AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH NINA LEVINE & VIP EXCLUSIVE

We’re thrilled to introduce Nina Levine’s new monthly magazine-style publication exclusive to her VIP subscribers:

ESCAPE WITH AN ALPHA
Issue One out on April 9th

Monthly Episodes of:
The Jett & Presley Diaries (from Nina’s rocker romance BE THE ONE)
Winter & Birdie (a brand new SYDNEY STORM MC couple)

Interviews with Authors & Bloggers
Storm MC Bonus Chapters
News and Other Fun Stuff

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Welcome to some of Nina Levine’s #LifeIsMessy flash fiction. She writes these pieces when she’s struggling for words or trying to warm up her writing brain and shares them in her Facebook reader group. Sometimes the characters are familiar, other times they’re brand new. These pieces are just for fun, but you never know when one will turn into something more. To celebrate the launch of ESCAPE WITH AN ALPHA, Nina has written us an exclusive #LifeIsMessy bonus scene featuring Hyde and Monroe from Hyde’s Absolution!

Hyde

My gaze landed on Monroe’s ass the minute I stepped through the front door of her tattoo parlour.

Fuck.

Not a productive way to start the afternoon. Not when I had shit to get back to for King after I fixed her plumbing problem.

She straightened and turned at the sound of the bell chiming as I entered. A smile lit her face as she came my way. I’d never grow tired of that smile. Or those lips. “I’m going to make this worth your while tonight.” Her hands came straight to my chest before sliding down my body to my jeans. “Or maybe now. My next appointment isn’t for another hour, and Fox won’t be in until then, so we’ve got some time to kill.”

I clamped my hand over hers to slow her down. The last fucking thing I needed was her hand around my dick. “It’ll have to wait till tonight, Red. King needs me out on a job after this.”

She pouted. “He always ruins my fun. I can be quick.”

My mouth curled up in amusement. “You don’t know the meaning of a quick fuck.”

“I’m a woman of many talents, tiger,” she said with a sexy grin, her fingers working my belt. “I just haven’t chosen to bless you with a quick fuck yet.”

“Fuck,” I muttered, grabbing her hand again. “I’m just trying to get through the fucking day here, Roe. King’s busting my ass—I’m looking at about six straight hours of work to get through everything he wants done—so as much as sinking my dick in that sweet pussy of yours sounds like the best offer I’ve had all day, I don’t have time for it.”

She cocked her head. “You’ve had other offers today?”

Monroe was fucking lethal when it came to my restraint. When she stood in front of me dressed to kill like she was today, with sexy shit falling out of her mouth, there was no way I could resist her.

Wrapping my hand around her arm, I dragged her to the office. Kicking the door closed behind us, I pushed her up against it and claimed the kiss I needed more than anything. Being balls deep inside Monroe was a favourite place of mine to be, but more than that, I craved the connection to her that kissing gave me.

She looped her arms around my neck as she kissed me back, and when I finally let her lips go, she sighed. “I need to keep an eye out for customers.”

I reached for the bottom of her dress. “You have a bell on the front door.”

“Sometimes it doesn’t work. We need to open this door.”

I stopped what I was doing and met her gaze. “You want me to fuck you, Red? Or you wanna stand here and argue about the fucking door?”

“I want you to fuck me. With the door open.”

“Every surface of this office is covered with shit. It’s a fucking mess in here. Where do you suggest I fuck you?” There wasn’t even a spare wall to slam her up against. If she had a better option, I was all fucking ears, but from where I stood, this was the only place.

The heat in her eyes cooled, and she took a step away from me. “There’s plenty of places. You’re just being an ass now because of last night.”

I dropped my head for a moment and blew out a frustrated breath. She’d referenced the fight we’d had last night, which was becoming a recurring argument between us. The mess Monroe created in our bathroom with her makeup was in complete contrast to the rest of our home, which she kept obsessively clean. And I wasn’t a fan of it. Having to move shit all the time irritated the fuck out of me. After we’d argued over it last night, she’d hinted that I should sleep on the fucking couch, which I’d ignored. No fucking way was I going a night without her.

Looking back up, I said, “Not everything is about something else, Monroe. This has nothing to do with your mess at home.”

Her eyes widened. “I’ve told you—that’s not a mess! It’s—”

Jesus, this was the last thing I had time for today. I opened the door so I could go fix her plumbing and then get back to work. “I’m not getting into another fight with you about it.”

“What you like to call a mess in our bathroom is not a mess. I need to see all my makeup so I know what my options are. And don’t you walk away from me while we’re discussing something. You know I hate that.”

I was three steps out of her office, but halted my progress. She had a point—we both hated being walked away from. Turning back to face her, I raked my fingers through my hair and said, “I can’t win here, no matter what I say. And I don’t want a repeat of last night where you wouldn’t let me touch you. So let’s not get into this.”

“If we don’t get into it, we’re never going to settle it. I just want you to understand why I have all my stuff spread out in the bathroom.”

“I will never understand that. It makes no sense to me. Organise it into some containers or put it in the cupboards.”

“Ugh, men! You drive me crazy some days.”

“The feeling’s fucking mutual. Now, can I get to work so we can both go back to our day?”

She stared at me for a long few moments before saying, “Fine. But just so you know, I’m already feeling like a repeat of last night might happen again, so feel free to take your time getting all your work done this afternoon.”

“Fucking hell, Monroe,” I muttered as I closed the distance between us. Sliding my arm around her waist, I pulled her hard against my body. “I love you, but you don’t just drive me crazy some days—you fucking drive me to distraction. I can’t get enough of you, even when you’re arguing with me. Just so you know, I’ll be getting through that work as fast as fucking possible and then I’ll be coming home to finish what you started here. I don’t give a flying fuck if I break some of your shit, I’ll be clearing some space in our bathroom to fuck you on that vanity, exactly how you like it. And then I’m going to have you in the shower with all your toys. So go home after work and get ready for that, because there’s no fucking way it’s not happening.”

Heat flared in her eyes again. “Wait, you’re worried about breaking my stuff?”

“Yeah. Why do you fucking think I want that shit packed up?”

A smile spread out across her face and her body softened against mine. “Well why didn’t you say that?”

I’d never fucking understand women.

Fucking never.

“Fuck, Red, get your ass back in that office. No fucking way can I wait until tonight to have you.”

She continued smiling. “Sometimes you say the exact right thing, tiger.” And with that, she finally did what I wanted her to do.

PoP: We’re big fans of biker book boyfriends which is how we discovered your novels. What drew you to writing MC romance?

Nina: I was writing Madison’s story and she was the daughter of the MC president and J was just supposed to be a biker friend, but the minute he showed up on the page, the chemistry between them took over and I realised I had to write a story about them. Turned out, I loved writing bikers because they were completely alpha, dirty, bossy and could pretty much say and do anything that was over the top. I also loved being able to explore the darker side of life. And Sons of Anarchy was one of my favourite TV shows, so I had awesome inspiration!

PoP: You’ve written a lot of fierce, sexy, and unforgettable couples. If you had to choose, which couple is your favorite and why?

Nina: This question is so hard to answer!! I have a few favourites, but if I had to choose one couple, it would be Nitro & Tatum. I loved that they were both so hardened by life and didn’t open up easily. They both had to work to get the other to allow them in, and they both had to come to terms with themselves and make some big changes to grow. I know all my couples do this, but it felt like Nitro & Tatum fought this the most. And that’s what I love about writing – watching that struggle to grow and make changes. It’s life, and we’re all flawed and make mistakes and either learn from them or stay stuck. I love exploring that, and I’m finding that my writing is evolving more and more into digging deeper into human flaws and creating imperfect characters who sometimes are a struggle to like.

PoP: Your Storm MC and Sydney Storm MC series are thrilling, hot, and full of surprises and yet each novel also stands apart in its own way. Which book was the easiest to write? Which was the hardest?

Nina: Havoc was the easiest to write. He and Carla just fell onto the page. I know this may be hard to believe 😉 but up until I wrote the first half of Havoc (which was just after I wrote Revive), I’d kind of censored my bikers. When they said or did something that I thought may have stretched the dirtiness a little too far, I pulled them back. I deleted a lot of dirty stuff and toned it down. But with Havoc, I just let him and Carla be as dirty as they wanted. And that was fun! Carla was especially fun to write because of the fact I didn’t censor her. My hardest book to write has hands down been King’s book (and it’s still not finished because of this!). It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with my writing since my mother passed away, but I’m doing much better with that now. However, I’m still finding King’s Wrath hard to write because of all the intricate plots I’ve got going on. Weaving in his life story plus all the club issues that have been going on for the entire series has been much harder than I ever anticipated. I thought I may struggle with King himself (getting him exactly right) but that hasn’t been a problem at all. He’s been in my head since 2014 and he is the character of mine who I know the best. I pretty much know him inside out and I don’t ever struggle with knowing how he would react to a certain situation, so he just falls onto the page. It’s just everything else going on that is making this a difficult book to write. I’ve also had to write his woman a few times now to get her right. I played with writing the book entirely in his POV also, but decided for the story to work best I wanted her POV in there too. So yeah, this book has been a journey! I’m aiming to finish writing his first book soon! And fingers crossed his second book flows much easier.

PoP: You seem to enjoy writing complicated, brooding alphas with filthy minds and even filthier mouths. Were you always comfortable getting down and dirty with your book boyfriends or was it something you had to grow into?

Nina: LOL at the filthy. Yes, I love writing that! I remember writing the first sex scene between J & Madison and blushing while I wrote it. Afterwards, I was like “huh, that was actually fun!”. By the time Nash’s book came, I was completely good with writing the filthy side of my men.

PoP: When you first hit publish on Storm, did you ever imagine you’d have two series worth of deliciously dirty bikers out in the world? What did you originally have in mind with J, Madison, and the rest of the Storm MC crew?

Nina: I had no idea that this is where I would be now! I didn’t plan that first series in the beginning. I simply wrote Storm and put it out there and went with the flow. That book did extremely well and readers were excited for a second book, so I wrote Scott’s book. I wasn’t sure what possessed me to say I’d write his next because in Storm he was a complete ass lol! I didn’t even really like him in that first book. But I ended up loving writing his story and fell in love with his character. However, the night before I was to publish his book, my friend called me up and told me that she hated him. She’d read his book and told me he was a complete dick and the kind of guy that never grows up. I appreciated her honest feedback but was then completely confused about how to proceed. I mean, it was too late then to change him when I had to publish the book the next day. And besides that, I actually personally loved his character. So I went with my gut and I hit publish the next day. I felt so sick over the whole thing and hadn’t heard back from any of the bloggers reading the book, so I closed my computer and took my daughter out for dinner and told her that my publishing career was most likely over. LOL! So it turned out I was right to trust myself on that one because that book hit the USA Today Bestseller list and Scott Cole is one of the series favourites.

After the success of Fierce, I decided I should get serious about planning out the rest of the series. Back then, I used to fly by the seat of my pants. These days, I’m much more organised with plans for series and mapping them out in advance.

PoP: Who was your favorite character to write and what was it like being inside their head? Did they make you laugh out loud? Blush profusely? Curse the day they popped into your head?

Nina: I have two favourites – King from the Storm MC series and Charlize from Risk. I love being inside King’s head because he’s so different to me in pretty much every way. He’s decisive, confident in his decisions, gives no fucks what anyone thinks, and he doesn’t get bogged down in details. He’s a make-it-happen man. And I have to be honest, I love writing his violent side. Not sure what that says about me?! Writing him in King’s Wrath, though, has shown me his vulnerable side and honestly, I swoon over that side of him. Being in his head for this book has made so many of his actions in past books so much more understandable. I am fascinated by my writing process and how I can have no understanding of why a character says or does something until much later in the book or even in the series. And then it’s like an aha moment where it all becomes clear. A lot of that has happened while writing King! And Charlize – she was so much fun to write because of her hilarious inner thoughts and funny moments. That story was roughly planned, but I had no idea of how the characters would show up on the page because I didn’t do any planning for their personality types or anything like that. I simply sat down and decided I needed to think of a funny and mortifying situation a woman could find herself in and then write that to open the book. And Charlize just took off from there. I love her because I feel like she has so many traits that most women can relate to.

