“Damn my father and damn this trip. He died and left his affairs in a mess for me to settle. If I return to my hometown, I know the inevitable will happen. I’ll run into Lauren Mitchell! When someone blasts a hole on your heart, like Lauren did to me, it tends to stay open and seeing her again will not ease the pain.” Aedyn Dell Cumberland left his small hometown after watching his mother pass away in the hospital the night of his high school graduation. In the years to follow he distanced himself completely from the small town and was transformed from a member of the geek squad to a handsome and successful businessman. When he finally returns to attend his father’s funeral, he runs into his high school crush, Lauren Mitchel. Old feelings he’d wanted to be left buried are stirred up until he learns about Lauren’s short-tempered boyfriend. Can a couple miss their destiny the first time, and then get another chance at it? Or will Aedyn’s heart remain a puppet for which Lauren holds the strings?
About the author and where to find her:
I am a true romantic at heart and with a modern contemporary erotic twist to my romance novels, you had better fasten your seat belt, as the ride is always fun, exciting and fiery. Living in Southern California, but a mid-westerner at heart, I find plenty of inspiration for my books in my own exciting life. I have always loved the arts and as a young girl, I took dance classes and spent the summers reading books from the local library. Fascinated with the written word and its power to guide the imagination, I started writing short stories and later took Creative Writing classes in college. I graduated from The University of Iowa with a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Higher Education. I also have a Teaching Credential from Chapman University in Southern California.
Double Review and Sweepstakes: Under Contract and In the Mix (Books #1 and #2: The GEG Series) by Jacquelyn Ayres
Charlotte McKendrick is your typical thirty-something stay-at-home mom. She has three beautiful children, a loving family, special friends, and the most wonderful, adoring husband. Her life is a dream.
Er . . . let’s try this again.
Charlotte McKendrick is not your typical thirty-something stay-at-home mom. Yes, she’s got three beautiful children, a loving family (all of them lingerers—you’ll see), and her friends are special, all right! As far as her wonderful, adoring husband, what a joke! That bastard abandoned her and the kids six months ago.
Now, she will do anything she can to survive and provide for her children. Even if it means signing on the dotted line . . .
Mitch Colton is the CEO of Colton Technologies. Most of his year is spent traveling around the world, bringing companies the latest innovations in automobile technology. He doesn’t have time for a traditional relationship and the BS that comes with it. He doesn’t do the “marriage” thing, the “kid” thing, and he certainly doesn’t do the “falling in love” thing. All that said, he still wants someone to come home to. Someone who will offer everything he wants, and nothing he doesn’t. He realizes loyalty paired with these kinds of demands won’t come cheap. No problem. What he doesn’t realize is that once Charlotte McKendrick signs that dotted line, he’ll be paying with a lot more than money.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
When Charlotte McKendrick’s asshole ex-husband walked out on her, it was a pretty good day. Her ex was all about the appearances but not so much about the reality of a family and responsibilities. Having him gone is emotionally awesome but not so much financially awesome. As a stay at home mom of three, Charlotte is used to working hard and not getting a paycheck. The hard work doesn’t bother her but the lack of her ex’s income certainly does. Her bank and other creditors are also bothered by her lack of income and so, in an effort to alleviate the financial burden her family is now carrying, Charlotte makes a very surprising decision to become a high-end call girl.
Mitch Colton is an asshole with a past that has dramatically tainted his present and future. He is the CEO of an enormously successful business, he spends the vast majority of the year abroad for business and yet, he is still a man with needs. Mitch wants a woman but only on his terms: she needs to available when and where he wants her, she needs to be both beautiful and intelligent, she needs to be accommodating to his sexual desires and, she needs to understand that the “relationship” will never move beyond the physical. In his own warped way, Mitch has determined that the only way to get exactly what he wants from a woman is to treat her like and employee, contract her services and, make sure she signs on the dotted line. Enter, first-time call girl, Charlotte McKendrick.
Charlotte’s two overriding thoughts as she prepares to meet her first client are: 1) I can do this for my kids and; 2) I hope he’s cute. Charlotte is in no way prepared for Mitch Colton whose cold and very business-like demeanor are the armor he wears over his delectable suit and body. Charlotte is instantly grateful for Colton’s appearance and the fact that she is undeniably attracted to him. Colton is likewise unprepared for Charlotte and is surprised by not only her beauty but her quick wit and keen intelligence. Charlotte not only agrees to the terms of Mitch’s contract but skillfully negotiates a few changes to the document. With the business out of the way, Mitch and Charlotte adjourn to the awaiting hotel room where the two proceed to blow the other’s mind in what is the first of many, many sexual escapades. What neither are prepared for is the intensity of their feelings – which were NEVER meant to a part of the contract – for one another and their shared and incredibly intense desire to take their relationship to far, far deeper levels.
