New Release: The King by Tiffany Reisz with GIVEAWAY, Q&A, and a STEAMY EXCERPT!

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the kingTitle: The King
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Date of Publication: November 25, 2014

Summary:

Cunning. Sex. Pure nerve. Only this potent threesome can raise him to his rightful place as ruler of Manhattan’s kink kingdom.

Bouncing from bed to bed on the Upper East Side—handsomely paid in both bills and blackmail fodder—Kingsley Edge is brilliant, beautiful and utterly debauched. No carnal act or chemical compound can relieve his self-destructive apathy—only Søren, the one person he loves without limit or regret. A man he can never have, but in whose hands Kingsley is reborn to attain even greater heights of sin. He plans to open the ultimate BDSM club­: a dungeon playground for New York’s A-list that’ll change the scene forever.

The club becomes Kingsley’s obsession—and he’s enlisted some tough-as-nails help. His new assistant Sam is smart, secretive and totally immune to seduction (by men, at least). She and Kingsley make a wicked team. Still, their combined—and considerable—expertise in domination can’t subdue the man who would kill their dream. The enigmatic Reverend Fuller won’t rest until King’s dream is destroyed. It’s one man’s sacred mission against another’s….

GIVEAWAY: It’s a Tiffany Reisz SURPRISE! Enter over on Rafflecopter!
Buy Links:
Amazon | BN

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Tiffany ReiszAbout Tiffany Reisz:
Tiffany Reisz is the author of the internationally bestselling and award-winning Original Sinners series for Mira Books (Harlequin/Mills & Boon). Tiffany’s books inhabit a sexy shadowy world where romance, erotica and literature meet and do immoral and possibly illegal things to each other. She describes her genre as “literary friction,” a term she stole from her main character, who gets in trouble almost as often as the author herself.

She lives in Portland, Oregon. If she couldn’t write, she would die.

Find Tiffany Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Q/A with Tiffany

-Do you have a favorite book or author you like to recommend? Do you have a comfort read?

I have a set of books I regularly recommend to people. Want to read amazing literature? Read my favorite novel of all time All the King’s Men by Kentucky author Robert Penn Warren. Want to read the most moving love story I’ve ever read? Read The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox. My comfort reads are Sherlock Holmes short stories and Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels.

-What is your guilty pleasure?

I’d need to feel guilt to have a guilty pleasure. Buying office supplies I don’t need is probably the closest I get to a guilty pleasure. I buy them and think about all the people out there who don’t have awesome office supplies like I do and I feel bad for them.

-Favorite Meal?

Coffee and an ice cream sandwich is my version of a “Power Lunch.” The combination of tastes is glorious.

-If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

My non-writer dream job is train engineer (what? I like trains). My realistic non-writer job would be working in a bookstore. That’s what I was doing when I started my writing career.

Excerpt (M/M), NSFW:

“How much trouble am I in for getting out of the car without permission?” Kingsley asked.

“None,” Søren said, and Kingsley was wildly disappointed. “Let’s go. We can make it back to school by tonight.”

Kingsley followed him back to the car. The driver opened the door for them. When they were alone again, Kingsley said, “Or…”

“Or what?” Søren demanded.

“Or we could find a hotel and fuck in a real bed for once.”

“We’re not on a date. And here I was wondering where the real Kingsley had gone.”

“What do you mean?” he asked as the driver opened the car door for them. He slipped inside and Søren followed. They were on the road again before Søren answered.

“When you were with Claire—I wasn’t sure you were the same Kingsley I know and barely tolerate.”

“Why? Because I like kids?”

“You were good with her.”

“Kids are fun,” he said. What else was there to say?

“I never considered you would like children.”

“Well…I do. So what?”

“Nothing,” Søren said, laughing to himself. “Nothing at all.”

“I know you see me as some kind of pervert,” Kingsley said. “But believe or not, I am a human being. Yes, I like kids. I might want kids someday. I don’t have much of a family anymore. If I want a family I’ll have to make my own. Sometimes I have thoughts that don’t have anything to do with sex. I’m not just your toy, you know. I have feelings and—”

His impassioned “I have feelings” speech ended abruptly when Søren grabbed him hard by the back of the hair and brought his mouth down in a brutal kiss. Kingsley almost pulled away so he could finish his tirade before realizing he wanted the kiss so much more than the fight.

Kingsley returned the kiss with equal and greater passion. Søren yanked Kingsley’s jacket off him and threw it on the floorboard. Kingsley pulled his own shirt off and rolled on to his back on the bench seat. He’d remember the sensation of leather on his bare back all his life.

“Have you ever had sex in the back of a Rolls Royce?” Kingsley asked, trying not to rip Søren’s shirt in his rush to unbutton it. He needed Søren’s skin on his skin right now.

“No,” Søren said. “But ask me that question again in an hour.”

Before Kingsley could respond to that, Søren grabbed his wrists, pinned them over Kingsley’s head and kissed him again—deeper, slower, but no less punitive. Kingsley groaned, and Søren slapped a hand over his mouth.

“Quiet,” Søren said into Kingsley’s ear. “We aren’t alone, and I’ll gag you until you choke if I have to. Understand?”

Kingsley nodded against Søren’s hand. A curtain and partition separated them from the driver. He couldn’t see them, but if they were loud enough, he could hear them. He’d disobeyed Søren’s orders to stay in the car, he’d yelled at him and talked back. He was going to get it this time.

Good.

Søren kissed him again. Kingsley kept his sounds of pleasure to a minimum even when Søren reached between their bodies, unzipped Kingsley’s pants, and stroked him hard. Every muscle in Kingsley’s stomach tightened. He sucked in his breath sharply from the shock of pleasure. It took every bit of self-control not to moan audibly.

“You like this?” Søren asked.

“God, yes, so much,” Kingsley said, lifting his hips against Søren’s hand. He spoke in French and English. He was about to lose control of more than his language skills if Søren didn’t stop touching him like that.

“I think you like it too much.” Søren rose up on his knees and looked down at Kingsley.

“I don’t. I really don’t. I like it exactly as much as you want me to.”

“You’re pathetic when you’re turned on.”

