takes off running.
His eyes drift down my legs, tanned now from the eternal California sun. Momentarily he’s lost in what he sees and doesn’t even notice I’m watching him leer. Totally worth the extra effort getting ready tonight, I couldn’t be happier at the reaction I get. Eventually, his eyes make their way back up to mine and I arch one eyebrow, letting him know he’s been caught. A normal reaction might be to look embarrassed or perhaps even flustered a little. But not Zack. Instead, he flashes me a wicked grin. “You look incredible.” He’s the one doing the leering, yet I’m the one who ends up blushing.
About the authors and where to find them:
Vi Keeland: Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work. She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting smut author by night!
Dylan Scott: Dylan Scott is a New York trial attorney, wife and mother of four. She believes her job as a trial attorney is a subcategory to the field of entertainment more than law. With a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature she believed teaching English was a destined career choice until she realized her life long talent of “argument” could actually be her job. A recent, fairly boring, midlife crisis resulted in a brief stint as a middle school English teacher which confirmed that she wasn’t ready to give up the law. Dylan has also taught legal courses at the college level and worked with at-risk inner city youth in the roles of mentor and coach. She is co-author Vi Keeland’s biggest fan.
A scalding attraction. An irresistible passion. A pity she’s the one woman he can never have… Dane Coulter is mourning the loss of his best friend, fellow Special Ops buddy, Cody. Oh, Cody didn’t die. It’s worse. He’s getting married. Cody is, in Dane’s opinion, whipped. Dane swears he will never suffer the same fate. But when he meets a woman who can take all his dominant loving and beg for more, he realizes he may have met his match. It’s a damn shame she’s the one woman in the world his man-code deems untouchable…his best friend’s sister.
My Rating: 4½/5 stars
Dane Coulter’s life is all but over; his best friend, Cody is getting married and life as Dane knows it is over. Determined to never give in to the farce that is marriage and turn his life over to a woman who can control him, Dane is certain he will be the last man standing and he will be doing so solo. Las Vegas is meant to be full of fun and debauchery but Cody is having none of it. Cody is committed to his bride-to-be and won’t even go for the stripper/hooker the boys arranged for him. Not one to let his friends go unattended, Cody tells the boys to enjoy the stripper. Dane intends to do just that and as luck would have it, he runs into her in the hallway on the way back to his room.
Since she was a gangly teenager, Tina has been in love with Dave Coulter. He is everything she wants in a man and though she has dated others, they have never come close to fulfilling her in the way she is sure Dane can. Tina’s brother, Cody is getting married this weekend and with Dane as his best man, she fully intends to get Dane’s attention and keep it. As luck would have it, on the way back to her room Dane mistakes her for the stripper/hooker and invites her to his room for some fun and games. Though he has known her for most of her life, Dane doesn’t recognize Tina and she decides to go with flow and experience a night of unbridled passion with Dane. Not only is the night passionate, it is also the tiniest bit kinky and Tina wants more . . .
In the harsh light of day and at a most inconvenient time, Dane realizes that his night of naughty – one of the best of his life if he is being honest – was not, in fact spent with a hooker named Bambi but with Tina, his best friend’s sister. Man code clearly states that one does NOT ever date nor tie up and spank one’s best friend’s sister. Dane is sure that once he explains this to Tina she will understand and they can move forward with their lives and never speak of their night of awesome again. Tina has other plans . . . .
For two days, Tina does her level best to piss off Dane. If he is going to adhere to some stupid fictional code then she is going to show him exactly what he is missing. Tina is committed to her plan it doesn’t take long for Dane to realize that if he doesn’t do something drastic, he may lose the best thing that has ever walked into his life. All he has to do is tell his best friend and accept that he may not want to be the last man standing . . . . .
The Bottom Line: Whipped is delightfully naughty little read that I would have liked to have seen go on for a bit longer. Tina is funny and smart and determined in her quest to have Dane. She has spent her life loving him and refuses to give up on the possibility of being with him because of some dumb code. Her tactics are naughty and ruthless and make for a damn entertaining read. Dane is so convinced about the course of his life that he is practically blindsided by Tina. Tina not only fulfills him sexually but is a match for his wit, charm and, stern nature. In fact, Tina isn’t the least bit concerned by all of Dane’s posturing and calls him out on it when she needs to. Getting to their HEA is a whirlwind and that HEA is finalized with an epilogue that is both funny and sweet. In all, a fine read!