For Charlotte, the relationship with Mitch is beyond anything she has ever experienced. The problem is how hot and cold Mitch tends to run: the sex is white hot and always beyond pleasurable but any time anything even resembling a feeling comes into play, Mitch closes himself off or goes full-blown asshole and reminds Charlotte of her contractual obligations. Mitch has a lot of issues from his past to deal with and until the moment when he realizes he is on the verge of losing the best thing he has ever known, he has no intention of dealing with those issues. Luckily, Charlotte has her totally brash, uncouth and, completely awesome sister, CiCi to back her as well as the gaggle of GEGs (green-eyed girls) who know nothing of Charlotte’s contract with Mitch but absolutely understand her heartbreak. Between the GEGs, Cici and, her family Charlotte has a lot of support and advice coming her way in the wake of Mitch’s total and complete dumbassery.
The Bottom Line: Under Contract is not at all what I expected and I was thoroughly pleased with what I got. While Mitch is a complete asshole, he does gives good naughty, is a dirty-talking fiend and, is finally smart enough to pull his head out of his ass and deal with his issues. To be fair, his past is tragic and his wariness is well-deserved but it also cripples him in his present and virtually ensures he has no future with any worthy woman. Charlotte is one seriously tough woman and I liked her instantly. Charlotte is determined to fight for and provide for her children no matter what it takes which is how she finds herself involved with Mitch. Mitch is damn lucky Charlotte sees some redeeming quality in him and is willing to stand by him as he works out his issues. To be completely fair, if Charlotte were flying solo and didn’t have the support of her friends and family, she may well have bailed out on the whole situation. The back and forth between Mitch and Charlotte is completely entertaining, completely sexy and, completely frustrating. For me, Charlotte never really misses a beat and is a worthy partner for Mitch – she isn’t intimidated by him, his attitude or, his money and she certainly doesn’t let him get away with his bad behavior very often. In all, Under Contract is a strong, emotional and, funny read (CiCi!!!) that reads smoothly from start to finish. A fine start to the GEGs series.
CiCi O’Brien has a weapon of mass destruction—her mouth. It’s always loaded and ready to strike, whether the situation calls for laughter or a professional smartass. It’s been her strongest defence against unwanted feelings over the past fifteen years. If she acts like she doesn’t care, then she won’t, right? Yeah . . . keep telling yourself that, Ceese! Luckily for CiCi, she’s surrounded by friends and family who can easily see through her façade. They (and the furballs she takes care of at work) are who enrich her life, have been the ones she’s needed. That is, until the day her life changed—when she grabbed it by the balls. No, seriously . . . she grabbed him by the balls. Not kidding. Kyle Cooper has it all. He’s smart, handsome, and a ninja (not really, but that’s what Mitch likes to call him). As vice president of Colton Technologies, he travels around the world with Mitch, bringing companies the latest innovations in automobile technology. At home, he’s a force to be reckoned with, always hanging out with his parents and sister or . . . working. Oh. Kyle Cooper does not have it all, and he’s ready for a change. He just isn’t sure where to begin. That is, until CiCi O’Brien walks into his office and grabs this bull by the . . . horns (wink), which causes a spark to ignite in both of them. Kyle embraces it. CiCi does everything, short of calling the fire department, to put it out. Who will prevail? And what will that win truly mean?
Source: ARC from author
My Rating: 4/5 stars
**Review is slightly spoilerish for Book #1: Under Contract**
Bloody Hell, CiCi O’Brien may be one of the funniest female characters to come along in a long time! I loves me a woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, owns her make-a-sailor-blush mouth and, is fiercely loyal to those she calls her own. From the moment In the Mix opens, CiCi is on fire and she doesn’t stop until the moment the story ends.
CiCi is introduced in Under Contract, book one of the GEGS series when she staunchly, loudly, and dramatically defends her sister, Charlotte against Mitch and his dumbassery. CiCi is fearless and in her efforts to defend Charlotte she approaches Mitch’s best friend and business partner, Kyle Cooper. And by approaches I mean she storms into his office, grabs him by the balls (literally!) and, threatens him. While most sane men would call the cops and have the tiny terror arrested for assault, Kyle finds himself totally intrigued and more than a little turned on. Now all he has to do is convince CiCi he is the man for her and she is meant to be his.
Though CiCi certainly isn’t shy about her position, opinions and, beliefs, she uses her loudness and her mouth to hide a shameful and hurtful past. On the outside, CiCi seems to be tough as nails, confident and, sure of her path in life but in reality, she has a business she loves but it is failing, her home is her sanctuary but it is falling apart, her mother is her closest confidant but she is desperately sick again and, she enjoys Kyle in theory but is petrified of allowing him into her world. The last time CiCi allowed a man to get close to her, he didn’t just break her heart, he damn-near broke her spirit. Since that horrifying event, CiCi has guarded her heart with warrior-like defenses.
