Tied With Me by Kristen Proby

TiedWithMeA man whose lifestyle is so different from her own…

Nic Dalton’s cupcake bakery is thriving. She serves both rock stars and locals alike, content with her growing business. But one adventurous night out with her best friend, Bailey, turns her life upside down. She meets a handsome stranger who makes her skin sizzle and her heart race. Their one night together is explosive and unexpected, but when he has to suddenly leave without taking her phone number, Nic resigns herself to never seeing him again.

…What will it take to trust and submit to his every desire?

Matt Montgomery is one of Seattle’s finest. He works hard, loves and protects his family fiercely, and is loyal almost to a fault.

And he has a penchant for bondage.

Matt enjoys the way a woman looks wrapped up in his ropes, and makes no apologies for his preferences. When he meets Nic at a fetish festival, the small, beautiful woman catches his eye, drawing him to her. His one night with her was everything he’s ever looked for in a partner, but is cut short because of a family emergency. Even before he sees her again weeks later, he knows he’ll never get her out of his system.

And he’ll do whatever it takes to make her his.

“Give in to this, Nic. Let me prove to you that I will be one of the best decisions you ever make.” –Matt Montgomery

review

“Is this the restraining portion of the evening?”

I’m going to be honest with you. I might have a little addiction to Kristen Proby’s special flavour of smuttilicious romance, her stories somehow always managing to melt my heart and turn me on at the same time. She’s dazzled us with a charming movie star, a tattooed rocker with a dirty mouth, a bossy businessman, a professional football player with a heart of gold, an ex-Navy SEAL, and now she is trying to further ruin us for all men by feeding our fantasies with a police detective with a penchant for bondage. Is this psychological torture ever going to end? What could be next – a Montgomery biker? Be still, my poor beating heart…

“Do you belong to anyone?”

Nic is the quiet and unassuming owner of a popular cupcake bakery, a woman whose tireless dedication to her thriving business leaves very little free time for romantic pursuits. Nic’s medical conditions have taught her very early on in her young life that her health would always be her greatest weakness, and that she could never count on having the type of future most women take for granted. Resigned to her fate, she has focused on achieving financial security instead of creating a family, knowing that there would never be anyone else to take care of her if need be, and that the only person she could always depend on is herself. When her best friend decides to inject some excitement into Nic’s uneventful life by taking her to the local erotic festival, what starts as “not her thing” ends up being the first genuine thrill she’s ever felt.

Matt Montgomery is a police detective, a natural protector and nurturer whose very particular Dominant tendencies in the bedroom have kept him from finding the right type of woman to satisfy both his sexual proclivities as well as his desire to form a family. He has always lived a double life, his romantic conquests never getting introduced to the rest of the Montgomery clan, his relationships kept short-lived and private. When Nic walks into Matt’s life, he is immediately drawn to her innate submissiveness and he wastes no time to make his desires heard.

“I don’t typically come on this strong, but I want to f*ck the shit out of you right now.”

She might not believe to possess a submissive bone in her body, but her body says otherwise and very soon they are exploring the kind of relationship neither of them has ever had in the past. It’s a game of give and take as neither of them are truly set in their ways, but they quickly find a pace to suit them both.

“I’d like to lick him. Except, he would rather tie me up. And the part that scares me is that I’d like for him to tie me up, too.”

But as soon as Nic’s life becomes filled with happiness and she starts picturing a happily-ever-after with Matt, her old insecurities raise their ugly head, making her deny herself what her heart aches for the most – a man who would stand by her no matter what and a family that would love her unconditionally. Family is the connecting element in this series, continuously intertwining these characters and their stories, and in this instalment, the focus is on what truly constitutes a family bond.

The bondage aspect of the story only adds a kinky component to the bedroom scenes, and it remains more of a spice rather than a full flavour until the very end. This is not what I would call a BDSM type of romance by any stretch of the imagination as none of the characters fully embrace the lifestyle or behave consistently in that manner. Matt’s dominance in the bedroom is more of an occasional taste for control between the sheets rather than an unwavering routine, as he rarely behaves like a true Dominant.

If I could wish for anything different in this particular book, it would be a somewhat richer plotline. All the focus is on the growth of the emotional connection between the characters, and I felt at times that a more plot-driven approach would have benefited the overall story. But apart from that, this is another extremely enjoyable instalment in the With Me In Seattle series by an author whose love stories continue to excite me and make me crave for more, and it is not to be missed.

 “Stop trying to top me, stubborn woman, and enjoy.”

4stars

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With Me In Seattle – Reading Order and Purchase Links (standalone novels)
comeawaywithme underthemistletoewithme fightwithme play with me_322x500
rockwithme_322x500 safewithme TiedWithMe

Come Away With Me: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK
Under the Mistletoe With Me (novella): My review | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Fight With MeMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Play With Me: My review | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Rock With Me: My review | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Safe With Me: My review | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Tied With Me: Amazon US | Amazon UK

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The Author

Kristen Proby_pic croppedKristen is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular With Me In Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

Connect with Kristen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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The Giveaway

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Black Box by Cassia Leo

BlackBox_UK1

Three fateful encounters…
Two heart-breaking tragedies…
One last chance to get it right.

Over the course of five years, Mikki and Crush cross paths on three separate occasions. Their first encounter changes Mikki’s life forever, but their second meeting leaves them both buried beneath the emotional wreckage of a violent attack. Mikki is left with more questions and grief than she can handle, while Crush is forced to forget the girl who saved his life.