Meg Michaels, a bookstore owner, has already walked away from two cheating exes. She’s learned her lesson and has her mind set on success—until she gets knocked up. Embarrassed and unwilling to discuss her situation with friends and family, she wears layers to hide the pregnancy.
When Meg gets sick at a party, she’s mortified. Even worse, Theo Taylor, the guest of honor, discovers her secret. Theo, an Army medic wounded in the war, agrees not to reveal her condition, and the two forge a bond of friendship that blossoms into love.
Theo is soon filling all of Meg’s late-night cravings—and not just the pregnancy-induced ones. But can their love overcome all the obstacles that stand between them and creating a happy family?
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Meg Michaels never, in a million years saw herself knocked up and unmarried at just 24 years old. Even more humiliating is the fact that Meg’s baby is not the result of a happy, romantic and, solid relationship but the result of a sweaty, mistake filled weekend with her ex whose BS she fell for, yet again. The cherry on top of the crap sundae is the fact that the baby doesn’t even belong to her ex-fiancé but to her still-married ex-boyfriend. Can it really get any more complicated? Oh yes, it can. Humiliated by her situation and terrified of what her family and friends will think, Meg is trying her hardest to hide the pregnancy and deal with the fact that she is going to be a single mother.
Between hiding her burgeoning bump, fighting morning sickness and, helping her twin brother run their highly successful bookstore, Meg is stretched to the limit. Her charade is as exhausting and her pregnancy and though she knows she can only keep the secret for so long, she is determined to hide until the very moment that she can’t. That moment was meant to be weeks away until returned from war Army medic Theo Taylor accidentally discovers her secret. Though it is probably very bad form to ask an injured veteran to take on yet another burden, Meg asks Theo to keep her secret.
Theo Taylor has been through hell and come out the other side. He saw many, many atrocities in combat and patched up those that he could and said goodbye to those that he couldn’t. When Theo loses his leg and is sent back home, he comes home in very bad shape. Though he makes it through each day and mostly appears to be fine, Theo is falling apart on the inside. When Theo meets Meg, a little bit of hope comes back into his life. Meg is smart, frustrating, funny, stubborn and, in desperate need of a little help. Once Meg’s secret finally comes out, things get even more fun and the two set the tongues a wagging when Theo moves in with Meg. Theo needs to get out of his mother’s house if he is ever going to learn how to live again and with his considerable skills, he can help Meg get her home set up and ready for the arrival of her baby. The plan seems crazy on so many levels but Theo and Meg get along well and are able to help one another at a time when they both desperately need it.
As the weeks go by, Meg and Theo grow closer and a relationship begins to develop. Meg feels more stable than she has in months with Theo by her side and though Theo tends to run hot and cold, he is there for Meg when he can be. When Theo is hot, he is smoking and he is desperately attracted to Meg. Against her better judgment (really, she has two exes that suck!) Meg begins to fall for Theo and the more she around him, the more she wants to save him, to protect him and, help him overcome the demons he is plagued by. But demons are hard to overcome and just when Meg needs Theo the most, he bails on her.
The Bottom Line: When You Make It Home is a sweet romantic read that brings together two moderately to highly broken souls who are looking for their mate. Meg has a terrible track record with men and an inability to let go of the past; until she resolve her issues moving forward is going to be very, very hard to do. Theo’s issues are much more dramatic and just as damaging as Meg’s. Theo’s demons haunt him relentlessly and if he is ever going to be who Meg needs him to be and who he wants to be, he has to get right with himself. The struggle between the two is sweet and sad with moments of steaminess and pure joy. In the end, I very much enjoyed Meg and Theo but had some issues with some of the minor characters. Even with the couple of minor characters who rubbed me the wrong way, When You Make It Home is still a solid read that will certainly appeal to lovers of difficult romances with an HEA.
About the author:
Claire Ashby was born and raised in the heart of Atlanta. At a young age, she began keeping journals and over time embellished the details of her quiet days. Eventually, she let go of reality altogether and delved completely into the world of fiction. When she’s not reading or writing, she spends her time watching extreme survival shows and taking long walks after nightfall. She has an unnatural love of high places, but still regrets the time she skydived solo. She believes some things are better left to the imagination. She resides in Austin with her family and a pack of wild dogs.