For the most part, Kyle has an excellent life: he is extremely (though not creepily) close to his family; he is extremely (though not obsessively) good at his job and, he is extremely (though not ostentatiously) wealthy. Kyle is the total package and all his life is missing is a beautiful woman to share forever with. Kyle is not shy about his desires, he wants a woman to settle down with, to love with all he is and, have children. See? The total package and completely terrifying to the one woman Kyle wants above all others. For his part, Kyle is clear in his intentions toward CiCi and is totally willing to wait out her fears and help her understand he is not only not her ex but a man worthy of her and capable of handling all her crazy.
The Bottom Line: My only complaint about this read revolves around how damn stubborn CiCi is. I totally understand why CiCi is so stubborn and why she feels the need to protect herself but Kyle is true at every turn and it is just her fear that keeps her from Kyle. Once CiCi conquers her fears and truly sees Kyle she becomes truly confident. CiCi’s confidence makes her even more likeable and I say this after adoring her in book one! Kyle is truly a highlight in this read with his patience, his kindness and, his devotion to CiCi. Another strength of this read (and Under Contract!) is the author’s willingness to put her characters through an extraordinary amount of distress only to come out on top and stronger for the struggle. I like this! The distress isn’t ever angsty and obnoxious but genuine distress born out of serious situations. Finally, I like that the GEGs are in full force in this read and supporting CiCi as they did Charlotte in Under Contract. Strictly speaking, one doesn’t have to read the GEG series in order but I found In the Mix to be a much more satisfying read for having already read Under Contract. Yet again, another solid and entertaining read from Jacquelyn Ayres.
About the author and where to find her:
I am a domestic engineer (born and raised in NJ) whose sole responsibility is to guide three young, impressionable kids into becoming phenomenal adults. This challenging yet rewarding work requires a lot of love (coffee), patience (wine), and determination (periodic exorcisms). I work this magic from the beautiful state of New Hampshire. Before becoming a domestic goddess (not really), I spent over a decade in the medical field, where I wore more hats than the Queen. I have loved the written word and the great escape it provides since I was a little girl. When I wasn’t reading about people and the places they lived, I was creating my own characters and adventures. Finding myself again through my writing in The Lost & Found Series, The One, and The GEG Series has been nothing short of a dream come true. Also, it makes people feel better when I laugh randomly or talk to myself, knowing it’s my characters and not “the voices” . . . that would be creepy.
When Ryan Matthews meets Julia Abbott for the first time at Stanford University, he immediately knows she will change his life. They have an instant, unbreakable connection that goes beyond partying and palpable attraction. Although his intelligence and good looks land him any girl he wants, Ryan hesitates to cross that line with Julia because she quickly becomes the best friend he’s ever had. Both secretly in love, Ryan and Julia are terrified to take the chance that could mean the loss of the very person they don’t want to lose. As the bond between them grows stronger, they are both miserable as they are forced to watch as they each date other people. But will Ryan’s all-consuming jealousy and Julia’s deeply broken heart torment them enough to make one or both walk away? Join Ryan and Julia on the beginning of the journey that has made Kahlen Aymes’ Remembrance Trilogy an international bestselling favorite among her readers. This book was written after The Trilogy was finished due to an abundance of reader requests for more of Ryan and Julia’s story. And so…
The Mad, Mad Love Begins…
Excerpt from Before Ryan Was Mine (Prequel: The Remembrance Trilogy):
My beer slipped from my fingers, and I scrambled to catch it but it was being lifted by another set of slender fingers without the blazing red nails. By the time my eyes shifted up and focused, Julia was leisurely taking a drink from my bottle. Her hooded green eyes appraised me, with my date almost on my lap. I barely noticed Leah because my attention was on Julia, and then her eyes shifted twelve inches right, landing on Leah. Julia hated beer, but still here she was, stamping her ownership with something as simple as a pull on my beer bottle. She probably didn’t even know the effect it had on me at such a base level, but I fucking loved it. Something tightened deep inside my chest, and my dick twitched inside my jeans.
“Ryan! Are you gonna let her do that?” Leah demanded indignantly, her eyes flashing haughtily up at Julia.
My lips raised in the slightest smirk. Julia echoed it when her eyes locked with mine.
“Yeah, she… uh, she can do that,” I confirmed without emphasis. Amusement at Julia’s confidence made me want to laugh out loud. I felt fucking elated.
Leah huffed beside me and angrily flung herself back against the cushions of the couch, removing her leg from mine. “Well, do you know her?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I know her.” Boy, do I know her.
Julia wobbled a little, and I could see she’d had more to drink than she needed. Still, she grinned at me, her arm bent at the elbow as she curled my beer close to her chest, not drinking, just holding it in place. My instinct was to reach out or stand up to steady her.
Angrily, Leah pushed on my shoulder and spewed venom in Julia’s direction. “Are you going to introduce us? Is she your sister?”
Julia started to giggle. “Pffft! Do I look like his sister?”
“Then who are you?” my date demanded, her expression hard. I watched the exchange, anxious to see what Julia would say.
