Binding Curse by T.F. Walsh – a Review

Binding Curse by T.F. Walsh – a Review

 

Binding CurseAmazon

Description:
She needs him to save the world. He needs her to save himself.

A terrifying darkness has risen and is sweeping Kutia Hollow, leaving dead bodies in its wake. Luna Vale, a fae militia lieutenant in post-apocalyptic Moscow, discovers evidence that a criminal holds the answer to stopping the murders. Except those in charge at the precinct are corrupt. She’s determined to protect everyone from extinction and breaks Axel out of prison.

Devastated to be on the run from her former friends and colleagues, she must now work together with Axel before the killers close in on them. But time is running out, and falling for Axel only heightens the dangers. To survive, Luna must find strength in her arcane powers and confront the cursed creatures whose malevolence knows no bounds. Failure isn’t an option. Not when it means losing her family, her job, and her life.

 

 

REVIEW:

What do I say when it’s time to review a book I’ve read?  That’s always the question when I begin typing out a review.  How can I make it interesting without giving away too much information?  What words can I use in place of “I loved it!” or “great read!”???  This is my dilemma people!  So forgive me if my reviews sound the same for T.F. Walsh books but I love them all.  I thoroughly enjoy her style of writing, the characters are amazing and the non stop action in each story has me mesmerized until the end.  Binding Curse is no exception.

The main characters are Luna and Axel.  Luna is a fae police officer who wants to protect, serve and do everything by the book.  It was her need to help others that led her to defend Axel when she found him being attacked by two men.  As the situation escalated, Luna began to realize that things were not what they seemed.  The two attackers were acting strangely and extremely difficult to fend off.  The weirdness didn’t end there.  Once Luna and Axel were back at police headquarters, the situation just kept getting worse.  What was wrong with everyone?  Why was Axel being treated like a terrible criminal?  Why was the council representative there trying to change their procedures to get his hands on Axel?  Luna didn’t understand what was happening, but she knew she had to save Axel, even though it meant risking her career and possibly her life.  Axel is human, he appears to be a tattooed thug but don’t let appearances fool you.  There is serious heart in that hot sexy body and he cannot figure out why he is all of sudden being hunted.  As Luna and Axel run from the police and everyone else that is trying to murder them, they will discover powers of their own and a destiny that can possibly save their world.

T.F. Walsh has a true gift in writing.  Binding Curse is captivating from the first word until the very last.  She weaves a magical world of fae powers and romance that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  And as much as I hate the villains in a story, she writes them so well that the book wouldn’t be the same without them.  Just when you think Luna and Axel have met their end and there is no way out……BAM!  The story takes a magical turn that spirals the characters into an entirely new direction.  T.F. Walsh‘s talent with words to create Kutia Hollow and the characters within is absolutely extraordinary.  This was an amazing, spell binding journey to be on and I didn’t want it to end.  What’s the one thing I’ve definitely learned from this author? You don’t just read a T.F. Walsh book, you live each moment as if you were there.

Reviewed by Tricia

Copy supplied for review

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Swept Into Love: Gage Ryder (The Ryders #5 : Love in Bloom) by Melissa Foster-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

SWEPT INTO LOVE : GAGE RYDER (The Ryders #5 / Love in Bloom) by Melissa Foster-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

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SWEPT INTO LOVE: Gage Ryder
The Ryders #5 /Love In Bloom
by Melissa Foster
Release Date: August 16,2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Swept Into Love

Amazon.com /  Amazon.ca / Amazon.co.uk Barnes and NobleKOBOiBooks / Google Play

ABOUT THE BOOK : Release Date August 16, 2017

The Ryders are a series of sexy stand-alone romances. These hot contemporary romance novels feature alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They’re flawed, funny, passionate, and relatable to readers who enjoy new adult romance, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction.

It’s been years since Sally Tuft’s husband died and she was left to raise her teenage son alone. And almost as long since she told the only other man she’d ever wanted that they should be just friends. Now her son has left for college and Sally has no distractions to keep her from thinking about her best friend and coworker, Gage Ryder, and what could have been.

Gage always believed that one day Sally would move past the death of her husband and they would finally explore the passion that’s simmered between them since the day they met. Tasked with opening a new youth center in Oak Falls, Virginia, Gage hopes the trip away is just what they need to finally come together.

Before Gage and Sally ever reach Oak Falls, one night at a conference changes everything, putting their friendship—and their love—on the line, and the two must decide if getting swept up in love is the beginning of forever, or the end of their friendship as they know it.

•••••••

REVIEW: SWEPT INTO LOVE is the fifth installment in Melissa Foster’s contemporary, adult THE RYDERS erotic, romance series focusing on the Ryder siblings. This is children’s center workers Gage Ryder and Sally Tuft’s story line. SWEPT INTO LOVE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary. The Ryder series is a spin off from, and set in the world of the author’s Love in Bloom series.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Gage and Sally) SWEPT INTO LOVE is a friends to lovers story line that focuses on widow and single mother Sally Tuft, and Gage Ryder. Gage and Sally have worked together for years, and with the death of her husband David (six years earlier), Gage has been our heroine’s rock and savior, as well as her son’s mentor and friend. A business conference in Vegas finds our couple living the reality of ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’, after a drunken night of romance and $ex. With a week to recover before heading home Gage Ryder sets about proving to Sally that she is the woman who holds the key to his heart. What ensues is the long-time-coming friends to lovers relationship that will change Sally’s outlook of the future with man that she loves.

The relationship is a friends to lovers but a relationship that has been simmering for several years. Gage is a swoon-worthy hero; a man every woman wishes for both in and out of the bedroom-the perfect lover, husband, and the epitome of emotional strength and support. Sally struggles with memories from the past, and the love for Gage she is unable to acknowledge fearing guilt and betrayal of the ghost in the room. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic, seductive and intense.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including most, if not all, of the previous story line couples. We get a glimpse into the Ryder family dynamics and support system including the overwhelming love and acceptance of Sally and her now college-bound son.

