Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Million Dollar Que$tion by Ellie Campbell

Banner

Title: Million Dollar Que$tion Author: Ellie Campbell Format: Paperback, 350 pages Published: April 25, 2015 by Across the Pond Press

Title: Million Dollar Que$tion
Author: Ellie Campbell
Format: Paperback, 350 pages
Published: April 25, 2015 by Across the Pond Press

Purple GoodreadsSynopsis:

 Just as a huge financial scandal throws New Yorker, Olivia Wheeler, from wealth and success to bankruptcy and shame, struggling impoverished single-mother Rosie Dixon wins an unexpected million pounds. Good luck? Bad luck? Who can tell? Both women have more in common than they realize. While Olivia struggles to survive her humiliations, fleeing broke and homeless to London, shy unassuming Rosie discovers sudden riches arrive with their own mega-load of problems.

Can workaholic career-obsessed Olivia find a passion for something earthier and warmer than power and prestige? And can Rosie sift through envy and greed to discover true friends, true family and even true love? Two strangers who’ve never met. Yet neither realises how each is affecting the other’s destiny or the places their paths touch and fates entwine.
But will they surmount the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

That is the million dollar question.

 Excerpt from Million Dollar Que$tion:

Rosie Dixon perched herself on the hard plastic chair, watching the drawing take shape. A line, followed by a squiggle. Snake maybe? Then what looked like a head of a person with ears on top. And was that a saddle on its back or—

‘Do you like it, Miss?’ Emily asked.

‘Oh yes, it’s good.’ Rosie smiled encouragement as the young girl plucked another crayon from the Tupperware box and worked earnestly, tongue curled stiffly against her cheek in concentration. ‘Extremely good. I love the bright colours you’ve chosen.’

Finished, Emily pointed at the purple object. ‘What do you think that is?’

‘Um. Let’s see.’ Rosie peered closer. It vaguely resembled a bear, although how that fitted in with the ‘My Family at Home’ project, heaven knew. She didn’t want to offend but… ‘What’s his name?’

‘Bruno.’

Ah yes. ‘Bruno the bear. Of course.’

‘Bear?’ The girl shook her two perfect bunches and wrinkled her tiny freckled nose. ‘It’s not a bear, Miss, it’s a chocolate Labrador. Mummy’s boyfriend has one. Durr…’

‘Well it’s lovely.’ Rosie stood up. ‘And I’m Rosie, remember?’

Not that Rosie didn’t appreciate being called Miss, she did. Made her feel like a teacher, although the rather less grand title of ‘Teaching Assistant’ suited her fine. She’d been working at Avondale Infants for eighteen months now, supporting primary-aged pupils in classes of thirty-plus without needing to fret about parents’ evenings, lesson plans and the mountains of paperwork expected of a real teacher. She loved the small children and the hours meant she could still collect her own two sons from junior school.

‘Miss?’ Max, angelic curls disguising an impish spirit, frowned at his latest creation. ‘Can you help me?’

‘Shove over then.’ She nudged him playfully, as she squeezed beside him. Who’d have ever thought that she, shy little Rosie, always too timid to raise her hand in class, would be making a difference, however small, in the world of education? Just showed that good could come from the direst of situations. Even if it had taken a broken heart and some other God-awful trials to get her here.

She tucked a lock of shoulder-length hair behind her ear and handed Max a glue stick.

All things considered she really was incredibly lucky.

$$$

Mid-morning, the kettle in the staffroom had boiled and Rosie’s fellow teaching assistant, Gemma, was handing round the custard creams. Also in her early thirties, Gemma was recently divorced and had a secret obsession with The X Factor’s Simon Cowell that Rosie was sworn, on pain of death, never to reveal.

‘Anyone got an astrophysics degree?’ Carol, teacher of Orange Class, leafed through a stack of forms, eyebrows furrowed. ‘Certainly need one to fill in all these bloody risk assessments. Talk about ’elf and safety!’

Rosie joined in the laughter as she dropped a teabag in a smiley face mug. She was about to ask her colleagues, flopped onto chairs for their short break, if they were all right for beverages when Pauline Dawkins, Admin Officer, sidled up, a giant birthday card tucked under one paisley-clad arm.

‘Barry’s fiftieth. Whip-round,’ she hissed, spy-like from the corner of her mouth, as if the sole male teacher might burst in and discover the dastardly plot. ‘Drinks and cake at four.’

Pauline took her charge of The Birthday Book extremely seriously. Rosie had suffered the same ordeal when she’d turned thirty-three in March.

‘Oh, I’d love to be there, but I’ve my sons to pick up.’ Dutifully she scribbled, ‘Have a great day, Barry!’ unable to conjure anything witty or mildly original.

The envelope under her nose was stuffed with pound coins and larger notes. Rosie opened her ancient leatherette handbag, pushed aside her soggy egg sandwich and peeked inside her purse.

A lonely fiver lay folded next to a single fifty pence piece.

Her heart sank. That cash had to last the next two days until her monthly salary reached her bank. The twins, being eleven, always needed money for this or that and Charlie’s cheque was late again.

But then again poor Barry had recently lost his wife. Fifty pence seemed so stingy and she’d never dare offer the five pound note and ask for change.

There was an uncomfortable beat. Rosie’s fingers froze. Nobody was paying attention but still damp pooled in her armpits and along her hairline, her insecurities running rampant under Pauline’s scrutiny.

Was she assessing the havoc a runaway husband could create? Maybe worse – thinking it no wonder he’d strayed? If Rosie had once felt young, pretty and loved, it had all vanished with the end of her marriage. She cursed herself for not finding something smarter to wear than the skanky black cords pilled from the washing machine and a faded cotton blouse (Selfridges Sale 70% off) which sagged where it used to cling. And she’d totally messed up her hair attempting to add subtle honey-gold streaks from a Superdrug box to her mousy-brown frizz and ended up with tiger stripes instead.

