Building Love: LISTEN TO ME–Review and Giveaway!

BlitzHi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review for a spectacular contemporary romance from Kristen Proby. LISTEN TO ME is a tender read featuring a romantically-downtrodden gal and the rocker who turns his life around.

Catch my review, an excerpt, and enter to win a grand prize of TWO $25 gift cards–one for books and one for tunes…

ListenToMe_coverAbout the book:

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy…exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

How about a little taste?

“‘In summary,’” Cami, one of my very best friends, and a business partner, reads from the Portland Tribune, “‘Seduction is a restaurant unlike any other I’ve experienced. The food is delicious, the wine bar impressive, and the ambiance so sexy, it will take your breath away. I highly recommend this restaurant for your next date night.’”

“I want to send that reviewer flowers,” Mia says with a wide smile. “Who would have thought that just six months after opening this place, we’d already have a review like this?”

“Well, it’s a no-brainer that they’d love the food,” I reply, and reach for the paper so I can read it again for the fifteenth time. “You’re a genius in the kitchen, Mia. We’ve known that since we were in high school.”

“I still get nervous, especially now that I never know who the customers are going to be. We didn’t even get a heads-up that this guy was going to be here.” Mia bites the cuticle on her thumb and frowns. “Maybe I should add to the menu.”

“The menu is perfect,” Cami replies with a shake of her blond head.

“He loved us.”

We smile at each other, and finally I do a little happy dance in my seat. We haven’t opened for the day yet. Kat and Riley, the final two business partners in our fivesome, haven’t arrived. But Mia, Cami, and I have read this article over and over again, smiling and dancing.

Rejoicing.

Because damn it, we’ve worked our asses off since we opened the doors six months ago. All of our eggs are in this basket. We can’t fail.

And we won’t.

We hear the front door open and close, and I expect to see either Riley or Kat, but instead Jeremy saunters into the dining room, looking all rumpled and messy from sleep. His eyelids are still heavy. His chin is scruffy. His blond hair is standing on end, still in chaos from my fingers last night.

Jesus, this man makes my hormones work overtime.

He grins and kisses my head, then picks up my coffee and sits next to me.

“Why are you here?” Cami asks with a frown. “I’m in too good of a mood to have to pretend to like you.”

I glare at my best friend, but she just shrugs.

“My girlfriend is here,” Jeremy replies and sips my coffee. “I missed her.”

“Please,” Mia whispers with a roll of the eyes. My friends used to like Jeremy, in the beginning, but now they make it no secret that they don’t care for him. But they are just overprotective. They don’t want to see me get hurt. Sure, he’s a musician. Not a particularly gifted one at that, but he does well, booking gigs for his band, Hells Roses, regularly.

And, oh my God, what the man can do in the bedroom should be a felony. He makes me laugh, and despite his arrogant persona around everyone else, he has moments of real vulnerability and sweetness when we’re alone.

Is he the one? Probably not, but I’m pretty much convinced that the one was invented by romance novelists and Disney. “Be nice,” I snap and continue to read the paper. “We got a kick-ass review in the Tribune,” I inform Jeremy with a grin.

“Of course you did,” he replies and kisses my cheek. “Are the music reviews in there too?” He snatches the paper and shifts through the pages, then reads through the reviews of the music and club scene in Portland. “Not one fucking mention?”

Cami catches my gaze, then crosses her eyes in annoyance. I simply shrug. He’s not in the restaurant business. He wouldn’t understand what a big deal this is for us.

“I’ve been thinking,” I begin, and lean my elbows on the table. “Now that business is picking up, I think we should add live music on the weekends.”

“Sorry, cupcake,” Jeremy says with a sigh. “We’re booked.”

Thank God. Jeremy’s band isn’t the one I’d want for my place. But rather than jab at his ego, I simply smile and kiss his shoulder.

“I know, babe. But I’d still like to bring in someone.

Maybe just a one-person act, just a microphone and a stool, you know?”

“We can afford it,” Cami replies with a thoughtful frown. Cami is our chief financial officer. She handles all things money, and she’s a wizard at adding up figures in her head. “Who are you thinking?”

“I don’t know.” I reach for my coffee mug and frown when I see that Jeremy has sucked down every last drop. “Babe, will you please run over to Starbucks and get us more coffee?”

“I forgot my wallet,” he replies with a scowl. I reach into my bag and pass him a twenty. “You got it.”

“Thank you.”

“Oh, and one place you might look for a musician,” he adds as he steps away from the table, “is the open-mic night at Crush this Saturday. There are usually some good acts there. I’d bet you’d find what you’re looking for.”