SWEPT INTO LOVE is a sexy, sassy, spirited romantic love story; a second chance for a woman who loved and lost, and a happily ever after for a man who waited in the wings until the time was right. The premise is emotional and spirited; the characters are passionate and real; the romance is captivating and inspiring. WE should all fall in love with a man like Gage Ryder. Melissa’s pulled me into a sensual ride of romance and love.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

 

Series Spotlight

The Ryders Series

SEIZED BY LOVE: Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / iBooks

CLAIMED BY LOVE: Amazon.com /Amazon.co.uk /Barnes and Noble / KOBO /iBooks

CHASED BY LOVE: Amazon.com /Amazon.co.uk/ Barnes and Noble/ KOBO /iBooks

RESCUED BY LOVE: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.co.uk / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / iBooks

SWEPT INTO LOVE: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.co.uk / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / iBooks / Google Play

Swept Into Love Teaser

about the author

Melissa FosterMelissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance (M/F, M/M, F/F), romantic suspense, thrillers, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on Facebook
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Find Melissa on the following sites….

Download Today -Sisters in Love (Snow Sisters), Lovers at Heart (The Bradens), Game of Love (The Remingtons), Seaside Dreams (Seaside Summers), and Taken by Love (The Bradens at Trusty).

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Ten Days With The Highlander by Hayson Manning – a Review

Ten Days With The Highlander by Hayson Manning – a Review

 

Ten Days With The HighlanderAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Go-getter Georgia Paxton has ten days to acquire a quaint hotel in the Scottish Highlands for her travel accommodation company before she’s off on her next grand adventure. Too bad the sexy, broody Scot who owns the place is dead against the idea…and that she’s in very real danger of losing their little bet to see who can convince whom first.

There’s no way Callum MacGregor is going to let the gorgeous American turn his tiny hometown over to bored tourists looking to satisfy their Outlander fantasies. He only has ten days to convince her to slow down and see the magic of the town and its people. If he succeeds, he won’t have to run her out of the county. But if he fails, Georgia might run off with his heart.

 

Review:

Ten Days With The Highlander by Hayson Manning is a Contemporary Romance. Georgia Paxton was born to roam.  Raised by her hippie parents she is never content to stay in one place too long.  She is also corporate America.  Her job with LiveAbout –  a destination vacation company.  She travels from destination to destination acquiring properties. She is the big gun.  The one they send in to close the deal. Her newest assignment is Glenlagen, Scotland.   How hard can this assignment be?  Just like all the others, get in, get out and close the deal. 

Callum MacGregor was once corporate America but it turns out it wasn’t for him.   He has come back to his roots in Glenlagen, Scotland.  He has bought the local pub and an old manor house and turned it into a hotel. The pub has been fully renovated but the hotel is a work in progress.  He is all about community and what it means to be a part of this amazingly magical place.  He watches out for his neighbors that’s what community does.

I knew the moment Georgia pulled into the hotel and met Callum that things were going to be quite interesting.  I loved the mix of Corporate America versus hometown morals and values. Georgia is there to convince Callum to sell her company his hotel as a resort destination.  But Callum likes things just the way are and does not want to open his town up as a tourist destination. He is happy and content with the way things are in his life.

Georgia is adamant about the fact that she will never settle down and start a family.  Her life is about movement from one place to the next and she is content with that.  The moment she encounters Callum she begins to see another side to her corporate lifestyle. Callum is the perfect mix of Scottish delish!  He is rugged and hard working and nothing means more to him than family and friends.  He steps up and watches out for his neighbors and makes sure everyone is taken care of in his small quaint town.  The town is magical.  From the moment the author begins to describe it, it is magical and exactly where you want to take your next vacation. Callum begins to show Georgia that there is more to life than making money.  That settling down and enjoying the little things can make for a happy and content life. 

The mix that both main characters bring to the story is wonderfully written and I would have loved for it to continue on.  One of my favorite parts of the story was the mention of Coupon, PA which I grew up 9.5 miles from.  Always fun to read of places you are familiar with. Loved the story, loved the setting and all of the characters.  I hope that this story continues as there are several secondary characters I would love to read more about.  Wonderfully written and filled with magical folklore and delicious sounding foods. If you want to take a trip to a magical Scotland town with wonderful characters and an even more wonderful love story – this is the book for you!

Reviewed by Erin

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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Irresistible You (Chicago Rebels #1) by Kate Meader-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

IRRESISTIBLE YOU (Chicago Rebels #1) by Kate Meader-Review , Excerpt & Giveaway

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IRRESISTIBLE YOU
Chicago Rebels #1
by Kate Meader
Release Date: August 14, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, hockey, romance

Irresistible You

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 14, 2017

Hot in Chicago series author Kate Meader returns with her all new, scorching Chicago Rebels hockey series, featuring three estranged sisters who inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.

Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem, a chip on his shoulder, and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.

Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?

He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…

••••••••••••

REVIEW: IRRESISTIBLE YOU is the first installment in Kate Meader’s contemporary, adult CHICAGO REBELS erotic, hockey, romance series focusing on three estranged sisters-Harper Chase, Isobel Chase and Violet Vasquez- who recently inherited the struggling NHL hockey franchise the Chicago Rebels. This is Chicago Rebel’s owner, thirty one year old Harper Chase, and Rebel’s newly acquired and aging center, thirty five year old Cajun power house Remy DuPre’s story line. Remy and Harper were first introduced in the prequel novella –IN SKATES TROUBLE (see review below)-found in the hockey anthology HOT ON ICE that focuses on right winger Ford Callaghan and model Addison Williams.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Remy and Harper) IRRESISTIBLE YOU is a story of forbidden romance between team owner Harper Chase and her reluctant, new player acquisition Remy DuPre. Remy’s reputation precedes his introduction to our story line heroine but Remy’s lack of a Stanley Cup is distressing and the one reminder of his otherwise stellar career. Traded to the worse team in the NHL Remy’s attitude and behavior is less than professional, but his attraction to team owner Harper Chase is off the charts. When a deal made in haste forces Harper to accept Remy’s conditions, three months and then a trade, Harper knows her time with Remy is limited, and so too, is the possibility of another broken heart. What ensues is the building relationship between Remy and Harper, and Harper’s ongoing reluctance to accept and acknowledge that man with whom she has fallen in love.

