May 31, 2016

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & EXCERPT: Easy For Keeps (Boudreaux #3.5)

I absolutely love the 1001 Dark Nights shorts that add so much extra awesomeness to your favorite series. EASY FOR KEEPS adds that extra somethin-somethin to her amazing Boudreaux series. Check out my review and an excerpt from the novella, then go pick it up!

Easy For Keeps (Boudreaux #3.5), by Kristen Proby
Publish Date:
May 24, 2016
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Inc.
Format: e-ARC, provided by Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Adam Turner loves women. All women. Every shape and size, regardless of hair or eye color, religion or race, he simply enjoys them all. Meeting more than his fair share as the manager and head bartender of The Odyssey, a hot spot in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter, Adam’s comfortable with his lifestyle, and sees no reason to change it. A wife and kids, plus the white picket fence are not in the cards for this confirmed bachelor. Until a beautiful woman, and her sweet princess, literally knock him on his ass. 

Sarah Cox has just moved to New Orleans, having accepted a position as a social worker specializing in at-risk women and children. It’s a demanding, sometimes dangerous job, but Sarah is no shy wallflower. She can handle just about anything that comes at her, even the attentions of one sexy Adam Turner. Just because he’s charmed her daughter, making her think of magical kingdoms with happily ever after, doesn’t mean that Sarah believes in fairy tales. But the more time she spends with the enchanting man, the more he begins to sway her into believing in forever.

Even so, when Sarah’s job becomes more dangerous than any of them bargained for, will she be ripped from Adam’s life forever?

Remember Adam? He's Callie's bar tender and now partner at their club Odyssey. He's also a certifiable manwhore, but a totally nice guy. And one woman in need is about to change everything. 

I am a total romantic, and I love the notion that there's one person out there that's our perfect match. Adam couldn't be more different from me, though. He's sweet, a great friend to Callie, and he treats all women with respect. But as far as a happily ever after, he isn't buying it. He can't imagine that there's just one woman out there that's his partner for life. 

I love it when men with silly ideals are proven wrong. 

Adam ends up falling in love with not just one female, but two. Adam dropped into Sarah's and her young daughter's lives just when they needed him. But, Sarah has become used to doing things on her own, and she isn't ready or willing to accept help from Adam or any man. 

Now, I love an independent woman. Prefer them, in fact. But, learning how to ask for help when it's needed is something that every woman needs to know how to do. It is a hard lesson for Sarah to learn. Luckily, Adam is a persistent and patient teacher. 

Easy For Keeps was a great addition to the Boudreaux series. I really loved Adam in Easy Melody and was curious about his story, but I get why it's best as a novella, since the main books in the series focus on each of the Boudreaux siblings. I'm so glad that Kristen Proby found a way to give us a story for someone who isn't a Boudreaux family member, and yet, still make it feel like it's part of the series. Since Adam is Callie's business partner, we do get to see her and Declan, which was fun. 

Easy For Keeps, although only a novella, still packed a lot of story into those 100 pages. There was drama and action and lots of hot, sexy times. It never felt truly instalovey, even though, because of the length, Sarah and Adam fell pretty quickly. It was a really nice balance that Kristen Proby managed well. 

I'm already looking forward to seeing Adam and Sarah in the next full-length Boudreaux book, Easy Kisses, due out later this month. 

“Having trouble?” I ask and grin when she looks up at me in surprise. Hailey is buckled into the back seat now and waves at me with a big smile, and I wave back.

“It was running fine when I left the apartment and came here.” She sighs and lays her forehead against the steering wheel. She’s a pretty woman. She has curves in all the right places, but doesn’t wear clothes that hug them. Her hair is long and just begging for fingers to thread through it.

And her lips are plump and damn kissable. Especially when she bites them the way she’s doing right now as she lifts her head and looks up at me.

“Sounds like your battery is dead.”

“Great,” she replies and blows out a breath.

“Do you have someone you can call?”

She hesitates and then shakes her head no. She’s not quick to trust, that’s for sure, and for some reason, that makes me want to try to help all the more.

It’s been a while since a woman was a challenge.

“We just moved here,” Hailey informs me.


“It’s okay,” I reply. “I can call you a tow truck. I know a guy.”

She nods.

“But I have to tell him your name.”

“Sarah,” she replies. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude.”

“Hey, stranger danger. I get it.” I nod and text my friend, then stare at the two girls for a moment. I can’t just leave them here.

“I can take you wherever you needed to get to.”

“No,” Sarah replies immediately.

“Look, let’s start again. My name’s Adam. I’ve never been arrested for anything, and I’ve received two speeding tickets in my life. I co-own a bar in the Quarter, and that’s why I haven’t been to bed yet today. I can give you references to call if you really want them.”

Her lips twitch into a slight smile and her eyes calm. They’re not just brown. They’re rich, dark chocolate.

And she has a kid. Just be a Good Samaritan and go home to bed.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter Sign Up ** Author Goodreads

May 27, 2016

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Delicate Ink (Montgomery Ink #1)

Delicate Ink (Montgomery Ink #1), by Carrie Ann Ryan
Publish Date:
October 14, 2014
Publisher: Fated Desires Publishing
Format: audiobook, published
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon

Rating: 4 STARS

(Synopsis) On the wrong side of thirty, Austin Montgomery is ready to settle down. Unfortunately, his inked sleeves and scruffy beard isn’t the suave business appearance some women crave. Only finding a woman who can deal with his job, as a tattoo artist and owner of Montgomery Ink, his seven meddling siblings, and his own gruff attitude won’t be easy.

Finding a man is the last thing on Sierra Elder’s mind. A recent transplant to Denver, her focus is on opening her own boutique. Wanting to cover up scars that run deeper than her flesh, she finds in Austin a man that truly gets to her—in more ways than one.

Although wary, they embark on a slow, tempestuous burn of a relationship. When blasts from both their pasts intrude on their present, however, it will take more than a promise of what could be to keep them together.

After experiencing Carrie Ann Ryan's Redwood Pack series, I was curious about her other series, Montgomery Ink. I took one look at the cover and was sold. I mean, hello? 