PoP: In addition to your MC series, you’ve written a rocker and friends to lovers romance. What other tropes do you hope to tackle in your writing career?

Nina: I have plans for so many! There will be the accidental pregnancy book featuring Avery and Tyler from Steal My Breath. I’ve got the billionaire trope with Ashton Scott and the office romance/billionaire trope with Risk (I’ve still got the second book in this duet to write and am really looking forward to that!). I have a book I started writing way before Storm that I want to finish – it features a married couple on the rocks. It was inspired by Pink’s album The Truth About Love. I’ve got the opposites attract novella I wrote about a laid back tattoo artist who falls for an uptight career girl, titled Her Kind of Crazy. I’ll be expanding that book and releasing it this year. Other than those, I’d love to write a ‘woke up married in Vegas’ book, a secret baby book, maybe a jilted bride book, and a marriage of convenience book. I’d also really love to write a small town romance series, and it would definitely need to have a story about a woman who returns to the small town she grew up in and finds love with her first love again *sigh*. Oh, and I’d love to dedicate a whole series of standalones to a second chance romance series. I adore second chance romance!

PoP: How do you shape your characters? Are they reflections of the people you have encountered or do you write them the way they speak to you?

Nina: I wouldn’t say they are planned as reflections of the people I encounter, but sometimes I find myself writing a character who I later realise was probably influenced by someone I’ve met. Having said that, there are a few characters I’ve written who have gone through similar experiences as mine, so they’ve been partly shaped by some of the people I’ve known. Generally when I’m planning out a novel and the main characters, I start with their wound and go from there. Everything else about them has to fit into character with that.

PoP: What do you do to help writer’s block should you encounter it?

Nina: Oh man, I’ve definitely suffered over the last year with this. I had to acknowledge that my self care was lacking and that I had worked myself into burnout. Grief on top of that only made it worse, and then physical injury forced me to take time off and figure it all out. I had to go back to basics with my self care and improve my sleep, eating and movement. Regular massages and physiotherapy helped too. And then just getting out and living life rather than working all the time was also key for me. Girls weekends away are one of my favourite things to do. Taking time away from social media is another key thing, although I do struggle with this when a lot of my work is on social media. And trying to set aside time first thing in the morning for writing is beneficial for me because I tend to write much better then. And lastly, when the words aren’t coming on the main book I’m writing, I’ve found that working on side projects really helps my creativity flow. So I’ve been slowly working away on some fun side projects the last couple of months and am excited for where they will lead!       

PoP: If you were to pitch your books to new readers in one sentence, what would it be?

Nina: If you don’t love romances with dirty-talking alphas, you won’t love my books 😉 

— Nina Levine asks Prisoners of Print —

Nina: How did the two of you meet and decide to blog together?

PoP: We met when we were 14 years old, working at the public library across the street from our high school reshelving books. Candy was singing a highly inappropriate song on the opposite side of the shelf, and the rest is history. After graduation, Becca went to college hundreds of miles away, but we never lost touch despite life continuing to keep us geographically separate. A few years ago, while messaging about books we’d recently read, we came up with the idea to start a book blog. We thought it would be a fun way to reconnect and share something we love with one another. Prisoners of Print was born, and here we are over four years later.

Nina: I love this!! Love that you’ve been friends for so long and share a love of books! 

What is your absolute favourite thing about blogging?

PoP: Hands down, the relationships we have cultivated. Blogging has allowed us to connect with authors, other bloggers, and fellow readers in ways we could never have imagined. What starts out as a shared love for the written word evolves into something so much more. It’s kind of incredible when messages about your swoon-worthy book boyfriend turn into talking about real life, supporting one another through the difficult times, sharing in each other’s joy, and making plans to one day meet up. We love that blogging has allowed us to connect with so many different people from around the world in ways we would never have been able to otherwise. We truly cherish the genuine friendships we’ve made in the book world.

Nina: I agree that the messages that start off being about book boyfriends and turn into beautiful friendships are a special and wonderful part of this community. I’ve definitely treasured our chats, Becca. You’ve been there for me at times I needed someone to chat with and that has meant so much to me.

I’d love to know each of your top 3 favourite books! Which books do you still think about to this day and wish you could read all over again?

B: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker
, Rule by Jay Crownover
, and The Coincidence series by Jessica Sorensen

C: The Edge of Never series by J.A. Redmerski
, From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
, and Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Nina: Some amazing books here. I also loved Rule, Ten Tiny Breaths and The Edge of Never! Oh and I’m pretty sure I’ve read the first Coincidence book by Jessica Sorenson and loved it too.

Last 5 star read for each of you?

B: Recovered by Jay Crownover

C: The Birthday List by Devney Perry

Nina: Paperback or ebook? Why?

PoP: We can really go with either one, but if we had to choose, we would say that it would be eBooks. We like to have the highlight ability so that all our favorite quotes or things that we can relate to are always at our fingertips. Plus, eBooks allow for being able to carry more than one around at all times 😉

Nina: I love being able to highlight my fave parts in ebooks too, but I still love reading paperbacks. I tend to buy fiction in ebook form and non-fiction in paperback (except when I reallyyyyy can’t wait for the paperback to be delivered!).

One of my fave tropes is the ‘married in Vegas’ trope. I pretty much devour any movie or book I stumble across with that storyline! What is the one trope for each of you that you can’t go past?

B: I adore a good sibling’s best friend romance. There’s something about quietly wanting someone forever and having them in your life but always out of reach that just tugs on my heartstrings. I can’t help but get caught up in all of the delicious tension and inevitable angst. Plus, that moment when things finally click is always kind of magical! Happily ever afters carved out of a lifetime of longing and barely maintained patience tend to be so much sweeter, too.

C: I’m a sucker for a second chance at love. We all make mistakes in life and sometimes those errors lead to losing something we didn’t know we wanted – especially in the form of love. There’s something so special about witnessing that redemption, the growth, and the overcoming of obstacles that seemed impossible at one point in time.

Nina: Next book on your TBR?

B: Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

C: The Pleasure of Panic by JA Huss

Nina: When I’m ready to settle in and read a book, I love to do that either on the couch, the sunbed or in bed. And I like to set myself up with a cup of tea and chocolate! Where do you prefer to read, and what are your reading must-haves?

B: I’m pretty content to read anywhere there’s quiet and a glass of wine or cup of coffee. However, most of my reading happens in bed at the end of the night cuddled up to my cat. If there’s a big blanket, fuzzy socks, and something yummy to sip on I’m a happy girl.

C: In an ideal world, I’d be in a hammock by the water somewhere. Since that’s rarely possible for me, my favorite place is curled up in bed at night. My husband and daughter are asleep and the world is quiet. My puppy curls up next to me and I escape to a new world…it’s perfection every time.

Nina: I love snuggling under a big blanket too, Becca! And reading by the water is a fave place of mine too, Candy!

I detest spoilers!! Do you girls like them?? If you love them, do you actually search them out?

PoP: Absolutely not! We both love the thrill of going into a book and being taken on every turn for ourselves. There’s something about experiencing every raw emotion and a delicious anticipation that leaves us loving a book that much more. However, that’s not to say that sometimes a little trigger warning isn’t helpful when it’s necessary.

Nina: How does blogging fit in with the rest of your life? How much time do you spend on blogging each week?

PoP: Even after almost four years of doing this, we’re constantly evolving as bloggers. Maintaining a balance between work, family, and the vortex of social media is difficult, but we’ve managed to become pretty efficient and organized in how we tackle the everyday aspects of our blog. We tend to meet up online after dinner to go over scheduling for the next day, dedicating a couple of hours to getting things taken care of so we can focus on our lives offline, the social aspects of blogging, and whatever else we have going on at the moment.

USA Today Bestselling Author Nina Levine is an Aussie author who writes alphas with a side of dirty and sassy women who don’t hand their hearts over easily.

When she’s not creating with words you’ll find her planning her next getaway, visiting somewhere new in the world, having a long conversation over coffee and cake with a friend, creating with paper or curled up with a good book and chocolate.

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Exposed by Brighton Walsh

Exposed Banner

Title – Exposed
Author – Brighton Walsh
Publication Date – July 21, 2015
Series – Captive, #2

Exposed

Synopsis

Love can be lost but never forgotten.  Beautiful, sophisticated, and engaged to the son of a Senator, Evie Masterson has the perfect life. Except for one thing: it’s all based on a lie. Five years ago, she created a new identity for herself and cut all ties to her criminal past. But she can’t run forever, because something she witnessed years ago comes back to haunt her. And the only person there to help is the man she thought she left behind forever—the one man she’s never been able to forget.

Devastatingly gorgeous and just as ruthless, Riley Everett is the criminal for hire who once stole Evie’s heart. Years have gone by, but he’s never been able to forget her either. Now her life is in jeopardy, and even after all this time, he’d still do anything to protect her, even if that means breaking into her mansion and stealing her away.

As they hide from the world, their long-lost passion reignites. But despite their undeniable chemistry, Evie can’t give up the perfect life she’s been working toward…and Riley has no part in it.

Review

Exposed by Brighton Walsh was definitely a novel that kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting for everything to just explode. I absolutely loved Riley in the first book of the series, so it was such a treat to get some of his background and see how his story would evolve in this book. Walsh has a very special talent when it comes to her writing; she always gives you enough to feed your curiosity, but never more than you need resulting in a feeling of never wanting to put the book down.

“It’d only been a day, one measly day, and this heat between us had already reached a crescendo.”

If there was something extraordinary and outstanding in Exposed, for me it would be in Evie. Her character spoke to me on some levels, made me sympathize for her on others, and made me overall just love her. She wasn’t afraid to sacrifice anything to keep those she cared about safe and I truly admired that. Evie did what she had to do which resulted in a courageous, independent, strong heroine who blazed her way through the novel. Though I love Riley, he honestly took a backseat for me simply because of how much I loved Evie’s character. He was protective and intuitive, everything that I love in a book boyfriend. Based on his personality in Captive, I never would have guessed at the depths that his character contained, but I was certainly happy to be proved wrong. These two shared something special and unbreakable which translated so beautifully in the pages.

“If you’re gonna gamble, at least gamble with me. You know I’m not going to hurt you. You know you’re safe with me.”

While I loved the storyline behind Captive, Exposed definitely took a different twist. I never felt like I was reading the same basic plot line but featuring different characters – which is what happens quite often in series that I’ve read. In some senses, it really did have the same feel as the first book but in a totally different circumstance. I appreciated being able to see the connection, yet not getting a retelling. I was kept on the edge of my seat, dying to dig further and deeper around every turn.

“It feels like I can finally suck in a lungful of air instead of surviving on only shallow breaths.”

Brighton Walsh is a gifted writer who I enjoy immensely. Every story is unique with characters that burrow into hearts for different reasons. Exposed is a fast-paced quick read that will have readers aching to know the full story between Riley and Evie. I found myself feeling so much in this novel, even though I really didn’t have any expectation to. I’m excited to see what it is that Walsh comes up with next because I will definitely be buying!

Rating

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Book Links

Add to Goodreads

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Don’t Miss the First Book in the Series (each can be read as a standalone)!

Captive

Read our Review HERE

Add to Goodreads

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Author Interview

  1. How did you come up with the idea for Riley’s story? Did you know it would happen the way it did while you were writing Captive, or was it something that developed afterwards?