Blow it, she thought, and handed over the fiver with a flourish, smiling to silence the warning pang from her gut.

‘Ta ever so.’ Pauline stuffed the note in the envelope. ‘We want to buy him a special present. Poor devil’s all on his lonesome…’ She broke off, fiddling with the plastic ID badge dangling from her neck. ‘I didn’t mean…well, it’s different for you with those darling boys, never a dull minute in your house, I’m sure.’ Her eyes fired with matchmaking zeal. ‘Now there’s a thought. Don’t suppose you and Barry…?’

‘No. Really.’ Rosie tried looking appreciative instead of appalled. Bearded bespectacled Barry was even more tortuously shy than Rosie and any attempts to speak made him extra nervous. They only had to reach the kettle at the same time and Rosie could feel her hands sweat, watching him twitch and stammer. As for fireworks, there’d be more sparks with two squibs in a rainstorm.

‘Just an idea.’ Pauline shrugged it off. She was basically a kind woman, Rosie thought, whatever catty things people said – just maybe a touch too blunt for the fragile sensitivities of a mostly female environment. And it must be excruciating asking people to hand over cash.

Pauline left to corner someone else and Rosie slumped onto an empty seat, tea forgotten. Two years since Charlie had walked out and no one – except Rosie in the secret corners of her soul – believed he was ever coming back. The beautiful home they’d spent ages lovingly doing up had been sold, Rosie and the boys now installed in a tatty two-bed terrace in a scruffy housing estate, where luckily the neighbours had welcomed her as one of their own.

Better off without him, everyone declared. What self-respecting woman stayed with a cheat after all? Outraged friends wanted him to suffer and occasionally Rosie did too. Not in a nasty, vengeful way, but at least to experience a few twinges of her own devastation.

She had fantasies in which he came crawling back, grief-stricken over what he’d carelessly tossed aside. She’d imagine herself on the arm of Colin Farrell, wearing a fiery-red figure-hugging dress, strikingly elegant, flawlessly made-up, her belly flat and her legs mysteriously three inches longer. She’d be ice-cool, telling him it was too late but usually in these daydreams – and she knew it was wrong – just as Charlie left, dejected, her stony heart would relent, she’d apologise to Colin, kick off her heels and run to Charlie’s joyful arms.

Other times her sleep betrayed her. She’d walk in the kitchen to find Charlie cooking spaghetti bolognese, wearing only a chef’s apron and an endearingly rueful smile. Silly stuff. Like last night – they’d sat in the bath together, him soaping her back. So convincing was this dream that in the morning she’d lazily stretched out her arm to him, forgetting that his side of the bed was empty and cold. He’d been her best friend and lover for so long. Not easy persuading her subconscious to switch from love to hate. Or even indifference. And he’d been such a caring father to Luke and Tim. Were they truly ‘better off without him’?

Determined not to submerge into despondency, she jumped up and tackled the backlog of crockery clogging the staffroom kitchenette.

Damn. She’d thought she’d got past all those predictable emotional stages, familiar to her as commuter stations. Denial. Shock. Anger. Depression. Last stop – Guilt – where she still lingered, scolding herself for not leaping to action the second Charlie’s secretary warned her about the female customer who showed more interest in the showroom’s Sales Manager than the vehicles on sale.

And why hadn’t she? Jumped? Leapt? Fought?

Because it had been unthinkable. Laughable even. With the red flag flapping inches from her face, Rosie had brushed it away with a smile, too certain of her husband to fall for that alarmist nonsense. This was Charlie, after all, her soul mate, who’d rescued her in her darkest hours, made her believe in her own worth after years of her mother’s jibes. He loved her even if she had grown two dress sizes finishing the kids’ meals, barely ever wore make-up, slumped around the home in baggy sweatshirts and couldn’t stay awake to watch an entire film when the boys were finally in bed.

‘…first out. Hey, what’s so fascinating about that sponge? You’ve been staring at it ages.’

Rosie hadn’t realised Gemma had joined her at the sink, let alone that she’d been speaking.

‘Sorry, Gem.’ She came out of her daze. ‘What was that?’

‘I was saying that as long as it’s not last in, first out, ’cos technically speaking…’ Gemma pushed her glasses up her nose and gave Rosie a meaningful glance before picking up a tea towel.

‘Technically speaking…?’

Gemma sighed as she wiped a saucer. ‘Rosie, you dingbat, did you hear a word I said? That meeting with the union reps yesterday, Carol’s just filled me in. They’re talking staff cuts. Redundancies. Teaching assistants in particular. Some of us – God knows how many – are for the chop!’

 Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Paperback: Amazon US | Amazon UK

 About the author and where to find her:

Pam Burks and Lorraine CampbellEllie Campbell is a pseudonym for sisters, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell who collaborate across the mighty Atlantic, finding writing together the perfect excuse for endless phone conversations. They are equally passionate about travel, animals and the great outdoors. Although Pam lives near London, with husband, three children and a dog, while Lorraine is on a Colorado ranch near wild and wonderful Boulder with husband, five horses, five cats, one dog and four chickens – they both believe in enjoying life to the fullest, be it discovering new remote locations or going on trail rides in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

Facebook | Pam on FB | Ellie on FB | Twitter | Google+ | Pintrest

Tumblr | Amazon | Goodreads | LinkedIn | eNovel

Riffle | BookLife | Website | Newsletter | Email: chicklitsisters@gmail.com

SWEEPSTAKES

BPiC

Review: Blackout (Book #1: Lost Girls Series) by Chris Myers

Blackout Banner

 

Title: Blackout Series; Book #1: Lost Girls Author: Chris Myers Published: April 27, 2015 ISBN13: 9781942630036

Title: Blackout
Series; Book #1: Lost Girls
Author: Chris Myers
Published: April 27, 2015
ISBN13: 9781942630036

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

No restraining order will stop Dare from protecting Teal…

The blackouts started happening when Teal was eight. There are long periods of her youth she doesn’t remember. She has woken up in strange places, feeling disoriented and unaware of how long she’s been out.