“Oh, we’re ….” She handed back my beer and walked behind me to sit on the top edge of the back of the couch and slid her hand over the shoulder Leah had shoved. “Well, let’s see… we’re… mmmm…” Her words were nonchalant but her eyes widened, waiting for me to finish the sentence. “What exactly are we, Ryan?”
“This is my best friend Julia. Jules, this is Leah.” I said the words carefully, but couldn’t tear my eyes from Julia’s face. Her features were filled with laughter and devilry.
“His date,” Leah spat.
“Congratulations.” Julia focused on Leah and wagged a finger in her direction. She was clearly tipsy. “You need a donut.”
A laugh burst from my chest because I couldn’t help myself. You need a donut. I thought it was fucking hilarious, but Leah was clearly pissed.
“What did you say?”
“You seriously need a donut.”
Leah looked indignant and furious, but my shoulders were visibly shaking with laughter when Julia turned her attention to me. “Can I talk to you for a sec?”
“Excuse me,” I murmured to Leah then immediately rose to follow Julia a few feet away. “Are you being careful?”
“Is it just a coincidence that you and Twiggy are here tonight?”
I swallowed at the accusation in her tone. She was tipsy, but her eyes still burned into mine. “Yeah. I had no idea you were even going out, but I’m glad I’m here. Who is that guy?” I wanted to ask why she let him touch her in such a familiar way but clamped my jaw shut.
“He’s a guy. Collin, I think? No big deal.” She shrugged nonchalantly, and her hand came to rest on the front of my shirt. I should have been reassured as her deep green eyes looked up imploringly. “Don’t worry, Ryan.”
It was all I could do not to cover her fingers with my own. “I worry.”
“I know.” She leaned in and wrapped her arms around my waist in a brief hug and the scent of her perfume engulfed me. “I’m glad to see you. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
Before Ryan Was Mine (Prequel)
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/POPrequelBN
The Future of Our Past (Book One)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1qUv27K
Don’t Forget to Remember Me (Book Two)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1zBFJBr
A Love Like This (Book Three)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1tc2Gpl
The Remembrance Trilogy: Books 1-3
Not currently available on Amazon
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1HixD5I
About the author and where to find her:
I’m a single mother of one daughter, Olivia. She’s amazing in every way. I was born in the Midwestern United States and educated at a private university where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Administration. I’ve always been creative with art, music, theater and writing. I decided to write a story as a way to build a network for a business venture. The reader support of my stories and my overwhelming desire to find out where my characters would take me, soon had the writing morphing the business. No one was more shocked than I. When readers began nominating my work for online awards, it took my breath away and only made me love it more. It soon became clear that writing was, and should be, my focus.
“You need a good guy. A long-term guy. One who does dates and romance and emotional strings…I’m just an asshole who wants to tie you up, make you come, and walk away.” Samuel Bradshaw is a man with a reputation—the kind of reputation that should have me running the other way. Instead, it has me searching for the shortest distance to his bed. I won’t be the starry-eyed girl who thinks she can change a man like Sam, and despite what he thinks, forever is not what I need. I need the things he makes me feel, the way he turns me on, and the promise of pleasure in his eyes. This promises to be SOMETHING WILD.
**Author’s Note: This is a free introduction to the full-length romance novel SOMETHING RECKLESS, coming December 22nd!**
The Reckless and Real Series Includes:
SOMETHING WILD (Liz and Sam’s story begins – novella)
SOMETHING RECKLESS (Liz and Sam’s story continues)
SOMETHING REAL (Liz and Sam’s story concludes, coming March 2015)
Excerpt from Something Wild (Prequel to the Reckless and Real Duet):
Sneaking into this room seemed like a great idea when I was on the dance floor with him, his hard body pressed into mine, but alone in the quiet conference room, I’m pretty sure this could be the most reckless thing I’ve ever done.
What if someone catches us in here? Hell, what if he doesn’t come? What if he does? I’ve thrown myself at Sam before, and it didn’t end well. He has no idea how hard I took his rejection, or the decisions I made after I left his room that night.
I should leave. I should . . .
The door clicks and then Sam steps inside, his eyes raking over me.
“Hey,” I whisper. “You came.”
He closes the door behind himself, turns the lock, then stalks toward me.
Thank you! the girlie bits shout. Stupid brain upstairs was about to ruin everything!
“Are you sure you want to do this?” His voice is a low rumble that I swear I can feel right between my legs.
Hell yes, I want to do this.
But I also don’t. Because Sam’s no longer some unrequited crush. He’s a friend. And if this goes to hell, it’ll make my life exponentially more awkward.
“We need rules,” I say quickly.
He takes another step closer. And another. Until I’m looking at his chest, smelling his aftershave. He tilts my chin up with his index finger then traces my lips with his thumb. “Hold that thought?”
I nod, nearly breathless at nothing but the touch of his thumb skimming my lips.