Now nineteen years old, Mikki Gladstone has decided she’s tired of the mind-numbing meds. She books a flight to Los Angeles to end her life far away from her loving, though often distant, family.

Twenty-one-year-old Crush has always channeled his blackest thoughts into his music, but he’s never had great aspirations. He decides to fly to Los Angeles to record a demo of the only song he’s never performed in public; a song he wrote for a girl he doesn’t even know: Black Box. He has no expectations of fame and he’s never felt like his life had any purpose… until he meets Mikki in Terminal B.

When Mikki and Crush cross paths for the third time in Terminal B, neither has any idea who the other person is; until they slowly piece together their history and realize that fate has more in store for them than just another love story.

review

“I hate that you saved me. But, most of all, I hate that you love me because now I love you and I don’t know how to make it stop.”

It doesn’t happen very often, but once in a blue moon a book manages to grab me so fiercely that I not only end up spending the whole night enthralled by the story, unable to put it away, but I also cannot stop reflecting back upon it, and feeling the myriad of emotions that it stirred up in me from its very first page. Black Box is not a book about the rosy side of life, or perfect characters with perfect lives. This is a story about two damaged individuals whose fates keep touching at every crucial moment in their young lives, continually tying their destines to one another and making them each other’s lifeline. It shows how desolate, helpless, monochrome a person’s mind can become when filled with desperation, but it also gives us hope that that big, gloomy cloud does not have to determine the rest of a person’s life.

“Do you think saving someone’s life cancels out taking another person’s life?”

Mikki is a girl whose bipolar disorder coupled with recurring suicidal tendencies have made her determined that her only way to escape her unhappiness is by ending her own life. Crush is a young man whose unsurmountable guilt has emotionally isolated him from the people around him, convinced that no good deed could ever erase the burden of his past mistakes. They meet at an airport, headed for the same destination, but while Crush hopes the trip would help him escape all the pretences of his privileged life and find a new direction, Mikki dreams of finally putting a stop to her own suffering. It all might have started as a chance encounter, a cancelled flight leaving two lost souls stranded in the middle of a snow storm, but the more we learn about these two characters, the more we realise their whole lives have been leading up to this moment.

“Don’t tell me I don’t know you when I’ve spent the last three years trying to forget you.”

Over five short days, Mikki and Crush get to know each other and as their pasts unravel, we discover an astonishing puzzle of intertwined destinies where each piece shows the tremendous power of the human spirit and how inescapable fate can truly be. The time they spend together in their temporary little bubble gives them both an escape from their everyday lives, as well as forcing them to expose their demons and give each other a reason to seek the light at the end of the blackness of their own minds.

“I feel like I’ve known you all my life. I don’t want that feeling to go away. I want to know you all my life.”

This story deals with some very serious issues of mental illness, as well as the emotional repercussions of sexual abuse and bullying, but while those topics were handled with great care and accuracy, the overwhelming feeling this book leaves us with is one of hope and unwavering love. Mikki’s condition is not romanticised or trivialised to fit a stereotypical vision of a love story, but it is shown realistically in all its unpredictable ferociousness. It drives the story, it drives the characters and their actions, but it does not render them helpless. It only shows the true capacity of the human spirit and how much adversity a person is capable of coping with without breaking. This might be a story describing a grave human condition, but it is also a beautiful romance between two people who were born to save one another and whose connection is the very thing that anchors them to this life.

A tale of beauty born out of misery, of love conquering all, this is one of the most sensitively and candidly told stories I have ever come across and it has been a true privilege reading it.

“In the process of finding the girl I fell in love with three years ago, I found my best friend.”

5stars

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CRUSH

Three months before the flight

This is the fourth girl this month. I can tell by the way she leans her head against the inside of the passenger window with her eyes closed, arms folded protectively across her belly, that this is going to be easy. She’s going to make this so easy.

But it won’t be easy for me. It never is.

I pull into the parking lot of the fast food burger restaurant and she doesn’t open her eyes, but she reaches for the door handle as soon as I hit a speed bump. I slam on the brakes just as she flings the door open and juts her head out the car so she can vomit. A cool autumn breeze sweeps through the darkness of midnight and the sour smell of her sickness fills the inside of my car. I grab a bottle of water out of the cup holder and tap it against the side of her thigh. She turns her head lazily and stares at it with a vacant expression; bubbly drool dripping from the corner of her mouth.

“Sorry,” she says, grabbing the bottle. She swishes some around inside her mouth and spits out the vomit-laced water. She rinses a few more times before she takes a measured sip and tosses the half-full bottle into the empty parking lot.

“Are you okay?” I ask, knowing the answer to this question is fully dependent on whether she vomited enough of the tequila she was guzzling at Harry’s house thirty minutes ago.

She slams the passenger door shut and leans back, eyes closed, like she’s ready to fall asleep. I guess I can do it while she’s sleeping.

“No, I’m not okay.” She laughs a tinkling, annoying laugh that makes me instantly think this is a huge mistake. Then she turns to me and her eyelids slowly flutter open. She gazes at me with that heavy-lidded, come-hither look I’m so used to seeing. “Maybe you can change that.”

I’m counting on that.

I can’t remember her name. That’s all I can think as I reach for her hand and flash her a sly half-smile. I bring her bony hand to my lips and something about her seems off. The skin on her palm is too rough, calloused, like she’s been working on the docks for the past three years instead of ….