“I am so pathetic right now.”

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Blog Tour & Review: Twice Tempted by Eileen Dreyer

Twice-Tempted-Blog-Tour

**I received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion**

TitleTWICE TEMPTED
Author: Eileen Dreyer
Availability: 25 November; E-book & Mass Market; Grand Central Publishing (Forever)
Where to Buy:

Series Info: Part of the Drake’s Rakes series (#5); My review of the prequel novella IT BEGINS WITH A KISS (Alex and Fiona’s first adventure) is available here
Cover Blurb:

dreyer.TwiceTempted.mmFiona Ferguson’s troubles began with a kiss . . . 
It feels like a lifetime ago that Alex Knight saved Fiona from certain doom . . . and stole a soul-shattering kiss for good measure. Wanting nothing more than to keep her safe, he left her in the care of her grandfather, the Marquess of Dourne.
But Fiona was hardly safe. As soon as he could, the marquess cast her and her sister out on the streets with only her wits to keep them alive.
Alex has never forgotten that long-ago kiss. Now the dashing spy is desperate to make up for failing his duty once before. This time he will protect Fiona once and for all, from a deadly foe bent on taking revenge on the Ferguson line-and anyone who stands in the way . . .

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My Thoughts:

I’m happy to report that the promising romance between Alex Knight, Lord Whitmore, and Fiona Ferguson that I so enjoyed in their prequel novella, It Begins With a Kiss, paid off beautifully.  Espionage, intrigue, astronomy and code-breaking lend depth to a passionate tale that proves being loved and being strong are not mutually exclusive.

From the first, both Alex Knight and readers alike, are captivated by the fearsome Fiona Ferguson.  Her tragic, impoverished childhood belies her status a Lady, the granddaughter of a powerful Marquess and sister to his heir.  Alex Knight is a close friend (and fellow member of the Drake’s Rakes spy ring) of Fiona’s brother, Colonel Ian Ferguson and through this relationship, Alex befriends Fiona and names himself protector of her and her sister Mairead.  Ian Ferguson’s story is told in the wonderful novel Once a Rake – highly recommended!).  Scandal surrounding Ian leads to his grandfather to cast the girls from his home, leaving them vulnerable and alone.

Alex Knight has led his life living up to his nickname “White Knight,” always charging to the rescue, collecting strays and trying to save those in need. He tried with his first wife, a vulnerable woman whose weakness and insecurity led to her commit adultery, dabble in treasonous acts and eventually take her own life.  Alex has suffered from his perceived failure to save his wife, yet his character does not wallow in his grief. Throughout this novel, Alex must make some difficult decisions to protect his honor, his country, as well as both Fiona and his family (including his sick step-father) – and these goals prove to be mutually exclusive. His growth comes with how he deals with these conflicts.

Alex is haunted by his first encounter with Fiona – and their powerful kiss – even four years later.  Their physical attraction and emotional connection were not dampened by the time they were separated.  Alex’s sense of duty (and guilt over his role in Ian’s troubles) sent him to look for Fiona but it was her strength and guarded vulnerability that make him fall in love.

Fiona is used to fending for herself and doing everything in her power to protect her twin sister Mairead.  Mairead is as beautiful as she is intelligent, which is to say extremely. Unfortunately that intelligence is accompanied by emotional trauma and complications which make Mairead almost completely reliant on Fiona. Fiona becomes more parent than sister and loses herself in the process. She longs for the chance to lean on Alex for support yet is too proud and scared of losing him that she won’t allow herself to share her burdens.

How could she explain that she simply couldn’t bear another disappointment? That the only thing worse than loss was loss on the heels of hope?

Eventually the assassin who is after their brother Ian, coupled with the revelation that the girls’ genius for code breaking was being exploited by the enemy, brings trouble to the Ferguson twins’ door. Fiona trusts Alex and his close friend Chuffy, Lord Wilde, to protect her and Mairead and remove them to safety.  Fiona doesn’t balk at Alex’s actions but rather intelligently and logically recognizes that she needs his help and that Alex and Chuffy are in the best position to protect her and Mairead.

A highlight of TWICE TEMPTED for me is the mature and thoughtful relationship between Fiona and Alex.  They have instant chemistry and Ms. Dreyer does a wonderful job of fleshing out their compatibility. They have a very open relationship, where they treat one another as equals.  Alex is not put off by Fiona’s past or her ‘bluestocking’ mathematical genius nor is she so determined to be independent that she doesn’t value his assistance.  Alex recognizes that he cannot save Fiona, indeed she doesn’t need him to, but rather he wants to lighten her load.

[S]he had not needed him to complete her. He hoped, however, she would let him shelter her.

The scene where Fiona finally lets go of all the tears and pain she has been holding at bay is powerful and very touching.  Alex and Fiona still manage moments of levity and passion that balance their dark pasts and present troubles.  Theirs is a happily-ever-after you can believe in.

Overall, TWICE TEMPTED is a very balanced romance with a likable hero and heroine who respect one another and demonstrate the power of love and support.  Secondary characters along with a touching secondary romance make this an enjoyable read.  The version I read could have used tighter editing to eliminate inconsistencies, but hopefully those were ironed out in the final product.

Giveaway Details:

Giveaway!

Complete the entry form powered by Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

  • (10) winners will get a print copy of TWICE TEMPTED by Eileen Dreyer
  • (5) winners will receive the ENTIRE Drake’s Rakes series, including TWICE TEMPTED

Excerpt from TWICE TEMPTED:

He arched an eyebrow. “Lord Whitmore again? Please, Fiona. Don’t do that to me. When I hear Lord Whitmore, I think of my uncle, who had six fingers and thought bathing was a trick of the devil.”

She giggled. “I can understand your wanting to maintain the distinction.”

“Every time you call me Lord Whitmore, I will call you Eloise.”

She glared at him, the curtains clutched to her chest like bedclothes, as if she were a maiden in threat of seduction. “You wouldn’t.”

He shrugged. “It is your name. Lady Eloise Fiona Ferguson Hawes.”

“No one knows,” she hissed.

He leaned in very close. “I do.”