Unlike Harper’s estranged and fractured family dynamics, Remy DuPre comes from a close-knit family with four sisters, and seven nieces. As the only unmarried sibling Remy’s family is constantly pushing our story line hero to settle down, and start a family of his own. Remy’s current plans don’t include a wife and child but retirement seems like the time to settle down with someone to love. Harper Chase is a rarity-the only female owner (along with her sisters) in the NHL-a position that comes with preconceived notions and Harper’s determination to prove that a woman is just a capable as a man in the world of hockey and sports. To this end, our heroine struggles with having it all, including a relationship with a player-someone considered an employee-and the possibility of negative press and scrutiny from players, owners and the public at large. Harper’s has been hurt in the past and doesn’t want a repeat or any more reminders of the who, what and why.

The relationship between Harper and Remy is one of immediate attraction but the tempestuous back and forth, and Harper’s fear of exposure makes our heroine wary of any sort of romance with Remy Dupre. Remy is determined to prove to Harper that she is capable of having it all including falling in love with an aging hockey star. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

We are introduced to Harper’s sisters- former women’s professional hockey player Isobel Chase, and Vegas tattoo parlor receptionist/ biker bar waitress Violet Vasquez- two women more or less strangers to our story line heroine. Remy’s Rebel’s defenseman Cade Burnett, team captain Bren St. James. Right winger Ford Callaghan and his love Addison Williams (In Skates Trouble) play secondary and supporting roles .We are also up close and personal with Remy’s parents Blue-grass Grammy award winning musician Alexandre and musicology professor Marie DuPre, as well as three of his sisters Martine, Josette, and Elise, and several of Remy’s nieces. Isobel’s story line is next.

The world building looks behind the scenes of a struggling professional hockey team; the players, the management, the deals and acquisitions., as well as the infighting, the jealousy, and betrayal between players and teams.

IRRESISTIBLE YOU is a fast paced, engaging and enjoyable story line. The premise is playful and lighthearted with moments of drama and tension. The characters are colorful, charismatic and fun; the romance is passionate, tender and provocative. IRRESISTIBLE YOU is an energetic and heartwarming introduction to the Chicago Rebels.

Copy supplied for review by the publisher

Reviewed by Sandy

____________________

In Skates TroubleIN SKATES TROUBLE
(Chicago Rebels .5)
by Kate Meader
Release Date: March/ May 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary,erotic, hockey, romance

ebook only 99¢ Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March /May 2017

He’ll give her what she needs . . .

Addison Williams isn’t looking for romance, but when she encounters an eavesdropping stranger on an adjoining hotel balcony, she figures she’s due a little fun. She just hadn’t reckoned on the “fun” escalating so quickly to “out of control.” One minute she’s flirting with a whiskey-graveled voice in the dark, the next that same voice is telling her to do things. Hot, wicked things.

Cup-winning hockey player Ford “Killer” Callaghan can’t believe he let the anonymous woman who blew his mind slip away into the night. He’ll track her down because once could never be enough—even if discovering her identity places her strictly out of bounds.

Stolen kisses. Secret hook-ups. Deliciously forbidden in every way. Can a passion that started in the dark find a lifetime of love in the light?

Originally published in Hot on Ice: A Hockey Romance Anthology, this sexy prequel to the Chicago Rebels hockey series features an older, curvy woman, a younger, driven hero, and a happily-ever-after you’ll swoon over.

•••••••••••••••

REVIEW: IN SKATE TROUBLE is the prequel novella in Kate Meader’s contemporary adult CHICAGO REBELS erotic, hockey romance series focusing on the NHL team the Chicage Rebels. This is right winger Ford Callaghan, and lingerie model/designer Addison Williams. There is a slight cross-over with the mention of characters from the author’s HOT IN CHICAGO series.

NOTE: IN SKATES TROUBLE was originally released in the multi-authored anthology HOT ON ICE which is no longer available for sale.

Told from dual third person points of view (Ford and Addison) IN SKATES TROUBLE follows the building relationship between the Cup-winning New Orleans Cajun Rajuns right winger Ford Callaghan, and lingerie model and designer Addison Williams. Back in his home-town of Chicago with the Stanley Cup Ford Callaghan will meet the woman of his fantasies, lingerie model Addison Williams, but a woman off limits in more ways than one. Keeping their relationship on the down-low finds Ford frustrated with the endless possibilities if only they were honest with the people in control. What ensues is the back and forth, hot and cold secret romance between Ford and Addison, as Addison struggles with a past that could potentially harm Callaghan’s future.

IN SKATES TROUBLE is a quick read that introduces some of the background and characters to the Chicago Rebels series including Rebel’s new owner Harper Chase, and her newly acquired center Remy DuPre. When Ford Callaghan reveals the truth about his relationship with Addison Williams, Ford sealed his fate, and his future with the woman he loves. The premise is energetic; the romance is passionate and intense; the characters are colorful and spirited. IN SKATES TROUBLE is a sexy and sassy start to a new series.

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Reviewed by Sandy

Excerpt

 

“Remy!” A tall redhead wearing what looked like a band of gauze lassoing two Goodyear blimps threw her arms around his neck. “I can’t believe you’re here!”
The new arrival practically knocked Harper out of the way, pretzeled her stacked body around Remy’s, and sucked on the Cajun’s lips like an anteater. It took him a good three and a half seconds—but who was counting?—before he drew back.
“Have we met, chérie?”
“We have now, Jinx,” she purred. “I just wanted to welcome you to Chi-Town. Properly.”
His mouth hardened slightly. “Well, it sure is a pleasure, but right now I’m kind of in the middle of something, so I’ll have to take a rain check.” His eyes flickered over the woman’s shoulder to where Harper was sipping on her whiskey, enjoying the show. She had a perfect view of the woman’s tramp stamp—the positively poetic Get Some with an arrow pointing down—along with her above-the-waistband leopardprint thong.
Goodyear Blimps speared a look designed to put Harper six feet under twice over and then quickly recalibrated her smile for Remy. From her cleavage, she extracted a (crumpled, undoubtedly sweatstained) business card and placed it in Remy’s jeans pocket. It took a few moments to ensure it was safely secured.
“The welcome offer is open-ended, Jinx.”
Another wince crossed Remy’s face, though Goodyear missed it as she was too busy trying to maintain her center of gravity on her totter toward the bar.
“ ‘The welcome offer is open-ended, Jinx ,’ ” Harper mimicked in her most breathless gush, adding a bout of vehement eyelash batting into the mix.
“Don’t be jealous, now, Harper. I sent her away, didn’t I?”