Honestly, more than the cover, it was the fact that this is a sibling series that sold me. I absolutely love those. There's something so awesome and touching about stories surrounding an extremely close-knit family with lots of siblings that love each other more than themselves. That perfectly describes the Montgomerys. 

The series begins where you would expect - with the oldest of the eight Montgomery kids, Austin. He's in a bad place. He's nearly 40 and he's got no prospects for a future with a wife and kids and all that. On top of that, he just found out the the Montgomery patriarch has cancer. It's really not a good time to start a new relationship, and yet he can't help himself when Sierra Elder opens a boutique across the street from his tattoo shop. 

Things are just starting to get interesting when both Sierra's and Austin's pasts come back to haunt them in big ways. Then, the question becomes whether their new-found relationship can survive these stresses. 

I really enjoyed Delicate Ink. I absolutely loved the Montgomery family dynamic. There's eight kids, two parents, and several BFFs, spouses and grandkids. There's quite a number of times when the whole family is together, and I love those times. There is no familial baggage here, which is refreshing. The kids were brought up with love and they've been allowed to make their own choices and mistakes along the way. 

Austin and Sierra are great together. They don't always make the best choices, but at least they communicated better than most couples.

I loved the audio version of Delicate Ink. It's narrated by Gregory Salinas. He's got this super sexy super deep voice, which usually doesn't work for me when it comes to reading the female POVs. But, I thought he did a pretty good job. If you're on the fence about audiobooks in general or this one in particular, Delicate Ink is the perfect book to start with. The Kindle version is free, and thanks to Whispersynch, the Audible version is only $1.99. This is eight-and-a-half hours of fun for only two bucks. You can't beat that. 

The other siblings' stories are slowly getting set up in the first book, and just make me want to read them all in a row. In fact, I think I might just do that...

May 26, 2016

COVER REVEAL: Bedmates (American Royalty #1)

I have a confession to make. I have listened to the audio version of Nichole Chase's Suddenly Royal three times. And, there were certain parts in that book (ahem) that I listened to a lot more than that. It's always been one of my favorite new adult books. So, I was absolutely fan-girl excited when I found out she was starting a brand new series! Her new American Royalty series begins with BEDMATES, out on October 4 from William Morrow Paperbacks.

And today I get to show you the cover...

Bedmates (American Royalty #1), by Nichole Chase
Publish Date:
October 4, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

(Synopsis) Everyone makes mistakes, especially in college. But when you're the daughter of the President of the United States, any little slip up is a huge embarrassment. Maddie McGuire's latest error in judgment lands her in police custody, giving the press a field day. Agreeing to do community service as penance and to restore her tattered reputation, Maddie never dreams incredibly good looking but extremely annoying vice president's son, Jake Simmon, will be along for the ride.

Recently returning from Afghanistan with a life-altering injury, Jake is wrestling with his own demons. He doesn't have the time or patience to deal with the likes of Maddie. They're like oil and water and every time they're together, it's combustible. But there's a thin line between love and hate, and it's not long before their fiery arguments give way to infinitely sexier encounters.

When Jake receives devastating news about the last remaining member of his unit, the darkness he's resisted for so long begins to overwhelm him. Scared to let anyone close, he pushes Maddie away. But she isn't about to give up on Jake that easily. Maddie's fallen for him, and she'll do anything to keep him from the edge as they both discover that love is a battlefield and there are some fights you just can't lose.

Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal and Recklessly Royal. She lives in Georgia with her husband, toddler, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not devouring novels by the dozens, you can find her writing, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.

May 25, 2016

REVIEW: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2)

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2), by Marie Rutkoski
Publish Date:
March 3, 2015
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Format: paperback, purchased
Genre: young adult fantasy romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.
I don't think there's a book in the history of ever that made me as crazy as The Winner's Crime. I was wooed by the characters in The Winner's Curse. I was made to feel badly for their situations and to celebrate their triumphs. I especially fell in love with them as they fell in love with each other. And all this made The Winner's Crime all that more frustrating. 

Our characters - Kestrel and Arin especially - are struggling to define what is "right" and "good" and especially "true." Kestrel is now engaged to prince Verex even though her heart still belongs to Arin. But, Kestrel knows that she has a better ability to save him and his people if she continues to play the role that has been thrust upon her by the evil emperor. And that includes pretending that she couldn't care less about Arin. 

My heart broke over and over and over again for Kestrel. She may be the strongest female character I've ever read about. She made so many difficult choices in The Winner's Crime, all in the name of love. She loves Arin, and wants him and his people to be happy again. She feels that her people have gravely wronged his people (which they SO have), and she wants to make it right. She may be only a 17-year-old girl, but she's brilliant and clever and driven by a moral compass that always points true. 

Arin is trying to match up what he knows about Kestrel in his heart with what he sees with his eyes and hears with his ears. He's terribly confused because these things don't match up. And Arin is increasingly more and more heartbroken. He and Kestrel are both completely miserable through this entire book, but I felt like it all had to happen that way. HEAs can't come easily if you want them to be truly fulfilling. Arin had to go through all his doubt and hatred of Kestrel in order to appreciate her and love all that more later. 

We encounter several awesome side characters in The Winner's Curse. Roshar, Verex, Tensen, Risha - they all add so much more richness to this already abundant storyline. Over the course of the book, we visited so many different parts of this world that Marie Rutkoski created - all of them very different and interesting. The characters and worlds and the complex story of love and betrayal and trust absolutely captivated me. And that ending.. 

May 24, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm back again to do a Top Ten Tuesday, and today I'm listing...

The Top Ten Seven Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

1. Insurgent (Divergent #2), by Veronica Roth - When I first read Insurgent, I gave it a solid 4 stars. It was complex and emotional and scary at times. After thinking about it more, It became a 3 star book. After a bit more time, I found it slipping toward 2 stars. Tris just became more whiney than emotional, the plot was overly complicated instead of complex and I had no desire to see how her story finished.

2. Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1), by JR Ward - When I first read Dark Lover, I just thought it was the best thing I had ever read. So, of course I had to keep reading through the series. By the time I reached the third book, I realized That Dark Lover really wasn't the best book in the series. And I had an inkling that the books were just going to get better and better.

3. Wings (Wings #1), by Aprilynne Pike - When I first read Wings by Aprilynne Pike, I have to admit - I wasn't a huge fan. But, I must've seen something in it that intrigued me, because I kept reading. And, by the time I reached the final book in the series, I was able to look back at the first book and appreciate the groundwork that was being laid for the fantastic end to this series.

4. Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), by Richelle Mead - I wasn't excited to read Bloodlines. I wasn't a big Sydney fan. And I was sad that the Vampire Academy series was over. I think I went into Bloodlines with a bad attitude, which soured the experience for me. Later on, with a few more books in the series under my belt, I realized that they all were pretty awesome. Perspective is a wonderful thing.

5. Half-Blood (Covenant #1), by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I've read Half-Blood... maybe, 6 times now? And I remember after the very first time, I rated it 4 stars because I thought Alex was a little too headstrong for my liking and that Aiden could do better. Once I re-read it a few times, and also read the next few books in the series (especially Deity), I felt different about Half-Blood though, and recognized it for what it was. INCREDIBLE.

6. Beautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard #1), by Christina Lauren - The first time I read Beautiful Bastard, I only gave it three stars. I didn't like the way Bennett treated Chloe - like some sexual object that he didn't really cared about. I thought it was a little unbelievable how quickly she let him into her pants, and then was annoyed with her when she got annoyed about that. After reading the next few books in the series and loving them, though, I went back and re-read Beautiful Bastard, and for some reason, the second time around, I enjoyed it so much more.

7. Reached (Matched #3), by Ally Condie - I wasn't thrilled by the finale of the Matched series. I felt horribly unfulfilled. I didn't realize exactly how unfulfilled I was, though, until I read a few more series enders that were incredibly fulfilling.

May 20, 2016

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & EXCERPT: Too Hot to Handle (Romancing the Clarksons #1)

I love all things Tessa Bailey, and TOO HOT TO HANDLE kicks off a brand new series for us to love! Check out my review and an excerpt from her first Romancing the Clarksons novel!

Too Hot to Handle (Romancing the Clarksons #1), by Tessa Bailey
Publish Date:
May 17, 2016
Publisher: Forever Romance
Format: e-ARC, provided by Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(Synopsis) The road trip was definitely a bad idea. Having already flambéed her culinary career beyond recognition, Rita Clarkson is now stranded in God-Knows-Where, New Mexico, with a busted-ass car and her three temperamental siblings, who she hasn't seen in years. When rescue shows up---six-feet-plus of hot, charming sex on a motorcycle---Rita's pretty certain she's gone from the frying pan right into the fire...

Jasper Ellis has a bad boy reputation in this town, and he loathes it. The moment he sees Rita, though, Jasper knows he's about to be sorely tempted. There's something real between them. Something raw. And Jasper has only a few days to show Rita that he isn't just for tonight---he's forever.

After Rita Clarkson's life goes up in flames in California, she decides to fulfill what she thinks is her mom's dying wish in New York. Her three siblings and she climb into a beat-up Subaru and start the trek across country, only to get to New Mexico before they break down. Help shows up in the form of Jasper Ellis. And Rita gets more help from him than what she bargained for.

Jasper was a fantastic character. He's the town's reformed manwhore, but he can't seem to shake the moniker. And that bugs him, because he is ready for people to take him seriously. I love that about him. He's really trying to move forward in his life and grow up, but the people in his small town are having a hard time allowing him to do that. It sucks, and Jasper seems about ready to throw up his hands and slide back into the image they've all formed for him.

Rita, on the other hand, seems to be running away from who she is. She has incredible talent in the kitchen, but doesn't believe in it after growing up in her professional chef of a mother's very large shadow. So, she's giving up on that path and plans to do something completely different after reaching New York.

To be honest with you, Rita wasn't my most favorite character ever. I didn't like her attitude about her life, her siblings or Jasper most of the time. She's very cynical and just generally angry and unhappy in her life, and that seemed to shine through in how she talked to people and in her actions. She and Jasper seemed like complete opposites, and I didn't really feel their connection at times. There's no doubt that Jasper and Rita were good for each other, though, and I did love watching them try to bring the other out of the shadows in which they lived.

This sibling relationship book isn't typical in that Rita and her three siblings don't seem to really like one another very much. They're not close, and they're all very different. When Rita's restaurant burns down, they're not terribly concerned or comforting. They were sort of jerks to each other, so while I get that they might want to go on this road trip together to try and get closer together, I also found myself annoyed at them often, because it seemed like Rita was the only one trying most of the time.

In typical Tessa Bailey fashion, the best part about Too Hot to Handle is the romance between Jasper and Rita. I might not have always got it, but that didn't make the sexual tension and the sweetness between them any less awesome.

It's clear that the rest of the Romancing the Clarksons books will be about each sibling in this somewhat broken family. There are indications about what each sibling's book might be about, and I'm intrigued to read their stories. And, I'm really hoping that when we get to the last book that the siblings will all come back together and be stronger because of this road trip experience.

He dipped down until they were nose to nose, saw the rush of thought going on behind her eyes. It was pretty damn breathtaking up close. “Mind cluing me in as to what’s going on in there?”

“If—if—we need to stay overnight—”

“You will.”

“—then I might see you at the bar.” She wedged a hand between them and separated their bodies. “I’d rather see someone’s worst than their best. Saves time.”
Jasper heard the tow truck pulling into the garage parking lot and cursed. Not even remotely confident that his first attempt at polite conversation with an available woman had been successful, Jasper walked her backward until they were hidden behind a rusted pay phone. She’d broken away from his touch, so he was careful to respect that. He dropped his mouth to an inch above hers and said, low, “I didn’t get near enough time with you, Rita. If you don’t show up tonight, don’t be surprised if I come looking.” He laid his palms against the warm building, above her head, watched her gaze dip to his stomach. His lap. “And if I have to come looking, I’ll be twice as determined to get that kiss.”

