The Will by Kristen Ashley

thewillEarly in her life, Josephine Malone learned the hard way that there was only one person she could love and trust: her grandmother, Lydia Malone. Out of necessity, unconsciously and very successfully, Josephine donned a disguise to keep all others at bay. She led a globetrotting lifestyle on the fringes of the fashion and music elite, but she kept herself distant.

While Josephine was trotting the globe, retired boxer Jake Spear was living in the same small town as Lydia. There was nothing disguised about Jake. Including the fact he made a habit of making very bad decisions about who to give his love.

But for Josephine and Jake, there was one person who adored them. One person who knew how to lead them to happiness. And one person who was intent on doing it.

Even if she had to do it as her final wish on this earth.

review

“It’s never too late to reach for happiness and no matter what life has done to you, it’s never too late to find it.”

I will start this review with the promise that reading it will not affect your enjoyment of this book in any possible way. One of the most striking qualities of this story is the sheer number of unexpected emotional reactions it evokes in the reader, page after page, scene after scene, and nothing in this review will rob you of any of those skin-tingling moments. But it might just give you an idea of why this was the KA book for me.

Starting a new Kristen Ashley book is always an emotional experience for me, her stories forever touching my heart and making my wildest fantasises run rampant. Each new book by this author seems to set a new benchmark for all the books I read after that, but never has it happened before that a story won’t let me write its review for several weeks after I’ve finished reading it because every time the story crosses my mind, I am overwhelmed by ‘book nostalgia’, wishing stories like that never had to end. I have loved and lived every single Kristen Ashley book I have ever read, but this was the most epic one of them all for me, the one that completely took my breath away and the one that will always represent ‘vintage KA style’ in my eyes.

“She wanted me for you.”

We meet Josephine ‘Josie’ Malone at one of the most trying moments in her life – at her beloved grandmother’s funeral. Josie has just lost the only family she had left, the woman who saved her from an abusive childhood by giving her a loving home, a place to belong to, a safe harbour, and by exemplifying the kind of woman Josie had always strived to become. At this moment of complete emotional loss and vulnerability, a man and his children standing near her grandmother’s casket catch Josie’s eye, their identity unknown to her but the intense pain in their eyes acting as a beacon to her own broken heart. The following day, her grandmother’s will is read and Josie’s world is suddenly turned inside out, its startling content leaving Josie torn between wanting to please her grandmother one last time and perplexed by the nature of her wishes.

“My most precious possession, the thing I treasure above anything else in this world … I hereby bequeath to …”

By all accounts, Jake Spear is a complete stranger to Josie but someone her grandmother not only seemed to hold in the highest regard, as her will shows, but also cared for deeply. A local entrepreneur and business owner, Jake’s business ventures vary greatly from one another, but his every action demonstrates that he is willing to do whatever it takes to provide for the three most important people in his life – his children. A former boxing champion and three-time divorcee, Jake is the very opposite of the type of man Josie has been pining for over the last two decades, his small-town lifestyle standing in stark contrast to the jet setting one that Josie has become accustomed to in her career, but she is strangely drawn to him. Having left home in her early twenties, determined to escape the memory of her past and reinvent herself, she has spent the last twenty years distancing herself from her emotions and looking after someone else’s needs before her own. But one look at Jake and his family, coupled with her recent loss and newly acquired responsibilities, and Josie cannot help but start questioning her choices in life and finding new definitions for happiness.

“…although it feels lovely you wish for me to have all kinds of beauty, I’m perfectly happy without it.”

After suppressing her own dreams for so long, and quashing every inborn instinct she has ever had to form a family, Josie is confronted for the very first time with the very real possibility of having everything she has always wished for, if only she is brave enough to grab it by the horns and never let it go.

“I’m fine with being alone. I want it to be that way. Honestly, I do.”

These characters might be slightly older and hence dealing with very different issues from the younger ones we typically encounter in KA books, but the intensity of their connection, the chemistry, and the passion between them are just as off-the-charts as always. If anything, their need for each other and desire to connect on all levels feels even more urgent and eager. There are moments that will have your heart racing, there are others that will make you melt from glee, and there will be moments when you will struggle to catch your breath.

“Every inch of you, outside and any way you can get inside, baby, physically or emotionally, is mine.”

This is essentially a tale of second chances at love, or first chances at love when deprived of true happiness until later on in life, and it tells the story of two people whose lives have taught them to recognise beauty once it comes along and to allow themselves to hold onto it, regardless of how undeserving of it they believe themselves to be. Every element of a KA book is present – her inimitable prose, her intense dialogues, her unmatched character development and ability to make the reader feel such a wide spectrum of emotions – but this story went beyond that for me, the honesty with which it was told touching me on a very personal level, and making me connect with the characters like never before.

“I’d give him anything. I’d give him everything. If I had the power, I’d give him the world.”