“I need to do this first.” He cups my jaw in his big hand and brushes his lips over mine. My lips part in surprise at the gesture that’s almost . . . sweet. He deepens the kiss, slanting his mouth over mine and sliding his tongue inside.
He tastes like beer, and I want to get drunk on this kiss—to overindulge until I can’t see straight, to imbibe until sobriety is a distant memory.
This is how kisses should be. I love the way his hand slides into my hair as he samples my lips, love how his kiss manages to be simultaneously gentle and demanding. It’s the kind of kiss that makes your toes curl, the kind worth remembering in five years when you’re lonely and bored and wondering if kissing had ever been so sweet.
When he pulls back, his eyes are hooded, darker. Sexy as sin. “Now, what were you saying?”
I have no idea. “Ru . . . rules?” I manage.
“Ah, yes. Well, I’ve never done well with rules, but tell me yours and I’ll see what I can do.”
I take a breath and try to figure out a rule that isn’t just Kiss me like that every time, or Please don’t make me fall for you.
“You keep looking at me like that,” he warns, “and I’m going to kiss you again, and we may never get to discuss these rules of yours.”
Right. “We can’t tell anyone,” I say. Cally and my sisters will try to make more of this than the one-night stand I know it to be.
His expression shifts and becomes unreadable. “Okay. What else?”
“This doesn’t change anything between us. We’re friends.” Something in my chest objects to that rule. It feels like a betrayal. But I want to say it before he does. I have to.
“Sex changes everything, Liz. That’s half the fun.”
“It doesn’t have to. I want us to still be friends after tonight.”
“Oh, we can be friends.” His breath ruffles my hair as he skims his fingertips down my bare arms, sending delicious shivers through my body that land low in my belly and turn my insides to goo. “But it’ll be different.”
“We won’t be able to look at each other without remembering what it was like. And if I have my way—” He dips his head to my ear and tugs the lobe between his teeth. A shudder rocks through me. “—every time you look at me, your panties will go damp as you remember what I did to you.”
About the author and where to find her:
New 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.
Sound is an abstract concept for most people. We spend our lives blocking out the static in order to focus on what we believe is important. But what if, when the clarity fades into silence, it’s the obscure background noise that you would give anything to hold on to?
I’ve always been a fighter. With parents who barely managed to stay out of jail and two little brothers who narrowly avoided foster care, I became skilled at dodging the punches life threw at me. Growing up, I didn’t have anything I could call my own, but from the moment I met Eliza Reynolds, she was always mine. I became utterly addicted to her and the escape from reality we provided each other. Throughout the years, she had boyfriends and I had girlfriends, but there wasn’t a single night that I didn’t hear her voice.
You see, meeting the love of my life at age thirteen was never part of my plan. However, neither was gradually going deaf at the age of twenty-one.
They both happened anyway.
Now, I’m on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.
Fighting for my career.
Fighting the impending silence.
Fighting for her.
Every night, just before falling asleep, she sighs as a final conscious breath leaves her.
I think that’s the sound I’ll miss the most.
Excerpt from Fighting Silence (Book #1: On the Ropes Series):
“That wasn’t yours to take away,” he exploded into the otherwise silent night. His words echoed off the surrounding buildings, each wave slicing me to the quick all over again. “That was our place. Not yours.” His voice cracked right alongside my heart.
“Yeah, well, there was a lot of stuff that wasn’t yours to take either.” I held his gaze, desperately trying to be strong, but as his eyes grew wide, I whimpered.
His long legs strode forward, stopping only inches away from me. He was crowding me, but he still leaned in closer to my face. “There is nothing in this world that was ever more mine than you,” he stated. Though it was the absolute truth, I wished with all my heart that it were a lie.
“Till,” I cried, swiping the tears from my eyes.
“Why!” he shouted, causing his muscles to tense under the force. “Goddamn it! I needed that place.”
Porch lights flashed on from the surrounding apartments, illuminating not only the dark but also my rage.
I shoved my hands into his chest. “What about what I needed? You left! I waited in that fucking apartment for weeks.”
He didn’t budge, but my bare feet slipped, sending me toward the ground. Impossibly fast, Till’s hand snaked out and caught my arm. I didn’t let his chivalrous gesture douse my fire. I had six months’ worth of words to say to the man I was irrevocably in love with.
“You took what you wanted. Then you left me.”
“Doodle,” he whispered.
I had been perilously close to the edge of insanity, and with one single word, he’d pushed me over.
I lost it completely.
Pounding my fists against his chest, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “It’s Eliza! My name is fucking Eliza! Not Doodle!” I spun to march away, but Till’s arms folded around me, lifting me off my feet to restrain me.
I was miniscule compared to him. There was no use in fighting, but I still kicked my legs, irrationally desperate to get away from him—but only because I knew I couldn’t keep him for forever.
“Stop it!” he growled into my ear. “I know your Goddamn name—probably better than I know my own.”