 

 

 

About The author

FOLLOW: Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Facebook

Kate Meader

Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

 

giveaway

Kate Meader’s publisher is graciously offering winner’s choice of a paper copy of either FLIRTING WITH FIRE (Hot in Chicago 1) or SPARKING THE FIRE (Hot in Chicago 3) to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

Hot in Chicago 1 & 3

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Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell-Review and Excerpt

ILLEGAL CONTACT (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell-Review & Excerpt

Illegal Contact

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

About the book: Release Date August 15, 2017

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over.

••••••••••••

REVIEW: ILLEGAL CONTACT is the first installment in Santino Hassell’s contemporary, adult THE BARONS erotic, M/M romance series focusing on the professional football players of the New York Barons. This is Barons’ tight end Gavin Brawley, and his personal assistant Noah Monroe’s story line.

NOTE: ILLEGAL CONTACT is a M/M romance story line with sexually graphic language, text and situations that may not be suitable for all readers.

Told from dual first person points of view (Gavin and Noah) ILLEGAL CONTACT follows the building but forbidden relationship between the New York Barons’ tight end Gavin Brawley, and his new PA Noah Monroe. With a six month suspension and house arrest on the horizon bad boy Gavin Brawley finds himself struggling to keep up in both his personal and private life. A reputation as a jerk with a temper Gavin’s circle of friends is small, and the only people he considers family are the team members he has left behind. Enter recent college grad Noah Monroe, Gavin’s new PA, and a man who struggles to keep secret his attraction to his boss. What ensues is the building romance and relationship between Gavin and Noah, and Noah’s battle to make life easier for the man that calls to his heart.

Gavin Brawley is a bisexual male who has yet to come out to the public or his team. When a recent video of our hero brawling went viral Gavin found himself facing jail time or house arrest but Gavin keeps more than his own sexuality a secret and refuses to reveal his reasons for losing his temper. Temper aside, Gavin’s reputation as a hot head both on and off the field is well known to the public but if his sexuality is revealed Gavin knows his professional career could come to a screeching halt. Gavin’s entire life revolves around the sport of professional football, and in this, Gavin’s sexuality could be a detriment to both his future and his career. Noah Monroe is in debt, and with his father’s recent lay off Noah is desperate to find any job that will put food on the table, and pay down his student debt. Working for Gavin Brawley finds Noah on the outside looking in with no concept of who or what is Gavin Brawley, and to add to the already tempestuous relationship, Noah’s history with powerful men is darkened by betrayal in the past.

The relationship between Noah and Gavin is one of immediate attraction but Noah struggles with Gavin’s attitude and emotional outbursts, as well as Gavin’s inability to see beyond his current problems. Gavin tries desperately to hide his attraction to Noah but fails miserably in spite of the possibility of future betrayal and blackmail. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense. The sexual chemistry was palpable but saying that I did have an issue with the lack of condom usage in this M/M romance story line. Fiction and the possibility of no unwanted pregnancies aside, I do believe that romance authors, including those who write M/M story lines, have an obligation to present safe (safer) $ex scenarios. There was no mention of STD or AIDs testing, or clean blood work-this was very disheartening under the circumstances especially when one of the leading characters was sexually active with another partner on more than one occasion.

We are introduced to several of Gavin’s teammates including quarterback Simeon Boudreaux and running back Marcus Hendricks, Gavin’s agent Mel Hawkins, publicist Joe Carmichael, and Noah’s best friend Jasmine. Simeon’s story line is next in Down by Contact-January 2018.

ILLEGAL CONTACT is a heartwarming, optimistic and encouraging story line. The premise is engaging and inspiring; the characters are charismatic and energetic: the romance is passionate and provocative. ILLEGAL CONTACT is a fantastic start to a new series.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