She reared back and almost tipping the ladder again. “That is patently unfair.”

He shrugged and reached up for the curtains. “All is fair in love and safety.”

She refused to budge. “I do not believe that is precisely the quote.”

Grinning, he put his foot on the second rung, just beneath her. “Close enough.”

And then he made the mistake of looking into her eyes. Her blue, blue eyes that were suddenly black with arousal. He heard the sharp intake of her breath and saw the erratic pulse beating at the base of her long white throat.

His own body reacted just as it had every time he’d gotten close to her. He focused in on her, his grip on her tightening. Still she didn’t move, caught in the circle of his free arm, her hip pressed against his chest, her mouth just above his. All he had to do was climb another rung, and he could satisfy a four-year-old craving.

His heart was galloping suddenly, and he could feel a bead of sweat roll down his back. He could see a glow on her forehead, her upper lip. Her eyes widened, as if she could read his thoughts, and he could scent something new. Arousal. Need. Hunger. His own body was shaking with it. He swore his cock had taken on a life of its own, and his brain simply shut down.

He leaned a bit closer, his foot still on the step beneath her and paused, giving her a chance to escape, to clout him in the head if necessary. She didn’t. She watched him the way prey might a raptor, unsure and wary. He didn’t blame her. He wasn’t certain how much control he had over himself. It had been so long since he’d had a woman. So much longer since he’d really liked the one he had.

Slowly, so he didn’t startle her into tipping the ladder, he rose up and set his other foot on the rung. She was frozen in place, one hand fisted around the blood-deep velvet, the other clenched against the ladder, as if she was still uncertain whether to use it.

She didn’t. She inhaled, her mouth opening just a bit, as if there wasn’t enough air. As if she were struggling to stay afloat.

Sink, Alex wanted to say as he lifted himself face-to-face with her, mouth-to-mouth. Sink into me.

            “I knew it!” a voice screeched behind him, shattering the moment. “What did I tell you about lettin’ them jackanapes in here?”

Fiona reared back, as if he’d attacked her, again throwing the ladder off balance. Alex instinctively pulled back to stabilize them. He pulled back too far and the ladder tipped.

There was a lot of yelling and a couple of muffled thuds as Alex landed on his back, cushioning Fiona’s fall. He wasn’t so lucky.

“Are you all right?” Fiona asked immediately, leaning over him.

“Serves him right,” the housekeeper snapped from the doorway.

He had hit his head so hard he was seeing stars. But he was smelling cinnamon and Fiona, so he really couldn’t complain

“That is enough, Mrs. Quick,” he heard. “Alex? Your eyes are open. Can you hear me?”

Rather than admit that he was too distracted by the plump pressure of her breast against his chest to answer, he simply closed his eyes and groaned. The act would have been unworthy of him if his head weren’t pounding and his arse aching from hard contact with the floor

“Mrs. Quick,” she was saying, her hand on his cheek. “See if Mr. Clemson is outside. Send him for the doctor.”

He knew his injuries didn’t merit such concern. “No doctor.” He blinked a couple of times until the multiple Fionas resolved into one. “I’ll live. My head is a bit bruised is all.”

In retaliation, she took away both her hand and breast, which almost set Alex to groaning again. She actually smacked him on the arm. “Then don’t frighten me like that….again.

“Don’t know why you let him in here at all,” came the grumble from the doorway.

Untangling them both from the curtains, Fiona sat up. “Thank you, Mrs. Quick. I think we’re all right now.”

“Ya think that, do ya?”
Fiona gave her the kind of glare that betrayed her aristocratic heritage. The housekeeper, still grumbling, clasped her hands in a parody of good servile behavior and stalked off down the hall.

Fiona looked back down to where Alex lay, and he could see the cost of the last tumble on her face. He should have been outraged. He was lying in a nest of curtains with a fresh headache and the humiliation of his fall, and she was…laughing.

She tried so hard not to. She held her hand to her mouth. She shook her head. He could see her shoulders heave. He would have chastised her, except the minute he opened his mouth, he burst out laughing, too.

“You are not very beneficial to my amour propre,” he wheezed up at her.

She couldn’t stop laughing, full-throated, full-bellied, as if too much suppressed laughter had simply spilled over. “I…I….didn’t…”

“Mean it,” he managed, making it up as far as sitting beside her. “Yes, I know.”

She frantically shook her head. “Think anything could be so…funny!” She was gasping, bent over her hands at her waist. “The look on your face!”

He had meant to get up, to reassert his mastery of the situation. He refused to sacrifice this perfect moment with her on the floor. Wrapping an arm around her shoulder, he wiped at the tears that coursed down her cheeks.

“It’s not that funny,” he groused.

She started laughing again. “Oh, yes it is. You can have no idea of how long it’s been since I had the chance to laugh. Since I last saw your sister, I think.”

He had to grin. “Well, yes. Pip would set anybody to laughing. She’s a ridiculous little thing.”

For that he got a resounding smack on his chest. “Do not dare speak ill of my best friend.” She hiccuped, her eyes widening a bit. “My only friend, actually. Except for Sarah and Lizzie. And now that Sarah is married to my brother, I have no idea at all how we will meet again.”

There was the faintest plaintive note in her voice that made Alex want to curl her completely into his arms and shield her from hurt. Dear God, how lonely she must have been.     “I promise,” he said instead. “I fully respect my sister’s loyalty. It’s her good sense I frequently question.”

Her breathing was evening out. She nodded. “Pip does have a knack for acting before thinking.”

“She’s like a whirlwind.”

“She needs to finally capture her Beau,” Fiona said with a definite nod. “That would settle her down.”

Alex snorted. “Poor Beau. He’d never have another moment’s peace.”

And for a long moment, they just sat there in a pool of sunlight and velvet, his arm around her and her head on his shoulder. It felt so good. So whole.

It couldn’t last. If he didn’t move, he’d damn well take her here on the floor. He opened his mouth to tell her, and then made the mistake of meeting her gaze again.

Her lips were still parted, but she wasn’t laughing anymore. He could see the pulse jumping at her throat, and her hands were clenched again, as if she were trying hard to keep them to herself.