My Rating: 3/5
Lucy Tuttle’s life is neat, ordered and, perfectly aligned. She has a perfectly arranged desk, her apartment is ultra-modern, sleek and tidy and, as a financial planner, she has secured her future. The only real messiness in Lucy’s life is her über-hippy boyfriend, Oliver and her delightfully crazy aunt, Maren. The day crazy aunt Maren dies is the day Lucy Tuttle’s life turns ass over tea kettle and her neat and orderly life will never, ever be the same.
As if the loss of her aunt weren’t enough Lucy also finds out that her crazy aunt has left her house, a house that is in no way neat or tidy. In fact, the house is not in the city and it is not in good condition but, it the last place on Earth that Lucy feels close to her aunt. Though she is reluctant to leave her sleek and ultra-modern apartment in the city, Oliver convinces Lucy that with a make-over, Maren’s house could not only be livable but a place where they can have a real future together. With little to hold on to now that Maren is gone, Lucy agrees to the make-over and the move. Before long, Lucy has also agreed to Oliver moving in and the make-over being eco-friendly. Like her life, Lucy’s home is turned ass over tea kettle and the days and months wear on and on, Lucy isn’t quite sure she will ever be able to come out the other side of her grief.
The Bottom Line: I really wanted this read to be so much more than it is. With a name like The Sock Wars, I thought I was in for at least a little bit of humor but what I got was a read full of sorrow with only the tiniest bit of happiness and little to no humor. Lucy is mired in grief and while that grief is well-deserved, it also bogs down and slows down the read. By the time Lucy finally begins to pull out of her grief and accept the immense changes in her life, it is a bit too late to really salvage the overall read. To be fair, once she does begin to accept the changes Lucy also dives in and starts making some more changes to help herself find her center once again and pursue a happy future, one her crazy aunt Maren would have approved of. In all, I found myself to be completely underwhelmed by the plot of The Sock Wars but because of the strong writing style (no problems with flow, grammar, errors, etc.) and complete commitment to character development (even though I only really liked the crazy, deceased aunt), I find myself unable to go below a three star rating.
Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.
As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people—like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries—and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy façade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.
Source: ARC from author
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Holy hockey puck, Batman!!! Alex is the first book in Sawyer Bennett’s new Cold Fury Hockey series and it is one smonkin’ hot read that has me seriously considering becoming a HUGE hockey fan. This character-driven read is full of action, drama, lust and, some ice-melting (yeah, I went there J) naughty bits.
Alex: Super-asshole Alex Crossman is hands-down this is my favorite character!! From the minute I met Alex I knew I wanted to both punch him and lick him. Alex’s past, and in particular his childhood is one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Alex’s father was – and still is – a drunk bastard with little to no regard for his son’s well-being. The only interest Alex’s father has ever had in him relates to how good of a hockey player he is. In the years since he left his father’s house, Alex has hardened himself against any and all attachments. He is painfully clear about his feelings toward humanity and, everyone, including his long-time teammates know to steer clear. Alex is a self-described asshole with absolutely no desire to change until the second he meets Sutton Price.
Sutton: Sutton Price is the kind of character you either absolutely love or absolutely hate. She is pure sunshine with an effervescent personality that is hard to tame. Sutton works as a drug counselor and though she sees a lot of back sliding and falling off the wagon, she is optimistic and determined to stay positive and help where she is able. Like Alex, Sutton had a pretty terrible childhood but unlike Alex, she didn’t let it define her. Given what she has overcome in her life and what she faces on a regular basis with her job, Alex Crossman is nothing she can’t handle. In fact, Sutton makes it very clear the day she meets Alex that his asshole attitude is not only completely unintimidating but less awful than what she faces on a regular basis.
Alex is difficult and testy while Sutton is optimistic and able to give as good as she gets. Sutton refuses to let Alex shirk his responsibilities where their project is concerned and Alex refuses to allow Sutton to go one more day knowing nothing about hockey. Though Sutton is not at all confused about she feels for Alex and what she wants with him, Alex is definitely confused. Sutton opens Alex’s world and before he knows it, he is experiencing life in a way he never knew possible. On a purely physical level, Alex and Sutton are volcanic in their hotness. Once those two decide the time is right, there is no stopping them and it is some damn good reading. Of course, it wouldn’t be a truly good (dare I say great?) read without some drama and Bennett certainly heaps it on her characters.