My editor, agent and I all plotted together, tossed around different ideas until one resonated with all of us. And nope, I didn’t know any of Riley’s story during Captive. It was all a surprise!

  1. While still a similar theme, it felt so completely different from Ghost’s story in Captive. I loved that aspect! What made you take his and Evie’s romance in a different direction – rather than utilizing a similar scenario to the first book?

We actually tossed around an idea that was similar, but I wanted to veer as far from it as I could, because I didn’t want Exposed to feel like a rehashing of Captive.

  1. Watching the two different sides to Evie was absolutely fascinating, and so unlike your other characters. How fun was it to create a character with two dueling personalities?

It was incredibly challenging. LOL At one point while drafting, I had a notebook with:

TRUTH     |     LIES

written on it, and I had listed all the different aspects of her life. It was so hard to keep track of everything and make sure I got all the details right.

  1. Authors are always asking who their readers’ favorite characters are. If you just HAD to choose – muscle man with tattoos at stake here – did you enjoy writing Riley or Ghost more, and why?

Oh, man, this is tough. Riley is really more of the kind of hero I, personally, go for in books that I read. An alpha hero who doesn’t need to blast his prowess from the rooftops. Plus, he was easier to write. LOL

  1. Where did you get the inspiration for Evie’s story? I really respected that she came from a broken past but did whatever she could to rise above it, especially given my personal background. She felt like a unique, loveable character with qualities that every reader could love and relate to in some way.

Evie’s background was one I really struggled with. Due to the premise of the story, I needed a reason she’d be willing to leave everyone she knew behind and never look back. I went through half a dozen scenarios with my Plot Whisperer, and shot every one of them down. In the end, I went with the only story that was hers.

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Author Bio

Brighton Walsh is a storyteller at heart. Love is her first love, and writing about it is a dream come true. When she’s not overwhelmed by the incessant chatter in her mind, you can generally find her with her nose buried in a steamy book or partaking in some retail therapy in the Midwest where she lives with her own real life hero and her two energetic kids who (fortunately) know nothing about the naughty things she puts down on paper.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

BLOG TOUR – Captive by Brighton Walsh

Captive

Title – Captive
Author – Brighton Walsh
Publication Date – March 24, 2015
Series – Captive, #1

Captive

Synopsis

He’s the most dangerous man she’s ever met…and she’s falling in love with him.

Madison Frost is desperate to escape her life. Daughter of a prominent businessman, she has everything a girl could ask for. Except for a family who’s present in her life, and anyone to talk to outside the four walls of the prison she calls home. Madison dreams of one day leaving her life behind. She never thought being kidnapped is how it would happen.

Now she’s being held captive by a man who’s as frightening as he is sinfully gorgeous. Enormous, muscular, and filled with secrets, the man they call Ghost is an enigmatic mercenary, and Madison is trapped with him. She doesn’t know who hired him or why, but the more time she spends at his mercy, the more she realizes he’s not what he seems. Beneath his rough exterior lies an unexpected gentleness and a heart as broken and battered as her own.

But as Madison lets down her walls, Ghost holds tight to his, hiding secrets that could destroy everything.

Review

Every once in a while, a reader stumbles across a book and there’s no real rhyme or reason as to why it burrows into your heart; it just simply does. Captive by Brighton Walsh is one of these novels. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the writing is phenomenal, the storyline is captivating, and the characters were ones that I could relate to on quite a deep level.

“I never took her for a fighter, and I’d be willing to bet no one else ever had, either.”

From the outside, Madison’s life looks perfect – she’s rich, a student at Northwestern, has two high-profile parents, etc. On the inside, she’s suffocating with the weight of the world on her shoulders. One night after class, she’s walking and she is kidnapped, and taken to a cabin in the woods by her captor who goes by the name Ghost. From the outside, he is tattooed and hard, not someone to be toyed with. Somehow the two of them come together to form this relationship that I still don’t fully comprehend, yet was rooting for from the beginning. They’re both misunderstood from the world but feel comfortable taking down their walls for the other to conquer. I think that I wanted to see them figure out a way to make their lives work because through pieces of both of them, it was like I was looking in a mirror. Each possessed pieces of my own personal story which brought them to life in my eyes. When they found comfort, I felt relief; when they were sad, I felt tears; when they were heartbroken, I felt pain. Through these very accurate portrayal of emotions, Ghost and Madison were no longer characters in a book, but very real life people whom I had to see have a deserving ending.

“And even though we’d come from two different paths, at the core, we still dealt with the same pain.”

I’ll be honest and say that I was a teeny bit hesitant to pick up Captive because of the whole kidnapping situation. I’m always nervous about the captive falling in love with the captor storyline because there are times when it can just fall completely flat. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I gave this one a chance. Walsh writes the situation impeccably well that it almost doesn’t even feel like a kidnapping. She made Ghost incredibly likeable and the storyline that flows seemed quite effortless and organic to me. I actually loved being taken on this fantastic ride of ups and downs.

“Because if we were both knocked on our asses, who was going to make sure we were standing at the end of this?”

I have read one other novel by Brighton Walsh and it was nothing like Captive. However, that only makes me appreciate her writing even more. She pushed my boundaries a little bit and sucked me into the world she created. Captive is brilliantly written with characters who will burrow underneath your skin and have no intention of leaving. I absolutely LOVED this book and I can’t wait to get Riley’s story, as well as jump on anything else Brighton Walsh puts out!

Rating

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Don’t miss the rest of the series:

Exposed (Captive #2)

Exposed

Read our review HERE

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Excerpt

His lips parted when his name left mine, his eyes dropping to my mouth, and it felt like he’d sucked the air right out of my lungs. Suddenly we were closer than we were a second ago, his shoulder flush against mine, and I let my eyes flutter closed the moment I saw him lean toward me.

In the back of my mind, my conscience was screaming at me, telling me this was a bad idea, I shouldn’t be doing this—not with him. But my body had other ideas. My body wanted this, and right now, I was letting that part of me lead.

I met him in the middle, the first brush of our lips tentative. Only a whisper of flesh upon flesh, and when I didn’t pull back, he leaned in again, pressing his mouth firmly to mine.

And his kiss . . . his kiss was an unexpected contradiction of the man I’d come to know. The softness of it surprised me, con- sidering the rough edges of him. His lips were tentative, question- ing in their exploration, and I answered every unasked question, moving with him without hesitation. When my tongue licked against the seam of his lips, he groaned, a deep sound resonating from his chest, and then his hands were on me. He cupped my face, pulling me closer to him as he opened his mouth to me, slid his tongue against mine.

It was everything I’d ever imagined and yet nothing I’d ever experienced. He was consuming me, every single one of my senses honing in on him. The scruffy whiskers of his beard were long enough that they didn’t chafe so much as brush softly against me. His hands were rough, the tips of his fingers marred by calluses that ran across my cheeks, down my neck. He smelled like fresh soap and laundry detergent and the scent I’d grown accustomed to that was all him. Every time a groan echoed in his chest, I felt it against my own, and I could barely hold in a reply.

Character Interview

For Ghost:

1. There seemed to be a lot of emotions for everyone leading up to Madison asking you what your name was. What went through your head when you heard the name you hadn’t gone by in so long coming from her lips?

It’ll probably make me sound like a pussy to say this, but honestly…awe. No one—ever—had taken the time to get to know me. Not Ghost. Not the guy who can do something for them. Just me. And all I could think at that time was that I didn’t deserve to hear it from her lips.

2. When did it become apparent to you that Madison was getting under your skin in a completely different way than your previous hostage situations? Was there something she said or did that solidified it for you?

I think it was different from the get-go with her, but there was a definite turning point. I don’t want to give details because it might spoil some, but let’s just say when she showed me how much fire she has in her was when it really clicked.

For Madison:

3. What was the first thing you did FOR YOU with your taste of freedom?

The first thing I did for me is at the end of the book. That was the first time in my life I’d ever chosen myself over everyone else, and it was my first step to freedom. After that, though, choosing the major I wanted to study was the next thing I did.

4. What is your favorite tattoo that Ghost has and why? (Not including the latest one)

This is hard to pick because he has so many…I love the dragon up his arm, the face of it resting on his back like it’s watching over him. And I love the fallen angel that takes up the majority of his chest and stomach. But my favorite is probably the letters that spell L O Y A L T Y across his upper chest, because that’s just him.

5. What was it about Ghost that made you want to take a chance on him? Are you glad that running proved to be unsuccessful?

He let me see parts of him that no one else had ever seen. And he helped me see that my life was worth so much more than what I’d allowed myself to believe.

Author Interview

What is with creating these droolworthy men that I (ahem, readers) can’t get enough of? I just want to become a polygamist for all of them! 😉 How do you find the inspiration to create such different, but still alluring, characters?

*evil laughter* It’s my goal to create a new swoony book boyfriend with every book. My inspiration comes from what I’d want in a book boyfriend. I try different mixes of traits, throw them all together, shake it up and pick a few. Part of figuring out who the character is also comes from the plot and the circumstances. That dictates a lot of who the heroes are.

I feel like we live in a world obsessed with looks; I know I’ve fallen guilty to it. What made you decide to make your heroine curvy and full? It made the story that much more relatable for me, but I feel like readers rarely get that in novels these days.

For Madison to work in my head and to lead the life I needed her to lead to fit with the plot of Captive, I knew she had to be insecure. And, as much as I hate it, women are mostly insecure about their bodies. It made sense that Maddie would be self-conscious about that, and it was a stepping stone to other things I built on. I also wanted to show growth in her character. And growth that wasn’t done through the coercion of a male interest, but with the heroine actually, genuinely growing more comfortable in her own skin, from who she is on the inside to what she looks like on the outside.

Author Bio

Brighton Walsh

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

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BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Collateral Damage by Elisabeth Grace

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Title: Collateral Damage
Author: Elisabeth Grace
Series: Limelight #3
Release Date: February 18, 2015

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Synopsis

Now trending

Hollywood It Girl, Francesca Leon, has just landed the biggest role of her career…one that could clinch an Oscar nomination and open doors. If she’s going to move her career to the next level and work with top directors, she has to nail this part — and keep her sexy, but unreliable leading man from screwing everything up.

Team Calder

Bad boy Calder Fox is the son of Hollywood royalty and fresh out of rehab after his best friend’s death sent him on a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol. While his fans still love him and the paparazzi stalk him, he’s never taken life, or anything about his career, seriously. He may be charming and drop-dead gorgeous, but if he doesn’t stay sober, he could ruin Frankie’s future and expose her long-hidden family secret to the voracious media.

Behind the scenes

Things heat up during filming and have the potential to become hotter, deeper, and much more real. But can Frankie trust Calder with her secret? Or is he doomed to sabotage his own happiness yet again?

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Review

Elisabeth Grace has once again outdone herself with Collateral Damage. This is unquestionably my favorite book in the Limelight series so far! I knew in Picture Perfect that Calder had a story that I wanted to hear and I was anxious to see where Elisabeth would take his journey. I never could have imagined the heartache he would face or the battle he would be waging within himself. Collateral Damage took me by complete surprise and I was constantly shocked as his story unfolded. The sun-kissed California boy is so much more than just a hunky actor and exploring the complexity of his character was an emotional journey. Elisabeth Grace did not let me down. She made me laugh, caused my heart to break, and even had me shedding some tears of both pain and elation. Calder is definitely my favorite of her characters to date and I’m already missing him.

“She continued peppering kisses across my face. Her touch, her concern was soothing. Soon the pain inside began to ease, bit-by-bit. My heart rate slowed and I took in the kindness and compassion she was showing me.”