reviewed by Sandy

Illegal Contact teaser

Excerpt beige

Excerpt intended for mature readers 18 year and older

Gavin
***
Somewhere in the past couple of weeks, right around the time I’d watched Noah’s face light up as he threw himself into philanthropic planning schemes and he’d warned me about Joe being a nosy scumbag, I’d lost my mind. Evidence? Me wanting to smack my closest friend for putting the moves on him.
At first I’d thought I was being overprotective. Not even a week ago, I’d had this whole talk with Noah about him feeling safe, and I’d taken it seriously. As a foster kid, I’d never felt safe. Especially in the homes of people who’d temporarily taken me in. I’d been constantly reminded of my precarious position in their houses, and how they could put in a thirty-day notice with my social worker at any point. And they’d used that leverage against me.
I wasn’t about to step into the shoes of bastards who’d worked hard to ensure I would end up distrusting and despising people for the rest of my life.
He was my employee. I was his boss. He obviously didn’t trust me but had agreed to shack up in my house for two reasons only—money to help his father and to catch up on his debt. He didn’t really want to be here, but he had to be. The least I could do was respect his wishes. The same for my friends, but Simeon was laying it on thick.
As he’d run his hands all over Noah, I’d justified each jolt of discomfort by saying Simeon was shitting all over my promise. But Noah agreeing to fan day and whatever else? That had turned discomfort into outright jealousy. Especially since he hadn’t even known my damn name after meeting me at the interview, but he knew all sorts of random facts about Simeon. Simeon, who was in full-throttle, charming superstar QB mode. I was over it.
Regardless, my jealousy was a complete anomaly. Had never happened before. But it was happening right the fuck now, and I was furious with myself. Who cared if Noah was cute and a smartass who wasn’t
afraid to tell me to go fuck myself? And so what if that turned me on? Who cared if he was proving to be helpful and loyal enough to warn me about Joe? He was still my employee. I wasn’t supposed to care that he was more interested in my best friend.
Fuck. Whose idea had it been for me to be someone’s boss? I had zero clue what I was doing. Why had I ever listened to Joe?
I returned to the game room and paced the mostly empty space. I’d just seen that anger-management person a few days ago, and every tip and suggestion had flown out of my mind. All I could think about was how pissed I was at myself, and how I needed to go down to the gym and beat the shit out of a punching bag to work it out of my system. The last time I’d been this mad at myself had been when I’d trusted a journalist who’d invented a fake backstory for himself to get me to respond to his prying questions. Then he’d blasted my childhood across the front page of the newspaper.
Gavin Brawley Blames His Out of Control Temper on Hardscrabble Past.
Every word out of context. Bits and pieces of my identity twisted to fit the story he’d wanted. After that, I’d vowed to never talk to a reporter again. I hadn’t expected my emotional thermometer to blast through to enraged over Simeon coming on to Noah. And now I had nothing to use as an outlet. I could work out from morning to night, but after a while it was monotonous. Energy being expended but not going anywhere, and I felt like it circled the air and absorbed right back into my shoulders every goddamn night.
“You’re being real extra right now.”
Marcus’ calm voice did nothing to settle me down. “Shut up.”
“Nah.” Marcus yawned and plopped onto one of the sofas. “Fuck, dude, I’m ready for nap time. Your
cagey, jealous shit is ruining the vibe.”
“Who says I’m jealous?”
“Your white ass gets so flushed when you’re mad that it would be impossible to miss. I thought you
Illegal Contact / Hassell, Santino 107
108 Illegal Contact / Hassell, Santino
were going to jump Simeon when he made that comment about giving ole boy a ride.”
“Yeah, well, what can I say?” I stopped pacing. “I didn’t invite you assholes over here to give my
employee a hard time.”
“Your employee.” Marcus threw his muscular legs up onto the couch and stretched out. “Don’t even
front like you don’t want to smash him.” “I don’t.”
“Bullshit. You were staring them down the whole time we were downstairs. I mean, hey, no judgment. He just looks like a typical white-boy hipster to me, but whatever floats your boat, man. You may want to lay it down for Simeon if you’re serious, though. He most definitely wants to tap that ass.”
I ground my teeth together and tried to remember the last time I’d felt possessive over anyone, but I came up short. Then again, I didn’t normally hang out with the people I had sex with for more than ten minutes after we both came.
“I don’t want Simeon fucking him, and it has nothing to do with me being jealous.”
“Oh yeah? What’s it got to do with?”
“Him not pissing off the only person I can stand to have in my house for six months,” I snarled.
“Simeon can stick his dick in someone else until Noah is finished here.” “And then you’d be cool with it?”
“Yeah, then I’d be cool with it.”
Marcus snickered. He knew I was full of shit.
“Let me ask you a question, Gav.”
“Is that a question or a warning about the fact that I can’t stop you from asking even if I wanted to?” “Probably the last one.” Marcus propped his feet up on the arm of the couch, making himself nice
and comfy. “If you’re having jealous temper tantrums over this kid after a month, how the fuck are you gonna act in another two or three? He’s gonna be here all the time, dude. Showering in your bathroom, sleeping in your guest room, jacking it in bed a few thousand square feet away . . .”
“For fuck’s sake, Marcus.”
“Am I right or am I right, though?”
He was right. But I refused to admit it.
“I already told you I’m not jealous. Do we get along? Yeah. We do. And you know that’s a miracle
when it comes to me. Half the Barons can’t stand my ass because I won’t laugh at their stupid jokes, but at least they respect me. Most people think I’m a piece of shit.”
“And your boy?” Marcus pressed, looking truly intrigued. “What’s he like?”
“He’s . . .” How was he? What was it about him that had even clicked with me enough to make me want to guarantee he not walk out of the oversized front door and not come back? To become desperate and throw in that huge bonus so he wouldn’t have to keep commuting? “He’s a smartass, but he’s a good person. And he gets me.”
Marcus raised an eyebrow. “How’s he get you? He doesn’t even like football.”
The disgusted tone drew a smile out of me. I plopped down in one of the armchairs and tilted my head back. “He didn’t grow up like me, but . . . he gets it. And he’s not phony. He’s straight up with his opinions and isn’t afraid to tell me them.”
“So he’s not scared to say . . . ‘Gavin, you’re being a dickhead.’”
“Basically. He talks almost as much trash as I do, which is probably why we managed to get along. Also, he keeps trying to make me look good to Mel. Gave me credit for all this shit that he came up with. I don’t get it, since I was a total douchebag to him, but I appreciate it. He’s a good dude.”
“Huh.” Marcus slowly nodded, analyzing me with his big dark eyes. “Aiight, I’ll talk to Simeon.” “About what?”
“Him keeping his greedy hands off your boy.” Marcus winked. “But if you’re keeping on with this
whole I’m-trying-to-hold-on-to-my-employee bullshit, I’d recommend getting laid. From where I’m sitting, you just look like a jealous, horny bastard.”
“Done.”
Illegal Contact / Hassell, Santino 109
110 Illegal Contact / Hassell, Santino
Marcus rolled off the sofa and sprang to his feet. He arched his back with a jaw-cracking yawn. “You mind if I catch some sleep, dude? I’ve been having nightmares every night for the past few days.”
“What kind of nightmares?”
“Eh. Stress shit. Getting injured before the season even starts. Moe getting hurt messed me up, man.” “You spoke to him?”
“Yeah.” Marcus sobered. “His agent isn’t feeling too good about his contract since this is his last
year, and he’s had four fucking surgeries during the life of it. Remember what I said earlier? About them saying he was injury-prone? I wasn’t making it up. His career may be over, man. Or maybe they’ll trade him to some douchebag team like the Predators.”
The Predators were infamous dickholes. It seemed to be a requirement for signing with them. Even their cheerleaders were mean as fuck. The Slytherin of the NFL. The only time I could play a game without everyone mentioning my shitty reputation was if we were playing the Predators. They, as a whole, had a shittier reputation than me.
“You won’t get hurt.”
Marcus arched a brow. “You a prophet now?”
“Yeah. And I prophesize your ass winning the Super Bowl this year.”
“Without you and Moe? Nope.”
I scoffed. “Yeah, right.”
“For real, man. I love Phil, but he’s no Brawley. He’s small and lean enough to run circles around D-
men after a reception, but he has none of your force or bulk. They’re changing everything to account for you and Moe not being there. Fucking sucks.”
It did suck. Even more so because I was now facing the reality that my team was short not one but two starters. If I’d controlled myself better, I’d be there to support them. All of this stress and anxiety about how the season would roll out wouldn’t be on their shoulders, although in my opinion Moe was more of an asset to the team. He was one of the best wide receivers in the league. Even so, I wanted to be
there to step up. But I was stuck. Because of my need to escalate shit five times past where it could have ended.
“All right, bud. I’m gonna go talk to Simeon, and you figure out how to get laid.”
I nodded, watching him go, and actually listened to the tip. Between Simeon and Noah, the shit about Moe, and now the news that my replacement wasn’t rising to the occasion of starting for the Barons? I needed an outlet. It was either time to get in a monstrous fistfight or take out the brimming frustration on someone’s ass.
I went for the latter.

