Holy smokes - I am so excited to be a part of the Taming Cross blog tour, sponsored by Inkslinger PR. Ever since I was a part of the Selling Scarlett (Love, Inc. #1) blog tour (you can read my review here), I've been DYING to read the follow up, and I can tell you that I was not disappointed. So, read on for my review, check out the guest post from Ella James where she shares Ten Things You Didn't Know About The Love, Inc. Series, then enter to win signed copies of the Love, Inc. books or an iPad Mini!
Published August 20, 2013
Publisher: Barkley's Books
Format: e-book, provided by the author and Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest review
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4 STARS
(From Goodreads) For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret - one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.
Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.
If there's anyone who knows what it's like to screw up big time, it's Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she's holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.
What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?
Taming Cross was such a fracking exciting book! It was stressful and frustrating and scary and sweet - you will experience the whole range of emotions with this one.
When we last saw Cross at the end of Selling Scarlett, he wasn't in a good place. He had been injured pretty badly in a motorcycle accident, then almost sold to a nasty Mexican drug cartel along with his BFF Lizzy. As he's recouperating, his thoughts turn to Merri, the mistress his father had taken then had sold to the same group of people. And, Cross decides he's had it with his awful father and goes down there to rescue her. When he finds her, they start running for their lives and almost lose them time and time again before it's all over.
Cross is such an amazing character. The guy is so damaged, both physically and emotionally, it's a wonder he hasn't gone blooming crazy. His parents - especially his father - are the worst sort. His job that he loves requires him to work with his hands, and now he's lost the use of one of them. The girl he liked is engaged to someone else. And guilt is eating him alive. Yet, he digs deep and does what everyone would consider impossible - he heads into the bowels of the Mexican drug cartel to find the girl that he feels like he abandoned down there.
Cross was the source of most of my angst. He truly is a good guy and he has put so much pressure and blame on himself, and it's not right. He feels unlovable and not useful. It breaks my heart.
Meredith Kinsey was also done well. She was sold to the head of a nasty cartel and passed off as his girlfriend even though he was gay. Eventually, she escaped to a convent, but things are about to go south in a bad way when Cross shows up, pretending to be "Evan," a bounty hunter working with the US government. Of course she isn't going to trust him, but she still escapes with him because he's the lesser of two evils.
Merri is such a strong woman. She has endured the absolute worst things, and all because she was just a victim of circumstance. Then, she's being shot at by the people who want to take her back. And then she's with the son of her worst enemy. She has every reason to break, but she doesn't. In fact, as it turns out, She and Cross are the medicine that each of them need.
Taming Cross is told in dual POV. Have I mentioned how much I love dual POV stories? I love that we get both sides of the story from the people living them. And, in this case, getting inside Cross' head was so valuable to my understanding of the story.
We get to see little glimpses of Lizzie and Hunter - the characters from Selling Scarlett. That's always nice. We also see a few other characters from the first book - Suri and Marchant. I think my only complaint about Taming Cross was the ending. I feel like there were still a bunch of loose ends that didn't get tied up. But, I trust Ella James to bring those stories to a satisfying close in the final Love Inc. book, Unmaking Marchant.
1. I got the idea for Selling Scarlett, book one (about a girl who sells her virginity at a brothel) about eight years ago, when I desperately wanted to quit my 'day job' and just write. I was constantly trying to think of ways to make lots of money fast, and this was one of them. For about half a second.
2. The locations mentioned in the books are places that I've visited. Hunter and Marchant went to college in New Orleans because my sister lived there when I was writing Selling Scarlett, and Hunter had a place in Napa Valley because I went there on a road trip in college.
3. Priscilla Heat and Jim Gunn are based on real people that I know. Especially Priscilla. I'll never say who (and for legal purposes, I should probably say she's not a carbon copy of someone I know; she's just a loose sketch).
4. I didn't know Hunter's story or Merri's story until I finished their books. Usually when a character has a secret, they keep it from me, too, until just the right time. ;) This makes for a lot of revising to make the front of the book match the end.
5. Sometimes people get upset that Love Inc. is such a 'fun' seeming place, but I wouldn't want to spend my time writing about a really unpleasant brothel. It would be too depressing!
6. I know very little about real Mexican cartels, but I'm slightly afraid they will find my portrayal of cartels to be unsatisfactory and try to look me up to show me how it's really done. o.O
7. I really don't feel like Hunter and Lizzy's story is finished, but I'm not sure where to put it. It didn't fit into Taming Cross and I don't want to derail the story in Unmaking Marchant...
8. Taming Cross and Unmaking Marchant (book 3) will overlap a little. Something big that happened in TC is not what it appeared to be - but you won't know what until Unmaking Marchant.
9. When I started Selling Scarlett, Suri's life situation seemed really ideal to me. She had everything Elizabeth didn't (great fiance, supportive family, lots of money, great job). I'm really surprised how quickly things went to crap for Suri. When Unmaking Marchant starts, she's really a mess.
10. Marchant has a huge secret that even Hunter doesn't know, and they were college roomies. It's going to be a big part of his book.
I'm a Denver, Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. I am happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together we are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone's parents go to war over the placement of a comma. My books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Amazon Top 100 and the Amazon Movers & Shakers List; two were listed among Amazon's Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012. To find out more about my projects and win prizes and swag, find me on Facebook. Questions or comments? Tweet me or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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