The best part of this story for me was the authenticity of Calder and Frankie’s relationship. While their connection was obvious and electric, things between them were not smooth sailing. The stark contrast in their upbringings and the way they handled life in the spotlight before meeting each other gave these two an incredible dynamic. They constantly learned from one another, offering each other support and an alternative view with which to consider their struggles. The character growth in this story was exquisite and the best part of this book. Elisabeth Grace colored Calder and Frankie’s story with lighthearted moments of fun, instances of overwhelming emotion, and heated exchanges of sexual tension. Their connection felt deep and genuine, built on years of baggage and held together by the shared challenges of life in the limelight.

“Each touch of her lips giving me a tiny piece of myself back. Each caress depositing a tiny sliver of hope that one day I would find a way to forgive myself.”

We get to see a few of our favorites from the first two books in the series and the nostalgia I felt was instant, alerting me to how attached to this series I’ve become. Elisabeth Grace also introduces a few new characters with the potential to be next in line for their own book in the series and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m already totally intrigued by them. Elisabeth’s writing continues to grow as she perfects her craft, dragging me deeper and deeper into the world she creates with her words. Her voice is fresh, honest, emotive, and fun, always making my heart simultaneously break and burst. I adored the storyline, which gave us so much more than the usual young Hollywood vibe. This story had a weight and significance that shined throughout the story. Caught up in the pace and promise of Frankie and Calder’s journey, I couldn’t have anticipated a more perfect ending to this book. Collateral Damage definitely gave me all the feels and is undoubtedly my favorite book in this series!

Rating
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Author Interview

Calder’s story is an emotional rollercoaster. He sparks a lot of raw emotion in Collateral Damage. How would you compare writing this character to your others?

It’ll make me sound a little off, but I felt very protective of him while I was writing and I really wanted to just push through and get to the end so that he could have his happy ending. 

Calder happens to be my favorite of your Limelight series men. If you HAD to choose, which of the Limelight men would be your favorite?

Oh, that’s SO hard!! I’m going to plead the fifth. They each have some element about them that I adore and it probably depends which day you ask me. 😉

What was your favorite scene in Collateral Damage to write?

Probably the interaction near the end between Calder & Frankie’s mom. I don’t know why, but that felt like a really important scene when I was writing it and I enjoyed it immensely and wanted to do it justice.

Frankie was such a fun character to read. She was easy to connect with and her character really grew over the course of the story. What would you say if your favorite thing about her?

I loved how loyal she was to her mother and that she didn’t see her issues as an anchor dragging her down, but rather was compassionate and protective of those people in her life with issues. 

What was the hardest scene in Collateral Damage to write?

Definately when Frankie finds Calder at the beach house and they have sex. I don’t want to give too much away, but it was uncomfortable to get into his head space in that scene and write his character more how he was before the accident vs. after.

What are your writing must haves? Are there things you need to have/surround yourself with when you write?

Not really. I kind-of squeeze the writing in whenever and wherever I can. I’m very nomadic in my writing. Children who aren’t screaming around me usually helps! LOL 

We meet several new characters in Collateral Damage with the potential to be next in line for their own book in the Limelight series. Any chance we’ll be seeing any of them soon? Any hints as to who might be up next?

I can honestly say that I’m not sure who I’ll write next. I can confirm though that Hendrix and Jess will get a book, as well as Amber and Deshawn. 🙂 

Are you planning on writing any novellas or bonus scenes in the future for the Limelight couples we’ve already met? We’d love to see them enjoying their happily ever afters and maybe a Limelight baby or two! 😉

Mason and Ellie will get another full length book to end the series. There are characters whose story I think will be better told in a novella rather than a full length novel, but I’ll have to see what happens when I start writing them. I do have a couple of ideas for bonus material for Limelight fans, but I’d have to wait until a few more books in the series are out to make it happen. But, no hints as to what they are! 😉 

If Frankie and Calder each had to describe the other in one word, what would it be?

Frankie would describe Calder as more-than-meets-the-eye, and Calder would describe Frankie as everything-that-matters. See what I did there with the hyphens? One word is so hard!! 

If Collateral Damage had a theme song that best personified Calder’s story, what would it be?

Oh, that’s hard. I’d have to say probably either Bridge Burning by the Foo Fighters or Hotel California by The Eagles. I had Bridge Burning be the song on the radio when the accident with Akoni happened because I thought it was the perfect song for what would be the climax to Calder’s fall from grace. Then there’s Hotel California which is about the excess in American culture and materialism and that overindulgence is a lot of what lead Calder to that point of being in the car with Akoni in the first place. Can I pick both? 😉 

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Don’t miss the rest of the Limelight series:
Rumor Has It (Limelight #1)
Rumor Has It
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Picture Perfect (Limelight #2)

Picture Perfect

Read our Review HERE
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Tango For Two (A Limelight Short)

Tango For Two Cover

Read our Review HERE
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Be sure to sign up for Elisabeth Grace’s newsletter – she’s releasing a new chapter of BUILT TO LAST every two weeks, which will be available to newsletter subscribers only as she writes it! If you’re US based and you want to receive a text message when Elisabeth has a new book go LIVE, text ROMANCE to 313131!

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BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Fighting the Fall by J.B. Salsbury

Title: Fighting the Fall
Author: J.B. Salsbury
Series: Fighting #4
Release Date: November 4, 2014

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Synopsis

The toughest fighters aren’t created in the octagon but are born of necessity. When life delivers blow after punishing blow, you fight back or get destroyed.

Eve Dawson has had her fill of bad luck. A string of unhealthy relationships has left her angry, bitter, and frustrated. She’s given up on being happy and settles for content. Swearing off men, she repels advances and makes herself a challenge to even the most persistent suitors. After all, how much can the fragile human heart take? But life isn’t finished with her, and when things can’t possibly get worse . . . they do.

Stay on your feet.

It’s Cameron Kyle’s motto, but with his fighting career ripped from his grasp, a child he wasn’t strong enough to save, and a marriage that even the brawn of a heavyweight couldn’t hold together, it’s getting harder and harder to stay upright. He takes on the position of CEO of the UFL, intent on hiding his biggest weakness in order to forge a path that leads him back into the octagon.

When an old rival mysteriously gets wind of Cameron’s plan to fight again, he comes out of retirement to settle old debts, but secrets, lies, and betrayal threaten to deliver the death-blow. The distraction of a sass-mouthed girl seventeen years his junior is the last thing he needs until a tragic accident shatters the firm foundation of his resolve and he realizes just how far he’s fallen.

Will they risk it all and fight to be together?

Or does defeat lie within the fall?

Bs Review

JB Salsbury has once again written a wonderful story about what it really means to be a fighter. Fighting the Fall is another great addition to her Fighting series and it left me anxious for the next installment in this addicting series. We finally get to unravel the mystery of Eve and JB easily had me falling head over heels for Cameron. This story was the perfect blend of sass and feeling. The relationship between Eve and Cam was undeniably scorching and the emotional component of their story only served to crank up the heat.

“Sometimes the best defense is to step toward what scares you, not run away from it. You taught me that.”

Cameron was far more tragic than I would have ever guessed. His story was absolutely heartbreaking. From the first page to the last I could feel the weight of his pain as my own. JB has Cameron drowning in guilt and regret, unable to find the light. She built his world so full of emotion and pain that I swear I could feel myself surrounded by his darkness. Cameron is such a multidimensional character. We get to experience so many sides to him as we see him carryout his various roles in this story. JB Salsbury did such a beautiful job of opening Cameron up to us as Eve slowly chipped away at his tough exterior.

“For a split second, my legs wobble with the force of it, and for the first time since the last time I dropped, I worry this lightening will knock me off my feet.”

Eve has been on my mind since the very first book in this series. She is an absolute force with her sexy, take-no-prisoners attitude and unapologetic manner of living. She seems to be a magnet for the men who will leave her trampled and JB Salsbury finally lets us in on why that might be. Eve’s character is stripped down in this book until we can appreciate her true vulnerability and self-doubt. Together, Cameron and Eve both undergo significant transformations over the course of this story and I was impressed by the character growth JB has orchestrated for these two.

“Because I want more. I always want more. That’s my problem. I want to be the girl that a man can’t live without.”

My favorite thing about this series is that while each book focuses on a specific couple, every single novel belongs to the entire fighting family. Every relationship developed throughout this series plays a role in each new story, flawlessly demonstrating the interconnectedness and vital importance of the fighting family as a whole. I love that JB Salsbury has crafted these incredible bonds between a group of broken misfits. She has expertly built a place where all of her characters can know the meaning of unconditional love and where they never have to hide the worst parts of themselves. Fighting the Fall was no exception, pulling me right back into the fray and once again filling my heart with a sense of acceptance and belonging.

“For the first time in a lifetime of heavy, I feel… light.”

Fighting the Fall was overflowing with emotion, genuine in its heartache, and simply breathtaking. Eve and Cameron’s story is one that will stick with you as you ride the rollercoaster that is their story. JB Salsbury’s inimitable characters feel completely genuine and effortlessly wiggle themselves into your heart. My only issue was that I felt like this book should have come before Fighting to Forget. Despite these stories occurring simultaneously, there were some things in this book that I already knew the outcome of because it had been previously mentioned in Fighting to Forget. My prior knowledge dulled the emotions a little when I got to that point in the story. Overall, JB Salsbury has delivered another poignant story with Cameron and Eve’s journey and I’m already anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series.

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Cs Review

My favorite thing about J.B. Salsbury’s writing is that she takes all these characters who have similar backgrounds, yet makes them all incredibly unique. Fighting the Fall is heartbreaking in its own right, but in a completely different manner than the previous books in the series. Cam and Eve’s journey was one of the more angst-filled, roller coaster emotional rides of the boys, but probably my new favorite.

“Sooner or later a man has to decide. You wanna be the man she wants, or can you find it in you to be the man she needs? Figure that shit out, or bow out, and let a better man move in.”

There was something that hit me so hard about Cameron’s character from the moment the Prologue started until the very final words in the book. The man had a complex mind with the simplest of motives – fiercely protect who and what is precious to him. He was such a strong character, and I don’t just mean physically. He internalized so many of his issues and while that can be an admirable quality, it seemed to be a double-edged sword – especially once he met the beautiful Eve. She has been through hell and back with her person life and is now struggling to find her way in the world. J.B. Salsbury stays true to what she has always done with her female protagonists and portrays Eve as independent, determined, and steadfast in her goals. We go on this ride of, mostly, emotional growth through which she recognizes that her life and choices have become a pattern and that it needs to be broken.

“No wonder she seems older than she is. She’s lived the kind of pain and abandonment that would lend to an edge in her demeanor: a street-taught maturity that only comes from pulling through the shitty dredges of life’s circumstances.”

I hear authors say that their characters speak to them and dictate their own stories, but I’ve never really understood it. However, after reading through Cam and Eve’s story, it now makes complete sense. These two felt like they needed their lives to be told, almost as if they were real. The reactions, emotions, and situations felt so realistically portrayed. I felt every ounce of fear, anxiety, sadness, and happiness pouring from them. J.B. inserts such heart and soul into her books and it really does breathe a feeling of life into them.

“Fighting I know. Drive and determination as well. But comforting another person is…I take a deep breath and she melts into me further. Huh, not good, but many not too bad either.”

The book is incredibly well written, with few grammatical or typographical errors. The storytelling is phenomenal and will bring you along an emotional endeavor.  Cam will make your heart break, but somehow pick up all the pieces and put it back together. Eve will show you the strength of a woman and educate you on the true definition of a family. Together, they teach you that love and being with another can help ease the pain of horrible hardships. Fighting the Fall is absolutely my new favorite Fighting series book, even though I’m now on pins and needles waiting for Killian’s story!

Rating
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Excerpt

Cameron:

Meeting with the whiners. Check. Weigh-ins. Check. I’m flipping through the pages and checking off things I’ve completed when I feel her eyes on me.

I don’t look up from my lists, but hear her feet on the carpet and finally the sound of creaking wood as she takes a seat across from me. “You got something to say?”