After two years abroad attending a private school and sessions with a top-notch psychiatrist, she’s been deemed cured. The blackouts have ceased, or so Teal thought, until she wakes up in a ditch back home in North Carolina. Dare, the man pulling her broken body from the wreckage, has a restraining order against him. He’s no longer the clean-cut boy she went frog gigging with but road-hardened. His lean, muscular arms, riddled with tats, drag her out of the SUV. She should fear him, but instead, his touch sparks memories that tell her she once worshipped him with all her heart.

Source: ARC from author

My Rating: 4½/5 stars

My Review:

Teal Covington has some sort of craptastic life!! At just eight years old she was attacked, her head split wide open like a melon, her best-friend was accused of molesting her, her mother disappeared from her life and, she began blacking out. In an effort to shield Teal from the small town fallout and harassment related to the events of her childhood, her father moves her to Paris where she spends two blissful years having only one blackout. Though Teal is thankful for the blackout reprieve she feels far from cured and desperately wants to understand what happened to her that fateful day ten years ago. In order to understand her past, Teal has to confront it and that means returning to the scene of the crime.

Returning to North Carolina is not something Teal ever thought she would do but her grandmother (a most delightful, Lulu!) needs her and if she is ever going to be cured, North Carolina is the place to be. Before she can even get home, Teal blacks out and buries her car in the swamp where her nightmare began. Before she can go down with the ship so to speak, Teal is rescued by her one-time best friend, Dare Tucker. The ten years between now and then have been both very good and very hard for Dare. On the one hand he has grown into the sexiest man Teal has ever seen and on the other hand, he has become hardened, cynical and, angry.

Dare Tucker only ever wanted to get out of his home town and become a veterinarian. The day he rescued Teal Covington in the swamp changed the course of his life and got him labeled as a sex offender for a crime he didn’t commit. Based on what Dare knows, Teal drove the final nail into his coffin with her testimony to the judge and though he has tried to forgive her, he just can’t forget how she derailed his life. To make matters worse, fishing Teal out of the swamp after her wreck gives Dare a chance to really see her. Dare is instantly struck by Teal’s beauty and though he wants to be mad at her, he just can’t control his body’s and heart’s reaction to her.

Within days, Teal knows coming home was the best and worst thing she could have done. She has a new therapist (a seriously funny and caring, Miles!) who is helping her understand the events of her past, she is actively pursuing why Dare hates her and thinks she hung him out to dry and, actively trying to push past her insecurities and stand on her own two feet for the first time in her life. Teal is determined to understand her past and someone is very intent on her not discovering the truth. It doesn’t take long for Teal to realize the closer she gets to the truth the more danger she is in. Her home is invaded, her security is threatened and those she chooses to be close too are in serious danger. Before all is said and done, Teal and Dare will rip the Band-Aid off a slew of old wounds, expose a crazy number of bat-shit crazy people and, find a way back to one another.

The Bottom Line: As always, Myers has created a crazy-complicated plot that is surprisingly easy to follow. There are more twists and turns in this plot than a crazy, country road but Myers takes you through it all with the smoothness and ease that only comes from a seasoned writer. Teal is a walking contradiction with her strength and her determination balanced by her vulnerability. She needs to understand her past in order to have any sort of future and she is willing to endure a whole lot of awful to get to her HEA. Dare is the highlight of this read with his actual physical strength balanced by a very caring nature. He and his brothers (whom I would love to know more about!) are a crazy mix of personalities that are ultimately loyal to one another and those they care for. Dare’s past has haunted him for ten long years and if he can do more than lust after Teal, he may have a bright and well-deserved future of his very own.

The big reveal in this story is somewhat expected but the extent to which everyone is involved and the activities they were involved in is most unexpected. The reveal regarding Teal’s mother is as interesting as it is abhorrent and adds a whole new level of ick to this read. Finally, there are the naughty bits with Dare and Teal. In general, I was quite pleased with the naughty bits – Dare is quite hot, after all – but some of the language was a bit off putting for me. I don’t mean the dirty words but some of the adjectives used to describe the bits and pieces. No girl’s vagina should ever be referred to as a squeezebox, especially in the midst of sex. With that being said, I certainly didn’t let this one minor element distract me (too much!) from my overall enjoyment of the read. Honestly, if you haven’t yet discovered Chris Myers, it’s time you do so and Blackout is a fine place to start!

 About the author and where to find her:

Chris Myers suffers from an overactive imagination. She spent her high school years writing torch songs for fantasy guys then moved onto writing thrillers, new adult, and young adult. She has a real job but would love to write full time. Her books have won and placed in the finals and semifinals for several awards including Paul Gillette, Rocky Mountain Gold, and Amazon Breakthrough Novel. Chris lives in Colorado with her daughter, her better half, and BeBe, a rambunctious Bichon.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

AToMR PRomotion logo

Excerpt: Betrothed (Book #1: Magic Matched Series) by Lola White

BetrothedRBBanner

Title: Betrothed Series. Book #1: Magic Matched Series Author: Lola White Format: ebook, 270 pages Published: March 27, 2015 by Totally Bound  ISBN13: 9781784305055

Title: Betrothed
Series. Book #1: Magic Matched Series
Author: Lola White
Format: ebook, 270 pages
Published: March 27, 2015 by Totally Bound
ISBN13: 9781784305055

Purple GoodreadsSynopsis:

 In witching society, magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.

Humiliated by a string of broken betrothals, Ileana Lovasz only wants freedom from her manipulative grandfather. So when she’s forced into meeting her next suitor, she decides to give the budding relationship all she’s got.

