Category Archives: Read 2014

Sales Blitz! Full Measures (Flight & Glory #1) by Rebecca Yarros *Review, Excerpt and Trailer*

In anticipation of the January 25th release of Hallowed Ground, the newest stand alone to the Flight and Glory Series, Rebecca Yarros has placed Full Measures (Book One) ON SALE.
full measures sales blitz

Full Measures (Flight & Glory #1)
by Rebecca Yarros

A New Adult Contemporary Romance
Released February 10th 2014
From Entangled Publishing

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Three knocks can change everything…

“She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.”

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

 

Do not miss out on the opportunity to grab this beautifully written, emotional military romance about love, loss and survival for ONLY $0.99!

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ON SALE NOW!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

 

Review

4 stars

Ember’s world came crashing down early one morning. One day she had it all – a loving boyfriend, college and a supportive family – and the other she’s facing an uncertain future, feeling alone and like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders.

It is during this time that she connects with Josh, the guy she once had a crush on. Romance is the last thing on her mind, but Josh’s supportive arms and his caring ways are too much for her to resist. However, just as Ember starts to think that her life has settled on solid ground, the rug is pulled right from under her feet.

This is the type of story that pulls you in from the very beginning and doesn’t let up until the very end of it.

Rebecca Yarros did a wonderful job in bringing Ember’s emotions to the page. This was not a light read by any means, but the emotions and the character’s reactions felt real and not over the top. My heart went out to Ember immediately and I was happy to see her trying to move on with Josh and finding some kind of semblance of normalcy in her life. But this only made me a sniffling mess when Josh’s secret came out. Yep, I shed a tear or three — I was that invested!

I loved Josh and Ember together. I think they found each other at the best time of their life. She needed someone to lean on and he needed someone to give him purpose. I thoroughly enjoyed their moments together and loved watching as their connection grew and strengthened as the story progressed. Of course they had great chemistry too, which only made it that much more enjoyable!

All in all, an emotional story about loss, hope and taking chances.

*I received this title through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

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Excerpt

The tile floor was cold under my bare feet as I leaned back against the kitchen counter, eating even colder ice cream. Muffled voices came from the entry hall, which probably meant Jagger had another girl over. Not that I cared, but it was a harsh reminder that the only girl I wanted was literally a wall away and wanted nothing to do with me.

Then again, after watching her set that shirt on fire yesterday, I was beginning to think it was less me she was angry at and more the entire world. I got it, really. She’d lost her dad, her mom wasn’t functioning, and she couldn’t get a moment peaceful enough to get her feet under her. She was frustrating as hell, and I couldn’t even blame her for it. Stronger women would have crumbled under what she’d been handed. So I flipped Jagger off when he’d asked me if we needed to call Oprah about my “manpain,” ate ice cream like a heartbroken girl, and tried not to fantasize about licking it off Ember. Looks like I failed that one, too.

“Barbies?” Ember’s voice came through clear as a bell, and I nearly dropped my spoon. Chills ran down my arms, and it wasn’t because of the ice cream currently melting on my tongue. Nope, just my skin reacting to her nearness. I licked off the back of the spoon, abandoned the bowl on the counter, and moved to straighten my shirt, but I wasn’t wearing one. I didn’t give it a second thought before I quietly rounded the corner, leaning back against the wall to get a better look at her.

“Walker! You got company!” Jagger called out, not realizing I was right behind him. Then again, neither did Ember, which gave me a coveted minute to soak her in, adorable bare feet and all. “Just in case he isn’t what you’re looking for… My name’s Jagger.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Jagger.”

“Oh, it’s my pleasure.”

Oh, hell no. I knew that voice on Jagger, the one that sought any good-looking woman in a five-mile radius, and couldn’t stay quiet. “Jagger, back the fuck up off Ember.”

His head dropped a fraction of an inch, just enough to let me know he’d heard me stake the claim. I’d pulled some kindergarten shit and basically licked her like a snack I didn’t want to share — I didn’t give a fuck if it was immature.

“And another one bites the dust,” Jagger said as he passed by me. He shot up his eyebrows in question, and I answered with an almost indistinguishable nod. Yes, this is the girl I’ve been talking about.

He laughed so quietly I almost missed it. Almost. Laugh it up. One day it will be you.

I locked my gaze on Ember and waited to see what she would do. She was like a wounded animal, and every time I reached my hand out, she’d bite, so this time I’d let her move first. It took every ounce of willpower I had not to move toward her.

She walked inside the entry hall, stopping close enough for me to kiss. Damn, she was beautiful. I would have killed for even a hint of what was going on behind those blue eyes. She blinked, but stayed silent.

I reached out before I could stop myself and palmed her cheek. “December?” Damn if she didn’t lean into my touch. It was there, the crackle of energy, the invisible tie that kept me tethered to her no matter how hard or far she pushed me away.

Her breath hitched as she turned into my hand, her lips parting as she skimmed over my skin, inhaling. Want slammed through me, and I forced it back on the bench. I wasn’t sure why she was here, or what she needed, but it wasn’t me pouncing on her.

Or maybe it is. I barely finished the thought before her mouth was on mine, hard and insistent. I was all too willing.

This wasn’t a gentle kiss, or even an apologetic one. It was open, carnal, and I sank into her, desperate to give her what we both craved. A growl ripped from my throat when she sucked my tongue into her mouth. God, she was warm.

I took control, stroking down her curves until her perfect ass filled my hands. With a squeeze, I brought her with me as I flipped to press her against the wall. Then I kissed her like I needed to, stroking her mouth with my tongue the way I’d used my fingers on her body back in Breckenridge—relentlessly and to every advantage.

Her fingers sank into my hair, and she moaned into my mouth, pushing me one step closer to losing what little control I had left. But when she rocked her hips against me, all thoughts of restraint fled. I licked down her neck, savoring her pulse against my tongue and the way she gasped when I gently kissed the patch of skin at the base.