Her head came up. “W-what kiss?”

Jasper lowered his mouth until their lips brushed. He listened to her breath accelerate, watched her wet her lips. “The one I want to give you right now.” He allowed himself to linger another few seconds, then, with the effort of ten oxen, Jasper stepped back. “Tonight, beautiful.”

On his way to his bike, Jasper tipped his hat at Rita’s gaping siblings.

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

May 19, 2016

BLOG TOUR REVIEW, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Charged (Saints of Denver #2)

Jay Crownover can keep writing sexy books with uniquely named characters who find themselves in sticky situations, and I swear, I will read every single one of them. CHARGED is the latest one in her Saints of Denver series, and it was so awesome. Check out my review and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Charged (Saints of Denver #2), by Jay Crownover
Publish Date:
May 24, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Format: e-ARC, provided by Inkslinger PR
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson’s worlds have no reason to collide. Ever. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome. Avett is a pink-haired troublemaker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men.

When Avett lands in a sea of hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is the insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing on earth she wants to do is rely on the no-nonsense attorney who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance. He literally has her fate in his hands. Yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun…with her.

Quaid never takes on clients like the impulsive young woman with a Technicolor dye job. She could stand to learn a hard lesson or two, but something about her guileless hazel eyes intrigues him. Still, he’s determined to keep their relationship strictly business. But doing so is becoming more impossible with each day he spends with her.

As they work side-by-side, they’ll have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other—because the chemistry between them is beyond charged.

Honestly, this may be my new favorite book by Jay Crownover. Which is kind of shocking to me, since in previous books when we saw Avett, I sort of hated her. I didn't know how well I would like Charged, given my feelings about one of the two main characters. No one was more surprised than me when, after I closed the book, I wanted to open it back up and read it all over again.

We've met Avett a few times before, but it was her actions in Asa (Marked Men #6) that set the stage for what happened in Charged. After hooking her wagon to a drug-dealing and drug-using loser, Avett got caught up in one bad situation after another. The worst of these situations - an attempted robbery at Avett's father's former bar and the injury of a police officer - have landed Avett in jail with the potential for real time. This is Avett's rock bottom. Or, so she thinks.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get myself turned around, and the longer I was circling this dead end, the darker and more wicked it became.

Quaid is the attorney hired to represent Avett, and his initial impression of her matched my own. He didn't like her, and he especially didn't like her choices. But, he wants to make parter at his firm, and subsequently prove to himself that he's come so far from his poor childhood, so he will take whatever cases are sent his way. But, Avett's stark honesty and bold attitude impress and inspire him, and soon Quaid is questioning everything he thought he had figured out about his adult self.

She was a tiny whirlwind of destruction and I couldn't seem to keep up with the different directions she was blowing my emotions in. I'd never encountered anyone like her. I couldn't remember ever dealing with someone as real, as open with their faults and failures, as Avett seemed to be. I'd never met anyone as reckless with their own fate as she was. Something about that was really intriguing.

Unlike many tortured new adult characters, Avett grew up being loved by both her parents. It was this that made me so angry with her. She had parents who loved her and others in her life like Rome and Asa who were kind to her and wanted to help her, and yet she crapped all over them and did things to deliberately hurt them. Having the chance to be inside Avett's head was awesome. It gave me much-needed perspective on her as a character and it completely changed everything for me.

The depth of Avett's self-loathing was a palpable thing. She hated herself so much more than anyone else hated her, and that absolutely broke my heart. She wanted so badly to make amends with her father, mother, Asa, and others in her life that she wronged, but she didn't think she was even worthy of their forgiveness.

Quaid became the person that started to turn things around for her. Their relationship was volatile at first, given the attorney/client nature of it. But, later on, Quaid became her eye in the storm. And the most awesome thing about this book is, Avett became that for Quaid as well. Because, even though Quaid's problems and issues might not be the same as Avett's, he had them all the same.

She made me forget who I was supposed to be now, and she made me forget the man I had spent a lifetime trying to bury. With her, I was someone new, someone that didn't feel fake or forgotten.

I love the glimpses we see from the Marked Men in this new spin-off series. In Charged, we got to catch up with Asa and Rome, which was so much fun. I loved how they each played their own role in helping Avett crawl out of the hole in which she had fallen.

In the end, this was a book about two people who needed each other in different ways - one was desperately broken and needed the love of another to help her start to put herself back together again. The other didn't even know he was broken until he met the person who fit in all his missing pieces.

"I guess at the end of the day, it's better to have nothing with the right person than to have everything with the wrong person, isn't it?"


“This is a bad idea.” I knew it. I could feel it deep in my bones and the allure of letting go, of doing what I always did, and falling headfirst into disaster, was pulling at me hard. But I was supposed to be changing. I was supposed to actually be sorry, not just saying it and turning around into the next catastrophe. I knew kissing Quaid Jackson was going to lead to all kinds of sorry and sorrow. I knew it as much as I knew I didn’t care and that I was going to kiss him and chase this bad idea until it crashed and burned, like they always did.

“You made a lot of them lately. What’s one more?”

He was right. What was one more? Especially when it looked like him, when it smelled sleepy and expensive like he did, when it felt hot and hard pressed up against me. What was one more awful choice when it came with lips that were firm and demanding as they landed against mine? What was one more when it was attached to rough hands that brushed along my exposed rib cage and paused under the achy swell of my breast? What was one more bad decision on top of all the other ones that had led this particular mammoth-sized bad decision to my door?

I had plenty of time, tomorrow, to do the right thing, but now I was going to enjoy the hell out of the wrong thing as he pressed his mouth more insistently into mine, taking the choice of which came first—the kiss or the story—out of my hands. Maybe that was why I was so drawn to him, so attracted to everything there was about him. He didn’t give me the room or the chance to make any kind of choice, good or bad. He decided and I followed his lead towards victory or towards ruin…and this kiss felt like it had everything in it to ruin both of us.