Eliasz Levy simply wants an alliance with Ileana’s brother Silviu, a man rising through the witching ranks. That is, until the Lovasz woman arrives at his home and stirs up emotions Eliasz never thought to feel.

Silviu has bigger things on his mind than his sister’s marriage. Georgeanne Davenold, Silviu’s betrothed and the key to his rise in power, is back in his life after a ten-year separation that left her distrustful of his intentions. Their union is a novelty, spanning the divide between matriarchal and patriarchal Families. Their union is also alarming, combining the influence and magic of two witches only heard of in myth and legend.

Ileana, Eliasz, Silviu and Georgie must build an alliance that will help them all get what they want, but with too many lies and too many enemies, the game they’re playing turns treacherous.

When the two women come under attack, neither Silviu nor Eliasz knows which is the target. They only know that they will protect the women their hearts have claimed as their own, even though that means defying the traditions of witching society, risking every goal they hold dear and confronting the dangerous members of their own families.

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series. 

Excerpt from Betrothed (Book #1: Magic Matched Series):

“Georgeanne Davenold is now old enough for me to do exactly as I wish to her, without her Family’s interference.”

Vasile stared at his son for a long moment, leaving Silviu feeling weighed and measured, evaluated in a way he’d grown used to, years before. It still wasn’t easy to keep calm under the silver stare.

“Don’t lose your head, my boy. This isn’t some female to take without consideration.”

Silviu hefted a brow. “I’ve never had any complaints.”

Vasile scowled. “You put your damned heart on your sleeve and you’ll lose every advantage you’re likely to gain with that girl. She’s been molded in Madeleine’s image. Do not underestimate her.”

“That’s exactly what you want, Father. A woman as strong as Madeleine. Her entire life has been arranged by you for that very reason. She was always meant to be Madeleine’s second reign.”

“And your first, but she’s your weakness,” Vasile spat, abruptly leaning forward in his chair. One rigid finger drilled into his desktop, emphasizing his point. “I don’t know what the hell it is about her, but I could see it the moment you met. Do not jeopardize all we’ve worked toward for a female who will never allow you to be her weakness. She has her own agenda and, with the sole exception of that Beltane night, she’s never given us any reason to think she would be willing to put it aside to please you!”

Surprise held Silviu for a breathless moment, a hideous vulnerability sweeping over him at how easily his father had read him. He cleared his throat with effort. “We both want to lead the covens. What makes you think her agenda wouldn’t match mine, if properly explained to her?”

“You won’t win the heart of a matriarchal female,” Vasile countered. “You’re too…male, for any of them. So, don’t even bother to try.”

Silviu hid the fear spearing through him by slouching back in his chair, a deliberate insouciance that was all that ever truly fooled his father. “I know. It’s a political alliance, not a love match.”

Vasile lost some of the tension in his shoulders. “Only Georgeanne can unlock your full potential, only she can provide a conduit for all the magic that should rightfully be yours. Together, you could join the Families, power from both sides of the Schism. Just think! You will rule with your combined power over all the covens.”

“Just as you wanted, Father.”

With one last searching glance, Vasile shifted back in his chair, a crafty gleam sparkling in the depths of the eyes he finally turned on his daughter. “Eliasz wants you.”

“That’s ridiculous,” she scoffed. “He doesn’t even know me.”

Vasile shook his head. “There is no earthly reason why the powerful Levys would want to ally themselves with our Family except Eliasz’s lust. We aren’t politically relevant.”

“But that will change,” Silviu said.

“Yes, but no one in the Levy Family knows the extent of my plans.” Vasile raised a brow at Ileana. “You will do everything in your power to keep Eliasz’s attention and win his heart. Do you understand me?”

Ileana’s eyes went wide. “Throwing me into Eliasz’s bed, then?”

Vasile pointedly eyed the tiny skirt riding high on his daughter’s thighs. “Are you going to tell me you’re a virgin?”

“I won’t tell you anything on the matter at all, Father.” Ileana cocked her head. “What makes you think this time will be any different from before? Grandfather is going to find some reason to pull back from this alliance.”

Vasile’s hard face went rigid. A low growl ripped from his throat. “The old fool has no idea how much he’s cost this Family. He is the reason we have no power in the witching world, but so long as he wields the magic of our bloodline we have no weapon strong enough to bring him down.”

“We need this alliance,” Silviu said, turning to take Ileana’s cold fingers and squeezing gently. He tried to give her comfort, hope. For so long, they’d been each other’s support in the face of their Family’s machinations. “The Levys are no joke, Iley. This one will go through.”

“You can’t promise that,” she argued.

“We’ll do our best.” Vasile rapped his knuckles against his desktop. “But you’ll have to do your part, girl. Wrap that man around your finger. I know you can do it. You can be very charming when you put your mind to it. People naturally like you.”

“Convince him to elope with me, perhaps?”

“If need be, yes.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Silviu glanced at his sister, the sudden calmness in her voice sounding alarms in his skull. She only used that tone when she was about to challenge the archaic, patriarchal rules they were forced to live by.

Vasile seemed unaware as he moved on to his favorite subject—intrigue. “Now, as for the meeting with the Levys, I will expect very specific things from both of you.”

It was nearly the witching hour before they were given permission to leave their father’s presence, lectures and orders still ringing in Silviu’s ears. When he slipped out into the cold hallway, he shut the study door behind him carefully, calmly and with complete control.

Only then did he lean back against the wall, close his eyes and let a shudder born of too many emotions to fully contain roll through him. Tension and intrigue fell from his shoulders, making him feel half his weight, now that his father’s focused gaze was no longer resting on him.

“Now’s your chance, Silver,” Ileana whispered.

He nodded. “And yours. We will both be bolder than we’ve ever dared before.”

“I’ll give it everything I have,” she promised.