“Can I ask you something?”

“As long as you make it fast.” Her silence brings my eyes to her contemplative expression.

“I noticed you’re not married.” She tilts her head to my left hand that is very much without a wedding ring.

Not anymore. “And?”

“Nothing really. Just surprised.”

I lean back in my chair as irritation pinches my brows. “Surprised.”

She shrugs. “Yeah, I mean you seem like a decent guy.”

Im not. “You seem like a decent woman and you aren’t married.” I nod to her empty left ring finger.

She grins. “That’s because I just got divorced. Marriage jumping isn’t my thing.”

This feels like one of those you-share-I-share conversations that I do not participate in. I find if I can bite back my impulsive outbursts and stay zipped people eventually give up.

She twirls a strand of her long blond hair. “Ever been married?”

I lock my jaw and wait, but she doesn’t fucking budge and stares with expectant eyes. Something tells me we’ll be here all day if I don’t give her something. I’d lie, tell her I’ve never been married, but if I plan on digging in here for the long haul, I’m going to have to give her enough to keep her satisfied.

“Once.”

Her eyes light up as if she just realized we belong to the same super-secret club. “Really.”

What is it about sharing that creates this weird expectation from people? As if simply telling another person about your past allows them some special access into friendship. I don’t do friendship.

I flip through my notebook and hope like hell this conversation is headed toward The End.

“Any kids?”

My hand freezes mid page-turn, and a whisper of pain echoes through my gut that would usually be followed by a cringe, but not anymore. I clear my throat and refocus on my notebook. “I have a son.”

“Oh, that’s cool.” She’s silent for a few beats that are probably uncomfortable for her but don’t bother me at all. “I have a daughter.”

The rumble of an old hurt reverberates against my shield. Ten years ago those words would’ve bled me alive, but not anymore. “Mm.”

“How old—”

“Look, I really have a lot to do.” I’m still studying the pages of my notebook like a complete asshole, but honest to God it’s as if we’re about to bust out some knitting needles and tiny sandwiches.

“Sure thing.” She hops up and moves toward the door when she turns suddenly. “Oh, I forgot. We’re having a party after the fight tonight. The Blackout. You should come.”

“Thanks, but”—I flip a page and another—“I think I’ll go home after the fight. Long day.”

“Suit yourself. If you change your mind, we’ll be there.” She’s gone with the soft click of my office door.

After party. Haven’t been to one of those in a while, at least not many I remember. The little flashes I’ve managed to retain carry good feelings of camaraderie with the team. I groan and lean back in my desk chair. My goal is to get back into the octagon, but until then I need to run this organization and put it back on its feet. The fighters got screwed by Gibbs and are having trust issues. I get that. Maybe showing up at this party is a smart move after all. Just for one drink. Should be painless enough.

 

Eve: 

With my head down, I make way to my car when I notice a familiar car parked next to mine. I look up and my steps freeze just feet away. Leaning against my car, arms crossed at his chest, long powerful legs crossed at his ankles, is Cameron.

My hand clutches my purse to my side. “Hey, what are you doing here?” I internally scold myself for sounding more defensive than happy to see him. He can’t possibly know what’s in my purse.

It’s been days since I’ve seen him, and our quick telephone conversations do little to slake my desire to see him in the flesh.

He shrugs. “Passing by, saw the place was closed for the night. Thought I’d hang out and see if I could speak to the manager.”

My stomach jumps and goes warm. He came all the way here just to see me?

“Did you have a bad experience? Like to make a formal complaint?”

He pushes off my car and takes two steps toward me. Close, but not close enough. His eyes set in their usual glare, he shoves his hands into the pockets of his dark washed jeans. “Mmm . . .” He rubs his fingers across his lower lip, as he did the night in front of Mason. His eyes burn through me. “I have no complaints about my . . . experience.”

His presence combined with his insinuation become too much and I drop my gaze. A tickle of caution pricks at my subconscious, reminding me that I’m not the kind of girl who shies away from flirtation. I’m not timid, demure, or easily swayed by just any man. But there are a few who have brought me to my emotional knees, and both of them I dislike. Immensely.

His feet move into my line of site, and I pull my gaze up to settle on his face. How is he even more beautiful than I remember with all that thick dark hair, his fierce jaw, and full lips that I know are as powerful as they are soft?

“What’re your plans tonight?” He reaches out and brushes my bangs off my forehead.

Such a tiny gesture, but the sweetness of it makes my eyes flutter. “I was going to grab a bite to eat.”

His eyebrows pinch together. “You hungry? I’ll take you to dinner.”

I look around at the empty parking lot then move my eyes back to his. “Now?”

“You hungry now?”

“Very.”

“Then yeah. Now.”

“But it’s the middle of the night.”

The corner of his mouth lifts so slightly it’s barely noticeable. “It’s Vegas, babe.”

“But I’m in the mood for a bacon cheeseburger.” I lick my lips. I can almost taste the greasy goodness. “With green chilis.” My stomach grumbles in agreement. “And onion rings. Not the battered ones, but those breadcrumb ones.” I hum low in my throat. “Oh, and a chocolate milkshake or an ice cold beer will also do.” I tap my lips, thinking. “Hm. Maybe both.”

So lost in my food-fantasy I don’t notice the way he’s staring at me until I focus on him. His glare isn’t as tight as it usually is, and his mouth isn’t the straight—but full and kissable—line it usually is. It’s as if someone pulled the starch from his expression, not completely relaxed, but tender.

Silence builds between us and I shift on my feet. “Or not, ya know . . . I mean whatever you want is fine too.”

He tilts his head, still not speaking.

“There’s an IHOP down off of—”

“Shut up, Yvette.”

God, I hate that name, but hearing it growled from Cameron’s lips makes it more than tolerable.

“I’m sorry, it’s just . . . Did I say something wrong?”

His lips tilt, tilt, and holy shit, tilt some more, lighting his entire face, the entire city of Vegas, probably the whole damn atmosphere with the most brilliant smile.

“Far from wrong, babe.” He grabs my hand and tugs me to his chest. “I dig a woman who knows what she likes and asks for it.”

Author Interview

1. You write such beautiful yet broken female heroines. Which one would you say has been the hardest, and why

Believe it or not, Raven was the hardest for me to write. I think all the other heroines I’ve written are a lot more like me. They sass and backtalk, but Raven never really did. She never cursed, never saw the bad in people, and had a quiet strength that I don’t possess. I really had to hold my own personality back when I wrote her because there were many times I wanted her to throw sass and drop an f-bomb, but it just wasn’t her. 

2. If you had to live inside one book for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

Wow, great question! If I could live inside any book I’d like to live at the Brotherhood Mansion with J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. I’d just hang out with Fritz all day and be a spectator to all the drama that goes down in that place. 

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Don’t miss the rest of the Fighting Series:

Fighting for Flight (Fighting #1)

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Fighting to Forgive (Fighting #2)

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Fighting to Forget (Fighting #3)

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A Father’s Fight (Fighting #5)

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Fighting for Forever (Fighting #6)

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Fighting Fate (Fighting #7)

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Fighting for Honor (Fighting #8)

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The Final Fight (Fighting #9)

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Uncaged: A Fighting for Flight Short Story

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Author Bio

JB Salsbury, New York Times Best Selling author of the Fighting series, lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and two kids. She spends the majority of her day as a domestic engineer. But while she works through her daily chores, a world of battling alphas, budding romance, and impossible obstacles claws away at her subconscious, begging to be released to the page.

Her love of good storytelling led her to earn a degree in Media Communications. With her journalistic background, writing has always been at the forefront, and her love of romance prompted her to sink her free time into novel writing.

Fighting for Flight, Fighting to Forgive, and Fighting to Forget are the first three novels in the MMA romance series. Fighting the Fall is due to be released in November 2014.

For more information on the series or just to say hello, visit JB on her website, Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads page.

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BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Saving Tatum by Micalea Smeltzer

Title: Saving Tatum
Series: Trace + Olivia #4
Author: Micalea Smeltzer
Release Date: September 18, 2014

Synopsis

Even tough girls need saving.

Jude Brooks is bad news. He’s the kind of guy that leaves behind a string of broken hearts and Tatum O’ Connor is not about to be one of those girls, despite all of Jude’s advances. They have a past, and Tatum’s determined to make sure they don’t have a future.

Unfortunately for her, “no” isn’t a word in Jude’s vocabulary.

The more she backs away, the more he pushes.

But what if he pushes too far?

Tatum’s hiding a pain that no one sees and holding on to a hurt that may never heal. Letting Jude into her heart could shatter her completely—and what if she opens up to Jude and he can’t handle her baggage?

Love is never easy—especially when the person you’re falling for is the person you blame for the worst event in your life.

Love, heartache, and despair.

That’s the name of the game when you’re Saving Tatum.

Review

Micalea Smeltzer has an inimitable talent for exposing the raw feeling of any given situation. Each and every story she has written stirs up a storm of emotions that, more often than not, demand to be felt. Saving Tatum is the final piece of the series that began with Trace and Olivia and it was, hands down, the perfect last addition to this phenomenal collection. I didn’t think another BBF could compete with Trent (from Tempting Rowan), but Jude made short work of stealing my heart. Together, he and Tatum set forth on a heartwarming journey that left me begging for more.

“He won the bet. He won my heart. He won it all. I was his.”

Tatum’s story is tragic. Constantly surrounded by ghosts, she stopped living a long time ago. Micalea had me crying from the very first page of this book and I knew Tatum’s story was going to wreck me. From the moment her story began, I connected to Tate. I felt her pain deep in my heart and my mind worked furiously to find her happily ever after. Despite the hand fate has dealt her, she refuses to stop moving. She does what needs to be done, making sacrifices that can’t be avoided to keep from being swallowed by her grief. She had no idea how beautiful and strong she was and that made her someone I couldn’t help but love and root for.

“But if I didn’t hate Jude, what was I supposed to do with all this anger inside me?”

Jude has his own sad tale, but he chooses to live his life in the sunshine. He made me laugh more times than I could count over the course of his journey. He was witty, sexy, sometimes sweet, and absolutely unrelenting in his pursuit of Tate and that made my heart, his. Together, Jude and Tate undeniably sparkled. Their chemistry and compatibility saturated this book with hope, joy and the perfect amount of steam. Micalea expertly crafted and cultivated these two characters over the course of their story. They both experienced incredible transformations that left me giddy with excitement. Jude brought out the snarky, playful Tatum, while Tate allowed Jude to openly experience his emotions.

“Love made me stronger. It gave me something to fight for when I didn’t have anything else.”

From the moment this story took off running, I was sprinting to keep up with it. I always needed more and I was happy to let Micalea take me on a crazy ride with each challenge to Jude and Tatum’s relationship. I adored seeing Trace, Olivia, Rowan and Trent throughout this story too. These outstanding characters have permanently endeared themselves to me and I’m gladly a part of their beautiful family. Saving Tatum left me feeling devastated and full-on ugly crying one minute, and bursting with happiness and smiling until my cheeks hurt, the next. Once again, Micalea has written a heart wrenching, raw, and unquestionably stunning story of love and healing.

Rating
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5++ stunning and emotionally gripping stars!

Character Interview

Jude:

You say it’s always been Tatum for you. When was the moment you knew she was the girl for you?

When she marched up to me in high school, spouted off to me, and then kicked me. Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds weird that that attracted me to her, but you see she didn’t want anything from me. She wasn’t batting her eyes at me or showing me some leg. She was…she was real.

Things weren’t always gummy bears and McFlurrys between you two. What was going through your mind the day she finally told you why she hated you so much?

What the fuck? That was the first thing I thought. I was blindsided. I’d never figured out why she didn’t like me and I didn’t expect that. I thought it would be something stupid like she’d had a crush on me and I did something with a friend of hers or something. I should’ve known that it was Tatum and it had to be something deeper and not a shallow reason.