It was the first time in my life that a bad idea felt like the best idea I had ever had. 

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

Links:  Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BLOG TOUR REVIEW, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: The Spiral Down (The Fall Up #2)

Henry's story is here, and what a story! Check out my review and an excerpt from THE SPIRAL DOWN. And, don't forget to enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

The Spiral Down (The Fall Up #2), by Aly Martinez
Publish Date:
May 17, 2016
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by TRSOR Promotions
Genre: adult m/m contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(Synopsis) I was afraid to fly. He made me soar.

After years of climbing the ladder of success in the music industry, I finally had everything I could want. 

Yet I still found myself wandering through life alone.

Captain Evan Roth was the one man I never saw coming. 

Tall, dark, mysterious… Straight.

We were both damaged beyond repair and searching for something so elusive we weren’t sure it even existed.

But, when two broken souls collide in midair, falling is a given.

I just never expected to crave the spiral down.

Henry Alexander is a force larger than life. Charismatic, wildly talented, gorgeous, and a total rock star - literally - he is loved by many. Except for his musical partner and best friend Levee, though, Henry doesn't really see it. He doesn't feel loved by anyone, which is so sad for such a vibrant personality. 

Like attracts like, so of course Henry is immediately attracted to pilot Evan Roth. Evan also is having trouble in the love department - although in his case, he has trouble loving others back. A bad relationship 10 years earlier has affected his ability to open himself up to love from anyone - man or woman. 

Geez, these two are a mess. 

Despite that, Evan and Henry together were better than they were individually

I loved the fact that The Spiral Down was in dual POV. As their relationship progressed, Evan and Henry had a lot of stuff to work out on their own, and they did a lot of that inside their own heads. Henry had to work through his feelings of abandonment that are left over from his crap childhood. And Evan had to work out his resistance to commitment, caused by the epic failure of his one relationship with someone he truly loved.

I've got to tell you - the sexual tension in The Spiral Down was ridiculously awesome. Evan and Henry have this palpable connection that was evident from their very first meeting. They couldn't not be around each other, and yet there was all this emotional baggage holding them back from fully giving in to their attraction. So, what you're left with is weeks of them being apart and questioning EVERYTHING, followed by them coming together in explosive, volatile fashion for a very short while. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I really did love The Spiral Down. I loved the glimpses of Sam and Levee's life now. I loved Henry's goofy banter, especially with Sam and Carter. I loved Evan's and Henry's connection, even when they didn't love it so much. This is definitely a book for your TBR. 


“How about you and one of your girls come out to my show in L.A. next week? My treat. Dinner, drinks, the whole deal. Evan and I would love to take you two beautiful ladies out for an evening.”

“Excuse me?” he exclaimed, cocking his head to catch my gaze.

I leaned back into my seat and lifted a hand to massage his shoulder. I was barely able to suppress a moan when the angle of his firm trap muscle met my palm.

Fuck, this guy was built like a brick wall. And I was going to love every second of watching him crumble for me.

“Oh, come on, Evan. It’s the least we can do. Double date.” I winked at Jessica. “You can fly them out! My plane should be ready by then.”

Jessica’s eyes jumped to Evan’s. “You’re a pilot?” Her smile spread irritatingly wide.

Back off, Ginger Spice.

Snapping my fingers in her direction, I corrected, “He’s my pilot.”

Subtlety was not a virtue I possessed. Was subtlety a virtue at all?

“Your temporary pilot,” he amended before shaking his head and then tipping his beer to his lips for a long pull.

“Anyway. Do we have a date?” And, by date, I meant feeding her dinner while I attempted to work my way into Evan’s pants.

She pressed one finger to her lips and then nervously flashed her eyes around the cabin.

“Oops. Sorry.” I shrugged sheepishly. Lifting my drink to my mouth, I discreetly passed her my cocktail napkin and then not-so-discreetly brushed my forearm against Evan’s chest as I pulled away.

He offered her a tight smile just before she disappeared.

I grinned proudly.

“What the fucking hell was that?” he whisper-yelled at me.

“That was me getting a woman’s number.”

He arched an eyebrow. “A woman. Really?”

“What? Is that not allowed?” I feigned innocence.

He clenched his fist in his lap, and it made me suddenly aware that my own hands had stopped trembling—and in record time, I should note. Evan seemed to be quite useful in the art of distraction.

He leaned closer. “Don’t bullshit me. I looked you up. You’re…” He stopped, unwilling to say the big, bad “G” word.

“I’m what?” I taunted.

He rolled his eyes and chugged the rest of his beer.

We went back to silence until Jessica came back by with another drink, complete with her phone number written on the napkin.

“I’m not going on a double date,” Evan said as I tucked the napkin into my pocket. “You want me to fly them out? Not a problem. Schedule it with Jackson. But that’s the extent of my professional responsibilities. And, since I’m off the clock right now, I’d also like to mention that I think whatever play you’re planning to run on that woman is fucked up.”

My head snapped to his. “I’m sorry. Play?” I asked with more attitude than I had originally planned.

“Yes. Play,” he sneered.

I stirred my drink. “Let me get this straight. I’m offering to fly her out in a private jet, feed her dinner at one of the best restaurants in the city, and put her front row at a concert that has been sold out for over a year. That doesn’t seem like a play to me. It sounds like I’m trying to do something nice for a woman I was rude to earlier.” I casually leaned back in my seat. “My conscience doesn’t ‘play’ when it comes to apologies.”

“Right. Well, maybe you should have a chat with your conscience, because she looks like she just won the date of a lifetime. Meanwhile, you don’t even like women.” He stalled, no doubt looking for just the right word to express his disgust without sounding like a bigot. Judging by his gentleness when we’d taken off, he wasn’t the type of guy to go for the fag bomb.

I watched him intently, excited to see how he was going to handle this.

“You’re gay.”

I frowned at his lack of creativity. “Not that it’s any of your damn business. But I’ll have you know I love women.”

It wasn’t a lie. I adored women. Especially Levee and Robin.