By the time you reach the end of this book, you’ll realise what a wonderful ‘full circle’ the author has weaved for us, showing us that every story, even the most ‘real’ and close-to-home ones, can become breathtaking fairy-tales. KA books should really have a separate rating scale as they truly stand in a book universe of their own, but if I had to pick an absolute favourite among them all, this book would be that book for me. I promise you, this story will mark you in the best possible way and if you’re anything like me, you’ll never fully walk away from it. Six Stars of Excellence and then some.

“I wanted you before I even knew you… You’re everything I ever wanted, darling.”

6stars

signature2

This is the first book in a series of standalone stories with interconnected characters.

addtogoodreads

Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CASmashwords
Read a spoiler-free excerpt
The Author

k ashley_picKristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Connect with Kristen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
✤ ✤ ✤

✦ Don’t want to miss any more posts? Subscribe to this Blog by email… ✦

Other books in the series or related posts:

BIRTHDAY TEASERS: The Will by Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley_BT 2014 Banner

As we near the end of the Birthday Teasers event, I am so honoured to be able to share with you an excerpt from one of my favourite authors in the whole wide world, the one and only Kristen Ashley, and her upcoming book The Will, the first in a three-part series of standalones, coming to us on KA’s actual birthday, 8 April 2014. All I can tell you is that this is possibly one of KA’s best books to date – so deeply emotional, so unexpected, so moving… Josie is my new favourite KA heroine and Jake… I cannot wait for you to meet JAKE!!!! The moment I finished reading it, I went right back to the beginning and started again… THAT good!!! This excerpt is very close to my heart, and I am so grateful to Ms Ashley for allowing me to share it with you today! Enjoy, book junkies! ♥

Read my 6-star review

Early in her life, Josephine Malone learned the hard way that there was only one person she could love and trust: her grandmother, Lydia Malone. Out of necessity, unconsciously and very successfully, Josephine donned a disguise to keep all others at bay. She led a globetrotting lifestyle on the fringes of the fashion and music elite, but she kept herself distant.

While Josephine was trotting the globe, retired boxer Jake Spear was living in the same small town as Lydia. There was nothing disguised about Jake. Including the fact he made a habit of making very bad decisions about who to give his love.

But for Josephine and Jake, there was one person who adored them. One person who knew how to lead them to happiness. And one person who was intent on doing it.

Even if she had to do it as her final wish on this earth.

excerpt

Dearest Gran,

We just got off the phone and I’m concerned about you. I know that sounds strange since our phone call was about how you were concerned about me.

Please don’t be. Please?

I’m happy, Gran. I truly am. Honestly.

When we were talking earlier, I wanted to say this but I didn’t know how to say it. Perhaps I couldn’t get my mouth to say the words because I didn’t want to admit it out loud or say it to you and upset you more.

But you should know—I’m fine with being alone. I want it to be that way. Honestly, I do.

You know I’m not alone most of the time regardless. But I do think you know what I mean.

My first memory is him and her in the kitchen, she was on the floor, you know how it was. I told you. And there were more memories after that that were even less pleasant. You know of those too.

And yes, the truth is, this affected me. Yes, it made me shy away from connections. And I know you don’t think this is healthy, but truly, it’s fine.

There are people who need people, sometimes a great many people. And I understand that what happened made me not that kind of person. But it means the connections I make are actually meaningful, not a collection of souls in order not to feel lonely. I don’t need that for I never feel lonely.

If I were to have a man, he would need to be very gentle and understanding, patient and kind, thoughtful, softhearted, and yes, maybe dashing and refined, definitely intelligent and successful.

All of these things and the last mostly because I would wish him to have his own diversions for I wouldn’t wish him to need to spend too much time with me. This is because I like being alone. I like my own company.

This isn’t to say I didn’t sometimes long for a gentle touch, a man’s eyes falling on me appreciatively, building a shared history where we might one day simply gaze at each other, understand and smile.

But I long ago gave up these yearnings. I meet many men and this man, this man that I would need to share my life with, he doesn’t exist, Gran. I’ve come to understand that and it’s settled in me. I’ve built a life I enjoy, one that keeps me busy, and I’m happy with that.

Truly.

I find it remarkable, after all that you endured, that you’d still believe in love. In romance. In all that heady possibility. And I adore it that you want that for me.

What I wish you to understand in your heart is that, although it feels lovely you wish for me to have all kinds of beauty, I’m perfectly happy without it.

I have your love and that’s all I need.

And you have my love too.

Forever and completely.

Yours,

Josie

addtogoodreads

Pre-order book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUSmashwords | B&N
The Author

k ashley_picKristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Connect with Kristen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
✤ ✤ ✤

✦ Don’t want to miss any more posts? Subscribe to this Blog by email… ✦

Other books in the series or related posts:

Kaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley

kaleidoscopeWhen old friends become new lovers…anything can happen.

Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at “hello.” His relationship with Emme’s best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that’s ever happened to her?

It isn’t easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she’s a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme’s always been the one; she excites Deck’s body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme’s past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she’ll let him . . .

review

“Met you twelve years ago and we’re just gettin’ here. I don’t call that fast. I call that a waste of f*ckin’ time I’m about to rectify.”