Dragging in a deep breath, gathering his cracking armor of calm around him once more, Silviu set off toward his bedroom, making his own plans for Georgeanne Davenold that had nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with pleasure.

Totally Bound | B & N iBooks | Amazon 

 About the author and where to find her:

Lola White writes what she writes, which is erotic fiction. Sometimes horror, sometimes paranormal, sometimes romance. It’s all sexy, but never predictable because she likes to twist reality at its edges in her stories. She likes delving into the emotions of her characters, finding their strengths and weaknesses, and seeing (and showing) how they get themselves out of whatever trouble has found them—if they can. Don’t try to label her collection of tales beyond the most basic description, EROTICA, because she writes whatever story comes to mind, whatever speaks to her. She’s certain something in her library will speak to you, too.

 Blog | Facebook | FB Fan Page | Pintrest | Twitter

Goodreads | Tumblr | Amazon Author Page | Smashwords Author Page

Once Upon an Alpha

Review: Hard Ride: A Novel in Three Parts by Opal Carew

Title: Hard Ride Series: Part 3 of 3 Author: Opal Carew Published: April 28, 2015 by St Martin's Press  ISBN13: 9781466878679
Title: Hard Ride
Series: Part 3 of 3
Author: Opal Carew
Published: April 28, 2015 by St Martin’s Press
ISBN13: 9781466878679

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

Liv never expected to rekindle her romance with her college boyfriend, who’s now a hard-bodied, tattooed biker. And she never imagined sharing herself with his entire gang.  Shock can feel Liv pulling away from him, just like she did all those years ago. Her lies are a painful reminder that she’s not ready for anything more than a good time in bed, but he’s not willing to let her go. He lost her once, and it’s never happening again. Faced with losing the one thing he’s always wanted, he must prove to Liv that what they have is more than physical and that his heart is in her hands. But is she ready to give him hers?

Source: Netgalley

My Rating for the entire series: 4 – 4½/5 stars

My Review:

**CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR PARTS 1 AND 2**

The final installment of Hard Ride opens with Liv and Shock rushing off to be with her dying sister. Though Liv assumes she will be flying solo and saying her final goodbyes to her sister she quickly discovers Shock is in it for the long haul and has no intention of allowing her to go through this ordeal alone. As if this weren’t enough, Shock also covers the cost of an extremely experimental treatment that allows Liv’s sister a second chance at life. Yowsa!!

When things with her sister are once again on the up and up, Liv and Shock return to crew and determine to work on their issues. Both are crazy for the other but they are also both very scared of revealing their true feelings. Complications and situations from both their pasts are an ever-present issue and if they can’t move beyond those issues then there is no chance of a future.

As the emotional side of their relationship continues to roller coaster, the sexual side blossoms in a most delightful way. One emotion regarding Shock that Liv is crystal clear about is her trust in him. Liv knows in a bone-deep kind of way that Shock will never hurt her (sexually at least!) but will push the boundaries of her comfort zone. Still willing to experiment and broaden her horizons, Liv agrees to literally serve as Shock’s slave and the two embark on an afternoon of light BDSM, group sex and, a stunning amount of orgasms. Liv certainly broadens her horizons and shatters the boundaries of her comfort zone all while growing closer to Shock. Though the two have certainly been together before this particular experience, it is really this experience that allows them both to fully acknowledge their feelings for one another be brave enough to give voice to those emotions.

The Bottom Line: I know exactly what to expect when I dive into an Opal Carew read. I get characters I will like and who are at least a little bit broken and in search of healing, I will get some (sometimes a lot!) of pretty fantastic sex sometimes with a little bit of kink and, I will get a plot line that doesn’t really tax my brain but keeps me interested and generally entertained. I got exactly what I expected in the Hard Ride series and very much enjoyed the read. I found myself particularly drawn to Shock as he is a fine contradiction: outwardly he is a hardened, tatted up biker who enjoys the freedom and lack of responsibility associated with riding with a crew but when you dig a bit deeper you discover he is all of those things and so much more. Shock is also an intelligent and very successful businessman who values honor, ethics and self-respect over money. He is kind, caring, respectful and completely in love with Liv.

Hard Ride’s plot really doesn’t make you work too hard but it is engaging. Liv’s sister is dying and if serving as a sexual partner for hire for a month is what Liv has to do to save her sister, then she will do it. The medical issues in play sound really, really nasty but it pretty much just takes a very expensive wonder pill to save the day J This may sound hokey and all too easily dealt with but I don’t care. The sick sister is just the means by which Liv is reintroduced to Shock and Hard Ride is really their story! Loads of sex, Shock and, HEAs all around made Hard Ride a pretty good read for me!!

Amazon | B & N | iBooks

Hard Ride: A Novel in Three Parts by Opal Carew

Title: Hard Ride Series: Part 2 of 3 Author: Opal Carew  Published: April 14, 2015 by St Martin's Press  ISBN13: 9781466878662

Title: Hard Ride
Series: Part 2 of 3
Author: Opal Carew
Published: April 14, 2015 by St Martin’s Press
ISBN13: 9781466878662

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

 Liv never expected to find herself trapped in an alley facing a band of rough bikers. And she certainly never expected to see him again…

When Shock encounters an old flame in a dark alley, it sends him spiraling. She’s still as beautiful as ever, but she seems to have fallen on hard times since college, and he’s concerned about the risks she seems to take. In order to keep her safe and finally have her for himself, he makes a sensual deal: his help for her complete submission. But will Liv be able to let go of the past and fall for the hard rider?

Source: Netgalley

My Rating for the entire series: 4 – 4½/5 stars

My Mini – Review:

**CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR PART 1**

Part two of this naughty novella series opens with a very adamant Liv refusing to go home as Shock has insisted.