He didn’t know why. Lifting his own hand, he cupped her cheek. Again he gave her the chance to pull away. Again she didn’t. His own heart started to skip around. He was rock hard. There was no longer a question. He had to kiss her.

About Author Eileen Dreyer:

New York Times best-selling author Eileen Dreyer has won five RITA Awards from the Romance Writers of America, which secures her  fourth place in the Romance Writers of America prestigious Hall of Fame. Eileen is an addicted traveler, having sung in some of the best Irish pubs in the world.  Eileen also writes as Kathleen Korbel and has over three million books in print worldwide. Born and raised in Missouri, she lives in St. Louis County with her husband Rick and her two children.

Connect with Eileen’s Social Media:

Twitter: @EileenDreyer | Website  |  Facebook

Review: Captivated by You (Crossfire #4) by Sylvia Day

Captivated by You by Sylvia Day Release Day November 18, 2014

Title: CAPTIVATED BY YOU (Crossfire Series #4)
Author: Sylvia Day
Availability: 18 November 2014 (Paperback and e-Book | Berkley), 368 Pages
Where to buyBarnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iBooks  |  Amazon (US) |  Amazon UK paperback
Series Info: A Crossfire Novel, #4 (Bared to You (#1), Entwined with You (#2), Reflected in You (#3))

Giveaway:  Leave a comment ON THIS POST telling me why you love the Crossfire Series and you’ll be eligible to receive a signed hardcover copy of BARED TO YOU (Crossfire #1), the book that started it all!  If you’re not familiar with the Crossfire Series (*gasp*), comment telling me what you look for in a steamy read – chances are you’ll find it here!(contest ends November 25, open to U.S. residents only, winner selected using random number generator).

My Summary:
Captivated by You captures the reader from the first line and doesn’t let go until its satisfying end. As can be expected by a Crossfire novel, we witness the exhilarating and passionate love of Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell as they face ghosts from the past while working toward the happy future they both dream of and finally realize they deserve.  On their path, they must deal with jealous exes and meddling parents, complicated by juggling friendships, business dealings, and their own emotional baggage.  Loving Eva has opened Gideon up to change and acceptance, allowing him and Eva to deepen their connection as she learns to let go of her past and embrace a future with Gideon. They must fight for each other and their shared goal against numerable obstacles, including themselves.

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Blurb:

Gideon calls me his angel, but he’s the miracle in my life. My gorgeous, wounded warrior, so determined to slay my demons while refusing to face his own.

The vows we’d exchanged should have bound us tighter than blood and flesh. Instead they opened old wounds, exposed pain and insecurities, and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows. I felt him slipping from my grasp, my greatest fears becoming my reality, my love tested in ways I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to bear.

At the brightest time in our lives, the darkness of his past encroached and threatened everything we’d worked so hard for. We faced a terrible choice: the familiar safety of the lives we’d had before each other or the fight for a future that suddenly seemed an impossible and hopeless dream…

My Thoughts:

It took me over 24 hours after finishing Captivated by You to sit down and write this review. I needed at least that long to process all the feelings this book brought out in me. All day, while folding laundry or putting away groceries or whatever chore I was engaged in, my mind kept coming back to this book. That’s what a good book does, it stays with you even after you’ve read the last page.

And let me tell you, I didn’t want that last page to come. As I raced toward the finish, my e-reader kept me informed of exactly how far it was to the end and I kept complaining “there isn’t enough time!” Well, at least I can be comforted by the news there is another Crossfire novel ‘coming soon’ from Berkley Books, One With You (no release date yet – Grrrrrrr!).

As the fourth book in a five series, Captivated by You doesn’t really work as a stand-alone novel. Yes, a reader can pick up this installment without ever having read the others but the nuances of the characters would not be as rich and the character/relationship growth would not be as rewarding. The first three books in the series are great and I strongly recommend them (see my reviews of #1 Bared to You here, #2 Reflected in You here, and #3 Entwined with You here).

Now on to the good stuff: 5 Things I Loved about Captivated by You and 1 Thing I Didn’t

#1 Gideon Cross’ Point of View
As the book opened to Gideon’s voice for the first time, I actually bounced in my seat with excitement. As a fan of the series, I (like his fictional love Eva) have been frustrated by the character’s brooding alpha male tendencies. Gideon has always been open and honest with Eva regarding his feelings for her, his insecurities and failings. However, there has been much that he’s held back. Reading his thoughts and seeing events from his perspective really brought a whole new layer to an already complex character. Kudos to Ms. Day for giving Gideon his own distinctive voice. [This doesn’t mean I wasn’t thrilled to read Eva’s perspective in the alternating chapters told in her POV – it was like catching up with an old friend.]

#2 Character Growth
This is one strong positive I think a new reader to the series might not appreciate if staring with book four. I have to admit it, I’m proud of these two crazy kids and how they have grown, making mature decisions and dealing with problems head-on, together (for the most part, more on this later). Gideon’s character arc especially, has impressed me. As pointed out above, reading his point of view emphasizes the changes loving Eva has helped him with. It was also refreshing to see Eva respond differently, with more reasoned reactions (usually).

#3 Scenes of Past Abuse
I can’t sugar coat it, there are some intense, emotionally raw depictions of sexual abuse of a minor told through flashbacks and dreams. These scenes were hard to read – and it’s a testament to the quality the writing that something so horrifying doesn’t turn a reader off but rather draws them further into the story. Reliving these events through the character’s eyes was an important part of novel and the reader’s relationship with the characters. Thank you to Ms. Day for not shying away from the realities of abuse and it’s effect on the victims.

Be prepared – it ain’t pretty, but it’s handled masterfully.

#4 Secondary Characters
I’m going to be honest, in the first three books I didn’t really care too much about the secondary characters. Most were either threats to Gideon and Eva’s relationship or took time away from the main crux of the story. My ambivalence has been erased (for most characters, some still bore me). We are introduced to more of Gideon’s circle of friends– he actually has a Guy’s Night with all his wealthy, hot male buds. [Shout out to Arash Madani, Gideon’s lawyer and my new bestie! The man is smart and funny *sigh*]

Gideon and Eva even go out on a group date to co-mingle their groups of friends and there’s a scene here that I thought might play as cheesy but ended up kinda hot. [Rule #1: Always Trust Sylvia Day] It was great to have some scenes of fun and lightness in an otherwise dark tale; there’s a nice, and necessary, balance.