She bats her lashes at me as I kiss her knuckles and I try not to gag at the smell of her hand. It smells like lime and vomit. I carefully set her hand down in her lap and she instantly reaches for me with her other hand, her fingers locking around the back of my neck, pulling my face to hers with a desperate urgency.

She opens her mouth and her teeth bang against my upper lip. Ugh. This doesn’t feel right, but I have to do it. There’s no other way.

I let out a phony chuckle. “Slow down, sweetheart.”

Her other hand leaves her lap and both her arms are now locked around my neck, pulling me toward her. She wants it. She wants me. I’m not surprised. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I have no problem attracting girls. It’s getting them to leave me alone that I find much trickier. This has worked to my advantage for the past three years. When your mission is to get as many girls in the Boston area naked, this is a great advantage to possess.

She nips my bottom lip, a bit too hard, and I try to pretend-chuckle again, but I’m actually starting to get annoyed. This girl was quiet as a mouse at Harry’s parents’ house thirty minutes ago; now, eight shots later, she wants to f*ck me in the middle of a McDonald’s parking lot. This is too easy.

“Hold on. Let me at least park the car.” I murmur this as I gently pull away from her, then I drive the car around the back of the restaurant and park behind a dumpster shelter, which will hide us from the main road.

I reach for her face and her eyes widen as she pushes my hand away and climbs into my lap. She attacks my mouth and that’s when I know that this is not the girl I want. This can’t be her.

Her long, light-brown hair and the scar over her eyebrow, combined with the demure demeanor and the fact that she was born and raised in Brockton all made me think, This has to be her!

But a sick dread grows in the pit of my belly with each lascivious lick of her tongue, lapping across my lips as if they were covered in tequila. The hint of vomit on her cold, wet tongue is making my stomach roil; and I know. It’s not her. But I have to try.

My fingers find the bottom of her tight peach sweater and she flinches a little. I pull my head back to look at her face. Maybe I was wrong. But her face is slack with alcohol, except for a feverish need in her eyes. She smiles what is supposed to be a sexy smile, but it’s just clumsy.

I have to get this over with.

“Take off your shirt.” I pause for a moment, gauging her reaction. She looks a bit confused, so I add, “Please.”

She chuckles and she yanks off her sweater, revealing a light-pink, lacy bra and breasts that appear … wrong. It’s not just the fullness of her breasts, but there’s no tattoo over her heart. And that’s when my heart sinks.

Her hands reach for my face as she leans in to kiss me and I grab her wrists; turn my head to escape her vomit-breath. I swiftly grab her by the waist and hoist her back into the passenger seat.

“What’s wrong?” she asks in a small voice that reminds me of the girl she was before those eight tequila shots. The girl I mistook for someone more important.

The Author

cassia leo_picNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo grew up in California and has lived in three different countries. She loves to travel and her dream is to one day score a record deal based on her awesome shower singing skills. She is the author of the Shattered Hearts series (RelentlessPieces of YouBring Me Home) and the Luke and Chase series.

Connect with Cassia: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The Giveaway

To win a Kindle Fire HDX or one of ten (10) Black Box Spoiler Alert Posters, please enter below. This contest is administered by Cassia Leo.

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Always by Kindle Alexander

always

Born to a prestigious political family, Avery Adams plays as hard as he works. The gorgeous, charismatic attorney is used to getting what he wants, even the frequent one-night stands that earn him his well-deserved playboy reputation. When some of the most prominent men in politics suggest he run for senate, Avery decides the time has come to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. With a strategy in place and the campaign wheels rolling, Avery is ready to jump on the legislative fast track, full steam ahead. But no amount of planning prepares him for the handsome, uptight restaurateur who might derail his political future.

Easy isn’t even in the top thousand words to describe Kane Dalton’s life after his father, a devout southern Baptist minister, kicks him out of the family home for questioning his sexual orientation. Despite all the rotten tomatoes life throws his way, Kane makes something of himself. Between owning a thriving upscale Italian restaurant in the heart of downtown Minneapolis and managing his long-term boyfriend, his plate is full. He struggles to get past the teachings of his childhood to fully accept his sexuality and rid himself of the doubts brought on by his religious upbringing. The last thing he needs is the yummy, sophisticated, blond-haired distraction sitting at table thirty-four.

review

“… when kindred souls meet, they are destined to be together, always.”

Love is beautiful. Love is timeless. Love is love. You can package it whichever way you wish, but nothing can take away from the fact that finding true love is also one of life’s greatest and rarest gifts. And while love can sometimes be an illusive foe in real life, it is never scarce in fiction, an endless number of fairy-tale romances feeding the dreamers in all of us. But then once in a while a very special book comes along giving us one of the most beautiful love stories ever told, one that transcends time, distance, gender, religion, or current opinion on whom we should or shouldn’t love, and shows us the true meaning of love. This was that book for me. This was the book that fed my own hope. And this was the book that redefined love in my eyes.

“I don’t regret anything. You made me the man I am today.”

Avery Adams is the charming and confident grandson of a former US President, a prominent lawyer in his own right and a man with a bright political future ahead of him, but Avery is a man whose high profile life forces him to separate his public persona from his personal one. His love life is nothing more than a string of meaningless sexual encounters with men he rarely has any interest of seeing again. When he walks into a little Italian restaurant in the middle of Minnesota, he has no idea that night would become the most important night of his life.

“Any doubt or reservation Avery had been able to muster fled as he looked up into Kane’s blue eyes and realized he’d met his one. Kane was meant for him. A chance dinner at a Midwestern restaurant had produced his other half. Who would have thought?”