I just didn’t like pussy. Meh. Semantics.

He gaped. “You’re bi?”

“And I’ll repeat: None of your damn business. But yeah. Do you have a problem with that?”

Again, it wasn’t necessarily a lie.

Was I bisexual? Fuck no. My cock was in no way an equal opportunity employer.

I was somewhat bilingual though. I knew how to ask for a blow job in English and Spanish. I pretended that was what he meant.

Chupame la verga.

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 18, 2016

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & EXCERPT: Falling Under You (Fixed #4.5)

I was so excited to finally get Norma and Boyd's story in this fantastically sexy 1001 Dark Nights novella, FALLING UNDER YOU. Check out my review and an excerpt!

Falling Under You (Fixed #4.5), by Laurelin Paige
Publish Date:
May 10, 2016
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Inc.
Format: e-ARC, provided by Inkslinger PR
Genre: young adult fantasy
To Buy: Amazon

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(Synopsis) Norma Anders has always prided herself on her intelligence and determination. She climbed out of poverty, put herself through school and is now a chief financial advisor at Pierce Industries. She’s certainly a woman who won’t be topped. Not in business anyway.

But she’s pretty sure she’d like to be topped in the bedroom.

Unfortunately most men see independence and ambition in a woman and they run. Even her dominant boss, Hudson Pierce has turned down her advances, leaving her to fear that she will never find the lover she’s longing for.

Then the most unlikely candidate steps up. Boyd, her much-too-young and oh-so-hot assistant surprises her one night with bold suggestions and an authoritative demeanor he’s never shown her in the office.

It’s a bad idea…such a deliciously bad idea…but when Boyd takes the reins and leads her to sensual bliss she’s never known, the headstrong Norma can’t help but fall under his command.

If you're at all familiar with Laurelin Paige's Fixed series, you should be familiar with Norma Anders. If you've also read Laurelin's Found duet (which is a spin-off of the Fixed series), I don't think there's any way you couldn't be curious about the alpha female, type A CFO of Pierce Industries. And her somewhat untraditional relationship with her assistant Boyd.

The best thing about Falling Under You was that we got to see what is underneath the Norma that we've seen up until now. And believe me - there's SO MUCH we haven't seen. Like, WHOA.

Norma feels responsible for everyone and everything. She has a high pressure important job working for Hudson. She's the oldest of three, and with their parents not in the picture, Norma feels like she needs to take care of her younger sister and brother. She has no time to turn off her brain and certainly no time to find a man who an help her with that.

As it turns out, there's been one under her nose for years.

Boyd - my goodness I love that man. He's so much younger than Norma, but so much older than her at the same time. He seems to know exactly what she needs, when she needs it, and he's willing to give it to her. And, holy smokes, does he ever give it to her good. But, Boyd has very strict rules, which is exactly what Norma needs from him.

Their relationship isn't easy, though, given the "no romantic relationships at work" rule at place at Pierce Industries. The secrecy starts to wear on both of them, and Norma is faced with a choice - her job or her boyfriend.

I loved delving into the Fixed world one more time to get the scoop on Norma and Boyd. Their story was surprisingly emotional and not surprisingly hot as hell. And their story was like the last piece in the Fixed puzzle. 

I groaned and threw the covers off of me, heading for the shower. Usually I ran first, and I still planned to, but I needed something to cool the fire in my veins. Hopefully standing under an ice cold stream of water would do the trick.

It didn’t.

I tried running next, opting for ten miles instead of my normal six, thinking maybe I could sweat out the lust like it was a cold. Or was that a fever? Whatever, I came back tired, achy and soaked in perspiration, and the buzz between my legs was stronger than ever.

I was distracted by it through the rest of the morning. Gwen and I caught up on America’s Got Talent before she planned to go to bed for the day—her job at a nightclub kept her on a strange schedule. Afterward, I couldn’t remember a single thing I’d watched, but I could recall with clarity every moment I’d spent with Boyd the night before. That wasn’t a subject I planned on discussing with Gwen, though. So most of my responses to her were nods and grunts. Then she’d gone to sleep, thankfully, except after that I was left alone with the agony of my desire.

The rest of the night was more of the same, and Sunday as well. By Monday morning, I’d run over twenty miles, cleaned my entire house, taken five showers, and not thought about Boyd Barrett about a thousand times. Maybe even two thousand times. And now I had to go to work and face him.

Help me God.

I decided to go in early. That way I could sneak into my office without having to pass him on the way in. It wasn’t until I was in the elevator on my way to my floor that I remembered I also didn’t want to see Hudson. Several years with a clean, respectable work record, and in one evening I’d shattered my reputation with not one, but two, colleagues. The two colleagues who were the most important to me, no less.

Jesus, maybe I did need to quit.

It wasn’t yet seven, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Hudson were already working. Often, he slept in the loft above his office, which made an early appearance more probable than one from Boyd. Anxiety rose in my chest, an odd feeling for me since I was usually composed and calm. As soon as the doors opened, I ducked my head and scurried down the hallway, letting out a sigh of relief when I made it past Hudson’s office without seeing him.

And then gasping sharply when I ran into him, instead, outside my own office.

“Norma, I was hoping you’d be here early. I wondered if I could have a few minutes of your time.”

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or dreaming of Adam Levine. She's also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn't do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman.

Learn more about Laurelin --> Website | Facebook | Twitter

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & EXCERPT: Dirty Girl (Dirty Girl Duet #1)

Ever since encountering Creighton and Holly in Meghan March's Dirty Billionaire series, I've wanted more from her in this world. And now I'm getting it in the form of Creighton's sister Greer's story. Read on for my review and an excerpt from Dirty Girl.

Dirty Girl (Dirty Girl Duet #1), by Meghan March
Publish Date:
May 17, 2016
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(Synopsis) From USA Today bestselling author Meghan March comes a sexy new spin-off duet from The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy. Are you ready to get dirty again?

Desperately seeking rich, famous, single guy with a giant cock to make my lying, cheating, should’ve-been-born-dickless ex-boyfriend realize what he’s just lost.