We also saw more of Gideon’s relationship with his family, including his step-father. I have become so attuned to threats to Gideon and Eva’s relationship that I actually get a bit wary when new characters enter their sphere. [Note: still hate you, Corrine and Brett]  My actual notes on Chris Sr.: “I hope my liking him doesn’t bite me in the ass.” SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t. [Rule #2: See Rule #1]

Oh, and I’m still in love with Gideon’s driver Angus, the red-haired Scotsman (I have a type, don’t judge me).

#5 The “Good Parts” Are Very Good
Sylvia Day is a master of writing erotic romance (please note the emphasis on romance). No matter how raw and sexual a scene between Gideon and Eva becomes, it’s about the love and deeper connection between the two. Let me assure you, there are plenty of raw, nearly animalistic scenes in this book – but these characters are always making love (even if it’s a quickie in the back of a limo or introducing a new ‘toy’).

The Crossfire series is often mentioned in the ‘what to read after 50 Shades’ conversation. Nope, wrong. No contest. This series (and this installment especially, I think) puts that comparison to shame. Crossfire is hotter, has more emotional depth and is just so well-written. Do yourself a favor, skip ’50 Shades’ and go straight to Sylvia Day’s Crossfire novels.

Aaaannnnddd: 1 Thing I Didn’t Love About Captivated by You: Eva’s Overreaction (maybe?)

For so much of this book (I swear 90%), I was gushing over the way Gideon and Eva communicated and worked as a team. I should have known it was too good to last. I’ve sometimes wondered if Eva’s reactions to Gideon’s behavior haven’t been a tad too over the top (couples therapy, really? after a couple of weeks of dating?). Unfortunately that concern reared it’s ugly head again.

There came a time in this book where Gideon set things in motion without consulting Eva (SO hard to not give spoilers!). Unlike his behavior in earlier books, in this instance he confessed quickly and when she (predictably) blew up, he immediately backtracked – two things he wouldn’t have done before (yay growth!). Rather than talk things through, Eva ran off and stopped talking to him for days (feels like this happens every book). She’s all about him opening up but then she shuts down. Gideon was juggling so many threats and emotional issues, I guess I just felt Eva needed to show a little more understanding. The conflict felt a bit too forced for me – but hey, without conflict, you can have make-up scenes. And given her character’s history, her reaction might be entirely proportionate.

Some favorite quotes:

“You make me happy,” he said, in the deep firm tone he used when making an unswayable decision. “I’d forgotten what that feels like. Don’t devalue what you mean to me.” –Gideon

I believed Gideon implicitly. He always told me the truth. The problem was, there was a lot he didn’t tell me. –Eva

“Was that a laugh, Cross? Were you seriously just laughing? Or were you having a stroke?” –Arash

“No fair. You’re all ripped and shiny and mostly naked, and I have no willpower.” –Eva

I couldn’t grasp the dream I’d had, but it refused to let go of me. –Gideon

Take me. Take all of me. The good and the bad. Everything. Take it all. –Gideon

“It’s not the past she’s thinking of […] it’s the future.” –Angus

He had to stop pushing me away to protect me, and I had to stop worrying that I would disappear when I became Mrs. Gideon Cross. –Eva [their issues in a nutshell]

This couple has definitely earned their happy ending. No doubt they’ll find it in One With You, the next, and reportedly last, Crossfire novel.

About Author Sylvia Day:

Photo Credit: Ian Spanier Photography 2014

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of over 20 award-winning novels sold in more than 40 countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in 23 countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Her Crossfire series has been optioned for television by Lionsgate.

Connect with Sylvia’s Social Media:

www.sylviaday.com | Facebook.com/AuthorSylviaDay | Twitter: @SylDay

First Three Chapters of ‘Captivated by You’ by Sylvia Day

Captivated by You by Sylvia Day Release Day November 18, 2014Author Sylvia Day has shared the first three chapters of the highly anticipated fourth installment of her wildly popular CROSSFIRE SERIES:

CAPTIVATED BY YOU CHAPTERS 1-3

These chapters feature some Gideon POV! Inside look at the thoughts of one of contemporary romance’s hottest men, sign me up!

Giveaway!

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment below telling me why you love the Crossfire Series and you’ll be eligible to receive a signed hardcover copy of BARED TO YOU, the book that started it all!  (contest ends November 25, open to U.S. residents only, winner selected using random number generator).

If you’re not familiar with the Crossfire Series (*gasp*), comment telling me what you look for in a steamy read – chances are you’ll find it here!  You can read my review of BARED TO YOU here.

CAPTIVATED BY YOU is scheduled for release November 18.

Spotlight: The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) by Sally Orr

The Rake's Handbook

Title: The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide)
Author: Sally Orr
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Pre-order Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | iBooks

Summary:

The definitive guide to seduction…

The Rake’s Handbook was written on a dare, and soon took the ton by storm. Now its author, Ross Thornbury, is publicly reviled by the ladies—who are, of course, forbidden to read the handbook—but privately revered by the gentlemen. Unfortunately, Ross’s notoriety is working against him and he flees London painfully aware of the shortcomings of his own jaded heart.

Spirited young widow Elinor Colton lives next to Ross’s country estate. She’s appalled not only by his rakish reputation, but also by his progressive industrial plans. Elinor is sure she is immune to Ross’s seductive ways. But he keeps coming around…impressing her with his vision for England’s future and stunning her with his smiles.

How does one resist the man who wrote the manual on love?

GIVEAWAY INFO!!!!

Giveaway!

Enter Rafflecopter Giveaway – Two copies of The Rake’s Handbook are available (two winners, ends 11/7) (Click on Giveaway Kitty for a chance to win).