Kane Dalton is a successful restaurateur, a man who justifies his own lack of a stable love life by putting his work first, but his reasons for never truly committing to someone heart and soul can be traced all the way to the frightened eighteen-year-old son of a pastor whose family kicked him out when he told them he was gay, with not a dime to his name, and no one to call his own anymore. Kane does not hide his sexuality, but his father’s cruel parting words have never left him, making him believe deep inside that God condemns men like him and that happiness would never be given to someone who chooses to live their life in sin.

When Kane and Avery meet, the spark of electricity between them is unquestionable, their attraction palpable, but nothing about their first night together feels temporary or finite. Their personalities complement each other, their priorities in life are perfectly aligned, their feelings for one another mirror each other from the moment they lay eyes on one another, and there is no doubt in anyone’s eyes that they are each other’s true match.

“You have to feel it. I can’t be alone in this.”

This is a stunning love story that spans over four decades and it managed to move me profoundly at each pivotal moment in these two men’s lives. Their devotion and pure love for one another are the constant thread in the story, showing us how uncomplicated love can truly be when two people put each other first, always. Their story also shows how resilient and stubborn love can be, how important it is to accept ourselves before others can accept us, what the true meaning of family is, and how BEAUTIFUL life can be when the person standing beside you loves you unconditionally and supports everything that you are and everything that you do. Kane and Avery’s timeless romance, however, does not focus solely on them being a same sex couple – their love is and remains the focal point of the story until the very last page. I adored this book, I cannot remember the last time a story made me smile or cry so many times, its incredible pace being one of its greatest features. And while I plan on re-reading this book in the very near future, I must admit the ending was the only thing I did not fully connect with, for very personal and purely subjective reasons. I am not sure this was the ending this story needed, but I trust and admire this author’s talent enough to respect her choice.

Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned m/m reader or if you’re stumbling into this genre for the very first time, I urge you to give this extraordinary book a chance. I have no doubt whatsoever that it will leave you speechless. And on a personal note, I’m hoping that Oscar Wilde got it right when he said that “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”, because with stories like these, I’ll never stop hoping.

“We’re gay, we’re in love, and we’re married. It’s not wrong. We’re not wrong!”

5stars

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If you found this review helpful in any way, I would be so grateful if you took the time to click on this link - it will take you to my Amazon review for this book where, at the bottom of the review, you can select ‘yes’ or ‘no’ where it asks you, “Was this review helpful to you?” – Thank you so much!

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“Honey, that was the clown company on the phone. They aren’t coming either. I think we just need to call this off,” Kane said, absently placing the phone back on the wall mount. Avery was packing the last of the hotdogs and chips into a grocery bag, not paying him any attention. Autumn and Robert were bundled up head to toe in their matching snowsuits and snow boots. They stood waiting by the back garage door, both children stood staring up at him and Avery. Uncertainty, as well as maybe some disappointment were clear in their eyes. Kane couldn’t help his small smile as he looked back at their children. Avery had even added decorative birthday party hats on top of their already tied hoods.

Today was their sixth birthday party, and a late in the season snow storm was just beginning to blow in. The giant tent, ponies, and caterer had already canceled this morning as the unexpected, unwanted storm began to build outside.

“We don’t need that stuff! We got this birthday party thing down! It’s not every day your children turn six years old!” Avery declared, grabbing the bag and the juice boxes, heading toward them. “We’re the Adams! We don’t need anything but ourselves to make this a great birthday party! Right?” No one answered as Avery walked past them and opened the garage door, letting the ice cold air in, chilling them all.

“Let’s go! Pile in the truck for birthday party time!”

* * *

“Incoming, Robert! Watch yourself!” Avery yelled, diving in front of Robert, taking him off his feet seconds before a snowball would have hit him squarely in the face. Avery tried for a tuck and roll, letting the next snowball hit him. That was one thing he’d taught Autumn – take no prisoners, and his sneaky little daughter had let Granddaddy Paulie and Kane distract Robert while she came in from the side.

“Are you okay?” Avery asked, looking down at Robert’s face, wiping away the snow that had landed there when they rolled.

“Yes! Thanks Dad!” Robert’s face beamed happily up at him. The moment stole his heart and he bent in placing a quick kiss on his son’s forehead.

“Good. Now we gotta get them back!” Avery started to stand, only to have Autumn suddenly jump on his back and the snowball in her hand smacked him in the face. She’d watched him pull that same move on Kane when they first got to the park today and now she was getting him back.

“We Win! Daddy, we Win!” Autumn yelled, and Avery took the moment for his own surprise attack, carefully flipping his daughter over and dabbing her with just a little snow in the face. Her grin matched Robert’s who was still down beside her. He quickly kissed her forehead and brought them both to their feet.

“I think we still won, right, Daddy?” Autumn asked. Her long blonde hair was slipping free of her hood, and her bright red cheeks glowed as she ran toward Kane and Paulie who were making their way back over to them.

“You did real good, baby. They never saw you coming!” Autumn launched herself into Kane’s arms, where he hauled her up, settling her on his side.

“I think Granddaddy Paulie needs to be on our team next time. Autumn doesn’t need any help planning her strategies out.” Avery laughed, as they met in the middle, close to the tent he had erected when they first arrived. The portable heater was keeping it warm, but so far they hadn’t needed the relief for anyone except Kennedy who hadn’t ventured out for the snow ball fight.

“Mom, are the hotdogs ready?” Avery yelled. She didn’t even lift the flap to respond, she just yelled back.