Oh, and I give great head. Just sayin’.

No man in his right mind would answer that ad.

Except thousands did.

My name is Greer Karas, and I should never be allowed near another bottle of booze again. Because when I drink, my friend and I do stupid things. Like take a page out of my older brother Creighton’s playbook and post something completely asinine on the Internet. Waking up with a giant hangover to find my humiliating personal ad has gone viral is not my finest moment.

Cue my look of shock when one of Hollywood’s hottest new bad boys, Cavanaugh Westman, comes knocking at my door and drops his pants to prove that he does indeed have a giant cock.

What he doesn’t have is an explanation for why he disappeared from my life without a word three years ago, only to show up on the big screen two years later, killing bad guys in action flicks.

And now he wants me again.

What the hell do I do now?

The first time I experienced anything written by Meghan March was when I spent time in her Dirty Billionaire world and fell in love with Creighton and Holly Karas. Since that time, I've read the first two books in her Beneath series (and am loving them!), but when I found out she was going back to the Dirty Billionaire world to write a story about Creighton's half-sister, Greer, I was all,

Greer Karas' problems might not be ones that I recognize in my very typical middle-class world, but that doesn't mean they aren't real. Being a member of a famous, filthy rich family means that her life is constantly under a microscope. Freedom to make choices and succeed or fail because of them is nonexistent when her brother's company's stock prices can be affected by the most seemingly harmless thing.

Can you even imagine what that's like? Greer can't have a girls night out where she gets plastered and goes home with a hot guy for a one-night stand. She can't even get trashed in the comfort of her own home with her bestie and post something ridiculous online without affecting everyone around her. She knows about THAT ONE firsthand.

After being cheated on, Greer's "one that got away" has been haunting her even more than usual. It doesn't help that Cav Westman is now a big time movie star and on billboards and in magazines and on TV interview shows. Greer can't escape the "what ifs." And, after basically calling him out on social media one drunken night, her new "what if" question to be answered is, "What if Cavanaugh Westman shows up outside my door ready to pick up where we left off?"

The Dirty Girl duet is a fantastic second chance love story, and you know how much I love those. Greer is trying to guard her heart as best she can, since Cav left so easily without so much as a goodbye once before. He can just as easily do it again. But, my goodness - how can she not fall back in love with this man? He's gorgeous and confident and sweet and sexy. And the sexual tension that Meghan March has so expertly woven into their story is off the charts.

But, Cav is very obviously holding something back. Greer never has gotten the full reason as to why he left her years ago without so much as a text. And, every time she asks, he hedges. It made me mad on Greer's behalf. As much as I loved Cav and thought that he and Greer deserved to find their happy, I was pissed at him for most of the book too. He should know by now that secrets are never, ever a good thing, and if he's as dedicated to getting Greer back as he seems to be during his introspective periods, he needed to come clean with her.

If you're familiar with Meghan March's Dirty Billionaire series, you know that the endings of each part of the story are killer. Dirty Girl was no different. You'll get to the end, and go...

But, never fear! Dirty Love, which is the conclusion to Greer and Cav's story, comes out on May 31, so you'll only have to wait for two short weeks. I, for one, can't wait to see what happens next. 


No. Fucking. Way.

Can you photoshop real life? Because that’s the only way I can possibly be seeing through my peephole what I’m seeing right now.

Cavanaugh Westman. In the flesh. Outside my door.

The knock stopped me mid-shuffle on the way to my coffeemaker. So that makes me an uncaffeinated, makeup-less, messy-bunned, legging-wearing couch surfer who hasn’t showered in the two days I’ve spent holed up in my apartment.

He can’t see me like this.

I’ve had so many fantasies of how it will go when I finally came face-to-face with Cav again. I’ll be wearing something sexy, yet classy. Perfect hair, makeup, eyebrows. I’ll adopt a casually disinterested mien. He’ll be devastated when he realizes what he missed out on by standing me up that night and disappearing without a word.

There’s no way in hell I’m answering that door. Cav Westman can sit out in my hallway all day. Not opening it.

But Cav reads my mind, the bastard.

“Open the door, baby girl. Your message came through loud and clear with that ad.”

A barely audible gasp escapes my lungs.

“That’s right, I know you’re standing there. So, open the door, Greer.”

His deep, gravelly voice stirs memories I thought I wiped out of my brain. Apparently not.

I rush to the couch to grab my phone. I need to text Banner. Need to freak out with her and schedule an emergency spa day so I can be all the things I need to be before facing him again.

My thoughts come to a screeching halt. I do not need to impress Cav Westman. He’s nothing to me. And I can prove it right now by opening the door. He’ll see exactly how much I don’t care about his opinion.

Before I can change my mind, or look down at my shirt to make sure I’m not sporting any stains from yesterday’s coffee, I reach for the dead bolts and unlock them before I twist the doorknob and tug.

As soon as the door is open, I know I’ve made a terrible mistake.

Through the peephole, he was marginally distorted. On the billboards and movie posters plastered to the sides of buses in the city, he looked like a total stranger. But Cav in the flesh?


I lose my grip on the door and it swings open.

How does he not look older? No new lines bracket his mouth or crease the corners of his eyes. Instead, a new scar curves along his jaw, giving him a sexier, more dangerous look. His shoulders are impossibly broader, making his hips seem even narrower.

His hazel eyes flash as he takes me in—at least they haven’t changed. Today they’re more tawny gold than gray or green. Guessing what color they would be was part of the game I played with myself before. His dark brown hair is sexy and disheveled, longer than the buzz cut he had before, but everything else is the same. Worn jeans, a plain T-shirt, and scuffed boots. Strong, bold features that many a man would find impossible to carry off, but are the reason millions of women would line up to have Cavanaugh Westman’s babies.

“What are you doing here?” I whisper, reminding myself that I no longer have some naive fantasy of being the one for Cav.

His gaze returns to my face, and I know his inspection of me can’t be nearly as flattering as mine of him.