 

 

About The Author beige

Follow: Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads /

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

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Interview with Photographer and Cover Model Danilo Andjus

Interview with Photographer and Cover Model Danilo Andjus

TRC: Hi Danilo and welcome to The Reading Café.

Danilo Andjus 4Danilo: Good afternoon to the Reading cafe and all the readers, thanks for the invitation to do the interview. Hope my answers won’t be too boring 🙂

TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Follow Danilo: Facebook / Website-Andjus Images / Instagram

Danilo: My name is Danilo Andjus, I’m 25 years old and I am from Belgrade, Serbia, which you could say is my base, but because of my work I am mostly traveling around the world.

My main focus is on lifestyle photography for the istock by gettyimages company, but I’m still doing direct bookings in modeling which was my main job until about 3-4 years ago when I was traveling around and working for many different agencies around the globe. I can say I lead a very dynamic life filled with many adventures combining work and pleasure.

TRC: What were your dreams and aspirations growing up?

Danilo Andjus covers

Danilo: Well I think, like most people, as a kid my dreams changed from day to day. :D:D But the first thing that comes to my mind was the dream of becoming a professional football player when I was about 7-8 years old, a dream I pursued until I was 17-18 years old. I suffered an injury than, and had to stop playing (professionally).

TRC: When not modeling what is your ‘day job’?

Danilo: My day job and everyday job is as a photographer

TRC: What first sparked your interest in modeling? Is there a defining moment where you knew that modeling was something you were interested in pursuing?

Danilo Andjus 3Danilo: To be honest I didn’t know much about modeling, and most of what I knew was basic stereotypical stuff that usually people who don’t know much think about modeling. I started modeling in a very spontaneous way, it was exactly in the period after I suffered that injury and couldn’t play football anymore. One day I was chilling with my cousin and she had to take some keys to her neighbors so I went with her to keep her company. Her neighbor turned out to be a famous and respected fashion stylist and designer. He saw a potential in me and started asking questions. In the beginning I was not so interested but after some encouragement from my friends and family I went with the flow and this stylist connected me with some agencies in my city which then after just a few days offered me contracts to go work around the world. Starting with China which I think is the main place for most of the ‘’modeling beginners’’, I began the journey of modeling. The rest is history hahah .

TRC: Have you ever had a photo shoot that went completely wrong?

Danilo Andjus grouping

Danilo: Well I think the one that definitely went wrong was when I was doing a shoot in Milan, and Milan is known to be full of very (really very) skinny models, but I was at the time, lets say, a bit ‘’stronger’’. I was already booked for this job where the client really liked me and while I was getting ready for the shoot, putting on clothes, the client was explaining to be careful with the clothes because they were very expensive and how even the buttons were special. In that exact moment, the button on the pants I was trying to fit in and were much smaller then my size, just popped out – BOOM – and hit the client in the head as my pants dropped. I was thinking in my head – Hmm okay Danilo, one job less, and maybe few burgers less next time, no stress. 😀

TRC: Nudity in modeling or acting can be controversial. Some pictures can cross the line between sexuality to pornography. What would you tell young models/actors /body builders just entering the business about nude modeling and photography?

Danilo Andjus CoverDanilo: From my point of view I never had any ‘’dirty offers’’ for shootings, but it can happen that you are asked to shoot a campaign for some underwear that is maybe too transparent or too erotic, so my advise is, as I do it too, always ask for pictures of the clothes before the job so you can check for yourself whats it about. I did many underwear campaigns and I really never had any major problem.

Once, in Shanghai, China, my agent told me I was booked to shoot a campaign for pyjamas and I had to fly to another city for the job. Once I arrived, while I was waiting in the studio, I was looking at the clothes and saw some G-string underwear hanging there, so I told the stylist sorry but this will obviously take too long because I only see girls underwear here, which means the clothes I need to shoot didn’t even arrive yet. And he just answered: off course they arrived, it’s these ones and showed me the G-strings hanging there. 😀 😀

I was very pissed for the miscommunication between my agency and the client and in just one hour I was back on the plane to Shangai, since I, naturally, didn’t shoot the g-strings hahah

Danilo Andjsu 9TRC: The modeling industry exposes you to many people and sometimes it can be very stressful. What do you do when the stress becomes overwhelming?

Danilo: Well I don’t think modeling specifically exposes you to many people.

Everyday life exposes you to many people. Its about how much each one of us wants to be exposed or not.

And the stress is very often there but mostly not because of people, but because of 5am call times for shootings, shootings for winter jackets on 40 degrees on some tropical island. Or the opposite: shooting swimwear on 10 degrees in the sea, flying every day to a different town, living out of your own suitcase and planes, and many other things.

TRC: At times, there has been a ‘stigma’ surrounding the male model and the romance-cover industry but the popularity of the romance storyline has skyrocketed in the last few years especially with the erotic and sensual cover images. What is your opinion about the recent popularity and the very busy industry of the ‘romance cover model’?