“If you like them black on one side, I’ve got them ready!” Autumn reached out for Avery and he took her as they made their way to the tent.

“I don’t like black on my hotdog,” she whispered in his ear. And the move Autumn had just pulled now made sense. Avery wouldn’t make her eat the hotdog, where Kane would make her at least take a bite. Robert was right there beside them, working hard to keep up in the snow. He slid his hand in Avery’s and tugged.

“I don’t like black on my hotdog either, Dad,” he said. They had double teamed him! He looked over his shoulder to see if Kane had heard any part of their exchange. Apparently he had because he was already shaking his head no. Now he was in a spot. Avery knew Kane wanted him to say they needed to at least try and eat the food, but his babies were only six-years-old one time in their lives. Ignoring Kane, he gave the declaration as he flipped open the tent.

“Mom, we are forgetting the dogs and going straight for the birthday cake!”

“Whatever they want, but get inside here quick and close that flap. It’s too cold out there.” Autumn and Robert both squealed in delight, dessert before lunch never happened! Avery held the tent open for Paulie as he ducked in, but closed it as Kane got closer.

“Don’t be mad,” Avery started. Kane had always watched their diets so closely. He knew those hotdogs weren’t just run of the mill, grocery store wieners. They were quite possibly handmade chicken hotdogs from a health food store Kane had found.

“You should have at least made them t…” Kane started but was stopped by Avery’s kiss on his lips.

“It’s their birthday.” Avery smiled at Kane’s slightly upturned face and leaned down to kiss Kane again.

“They’re kissing again!” Autumn called out and Avery looked down to see her face sticking out of the flap. Her hood was off, her hair a crazy blonde mess but her smile took his heart.

“Of course they are,” Paulie’s gravelly voice boomed out.

“Come on! This is the best birthday ever! Nonnie has the cake ready.” The last part came out as a squeal and the tent flapped shut.

“How could I say no to that? “ Avery asked, lifting the tent for Kane.

“You need to learn how,” Kane said, ducking under the flap. Avery made sure he hid as he slid his hand down Kane’s ass cheek, only to get the are-you-serious glare in return from his husband. But in his defense, there weren’t too many times Kane’s ass stuck up in the air like that without him being prepared for more. Avery shrugged and gave a chuckle as he followed Kane inside the warm tent.

The Author

Best Selling Author Kindle Alexander is an innovative writer, and a genre-crosser who writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and erotica in both the male/male and male/female genres. It’s always a surprise to see what’s coming next!

I live in the suburbs of Dallas where it’s true, the only thing bigger than an over active imagination, may be women’s hair!

Usually, I try for funny. Humor is a major part of my life – I love to laugh, and it seems to be the thing I do in most situations – regardless of the situation, but jokes are a tricky deal… I don’t want to offend anyone and jokes tend to offend. So instead I’m going to tell you about Kindle.

I tragically lost my sixteen year old daughter to a drunk driver. She had just been at home, it was early in the night and I heard the accident happen. I’ll never forget that moment. The sirens were immediate and something inside me just knew. I left my house, drove straight to the accident on nothing more than instinct. I got to be there when my little girl died – weirdly, I consider that a true gift from above. She didn’t have to be alone.

That time in my life was terrible. It’s everything you think it would be times about a billion. I love that kid. I loved being her mother and I loved watching her grow into this incredibly beautiful person, both inside and out. She was such a gift to me. To have it all ripped away so suddenly broke me.

Her name was Kindle. Honest to goodness – it was her name and she died a few weeks before Amazon released their brand new Kindle eReader. She had no idea it was coming out and she would have finally gotten her name on something! Try finding a ruler with the name Kindle on it.. It never happened.

Through the course of that crippling event I was lucky enough to begin to write with a dear friend in the fan fiction world of Facebook. She got me through those dark days with her unwavering support and friendship. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t there for me. Sometimes together and sometimes by myself, we built a world where Kindle lives and stands for peace, love and harmony. It’s its own kind of support group. I know without question I wouldn’t be here today without her.

Connect with Kindle: Website | Facebook | Goodreads
The Giveaway

To win one of the following prizes, please enter below. This contest is administered by Kindle Alexander.

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Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye

hardasyoucanFive dishonored soldiers.

Former Special Forces.

One last mission.

These are the men of Hard Ink.

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed.

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn’t want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can–and never let go.

review

“… her life was a house of cards, one light blow away from falling to pieces and disintegrating to nothing.”

There is nothing more exhilarating than discovering a new series that suddenly keeps you glued to its pages until the wee hours of the morning, unable to even blink away because your heart is racing so fast and your curiosity won’t let you quit. I have to say that when I first dove into this story, I already knew what a tremendous storyteller Laura Kaye is from some of her previous works, such as the very sexy novella Hearts in Darkness, but I never expected to embrace this story so passionately, to find it to be so riveting and unique, and to be craving more so soon… more of the fast-paced storyline, more of the characters, and more of Ms Kaye’s spectacular style of writing. This is one of the most well-rounded books I have ever read, such a brilliant combination of romance, action, suspense, and drama – it’s a book that has it all and it left me frantically flipping those last few pages wishing they’d magically multiply tenfold.

In the first book of the series, Hard As It Gets, we were introduced to the five dishonored Special Forces soldiers who are now on their last ‘mission’ together to salvage what is left of their reputation and to make some sense of the mystery surrounding their former commander’s criminal actions. While, in that book, their second-in-command, Nick, found his happily-ever-after in the arms of their former commander’s daughter, this story now centres around Shane, Nick’s best friend, and the woman he saves from a life of unhappiness and abuse.