I grin at my sexy boyfriend and blow him a kiss. “Thank you.”

He winks and saunters out of the restaurant. When the door closes behind him, Mia shakes her head at me. “Seriously?”

“Open mic night is a brilliant idea,” I inform her.  “That’s not what she’s talking about,” Cami says. “Jeremy is a douche bag.”

“He is not.” I roll my eyes and sit back in my chair. Okay, maybe he has douchey moments. “He’s sweet. And sexy.”

“And mooching off of you. His wallet was in his back pocket,” Mia argues. “And I’ll bet all of this month’s chocolate budget that he’s staying with you too.”

“His roommate moved out, and he couldn’t afford his place alone.”

“Addie.” Cami reaches for my hand. “You are not a doormat.”

“He doesn’t treat me like a doormat.”

“Yes. He does.” Mia sighs and takes my other hand. “You deserve so much better.”

“I love you both,” I begin, my stomach heaving. “I know you just want to protect me. Jeremy is a good guy. I like him.”

“Okay.” Cami sips her coffee, then shrugs one slim shoulder. “But when he breaks your heart, we’ll be here.”

“Let’s talk about this open-mic night. Who’s going with me?”

Mia and Cami exchange glances.

“I’ll be working,” Mia says. “I have some new Saturday night specials I want to try.”

“I don’t want to,” Cami says honestly. “I trust you to find exactly what we need.”

“I’ll take Kat.” I chew my lip, ideas already swirling in my head. “She’s a good judge of these things.”

“Good idea.”

The door opens again.

“Oh good. Mr. Wonderful is back,” Cami mutters.

My Review:

This is the first book of a new series and thoroughly enjoyable. The series will revolve around the lives of five women who own and run a restaurant, Seduction, in Portland.

Addison has a broken man-picker, always falling for the bad-boy rocker who is guaranteed to break her heart. She’s barely past the latest doofus, Jeremy, when she catches the attention of Jake Knox, of the rock band Hard Knox. Jake’s band broke up five years ago, but he’s still writing and producing music. Though he hasn’t performed in public in those five years, he turns up at an open mic night and captivates Addie–even though she knows she won’t pursue him. Why bother? All these musicians are bad news.

Thing is, Jake isn’t. Well, not anymore. He still wears the guilt of a friend’s injury like a shroud–which is why he doesn’t perform and is totally clean and sober. That one night, that single song performance, however, has awoken the sleeping beast within him, and he turns up at Seduction to answer their call for a live musician, on a friend’s recommendation.

Addison wants to stay far away from Jake, but she can’t–not now that he’s playing in her restaurant two nights a week. It’s a nice little sexual tension build up–nothing happens for a few weeks, not until Addie’s ex–Jeremy–shows up. And even then, there’s little in the way of romance, just an immediate human connection that both Addie and Jake really need. A friendship, with the potential for far more.

I really enjoyed this slow-burner. I liked how Jake was a great guy, and Addie was a great girl, and they were great together. There’s the patterned “take-a-break” period, which demonstrates the largest part of the ‘romantic’ elements. In truth, I was worried that the book would be too busy, with Addie’s many friends and Jake’s friends and co-workers and exes, and yet I rarely felt overwhelmed. Expect some yummy sexytimes, once Jake and Addie get rolling, and an HEA for this first couple of the series. The stage is set for the next couple at the very end of the epilogue…

Interested? You can find LISTEN TO ME on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a grand prize of TWO $25 gift cards–one for Amazon/Barnes & Noble and one for iTunes!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Author Pic_MontanaAbout the Author:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kristen Proby is the author of the popular With Me in Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type—fiercely protective and a bit bossy—and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate, and sunshine. And naps.

Visit Kristen online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, or sign up for her newsletter.
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LISTEN TO ME–Excerpt Reveal!

Excerpt reveal LtMHi there! I’m sharing an excerpt for a new contemporary romance from bestselling author Kristen Proby. LISTEN TO ME is the first in a book series featuring five women who find love in their swinging Portland restaurant. It releases April 12th, but you can get a sneak peek below, and preorder links, too!

ListenToMe_coverAbout the book:
In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy…exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

And now for a little taste!

“Invite me in.”

“Excuse me?” She crosses her arms, facing off with me in the middle of her garage. And now I can’t stand it anymore.

I step forward and gently tuck the hair behind her ear, then drag my fingertip down her neck to her bare shoulder.

“You have sexy shoulders.”

“I can’t have you here.”

My gaze finds her ice-blue one. “Do you have a curfew?”

She doesn’t smile. “I think I’m going to fall apart, and I can’t have you see that.”