The Bottom Line: I’m not afraid to say this twice – HOLY HOCKEY PUCK, BATMAN!! Alex is a thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish. While I don’t generally care for assholes, Alex owns his attitude and more importantly, when he meets Sutton, he proves to everyone that he can be a better man, he can change. Alex’s struggle with his past and his future plays a heavy role in this read and I liked watching his evolution. Bennett doesn’t make Alex perfect and she doesn’t give him an easy road filled with roses, bunnies and, chocolate. Alex’s road is hard and he screws up, a lot!! Sutton is completely delightful and yes, I fall on the side of loving her. She doesn’t take any sh*t off Alex and more importantly, she is patient and willing to help Alex. Sutton’s optimism is infectious and she has a wonderful impact on Alex and his world. If you haven’t already figured it out, I sort of really, really, really enjoyed this read. In fact, I actually squeaked a few times while reading this one :)
P.S. I don’t often comment on the covers of the books I read but I feel compelled to in this instance. The cover of Alex is so completely tied to the read and I love it. The model and the pose both describe the character perfectly and I really do like it when a cover synchs up so perfectly with the read.
About the author and where to find her:
USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.
Love is selfish…
My name is Blaire.
I’m the bad girl.
The other woman.
The one who never gets the guy in the end.
I’m the gold digger.
The one no one roots for.
The one you love to hate.
I hate myself too.
Everyone has a story. Are you ready for mine?
Chapter One from Easy Virtue by Mia Asher:
Part I: Innocence
What is love?
I don’t know.
I’ve never had it.
Is it even real?
No, I don’t think so. I mean, how can I believe in love when I’ve never witnessed it? When it seems to only exist in books and films, or in the lives of more fortunate people than me? Trust me, I know.
Love is my personal chimera.
I am gazing at brown eyes, admiring the richness of the color, the beauty of the man to whom they belong to.
“You’re so beautiful, Blaire … so wet,” he murmurs, his hand going between my legs as he begins to rub me. His fingers spread me open to their soft invasion, tuning my body to his wants and needs, preparing me to be taken as the hot friction of his touch lights a wild fire within my body. It’s not the first time he has touched me like this, but each time feels better and better—the sensations all-consuming and heady.
Over and over again.
His invasion is fast and slow, deep and shallow. His touch is soiled heaven.
As I open my legs wider for him, I wonder if it feels this good because of him or because I’m taking something that doesn’t belong to me and making it mine.
“Oh God … I love you, Blaire. I love you … I love you …” he pants in my ear.
“Don’t stop … it feels so good,” I breathe.
Okay, maybe it’s because at this moment in time this man thinks he loves me and no one else but me, however false his proclamation may be.
I close my eyes as his lips land on mine. He kisses me softly as if I’m made out of gold, kissing me with that familiar mouth I’ve seen smile tenderly at me so many times before. The assault of his tongue debilitates me but doesn’t incapacitate me.
“It’s four dollars, gorgeous,” the cute barista says, smiling at me.
I’m about to pay for my cappuccino when I hear a deep, manly voice say, “Let me get that for you.”
A man wearing a beige suit comes forward, standing next to me as he hands the barista some bills. “I’ve seen you around … you’re Paige’s friend.”
I smile, licking my suddenly dry lips. “Thank you, and yes … I know Paige.”
The smile on his handsome face seems to freeze as his gaze follows the tip of my tongue, the spark of hunger brightening his eyes. Inwardly, I smile because who knew it was so easy to make men desire me, particularly when I went without attention for so long.
“My pleasure. Are you,” he coughs, “here with someone else?”
I shake my head and look at him through fluttering eyelashes. “No, I’m here all by myself.” I pause, touching his arm invitingly, and smile. “Would you like to join me?”
He looks around the coffee shop, probably considering if he should, if it’s proper to do so, but less than five seconds later, he’s staring at me once again. “Sure.”
Yes, just like that.
The beige walls are spinning.
The clock is ticking.
The bedsprings creak as the moon cries outside the motel window.
And the man above me kisses me while he fingers me, preparing me for him. Gotta love such a thoughtful man.
I can taste his sweet saliva mixing with mine, and I love it.
“Please,” I beg against his lips, reaching for his hard cock and wrapping my fingers around it. “I’m ready.”
I feel his mouth leave mine as he begins to make his way down my partially dressed body. “Are you sure, Blaire? Are you sure you want to do this with me?”
I open my eyes to witness what I think I want him to do. No, what I’m sure I want him to do. I can’t help the smile I feel playing on my lips as I see him struggling with his conscience. He asks me if I’m sure when he has already fucked my mouth with his cock countless number of times, when his fingers have filled every orifice of my body. Should I laugh? No … I decide to take pity instead.