“A man who refused to hit a woman. How freaking miserable was her life that a man such as that was so damn unique?”

During the team’s second rescue mission, they come across Crystal, a woman who appears to be nothing more than a waitress in a seedy strip club belonging to the man they are trying to take down, but the moment Shane lies eyes on her, he sees the pain hiding behind her subdued demeanour. And his saviour instincts immediately kick in.

“Crystal was well aware that much of her life was a lie, a charade, a play in a never-ending series of one acts wherein the climax determined whether she lived or died, remained free or got lost forever in the dark, seedy, underbelly of the world.”

Crystal is a woman with very few options in her life. Forced to work off her father’s debts and stuck in an abusive relationship with one of her boss’ main goons for the sake of her sister’s health and safety, she counts down the days to when they would escape and start a new life elsewhere, trusting no one around her since no one has ever given her a reason to put her trust in them. She hides the marks of her past and present abuse, ashamed of them and believing them to be signs of her own weakness, unaware that every one of those marks makes her a true survivor. For five long years, Crystal has relied on no one to take care of her and her sister, except a man who proved to be the greatest monster of them all, making her distrustful of all people offering their help. But Shane slowly gets under her protective armour, only to discover a woman desperately aching to be loved and cherished.

“Her heart told her Shane might well be the most dangerous man she’d ever met because he made her want, wish, maybe even dream.”

He sees Crystal’s inner strength and brave defiance in her every action, and the more he gets to know her, the more he falls for the fearless young woman who has always put herself second. Amidst life-threatening circumstances and constant peril, they let desire draw them to one another, finding solace in each other’s touch and affection, but Crystal’s inability to embrace her dreams and see herself worthy of true happiness only show how beaten down and disheartened life has truly made her.

“Shane was… a rock in the middle of the raging sea, a refuge she might claim if she had the strength and the will and the nerve to fight for it. To believe she deserved it.”

A flawless tale of passion, survival, sacrifice and love, there was not one dull moment in sight for me during this entire roller-coaster ride of a journey. I was not prepared to let it end, to let the characters go, and was only too happy to discover that the background storyline would continue in future instalments of the series. I strongly urge you to surrender your senses to the skilful strokes of Ms Kaye’s imagination and fall in love with her stories as wholly as I have.

“Even if she only got to have him for a short while, she would remember him for the rest of her life as the man who had held her hand and helped her step onto the path to finding herself again.”

5stars

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Hard Ink – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Hard As It GetsAmazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks
Hard As You CanAmazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks
Hard to Hold On To (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks (19 Aug 2014)
Hard to Come By: Amazon US | Amazon UK (25 Nov 2014)

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The Author

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Connect with Laura: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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Rare and Precious Things by Raine Miller

rareandpreciousthings_322x500The fourth part in the New York Times bestselling series, The Blackstone Affair: A bright beginning for two damaged souls fighting for their hard-won love, and the promise of a new hope to secure their happily ever after.

Fresh from an idyllic honeymoon along the Italian coast, the Blackstones prepare for the birth of their precious baby and the challenges of settling into a new home. But things get complicated when specters from the past reappear to threaten the very foundation of their relationship. Ethan and Brynne will have to fight harder than ever for each other.

Rare and Precious Things is the story of two people who both need the other in order to be complete, but learn just how “rare” their brand of love is when they have to risk everything in order to hold onto it.

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“In the hours of the darkest kind, Brynne has ever been my light. My lover who saw inside my battered soul and freed me.”

And so we come to the conclusion of the stunning love story between the very irresistible Ethan Blackstone and his beloved American girl, Brynne. A most idyllic marriage of heart-warming romance and skin-tingling erotica, The Blackstone Affair has been one of the most titillating and flawlessly written series ever to feed the romantic in me, and it has been a bittersweet experience having to bid farewell to such beloved characters. Alas, all good things come to an end and this is an ending no Blackstone fan will want to miss.

“You made me want you. You made me want…a life. You were my greatest gift of all, Ethan James Blackstone.”

We find the loving couple on the cusp of their new life as husband and wife, only four months after they first walked into each other’s lives, but hopelessly enamoured with one another and committed to a long life in each other’s arms. We are given a very intimate insight into some of their most private and treasured moments together – their wedding, their wedding night and their honeymoon – and with alternating points of view, we are shown the unquestionable level of dedication and pure unadulterated love binding them to one another. Their every touch speaks a thousand words, their every word reveals what lies in their hearts, and they all express the endless gratitude they both feel for having found each other when their pasts had given them no indication they would ever find such joy.

“I knew more happiness and love than I’d ever experienced in my life, and now understood how precious it was to have that love.”

While the previous instalments in the series showed us a much more dominant and possessive Ethan, in this book we get to see him as the adoring and devoted husband to the woman he sees as his salvation. Their intense physical relationship that has always been the pinnacle of their connection still remains, but the passion between them has reached a point where being joined together heals them, soothes them, wards off the demons from their pasts and renews their hope that they would be free of them someday. We see them being a lot more playful with each other now that they are married, there is a new much more relaxed dynamic between them and they have both changed as a result of Brynne’s pregnancy. But while Brynne has welcomed her impending motherhood calmly and effortlessly, it is quite a sight to watch Ethan acting as the anxious father-to-be.

“How in the goddamn hell will I survive the birth of this baby, Brynne?”