Whenever a Kristen Ashley book is about to come out, I am like a child in a candy store, greedy for it and desperate for my “KA fix”, but when that book also happens to be part of the Colorado Mountain series, well, we have a small emotional meltdown on our hands. I have re-read every single one of these books more times than I care to admit and finding out that the quiet but reliable Jacob Decker was getting his own book was a dream come true. In true Kristen Ashley style, this is a story of second chances at love, of best friends turning lovers, of people finding a home in one another. Every element of this writer’s signature writing style is present once again – a protective and nurturing alpha male, this one with a gentle Dominant streak, a fierce but emotionally vulnerable heroine, a passionate union of minds as well as bodies – all perfectly packaged into a delicious bundle of addictive fiction at its best.

“You think you’ve lost beauty, Jacob, but you didn’t. Just turn the dial.”

Jacob “Deck” Decker is a loner, a man who has not exclusively dated a woman for almost a decade, ever since the demise of his last failed relationship. But after one chance encounter with a blast from his past, Deck is reminded of the one who got away, of the only woman who has ever both challenged his mind as well as cared deeply for him – his ex’s best friend. Emme was his soul mate from the moment they met, their connection palpable to everyone around them, but their friendship ended the moment his relationship to her best friend came to a halt. Heartbroken and angry over the break-up, Deck had expelled Emme from his life, aware of her affections towards him, but unwilling to deal with them. Nine years later, they are back in each other’s lives, but a decade of distance has changed them both and put so many things in perspective.

“I missed you,” I whispered.
“How bad?” he whispered back.
“I wouldn’t allow myself to think about it, that bad.”
“Baby –”

From the moment they meet again, the spark between them is re-ignited, reminding them both of how much they had once meant to one another and enjoyed each other’s company. But Emme is no longer the diamond in the rough Deck once knew, having blossomed into a confident and outspoken young woman, her independence and drive only making her even more irresistible in his eyes. Everything about her now draws him to her, feeding fantasises he never allowed himself to entertain before. It does not take long for their friendship to enter uncharted territory, but Emme is no longer the same woman Deck had left behind, ten years of loneliness and having to face the ups and downs of life on her own, coupled with a childhood trauma, having marked her deeply and made her emotionally disconnect from life. She fears loss above all else, so she skips through life never allowing anyone to get too close to her, preferring solitude over the pain of losing a loved one.

“I’m not a puzzle to figure out, Jacob.”
“You are, Emme, the most frustrating one I ever found and the one it’s most important to solve.”

But Jacob, being the alpha male who not only knows and goes after what he wants, but being also the only person in the world who understands Emme through and through, will not allow her to distance herself from him, seeing the beauty and uniqueness of their connection as something worth fighting for. With every dominant bone in his body.

“You love me but won’t let yourself have me. And, baby, I’m gonna figure out why. Fix what’s broke in you. Then turn my attention to givin’ you the best life I can for the rest of the time you’re on this earth breathin’.”

Every single Colorado Mountain instalment has been an intensely emotional and always truly unforgettable love story, and this last one did not disappoint. But while most other couples in this series had to fight to find their way to one another, Deck and Emme start their journey already caring deeply for each other, and their connection only grows as they let themselves embrace it. In so many ways, this story was quite a departure from Ms Ashley’s previous works in the series, but the fresh dynamic between these characters made me love this book even more. In this beautiful tale of friends becoming lovers, I once more fell head over heels in love with another epic Kristen Ashley romance, one that stayed with me long after I turned its last page.

“… I’d be alone, lost and alone forever, if I didn’t have you.”

4halfstars

signature2

addtogoodreads

Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
✤ ✤ ✤
Colorado Mountain – Reading Order and Purchase Links
thegamble2 sweetdreams2 ladyluck2
breathe2 jagged kaleidoscope

The Gamble: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Paperback
Sweet Dreams: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Paperback
Lady Luck: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Paperback
Breathe: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Paperback
Jagged: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Paperback
KaleidoscopeAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

✤ ✤ ✤
The Author

k ashley_picKristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Connect with Kristen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
✤ ✤ ✤

✦ Don’t want to miss any more posts? Subscribe to this Blog by email… ✦

Other books in the series or related posts:

Rock Chick Revolution by Kristen Ashley

rockchick8_322x500Ally Nightingale has secrets. Secrets she doesn’t even share with the Rock Chicks. But two men know what she’s up to. One has her back. The other has her heart, but he doesn’t know it.

As Ally rewinds the last year of her life, she knows two things. One, she’s never going to get what every Rock Chick should have—her own Hot Bunch guy. And two, she’s a Nightingale through and through. She just isn’t sure what to do about that.

But as her secrets are revealed, the men in her life react. Darius Tucker, a lifelong friend, as usual takes her back. Ren Zano, the man she loves, isn’t quite so sure. The Rock Chicks, Hot Bunch and the entire gang at Fortnum’s weigh in, and a Rock Chick Revolution starts brewing.

It’s up to Ally to control it and prove what she knows down to her bones.