I’m waiting for him to say something . . . anything. Like an apology or an explanation for disappearing three years ago, but instead I get something completely different.

His hands drop to the button of his jeans. “Based on your ad, the inspection isn’t quite complete.”

If my jaw could drop to the floor like a cartoon character’s, it would.

Oh. My. God. I never saw what he was packing before, only a grazing handful the one night I finally got bold, but he put me off, promising me a night that never happened.

I stand like a slack-jawed moron and force my gaze to his face.

“What are you doing?”

His wicked grin—one he uses so rarely, even in the movies of his I’ll never admit I’ve seen—wipes away the three years between our past and present.

The hiss of the zipper comes next.

I keep my gaze on his face as his eyes dare me. To look or to stop him, I’m not sure which.

“Apparently you’ve changed your requirements for wooing, baby girl.”

The endearment on his lips brings back another wave of memories, but the flex of his bicep against the sleeve of his T-shirt steals my attention.

Oh. My. God.

He’s gripping his cock, stroking it, isn’t he? All I have to do is look down, and I’ll have more than one question answered.

“You know you wanna look.”

The dare is there again. And he’s right. I want to look. So I do.

Sweet Jesus.

Oh. My. Hell.

Well, let’s just say Cav knocked that requirement out of the park. The sight of his long, thick cock in his big, capable hand sends heat rushing south through my body, pooling between my thighs. My nipples, sans bra, strain against the material of my shirt. Cav’s gaze drops as well—to my chest.

The room pulses with a desperate intensity. Hanging between us is the night we never had. The one he walked away from.

I have two choices. Take what I want, what I asked for, or hold on to the rejection he dealt me three years ago.

My brain short-circuits on one thought—life is short, and you never know if you’ll get a second chance.

So I step forward, wrap one hand around his neck and the other around his cock, and kiss him for everything I’m worth.

Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She's also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she's ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at

Amazon author page:

May 17, 2016

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: The Problem With Forever

It's finally here - Jennifer L. Armentrout's brand new YA contemporary novel THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER is in the wild, and... what are you waiting for?! This book is absolutely amazing. Check out this excerpt from the book, and enter the release day blitz giveaway at the end of the post!

The Problem With Forever, by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publish Date:
 May 17, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: e-ARC, provided by Insklinger PR
Genre: young adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.
Check out my 5 star review here.


Dusty, empty shoe boxes, stacked taller and wider than her slim body, wobbled as she pressed her back against them, tucking her bony knees into her chest.

Breathe. Just Breathe. Breathe.

Wedged in the back of the dingy closet, she didn’t dare make a sound as she sucked her lower lip between her teeth. Focusing on forcing every grimy breath into her lungs, she felt tears well in her eyes.

Oh gosh, she’d made such a big mistake, and Miss Becky was right. She was a bad girl.

She’d reached for the dirty and stained cookie jar earlier, the one shaped like a teddy bear that hid cookies that tasted funny. She wasn’t supposed to get cookies or any food by herself, but she’d just been so hungry that her tummy hurt, and Miss Becky was sick again, napping on the couch. She hadn’t meant to knock the ashtray off the counter, shattering it into tiny pieces. Some were shaped like icicles that clung to the roof during the winter. Others were no bigger than chips.

All she’d wanted was a cookie.

Her slender shoulders jerked at the sound of the all cracking on the other side of the closet. She bit down harder on her lip. A metallic taste burst into her mouth. Tomorrow there would be a hold the size of Mr. Henry’s big hand in the plaster, and Miss Becky would cry and she’d get sick again.

The soft creak of the closet door was like a crack of thunder to her ears.

Oh no, no, no…

He wasn’t supposed to find her in here. This was her safe place whenever Mr. Henry was angry or when he—

She tensed, eyes peeling wide as a body taller and broader than hers slipped inside and then knelt in front of her. In the dark, she couldn’t make out much of his features, but she knew in her belly and her chest who it was.

“I’m sorry,” she gasped.

“I know.” A hand settled on her shoulder, the weight reassuring. He was the only person she felt okay with when he touched her. “I need you to stay in here, ‘kay?”
Miss Becky had said once that he was only six months older than her six years, but he always seemed so much bigger, older than her, because in her eyes, he took up her entire world.

She nodded.

“Don’t come out,” he said, and then he pressed into her hands the redheaded doll she’d dropped in the kitchen after she broke the ashtray and rushed into the closet. Too frightened to retrieve her, she’d left Velvet where she had fallen, and she’d been so upset because the doll had been a gift from him many, many months before. She had no idea how he’d gotten Velvet, but one day he’d simply shown up with her, and she was hers, only hers.

“You stay in here. No matter what.”

Holding the doll close, clenched between her knees and chest, she nodded again.

He shifted, stiffening as an angry shout rattled the walls around them. It was her name that dripped ice down her spine; her name that was shouted so furiously.

A small whimper parted her lips and she whispered, “I just wanted a cookie.”
“It’s okay. Remember? I promised I’d keep you safe forever. Just don’t make a sound.” He squeezed her shoulder. “Just stay quiet, and when I…when I get back, I’ll read to you, ‘kay? All about the stupid rabbit.”

All she could do was nod again, because there had been times when she hadn’t stayed quiet and she’d never forgotten those consequences. But if she stayed quiet, she knew what was coming. He wouldn’t be able to read to her tonight. Tomorrow he would miss school and he wouldn’t be okay even though he would tell her he was.

He lingered for a moment and then he eased out of the closet. The bedroom door shut with a smack, and she lifted the doll, pressing her tearstained face into it. A button on Velvet’s chest poked at her cheek.

Don’t make a sound.

Mr. Henry started to yell.

Don’t make a sound.

Footsteps punched down the hall.

Don’t make a sound.

Flesh smacked. Something hit the floor, and Miss Becky must have been feeling better, because she was suddenly shouting, but in the closet the only sound that mattered was the fleshy whack that came over and over. She opened her mouth, screaming silently into the doll.

Don’t make a sound.

#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Jennifer L. Armentrout Goodreads:

a Rafflecopter giveaway