Zip! Holy shit. She unzipped her hoodie, exposing miles of soft skin above her tank top. I picked her up, using the wall as leverage as I set my mouth to the delicate lines of her collarbone. Her taste, her scent, all of her surrounded me, blurring the outside world until there was only Ember.

I met her gaze, her eyes soft and hazed with the same lust streaking through my veins. “Josh,” she whispered, holding my face like I was something precious. I’d been a lot of things to a lot of different girls, but precious wasn’t really one of them, and she was infinitely more precious to me for it.

I set her down but didn’t back away, feeling every curve and hollow against my bare skin, and barely biting back a groan. I wish I’d had a shirt on. Oh, who the fuck was I kidding? Ten shirts couldn’t have protected me from Ember.

I kissed her again, using every ounce of skill I had to make her lose herself in the same way I had. I kept her guessing, never allowing her to settle into the kiss, changing the tempo, the pressure, anything to keep her as off-balance as she had me. She skimmed her fingers down my chest, along the lines of my stomach, and tensed. She dipped her fingers under the band of my flannel pants, and I was ready to rip every piece of clothing off her body so I could get to her skin. Another inch and she’d feel exactly how badly I wanted her.

Damn it. This was way too much, and not anything of what she actually needed. I’d be her whatever, but I had to draw the line when she was doing more harm than good. “December,” I whispered against her mouth, her lips swollen from mine, and pulled back just far enough to rest my forehead against hers. I closed my eyes until I had my body back under control. “I’m fucking desperate to carry you to my bedroom, but I don’t think this is what you want.”

Her eyes flew wide, and her skin stained pink before she hid behind her hands. “What am I doing?”

I got my shit under control, taking two deep breaths before I pulled her hands away. “What are you doing?”

“I came to say I’m sorry for the way I’ve been treating you. Sorry for the mixed signals.” She laughed. “But apparently I jumped you instead, and now I’m sorry for that, too.”

“Sorry for jumping me?” Hell no. I smiled. She could be sorry for pushing me away, for going from hot to cold faster than the kitchen faucet she used to put that fire out yesterday. But I wouldn’t let her apologize for giving me a few minutes to glimpse heaven.

“No. I’m not sorry for jumping you. I’m sorry about my god-awful timing.”

My smile slipped as I ran my thumb across the lips I was becoming obsessed with. “I told you I’m here for whatever you need, Ember. Jumping, apologies, whatever.”

“I’d better get back to studying.”

Boom. She may as well have slammed the door on me, and I retreated a step. “I’d better get in the shower.”

“Didn’t you just…?”

I let my mind wander to the shower, to what I could do to her body, pressed up against mine, water making her slick under my hands – how easy it would be to slide inside her. Stop. “Yeah, but I think I need another one at a different temperature.”

She flushed brighter pink. “Oh. I’m sorry about that, too.”

I couldn’t stop a grin from overtaking me. “I’m not.” I stepped forward until her back hit the wall, then bent down, a breath away from her lips, from what I knew we both wanted but wouldn’t push for. “If you apologize like that, feel free to treat me like shit any time you want. I will be your personal doormat.”

 

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New Military Romance from Rebecca Yarros in Hallowed Ground (Book Four) of the Flight & Glory Series releases January 25th!

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Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

 

 

About the Author

rebecca yarros

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they’re currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon Page

 

Review: Her Winning Formula (Hot & Nerdy #3) by Shannyn Schroeder

Her Winning Formula Book Cover Her Winning Formula
Hot & Nerdy #3
Shannyn Schroeder
New Adult Romance
eKensington
November 24th 2014
eGalley
98
NetGalley

 

Spring break was supposed to be a last blast of fun for three friends before the reality of adulthood set in. But for the trio’s science whiz, it’s an education in instant attraction…

Chemistry major Felicity Stone can tell you everything about the way chemicals interact, but when it comes to social interaction, she needs schooling. Abandoned by her friends, Felicity is faced with spending spring break alone—unless she accepts a gorgeous stranger’s invitation to pose as his girlfriend at a family wedding. Not one to turn down a research opportunity, Felicity never expected it to produce such breathtaking results…

Teacher and baseball coach Lucas Tanner is fascinated by Felicity’s potent mix of spirit and scientist, not to mention her delicious curves. When Felicity asks him to return the favor by teaching her how to pick up guys, he can’t refuse—but he’s not at all happy with the idea of her using a formula for flirting on anyone but him. Can he convince her that together they have the perfect chemistry?

 

 

Review

While in route to her spring break destination Felicity meets Lucas. Since her plans have been changed and she’s no longer meeting her best friends Charlie and Layla, Felicity decides to go along with Lucas’ plan to have her play his girlfriend while he attends his brother’s wedding. Not much of a hardship since he’s gorgeous, she just has to remember that’s she’s just laying a part and keep her distance.

Lucas is drawn to Felicity’s smarts and understated beauty. So having her playing his girlfriend for a few days sounds like a win-win situation for him. He gets to keep his ex-girlfriend at bay while spending time with a sexy, intriguing woman. But what he wasn’t counting on were the emotions that would arise with spending time with Felicity.

I liked the premise behind the story and thought that the author did a great job in bringing something different to this popular trope. But what I couldn’t get over was the insta-love scenario coupled with the lack of connection between the characters.

Usually I can overlook the insta-love in a story if the connection between the two individuals is firmly established on the page. However, that was not the case with Her Winning Formula. Yes, there was a connection between Felicity and Lucas, but it wasn’t expanded upon. Although I enjoyed their interactions, I felt there was something missing–that essential ‘thing’–needed to take their relationship to the next level.