Both Liv and Shock have so many emotions warring with each other that they can’t see clear to what they both really want. Shock doesn’t want to be the second guy who forces Liv to have sex and Liv no longer wants to feel broken and afraid of being with a man. Screw the contract, Shock wants Liv and has since college. Liv wants to be with a man but more importantly, she wants that man to be Shock.  Once she is able to convince Shock of her absolute willingness to be with him (no matter if there is a contract!) the two embark on a somewhat comfortable arrangement. Shock is far more experienced and open-minded about sex than Liv is but Liv is willing to experiment on a slow and steady basis. Liv’s naïveté about sex is as exciting to Shock as it is endearing. He understands Liv is willing but he also understands that he has to take things very slowly with her. Additionally, Shock truly likes Liv and wants to be sure she is treated with respect.

While Shock’s intentions are certainly good and his actions with Liv speak of nothing but respect his past is a factor and when Liv is confronted with it, she is all but slapped in the face. Apparently, Shock has a habit of contracting women and Liv feels as if she is nothing more than another sexual partner for hire. Her anger only intensifies when she realizes she has true feelings for Shock and doesn’t want to be just another notch in his bedpost. Fear of rejection and the cold, hard truth keep Liv from actually talking to Shock and the two are forced, yet again into a most uncomfortable situation.

Shock realizes almost instantly that Liv is so far beyond a sexual partner for hire but he knows she is skittish and has as much experience with relationships as she does with sex. Shock wants to tell Liv how he feels about her but fear keeps him from opening his mouth. He tries to show her how he feels through a beautiful night out and tender moments but the message doesn’t quite seem to be getting through. When Liv’s attitude changes and she won’t tell Shock why, Shock is totally confused, angry and, hurt and Liv is angry and hurt. The remedy? Behave like children and act out and irrationally. Just when things seem to be coming to a head, the truth of the whole situation comes out and Liv is forced to tell Shock (and the others!) the real reason she is with them all and why she needed the money in the first place. With one phone call, Liv’s world is turned upside down . . . .

Amazon | B & N | iBooks

Review: Hard Ride: A Novel in Three Parts by Opal Carew

Title: Hard Ride Series: Part 1 of 3 Author: Opal Carew Published: April 7, 2015 by St Martin's Press  ISBN13: 9781466878655

Title: Hard Ride
Series: Part 1 of 3
Author: Opal Carew
Published: April 7, 2015 by St Martin’s Press
ISBN13: 9781466878655

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

Liv never expected to find herself trapped in an alley facing a band of rough bikers. And she certainly never expected to see him again…

When Shock encounters an old flame in a dark alley, it sends him spiraling. She’s still as beautiful as ever, but she seems to have fallen on hard times since college, and he’s concerned about the risks she seems to take. In order to keep her safe and finally have her for himself, he makes a sensual deal: his help for her complete submission. But will Liv be able to let go of the past and fall for the hard rider?

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

My Review:

Liv needs money and a lot of it and she can’t tell anyone why. Her reasons aren’t dark or illegal but good and decent, her sister is dying and with little to no money and tapped out insurance, Liv has become desperate. In an effort to get even a small measure of the financial help she needs, Liv finds herself in a dive bar waiting for her ex who never shows. To make matters worse, when Liv tries to leave, she is accosted by a group of bikers looking for a little easy action.

Before Devin became Shock, the hot, hard, tatted up biker he was your average college kid from an extremely wealthy family who was totally in like with a girl named Liv. Shock however is a different sort of beast; oh, he is still extremely wealthy but he has left his blue blood family behind and spends his days riding with his crew and overseeing an empire he built for himself. Shock is beyond wealthy and when he sees Liv not once but twice in dive bars and has to rescue her both times, he decides it is time to become involved.

Shock never understood why Liv pulled away from their budding relationship in college but now she is back in his life and needs his help. The businessman in him sees lending Liv $50,000 as a bad deal but the purely sexual side of him sees her request as an opportunity to reconnect and finally get her into his bed. Shock agrees to lend Liv the money but only on the condition she sign a contract binding her to him for the next thirty days. Liv is to ride with Shock and his crew and be willing and ready to serve Shock (and the crew!) in the most intimate of ways. All of the details are outlined in the contract and though Liv is very nervous she is also desperate to save her sister and so, she signs the contract.

Liv is both ridiculously nervous and excited about her contract with Shock. She feels slightly like a whore but Shock is a man she knows she can trust and with that in mind, she divulges to him exactly why she pulled away from him in college. The reason is reprehensible and the decent guy in Shock overrides nearly every other impulse he has regarding Liv and he decides to take her home and terminate the contract . . . . . .

Amazon | B & N | iBooks

Excerpt and Sweepstakes: There You Stand (Book #5: Between Breaths Series) by Christina Lee

there you stand release day blitz

Title: There You Stand Series: Book #5: Between Breaths Series Author: Christina Lee Published: April 21,  2015 by Penguin/InterMix  ISBN13:9780698408951

Title: There You Stand
Series: Book #5: Between Breaths Series
Author: Christina Lee
Published: April 21, 2015 by Penguin/InterMix
ISBN13:9780698408951

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

Tattoo artist Cory Easton has worked long enough at Raw Ink to know, just by looking at a dude, what his body art reveals, what makes him tick, what even makes him scared. Until he meets the quiet and remote Jude York—so unreadable, so unreachable, and so unlike anyone else, he can’t help but arouse Cory’s curiosity.

As captivating and complex as his ink, Jude is a mystery—and Cory’s falling fast and hard under his spell. Against his better judgment to steer clear.

The rumors of Jude’s past overshadow him—whispers of prison and an unmentionable secret that’s kept him in the protective shadows of a local motorcycle club. As Cory probes deeper, he wonders how much he really wants to know. Especially since Jude has awakened something inside him that has been buried too long—and has him feeling completely alive for the first time in forever…

there you stand teaser 2

Excerpt from There You Stand (Book #5: Between Breaths Series):

Chopper, get your ass back here!”