She’s a Rock Chick, she deserves her hot guy and she’s going to keep the one she wants…

Because she’s a Nightingale.

review

“My name is Allyson Nightingale, but everyone calls me Ally. And I’m a Rock Chick, in name and deed. … I worship at the shrine of Rock ‘n’ Roll and I live the rock star life, doing what I want when I want how I want.”

Pure. Kristen Ashley. Genius. There is no other way to describe this last instalment in the Rock Chick Series. I have to admit I have jumped on the Rock Chick bandwagon quite late in my obsession of all things KA, and it is not only blatantly obvious that this is where it all started, but it is a fact that this series is Kristen Ashley in its most distilled and pure form – funny, engaging, emotional. If you’re a Rock Chick newbie or you’re simply looking for the best and fastest way to fall in love with this author’s writing, this is the series for you. Period.

“You’ve got your way, the way you are and the way you are with the ones you care about. And that tells me, a man gets in there, you give that to him, the children you give him, that man will be all kinds of lucky. And I’ve decided we’re gonna see if that man is me.”

We have watched Rock Chick after Rock Chick find their happily ever after in the arms on one delicious member of the Hot Bunch after another, and in this eighth and last instalment of the series, we finally get to witness Allyson “Ally” Nightingale, one of the original Rock Chicks, find her man. Ally has lived a fast life, never shying away from adventure and helping others in need, but her love life has always taken a back seat to her shenanigans. She has been instrumental in making her friends’ happily-ever-afters happen, she has risked her life for them and given them her all so they could not only find their happiness but also keep it, but Ally has never actively pursued her own happily-ever-after, no man ever making her dream that dream for herself. Until Lorenzo “Ren” Zano.

“… he was confident. Not arrogant. It wasn’t about swagger. Confident. He just knew what his body and mind could do, he knew what he liked, what he wanted and he was confortable with all that. It oozed off him in the way cool oozed off people who were cool. And Ren was just that: cool. He was like a rock star without the guitar and in a suit. It was phenomenal.”

Their story takes off like a rocket to the moon – unstoppable, inflamed, impassioned. There are obstacles on the way, the least of all being Ally’s inability to accept her place in Ren’s heart and his place in hers, but their connection is immediate, unquestionable and they battle through every single obstacle, each test of their bond only making them stronger and more certain of their feelings for one another.

“In one night, he made me believe in the modern-day fairytale I watched all my girls get, and he made me believe life had that in store for me. And he made me want it.”

But, in true Rock Chick fashion, this is not just a love story – Ally and Ren’s fairytale romance might be the backbone of the story, but Ally’s tale of self-discovery and finding her own place in the world is the fuel that feeds that story. For as long as she can remember, Ally has known that the adrenaline she gets from helping others feeds her soul, but she has never considered it as a full-time occupation. In this book, Ally not only finds the love of her life, she also finally embraces who she is as a person, making her prepared to sacrifice everything to fulfil her purpose in life. Through endless adventures and side stories, we not only find out the true beauty of Ally’s heart, but also the endless courage that drives her and makes her a true heroine.

“… the bottom line is, I love doing it. It’s in my blood. It’s me.”

This is so much more than just the story of Ally, or the story of Ally and Ren – this is truly Kristen Ashley paying homage to her readers by giving us a book that ends a beloved series in style, ticking all the HEA boxes, but also acknowledging her own dream of becoming an author, seeing that dream come to fruition and living it every single day, grateful for the love and attention her stories have received. This message is gently entwined in the storyline, subtly communicating to her readers what they have meant to her in return.

“… no matter how old we get, we always need to believe in fairytales.”

I am a true Kristen Ashley fan. I do not hide that nor do I pretend not to think her stories are better than sliced bread. I love this authors unique writing style, the way she utilises language almost as a character in her stories, I love her alpha males and I love her fearless heroines, I love the humour that is written even in the gravest of scenes, I love the modern fairytales she gives us that feed our romantic bones and the depth of emotion that is present in every word, every scene, every exchange. This book not only concludes this series, it brings it full circle, recalling every single story, bringing back every single character that made us fall in love with Rock Chicks and their mischiefs.

This is not just a series – this is a tribute to a way of life. To be a Rock Chick is to live fearlessly, love with all your might, sacrifice everything for the ones in your heart and never stop giving, feeling, living.

My name is Natasha and I want to be a Rock Chick.

“You’re the best I’ve ever had, Ally. Bar none. And the way you love, stubborn, tough, unshakeable, is unbelievably f*ckin’ beautiful.”

4halfstars

signature2

addtogoodreads

Buy book: Amazon | Smashwords | iBooks
Connect with Kristen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
✤ ✤ ✤
Rock Chick – Reading Order and Purchase Links
rockchick1_322x500 rockchick2_322x500 rockchick3_322x500 rockchick4_322x500
rockchick5_322x500 rockchick6_322x500 rockchick7_322x500 rockchick8_322x500
✤ ✤ ✤
The Scavenger Hunt

To grab your clues, just visit the sites on the Rock Chick Revolution blog tour to receive your clues. Each day will feature 3 blogs, with 3 different clues. The clues given by each of the blogs will help lead you to your next destination on the Rock Chick Road Tour. After you gather the clues and figure out where in Denver we are that day, just enter your answer HERE!