Having said that, I did enjoyed getting to know the characters, the chemistry they shared and how the author went about bringing it all together in the end.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

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Review: Her Perfect Game (Hot & Nerdy #2) by Shannyn Schroeder

Her Perfect Game Book Cover Her Perfect Game
Hot & Nerdy #2
Shannyn Schroeder
New Adult Romance
eKensington
October 27th 2014
eGalley
124
NetGalley

 

Spring break is supposed to be a week of fun in the sun for three childhood friends about to graduate from college. But one of them is ready to get her game on somewhere else…

Charlie Castle is an expert archer and a fierce warrior—in her favorite video game, anyway. But college life was a program she couldn't quite master. To land a cybertech job without a degree, she's entering a "hackfest" over spring break—where she also hopes to meet the sweet gamer who's been flirting with her online. Instead, she runs into the hot guy who walked away years ago, and can't fight the desire that comes rushing back.

Jonah Best has never gotten over Charlie, whose kisses were always as deliciously creative as her coding. But now that they're face to face again, he doesn't know how to admit that her online admirer is really him—or how to convince her that he's offering her a job for her incredible skills, not her sex appeal. Can Jonah cut through their communication glitches and persuade Charlie that the next level up for them should be forever?

 

 

Review

Although I enjoyed this story, I did find a couple of faults within it.

Charlie is a gamer and a college dropout who spent money she couldn’t spare to attend a convention in the hopes of not only networking herself into acquiring a job, but also to meet her fellow gamer and the man she can’t stop thinking about.

Jonah never did get over Charlie and has regretted leaving her ever since. Thankfully, he was able to connect with her through their shared love of gaming, but it wasn’t enough. So when the chance to connect with her in person falls into his lap, he jumps at the chance without even knowing how his presence would be received.

As you could imagine there was bound to be some drama in this story since Charlie wasn’t expecting to run into Joshua at the convention. Thankfully, the drama was kept to a minimum in that regards.

I got the chance to experience first hand how sorry Jonah was for walking away and cheered him on even when it looked like he didn’t have a chance. However, he was charming, funny and as sexy as Charlie remembered so soon sparks where flying.

I liked Jonah and Charlie together but I felt like I never really got to see the connection they shared on the page. It was touched upon briefly, but not nearly enough for me. I understood they had a past, but I would have loved to see that connection reflected in the present too.

Add to that the added conflict the author introduced and the romance sort of fazed out of the picture. Don’t get me wrong, there were some moments that played a key role in their relationship, but for me the romance got lost in the shuffle. That’s not to say that it wasn’t intriguing to read about that kind of thing happening, it just didn’t seem important in the scheme of things.

Having said that, I did enjoy the time Jonah and Charlie spent together, their easy manner and the chemistry they shared. I just wish I could have gotten more of the romance and less of the gaming world.

All in all, a great tie-in book in the series that told the story about a second chance at love.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

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Review: Her Best Shot (Hot & Nerdy #1) by Shannyn Schroeder

Her Best Shot Book Cover Her Best Shot
Hot & Nerdy #1
Shannyn Schroeder
New Adult Romance
eKensington
September 29th 2014
eGalley
130
NetGalley

 

With college graduation looming, three childhood friends vow to make spring break their last blast of pure fun. But at least one of them didn’t count on such incredible heat…

Layla Sharpe is definitely more math ninja than bikini babe, and her future has been calculated with razor precision. Convinced to let loose over spring break, Layla is finally ready to party—until her car breaks down halfway to her destination, leaving her stranded in Georgia with a mouthwateringly hot pool shark. She knows more than enough about angles to learn the game, but this week she wants him to appreciate her curves…

Phin Marks has never met a girl like Layla. She’s more Star Wars geek than seductress, and when he offers her a place to stay while her car is in the shop, he’s counting on the attraction between them to set the nights ablaze, no strings attached. But every moment he spends with Layla makes it harder to let her go. Can he persuade her to gamble in the most dangerous way possible…on forever?

 

 

 

Review

Short and sweet with some added spice!

What I enjoyed the most about this story was the fact that it felt complete. Often times with books of this length you are left wanting, confused or a combination of the two. However, although short with a insta-love scenario Her Best Shot delivered a little bit of everything.

There was character development, some emotions, plenty of sizzling chemistry and a connection between the characters.

I loved Phin! Not only did he have a mysterious air about him, once he set loose he was H.O.T! I enjoyed him plenty and wouldn’t have minded a bit more of him throughout.

Layla wasn’t a bad character to know, but she had her moments where her immaturity (or should I say naiveté?) showed, which irritated me to no end. Quick to assume and eager to experience life, she made some rash decisions but ultimately learned from her mistakes.

I did enjoy her moments with Phin and thought she was a good match for him. She changed Phin’s life when she got involved with him, unknowingly helping him see what path to follow next in his life. So you can see why I came to like her in the end.

All in all, a great start to a series and a sexy, fun romance between an unlikely pair.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

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TBR Thursday! Shattered (Extreme Risk #2) by Tracy Wolff *Review*

Shattered Book Cover Shattered
Extreme Risk #2
Tracy Wolff
New Adult
Flirt
May 20th 2014
eGalley
NetGalley

 

The Extreme Risk series—Tracy Wolff’s edgy, emotional take on the New Adult genre—continues with the story of a lost soul and the fearless beauty who inspires him to take a flying leap back into life.

Ash Lewis has poured every last ounce of his blood, sweat, and tears into reaching the very top of the professional snowboarding world—until the unthinkable happens. After the biggest competition win of his career, Ash’s mother and father are killed in a tragic accident. Unable to handle the idea of going back out on the snow to pursue the dream his parents shared with him, Ash feels that he has no choice but to walk away from snowboarding forever. Then he meets Tansy Hampton.

Wild, fun, and impulsive, Tansy has a different look and a new passion every week. As a cancer survivor who spent the past several years waiting to die, Tansy has a fresh perspective on life—even if she doesn’t have a clue about what she actually wants to do with it. But she’s determined to find out, and that means making the most of her time while she still can.

From the very beginning, their chemistry is intense. But while Ash can’t stop chasing the ghosts of what can never be, Tansy stays firmly focused on the possibilities the world holds for her—and for them. She’s already picked up the pieces of one shattered life. Now she’s determined to help Ash do the same.