While he was distracted, I silently moved toward him, hoping to grab hold of that leash. But just as I approached, he took off again, following that same squirrel who’d taken a leap to the next large maple.

I was out of breath and now beyond frustrated. I shoved my hand in my hoodie, my fingers closing on a sturdy dog cookie.

When I looked up again, Chopper was headed straight for the skate park. Shit.

“Chopper, goddamn it,” I called in some last-ditch effort. “You don’t listen for shit.”

Unexpectedly, Jude York neared the cement barrier at the entrance to the bowl. His board clenched in his fist, he seemed to be assessing the situation as the large dog charged nearer.

He left his skateboard on the concrete walkway and stepped into the lawn. He squatted down in the grass, made eye contact with Chopper, and the dog changed course to sail directly toward him. What the hell was that about?

Some type of deep whistle emitted from Jude’s lips and instead of slamming into his chest, Chopper came to a sudden halt beside him. Like Jude was a damn dog whisperer or something. His strong fingers grabbed hold of his collar and he reached down to mutter something in the dog’s ear. Chopper sat down in the grass. Actually fucking sat down—I had never been able to get him to do that.

I became motionless as I watched them, even though Ace was eager to inch closer. At least one animal heeded my command. I wondered what it was about Jude that compelled Chopper to run toward him. I mean, I got the appeal, so maybe it was just pure animal instinct.

The muscles in Jude’s forearm flexed as he stroked Chopper’s head and the dog’s tongue hung out in a happy pant. The little fucker.

As I walked closer to Chopper, Jude’s eyes lifted to mine. And for the first time I saw an array of other emotions alight in them. The most blatant being amusement, as if his irises contained a flicker of light. His lips tilted at the corners in an almost imperceptible smile and he looked so dazzling right then. As he held my gaze for the first time ever, something tightened like a fist inside my chest.

Shit, he was stunning. In that exotic kind of way. His hair was a mass of short blond dreadlocks, his skin inked mainly in black, and his eyes were the most gorgeous light green I’d ever seen—almost like cellophane. And now those same eyes locked on mine and held steady.

 there you stand bannerSeries Reading Order:

All of You (book #1)

Amazon US:http://amzn.to/1EYDMEd

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1EYEbqc

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1OrPIyX

Nook: http://bit.ly/1EeYlxu

iBooks: http://apple.co/1O6Ad4D

Before You Break (book #2)

Amazon US:http://amzn.to/1Jh8IhZ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1D0gide

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1O3DT7c

Nook: http://bit.ly/1IXkS2Y

iBooks: http://apple.co/1zzE2DD

Whisper To Me (book# 3)

Amazon US:http://amzn.to/1zvhJ1R

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1G7cr4c

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1IqZorV

Nook: http://bit.ly/1FWfSoY

iBooks: http://apple.co/1D4cK8A

Promise Me This (book #4)

Amazon US:http://amzn.to/1zvhNyK

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1D0gsRW

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1OrPZ5a

Nook: http://bit.ly/1JhbPGJ

iBooks: http://apple.co/1O6At3R

There You Stand (book #5)

Amazon US:http://amzn.to/1Dm4CAL

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1DULv5B

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1HkFZtP

Nook: http://bit.ly/1b9iTu4

iBooks: http://apple.co/1bilFO8

About the author and where to find her:

christina lee bioMother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys.  She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.  Author of the Between Breaths series from Penguin. ALL OF YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK, WHISPER TO ME and PROMISE ME THIS available now. Book five in the series, THERE YOU STAND, coming in April, 2015.  Also, her Adult Contemporary Romance, TWO OF HEARTS is releasing on May 5th, 2015.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

SWEEPSTAKES TRSOR Promotions

Release Day Spotlight: Shadow of Doubt (Book #2: SBG Series) by P.A. DePaul

ShadowofDoubtRBBanner

Title: Shadow of Doubt Series: Book #2: SBG Series Author: P.A. DePaul Published: April 21, 2015 by InterMix  ASIN: B00I8RB196

Title: Shadow of Doubt
Series: Book #2: SBG Series
Author: P.A. DePaul
Published: April 21, 2015 by InterMix
ASIN: B00I8RB196

Purple GoodreadsSynopsis:

When her secretly filmed tryst shows up on the internet, Michelle Alger goes on the run. She has no choice. Not only was her one-night stand the son of a US senator, but he’s been murdered—and she’s the number one suspect. With both the senator and an avenging drug lord on her trail, her life is in danger. There’s only man she can trust. He saved her once, but will he still be her hero six years later?

Captain Jeremy Malone and the rest of Delta Squad have the senator’s order: find the mystery woman who killed my son. But to Jeremy, she’s no mystery. Six years ago his team of Green Berets rescued her from the torturous clutches of a Colombian cartel, and he’s never forgotten her. His personal and covert mission: find Michelle before anyone else. When he and Michelle do meet again, the sparks are explosive and consuming. They’re also dangerous as hell.

Because with each new bit of evidence, Jeremy suspects that Michelle’s innocence may be a ruse—a beautiful trap set by a woman who has even more secrets yet to bare.

ShadowofDoubtTease

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Nook US | Nook UK | BAM | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play

 About the author and where to find her:

Since P.A. DePaul first sounded out the words “See Spot run” and “See Jane walk,” she was hooked. Couple that with weekly trips to the library where she usually tried to get the maximum amount of books allowed, and watching both parents get lost in a book, you would think she’d get a clue that writing might be something she should investigate. But sadly, no. (She’s a little slow on the uptake.)