Danilo Andjus Cover 2Danilo: I can see that in the past years the popularity grew very fast, but to be honest except me being on many covers I don’t have connections to any romance books nor I read them.
I read comic books,sci-fi and crime books 😀

TRC: What do you do to prepare yourself for a shoot?

Danilo: If you mean in the way of training what I do, i do not go to the gym (a lot). My main thing to keep in shape is that I play sports 5 times a week, football and basketball.

TRC: Do you know the number of novel covers that your image has appeared?

Danilo: I don’t remember to be honest 🙂

TRC: What is the most outrageous thing you have had to wear or do for a photo shoot?

Danilo: Hm lets say the most outrageous or just funny clothes was when I actually shot for a brand that makes work uniforms, so I was the post man, the milk man, the garbage man, the police man, the fire man, and the construction worker. And NO, it was not a pornographic shoot hahaha

TRC: Would you please tell us what you do to relax? Have fun?

Danilo Andjus 8Danilo: Well most of my free time I spend it with the most beautiful woman in the world who is also my girlfriend, and with friends and family, they are cool too. I have an older brother and a sister, Im the youngest. 🙂 I can definitely say when its all of us together its always a recipe for good fun.

We love to go to cinema, eat all kinds of different food, travel a lot, play mortal combat on ps4 😀 go clubbing in different places, pre-drinking on my balcony that becomes the main party many times etc etc

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

Danilo Andjus 5Danilo: hmm I’m really more then satisfied and happy, I have a beautiful family, girlfriend and friends, an amazing job that is growing day by day and that takes me around the world, so I can’t complain, nor say the exact 3 things I feel like accomplishing… everything is going on its good way I just need to ride along…maybe own a Ferrari would be nice though hahaha

TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?

Danilo: That I am Batman shhhhh !

TRC: 😉

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about modeling ?

Danilo: There are many misconceptions about modeling which cause the usual stereotypes. People who don’t know anything about modeling, or the ones who consider Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton or god knows what Escort with million followers on social networks as examples of professional models… And then start asking questions like is there a lot of prostitution in your line of work? Escorts? Do they ask you to do this or that? Do you need to sleep with clients to get a job? And many similar questions… Also what is definitely very annoying is when i see silicon girls on social networks calling themselves ‘’MODELS”. Apples and oranges, people. It’s just a shame for all those hardworking models to be put in the same spot and compared to people mentioned above.

TRC: What type of music do you listen to? What songs are on your playlist today?

Danilo: I listen to hip hop, house music when I’m going out, and when I’m working, chilling or answering interviews I listen to jazz, blues and Brazilian music. 🙂

Danilo Andjus 6

TRC: On what on your currently working?

Danilo: I am currently working on how to best enjoy my one month holiday! haha! I just arrived from Dubrovnik, Croatia where I’ve been with my girlfriend for a week and now I’m in my summer house in Sveti Stefan, Montenegro enjoying the summer. After Montenegro we’ll be going to Greece, so I can’t complain! 🙂

Jokes aside, new work plans are cooking for September when its gonna be very busy..

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Danilo: I think I already spoke too much hahaha

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Sushi and mom’s Cous Cous ( actually all mom’s kitchen)

Favorite Dessert: Lindt chocolate, Brazilian dessert called Brigadeiro and beer of course haha

Guilty Pleasure: Ordering junk food at 2am, drinking liters of beer and playing ps4 with friends until birds don’t come out in the morning 😀 😀

Favorite Movie: Gladiator

Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad, Black Mirror, Vikings,

Last Movie that you saw: The new Spiderman… not bad 🙂

Secret Celebrity Crush: my everyday crush Pamela… but not Anderson

Dark or Milk Chocolate: actually white chocolate 🙂

Do you have any pets? Yes I have two cats, Kosta and Tarzina and two dogs Raj and Luna, creyzeee everyday party haha

TRC: Thank you Dan for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success and the amazing cover images. We wish you all the best and many more covers !!

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Cat Shining Bright by Shirley Rousseau Murphy – a Review

Cat Shining Bright by Shirley Rousseau Murphy – a Review

 

Cat Shining Bright
Joe Grey Mystery series – Book #20
by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Release Date: August 15, 2017
cat shining brightAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
The stakes are higher and more personal than ever for feline investigator Joe Grey when death comes to his beloved coastal California town in this twentieth installment of the enchanting cat mystery series.

While new father Joe Grey is overjoyed to teach his three young kittens about the world, he misses his cop work — secretly helping solve crimes alongside his human friends at Molena Point P. D. But when beautician Barbara Conley and one of her customers are found dead in the salon, Joe makes an exception, he heads for the crime scene. He has no idea that the kittens are following him, or how they will complicate the investigation.

But this is not the only danger to the kittens. A stranger is lurking around the home of Joe’s tabby lady, Dulcie, where the kittens were born. Both parents’ backs are up and their claws out, ready to protect their babies and to protect Wilma Getz, Dulcie’s human housemate.

As the death of the beautician becomes entangled with a gang of thieves working the village, Joe, Dulcie, Kit and Pan are all into the investigation; and they are led to unexpected connections, to the building of the new cat shelter and to a neighbor who becomes suddenly an unexpected part of the tangle.

 

 

Review:

Cat Shining Bright by Shirley Rousseau Murphy is the 20th book in her fabulous & fun Joe Grey series.  I have read every book in this series, and it is one of my favorite go to books when I want a sweet lighthearted mystery with a group of wonderful talking cats, and their humans.  These are magical sentient cats that live in Molena Point, California, but only their humans close to them know, and the cats are the real ones who solve the crimes.   I am amazed that into the 20th book, Murphy can still win us over each and every time.  I adore our cats, Joe, Dulcie and Kit.  They are awesome, sweet, daring, and clever.  The humans who are a major part of this series, are Clyde and Ryan; Wilma, Charlie (who is married to the police chief, and he does not know about the cats).  They are all an awesome group that makes this series so much fun and exciting.