Excerpt from The Rake’s Handbook:

“You really are a rake,” she whispered, the sight and feel of their joined hands warming her cheeks. “A proper gentleman would never hold a lady thus. I have been warned about your charms. Perhaps I too should write everything down. Pen a handbook to instruct my widowed sisters what to expect upon attempted seduction and how to fight it.”

“Factual or satirical?”

She bit her lower lip to stop an indelicate reply.

“I could write that handbook too.”

His boast made her smile. “I seem to have found another trait of a rake.”

“Humph. I’d be delighted to show you all of my traits. Perhaps start with chapter one?” The determination in his voice indicated he was quite willing to comply.

“Please do, sir,” she replied in a facetious tone, tugging her hand free. “But I can already tell that I’ll stop reading your book after the table of contents. You know, all of those funny pages in the front of the book numbered v and i.”

He chuckled softly, then stared at her until he captured her gaze. “My handbook starts with fine eyes.” He reached up and swept back a ringlet that had fallen over her eye and carefully tucked the curl under her bonnet.

Her heartbeat raced.

“The eyes are followed by a notable vee.” His gaze lowered to the upper edge of her bodice and lingered in the center.

“Oh my, if that’s the table of contents, I don’t dare read chapter one.”

“I’d be pleased to read you all of the chapters. There are a total of . . .” He glanced at her leisurely, from the top of her leghorn bonnet down to her sensible half boots. His focus returned up to her neck—almost. His chest broadened as he inhaled. “Ten.”

“Ten.”

He gave her a smoldering look from under heavy lashes. “Ten in volume one,” he continued in a silky baritone. “Let’s start with chapter one.” He leaned forward slowly, staring at her mouth, as if he might take liberties and kiss her. The distance between them shortened to inches. Close enough to feel his warm breath.

About the Author:

Sally Orr worked for thirty years in medical research, specializing in the discovery of gene function. After joining an English history message board, she posted many, many examples of absolute tomfoolery. As a result, a cyber-friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, it’s not surprising that her first book is a Regency romance. Sally lives with her husband in San Diego, surrounded by too many nerdy books and not enough old English cars.

Connect with Sally’s Social Media:

Website | @OrrSally | Facebook | Goodreads

Cover Reveal: THOUGHTFUL by S.C. Stephens

I’m happy to share the lovely new book cover for bestselling author S.C. Stephens upcoming release THOUGHTFUL, the retelling of the events of THOUGHTLESS from the point of view of that book’s hero, Kellan Kyle.    (And by lovely, I mean smokin’ hot, abtastic deliciousness…)

Hope you’re ready for this..
It’s stunning…
Here it is…
Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens
Title: THOUGHTFUL
Author: S.C. Stephens 

Release Info: February 24, 2014; Forever Trade Paperback and E-book

Book Blurb:

The only place Kellan Kyle has ever felt at home is onstage. Gripping his guitar in a darkened bar, he can forget his painful past. These days his life revolves around three things: music, his bandmates, and hot hookups. Until one woman changes everything…

Kiera is the kind of girl Kellan has no business wanting-smart, sweet, and dating his best friend. Certain he could never be worthy of her love, he hides his growing attraction…until Kiera’s own tormented heart hints that his feelings might not be one-sided. Now, no matter the consequences, Kellan is sure of one thing-he won’t let Kiera go without a fight.

Pre-order links:
B&N |  Books a Million  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Google Play
About the author:
S.C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.  In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family.  She and her 2 children reside in the Pacific Northwest.
Connect with Author S.C. Stephen’s Social Media:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Yummy, no?

New Release Review: Lock & Key by Cat Porter with author Q&A

lock & key Title: Lock & Key
Author: Cat Porter
Where to Buy Lock & Key:  Amazon // Barnes & Noble

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My Rating:

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4/5 bottles of polish for a steamy and emotional novel featuring sexy and mature lovers standing up for the life they want – and deserve!

Lock & Key  Blurb:

Love not only stings when you lose it, when it’s ripped away, but when it first sinks its teeth into you, it can cut just as raw and sting just as deep.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that.

I was allegedly South Dakota’s most famous Old Lady.
Fifteen years ago I had survived my Old Man’s murder and swore to myself never again.
Never again surrender my heart.
Never again sacrifice to the Club.
But that all changed in one night.

I came home and crashed into him,
and my past and present blew up in my face.
Both of us lonely, running on empty, and unwilling to admit it.
Until now.
I feel things I’d forgotten about, want things I had cut out of my insides.

Who holds the keys to betrayal? To suspicion? To trust?
To brotherhood? To family?
To a bleeding heart?
Right now, I just might.
I suppose some of us have to get really dirty before we can become truly clean.

My Thoughts:

I am absolutely in love with the idea of a contemporary romance centered on female character over the age of 40.  This is no virginal shy miss experiencing her first sexual awakening or a goody-goody off to explore her wild child side with the big bad bikers’ club.  Grace Quillen was once an innocent young woman, and we experience her through flashbacks, but even then, when first encountering the One-Eyed Jacks and her future first love, Dig, Grace was a strong woman.  When Lock & Key opens we meet Grace as a fully formed adult, world-weary and complete with scars and baggage from her time with the Club as Dig’s “old lady.”

Family tragedy and Club politics bring Grace back from a sixteen year exile rooted in the death of her husband and it’s devastating consequences.   The mysterious circumstances surrounding Dig’s death and Grace’s flight play an important role in sucking Grace back into the fold of the One-Eyed Jacks and their club politics.  However, before returning to her hometown, Grace stops for the night and meets a tall, handsome stranger, Miller, with whom she shares an instant emotional and physical connection.  Allowing herself to feel and connect for the first time in ages gives Grace the strength to continue on her mission.  The magic of the evening is marred when the harsh light of day reveals the sight of a tattoo on the back of her new lover – the symbol of the One-Eyed Jacks.  Reeling from the collision of her past and present, Grace leaves Miller to awake alone, wondering if he’d imagined the depth of his connection with Grace and fearing he’d never find her again.