“I’m sure, so sure,” I say, letting my arms land like dead weight on the bed, the cheap fabric rough against my skin.
When I feel the bed dip between my legs, I instinctively open them for him and watch as he brings a condom package to his mouth. As he rips it open with his teeth, I admire his perfect full lips that emphasize how masculine he is.
I feel pleased with myself.
So fucking pleased because he wants me.
Mr. Callahan wants me. Me. Can you believe it? Chubby Blaire. Ugly and awkward Blaire.
I guess I’m not that ugly anymore. My body? What was considered fat as a child is now called boobs and ass. Guys want it. They want me. They want to touch me, grope me, feel me … they want to screw me. And it feels good to be wanted … so good. It makes me feel powerful, and like a potent drug spreading inside your bloodstream, I want more.
I need more.
“Hurry up,” I say, not bothering to be shy or coy about it. I mean, he brought me here to have sex, right?
“Fuck, give me a second, Blaire. Trying to get the damn condom on my dick.” As he rolls the rubber on his stiff dick, his eyes wonder over my bare chest, my face, my spread legs. Shaking his head as if trying to clear his mind, he mutters, “You’re so beautiful. I want you so much.”
That’s not the first time I have heard those words come out of a man’s mouth. Josh tells me all the time how beautiful I am, how perfect I am, how much he wants me, how much he loves me. But he’s my friend with benefits. The words kind of lose their meaning when it’s the same person saying them to you over and over again.
Those two words are all it takes for him to spread my legs wider with his hands and finally enter me with his throbbing dick. Pain shoots through my body, and a groan escapes my mouth when he covers my body with his. I feel his whole length inside me in one deep thrust.
“Christ, you’re so tight.”
He lifts both my legs, wrapping them around his lean waist and starts to thrust. Hard. It hurts. But I like the pain. It sobers me.
And that’s when reality comes crashing down on me. It hits me with the speed and blinding power of a torpedo, making me realize what I’m doing. What I’m giving away and the man doesn’t even know it.
What the hell am I doing?
Proving that you are your mother’s daughter.
Making her proud.
The room is filled with the noises of the man grunting his pleasure and the wet slapping of our skin; it makes me want to gag. I want to throw up. Maybe it’s the alcohol I drank.
Maybe it’s self-disgust.
The initial pain is gone and now I just feel sore. And strange.
His beautiful face lowers, his lips about to connect with mine, and I feel the bile rise inside my throat. I turn my face to the side, his kiss landing on my cheek. My eyes watch the way the lights in the bathroom illuminate all its used and dirty ugliness.
“Oh God, I’m going to come … I’m going to come … I’m going to come,” he continues to pant in my ear, pumping in and out of my body. Before I know what’s happening, he half-screams and half groans, his body going tense on top of mine.
And just like that it’s over. In less than five minutes I’ve managed to kill a part of me.
Our breathing evens and he pulls out, moving to stand up. I push myself up on my elbows to see him inspect his condom. It still glistens. By the time he lifts his eyes, connecting with mine, I’ve already wrapped my body with the duvet cover.
Confusion, shock, and pleasure reflect in those brown eyes. “I-I didn’t know … I …” His hands go to his hair as we stare at each other. “I didn’t know you were a virgin.”
I shrug my shoulder carelessly, causing the duvet to slide down, exposing my bare breasts to him. His eyes immediately flare with lust. “It doesn’t matter … I wanted it to be you.”
And that’s the truth.
“But nothing. If it bothers you, then forget it happened. I already did,” I say, ending the conversation.
This is my body. I will have the last word. Not him. Not anyone. This is my life. This is my decision.
Without giving myself a chance to doubt my next words, I turn to look at him in all his naked beauty, the gold wedding ring on his finger catching my attention. “Don’t worry, Mr. Callahan … I won’t tell your daughter that you fucked her classmate.”
And with that, I seal my destiny.
About the author and where to find her:
My name is Mia Asher. I’m a writer, a hopeless romantic, a wanderer, a dreamer, a cynic, and a believer. And, oh yes…I might be a bit crazy – but who isn’t?