Spring Break. Did you have a hand in Rowan’s little plan for you and Tate?

Absolutely not. That was all Rowan. Remind me to thank her.

So Jude, how did that cake taste?

After I covered Tatum in it…delicious. 😉

 

Tatum:

Looking back and knowing how Rowan played matchmaker on spring break, do you think she was “too busy” to help with your project on purpose?

I really don’t know what I think. I mean, she is busy. Especially then with school, kids, and planning a wedding. But it was a bit too convenient that Jude was able to swoop in and save the day.

You got pretty defensive when Jude told Mr. Jenkins that he was going to marry you some day. What was going through your mind? Did you ever imagine things would work out the way they did?

(laughs) Never in a million years did I imagine I would marry that boy (leans over to kiss Jude’s cheek) but some things are unavoidable. Jude and I are perfect for each other. He saw that before I did. I was more focused on hating him because I felt like it was what I was supposed to do. When Mr. Jenkins brought it up I think the only thing that went through my mind was: Ew. No.

Ew? Really, Tatum? What are we, five? Did you think I had cooties?

Don’t hijack my question, Jude. I was just being honest. Now I know there’s nothing “ew” about you.

(grins) That’s right. 

Jude takes a huge leap of faith in bringing you to his grandfather’s house with him. What did you learn about him that first time you visited? Did any of your feelings for him change in that moment?

Yeah, I think that was a very defining moment in our relationship. It was the first time I realized that he actually had feelings. Before then, I’d just thought he was a party/playboy and out to ruin my life. I realize now I was being selfish by projecting preconceived notions onto him. I wanted him to be the bad guy because I needed someone to blame, but I was wrong. He’s the good guy. I regret all the times I pushed him away, I realize that then wasn’t our time. This was.

Rowan had to throw some tough love your way when it came to Jude. While the value of her words is obvious now, when did it really hit you that she was right?

I think I knew she was right from the beginning, I just didn’t want to believe it.

What’s next for Jude and Tatum?

More babies.

Uh…(eyes Jude) I’m still working on repairing my relationship with my dad. My mom’s still in a home and I try to visit her once a month, sometimes more often if I have the time. But beyond that I just take care of the house, Jerry, my online job, and Juliette of course.

And we’re going to have more babies. Should we start now?

(gulps) Like, right now?

(Takes Tatum’s hand and starts to pull her away) No time like the present, Tater Tot. (turns to look over his shoulder) Thanks for the questions, B, but I’ve gotta go put a baby in my wife. ‘Til next time. (winks)

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Finding Olivia (Trace + Olivia #1)

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Chasing Olivia (Trace + Olivia #2)

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Tempting Rowan (Trace + Olivia #3)

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Author Bio

Micalea Smeltzer is a bestselling Young and New Adult author from Winchester, Virginia. She’s always working on her next book, and when she has spare time she loves to read and spend time with her family.

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REVIEW — The Girl in 6E by Alessandra Torre

Girl in 6 E

Title – The Girl in 6E
Author – Alessandra Torre
Series – Deanna Madden, #1 (NO cliffhanger)

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Synopsis

I haven’t touched a human in three years. That seems like it would be a difficult task, but it’s not. Not anymore, thanks to the internet.

I am, quite possibly, the most popular recluse ever. Not many shut-ins have a 200-member fan club, a bank account in the seven-figure range, and hundreds of men lining up to pay for undivided attention.

They get satisfaction, I get a distraction. Their secret desires are nothing compared to why I hide… my lust for blood, my love of death.

Taking their money is easy. Keeping all these secrets… one is bound to escape.

What if you hid yourself away because all you could think of was killing? And what if one girl’s life depending on you venturing into society?

Review

I went into this book based solely on my love of Alessandra and her writing so I can’t exactly say what I was expecting to get. Now having finished, I can honestly say that it was one of those WOW books. It is the darkest book I have ever read, but I still could somehow not stop reading it. Normally I say that I become engrossed in a book, but The Girl in 6E devoured me – not the other way around. The book is all about Deanna and her demons, and her alter-ego Jessica. She has her job as a cam girl, and her weekly phone calls with a doctor. She speaks through the door to the UPS man and her neighbor, but no real face to face interactions. Deanna has learned to function alone in order to cope with her horrible urges to kill. She doesn’t leave her apartment and she believes that it’s what she has to do.

I seriously loved the character development in this book. Every single person felt so meticulously planned and mapped out. They were each integral to the story and had their own voice. We do get to experience these other points of view and this is something Alessandra shines at. The overall tone changes drastically from chapter to chapter (dependent upon who is speaking), leaving the reader to feel such a myriad of emotions. You can tell whose eyes we’re experiencing things through based solely on that tone. Each chapter grips you more than the previous, until you’re finished and can’t believe everything you just experienced through words.

As a reader, I could tell that Alessandra had put a lot of thought into The Girl in 6E and poured her heart into it, leaving it with such a genuine feel. The cam girl scenes were incredibly fascinating and gripping for me to read. These particular pieces also helped to infuse some lightness into the story as a whole. On the other side of the coin, her reality was so mundane and I often felt like she was two characters. The flow between these worlds is so seamless and effortless with the way Alessandra wrote her and I was so captivated by this life she chose to live. I couldn’t relate even in the slightest to her, but the character is written so well that you just get sucked in.

This book is a dark thriller with what I’m sure some people will consider triggers. However, The Girl in 6E became about so much more than the darkness for me. It was about watching Deanna transform from page to page. She had to fight every single day, though I think deep down she wanted nothing more than to just be normal. I never thought I would say that a “dark” read is beautiful, but that’s the only way I can describe The Girl in 6E. The writing is a step above, the plot is intriguing and unique, and the characters are phenomenal. Although this book does end satisfyingly, I can’t wait to see what the sequel holds and where Deanna’s life will take her.

Rating
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Author Interview

1. Your other novels fall more into the Erotica genre, so what made you choose to write a dark suspense thriller?

Thrillers are always what I, as a reader, have read. It’s my literary background. While doing research into the camming industry, I saw a little of the dark side of some clients’ fetishes. That sparked the idea of Girl in 6E’s conflict. And.. at that point, I kind of sat back from my computer and thought ‘hmm. Maybe this is my time to try writing a thriller.’

2. At the end of the book, you say that you talked to cam girls for research so you would get things right. Can you go into any more depth about how you began (and followed through) with researching The Girl in 6E?

I gave a magazine exclusive recently on the full side of my research into the camming industry. Check out September’s issue of Elle magazine for more… but I will say that I was online researching different fetishes one night when a popup ad caused me to click on a camming website. I was fascinated by the chat going on with this woman. That led to me exploring the site, and eventually to taking some of the girls into private chat and asking them about their work. That research led to the idea and creation of The Girl in 6E.

3. This book involves what most would consider a taboo topic – pedophilia. What made you choose this specific subject? Were you nervous some people wouldn’t even attempt to read it knowing that?

I chose pedophile because it was the most common illegal request that the camgirl’s mentioned: that clients wanted them to pretend to be younger than 18. The inner struggle that I saw — do you allow these creeps to satisfy their needs through this outlet and does that keep them from acting out in a different way… or are you feeding their disease… that quandry sort of pushed this story out. I was aware that it might turn off certain readers, or cause triggers in others, but I needed to write the story. The characters in my head didn’t give me much of a choice in that regard.

4. There are several different viewpoints with VERY different voices from which we hear. When you were writing, did you stay in each of their heads for prolonged periods, or did you actually write the book chronologically? Specifically, was it ever difficult to go back and forth between the camming scenes with “Jessica”, and the dark thoughts of Deanna?

I wrote the book scenes in chronological order, jumping in and out of different heads. I almost needed to write it that way, to preserve my sanity. If I had stayed in Deanna’s head too long… it was difficult to me at times.. being in her dark places. I didn’t have any issue switching modes, but often I’ll step away from the computer in between scenes — take the dogs for a walk or eat something — and that helps to wipe my mind clear and start over in a different head.

5. One of the characters we hear from, who for me, was more of a secondary character, but had some of the most poignant and touching chapters was Carolyn. Why did you feel her voice needed to be heard (as opposed to her husband’s)?

I got into Carolyn’s head for several reasons: 1. Because I felt being in Annie’s head might be too traumatic for readers, especially dealing with the pedophilic threat. 2. I wanted the ending to really pull on a reader’s heart, and thought that the emotions would be stronger if we were aware of her struggle and joy/pain. 3. I was able to relate more, and thought the readers would, to a mother, versus a father.

6. The Girl in 6E ended with no cliffhanger and just the desire to have more of this character. I know that you wouldn’t really give anything away, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask…are there any tiny hints you can give us to the general direction of where the sequel will go?

How about a look at the rough draft of my blurb?? (WARNING: It could be considered a spoiler for readers who haven’t read Girl in 6E…)

A lot can change in a matter of weeks. Two weeks ago, I stepped out of my apartment for the first time after three years of solitude. And twelve hours later, a man was dead, his blood on my gloved hands.

Now, I am venturing out of my apartment. I am tasting the bits of life that make up a normal existence, testing my boundaries in the rare moments that I think I can handle it. But the rules still dominant my life. And in those, I am kept from a normal existence.

Despite my tentative steps back into life…

I am never out past dark.

I still undress in front of strangers.

I still have the urge to kill.

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Do Not Disturb (Deanna Madden, #2)

Do Not Disturb

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If You Dare (Deanna Madden, #3)

If You Dare

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BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Last Second Chance by Caisey Quinn

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Title: Last Second Chance
Author: Caisey Quinn
Series: Second Chance #1
Release Date: May 6, 2014

Last Second Chance

Synopsis

When Stella Jo Chandler gets an offer to work at the Second Chance Ranch celebrity rehab facility right after graduating from Texas A&M, she’s tempted to turn it down. She wants to help real people with real problems, not spoiled celebrities going on vacation for publicity. But growing up on her family’s ranch left her with a love of horses that draws her to the opportunity. How bad can babysitting a bunch of strung out celebrities be?

What she didn’t count on was being roped into a tangled mess with infamous rocker and three-time rehab drop out Van Ransom on her first day. And she sure didn’t expect to feel the overwhelming attraction that pulls her to the man who has more issues than she can count on both hands. Like the hotel rooms and tour buses he’s famous for trashing, the havoc he could wreak on Stella’s heart would be irreparable.

Van isn’t at Second Chance for publicity or because he’s suffering from “exhaustion”. He’s on the brink of destruction, and he needs the kind of help Stella isn’t sure she can give. But without her, he’ll lose everything. Because he’s on his last second chance.

Review

I’m a huge fan of Caisey Quinn. I fell in love with her words in Keep Me Still and I’ve yet to meet a CQ book that doesn’t move me and leave me wanting more. I’ll admit I signed up to read Last Second Chance without knowing anything about it. The name on the cover was enough to have me anxious to read it. As a reader there are certain authors whose words, for no discernable reason, we connect with more than others. As I read Last Second Chance I had that moment, the one where you know a book has just permanently etched itself onto your heart because someone’s words have just touched your soul.

“Some sins are worth it.”

This story is not a fairytale by any means. It is a story of addiction, loss, and coming back from the edge. This story is raw and real and at times heartbreaking. But with darkness you can appreciate the light, so this is also a story of hope and courage and love. The journey CQ took me on was the perfect balance of light and dark. She tugged on my heartstrings one minute and made me giddy with anticipation the next. This story took me for a ride through the incredible spectrum of human emotion, but it did so flawlessly. There was no emotional whiplash from unnecessary drama or unrealistic moments of sweetness, just a very natural journey that I’m glad to have been a part of.