After years of escaping into fantastical worlds in books, P.A. DePaul started to get an inkling in the back of her mind that she could probably create something fun too. But again, as she was slow to move on to anything concrete, the idea just continued to fester until she picked up J.R. Ward’s compendium, The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide. Eureka! The three-way bulb in her brain finally clicked higher than the dim-watt. When she finished reading the “Advice and FAQs” section, her hands shook and her palms got sweaty. After she blinked away the lightheaded feeling, she thought to herself, “I can do this. I’ve read enough books to know what’s out there and what’s popular. I’m gonna give it a try.” Then she sat in front of her computer, chin in her hand, and drummed her fingers. What to write about? Even though she loved reading about vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, and witches, she realized she had nothing new to offer. Frustrated, but not daunted, she went to bed and woke up the next morning with an idea; a concept that refused to go away. A couple of failed manuscripts and storylines later, she finally got it right. (Though, in her mind, those first couple of manuscripts weren’t failures. They were learning tools to help her hone her writing and learn how to construct a storyline. Some of the characters you’ll come to love in the Guardian Security and Investigations series started in those original pages and she just couldn’t part with them. Don’t be surprised if one day, she dusts one of those off and works it so they’ll finally be in print.) 

Knowing she had a novel worth fighting for, she joined the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and entered it in four contests. She won third place in Utah Chapter’s Heart of the West Contest! Woohoo! Confirmation she was on to something.  P.A. DePaul originally hails from Carroll County and Baltimore County, Maryland, but also lived in Macon and Warner Robins, Georgia. She currently resides in a beautiful community just outside Philadelphia.  When her head is not completely absorbed with listening to her very demanding Guardians tell their stories, she can be found with her head in a book—not only enjoying the story but studying what makes the novel work for her or not. She loves action-adventure movies (if it blows up spectacularly, she’s there) and watching way too much TV. (Can everybody say “Procrastination?” To which she usually replies, “But it’s research!” Yeah, they don’t believe her either.). Her husband and three-year-old Shi Tzu, Montgomery, sometimes stand outside her closed office door and wonder, “Is she still alive? Do we dare bother her? What if she’s on a roll?” Monty usually answers by scratching on the wood anyway. Gotta love a dog who doesn’t care about boundaries! Good thing he’s so cute!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pintrest | Goodreads

Once Upon an Alpha

Cover Reveal, Teaser and, Sweepstakes: Stalker by Clarissa Wild

Title: Stalker Author: Clarissa Wild Publication Date: June 16, 2015 Genre: Dark Romance (18+)

Title: Stalker
Author: Clarissa Wild
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Genre: Dark Romance (18+)

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

Fuck me once, I’ll fuck you twice … then I’ll bury you.

No prison can keep me from seeking revenge. Especially when it comes to her.
She, the woman who put me in jail.
I swore that I’d come for her, to claim what belongs to me: Her life.
I’m not a good man. On the contrary, I love to be bad. It’s in my veins. Just like it’s in my veins to ruin her.
She’s an actress, pretending to be a saint, but we both know that isn’t true. One way or another, she’ll pay for what she did.
I will hunt for her. Make her fear me. Make her body mine.
Bad deeds never go unpunished … And I always go out with a bang.

WARNING: This book is a DARK ROMANCE STANDALONE – it has a non-conventional ending. This isn’t rainbow sprinkles & unicorn fluff. It’s a dark, thrilling journey of two people clashing over love, lust, and hatred. Heed the warning. Contains graphic violence, alcohol, drugs & other disturbing content.

Elegant lady in evening dress

iBooks | Barnes&Noble | Kobo

About the author and where to find her:

Clarissa Wild is the USA Today Bestselling author of FIERCE, a college romance series, but she’s best known for the dark Romance novel Mr. X. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series, The Billionaire’s Bet series, the Doing It Series and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Amazon | Clarissa’s Street Team

Join the Fan Club!

SWEEPSTAKES

New Cover Feature: Playing with Fire by Lexi Ryan

Title: Playing with Fire Author: Lexi Ryan Age/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance Expected Publication: July 7, 2015

Title: Playing with Fire
Author: Lexi Ryan
Age/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Expected Publication: July 7, 2015

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

Dr. Phoenix Reid isn’t who she seems…

Everyone knows a phoenix rises from the ashes. What they don’t talk about are the people she drags with her into the fire.

I thought one hot night with Max Hallowell was harmless. I never expected it would force me to face my past or bring back the man who swore he’d never let me go. Now Max wants to help me. Wants to save me. But if I let him, he’ll be destroyed. I can already smell the flames.

A woman with a secret past. A man determined to protect her. A dangerous passion that could cost them both everything.

_________________________
Playing with Fire is the first in a new series of standalone novels featuring the New Hope characters Lexi Ryan fans have come to love. While you wait for Nix and Max’s story, explore Love Unbound, the collection of books set in Lexi’s New Hope world.

*Note: Each series can be read on its own, but for the chronology purists, the reading order is below.

Love Unbound: Splintered Hearts

Unbreak Me (Maggie’s story)

Stolen Wishes: A Wish I May Prequel Novella (Will and Cally’s prequel)

Wish I May (Will and Cally’s novel)

Or read them together in the omnibus edition, Splintered Hearts: The New Hope Trilogy

Love Unbound: Here and Now

Lost in Me (Hanna’s story begins)

Fall to You (Hanna’s story continues)

All for This (Hanna’s story concludes)

Or read them together in the omnibus edition, Here and Now: The Complete Series
Love Unbound: Reckless and Real

Something Wild (Liz and Sam’s story begins)

Something Reckless (Liz and Sam’s story continues)

Something Real (Liz and Sam’s story concludes)

Love Unbound: Mended Hearts

Playing with Fire (Nix’s story, coming July 7, 2015)

About the author and where to find her:

Author - Lexi RyanNew York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Lexi Ryan’s novels have been described as intense, emotional, and wickedly sexy. A former college professor, she now writes full-time from her home in Indiana, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a neurotic dog. Find her on Facebook or Twitter to chat about books, TV, and her children’s latest antics.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

AToMR PRomotion logo

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,785 other followers