Falling for a ROCK KING–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new rock romance form Tara Leigh. ROCK KING is the first book in the Nothing But Trouble series and features the lead singer of a rock band who’s hiding a terrible secret–and the girl-next-door he hires to be his chaperone/companion on tour.

About the book:
I’m not who you think I am.

Shane Hawthorne has it all. At least, that’s what the headlines say about me. I have millions of fans, awards, more money – and women – than I know what to do with. But what you don’t see is the wreckage I’ve caused. The memories and pain I can’t escape, even when I pour them into music and spin them into gold.

I tried to forget. To lose myself in booze and groupies. It didn’t work. It hurt me and – worse – it hurt my band. That’s the last thing I want to do, so I’m cleaning up my act… starting with Delaney Fraser.

Gorgeous, smart, drama-free, and even nice – Delaney is the perfect “girlfriend.” When I’m with her I don’t have to pretend. It’s like she sees the real me. And I can see a future with her. But that’s dangerous. Because the truth is, Shane Hawthorne doesn’t actually exist. He’s a shield to hide who I really am. Fraud. Runaway. Addict. Murderer.

And it’s impossible to love a lie, right?

My Review:
Shane Hawthorne is a rock star and lead singer of Nothing But Trouble, a headlining rock band. But he’s hiding a dark secret behind his stage name: as a teen he was driving the car when it crashed and his best friend and surrogate brother Caleb died. Having no one to care for him and fearing he would be prosecuted, he ran and adopted this persona.

As the years have passed, he’s made good in the rock world but his guilt eats him alive and he’s been fighting addictions to alcohol and drugs. His agent devised a plan a few years back to keep Shane from chasing his demons into oblivion: hire beautiful chaperones who will stay by Shane’s side and keep him sober. If the girl happens to be down for sexytimes, that’s cool, too, but she’s not being hired as an escort. Nominally.

Delaney fled her Long Island upbringing after a tragic accident killed her mother and landed her father in jail. Unable to cope with her role in the situation, she’s aimless and wishing she could do something to help her dad. Running into an old schoolmate while waiting tables in LA, Delaney is stunned to get an invite to an exclusive party. It’s clear her pal isn’t really interested in reconnecting; unassuming but beautiful Delaney is the kind of gal who might fit the role Shane needs filled.

Shane and Delaney meet at the party, and it leads to the kind of “relationship” Shane most wants: contractual. Delaney doesn’t want to do it, but part of the contract involves getting her father moved to a minimum security prison once her six-month commitment to Shane ends. With this new mission to help her dad firmly in her mind, Delaney vows to be the perfect public companion to Shane–and nothing more. But, the more time they spend together, the more their attraction makes saying “no” impossible.

It’s a cute romance, but there’s plenty of deeper issues. Delaney’s big secret is nearly as catastrophic as Shane’s, but she stands by him as his world crumbles under some investigative reporting. And, while the press is rabid, the amends made do fill in the gap created by guilt. I liked how it turned out, with Shane building strong relationships with his estranged brother and Caleb’s grieving parents. Delaney’s situation turns out to be really complicated, and Shane’s a jerk about it, though I wasn’t really mad at him. I got his pain–and he does fix things in the end. For me, there was a little too much back and forth with the romance–and the mooning over past mistakes seemed excessive. That slowed the pace a bit, and I wished it wouldn’t have.

Interested? You can find ROCK KING on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

ROCK LEGEND, the second book in the Nothing But Trouble series, comes out July 17th. It’s open for pre-order on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

About the Author:
Tara Leigh writes steamy contemporary romance featuring tortured heroes worth lusting after and the women they didn’t know they needed. She attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York, and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before “retiring” to become a wife and mother. When the people in her head became just as real as the people in her life, she decided to put their stories on paper. Tara currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with her husband, children and fur-baby, Pixie.