Being romantic fiction, they find each other at the bikers’ club house.  By the time they do, Miller has been forced to pull back from Grace and deny their bond, all in the name of the good of the club and its politics.  Miller is obviously conflicted and his character shines in these moments of torment as he holds Grace close in his heart while pushing her away.  Miller is artistic and honorable and sexy as HELL.  Serious book crush worthy – he’s a man’s man (really a MAN, around age 40).  His club name is Lovk because he keeps his emotions locked up, ashe’s closed himself off emotionally following his military service and the death of his brother, who rescued Miller from a childhood of abuse. Yet, with Grace, he opens up and can finally be his true self.

“Everything unlocks with you, Grace. Anything good suddenly fits.  You’re my key.  I found you , and I’m not letting you go.  Not ever.  I’ve waited too long for you.”

I didn’t know what to do with those beautiful words, that precious confession.  My soul soared.  I yanked it back to earth.

“Lock…”

“I only want to hear my real name out of that mouth when we’re together.”

Yeah, I’m kinda in love. *swoon*

Poor Grace goes through so much in the course of this novel.  She never shrinks into weakness, always doing her best to face head on the pain of the past and the agony in the present.  Grace does what she must for her family (both blood and club) and she’s an admirable character for it.  Her relationship with her ailing sister and her nephew are key to her character development and her actions throughout the novel.  It’s a lovely sisterly dynamic that’s played out beautifully.

I do have to say I was a bit skeeved out over some Grace’s actions on behalf of the club (I’ll just say: Butler *ew*).  The club/brotherhood that was supposed to have her back didn’t feel 100% behind her at times by asking too much from her.  In the end, Grace used her intelligence and cunning to come to her own rescue (with some help from Miller).  I would have liked to know more details about the injury she suffered at the time of her first husband’s death and how it affected her psychologically.  The book touches on those dark times but we see them mostly through the experiences of other characters.  Even in the current day, Grace has to deal with the physical aftereffects and I’d like to see more about how she deals with it.  One that note, I am happy to learn there is more to come in the One-Eye Jacks universe and I look forward to reading more from Cat Porter.  Really, anything from Cat Porter – she’s a talented author we can expect lots of great things from!

About Author Cat Porter:

Cat PatrickCat Porter was born and raised in New York City, but also spent a few years in Europe and Texas along the way. As an introverted, only child, she had very big, but very secret dreams for herself. She graduated from Vassar College, was a struggling actress, an art gallery girl, special events planner, freelance writer and had all sorts of other crazy jobs all hours of the day and night to help make her dreams come true. She has two children’s books traditionally published under her maiden name. She now lives in Athens, Greece with her husband and three children, and freaks out regularly and still daydreams way too much. She is addicted to the History Channel, her iPad, her husband’s homemade red wine, really dark chocolate, and her Nespresso coffee machine. Writing keeps her somewhat sane, extremely happy, and a productive member of society.

Connect with Cat’s Social Media:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Q&A with Cat Porter:

Is there a message in your novel [Lock & Key] that you want readers to grasp?

In L&K Grace and her sister sacrifice in order to protect each other all their lives, from parents who abandon them and turn to alcoholism, from loss, depression, cancer, the threat of death, you name it. It’s noble and it drives those two women, and unfortunately the men around them often use it against them. The same goes for Miller and his older brother Wreck. There’s also the notion of identity- the use of their names, their biker road names, their real names. There are the ideas of family identity and cultural identity at play here too. When Lock first meets Grace he decides to use his real name and that’s how he wants it between them. He doesn’t use a nickname for Grace other than “babe” or “baby” unlike her first love who had had several nicknames for Grace. But this is a different time and place in both their lives- they’ve both reached this point of Brutally Real or Nothing at All. 

The other idea is that both Grace and Miller are both living with their heads down in a mediocre glide through life. When they first meet they joke about that cliché “change keeps the blood flowing” but it proves to be true for both of them, because for years their blood has not been flowing, and that needs to be changed. And in order to push through and stand up for what they want after all this time, they have to get dirty and taste ugliness in order to fully realize their truths, know their worth, and be able to stand up and say “No more. This is what I want, what I need and I want to live it now. Screw you and screw everything else.”

Will you write more about these characters?

Yes. In my upcoming 2nd installment, we will follow up with Grace and Miller and a new character from Grace’s past will make an appearance, and in the 3rd installment I’ll focus on another member of the club.

What are your current projects?

I have a new book coming out in November, “Wolfsgate” a romance drama set in 18th century England. I’ve had an obsession with the 18th century since I was a little girl watching Masterpiece Theatre with my parents every Sunday and I enjoyed reading the classics and historicals from a young age. The notion of an arranged marriage used to fascinate me to no end. What happens if the husband and wife actually, truly, fall in love and how does that happen? I’m currently writing the second book of the One-Eyed Jacks series and planning on releasing it this winter.

Tell us about your first book. What would readers find different about the first one and your most recent published work?

My first (traditionally) published book is a religious children’s myth, so it’s very different from “Lock & Key”! But the differences between L&K and “Wolfsgate” aside from the obvious- a bike club in contemporary South Dakota and upper class society of 18th century England- is a remarkable two sides of the same coin idea, I think. In the bike club there are no rules or restrictions (just those of their “tribe”), they live on the fringe of society and their moral compass is off the standard chart.

In the 18th century it’s all about the formal rules and restrictions of society. People then spoke indirectly about the stuff bubbling under the surface. In the bike world, they bluntly lay it out in a raw, unabashed way, do what they want, take what they want. In the 18th century world, there may be rules and restrictions (and bindings on their corsets, but no panties!) Yet there is so much implied and not said outright in their fancy speech and formal behavior, so much struggling to get through, so much crudeness and rule bending going on underneath the gilded niceties. All that fascinates me just as much as the raw, brash in-your-face-no-shame culture the biker world represents.

What is for you the perfect book hero?

I read a recent article about why we love Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy so much, and how it’s because we see him become transformed by his love for Elizabeth. So true! That’s what I want in a book hero. I love a good Alpha who goes for what he wants and won’t take no for an answer, who’s hiding some dark secret maybe that he can only share with his woman eventually. But at the core is his transformation into the better person he can only be through his experience of connecting to his woman. I find that journey of his extremely intriguing, breaking down the barriers, finally getting to the point of do or die, him making a stand and finding a new strength.