“But for some reason, this near stranger, this man she barely knew, had managed to break through her impenetrable barrier and reach her in a place she kept buried.”

Stella is a beautiful character. I loved her intelligence, her courage and the strength she possessed, whether or not she recognized it as such. In her life she had been either ignored completely or tightly controlled. This didn’t lead her to be one to let people in easily. Van had to fight for her to let him in and in doing so they both learned that sometimes we all need a little help to heal. Van stole my heart completely. I drooled over the bad boy rocker who was kind of an asshole but I fell hard for the man who was so tragically broken and irrevocably scarred. He’d have me seething at his behavior one minute then devastated by the loss he’s been forced to live with the next. While reading his story I was overwhelmed by the urge to reach out and help him. Fix him. That’s how I knew he had me.

“I’ve spent so long avoiding feeling things – pain, pleasure, anything – that sometimes I’m afraid I might be completely… empty inside.”

I have to give a hand to CQ for this one, addiction is not an easy topic to tackle and it’s never easy to put yourself inside the mind of someone as damaged as Van. But she did. Van and Stella’s story resulted and it couldn’t be a better testament to the reality of addiction, the strength of human character or the unexpected power that connection with another person can have on us. As many times as my heart was broken over the course of this story, it was also pieced back together and filled with hope. I already want to read this story again. I can’t wait to see where this new series will take us and what other perfectly imperfect characters we will get to meet along the way.

Rating
5.png
I wish I had more stars to give this book!!!

Author Interview

How did the idea for Van & Stella’s story come to you?

My husband and I were looking at places to vacation and we came across this ranch in Texas (The Wild Catter) and it looked so secluded and private that I thought it’d make a great rehabilitation facility for celebrity types. I already knew that I’d write about one, but it was the model for the Second Chance Ranch.

How many books are planned for the Second Chance series?

Four definitely, possibly two additional ones. Each one is a stand alone with different characters that somehow incorporates the ranch.

How is this series different from your previous Kylie Ryans series?

It’s a lot grittier and sexier. In Kylie’s series, her career was as much a character as she was, but in this series there’s more focus on addiction and darker, more personal issues.

What was the hardest part about putting out something new and different than what your readers were used to?

The fear that everyone would hate it! Or that they’d think I was just jumping on the erotica bandwagon. I always knew I would write something darker and sexier, more adult than New Adult, after Kylie’s series, but not all of my readers were expecting that leap. Fortunately they held my hand the whole way! I am very blessed to have such loyal and precious readers!

What’s your favorite part about being an indie author?

Having so much control over the cover, the formatting, the price and the release dates.

Least favorite part?

Being responsible for making decisions about the cover, the formatting, the price and the release dates. 😉

What’s one thing that readers might find surprising about you?

I write my books out of order! I always thought I was doing it wrong, writing scenes this way, until I met several other writers at retreats that did the exact same thing.

What can we look forward to from you?

There will be a surprise release this summer that’s a part of the Keep Me Still world, and Falling for Fate this fall, which is the next book in the Second Chance series.

Fast Five

Coffee or Tea? Sweet Tea please!

Chocolate or Vanilla? Definitely chocolate!

Billionaires or Cowboys? Cowboys

PC or Mac? Mac, but that’s a recent change.

Night Owl or Early Bird? Definitely a night owl 😉 It’s the only time I can get any work done!

Thank you so much for having me!!

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Falling for You (Second Chance #1.5)

Falling For You

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Falling for Fate (Second Chance #2)

Falling for Fate

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One Last Ride (Second Chance #3)

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Coming Soon!

Author Bio

Caisey Quinn

Caisey Quinn lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series as well as several New Adult Romance novels featuring country girls finding love in unexpected places. You can find her online at www.caiseyquinnwrites.com.

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BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Picture Perfect by Elisabeth Grace

Picture Perfect Banner

Title: Picture Perfect
Author: Elisabeth Grace
Series: Limelight #2
Release Date: March 31, 2014

Picture Perfect

Synopsis

*****THIS BOOK CAN BE READ AS A STANDALONE*****

Being the daughter of a big-city mayor, twenty-one year old Skye Summers has giant shoes to fill in her first real job out of college. With the public spotlight on her family, and her dad’s expectations running high, she jumps at the chance to work side-by-side on an important project with her sexy new boss.

Playboy entrepreneur Landon Steele has built a successful entertainment PR firm and broken more than a few hearts along the way. He’s counting on his enthusiastic new assistant to help him expand his business into LA… until he discovers she’s a pampered rich girl who’s in the public spotlight as much as his famous clients. Still, he agrees to give her a chance, and soon the two are heating up the bedroom as well as the boardroom.

But when Skye’s ex-boyfriend threatens to reveal a dangerous secret from her past, her job, relationship with Landon, and her father’s career are suddenly all on the line. Will she be forced to leave Landon? Or will she pursue her heart, regardless of the cost?

Review

Picture Perfect is Skye and Landon’s story. Landon is Skye’s new boss, focused on expanding his PR Empire and avoiding getting involved with his attractive new assistant. Skye’s father is the mayor and his political aspirations continue to grow, forcing Skye to live inside the confines of a “perfect” existence. The last thing she needs is the scandal of getting involved with her boss. We first met Skye in Rumor Has It when we were introduced to her as Ellie’s best friend. I knew I liked her right away. She was loyal and always had Ellie’s back, making her laugh and being there for her when things got crazy. I was excited to learn more about her in Picture Perfect, but I honestly had no idea how much I would come to connect with her over the course of her story.

Landon and Skye were both wonderful characters. They both carry baggage from their pasts, but neither is going to let that stand in the way of their professional success. Landon is the ultimate book boyfriend. He is gorgeous, successful, supportive, protective, clear about his intentions and romantic as hell. Seriously, wait until you see the gift he gives in this story, it gave me goosebumps with its thoughtfulness. Skye is a total force of nature. I’d be her friend in a heartbeat. Despite her privileged upbringing, she is hardworking, driven and selfless to a fault. She puts everyone else first; often ignoring her own wants and needs to live up to everyone’s expectations. She doesn’t ask for help. She loves her family and friends fiercely and she is unapologetic in her determination to please everyone. Watching these two together was like playing with fire, waiting for the moment when their feelings for each other would completely engulf them, consuming every part of them and burning anyone who dared get too close.

The secondary characters played a crucial role in shaping the storyline of this book. Ellie continues to be the best friend Skye needs and she uses her own experience with a relationship lived in the spotlight to guide and support Skye as she attempts to navigate her feelings for Landon, her duty to her father and her career aspirations. Vic, Skye’s ex-boyfriend, is the guy you absolutely have to hate. He is the one thing in Skye’s life that she has no control of and he knows it. If it were possible, I would have punched him in the face from the moment I met him. I figured out just how invested in this story I was when I realized how much I loathed Vic with every bit of my being. It is one thing to make me love a character, but it says a lot about an author’s mastery of words when they’re capable of crafting a character that incites complete and total blood-boiling rage whenever they cross my mind.

Elisabeth Grace wrote a wonderful story that held me captive from the beginning and continued to occupy my thoughts long after I’d finished reading. By the end of the book I felt like I knew the characters, like we’d known each other for a long time, and that was a very satisfying feeling. I have to commend Elisabeth Grade on her willingness to address some not-so-pretty issues throughout the story. She wrote some interactions that made me cringe and hurt, both physically and emotionally, for the characters involved. My respect for her grew exponentially as I saw how she handled a harsh situation (one that is all too real for so many people) with a manner of strength, delicacy and hope. As the story progressed, it took some turns I didn’t expect and kept me on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, in the absolute best way possible! I didn’t just read this story; I experienced it with Skye and Landon. It was the perfect addition to the Limelight series and I am so glad I got to be a part of their story. I can’t wait to see what they will get up to next and where the future will take them. This book is fun, sweet and emotionally captivating. You will not want to miss out on getting to know Landon and Skye!

Rating
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Playlist

Character Interview

B was lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Landon & Skye. Read on to see their answers to our questions. In case you’re wondering, they’re just as adorable as you imagine! 🙂

A HUGE thank you to the lovely Elisabeth Grace for letting us interview them!!

Landon, your first encounter with Skye was interesting to say the least. What was going through your mind at the time?

Landon – Honestly? She probably doesn’t want to hear this but my first instinct was that I wanted her underneath me. Naked.

Skye rolls her eyes and shakes her head at him.

Skye – Maybe you should have gone with the non-honest answer.

Landon – Sweetheart, come on. Can you blame me? You were wearing those skin tight pants with a belly shirt on…grinding to the beat of the music. I still remember what that shirt looked like on you after you came out of the bathroom. It was all wet and clinging to your…

Skye – Moving on! Next question please!

Skye, you had a couple breakdowns in front of Landon when you barely knew each other. You also opened up to him about Vic. What compelled you to let your emotional guard down around him so soon?

Skye – I’m not really sure how to describe it other than to say that it just felt okay to do it. As Landon so eloquently explained we had a connection from the second we met. Yes, it was purely physical at that point but I was still drawn to him. I hadn’t discussed what had happened with anyone at that point, for what I thought were good reasons. I’m sure subconsciously I needed to get everything off my chest. I think sometimes it’s easier to confess our demons to someone who doesn’t really know us. There’s less fear of judgment from them.

Landon – Can we please not talk, reference or better yet not even acknowledge that cocksucker’s existence?

Skye’s eyes go wide and she rubs a reassuring hand down Landon’s arm. He’s visibly clenching his jaw.

Landon, you visited Skye’s place on the weekend “for work.” What are the chances that was just a convenient excuse to see her outside the office? What would you have done had she not had friends over?

Landon – At the time I had told myself I was headed to her place only so I knew the contracts would get where they needed to go. Looking back now I can see that I was lying to myself…I was looking for an excuse to see more of her. As for what I’d do if her friends weren’t there? Hard to say. I’ll let you leave that to your imagination.

Skye, you were hesitant to get involved with Landon because of the effect it might have on your father’s career and your work life. What pushed you over the edge and made you change your mind?

Skye – The more I got to know Landon, got to see all the different sides to him, the harder it was to ignore the draw. If I didn’t have to see him every day, maybe it would have been easier. But it eventually just became too hard to ignore. The pain of being with him and not being with him was to much. I couldn’t hide my head in the sand anymore and pretend like I wasn’t falling for him.

Landon, you gave Skye what pretty much amounts to the most perfect birthday gift ever. Where did your excellent gift giving skills come from? How will you top that gift?

Landon – Thanks! I was very nicely rewarded for that gift. He winks. Really I was just lucky to have stumbled upon it. As soon as I saw it I knew it was perfect for her. I have some ideas on how I can top it but I’ll keep those to myself.

Skye – Can I please just say that I was totally overwhelmed by that gift.

Landon pulls Skye into his side and kisses the top of her head.

What is your favorite quality about each other?

Skye – I love how protective Landon is of those that he loves. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for them.

Landon picks up Skye’s hand and squeezes it before placing it on his thigh.

Landon – Without a doubt the thing I admire most about Skye is how she puts others before herself. That said, there are times that she does it when she shouldn’t. Landon casts a stern gaze Skye’s way and she looks down sheepishly. But the fact that it’s her first instinct just shows you the type of person she is. The inside is just as beautiful as the outside; which is saying a lot.

Most annoying quality?

Landon – I’m not stupid enough to answer that. He laughs. I’m in PR, remember?

Skye – I guess I should take my cue from Landon. No comment. She giggles.

 If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do? Besides staying in bed all day.

Landon – Since you’ve removed my first choice I’d have to say anything active. I like when we’re working out or jogging. Skye looks so cute when she starts to break a sweat and there’s nothing I like more to do help relieve her of all that sweaty workout gear.

Skye – I’d like to spend the day driving Landon’s Chevelle around.