As they rush to prepare for the arrival of baby Blackstone, Ethan and Brynne are also desperate to find peace within themselves in order to be the kind of parents they wish to be to their unborn baby, their ugly pasts still finding a way to meddle in their happiness. In so many ways, this book is Ethan’s journey from the darkness brewing inside him to a place of peace and renewed perspective. Brynne’s love is the very thing he has needed to want to free himself from his nightmares and her relentless support is the spark that sets it off.

I must say that it is so refreshing finding a hero who makes us fall in love with him without him being of questionable morals or proclivities. While Ethan Blackstone is indeed a dominant, possessive and controlling male, his alpha tendencies are reserved to the bedroom, and his every action only reflects his unwavering adoration and respect towards his beautiful American girl. This has been a love story that has thrilled me, moved me, fascinated me, and in the end, left me with the goofiest grin on my face. An absolute delight start to finish.

“Brynne was my life. The last piece of my puzzle that had finally completed me.”

5stars

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Read an excerpt from Ethan and Brynne’s wedding night
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The Blackstone Affair – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Naked: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK
All In: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Eyes Wide Open: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Cherry Girl (spin-off novel): My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK
Rare and Precious Things: Amazon US | Amazon UK (28 Feb 2014)
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The Author

R Miller_picRaine Miller has been reading romance novels since she picked up that first Barbara Cartland book at the tender age of thirteen. And it’s a safe bet she’ll never stop, because now she writes them too! Granted Raine’s stories are edgy enough to turn Ms. Cartland in her grave, but to her way of thinking, a hot, sexy hero never goes out of fashion. A part-time teacher and writer of sexy romance stories every other chance she gets pretty much fills her days. She has a handsome prince of a husband, and two brilliant sons to pull her back into the real world if the writing takes her too far away. Her sons know she likes to write stories, but gratefully have never asked to read any, thank God! Raine loves to hear from readers and to chat about the characters in her books.

Connect with Raine: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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Take a Chance by Abbi Glines

TAKEACHANCEWhen Harlow Manning’s rocker father goes on tour, he sends her to Rosemary Beach, Florida, to live with her half-sister, Nan. The problem: Nan despises her. Harlow has to keep her head down if she wants to get through the next nine months, which seems easy enough. Until gorgeous Grant Carter walks out of Nan’s room in nothing but his boxer briefs.

Grant made a huge mistake getting involved with a girl with venom in her veins. He’d known about Nan’s reputation, but still he couldn’t resist her. Nothing makes him regret the fling more than meeting Harlow, who sends his pulse racing. Yet Harlow wants nothing to do with a guy who could fall for her wicked half-sister—even if there are no strings between Grant and Nan. Grant is desperate to redeem himself in Harlow’s eyes, but did he ruin his chances before he even met her?

review

“My kitten has claws and apparently only you bring them out. Sleeping with the evil sister has put you on my baby girl’s shit list.”

There is something about an Abbi Glines book that gets to me every single time without fail. Her stories are not just consistently engaging and compelling, but each new book feels like she’s pushed the envelope one step further, taken her characters one extra step into the uncharted territories of her own endless imagination. You never know what you’re going to encounter, what kind of story she has weaved for us this time around, but one thing is certain – each book is a skin-tingling joy ride start to finish and it just keeps getting better and better.

After meeting him in the very first scene of Fallen Too Far as the guy Blaire aims her gun at, and then seeing him as the perennially level-headed and dependable fixture in all five instalments of the Rosemary Beach series, we finally get to properly meet Grant Carter and discover the man behind that panty-dropping smile. Grant is the stepbrother that Rush Finlay shortly had, but regardless of their parents’ marital status, they’ve been brothers through and through since they were little kids. Known as a perpetual womanizer just like his brother once was, Grant is not discreet when it comes to the identity of his many conquests, all but one – the woman at whose beck and call he has been for a long time and whose insistent hold over him he doesn’t seem to be able or willing to escape from – Rush’s younger sister Nan. A dysfunctional and volatile relationship from the very beginning, their connection is based purely on physical attraction, but its very existence stands in the way of the only genuine emotional bond Grant has ever formed with another woman. And that woman is Harlow Manning, Nan’s half-sister.

“Three kinds of women in this world. The kind that sucks you dry and leaves you with nothing. The kind that only wants a good time. And the kind that makes life worth a damn. That last kind… she’s the one that gives as much as she takes and you can’t get enough. She’s the kind… if you lose her, you lose yourself.”

Harlow is a fiercely independent young woman, her inner strength and self-sufficiency making her the perfect leading lady for a man who sees commitment as a vulnerability he won’t allow himself to have. Comfortably resigned to her own loneliness and the very opposite of a clingy female, Harlow lets Grant seduce her and allows herself to develop feelings for him, but the moment he shows his reluctance to claim her as his, she retreats back into her emotional fortress, making him then work all his charm and then some in order to get her to trust him again.

“You make me want things and feel a way I’m not ready for.”

When secrets from the past bring them closer together, they decide to give in to the blazing attraction between them and take a chance on one another, only to find out how deeply entrenched their own fears and insecurities truly are. Harlow is a heroine that awakens every protective bone in you; she is so accustomed to her own solitude and misplaced belief that she is unworthy of attention, that she cannot see herself as someone capable of competing with Grant’s past. Her defensive mechanisms never fully fade away and she never stops protecting her own heart, especially from a man whose life has taught him that love equates hurt and that loss is an unavoidable part of the equation.

“You smell like heaven and hell all wrapped up into one.”