THE BLOOD VINE SERIES
An Adult Paranormal Romance Series
Published by Omnific Publishing
The Maras vampires will go to any length to save their kind. Only their lovers can show them how. Blood Vine: When public relations pro Zoey Porter arrives at an enchanting California winery, she discovers her sexy new client is the almost one-night stand she can’t forget. Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again, but Andre needs her help. Blood Entangled: Kos Maras’s orderly life is in shambles–he must distribute Blood Vine to a population of ailing vampires, but Hunters block him at every turn. To make matters worse, each night, he watches over a temptingly beautiful but unattainable woman sleeping in his bed. Blood Reunited: Vampire biologist Bel Maras must create a cure for the wasting disease that plagues his family. But when it fails, only his ancient and estranged godmother Uta can help. Now these old enemies must overcome their past to save the vampires and come to peace with the bond they never chose.
Guest Post: Wine Pairing for the Blood Vine Series by Amber Belldene:
On our fancier dates nights, my husband and I love to go out to the restaurants in San Francisco that have those great prix fixe menus. Three courses for $35, and for an extra $20, the wine pairing. I like it because I would normally never order an appetizer, entree, desert, and three half-glasses of wine. And when he orders three different things, then we get to taste a lot from the menu. *Wanders off in a salivating reverie while recalling a particularly delicious salmon filet.*
And, I’m back! So, I thought it would be fun to give you my food and wine pairing for the Blood Vine series!
In Blood Vine, we travel with P.R. executive Zoey Porter to meet the Maras family of vampires on their estate in Sonoma County. (Though, it turns out she’s already met but refused to sleep with Andre.) Plus, Pedro and Lucas meet in the winery’s tasting room in Healdsburg. When I imagined the opening of the book, I thought of one of my very favorite Zinfandel producers, Seghesio Winery. They have a lovely tasting room in Healdsburg, CA—a bit more upscale that the Kastel Estate’s small storefront, but a place I heartily recommend if you’re doing a wine country visit. Seghesio also has a great Old Vine Zinfandel that regularly goes on major markdown at my local Safeway grocery store, because every night is not fancy date night and I feel guilty drinking wine that costs more than $12 a bottle on Tuesday. With that OVZ, I would enjoy a grilled cheese on sourdough in the Kastel Estate kitchen, which happens to be the peace-making meal Lena and Zoey share in the book.
In Blood Entangled, Kos is responsible for all the logistics of bottling and distributing the potent Blood Vine, and the Hunters try to stop him at every turn. When I researched the procedures of a family-sized winery—how they bottle, label, box and ship their wines, I thought of the tiny small-production Nalle. If you can get your hands on anything they make, especially their quick-to-sell-out Zins, I heartily recommend! In the book, chef and heroine Lena is planning a Croatia meets California menu for the Blood Vine launch party. With a Nalle Zin, I would gobble up plates of Lena’s stuffed peppers, but skip her grilled sardines in order to leave room for the Baklava. The scene where Kos helps her find the honey in the pantry is um, sweet ;-)
In Blood Reunited, Bel, Uta and a reluctant Pedro travel to the vampire homeland in Eastern Turkey and uncover the origins of Blood Vine. I delighted in researching the ancient (as in 8000 years old) winemaking techniques of the Republic of Georgia, especially the famous “black wines” made by leaving the skins and stems to ferment inside the giant ceramic qvevri which are buried underground to keep their temperatures constant. The pictures of wineries using these techniques are breathtaking and I really, really want to go! Of course, I made a point of tasting some of those wines, and Pheasant’s Tears is one widely available in the U.S. I love it—it’s a very big, bold wine, dry but with lots of fruit. Not for everybody, but a new favorite for me. In this story, one of my favorite scenes is when Pedro rhapsodizes about his sister-in-law Lena’s cherry pie and realizes his thoughts sound rather naughty. He doesn’t much care though, because the pie is so good, and I think a slice would pair very nicely with a glass of Pheasant’s Tears!
The boxed set will include a Pedro and Lucas short story for all the fans of the series, called “Blood Eternal.” It’s short and sweet, and so I think it will deserve a nice port-style Old Vine Zin from one of my favorite little wine-country hole in the walls, Prager. They make to-die-for desert wines, perfect for a decadent and romantic m/m read!
Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, I hope you find the setting of the Blood Vine series as interesting as I did. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on Blood Eternal—the story is about Pedro and Lucas facing what it means to have an eternity together.
About the author and where to find her:
I grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when I could pull myself away from a book. As a child, I hid my Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on me when I preach these days.
I’m an Episcopal Priest with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies. I believe stories are the best way to explore human truths. Some people think it’s strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to me, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. I write paranormal, historical and contemporary romance and live with my husband and two children in San Francisco.
My literary agent is the fabulous Becca Stumpf of the Prospect Agency.