Landon – Don’t I know it. Skye has discovered all kinds of ways to convince me to let her drive it.

Skye – Alright. Enough of that. A blush creeps into her cheeks.

So, you guys managed to settle things with the business and your professional lives seem to be under control. What’s on the horizon in your personal lives?

They look at each other and both smirk a little.

Landon – Well, I’ve finally managed to convince Skye to move in with me.

Skye – It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. We pretty much lived together anyway. I just wanted to talk to my parents about it first before it was official.

Landon – Your mother loves me. I knew she wouldn’t care.

Skye rolls her eyes.

Skye – I was worried about what my father would think. He wasn’t thrilled that I was “shacking up” with someone but he didn’t fight me on it.

Landon – That’s good because I wouldn’t have wanted to go up against him but there was no way I was going to let you say no, Skye. We belong together and I’ll be damned whatever anyone else thinks.

Book Links

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Don’t miss the rest of the Limelight series:

Rumor Has It (Limelight #1)

Rumor Has It

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Collateral Damage (Limelight #3)

Collateral Damage

Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
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Tango For Two (A Limelight Short)

Tango For Two Cover

Read our Review HERE
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Author Bio

Elisabeth Grace BW

I have a soft spot for romance novels with happily ever afters and a HOT spot for alpha males! I currently live outside Toronto, Canada with my hubby, two small children and cat spawned by the devil. Life is busy, but never to busy for a good story and to share my love of reading and writing with others. Things I can tell you that sum me up…I’m a sugar and carb addict, self-professed Gandy Girl, a disaster in the kitchen, a LOVER of all music, I enjoy reality TV and I’m an early riser! When I have a moment to breath you can usually find me typing furiously on the keyboard to get my next story on paper, or curled up reading about someone else’s HEA.

Author Links

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BLOG TOUR – Damaged by Nina D’Angelo

Damaged

Title – Damaged
Author – Nina D’Angelo
Release Date – February 28, 2014
Series – Outlaws, #1

Damaged cover

Synopsis

Running is all Stephanie Carovella knows…

After witnessing the tragic and brutal murders of her parents and her best friend, Stephanie has built a fortress around her life and refuses to let anyone inside her walls. Especially sexy, tattooed womanizers. But when Stephanie’s cautious path is uprooted, she can’t deny the sexual  tension she feels for Dominic Delaney.

Love ’em and leave ’em is Dominic’s game…

Unfortunately, things change when he falls for the dangerously wild and unpredictable Stephanie. Their intense attraction encourages Dominic to seek the chase, but he soon realizes she is full of secrets. Stephanie refuses to confess how shattered she is, but falling for Dominic could be the only reason to stop running.

Can Dominic show Stephanie even the damaged deserve to fall in love, or will the lingering memories of her traumatic past resurface and ruin it all?

The first installment of the romantic suspense series—The Outlaws—Damaged will have readers gripping their book in this whirlwind drama-filled love affair.

Review

I signed up to review this book because the synopsis made it seem really good, and look at that cover. I mean, those are some gorgeous captivating eyes! Needless to say, I’m really glad that I didn’t pass over this one! I was immediately drawn in from the first page. There were no real introductions or fluff to get to the good stuff. The characters were pulled to each other and from that moment on, you were drawn to them.

I was instantly intrigued by Stephanie Carovella. There was always an air of suspense and mystery that surrounded her. However, D’Angelo also writes her character in a way that makes you feel like deep down, she’s just a girl who wants to be loved in the right way but doesn’t feel she’s even remotely deserving of it. She’s had to conquer so many demons and obstacles that you can’t help but feel sorry for her. On the other hand, she has this take-charge, independent fierceness that you can’t help but admire – especially as her story enfolds.

Then we have Dominic. I loved his loyalty and his protectiveness. That is one of my favorite qualities in a book boyfriend, so to see how utterly protective of Stephanie he became just melted my heart. He was persistent in getting her to open up and pushed her to the extremes, but also knowing just how hard she needed to be pushed. He was so intuitive and masculine! Swoon!

The book is sort of written in dual viewpoints. You get to see what is happening in both the main (as well as some secondary) characters’ heads. However, I wish that it was explicitly stated who we were getting in a headline. Within a couple sentences, you could always tell who it was, but I think it would have been just a little clearer to have it spelled out. Also, there are a couple instances where there was a phrase or word used within the same couple sentences. For example, “…over the fogged up mirror and stared grimly in the mirror”. This tends to be a peeve of mine when it comes to reading so I just wish that there was a little variation. She does not do it a lot, but the couple times she did really stood out to me (though that could be just reader preference).

At about two-thirds of the way through, there was a serious “out of left field” moment that I NEVER saw happening. It threw me for a loop and I absolutely loved it! The book didn’t end on a cliffhanger, but there are definitely things left unanswered. I’m glad that I knew it would be a series because I would have otherwise been unsatisfied. I didn’t realize that Stephanie had her own series when I had picked up this one. Now that I do, I’ll sure be adding Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide, and Deadly Secrets to my to-read list! I’m curious to see how they all fit together.

Rating
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Excerpt

Stephanie took in his nauseous expression, feeling guilty that she hadn’t noticed how tense he was. Shifting in her chair, she grinned when he gripped the bar again, the whitening of his knuckles revealing his fear.

Taking a deep breath, she cupped his face in her hands, bringing his mouth down onto hers for what was supposed be a gentle kiss; a kiss to make him forget his fear of heights and to thank him for sharing this moment with her. Instead, as soon as his lips touched hers, her whole body ignited into flames and she forgot about everything except the feel of his mouth on hers. When their mouths briefly parted, she impulsively delved her hands into his hair and held his lips to hers. Their kiss wasn’t gentle or sweet. It was hot and passionate, and promised so much more.

Stephanie moaned softly against his mouth. Caught up in his touch, she slid her hands from his hair to his broadshoulders. She pressed her chest tightly against his, twisting until she was in his lap.

Dominic stroked her tongue with his. Hearing her soft whimpers of pleasure, he closed his eyes, and a shudder rippled through him as she slid her hands under the back of his T-shirt and stroked his back.

He regretfully broke the kiss when he realized the ride had finished. Lifting his mouth from hers, he grinned at her flushed expression and felt a smug satisfaction as he looked into her eyes, unfocused with passion.

“We should get off,” he murmured softly, chuckling when she muttered underneath her breath, “I think we just did.”

Taking her hand, he led her off the Ferris wheel, guiding her through the crowds, and she let him. She was shaken by their kiss. She told herself she’d only kissed him to make him forget about his fears. She hadn’t expected him to take the kiss further; she hadn’t expected herself to let him, and she certainly hadn’t expected to find herself wanting so much more.

Playlist

Can you share the playlist you listened to while writing ‘Damaged’ with us?

I listened to a lot of different genres while writing Damaged. I actually made a playlist of the most common songs so this is kind of easy to write. Some of these will look familiar, as they made it to the Damaged Playlist.

Damaged Playlist

Author Interview

Nina D'Angelo1. Tell us a little about yourself. (hobbies, family, eduction etc).

I used to be a freelance music journalist before moving into writing novels. I’ve also worked in PR and administration. I realised about 3 years ago I wanted to write novels and started playing around with ideas. The rest is history.

I’m also a travel junkie and have been all over the world. I’ve lived in three different countries and still feel like I have so much to see and do. My favorite places include Dubrovnik, London, Dallas, San Francisco and Nashville.

I love reading, writing (of course) and also photography. Sounds creative huh? I wish I could say I could draw, paint, sew or embroider but I suck at anything that kind of creative. I’m a speedreader and can read a 300 page book in under 90 minutes. I’ve already read 100 books this year!!

2.  What or who got you hooked on wanting to be a writer?

I’ve always been a writer. From the time I was old enough to write, I was making up stories and writing them down. I was 13 when I realised that I really wanted to be a novelist but kept getting told it wasn’t a job but a pipe dream. I ended up studying Media and Professional Writing and Editing before I went to university and did a double degree in Journalism and PR. It was while I was at university, that I took a course in criminology and started playing ideas for a novel. I started writing Nowhere to Run and published it last year followed up by Nowhere to Hide and now Damaged.

3. Tell us what the book is about in a nutshell?

Damaged is a romance with a twist. It’s about two people falling in love, despite the obstacles in their way. And, it’s about true love conquering all -including fears and demons.

Ultimately it’s a love story – it’s about a girl, so deeply damaged she truly believes she doesn’t deserve to fall in love. She’s scared of revealing to anyone who she is and what has happened to me. She likes playing it safe.

Then she meets a guy, who is anything but safe. And, for the first time in her life, she wants to fall head over heels in love. In some ways it’s also a story about closing your eyes and taking that leap of faith where love is concerned.

4. Did any real life people inspire your characters and if so who?

Yes. In some ways, this is my own personal love story. Dominic is based on someone I met and fell in love with while I was traveling around the US.

5. Do you capture your life experiences/personality into your characters?

Every character in all my novels are based on people I know. Every character also has the name of someone I know. I have used a lot of my own life experiences in my novel as well as the experiences of friends and the same with their personalities. A lot of Stephanie Carovella’s demons are mine.

6.  Who is your favourite author and why?

I read a lot of different authors. I don’t even know where to begin. I think the biggest inspiration for me has been James Patterson. He’s not only a savvy marketing guru but has the same twisted sense of style I enjoy writing as well as reading.

7. What’s currently on your to be read list?

Too many!!! My current to read list are catching up on the Kristen Ashley rock chick series so I can start reading her last rock chick novel. Then, it’s anyone’s guess as to what I will read.

8. What’s your one guilty pleasure?

Guilty pleasure? curling up and reading with a good book and a glass of wine. It’s a simple pleasure but I sometimes feel guilty because there are times I should be writing and I’m reading instead.

9. What can we expect next from you?

I’ve got a few things install. I want to do a complete clean up of my first two books and re-release them. I also plan towrite the second in the Outlaws series, which is titled Shattered. I’m also planning a new series – the first book in that will be Lucky and of course, I want to write Deadly Secrets, which is the third in the Stephanie Carovella series.

10. Tell us about other books you’ve read.

Well I’ve read a lot of books. I absolutely love the rock chick series by Kristen Ashley and would recommend it to anyone who loves hot alpha males.

11. If you could invite two famous authors to dinner either dead or alive who would you choose and why?

James Patterson (naturally) and also Stephen King. Both prolific writers, who fascinate me.

12. What book/s have inspired you?

James Patterson’s Kiss the Girls was an inspiration to me but growing up the first books that really grabbed me were Jackie Collins’ Lucky series. I was blown away by them, as they were a completely new genre to me. I wanted to be the next Jackie Collins. Other books that inspire me includ Stephen King’s The Stand, Anne Rice’s The Mummy, Cormac McCarthy’s All The Pretty Horses, and of course, Harper Lee’s To Kill a mockingbird.

The list goes on. So many books have that wonderful ability to leave me breathless or in tears or just blown away.

13. What advice would you give to would be authors?

Don’t get involved in the drama that comes with being an author. Ignore the nastiness and concentrate on writing. You will meet horrible people along the way but you’ll also meet some of the most wonderful people – people, you will find are kindred spirits to yourself and lastly –

Write and never stop.

14. Hardcover, paperbacks or e-readers – which do you prefer?

For me, it’s still paperbacks. I mainly use the e-reader as it’s more conventional with travel and because I read so fast, but nothing can take the place of a paperback. I still love the way you open a brand new book and can smell the new inky aroma or the way you can pick up an old book and get that nostalgic musky scent.  There’s something special about holding a book in your hand.

15 If you could set a future book in any location in the world where would it be and why?

I’m planning on setting one of my next books in New Orleans. It’s this amazing city, with all this history and charm and it’s very appealing. I was there in 2010 and fell in love with it as I wandered the streets. It made me set a crime novel there!