 

 

Review

What a great story!

And here I thought I was going to get something similar to Shredded then I start reading Ash’s story. A story packed full of drama, angst, sizzling chemistry and emotions. My Gosh! The emotions that were thrown into this story were intense…and they came from different directions too.

If it wasn’t his brother, it was Tansy or it was Ash. The statements ’emotions run rampant’ fits perfectly with this story. And you know I’m a sucker for emotions!!!

What I loved the most about this story was Tansy. She was sweet yet so very strong. She had gone through hell and back and she was determined to start living her life to the fullest and to make the best of it no matter what the outcome.

I loved that she gave Ash as good as she got. He made things hell for her but she was strong willed and didn’t allow Ash to deter her. Even when I though she was down for the count, she continued to persevere and surprise me with her words and her actions.

Of course, I loved Ash too. He was kind of broody and intense, but he was loyal and caring too. He loved deeply and I admired the hell out of him for it.

All in all, an outstanding addition to the series. I loved it!

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TBR Thursday! Shredded (Extreme Risk, #1) by Tracy Wolff *Review*

Shredded Book Cover Shredded
Extreme Risk, #1
Tracy Wolff
New Adult
Flirt
February 4th 2014
eGalley
NetGalley

 

In this intense and exhilarating New Adult series debut, a hotshot snowboarder and a vulnerable rebel with a cause try to let go of the past—and find a future in each other.

Twenty-one-year-old professional snowboarder Z Michaels is the bad boy of Park City, Utah. He’s always had his pick of any girl in town—and on the competition circuit. But underneath his cool exterior is a young man in turmoil, trying to take the edge off tragedy by overindulging in sex and shredding the slopes. In fact, Z’s reckless behavior is a thinly veiled attempt to blunt his emotional suffering with physical pain.

Ophelia Richardson isn’t like any girl Z has ever met. Though she’s from New Orleans high society, she’s no Southern belle—and she’s not shy about being miserable in frozen, godforsaken Park City. But laying low is her only option after her ex, a rich boy who couldn’t take no for an answer, nearly killed her in a jealous rage. Following that terrifying encounter, the last thing Ophelia needs is a boyfriend—especially one as rich and arrogant as Z. But Ophelia soon discovers that he isn’t what he seems. If anything, Z may be even more damaged than she is.

Tormented by their pasts and feeling alone in the world, Z and Ophelia find a connection unlike any they’ve ever known. But with Ophelia hiding the details of her life in Louisiana and Z’s death wish reaching terrifying new heights, their relationship seems to be going downhill before it even begins—unless they can find the strength in each other to trust, grow, and love again.

 

 

Review

Z is a snowboarder with a troubled past that leads him to take chances and act recklessly. While Ophelia tries hard to get over traumatic events from her past and wants to stay away from anything dangerous–even if she’s intensely attracted to the man who wakes feelings in her she once thought forgotten.

Sad when the secondary characters are more interesting than the main ones. And this was the case for me with this story.

In the last year, I’ve come to count Tracy Wolff’s books as ‘must reads’, so when I saw that she was developing a NA series I jumped at the chance to read it.

Sadly, it wasn’t everything I expected it to be. Maybe it was because I’d read and loved other books by the author, maybe it was because the characters came across as selfish and immature. Whatever the reason, I can’t say that I loved this story as much as I thought I would.

I loved the premised and the setting and was looking forward to some angst and romance. I got the angst and the romance, but it was the characters that brought them to the page that disappointed me, especially Ophelia.

For a 21-year old man, Z acted like he just stepped out of high school. Some things were due to his surroundings, other I couldn’t find a source. Then there was Ophelia. Her behavior and actions didn’t make sense to me and her train of thought left much to be desired.

So yeah, I think it was the characters that didn’t work for me.

What did worked for me were the secondary characters. Ash, Cam and Luc caught my attention and I hope their stories are as good as I think they will be. I’m especially looking forward to Ash’s story now that I know some of what to expect of his story.

View all my reviews

Now Available in Print! Inside Out (Off the Map, #3) by Lia Riley *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

Inside-Out-Print-Release-Blitz

Inside Out (Off the Map #3)
by Lia Riley

A New Adult Contemporary Romance
From Grand Central — Forever

Released in Print July 28, 2015

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Lia Riley made New Adult readers fall in love with her breakout debut, Upside Down. Sideswiped, the second of her series, made readers clamor for more. Now, with INSIDE OUT, Lia Riley brings her evocative Off the Map series to a stunning conclusion.

When Talia first moved from California to Australia to study abroad, she never dreamed she’d find the love of her life. Bran understands her like no one ever has before. And despite the numerous challenges they’ve faced, they’ve always managed to figure out how to stay together. But this time they’ll face their toughest hurdle yet. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?

 

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Review

5-stars

What I’ve loved about these books is that Bran and Talia have faults–real, honest to goodness faults that the reader can identify with. And it’s in this installment that we get to the nitty-gritty of them and watch as Bran and Talia battle their own demons to make it through as individuals and as a couple.

I’ve followed this couple from the very beginning–I’ve wanted to throttle them for being stubborn about their attraction for one another, comfort them for having to make tough decision and smack some sense into them when they somehow lost their way. By book 2 I had starting thinking that I was emotionally invested in their relationship and this story made it abundantly clear that I was.

Once again, Lia Riley managed to bring forth emotions, light moments and realistic obstacles to the page. I enjoyed their easy camaraderie, their meltdowns and their chemistry. I liked that their story wasn’t wrapped up in a pretty bow, but still was infused with joy and hope of better things to come. Even in the darkest of times, the author didn’t fail to keep that spark of humor and the expectancy that Bran and Talia would find their way. Better yet, I loved that I got to see them grow as a couple while still allowing themselves the chance to grow as individuals. Bran and Talia’s journey hasn’t been easy but to me it has been worthwhile.