About the author and where to find her:
Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side. After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.
Did you just see a flash of lightning across the sky on a clear sunny day? It’s not from Mother Nature. It is most likely from Mason Grand, swoon-worthy demigod, one of Zeus’s descendants. Skylar Rome is supposed to be having the best summer ever before she heads off to college. Little did she know, her whole life was about to change while visiting her cousin. Nearly drowning at the beach due to unknown forces, one of the Grand brothers she’d just met, Mason, saves her life. Cool, collected, mysterious, and dangerously good-looking, Skylar is drawn to him from the start. Though she knows he is the type of guy good girls stayed away from, it seems he is always saving her life, and the attraction was inevitable.
Upon meeting the brothers, strange things begin to happen. When she accidentally kills one of the brothers, it throws her life into turmoil, as they search to find the answers. Implausibly, she gets caught up in a world of the decedents of ancient gods, all who have super powers. Not only is her discovery difficult to accept, evil beings are after her. Running out of time and running for her life, she must unravel a mystery. What do they want from her? Forced into a battle set into motion long before she was born, will she find the answers, or will she die trying?
A mysterious stranger enters Skylar’s inner circle, throwing her life out of balance. As secrets are revealed, she learns of the New Olympus; a dwelling for the descendants of the Gods. The Grand family must strive to work together with these descendants to discover the key to their rescue from the clutches of the growing evil vultures of Hades. As the threat increases, Skylar must learn to control her newfound powers before it’s too late.
About the author and where to find her:
International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.
I tried hard not to fall for the bad guy. My new roommate, Blake, is a jerk—an unemployed artist with a chip on his shoulder. I can’t stand him unless his hands are on me. He makes me desperate for him, and everything he makes me feel. And then there’s my new boss, Pierce–successful, charming, and extremely good-looking. He goes after what he wants, but what does he see in me? I try to stay away, but I end up in the arms of exactly who I was hiding from. And when I find out what’s being hidden from me, my heart twists in ways it never should. I thought I knew him. I didn’t. The way he kissed me. The way his hands traveled every inch of my skin. I thought it meant something, but as it turns out, it was all lies unspoken.
Excerpt from Lies Unspoken:
When the rustling continues, I throw my covers off and roll out of bed. My bare feet pad against the cool hardwood floors as I make my way into the living room. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I focus in on a shirtless Blake standing in front of the stove with his strong back to me. His body is sculpted. Wide shoulders. Waist tapering in at just the right angle … there’s probably not a pinch of fat on the guy.
I quietly walk up behind him, tapping my finger on his shoulder. “We need to talk.”
He spins around, his arm brushing against mine. His hair is mussed—a look he wears well … too well, as much as I hate to admit it.
“I only made enough eggs for me.” He smirks, and two stupid dimples form. He’s cute—stupidly so.
“I’m a cereal kind of girl,” I say, crossing my arms.
His smile widens. “Fruit Loops or Captain Crunch? I’m guessing you like the ones with the cute little cartoon characters on the front of the box.”
“Wheaties. I prefer to stare at a sexy athlete while eating my breakfast.” I stop, moving my hands to my hips. “Look, can we make a rule? No loud noises until at least nine. Some of us need our beauty sleep.”
His brow lifts. “Now that you mention it, your eyes are a little dark and puffy. It’s nothing a little make-up won’t fix.”
“You’re an asshole!”
He laughs, nibbling on a piece of egg at the end of his spatula. “That’s nothing I haven’t heard before.”
“Are you done? Because I’d really like to crawl back into my nice warm bed.”
He looks back to the stove. “Yep, breakfast is served.”
“Good. I’m going back to bed.”
I start to walk away, but his voice stops me. “Hey, Lila?” He says my name with extra emphasis on the second syllable—in a way I haven’t heard it before. I turn around, taking in his dark, hooded eyes. “If you’re going to walk around looking like that every morning, I might be okay with this roommate thing.”
Looking down, I’m suddenly reminded that all I have on is a sleep shirt that reads: “I don’t hate morning people. Mornings have nothing to do with it.” It barely covers my ass, and the wide neck falls off my shoulder. It’s certainly not something I’d want to be caught in by him.
“Definitely an asshole,” I groan as I hurry to my room and slam the door shut behind me.
Pre-order on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1yC0yvH
About the author and where to find her:
Lisa De Jong is a wife, mother and full-time number cruncher who lives in the Midwest. Her writing journey involved insane amounts of coffee and many nights of very little sleep but she wouldn’t change a thing. She also enjoys reading, football and music.
Additional Books by Vi Keeland
Worth the Fight (MMA Fighter Series, Book One)
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1alpVES
Smashwords – http://bit.ly/1is0zNX
Worth The Chance (MMA Fighter Series, Book Two)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1xC71aa
Worth Forgiving (MMA Fighter Series, Book Three)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1wbsJEK
B & N: http://bit.ly/1ljdVzb
Belong to You (A Cole Novel, Book One)
Amazon US : http://amzn.to/1jdAlRk
Made For You (A Cole Novel, Book Two)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1qLLdIk
First Thing I See (Stand Alone)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1qLL4ET
Left Behind (Stand Alone)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1wvew5K
About the author and where to find her:
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!