Deleted Scene from Lock & Key © Cat Porter

“Aunt Grace, look what Lock drew for me! Isn’t that the bestest tiger you’ve ever seen?”

Jake jumped up and down shoving a lined yellow page in my face. A strapping purple tiger, fangs bared and ready to pounce glowered at me.

“Wow, purple?”

“You don’t like purple?” came the deep voice I knew so well.

My head shot up. All my senses were drawn towards that sound like the tide under the magnetic force of a full moon. Lock stood in the kitchen doorway, one hand slung low on his hips, the other stretched out against the frame of the door. His white T-shirt was smeared with black grease and smudged with dirt. My breath stalled. He held my gaze, his head cocked to the side as he waited for my answer.

I shifted my weight. “I like purple. Majestic color.”

“Majestic,” he murmured, his lips twitching.

Jakey brandished his drawing in the air. “Isn’t he scary, huh? Ready to attack!” He let out a great big howl.

“Yeah, attack.” I mumbled, my gaze still stuck on Lock’s eyes.

Lock’s eyes…

Mesmerizing pools of lava that sucked me in and swallowed me whole.

“I’m gonna go show it to Wes!”

“Jakey, wa—”

Jakey sped out of the room, and Lock and I were suddenly alone. We hadn’t seen each other since that ugly explosion in the hallway three nights ago. Since my stupidity with Butler. Since Iris. Since my evil deal with Jump.

Since my little world blew up in my face.

He stared at me. I stared back, the silence deafening. Roaring.

His teeth grazed his bottom lip.

My heart hammered in my chest.

“How are you holding up under lockdown?”

“I’ve been keeping busy with the Bone Marrow Drive. Writing thank you notes, that sort of thing.” I sucked in a breath. “Oh, did you want some?”

His eyebrows lifted and a grin stole over his lips.

I rolled my eyes, my face heating. “The cake?” I gestured to the chocolate sheet cake next to me on the counter.

The amusement lingered on the taut lines of his face. “Did you make that?”

“Yeah, I did. I thought the kids would . . .”

A sharp prickle raced up my spine as he stalked over to me. Like a fucking tiger. I turned around quickly and began cutting him a thick slice.

The heat of his body brushed up against me, pressing into my back and my side, his warm, breath fanning the back of my neck. The scent of motor oil, metal and sweat swept past me as his arm reached out, a long finger swiping through a dollop of velvety chocolate ganache. On some primal instinct I was powerless to control, I tilted my head to watch his full lips suck on the tip of that finger. The finger that only days ago had swiped at me, thrusted inside my body, inside my most intimate, vulnerable place. The finger that had made me surrender to him.

It had tormented me, bruised me, angered me. And left me hungry for more of what only he could give me.

“This is what I do to you. Remember that.”

I dropped the knife on the counter with a clang. His lips released that now wet finger, and his thumb stroked over a chocolate smudge on the corner of his mouth then dragged lazily across his generous lower lip, his eyes on me. My tongue darted over my lip, a pathetic attempt to satisfy my sudden need to lick his.

His eyes blazed. It was only a second, but I recognized it—a flash of want, of hungry, potent need, a wild, irrepressible, insatiable urge. The tremor of it pulsed deep in my center and simmered in my blood. I should hate him, despise him for making me feel it, especially now, now that things were broken, mangled, dirty.

But I didn’t.

His wet finger trailed gently up the back of my neck like a drizzle of liquid fire, and a shiver snaked through me.

“That’s really good,” he rasped.

I stopped breathing, and my body melted into his magnificent towering wall of sinewy muscle. Into the impulse to throw everything away and dive into a warm, swirling sea of chocolate and cream and hot blinding mess.

His hand swept around my throat, the other around my waist. “Goddammit.” His rough whisper vibrated across the suddenly sensitive skin of my neck.

But I couldn’t afford to indulge in impulses anymore.

“Stop,” I whispered, my hands clasping his wrist.

His body stiffened around mine. “I know you hate me now, and I deserve it. I hate myself more for the things I said to you the other night, for the way I treated you. I had no right. No right to take from you, to be so cruel.”

I squeezed my eyes shut against the humility laced in his words, against the intimate timbre of his voice. I didn’t want to forgive him. That would mean letting him in again, and I wasn’t going to do that. No way. I was done with hopes and wishing and believing. I was going to do what I had to do then get myself the hell out of here. Again.

He lowered his head further, his face against mine. “Grace? You won’t even speak to me?” His lips brushed mine, and I gasped. That mad jolt of electricity, our electricity, coursed through me. His hold on me tightened as his mouth lingered over mine. Teeth tugged, warm lips nuzzled, teased, and coaxed that unwinding hot coil of disaster within me.

The luxurious taste of dark chocolate, sugar and Lock beckoned me to dive in and bathe in its lushness. His tongue nudged my lips open further and delved inside my waiting mouth. My tongue slid against his, stroking, eagerly exploring. The air around us was sucked away. Who needed oxygen? It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered when I had this kiss, his kiss.

His tongue dipped through the ache that swelled inside me, dipping through the havoc, the riot of warring factions on the battlefield of me. A fucking civil war. And silencing everything.

Everything but Us.

The Us that was precious.

The Us that had turned ugly.

The Us that was never meant to be.

I tore myself away from his mouth, slamming into the sharp edge of the counter. A muffled growl caught in his throat. Lock’s hooded eyes were dark, unreadable, his breathing as ragged as mine. His hands gripped my arms, then suddenly let go as if they’d realized their transgression. The craving still drummed between us, but now it snagged and clawed at my insides.

“That cake any good?” Jump’s taunting voice spiked from the doorway. It was the voice of cold, hard fucking reality, a bucket of icy water toppling over us, drenching everything.

Lock’s cold gaze leveled at mine. His jaw clenched, the lines of his face hard. I braced for the burn sure to come.

“Chocolate’s not my thing,” he bit out and strode out of the kitchen.

*GUH* You can feel the tension and passion and PAIN leaping off the screen!  If a deleted scene is this good, you can only imagine how amazing the final version is!

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