From the very beginning, Lia Riley grabbed me and didn’t let go. I cried with Talia as she confronted her current situation, was emotionally drained right along with Bran when he faced the uncertainty of their relationship. I laughed with them and at them. I was right in there with every up and every down and when it all came to be I was grinning like the fool I am.

It’s sad to have reached the end of their journey, but I am glad to see them moving forward together. All in all, a fantastic conclusion to Bran and Talia’s story.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

“See how I want you.” His agonized whisper is barely audible over the water lashing the tiles. His hips lose their slow, lazy tempo. He pounds himself deeper, harder.

An intense ache spreads from my belly through my breasts. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be turned on. Muscles tighten within my sex. I’m fast remembering.

“Want. You. So. Bloody. Much.” He always sounds like this right before he comes, as if it hurts, like I’m pressing on a wound that’s too much to bear. “Damn it, Talia.”

I can’t look away as he loses himself in a blaze. I’m a prism, refracting his light. His features spin through a kaleidoscope of emotions starting at brutal need and ending with an unexpected vulnerability. My fear about the future disperses so quickly it’s hard to believe only minutes ago it felt inescapable. Bran isn’t some scary what-if. He’s a fact, a truth to hold on to against all life’s uncertainty. Why have I been so afraid he’ll see me as a walking disaster? He knows what it’s like to mess up, to feel like a failure. I need to reframe my question. Rather than asking what if Bran gets sick of me, maybe I should ask, what if we’ve worked our asses off, and finally have a shot at a real forever?

He falls to his knees and grabs me before I can take a breath or do anything but throw my arms around his lean shoulders. Water soaks through the white cotton of my pajama pants until I might as well be naked too.

“Show me the way back to you.” He buries his face in my neck, drags his lips to the place behind my ear, the headwaters for all delicious shivers.

“I want that so much.”

“I’ll do whatever it takes, go off the map.”

“You will?”

“We’re already there.”

He’s right. We’ve been explorers for some time. During the last little while it’s as if a blizzard descended, we were stuck in a whiteout, so close, but the snow made everything indistinguishable. At last, the storm’s abating and he’s right there, and I’m over here. Suddenly, we can see each other.

Within us is the way forward. We each possess half of the compass and must join together to find the right direction.

“You’ve got to know how much I need you.” A lock of his wet hair twists in a boyish curl.

I go to smooth it down, but my fingers tangle in the thick waves, and instead draw him closer.

He bows his head, still panting a little. “You can’t check out on me like that again. I can’t live this bloody life devoid of you—”

I brush my mouth over his lower lip, that reddening mark where his teeth left imprints. “I won’t. I’m so sorry. I-I’m ready to try. Thank you for believing in me.”

“I’ll never stop.”

We rest our foreheads together, holding one another upright. Droplets fall from his hairline onto my cheeks, joining fresh tears. He’s water, I’m water, and our flotsam and jetsam fit in a way that’s strange, yet familiar. I have no idea where we’re going, only that the way out is lined with broken feathers, bloodstains, marrow ash, and the serrated teeth of sharks.

This journey will take all I’ve got, a small price to have everything.

And that’s exactly what this guy in my arms is.

 

The Off The Map Series

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Upside Down (Off the Map, #1)
Sideswiped (Off the Map #2)

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About the Author

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme

Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments. A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn’t mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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Now Available in Print! Sideswiped (Off the Map #2) by Lia Riley *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Sideswiped (Off the Map #2)
by Lia Riley

A New Adult Contemporary Romance
From Grand Central Publishing – Forever
Print Release June 30th 2015

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It was only meant to last the summer…

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless SoCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight-because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

 

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Review

5-stars

Sideswiped picks up right where Upside Down left off with Talia back in the States and getting ready to return to Australia to move in with Bran.

The honeymoon is set to continue with Talia and Bran living together and working on their careers, but real life is a bit more complicated and worries, insecurities and ghosts from the past threaten to tear Talia and Bran apart.

As with the first installment in the series, I loved this story because of the range in emotions the author brought to the page. However, I was a bit disappointed that some of Talia and Bran’s camaraderie–that thing that made Upside Down such an enjoyable read for me–was lacking.

I understand that this was more of an exploration of how hard it is to make a relationship work. It dealt with the ups and down of a relationship and how real life can get in the middle of it. So yes, I understood that the funny moments and the banter would be kept to a minimum. But for me, that easy camaraderie, the bickering and the easy way Talia and Bran related to each other was what made their relationship so strong. They could deal with the emotional and the obstacles thrown their way and still keep their easy-going rapport.

That said, I still enjoyed this story. Lia Riley didn’t hold any punches in bringing the emotions to the page or in challenging Talia and Bran’s relationship from all sides.

This time around Talia struggles with the uncertainty of her future in terms of her career and how her decision will affect her relationship with Bran. Thankfully, she has matured enough to recognize that she must follow her own path and has grown confident that what she and Bran share is more than a passing emotion. But her struggle is made more complicated as she tries to get a handle on her disorder and when her biggest obstacle becomes the man she loves.

Bran is stubborn and refuses to compromise. His fear of abandonment, coupled with his previous experience in a relationship, make him reluctant to accept his dream position. A man used to going for what he wants, he struggles with being with Talia completely or pursuing his dream assignment.

As the story progresses, Their love continues to grow but the obstacles thrown their way take their toll on their will to make their relationship work. Talia and Bran confront their demons, withdraw from one another but ultimately decide to go for what they truly want.

Sideswiped is the second book in the Off the Map series and recounts Talia and Bran’s the journey of trying to find their place in the world–as individuals and as a couple. Although it can be read as a stand alone, I wouldn’t recommend it. This story would not have been as satisfying or heart-warming if I couldn’t have experienced how these two came to be together.

All in all, a wonderful story of how two individuals find themselves while still holding on to one another.

*I received these titles through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

Talia passes out hard from the travel and epic reunion sex. I’m too amped for sleep, so I lie in the dark and trace her spine. Can you love someone too much? No point being afraid, might as well jump in it with both feet. I press my mouth to her neck and she undulates, responsive even from her dreams. If miracles were real, I’d swear we were designed to fit together.

I loop my arm around her waist and hold fast, until our breathing syncs. I’m drifting off when she jerks—hard—once, twice. Her body recoils as she unleashes a lung-tearing scream.

“Talia, wake up. Come on, sweetheart, talk to me.” I clamber over her, hunching protectively. “Open your eyes. It’s Bran. I’ve got you. I’m not letting go.” I keep talking while she flays my chest like she’s drowning under ice, desperate to find a break in the surface.

“Can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I…where am…oh God. Bran.”

“I’m right here.” I cradle her while she draws another unsteady gasp. Her hair plasters her forehead in sweaty wisps.

“Give me a minute. I’ll be fine.” She pushes herself to a half-sit and sways with disorientation. “This…this happens sometimes…panic attacks or night terrors…whatever. They seem to come when I drop my guard. Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s the meds. Those pills make me feel like a toxic waste dump.”

“Have you been bad this summer?” The muscles in my neck cord. It shreds my guts to see her hurting. I’d do anything, any fucking thing, to carry her pain. I don’t fully understand the inner workings of OCD but she’s explained that for her, the condition comes in waves. Everything will be rolling along fine, more or less, and then bang—a giant squid grips her brain. She fights hard for recovery, a warrior even when she believes she’s nothing but a coward.

“No, not really.” She grinds her eyes with the backs of her hands. “I kinda danced around the edge of the rabbit hole a few times but never fell inside.”

My muscles release some tension. “Try to go back to sleep. You need the rest. Don’t worry, I’ll keep watch, okay?”

“I’m sorry to be such a psych job. It’s totally shaming.”

“Shhhhhh.”

Her chin tips down. “Can you talk to me for a little while? Get me out of my fuckball head?”

“Hey now, I got mad love for that head, Captain.” I kiss her brow, acting chill even though I’m scared. How can I get her to settle? Then it hits me. “I want to take you surfing again.”

“Mmmm, that’d be nice.”

“Picture yourself out there, in the water, on a board, under the shooting stars.”

“With sharks eyeballing me from the depths?”

“Nah, they’re all busy hunting sea lions or some bloody mischief. This is you, the sea, and the sky. A set rolls in. You can’t make out the wave. The board lifts and you feel the momentum building. There’s fear deep in your belly, sensible, because you can’t see what’s coming or where you’re going. You fight the self-protective instincts, give yourself over, and the next thing you know—you’re having the ride of your life.”

“Thank you.” She flips in my arms so we’re belly to belly. “I mean it. That was beautiful, really, really beautiful. I’m so excited to be here, for right now—to live in the moment. But it’s like I have this…this weird mental stutter. My thoughts keep skipping over the same annoying question like a scratch on vinyl: What will we do?” Tears spill from the corners of her eyes, course silently toward her chin. “My visa.”

Talia’s been granted a three-month student visa to complete her senior thesis in history. In all its benevolent generosity, the Australian government expanded her time in the country by an extra month.

Four months—the sum of our allotted time.

“They’ll make me leave.”

“Don’t believe everything you think.” I wipe her damp cheeks.

“Can you tattoo that on my forehead?”

Maybe it’s my imagination, but the brass alarm clock on the dresser clicks louder.

Another second gone.

Another second gone.

“I’m not losing you to some shithouse immigration policy, Captain. We will be all right in the end.” I’ve no idea how the hell I’m going to solve this drama but I will figure it out. “We have to hope, otherwise we’re sunk.”

She jerks with surprised laughter.

“What?”

She hiccups and covers her mouth with her hand, shoulders shaking. It takes me a second to realize she’s giggling.

“I’m funny to you right now?” This girl drives me every sort of crazy.

“I’m not laughing at you.” She works her lips together and unsuccessfully smothers the smile. “It’s—”

“Forget it.” I instinctively stiffen.

“Bran the Optimist.” She grabs my wrists, lifts my palms to her face, and plants a kiss in the center of each one. “I like this side of you.”

“Never mind. I was being dumb.”

“You were awesome.” She pecks the tip of my nose. “And for the record, I love your stupid face.”

I give her a begrudging kiss back. “I love yours too.”

Love isn’t enough of a word.

I wasted almost an entire year of my life implementing a scorched earth policy, not caring who I left burned and broken in my path.

Talia was my oasis. My salvation.

“Don’t give the visa a second thought.” I nestle her against me, rubbing her lower back in easy circles. “I’ll sort this out, I swear to you.”

Even if I don’t have the first fucking clue.

 

 

The Off The Map Series

upside downUpside Down (Off the Map, #1)

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About the Author

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme

Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments. A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn’t mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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New Release! Play Me: The Complete Story by Tracy Wolff *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Play Me: The Complete Story
by Tracy Wolff

An Erotic Romance
From Loveswept
Released June 16, 2015

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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Ethan Frost novels—Ruined, Addicted, and Exposed—comes the sultry tale of a young woman searching for a bit of control. . . and the powerful new boss who makes her go wild. Originally released as a five-part serial, this eBook bundle collects the complete saga from beginning to end: a sizzling affair loaded with desire, seduction, betrayal, and dark romance.

My name is Aria Winston. I’ve fought desperately to escape the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas. Now I’m on my own, in control of my own life and my own destiny… just the way I like it. Until Sebastian Caine changes everything.

Working as a cocktail waitress at one of Vegas’s hottest five-star casinos means putting up with a ton of bad behavior from the big spenders. But it pays the bills—and that’s all that matters to Aria, who needs every last dollar to escape from her father’s destructive grasp and the brutal man he expects her to marry. But when she lashes out against a billionaire who won’t take no for an answer, she nearly loses everything—until Sebastian steps in. The owner’s son and handpicked successor, Sebastian is dark, sexy, and kinder than any rich man should be. And when he apologizes and offers to keep her job safe, Aria can’t help the way her body reacts to his. Suddenly her job, and the security it brings her, isn’t the only thing Aria wants.

 

Play Me bundle_Wolff

 

Review

4 stars

Aria is a cocktail waitress at Atlantis. She’s trying to get her life back in track after running away from her past. Aria is all about taking and maintaining control of her life–until she meets Sebastian Caine. Soon she discovers that surrendering her control to the right person can be physically and emotionally satisfying.

Sebastian Caine returned to Las Vegas to run his father’s hotel after a series of strokes left him unable to run the business. Sebastian is determined to make some necessary changes in the hotel–starting with keeping the guest and the employees from being harassed by the ‘whales’. That is what brings him face to face with Aria. Sebastian recognizes Aria’s need for control and he knows he’s the perfect man to show her how she can achieve the perfect balance in her life. She’s everything he wants and the very woman that could bring him to his knees if he’s not careful.

Play Me is another example of how Tracy Wolff can bring complex characters, intriguing storylines and emotions to the page while still making the story romantic and hot as hell. She draws the readers in, captives their minds and melts their hearts in the process.

In Play Me: Wild we get to know a bit about Aria and Sebastian and what drives them as individuals. Sebastian and Aria’s chemistry was palpable from their very first meeting. But Aria is weary of rich men and vows to keep his distance. However, Sebastian can see right through Aria’s tough persona and is determined to protect her. Especially now that Sebastian is aware of her work situation.

Which lead us to Play Me: Hot. As the title implies, this is one HOT little episode. It starts where Wild left off with Sebastian and Aria in Sebastian’s office after he took her away to ‘fill out some paperwork’. Like I said before, Sebastian and Aria’s chemistry was intense and easily palpable and this installment shows how much. This first encounter was packed full of anticipation and sensuality. Sebastian is convinced that he can give her what she needs and soon Aria is lost in the pleasure Sebastian brings her. Which in the end leaves her a little bit woozy and a lot confused. But whatever, that man can have me filling out paperwork any.damn.time!

Aria returns to work and she tries to keep her wits about her, but she’s is dropping fast from subspace and doesn’t understand what the hell is going on. This is where Play Me: Hard starts. Sebastian is trying his best to look after Aria and she continues to be her stubborn self. For me this was the installment that cemented Sebastian and Aria’s connection. In this ‘episode’ we get to see another side of Sebastian and Aria. Sebastian shows his tender side–caring for Aria, protecting her from herself–while Aria reveals a bit more of her vulnerability and her life now that her defenses are down. Their dialogue was honest and revealing and their connection an ever growing presence as the story progressed.

Of course, there was also the cameo from Ethan Frost, Sebastian’s best friend (you can read an excerpt below) and another intense scene between Aria and Sebastian. But the ending…the ending was the best thing to happen.

Through all the previous installments I’ve been intrigued by Sebastian and Aria’s pasts and how it had shaped them. So when Play Me: Real picked up right where the previous installment left off I was so very curious to see what I would learn about Sebastian. My curiosity was met and then some! that that was one hell of an intense and revealing scene! It loved it that Sebastian showed a side of himself that I had not seen before and that Aria listened without judgement. Of course, all this intensity and honesty leads them back into each other’s arms. And this is where my first urge to smack Sebastian upside the head came up. Which led to me wanting to throttle them both–Sebastian for losing his path and Aria for not recognizing the error of her ways. Well, at least it served to show how deeply affected he was by his past and his feelings for Aria and vice versa. Pffft!!!

We find Aria heartbroken and Sebastian all broody at the start of Play Me: Right. Thankfully, Aria’s sister helps her recognize her mistake in time to salvage what had developed between her and Sebastian. The author had peeled back bit and pieces of Sebastian and Aria’s layers with each ‘episode’ of the serial but it’s with this installment that they are truly bared to each other. Of course, it all comes after the heated encounter, but I won’t complain since I enjoyed it so much!

All in all, the perfect mix of sensuality, emotions and romance.

 

playme_teaser1

 

Excerpt

“What are you thinking?” Ethan asks after a minute and I’m just opening my mouth to tell him when there’s a sudden commotion at the door. I turn around just in time to see Aria burst through it, looking wilder and hotter than I’ve ever seen her.

She’s dressed in a crimson sundress that hugs every one of her curves even as it makes her olive skin glow. One of the straps has slid down her arm and her hair is a just-rolled-out-of-bed mess. But it’s a captivating look on her, one that has my mind flashing to about a million different things I’d like to do with her—all of which start with plopping her firm, lush ass on my desk and burying my face between her thighs. For hours.

I’m so distracted by the thought of making her come that I almost miss the upset on her face, confusion mixed with hurt and panic and fear. Once I get past her breasts and it sinks in, though, I’m off the couch and heading toward her in an instant. “What’s wrong, Aria? Are you—”

“Fuck me.”

I freeze in my tracks. “What did you say?”

“I want you to fuck me. Right now. Please.”

Ethan rockets up from his chair, shoots me a look that is half-amused, half-concerned. “I will take that as my cue to leave.”

The fact that Aria doesn’t even glance his way tells me all I need to know about her state of mind. All thoughts of Valducci and revenge disappear in my sudden worry for her.

“Baby.” I cross the last of the distance between us and pull her body flush against mine. “What’s going on? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. I’ve just been thinking about what you said on the phone earlier and I want it. I want all of it now.”

 

About the Author

Tracy Wolff Author Photo

Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes romances that run the gamut from contemporary to paranormal to erotic suspense.

Find out more about Tracy at www.tracywolffbooks.com.

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Now Available in Print! Upside Down (Off the Map #1) by Lia Riley *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Upside Down (Off the Map #1)
by Lia Riley

A New Adult Contemporary Romance
From Grand Central Publishing – Forever
Print Release May 12, 2015

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If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying goodbye to painful memories—and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she’ll pretend to be a carefree exchange student. Everything is going to plan until she meets a surly surfer with hypnotic green eyes, and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he slunk back to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. A single semester abroad won’t cover something this serious. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once-in-a-lifetime… or if there’s a plane to California with her name on it.

 

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Review

5-stars

Talia is moving to Australia for a semester abroad. She’s conscious that what she’s really doing is running away from her problems, but after all she’s been through she just needs to get away–from the memories, the pain, the routine. Everything is going accordingly until she meets Bran.

A brooding, sexy stranger Bran manages to ‘see’ her as others have failed to do before. He’s been burned before and has vowed not to get his heart involved in any type of relationship, but there’s something about the American girl that calls to him.

I loved this story because it had a unique mix of fun and emotional with conflicted characters and realistic circumstances. Talia can be any college girl out there dealing with loss and a widely misunderstood disorder. And Bran is the mysterious handsome guy who’s had a lonely childhood and a broken heart.

Lia Riley did an amazing job in bringing these characters’ complexities to the page. I could easily understand where Talia and Bran were coming from and relate to them in other levels too. Who hasn’t been confronted with the uncertainty of life after college? Who hasn’t endured a broken heart and been afraid of risking being hurt again? But most of all, who hasn’t felt the pain of losing a loved one and struggled to find their way in life?

All of these real-life scenarios were delved upon in this story, but what made it unique for me was that the author went the extra mile in bringing the emotions these events would bring about while still bringing in funny and entertaining moments.

I loved Talia and Bran’s serious moments where they left their emotions come to the surface and I admired the way they eventually let their walls down to let the other in. But I also loved their candid moments, their banter and their flirty exchanges. Their connection shined through even as they fought their attraction and feelings for each other. This was what truly made this story such an enjoyable read for me.

Excerpt

“Is it true you have no regrets, not even one?” Hopefully he has no idea how dead serious I am in his response.

“There’s no point.” His fingers tighten infinitesimally on the wheel. “The past is the past. That’s it.”

“Like whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?”

“No, that’s a dumb-ass cliché. I mean there’s no meaning to life, despite what people pretend. Once I figured that out, everything got easier.”

“Has anyone ever said you are intense?”

“Since the day I was born.” He checks the rearview mirror. “So I got to ask you something. Maybe I’m presuming but—”

“If that’s your lead-in, then you’re probably correct.”

“You don’t fool me.”

He’s right. No matter how hard I try to hide and pretend away my crazy, Bran sees too much.

“But you try to fool everyone, don’t you?” He turns and catches me staring. “With the act. You, all breezy, cute as hell, always smiling like we’re at some big-deal party. You know what I think—”

“No, actually.” Wait, I’m cute? He thinks I’m cute?

“Not sure what your issue is, but—”

“I’m fine,” I mutter tightly. Reality wanders back, as unwelcome as a drunk uncle at a family picnic. Let’s face it, no one wants to be around a girl with issues. “Really, I’m all good.” Right, I sound like a five-year-old watching worms die in puddles.

“Whatever you say, Miss OCD.” He glances from the open atlas on my lap to my pursed mouth with a thoughtful look.

“I…I…” Anxiety locks me in an invisible chokehold while my abdomen spasms. But Bran’s gaze isn’t mocking. There’s an unexpected sweetness there that’s coaxing me from my familiar fortification. “I guess maybe it’s something like that.” My whispered words rise above my head like a toxic balloon.

“Must kinda suck.”

People don’t kid if they think you’re crazy, right?

“Sucks donkey balls.”

He grins. “An unpleasant flavor.”

Suddenly I can breathe again. “And you’d know how?”

A second crawls past. He keeps his veiled eyes trained on the road.

“Bran?” Finally, I can’t take it. I need to say something. “You acting nice is unfamiliar, and, frankly, uncomfortable, territory.”

“Is being interested a crime?” He kneads the back of his neck. The deep, massaging rhythm is mesmerizing. His thumb is a little wide. He keeps his nails neatly cut.

“You’re interested?” I’m off-kilter, like I’ve taken back-to-back rides on the Tilt-A-Whirl at the boardwalk.

“In your quirks. Let’s hear another one.”

“One more. That’s it. Then we’re done for the day.” I kick off my flip-flops and cross my ankles. “I can’t fall asleep without reciting this long poem, Paul Revere’s Ride.”

How is this even possible? We’re talking about my most shameful secrets like it’s just another thing. Why isn’t he pointing a judgmental finger at me, crying, Shun her, shun the freak?

“And you call me kinky? What do your boyfriends say when they sleep over?”

“I repeat the words in my head, not out loud. And I’ve never had a boyfriend.”

“Wait, how is that even possible?”

“What? The no-boyfriend situation?” The words make me sound like a bigger loser when spoken aloud. There’s a very good reason. Too busy obsessing over my sister’s big love. But I don’t say that. Even in this sharing mood, some words strangle. Still, I’ve hinted at my blackest secret and wasn’t smote down, laughed at, or ridiculed.

A new song starts that’s all angsty and instrumental—dramatic violins, slow guitar riffs, and measured drumbeats. I don’t want to go dark, not right now, when everything almost glows.

I spy Bran’s iPod up on the dash and reach forward. “We need different music—”

“But we haven’t finished talking about— Wait! Hold up.” His hand darts but I’m quicker.

“What?” I dangle the iPod out of reach. “Cool guy like you have something to hide?

Maybe a secret Beyoncé playlist or…” I flick on the screen. “Oh to the Em Gee.”

“Go on.” He heaves an exaggerated sigh. “Don’t hold back.”

“Justin Bieber?”

“I watched my nieces yesterday. They have a dance recital to the song next week. I helped them practice their routine.”

“You? That’s so normal.” And sweet.

“Yep. I broke it down to the Biebs.”

“Please, tell me there’s a video.”

“I’m secure in my manhood, Captain.”

 

About the Author

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme

Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.

A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn’t mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. Right now, Icelandic hot springs and Scottish castles sound mighty fine.

She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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