Double Review and Sweepstakes: Pieces of Olivia and Miles from Kara (Books #1 and #2: Charleston Haven Series) by Melissa West
Olivia Warren used to be a normal girl with a bright future. But on one fated night, everything changed. Hiding the scars of her past up her sleeves, Olivia transfers her enrollment from Columbia University to The College of Charleston, determined to pursue her own dreams for the first time in her life. She intends to allow herself a bit of alone time to heal… that is, until she meets Preston. Preston is best friends with her roommate, completely hot, and off-limits. But the chemistry between them is instantaneous—and as the pair begins to spend more time with one another, their feelings for each other build into something undeniable, something powerful enough to heal Olivia’s deepest scars. Olivia tries to put her own past behind her and trust Preston, but she discovers that his past might be more present than she ever bargained for…
My Rating: 4/5 stars
For one so young, Olivia has experienced so damn much. Her future was laid out before her: a wealthy family willing to back her unconditionally, a place at Columbia University, a boyfriend and, a best friend who would do anything in the world for her. In one horrible, horrible moment, Olivia lost everything she held dear and has been quite literally scarred for life. In an effort to put her past behind her, Olivia abandons her place at Columbia and enrolls at the College of Charleston. As “punishment” for her decision, Olivia’s parents have pulled much of their financial support and required her to find a shrink.
Olivia’s first moments on campus are eventful and as she enters her new dorm room she is yelled at by a half-dressed, hung over and, super-hot guy who is apparently the best friend of her new roommate, Kara. Olivia is immediately taken by both Preston (the aforementioned super-hot guy) and Kara and is sure, despite her past that Charleston is the place for her. Kara and Olivia become fast friends and the two begin to navigate their way through their first weeks as college students. As one might expect, the girls face the usual college struggles in their first weeks but each has a little extra heaped on top. Olivia is not only dealing with her past but is also trying to heal with the help of a therapist and Kara is struggling with a long-term relationship that always seems to be stressing her out. The girls learn quickly that they can rely each other but Olivia is hesitant to unleash all of her crazy on Kara out of fear that she will scare her new friend away. As the weeks pass, Olivia settles in and though she is making very little progress with her therapist she is, for the first time willing to try.
Though Preston seems to have it all together and is generally happy, he too has his issues. Preston carries a heavy burden from his past and in Olivia, he sees a kindred spirit. Though both Preston and Olivia are worried about hurting Kara, they begin a relationship. The romance is slow to build as Olivia is fearful of being too close to anyone and Preston understands that pushing her too hard will only push her away. Though she doesn’t want anyone to know about her therapy sessions, Preston does learn of them and does nothing but support Olivia on her road to recovery. Preston’s support is so unexpected and so welcome that Olivia begins to trust both Preston and her therapist. As the semester wears on, Olivia does make true strides with her therapist but the work is difficult and often leaves Olivia emotionally raw. Preston is with her every step of the way, supporting her and, edging ever closer to truly loving her. Mixed into Preston and Olivia’s life is Kara and her boyfriend troubles and the need to protect her from any sort of heartache. Little does Olivia know, the greatest secret being kept is one hell of a secret between Kara and Preston meant to protect her. The uncovering of that little nugget of information is more than enough to derail Olivia, all of her progress and, destroy her ability to trust the man she has come to love.
The Bottom Line: Pieces of Olivia is a gut wrenching read that takes the reader on a seriously effed up emotional roller coaster ride. Olivia is so young and so phenomenally broken that it is hard to see her ever coming out of the darkness. One thing is certain, Olivia wants to heal and wants to learn to live again but she has no real idea how to make that happen. Her move to Charleston, Kara and Preston and, her therapist are all clear steps in the right direction but there is so much work to be done. The strength of this read is Olivia and her struggle and West does an excellent job of pacing this read and not allowing it to become either too fast or too slow. The reader takes every anguished step with Olivia and her awesome therapist as she reveals her past and learns to how to live with what happened and accept that she is worthy of her life and happiness. There are some truly fine moments in this read, West has a strong sense of good storytelling and, the ability to make the reader feel really good about what is, essentially a rather sad read. Do not fear, dear reader there are some moments of happiness and hope in this read that absolutely balance out the intense sadness. In all, Pieces of Olivia a solid read that certainly is on my list of recommended reads.