Grand Prize WinnerRighteous Rock Chick Back Stage Pass - 30 minute private one-on-one chat with Kristen. Can be via video or text chat.

2nd Place WinnerRebel Rock Chick VIP - A signed copy of Rock Chick Revolution.

3rd-5th Place WinnersRock Chick Groupies - An e-copy of Rock Chick Revolution for you or a friend.

This contest is administered by Kristen Ashley.

arrowrt

✦ This Blog’s Scavenger Hunt hint: “Fake velvet lined Yahtzee cup” ✦

arrowrt

Head over to The Book Bosses tomorrow for your next hint.

Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley

fireinside2Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love – no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed.

So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club…

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She’s too polished and too classy for his tastes.

But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can’t say no.

And he doesn’t regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that’s ever happened to him – in or out of bed.

Now the trick will be to convince her of that.

review

“Are you real?” I asked his skin.
“Baby, you’re standing in my arms,” he answered.
“Please be real,” I whispered.

If you know me, you are aware of my Kristen Ashley addiction. But if you know me, you also know I am a tough reviewer, especially when it comes to beloved books that have sequels because my expectations are tenfold. It takes nothing less than a small miracle for a book to swipe me off my feet when I’ve loved the prequel something fierce, and I adored Own the Wind, BUT… there is a reason Kristen Ashley is my drug of choice. Her stories, her writing style, her characters get to me like no other – I feel it all, every single emotion, every single word, and let me tell you, this is one addiction I am never going to kick.

“I’m not your old lady,” I declared.
He grinned and asked, “You aren’t?”
“No,” I stated firmly.
“In my tee, in my bed, after a night where my condom stash got lighter by three, lady. Beg to differ.”

In this breathtaking next installment of the Chaos series, we are treated to the story of Hopper “Hop” Kincaid and Lanie Heron, Tyra’s best friend. We met these characters in Motorcycle Man where we indirectly watched them go through their own personal ordeals, but in this book, their story is finally told. Lanie is a survivor – her last relationship ended with her fiancé getting shot and killed in front of her after using her as a shield, getting shot herself and getting her best friend stabbed. These events have left her emotionally broken, unable to move on, crippled by guilt and disillusioned with love. When she approaches Hop for a one-night-stand, her intentions are just that – one night of sex and nothing more. But once they get a taste of each other, of how good it feels to be in each other’s arms, a one-night-stand soon becomes a lot more than that.

“Injected, the drug that was Hop coursed through my veins. I had it back in a way I couldn’t believe I’d ever managed to live without it.”

Lanie is like no woman that Hop has ever bedded before – all class and kindness. She is high drama but she challenges him, makes him unable to get her out of his thoughts, and her vulnerability makes him want to protect her and keep her safe. She tells him that she does not want a relationship with him but every cell of her body responds to him and to his efforts to take care of her.

“The way you look at me when I tuck you in bed, like I gave you diamonds, something precious, something you wanna keep safe, something you want forever. Woman like you could get diamonds just crookin’ her finger, so a woman like you shouldn’t find a man tuckin’ you in bed precious. But you do.”

So, Hop does not give up. He pursues her, never taking no for an answer as he slowly gets under her skin, bit by bit, gesture by gesture, showing her that there are men out there who would never use a woman as a shield and who would love her unconditionally, always putting her first. He breaks through her defences, but even then, Lanie’s demons are deeply ingrained and tough to beat, constantly setting their relationship back and turning it into a fight to stay together.

“I don’t use you as a shield. I am the goddamn shield, and I’m not talkin’ about bullets because shit like that does not touch old ladies. Ever. I’m talkin’ about assholes with monster trucks. I’m talkin’ about Club business, life, every second you live, every breath you take. You take a chance on me, your biggest worry is your 7Up fizzing over.”

There are no words for the kind of range of emotions I have felt reading this book. Not many books make me cry but this book succeeded effortlessly and it did so on more than one occasion. The emotional vulnerability of these characters, paired with their desperate longing to be loved, properly, genuinely, completely, made my heart clench page after page. There is something truly magical about a scenario where a man won’t give up on a good woman, regardless of all her hang-ups and issues, and who is willing to do his best to make her feel loved and protected. Call it old fashioned but this is one formula I will never get tired of.

Lastly, a special note has to be made about this author’s writing style. No other author I have ever come across has perfected her own style so beautifully and so uniquely – her sentence structures, her vocabulary, the vehicular used by her characters, it is all flawless and truly original. She does not use profanities for shock value, her alpha men might look rough and not use “please” and “thank you” every five minutes, but their every word screams of the kind of hearts they have behind those badass exteriors. You can get lost in a book like this, find yourself highlighting passage after passage wishing you spoke that way because this is no ordinary prose, this to me is poetry, and this is pure Kristen Ashley at her best.