In Cat Shining Bright, Dulcie has given birth to three kittens, two boys and a girl, and Joe, the proud father, is finally able to get past the stress of Dulcie giving birth.  Joe and Dulcie have always been a team from the start of this series, and we have enjoyed the love they have for each other.  A few books later, we met the wonderful sweet and daring Kit, who found her own love, Pan recently. It will take a few months, with everyone waiting with anticipation, for the kittens to begin to talk.  It was very well written and fun when they did. 

It is Kit and Pan who will discover a car theft ring stealing cars during a storm; this after the death of a beautician found in her salon with a customer.  Though Joe has been spending most of his time with his kittens and Dulcie, he becomes intrigued by the car thefts, and will join Pan and Kit in their investigations.  The Molena Police department has gotten used to Joe entering the station and falling asleep in the Chief’s office’ of course they do not know he listens and learns all the information there.   One day, the kittens became interested in what their father was doing and secretly followed him; Joe will catch them before they are discovered, but their curiosity is now peaked. 

What follows is an exciting mystery, trying to find out who murdered the two people, and who was behind all the car thefts.  There are trying times when Joe, Kit, Pan and even the kittens find themselves in danger.  When Wilma (Dulcie’s human), senses an intruder in her house, she will take Dulcie and the kittens to stay at Clyde & Ryan’s (joe’s humans) house for protection.  Someone knows about the secret book about the magical sentient cats, and their ability to talk; and they want the book.  Besides the cats finding clues, and making secret calls to the police, the humans will also play a big part in solving the crimes.  As I have noted before, I love the characters that have accepted our cats; Charlie, Ryan, Wilma, Clyde, Kate, etc.  We also spend time with the police department characters, such as Max, Dallas, etc, who have no idea about the cats.

This is a fun series, exciting mysteries, and fantastic characters, including cats and humans.  Do not let that fact that these cats can talk deter you into reading this series. It is a fun and awesome series, and so well written my Shirley Rousseau Murphy. Give yourself a chance to read this enjoyable series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Crave Part 1 (The Crave Duet #1) by E.K. Blair-Review and Book tour

CRAVE : Part 1 (Crave Duet #1) by E.K. Blair-Review and Book Tour

Crave Banner

CRAVE Part 1
The Crave Duet #1
by E.K. Blair
Release Date: August 14, 2017
Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance

Crave Part 1
Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk / Amazon.au /B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo / ibooks

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 14, 2017

Kason and Adaline.

From the moment they met, they started to fall. Neither of them predicted just how far the drop would be, though.

Loving Adaline was all Kason had ever wanted to do. But layer by layer, he started to unravel, forcing Adaline to face an addiction she never could’ve imagined.

This is what happens when one person loves beyond the craving and the other craves beyond the loving.

••••••••••

REVIEW: CRAVE Part 1 is the first installment in E.K. Blair’s contemporary, young adult/new adult CRAVE DUET romance series focusing on seventeen year olds Kason and Adaline, high school students whose lives will spiral out of control when demons from the past control action of the present. I will be honest up front and say that I wasn’t initially aware the Crave Duet was a YA/NA story line but I was pleasantly surprised that the author stayed clear of most of the annoying (in my opinion) YA tropes.

Told from dual first person points of view (Adaline and Kason) CRAVE Part 1 follows the building relationship between Adaline and Kason. Adaline is the new girl at school who quickly finds herself part of the popular crowd, a popularity that is marked by jealousy and rumors about our story line heroine. Meeting Kason the first day of school alleviates many of Adaline’s fears but falling in love with Kason is unexpected and real.

CRAVE Part 1 follows a year in the life of two high school teenagers – a year that reveals family secrets, broken souls, and unimaginable guilt and shame. Adaline is an innocent; a sweet, naïve young woman who has yet to experience first love, $ex or too much drama in her life. Kason is a young man struggling to keep up appearances in the face of the truth-a truth that if revealed could destroy his relationship with the young woman he loves. Kason’s silence hides a multitude of secrets and sins but will Adaline’s love be enough to help him heal?

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Adaline’s friend from back home Molly, and Kason’s buds Micah, Trent and Rhett, as well as the introduction of Kason and Adaline’s mothers-two woman whose lives have gone in opposite directions.

CRAVE Part 1 is a simple read; most of the teens are typical, nothing too rebellious or over the top but our story line hero struggles with a past mired in dark secrets and shame. Unlike most YA story lines there is no love triangle (thank goodness), and the parental units are more or less respectable, understanding and normal-the relationship between Adaline and her father is tense and stressful but not unlike many relationships between parent and child in situations of divorce or second families.

CRAVE Part 1 is an emotional story line with plenty of ups and downs, twists, and revelations. Friendships will be made and lost; love with falter in the face of betrayal and lies. The premise is engaging and edgy; the characters are colorful, dynamic and charismatic; the romance is sweet; the $ex scenes are intimate, mostly implied or fade to black, without the use of sexually graphic, over the top language and text but saying that there are some issues between our story line couple that are addressed with honesty and clarity.

E.K. Blair touches on a potentially controversial subject-a subject many people do not completely understand. The author, as well as the leading couple, handle the sensitivity with maturity and grace with the understanding that not all is well in the young hero’s life.

CRAVE Part 1 ends on a cliff hanger-you have been warned.

PreOrder CRAVE Part 2 -Available October 16, 2017:

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk / Amazon.au /B&N / KOBO / ibooks /

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Crave Part One Teaser 3

About the Author Black and Orange

EK BlairE.K. Blair, takes her readers on an emotional roller coaster with her dynamic and intense writing style. Noted for her ability to create fleshed-out characters that will evoke a realm of reactions, you can be assured that her stories will linger with you far beyond the last word.

A former first grade teacher with an imagination that runs wild. Daydreaming and zoning out is how she was often found in high school. Blair tends to drift towards everything dark and moody. Give her a character and she will take pleasure in breaking them down, digging into their core to find what lies underneath.

Aside from writing, E.K. Blair finds pleasure in music, drinking her Starbucks in peace, and spending time with her friends. She’s a thinker, an artist, a wife, a mom, and everything in between.

Follow: Website/Blog / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / BookBub

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