This was such a surprising departure from the previous two storylines in the series, both of these characters having very personal journeys to travel before they can fully embrace the bond between them. Quite frankly, I have no idea how rough those journeys will be or what kind of roller-coaster Ms Glines will take us on with their story, but I know for sure it will be one heck of a ride. Grant and Harlow’s tale will conclude in One More Chance.

“I’m not the kind of girl you plan forever with.”

5stars

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon AUST/NZAmazon UK | B&N | iBooks
Connect with Abbi: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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Rosemary Beach – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Fallen Too Far (Rush & Blaire #1): My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK
Rush Too Far (Rush & Blaire #1.5): Amazon US | Amazon UK (6 May 2014)
Never Too Far (Rush & Blaire #2): My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK
Twisted Perfection (Woods & Della #1): My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK
Forever Too Far (Rush & Blaire #3): My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK
Simple Perfection (Woods & Della #2): My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK
Take A Chance (Grant & Harlow #1): Amazon US | Amazon UK
One More Chance (Grant & Harlow #2): Amazon US | Amazon UK (2 Sep 2014)

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For a chance to win 1 of 5 signed copies of Take a Chance and an Abbi Glines tote bag, please enter HERE

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Abandon by Cassia Leo

abandon2

A steady stream of meaningless sex is all Tristan has left when he discovers the grandmother who raised him is dying and his best friend is getting married. He is lost; and the dark secrets in his past keep coming back to remind him of this.

Until Tristan has an idea that will change his life and fulfill his dying grandmother’s wishes: Abandon his playboy ways and settle down.

And who better to do it with than Senia, the girl who has occupied his thoughts since their scorching hot tryst in the back of his sports car. The girl who makes him laugh and feel like a kid again.

But when his world begins to crumble around him, the pain Tristan is hiding finds its way to the surface. Will Tristan finally learn to trust again? Or will he abandon Senia when she needs him the most?

review

“… love isn’t about fixing things or people. It’s about sticking around when things can’t be fixed.”

Sometimes the scars that we carry from our pasts mark us, block us, define us for the rest of our lives, and sometimes all we need is one little push to set us on a course of self-acceptance and absolution. This is a story of one such journey, a story of a man trapped in a self-deploring cycle of bad decisions and utter disregard for the consequences of his actions, and ultimately, his escape from the demons of his past.

“You can’t let your past define your future.”

Tristan is a musician, a womanizer, a man who takes playing the field to a whole new level, his frequent but short-lived conquests of nameless swooning women being the only way he allows himself to “date”. He seduces but then quickly loses interest in the women he beds, the idea of committing to the one woman never even crossing his mind. Until an irresistible dark-haired firecracker rocks his world in the back seat of his car and life as he knows it forever changes after that.

For a man whose confidence and 
magnetism have helped him seduce too many women to count into sharing 
his bed, there has been only one woman who has escaped from becoming another notch on his bedpost – a woman whose own confidence and straightforwardness have made her truly irresistible in his eyes. Senia is sassy, direct, brave and generous with her heart, and from the moment she meets Tristan, she does not hide her interest in him. But Senia does not play games or hesitate to go after the object of her desire, taking the first step in a one-time hook-up that ends up being everything but casual for both of them.

“In the span of just a few weeks, I’ve gone from kicking girls out of my house to lovingly tucking them into the bed in my guest room.”

As they carefully and somewhat reluctantly tread the waters of faithfulness and commitment, long-buried secrets from Tristan’s past fight to resurface, forcing him to confront his demons and trust the ones he loves not to judge him for his past mistakes. As Tristan’s past and present collide, we watch a brave young man fight for the safety and happiness of his family, and to be worthy of the only woman he has ever truly loved.

However, as much as I adored these characters and felt that I even somewhat knew them already, I had hoped to get a much deeper insight into them than what this book offered me. I felt that crucial parts of their character development, as well as the evolution of the connection between them, were sacrificed for the advancement of the story itself, leaving voids that only an insta-love scenario could fill. Furthermore, a few very important moments in the story were simply brushed over rather than capitalised on, while others were hurried when they could have enriched the story immensely. I enjoyed every part of this book, I truly did, but I desperately wanted more. More depth. More content. More reasons to fall even more in love with two characters whose story I have been waiting to hear from the very first time they appeared in the series and almost stole the show.

If you’re a die-hard fan of the Shattered Hearts series like me or simply looking for a quick feel-good type of read about two characters who, in my opinion, deserved an entire series of their own, look no further. Tristan and Senia are on fire, their chemistry is off the charts and their story is unexpected and simply beautiful.

“You can’t expect me to not feel like I have some … claim on you.”

4stars

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The Author

cassia leo_picNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo grew up in California and has lived in three different countries. She loves to travel and her dream is to one day score a record deal based on her awesome shower singing skills. She is the author of the Shattered Hearts series (Relentless, Pieces of You, Bring Me Home) and the Luke and Chase series.

Connect with Cassia: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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Shattered Hearts – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Forever Ours: Coming Apr 2014…
Relentless: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
Pieces of You: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
Bring Me Home: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
Chasing Abby: Coming Summer 2014…

Please note that Abandon is not a sequel but rather a a spin-off from the Shattered Hearts series and can be read as a standalone or after Bring Me Home.

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The Giveaway

To win a custom engraved iPad mini and a $25 gift card, or one of 10 signed paperbacks of Abandon, or one of 10 Cassia Leo swag packs, please enter below. This contest is administered by Cassia Leo and it is open internationally.

Enter giveaway here…

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