“Those bullets tore through you, baby … But you didn’t leak out. You’re still here. You lost blood, Lanie, and someone you loved. But you’re still here.”

A new book to add to My Favourite Books.

“Every step, every breath, every second I lived on this earth, I’m thankful for, no matter how fucked up or whacked or hard or good, ’cause all that shit led me to you.”

5stars

signature2

addtogoodreads

Buy book: Amazon (US) | Amazon (Australia/NZ)
Connect with Kristen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The Giveaway

Ultimate Prize Winner: Signed copies of Own the Wind and Fire Inside; Forever Swag Bag – Canvas tote bag to celebrate 10th Anniversary of Forever -  Full of Forever books; $15 gift card to BN or Amazon; Rock Chick Bumper Sticker; Print copies of Rock Chick, Rock Chick Rescue and Rock Chick Redemption.

2nd Place Winner: Signed copies of Own the Wind and Fire Inside.

3rd Place Winner: Signed copy of Fire Inside.

4th Place Winner: eCopy of Fire Inside.

5th Place Winner: eCopy of Fire Inside.

This contest is administered by Kristen Ashley.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other books in the series or related posts:

Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley

ownthewindTabitha Allen has a not-so-secret crush on Parker “Shy” Cage.

Shy thinks he knows the path Tabby’s on and it isn’t a good one. So he decides to teach her a lesson to lead her to the right path.

Unfortunately, he was wrong and his actions wound Tabby, breaking her heart. It’s Tabby who then teaches Shy a lesson about casting judgment and Shy Cage learns what it feels like to be invisible.

But when tragedy strikes and Tabby’s heart is broken again, Shy does what he can in the background to help. Trying to forget her heartbreak, Tabby finds herself in danger. To keep it secret from her biker family, the Chaos Motorcycle Club, she calls Shy to rescue her.

But when she lets him back in, she gets much more than she bargained for.

review

“I never dreamed any f*ckin’ dream… Didn’t dream it, saw it, waited my time, and then you gave it to me.”

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!! Someone pinch me because she’s done it again!! Kristen Ashley has not only given us another story to steal our hearts and rock our worlds senseless, cover to cover, but she has just set a new standard for her writing. In one of the best executed and most emotional stories to stem out of KA’s endless imagination, we are thrown into the world of the brethren of the Chaos Motorcycle Club, where we not only get to know the Brothers better, but we also fall hopelessly in love with one very mouth-watering badass named Parker “Shy” Cage.

Shy is a young man who had been searching for a place to belong to ever since he lost his parents at the tender age of twelve, and after a painful adolescence, he finally found that place when he walked through the doors of Chaos MC. Being a Brother has given him the much needed sense of belonging that was lacking in his life, and the freedom to be himself. He wears his leather jacket with the Club insignia and the Chaos ink on his back proudly, knowing any one of his Brothers would always have his back. But as freedom-loving as Shy is, his heart craves nothing more than to find the love of a good woman, one that would also give a purpose to his life.

“He’d never, not once, walked up to a woman who looked lost without him and became found the second she saw him. Who leaned into him the minute he touched her. Who made him laugh so hard, his head jerked back with it. Whose mouth he could take and the world melted away for him just as he made that same shit happen for her.”

Tabitha “Tabby” Allen is the Club President’s daughter, the “reigning princess” of sorts, having grown among the Brothers and having always considered them to be her family. They’ve protected her all her life, pulled her out of trouble when she was just a rebellious wild child, and always treated her as one of their own. But Tabby has always only had eyes for one Chaos badass, having had a secret crush on Shy since she was sixteen years old. One wrong assumption, one misguided life lesson, one young girl’s heartbreak later and their lives take separate paths.

“I’d loved him. It was a young, faraway love, but sometimes that was the most intense kind, or it was when you’re young and you love someone from afar. He’d crushed me, so bad I couldn’t even re-experience it by sharing.”

As time goes by and Tabby’s new life takes shape, Shy never gets over the void in his heart that was left by Tabby’s absence, until a tragedy suddenly brings them back together. Their romance is one born out of friendship, their connection enduring and only getting stronger every time their paths merged back together. Tabby and Shy’s stunning love story will slowly but surely melt your heart. Through heartache and against all odds, their fall in love fiercely, completely and irrevocably. Shy re-awakens Tabby’s inner biker babe, helps her find her roots again and herself in the process. He helps her heal her broken heart and discover that her heart has always belonged to one man alone.

“May feel like you’re fallin’, Tabby, but remember, I’m at the bottom ready to catch you.”

Tabby gives Shy the ‘home’ he has been longing to have again for most of his life. She grounds him, allows him to dream and breaks the painful ties to his loveless childhood after his parents’ deaths. They become one another’s safe haven, them against the world, the centre of each other’s universe. A story of belonging – to one’s family, to one’s legacy, and to one’s soul mate – we get a story that redefines ‘family’ and shows the timeless power of true love.