“Ah, baby.”

“I don’t want you to see me fall apart.”

“Okay.” I sigh. “But I need to make sure you get inside okay, and I need to get you settled.”

And I don’t even understand why. Why the need to comfort and protect her is so damn strong. I’ve never felt this way about anyone besides Christina before, and even that isn’t this strong.

But I can’t stop it.

“I don’t need anyone to take care of me.”

“Just humor me.”

She rolls her eyes and turns away, slaps the button to lower the garage door, then leads me inside and up the stairs to the apartment. The rooms are big, open. New. And the furniture is trendy, yet comfortable.

Addie drops her purse and keys on her dining room table, then turns to me. “Okay. I’m in safely.”

I step to her, unable to turn away and walk back out of here, and wrap her in my arms, the same way I did in the alley, rocking her back and forth.

“Scared me,” I whisper.

“What did?”

“Seeing him with his hand wrapped around your neck.” The thought of him hurting you. The thought of losing you, and you’re not even mine.

“I didn’t enjoy it either.”

I smile softly, my lips brushing back and forth over her hair. God, she smells like heaven, and having her sexier-than-fuck body pressed to me feels like pure sin.

The best kind of sin.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to call the cops?”

“I’m sure.”

“Go change,” I whisper and pull back. “Get comfortable.” She sighs, watching me, then turns and walks to what I assume is her bedroom, her heels clicking on her hardwood floors. When she shuts the door, I turn back to the room. The walls and trim are white. The kitchen cabinets are white as well, with black granite countertops. The windows are wide, and I bet she has a beautiful view during the day.

I’m drawn to the mantel over the fireplace and examine the photos on display. There are shots of all of the owners of Seduction, at different ages. It looks like Addie knew Mia and Cami when they were young, and as they got older, Riley and Kat are added to the photos.

Next to the fireplace is a bookcase, filled with books from floor to ceiling. She has cookbooks, novels, biographies . . . everything. But one book, with nothing written on the spine, catches my eye.

It’s a big book, the kind most people keep on their coffee table. And when I open it, I’m floored to find it full of photos of Addie.

Addison was a model.

There are runway shots, fashion shots, swimsuit shots. Smiling, flirty, serious. Jesus, she’s beautiful. And so painfully young in these photos. She was a bit slimmer then, but still had her curves.

“What are you doing?”

I turn slowly and smile over at her. “I thought I recognized your face.”

Her eyes drop to the book in my hands, then whip up to mine. “That’s private.”

My heart stills as I look her over, from head to toe. She’s in an old white T-shirt and men’s boxer shorts. Her long hair is piled on top of her head in a knot. And her face is completely clean of makeup.
I’ve never seen her look more beautiful, and I’ve seen her in a dozen different looks. But this, right here, is Addie, and she’s so stunning, she takes my breath away.

“Are you going to speak, or are you just going to stare at me?”

“You’re so fucking incredible.”

She stumbles, blinking rapidly. “Excuse me?”

“You’re beautiful.”

“Why are you being nice to me?” she asks, bewildered. “I’ve been horrible to you.”

I close the book and return it to the shelf, then cross to her, take her hand, and lead her to the overstuffed couch. I sit and guide her next to me.

I want to pull her into my lap, but I’m not so sure she’d allow that.

She pulls her legs up and leans her cheek against my shoulder, holding on to my bicep with her hands.

“I can take it,” I whisper and resist the urge to kiss the top of her head. “You were perfectly professional.”

“I’m cold.”

“You were hurt.” She snorts.

“And you like me, and that scares you.”

She immediately pushes away, shaking her head. “You wish.”

I smile and tug her into my lap now, holding her to me. Her lips are turned up, but her blue eyes are cautious, just as they should be.

But I’m not going to talk my way into her bed. Not tonight. Tonight she needs a friend, and she needs to be held. I would never admit it, but after seeing her in danger earlier tonight, maybe so do I. “Admit it, you like me.”

“I like it when you leave.” She smiles widely and bats her eyelashes.

“You’re a smart-ass.”

“Absolutely.”

“Good.”

“Good?” She leans her cheek on my chest and traces imaginary circles on my shirt. “It usually pisses people off.”

“I’m a smart-ass too, so I speak the language.”

“I like that you’re tall.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m tall.”

And you fit.

Interested? You can find LISTEN TO ME on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Author Pic_MontanaAbout the Author:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kristen Proby is the author of the popular With Me in Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type—fiercely protective and a bit bossy—and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate, and sunshine. And naps.

Visit Kristen online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, or sign up for her newsletter.
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