Catch up with Tara on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or sign up for her newsletter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Making it Real With a PART-TIME LOVER–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! I’m excited to share a review and giveaway for a new romance from Lauren Blakely. PART-TIME LOVER is an unexpected romance between two people burned by bad marriages making a bold attempt to right an injustice…through sexytimes. I loved STARS IN THEIR EYES and thoroughly devoured this one!

Scroll down for a tasty excerpt and be sure to enter the HUGE giveaway too!
About the book:
I’ll say this about Christian — he made one hell of a first impression. When I first saw the strapping man, he was doing handstands naked on a dock along the canal. His crown jewels were far more entertaining than anything else I’d seen on the boat tour, so I did what any curious woman would do — I took his photo. I might have looked at the shot a few dozen times. Little did I know I’d meet him again, a year later, at a secret garden bar in the heart of the city, where I’d learn that his mind and his mouth were even more captivating. But given the way my heart had been trampled, I wanted only a simple deal — No strings. No expectations.

Our arrangement worked well enough until the day I needed a lot more from him…

***

Let me just say, this whole part-time lover thing was her idea. I’d have gone all-in from the start, but hey, when a gorgeous, brilliant woman invites you into her bed, and only her bed…well, I said yes.

But then, one hysterical phone call from my brother later, begging me to find myself a wife so grandfather’s business stays in the family, and I need a promotion with Elise. Turns out a full-time husband suits her needs too, and a temporary marriage of convenience ought to do the trick, until we can simply untie the knot…

As long as no one finds out…
As long as no one gets hurt…
As long as no one falls in love…

But our ending was one I never saw coming.

How about a sexy taste!

~Elise~

A year ago

The boat slides under another bridge then motors through a more residential area, passing homes on the water and private docks every few feet. My eyes hungrily eat up the view. My current hometown of Paris is my love, but I could get used to weekends in Copenhagen. It’s a delightful mix of old and new, like a Swiss alpine town mated with a futuristic sky-rise city.

As I gaze at the sun-soaked homes, I imagine lazy afternoons drinking strong coffee on the deck, reading delicious tales under the rays. That seems like a recipe for happiness for the rest of my days.

I want to feel that way. Happy. It’s been so damn elusive lately, and for a fleeting moment, it feels as if I grasp it again, so I’m no longer teetering on the edge of grief and shame.

But that’s why I’m here, to move past that terrible duet.

I try valiantly to simply enjoy everything in front of me: the buildings, the water, the view.

As we round the bend in the canal, I blink at the view.

Holy hell, the unexpected view.

Nearby is a private dock.

On that dock is a man.

He’s performing a downward-facing dog, and his rear is facing us.

What a spectacular ass.

It’s not covered in sweatpants or basketball shorts.

It’s au naturel, as finely sculpted as the statue of David.

He’s a dog all right.

I sit up.

I practically stand. I lean on the edge of the boat, agog. I won’t even pretend I’m not looking. I’m ogling.

The Japanese friends whisper and point. The couple shifts closer to get a better look. The college girls titter and laugh.

We slide along on the calm water, and now we’re fifty feet away from a sight way better than the Little Mermaid statue, more magnificent than the royal palace.

He bends forward, pressing his palms into the wood, lifting his legs, and flipping them upside down.

Full. Frontal. Birthday suit.

He’s a tall drink of a man, and I’m so very thirsty.

“Look,” I whisper to Veronica, though of course she’s already engaged in the fine art of gawking. “Did you know the Mad Naked Handstander of Copenhagen was on the tour?”

She sighs contentedly. “I am so glad you forced me to go to the buffet.” She parks her chin in her hands, watching the tall upside-down creature.

“My favorite part of the buffet is dessert,” I say, as my eyes gobble him up.

This man wears nudity well, even in this unusual position.

“I enjoyed the rubies and emeralds in Rosenborg Castle, but I like these crown jewels even better,” I say.

And hey, perhaps I’m perving, but I’m an equal-opportunity spectator at this private dock show. I don’t merely peer at the centerpiece of his physique, resting majestically against the grooves of his abs. My eyes take a most happy stroll up and down his carved body, from the planes of his stomach, to his strong thighs, to his arms ripped with muscles. His face is hard to read at 180 degrees, but I see the shape of his cheekbones, carved by angels.

Then, he moves. He walks on his hands. Back and forth.

Like he’s performing.

Showing off his most unique skill set.

I chuckle louder.

Then louder still when he holds himself up on one hand only, waving to us.

“What a show-off,” Veronica says.

Lars clears his throat. “And sometimes, we see the unexpected sights of Copenhagen.”

I do what any curious onlooker might do. I grab my phone and snap.

Snap.

Snap.

The man stands, takes a bow, and waves.

My chest heats up. The temperature in me flirts with mercury levels. He’s a stunner. My God, he’s like Skarsgård, from this distance.

And because I believe in speaking my mind, I cup my hand over my mouth and shout, “Bravo. All of it.”

He doffs an imaginary top hat and takes a bow. “My pleasure.” His voice books across the water, his accent a British one.

Sparks unexpectedly race down my chest. That accent is delicious. “Oh no. The pleasure is truly all mine.”

My Review:
Elise is a cosmopolitan woman running her PR firm in Paris, a city were she spent much of her youth, though she was educated in NYC. She’s still getting over the astounding secrets of her recently deceased husband at the beginning of the story. On a girls’ trip to Copenhagen Elise encounters Christian–doing naked handstands on his dock–while taking on a boat tour of the city. Following some banter, she attempts to meet him at a local cafe, only to later learn he was awaiting her at a bar of the same name.

Christian is in Paris a year later, where he meets Elise again. This time, they get things right, and the attraction simmers. Elise isn’t ready for a man to conquer her heart, however, and she makes Christian wait. Their weekly non-dates are smoldering, but not sexual, and it’s a fun cat-and-mouse game until Chistian’s brother runs into some trouble and the easiest way out is through…a marriage of convenience.

This was a fun one! I really liked how Christian and Elise built a friendship which complimented their passion. The rom-com situations were intriguing, and their part-time status as lovers seemed to make their hearts grow ever fonder. There’s a bit of sexytimes, though it’s more romance than steamy, and the feels were intense, on both sides. I couldn’t stop turning the pages near the end, once both Christian and Elise had recognized their feelings had grown well beyond companionship and into true love.

Interested? You can find PART-TIME LOVER on Goodreads, Amazon (US UK, CA, AU & paperback) iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this GIVEAWAY LINK to enter to win a Kate Spade tote and a $50 Sephora GC!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. In October, she’ll release HARD WOOD, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!

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Falling Down the Rabbit Hole–THE WONDER OF YOU, A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a sweet and spunky new romance from Harper Kincaid. THE WONDER OF YOU is a contemporary retelling of Alice in Wonderland…as a romance. I’ve enjoyed other books that reimagined classic works, including THE HIDDEN LIBRARY which also featured an Alice character.

About the book:
What if Alice didn’t fall down the rabbit hole, but instead, traveled through Lincoln Tunnel into another kind of Wonderland: New York City.
The best day of twenty-five year old Alice Leighton’s life was the day she got to put her nothing special, li’l Southern town in her rear-view mirror. Good-bye to phony ‘bless your hearts’ and ‘I’ll pray for you’ crap, all while talking trash behind her back. She’s New York City’s latest addition and she’s going to work her ass off proving she earned her spot in the country’s top grad program.

Never again will she let some jerk derail her future and break her heart. Oh, and no more players. She’s D.O.N.E with the ‘cool guys’.

Getting caught up in Dare Grangeworth, the art world’s resident bad boy, was not part of her Alice 2.0 plan, even if he is just her type, with his beard, tats sleeves and intense green eyes. When he’s not dodging the press or his cultish fan base, Dare’s making art that makes a statement. Women seem to lose their heads around him – all the more reason why he finds Alice’s candor refreshing. He’s used to women giving in – not giving attitude.

He has to get to know this girl, even if it means allowing himself to be the subject of her research. Before too long, he becomes more than a simple outlier she can explain away. And for him everything starts to feel larger than life and upside down, like a heady rush, all while desperately trying not to lose his heart.

Become lost and found in this re-imagined story of Alice and her cast of characters, in a world where Wonderland meets Sex-and-the-City.

My Review:
Alice Leighton is moving into her sister’s 2.5 bedroom apartment in New York City when she runs across Dare Grangeworthy in a taxi battle. Her sharp tongue intrigues him but so does the contents of the purse she left in the cab. An infamous avante-garde artist, Dare wants to get to know Miss Alice in more personal ways, but Alice has big plans.

She’s been with rich, powerful men before and she’ll not be swayed from her graduate school courses: she’s in training to become a clinical sex therapist. And, her first assignment is to find a sexual partner and document their sex life via journaling. Dare, having had a terrible break with his last lady-love, wants no more publicity of his love life. Yet, he still wants Alice. And his pursuit might could put Alice’s big plans in jeopardy.

This was a little wacky and a bit juvenile. Some of the banter between Dare and Alice seemed right out of high school. I got that this was a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland, though, so I was willing to entertain a bit of wackiness. Having read the original work, not just relying on movies, I could see peaks of Carroll in areas. Each chapter beings with a brief Carroll excerpt, to focus that bit of the story, so readers could easily see the parallels. Having been inspired by the random, chaotic narrative of the masterwork, well, this book echoes that spasticity in its storytelling. It was a quick breezy read, but left me wanting a bit more substance to round out the mayhem.

Interested? You can find THE WONDER OF YOU on Goodreads and Amazon (US, UK, CA and AU).

About the Author:
Born in California and raised in South Florida, Harper Kincaid has moved around like a gypsy with a bounty on her head ever since. For years, she was a jill of all trades and a master of none, but is now tickled hot pink to pen stories that break and mend people’s hearts for a living. Kincaid believes seduction occurs from the neck up, which is why her characters are smart, sexy, and slightly quirky – and definitely worthy to be your next hard-core book crush.

When not writing, she adores listening to indie, lo-fi, complaint rock played on vinyl, the theater, well-informed optimism, happy endings (both kinds), and making those close to her laugh ’til they snort. She is a self-admitted change junkie, loving new experiences and places, but has now happily settled in the cutest lil’ town, Vienna, Virginia.

Catch up with Harper on her website, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, sign up for her newsletter, Goodreads, Amazon, and Bookbub.

Broken Triad HIS TURN—A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a MFM menage romance from best-selling author J.A. Huss. The three-day weekend three-way lovefest concludes with HIS TURN. This is the third and final book in the Turning series featuring down-on-his-love Bric from TAKING TURNS and TURNING BACK on an unexpected adventure into true love.

About the book:
I look her body up and down as I circle her.
Mine?
I smile a devious, deviant, I’m gonna make you sorry you ever started playing this game with me smile.
And then I take her hand.
I lead her to the elevator.
We go up to my apartment.
I tie her wrists together with rope.
Raise her arms above her head.
And chain her to the ceiling.
It’s my turn.

My Review:
There are mild spoilers for TAKING TURNS and TURNING BACK in this review because they are linked stories.

Quin, Bric, Smith are long-time friends who enjoy multiple partner sex, and run an exclusive gentleman’s club in Denver where the wealthy choose to share their wives and mistresses with each other. These guys had nearly a dozen women they shared over the course of a decade, but Smith fell for girl #11, Chella, and Quin fell for girl #10, Rochelle. Bric is feeling dejected as his closest friends find fulfilling, monogamous love.

He doesn’t even take pleasure in his access to the women of the sex club.

Despondent, Bric takes the “gift” of one night’s submission of Nadia, a ballerina who fancies herself a domme, from his acquaintance Jordan. Bric doesn’t really have a connection with Jordan, not like he had with Smith and Quinn, but he’s anxious to feel something again, and Jordan’s girl has some spirit. Bric, who relishes breaking his submissive lovers emotionally more than physically, finds perfectionist Nadia to be a nice challenge. She has her own game going, however, and secrets to hide.

Jordan wants to run a ménage game with Bric, and he’s put Nadia in play because he knows her history of isolation and dominant play have broken something in her spirit. Unfortunately, right when Bric and Nadia need Jordan’s steady hand, Jordan needs to step away for work demands. Bric and Nadia end up building a rapport neither expected, with Nadia learning more of Bric’s family secrets than anyone else knows. This strange vulnerability leads Bric to become ever more ruthless in his mind games with Nadia.

This is likely the darkest of the three dark romances. It’s unclear who is the true puppet master until literally the very end, but that twist came suddenly. Bric recognizes his history pales in comparison to the future he could build with Nadia. With some help from his oldest pals, plus his family, Bric moves from manipulating bastard to loving partner. There’s lots of sexy times here, some MFM ménage but most just Bric and Nadia. This makes an end to the Turning series, but the beginning of another one, FIVE, which I have yet to begin…

Interested? You can find HIS TURN on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

About the Author:
JA Huss is the USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who make you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.

Catch up with Ms. Huss on Facebook, twitter, her blog and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Three’s a Crowd: FOURTEEN SUMMERS–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance from Quinn Anderson. In honor of the Three-Day-Weekend I’m featuring some “trio”-love stories. FOURTEEN SUMMERS is a new adult romance for two young men who unexpectedly reconnect–and the twin brother who feels shut out. It’s not a menage, but there is a lot of love shared between these three guys.

About the book:
Identical twins Aiden and Max Kingsman have been a matched set their whole lives. When they were children, Aiden was happy to follow his extroverted brother’s lead, but now that they’re in college, being “my brother, Aiden” is starting to get old. He’s itching to discover who he is outside of his “twin” identity.

Oliver’s goals for the summer are simple: survive his invasive family, keep his divorced parents from killing each other, and stay in shape for rowing season. He’s thrilled when he runs into his old friends, the Kingsman twins, especially Aiden, the object of a childhood crush. Aiden is all grown-up, but some things have stayed the same: his messy curls, his stability, and how breathless he makes Oliver. Oliver’s crush comes back full force, and the feeling is mutual. Summer just got a whole lot hotter.

Fun-loving Max takes one thing seriously: his role as “big brother.” When Aiden drifts away, Max can’t understand how his own twin could choose a boy over him. Summer won’t last forever, and with friendship, family, and happily ever after on the line, they’ll have to navigate their changing relationships before it’s too late.

My Review:
Aiden and Max Kingsman are identical twins with loving and supportive parents. They have a childhood best friend, Oliver Jones, who is so close that Aiden and Max want to make him their other brother. In fact, Aiden presides over little marriages between Max and Oliver to make him their official brother–when they are, like, in kindergarten. Their deep bond is encouraged by Aiden and Max’s parents because they know that Oliver’s home life is troubled. His parents fight a lot and Oliver seeks the peace and security of the Kingsman home until his parents finally divorce and Oliver moves away for middle school.

Fast-forward ten years.

Oliver’s father has bought a little house in their old neighborhood so he could be nearer to his own extended family and to where Oliver lives. See, his dad had moved to San Diego, but, now that Oliver is an adult and entering his senior year at NYU, there’s no legal impetus to force Oliver to spend his school breaks with him. Oliver loves his dad, but his extended family is a bit…in your face. Oliver’s a shy guy, used to blending into the shadows after years of weathering his parents fighting. And, he thinks his dad’s family, especially his beefy uncles, look at him sideways now that he’s come out as gay. He’s in the grocery in his old neighborhood when he runs into Max and Aiden, and they reconnect. It’s a boon to Oliver, who is tired of his loud family and has few friends in the area. Plus, Oliver nursed a crush on Aiden…since forever.

Aiden is likewise excited to see Oliver. An introvert living in Max’s outgoing shadow, he’s never even dated a guy, though he’s had years of wondering about it. And Oliver was a big part of those imaginings. This is a quandary, because Max and Aiden often come as a matched set, and Oliver and Aiden are getting closer while Max is somewhat oblivious. Until, well, Oliver can’t take the pressure anymore and he seeks out Aiden one night on his own.

Seriously, these guys are so sweet together. Aiden is initially timid, but he feels safe with Oliver, his childhood love rediscovered. They still have a connection and the chemistry is intense. But, they are afraid to let anyone else know what is building between them in case it doesn’t go right. When Max inevitably picks up on it he feels snubbed; he wants all of Aiden’s attention and he sees Oliver as competition. Aiden needs to break out of Max’s shadow in a way that doesn’t damage their relationships if he doesn’t want to lose Oliver. Because, well, Oliver’s felt like he already ruined his parents’ marriage and he won’t be in the middle of the Kingsman twins’ battle.

I seriously liked this one. It’s tender and thoughtful, with strongly connected characters. It’s not a menage–Max is straight–but there is no denying that Max, Aiden and Oliver share a lot of love. Aiden, while being his own man, is inextricably tied to Max, and Max–well, he has to learn to back off. It’s hard for him to not be Aiden’s guide, hero and protector, but he manages to move past his own needs so Aiden can find love with Oliver. Not that Oliver doesn’t love Max, because he does–as a brother. There are some really special moments here with growing pains that gave me pause. I liked how Oliver talked with his parents, working on his relationships, as well as how he was honest about his needs with both Max and Aiden. This trio is all about love, and they work together to find the right balance for each of them. The ending is absolutely happy and might bring a tear or two.

Interested? You can find FOURTEEN SUMMERS on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click here to comment on the giveaway post over at Joyfully Jay in order to enter to win a $10 GC on Riptide.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.

A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Buffy reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.

Catch up with Quinn online on Facebook, twitter and Tumblr.

Out Today! FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING–Release Day Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover for a new contemporary romance from Laura Kaye. FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING is the first book in her Warrior Fight Club series. It features a PTSD-plagued wounded vet, and the best friend of his life that he’s fallen hard for. I’ve loved RIDE HARD, and her veteran-centered HARD INK books too.

About the book:
Loving her is the biggest fight of his life…
Home from the Marines, Noah Cortez has a secret he doesn’t want his oldest friend, Kristina Moore, to know. It kills him to push her away, especially when he’s noticing just how sexy and confident she’s become in his absence. But, angry and full of fight, he’s not the same man anymore either. Which is why Warrior Fight Club sounds so good.

Kristina loves teaching, but she wants more out of life. She wants Noah—the boy she’s crushed on and waited for. Except Noah is all man now—in ways both oh so good and troubling, too. Still, she wants who he’s become—every war-hardened inch. And when they finally stop fighting their attraction, it’s everything Kristina never dared hope for.

But Noah is secretly spiraling, and when he lashes out, it threatens what he and Kristina have found. The brotherhood of the fight club helps him confront his demons, but only Noah can convince the woman he loves that he’s finally ready to fight for everything.

How about a little taste?

“Noah, are you down here?” Kristina called from the top of the basement steps.

Despite the lack of response, she continued down and crossed the room to the mostly closed door in the back corner–Noah’s bedroom since he’d returned just before last Christmas. God, Kristina had thought she’d received the best Christmas present ever–Noah, home from Iraq, safe and sound.

Well, mostly sound, anyway. An IED blast had taken the hearing and most of his vision on his left side, and he’d struggled with bad migraines and equilibrium problems when he’d first returned. But he was home and he was alive, and having him back again had made it feel like she could finally breathe after years of knowing he was in danger every second of every day.

She knocked softly. “Hey Noah, it’s me.”

All she heard was a long exhale of breath, but it was enough.

Why hadn’t he answered her? Her stomach clenched as she pushed open the door far enough to see Noah standing in the dark doorway to his bathroom, his back against the door jamb, his arms crossed, and his head hanging on his big shoulders.

She didn’t need to ask if he was okay, because he was radiating not okay loud and clear. Kristina walked right up to him. “What’s going on?” she asked. Dim light from the rec room filtered over him, allowing her to just make out the tight clench of his square jaw, the narrowed cast of his dark brown eyes, the harsh set of his beautiful mouth.

Wait. What? Where had that little observation come from?

Noah shook his head, forcing Kristina to drop the ridiculous line of thought.

She stepped closer so that she could look more directly into his eyes. “Come on, Noah. It’s me.” She ached for him to open up, but what she noticed even more was the low buzz rushing through her body. From how close she stood to all his taut hardness. It wasn’t like she was just noticing that Noah was hot, like, dayum hot, but nearly five years in the Marines had matured him and built hard muscle that hadn’t been there before. And clearly her body was just noticing, probably because they hadn’t had the chance to spend much time together since he’d gotten back.

“Kristina,” he said, his voice so low it was nearly a whisper, or a plea. He leaned his forehead against hers. It was such a sweet, needful gesture that Kristina’s chest seized.

“First, I’m hugging you. Then we’re talking, buddy,” she said, wrapping her arms around his big shoulders and planting her cheek against his chest. The embrace wasn’t unusual-they’d always been affectionate with each other. She’d lay against him while they watched a movie or he’d sling an arm over her shoulders while they were out together. When things were bad with her dad, he’d hold her when she finally gave into her grief about it and cried. That’s how they’d always been.

He embraced her right back and leaned his face against her hair.

After a long moment, Kristina pulled away–

Noah wouldn’t let her go. His grip on her tightened, and he held her fast against him. Was he breathing faster? Was he trembling?

Against her belly, he hardened.

Kristina’s breath caught in her throat. Noah was aroused…by her? Or just, like, in her general vicinity? Or…? She swallowed hard as her thoughts flew.

As they stood there, suspended in the dark, stolen moment, the air around them flashed hot and closed in, narrowing the world to all the places their bodies touched. His erection grew, pressing against her with more insistence. Heat bloomed over her skin everywhere and she held herself perfectly still. Because this was different. This was not friendly. This was more.

A strange tension wrapped around them, and it scared and attracted Kristina in equal measure. She shuddered out a breath as her body came to life against his. Her breathing quickened, her nipples peaked, her core clenched.

Noah made a noise in the back of his throat like a moan, and his arms tightened around her, pulling their bodies totally flush.

Kristina’s breath caught at the hard press of his body and at the shocking arousal it unleashed in her.

This is Noah. This is Noah. This is Noah.

But it didn’t seem to matter to her body. The soft cotton of her dress became heavy and irritating against her skin, and all she wanted was for it to be off. So he could be all over her. This sudden, intoxicating need was brand new to her-in general and certainly with Noah. She wasn’t a virgin, but she’d never felt with another man the kind of desire rocketing through her just then. And all they’d done was touch.

Why was this happening?

Her hips shifted without her meaning to do it, and it made her belly grind against all that hardness.

Noah hissed in her ear. His fingertips dug into her back…and then wandered, one hand pressing low against her hip, one skimming up her neck into her hair. Holding her tight. Bringing her closer.

She was half sure she was imagining that they were locked inside this raging bubble of attraction, except that his heart thundered beneath where her head rested, his breathing had gone rough, and his skin felt every bit as feverish as hers.

She had to stop this…whatever this was.

Tilting her head back, the words were on the tip of her tongue. Her eyes locked with his, and even in the dimness she could see that they were blazing hot and almost predatory in their directness. It stole her capacity to speak, because she was unequivocally sure he’d never looked at her like that. Need roared off of him and through her, making her heart beat like a bass drum.

Kristina swallowed hard. What would she do if he kissed her? One kissing experiment aside, she’d never had to ask that in regard to him. Another question followed close behind: what would she do if he didn’t?

My Review:

Noah Cortez is seven months stateside after a disability discharge from the Marines. He’d been in the service five years, but a landmine stole his comrades, hearing and vision on the left side of his head. Besides the visible scars, Noah’s battling some pretty intense emotional shrapnel–which is why he’s tried to stay away form his childhood best-friend Kristina Moore.

Kristina knows something is seriously wrong with Noah; his lackluster attitude, hollowed eyes and fading body are big clues, but being present at one of his flashbacks is a wake-up call. FOr both of them. Noah’s depression and PTSD have been eating him alive, and he doesn’t want it to ruin his relationships, so he pulls away from everyone, especially when they tell him he’s not the nothing, damaged man he sees in his mirror, and feels in his mind.

Kristina, having lived with a parent with mental illness, wants to be Noah’s rock, but a new complication arises: their mutual attraction. They’d never been anything but platonic before, and now? They get steamy–for the moment. Noah’s sure that Kristina deserves better than a broken down, disabled vet, but she knows he’s her everything, and desperately wants to build a life together. Unfortunately, she learns he can’t return her love, not when he doesn’t love himself.

This is a great first book in a new series. The friends-to-lovers aspect was handled really well, with all the confusion that it can entail. Noah finds help in unexpected places–art therapy which leads him to fight therapy designed only for military enlisted and veterans. This Warrior Fight Club provides a safe space for Noah to work out his aggression and regain his balance, both emotionally and physically. He knows he probably doesn’t deserve another chance at loving Kristina, but he’s determined to be a better friend than he’d been when he returned home.  I loved Kristina, and respected her struggles, and frustration, with Noah’s hot-and-cold attitude. It was great seeing Noah turn his life around, though I wished for a little more insight into his challenges once he started seeking treatment. That said, it’s got an upbeat ending and sets up new characters to carry the series forward.

Interested? You can find FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING on Goodreads, Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU) Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of 3 $10 Amazon or B & N gift cards.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

LauraKayeAbout the Author:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Catch up with Laura on her website, Facebook, twitter, or sign-up for her newsletter.
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Cover Reveal for FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover for a new contemporary romance from Laura Kaye. FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS is the second book in her Warrior Fight Club series. I haven’t had a chance to get into this series yet, but I’ve loved RIDE HARD, and her veteran-centered HARD INK books too.

About the book:
This fight club has one rule: you must be a veteran…
Resisting her only makes him want her more…
Private investigator Billy Parrish is good at three things—fighting, investigating, and sex. MMA training with the other vets in the Warrior Fight Club keeps his war-borne demons at bay—mostly, and one night stands ensure no one gets too close. But then his best friend from the Army Rangers calls in a favor.

Shayna Curtis is new to town, fresh out of grad school, and full of hope for the future. With a new job starting in a month, she’s grateful when her brother arranges a place for her to stay while she apartment hunts. But she never expected her roommate to be so brooding. Or so sexy.

Billy can’t wait for Shay to leave—because the longer she’s there, the more he wants her in his bed. To stay. He can’t have her—that much he knows. But when fight club stops taking off the edge, Billy lets down his guard…and starts fighting for what’s his.

Interested? You can pre-order FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS on Goodreads, Amazon, iTunes, and Kobo. It releases August 7.

You can also pick up Book 1 in the series, FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING, on Goodreads, Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU) Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

LauraKayeAbout the Author:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Catch up with Laura on her website, Facebook, twitter, or sign-up for her newsletter.
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