“I was a part of an us and I was happy. Some mother*cker killed my parents and took that from me, so life forced me to become nothin’ but a me. Now I’m an us again, and that’s what I’ll be with my woman and the family we make until the day I f*cking die.”

Against a rough backdrop of everything that being part of a motorcycle club might entail, we lose our senses in one of the most beautiful and untraditionally romantic love stories penned by a woman who really can do no wrong. By completely immersing us into this exciting new world of bikers, oath brothers and codes of honour, we not only fall in love with it, we actually ‘get it’, live it, want to be in it. A truly breathtaking start to a new series, one which immediately earned its rightful place among some of my favourite books ever. Ms Ashley, right back at ya, “down to OUR bones, mama”!

“You can’t pick the parts you want and force out the parts that make you uncomfortable. He is the man he is. With men like us, you accept him as that or you don’t take him at all. You gotta decide, what’s it gonna be?”

5stars

signature2

addtogoodreads

Buy book: Amazon (US) | Amazon (Australia/NZ)
From Kristen…

In preparing for this post, I got the unique opportunity to ask our beloved KA to share with us a story from her past that has irreversibly influenced her as a writer and made her the unique author that she is today. And because she never does anything half-heartedly, THIS is what she sent me…

Way back in the day I started reading, and approximately two point five seconds after I discovered my love for books, I discovered my love for romance.

Shortly after, I discovered Penny Jordan’s books.

I loved reading and I loved romance but Penny’s books were the bomb. I think it was then that I decided that was what I wanted to do when I grew up. I don’t know how old I was, but I was very young. And it was so long ago, I can’t even say what struck me about Penny’s books that made me start to dream that dream. They were just so good, any time one came out, I devoured it. I was too young to be able to buy books so I depended on the library, and I haunted that place for novels. I jumped on Penny’s so fast I’d almost finished them before I even got them home.

Not too long later, I discovered Judith McNaught and started to firm up in my head what was the ultimate romance novel (to me). Very, very alpha heroes with hearts and the ability to do romance, even if they did it their way. Heroines you always wanted to champion. A damned good story that sucked you in and made you not ever want it to end. Just enough of the “good stuff” to get your heart beating, but the book could not be about that, the physical; it had to be deeper. It had to have heart. A supporting cast that you enjoyed spending time with almost as much as the hero and heroine. And last, a lot of humor that breaks the intensity of a well-written story.

Well, life went by and I never lost sight of this dream. I just took my time with doing something about it. And as I was doing that, fate stepped in and made another dream come true.

See, living next door to my family in England, was Penny Jordan.

It was like someone old me Bruce Springsteen lived there. I went all fangirl and totally freaked!

It was worse when she came over and I met her.

I could barely talk.

But she was absolutely amazing. She was friendly, supportive, gave me a lot of encouragement and was very generous with good advice. She’d obviously had years of dealing with fangirls and she made certain she didn’t make me feel like the idiot I was acting.

She was exactly what I wanted her to be. It was a thrill.

I was lucky enough to be in her presence several times. And one of those times, she wove a tale of how she started writing… by telling her little sister bedtime stories.

It was Christmas, and kid you not, Penny was petite, blonde, very classy and soft-spoken and we were all a bit tipsy. But to this day, I remember her sitting in the corner of the couch, weaving her tale and everyone in the room hung on every word.

What touched me deeper was her story was so very like how I started writing, telling myself stories to put myself to sleep. Listening to her, something settled in me. Made my dream valid. If this talented woman with a long, successful career and string of fabulous novels started out like me, maybe I was made to do this… like she was.

Unfortunately, still young and infinitely beautiful, Penny passed away in November of 2011.

But before she did, she invited us over to her house to take a tour. She had a fabulous home, but what I remember most was this tall, standing bookshelf stuffed full to bursting, and every single book in those shelves was hers.

What an accomplishment.

What a legacy.

And, not only did this remarkable woman spark a dream at a young age, with her kindness and class, the care she took with me as a reader, she showed me the way should my dream come true.

I might not have a lot of class, but she knew what I now know. There is nothing better for a writer than readers who love what you do. It is the deepest of compliments. And that should be respected. Time carved out. Generosity given.

With her career, Penny Jordan gave a lot to her readers.

That’s just the beauty she gave me.

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

To win an e-copy of Own the Wind, please enter below. By entering, you accept the following Giveaway Conditions

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Own The Wind blog tour graphic

Other books in the series or related posts:

Raid by Kristen Ashley

raid_322x500Hanna Boudreaux has lived in the small town of Willow, Colorado all her life. The great-granddaughter of the town matriarch, she’s sweet, cute and quiet.

Too quiet.

Hanna has a moment of epiphany when she realizes her crush for forever, Raiden Ulysses Miller, is not ever going to be hers. She sees her life as narrow and decides to do something about it.

Raiden Miller is the town of Willow’s local hero. An ex-marine with the medal to prove his hero status, he comes home, shrouded in mystery. It takes a while but, eventually, Hanna catches his eye.