Kara Marcus is desperate to forget the past and move on. But she can’t escape her choices—especially when she finds herself falling in love…
Since the first day she stepped into her childhood Southern Baptist church, two truths have been engrained in Kara Marcus’s head: sex before marriage is bad and murder is a sin. And that’s why Kara can never forgive herself for what she did at the age of sixteen. Now, as second semester of freshman year comes to a close, Kara has stood by her high school boyfriend, Ethan. But as they seem to grow further and further apart every day, Kara realizes that she has feelings for someone else: Ethan’s roommate Colt. Suddenly, Kara’s clear-cut world shifts out of focus, and she’s torn between what her head tells her is right and what her heart is desperately pushing her to do—even if it means committing another undeniable sin…
Source: ARC from author
My Rating: 4/5 stars
**Though you don’t have to read Pieces of Olivia first, I highly recommend doing so.**
The following review is slightly spoilerish
Miles from Kara is the second installment of Melissa West’s Charleston Haven series and in many ways, it picks up where Pieces of Olivia left off. Olivia and Preston are a solid couple now and Kara’s long-distance relationship with Ethan is still stressing her out. As the last weeks of her freshman year are winding down, Kara has some decisions to make and in light of her friends’ happiness, those decisions need to be made sooner rather than later. First on the list, finding a way to stay in Charleston for the summer; next on the list, figuring out if her major is really where she wants to be and; finally sorting out her feelings for her boyfriends’ roommate, Colt.
For so long, Kara has been the perky member of the group, the one her friends could count on and, the one who has always known where her life is going. Of the group, Kara has always appeared to be the one the most in control of her life and her future. As the saying goes, appearances can be deceiving and Kara has become a master of deception. When Kara was just sixteen years old she found herself pregnant, very scared and, being forced into an abortion she wasn’t at all sure she wanted. For years, Kara has managed to live her life and conceal from everyone just how guilty and ashamed she feels about her past. The guilt and shame have slowly eaten away at Kara to the point that she is no longer the perky and upbeat member of the group but the surly and snappish member. In an effort to hold it together, Kara continues her relationship with Ethan, finds a job at the campus counselling center and, tries to ignore her feelings for Colt. As you might well imagine, Kara’s past and present are on a collision course in one very, very eventful summer, Kara is forced to deal with everything!
Once she squares away her job and living arrangements for the summer, Kara faces her feelings for Colt and makes what she hopes is a clean break from Ethan. Colt is a bright spot in Kara’s life and as the summer progresses she becomes more and more comfortable with him and with sharing her life with him. Colt is patient and kind (he has a fabulous accent!!) and is completely head over heels for Kara. He understands that her past plagues her and as he sees her present being impacted by her past, he holds on for the ride and does all he can to support Kara. Kara is forced to confront her past and deal with it when she comes into contact with a very young and very pregnant client at the counseling center. Instantly Kara sees herself in the young client and though she knows her actions violate every code and rule of counseling, she dives right in and sees an opportunity to correct the mistakes she made in her own past. Needless to say, the collision of past and present is all kinds of ugly and without Colt, Kara likely won’t survive the wreck.
The Bottom Line: Miles from Kara is yet another emotionally-charged read from Melissa West and a fine follow-up to Pieces of Olivia. Kara is such a unique character: she was quite literally forced into an abortion by her mother, she has no clue if her chosen path in life is right for her and, she has dealt with all of this while walking around with a smile on her face. Kara has always been the rock in her group, the one the others look to for help and support and she has done this gladly while suffering silently. Kara’s strength is her passion for helping and caring for others and in many ways that passion was born out of her terrible, terrible past. Again, appearances can be deceiving and the collision of her past and present initially looks very bad but in the end, is the vehicle for determining her future and finding happiness. Kara is a strong and instantly likeable character and I found myself rooting for her even in her most desperate moments. Once again, West has put together a strong read with a very strong yet damaged female lead that is appealing on every level. In all, I am still quite comfortable recommending this read and the series to others and am looking forward to the next installment of the Charleston Haven series.
About the author and where to find her:
Melissa West writes young adult and new adult novels for Entangled Teen and Embrace and Penguin/InterMix. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction. She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.
Dreams. I used to have them—before the nightmares started. I dreamed of nice guys, love…normalcy. Things like reading the Sunday paper in bed with my lover. But who needs dreams when your reality is filled with a string of faceless dominating men in uniform? Men that pack a thick bulge and are only too happy to satisfy my deviant sexual cravings. Me. That’s who. And then HE walked through the door and shared with me, a total stranger, his intimate dream of love. Damn him for verbalizing every single detail of the dream I buried long ago. And now I don’t know how I’m going to live without that dream. Or him.
About the author and where to find her:
Author Julie A. Richman is a native New Yorker living deep in the heart of Texas. A creative writing major in college, reading and writing fiction has always been a passion. Julie began her corporate career in publishing in NYC and writing played a major role throughout her career as she created and wrote marketing, advertising, direct mail and fundraising materials for Fortune 500 corporations, advertising agencies and non-profit organizations. She is an award winning nature photographer plagued with insatiable wanderlust. Julie and her husband have one son and a white German Shepherd named Juneau.