But after all these years of Raid and Hanna living in the same town, the question is, why? Is Raid interested in Hanna because she’s sweet and cute? Or does Raid have something else going on?

review

“I didn’t dream as a kid of bein’ a cop or an astronaut, but I gave a lot of thought to the woman I’d want in my bed. I grew older and gave more thought to that woman, but it was also about the woman I wanted in my life. And she was you. Then I met you. And now, every day I wake up I cannot believe my luck because you’re here.”

I have a Kristen Ashley addiction – it’s been diagnosed, I have accepted it, embraced it and have the hazy-eyed look on my face to prove it. Reading a KA novel is like cruising on a sailboat on a beautiful sunny day – your heart is happy, your body is happy, you want to pinch yourself to make sure you are really there. It might get bumpy at times, the waters might get rough, the wind might pick up and make the boat sail faster, but at the end of the day, you will reach the shore, happy as a clam, filled with a giddiness that has no equal. This book was no exception and apart from having all the winning elements of a ‘KA formula’, it had the added message of hope. A hope that no matter how cruel life has been to you, how many scars it has left on your body and soul, how much emotional baggage you are forced to carry with you each day, love can truly conquer all and be its own reward for all that has passed.

This is the story of two people who grew up in the same small town, their families knew each other, their paths crossed on more than one occasion, but while Raiden grew up oblivious of Hanna, she had always been more than aware of his presence in her life, having nursed a crush on him since she was six years old. Raiden was the town’s hero, a man who went to war, earned the stripes of a hero but returned a broken man. His activities since his return were clouded in mystery but his hero status remained intact. Hanna kept watching him from afar, with the innocent infatuation and pure adoration, always hoping he would one day turn in her direction and notice her. But when that day never came, she put her fantasies aside to finally stop daydreaming and create the life she was happy living.

And then one day Raiden noticed her.

“Home. Warmth. Comfort. Nurture. Love.”

He never hoped, dreamed, expected for his luck to change and to find a woman like Hanna. He knew who she was and how beloved she was in their home town. He knew she looked after her grandmother, she was quirky, trusting, sweet, loving, funny, and all those qualities made her exactly the kind of woman he hoped he would be able to claim as his own one day. After a quick courtship and through some nail-biting circumstances, they fall in love, head over heals, all in and never wanting to let go.

“How into you do you think I am?”
“Honey, you crawled around on all fours in a pet store, totally unable to cope with bein’ in my space. You’re seriously into me.”

But Raiden’s demons run deep, they are ever-present and they crawl out at night giving him night-terrors. They are faced with challenges from the get-go, but Hanna is no ordinary woman. She takes the fire blazing inside Raiden, the good and the bad, and she tackles it all determined to stand by her man and help him come out of his dark tunnel, waiting for him in the light with open arms. She never judges his life choices, she tries to understand them and accept him as a package rather than as a collection of rights and wrongs.

“Baby, … you are the only thing in four years that has come close to getting me to a place where I can even begin to think I might be able to bear those flames.”

Raiden is probably one of the most complex characters that I have encountered in a KA novel. He is troubled but he is also a dominant alpha male who knows what he likes and he has no qualms claiming it. He falls in love with the sweet “Peggy Sue throwback from the fifties” Hanna, but he ignites for the wildcat that trusts him to make her lose control. Their dynamic is moving and their hot lovin’ scenes are mind-blowing.

“You get my teeth, Hanna, ‘cause makin’ my own personal Peggy Sue go wild for me drives me f*ckin’ crazy. You do it for me like no woman before you. I lose control because you make me and you get my teeth, and what makes that shit better is you love havin’ my mark on you.”

Ms Ashley’s writing style is flawlessly unique as always. Her language has a life of its own, setting the scene so well and immersing us in a world that we quickly become part of. Her male characters never beat around the bush, they hit the target with every word they utter, using language economically but achieving full impact. Raiden is no different. He tells Hanna exactly what is on his mind, truthfully and succinctly, making him a hero we admire on every possible level.

This is a story about the healing power of love and the loving effort it takes to help a man overcome his demons. It is a story of meant-to-bes and childhood dreams coming true, but above all, this is a story of hope, hope that the future would bring all the beauty that the past never did.

“If you’re the kind of woman who can withstand the blaze of hellfire he’s got burning inside, he battles that and wins, you will know nothing for the rest of your life, no taste, no experience, not even the birth of your children that will be sweeter than the love he’ll have for you.”

4halfstars

signature2

addtogoodreads

Connect with Kristen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy all the books in the Unfinished Hero series:
knight creed raid_322x500
The Giveaway

There are THREE prize packs up for grabs, as well as FIVE e-copies of Raid:

First prize pack:

Signed Copy of Raid (when it’s available in print)
Amazon or BN.com $25 gift card
Raid, Knight and Creed E-books

Second prize pack:

Amazon or BN.com $10 gift card
Raid, Knight and Creed E-books

Third prize pack:

Amazon or BN.com $5 Gift card
Raid, Knight and Creed E-books

To win one of these prize packs, please enter below. This giveaway is administered by Kristen Ashley.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other books in the series or related posts:
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers