Monday, 26 June 2017

Review: Jewel E Ann's "When Life Happened."

Amazon.com:   http://amzn.to/2sNBuWS
Amazon UK:    http://amzn.to/2tGoYso

Synopsis:

Parker Cruse despises cheaters. It might have something to do with her boyfriend sleeping with her twin sister. 
After a wedding day prank involving a strong laxative, that ends the already severed relationship between the twins, Parker decides to grow up and act twenty-six. 

Step One: Move out of her parents’ house. 

Step Two: Find a job. 

Opportunity strikes when she meets her new neighbor, Gus Westman. He’s an electrician with Iowa farm-boy values and a gift for saying her name like it’s a dirty word. 
He also has a wife. 
Sabrina Westman, head of a successful engineering firm, hires Parker as her personal assistant. Driven to be the best assistant ever, Parker vows to stay focused, walk the dog, go to the dry cleaners, and not kiss Gus—again.

Step Three: Don’t judge. 

Step Four: Remember— when life happens, it does it in a heartbeat.

Review: Surj 

Jewel E Ann's "When Life Happened" was definitely a book of two halves for me, both in terms of my personal feelings towards it but also in terms of the story line. I'll admit, I really struggled with the turn of events that unfolded in the 50% or so and there were moments I wondered whether I should just give up and move on to another book. I wasn't particularly invested in any of the characters, especially Parker and Gus and the supporting characters didn't help matters either. I struggled with the story line too. I didn't feel that spark between the Gus and Parker and to me it just felt like it was a physical attraction more than anything else. There didn't feel like there was heart to their relationship and on many an occasion I wanted to shake them both and knock some sense into them. That in turn meant that when the first bomb shell hit I was just a bit meh where as I should have been knocked on my ass. 

"We often hurt the ones we love the most... or the ones we should love the most." 

Now the second half of the book, well now that was a complete game changer for me and I suddenly found myself completely invested. I was loving the change in direction the story took and even found myself having a real change of heart in terms of the characters. Was I really hoping for a HEA all of a sudden? Yup, I sure was. 

August Westman proved he was the devil. Parker became the worst possible version 
of  herself in his presence. He drugged her with his words, pulled her under with
his confidence, and stole her innocence with a whisper. 

One thing I will give this author credit for is making me feel. I went through so many emotions reading this one. Frustration, anger, being soooo pissed off I could have hurled my kindle at the wall at the carelessness of the characters. But then in a stroke of genius, she had me doing a complete 180 and had me rooting for characters, my heart getting all kinds of giddy and excited at how things were turning out. Go figure, for a book I almost DNF'd, I was itching to get to the end because I was desperate of that HEA. 

So all in all a mixed bag in terms of thoughts and feelings but definitely a book I ended up really enjoying. 

"When Life Happened" gets ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Friday, 23 June 2017

Blog Tour: Jodi Ellen Malpas's "All I am (This Man #3.5)."

The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog are pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for Jodi Ellen Malpas's "All I Am (This Man #3.5)."


Synopsis: 

I thought I had control. I was so, so wrong... 

I don't need a relationship. I have Hux, a decadent club where I quench whatever raw desire I choose. I take pleasure and I give it - no strings attached. So when Raya Rivers comes in asking for someone cold, emotionless, and filthy... well, no man ever takes his wicked pleasure quite the way I do. 
Only Raya is different. Vulnerable. And carrying some deep sorrow that gets past all my carefully constructed walls and inexplicably makes me care. Now craving controls me. Ice has given way to red-hot need.
But Raya has no idea about my other life - my real life. That I'm daddy to an adorable little girl. My two worlds are about to collide with the force of a supernova. Once Raya knows the truth, will she be able to accept all I am?

Review-Jo 

The "This Man" series is one of my all time favourites, so when Jodi announced Drew's novella, I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to get started and Jodi did not disappoint. "All I Am" was a deliciously sexy read and Drew was another alpha to fall head over heels for. I have yet to find a book boyfriend from this author that I can resist. 

Drew was truly gorgeous. I just loved everything about him, especially how lost he became when Raya entered his life. Raya turned his life upside down and poor Drew was left utterly helpless, unable to work out what to do for the best and always messing things up. I couldn't help but chuckle at his actions. I also loved Drew's sweet daughter, Georgia. Their scenes together melted my heart scoring Drew another tick in the box for me. 

Another treat from this book was catching up with Jesse, Ava and the gang. It made me realise how much I have missed this series and another reread just might be required. Don't worry if you have yet to read the "This Man" series, this novella can easily be read as a standalone and also as an introduction to the characters. In my opinion, it's a must read series so I would highly recommend making some time to become acquainted with the beautiful Jesse Ward. Trust me, you won't regret it. 

Jodi has managed to pack in a brilliant story along with a whole lot of hotness into this quick read. It is well worth the one-click. 

"All I Am" gets 4 hearts from me.



Excerpt:

‘What do you want, Raya?’

She steps toward me tentatively, as if she’s questioning what she’s doing. And when she reaches me, her chest pressed to mine, she gazes up at me. ‘I don’t know.’ Her eyes are wild and unsure. ‘But I know that every time we’re close, something powerful takes over. And you’re trying hard to fight it. You’re warm and cold. What are you scared of?’

‘You.’ My mouth is on her before I can think better of it, and I’ve lifted her from her feet before my tongue breaches the seam on her lips. We should talk, but this is the only thing I know what to say right now, and when her arms circle my shoulders, her mouth opening up, inviting me in, I know she’s okay with it. I know she gets it.

With one arm around her waist holding her to me and one secured on the nape of her neck, I walk to my office, my kiss deep, my blood racing, my heart bouncing off my ribcage. I set her on her feet and take the hem of her dress, pulling it up over her head, losing her lips for just a second in the process. She wrenches my shirt open, scattering buttons in the process, her hands immediately finding my skin beneath. My forward steps encourages her backwards, our kiss deepening as she unfastens my trousers and I push her knickers down her thighs.

We’re all over the place, desperation getting the better of us, a mess of tongues, hands and bodies. I pull some strength from nowhere, seize her hands and break our kiss, breathing heavily. Her unsure brown eyes soon prompts me to start ridding myself of the rest of my clothes, all under her watchful gaze. Until I’m naked.

‘This wasn’t supposed to happen,’ she whispers.

About Jodi: 

Jodi Ellen Malpas wrote her debut series, The This Man Trilogy, in secret, worried about what people might think if they knew what her imagination was capable of. She was shocked herself. But she finally found the courage to unleash her creative streak and self-published THIS MAN – the first book of the This Man Trilogy – in October 2012. She took a chance on the story with a hero who soon became one of modern day fictions most prolific alpha male characters. Jesse Ward – also affectionately known as The Lord of The Manor, sparked incredible reactions from women across the globe and catapulted Jodi into the world of women’s fiction.

Jodi went on to self-publish the second book in the trilogy, Beneath This Man in Jan 2013, just before Grand Central Publishing, part of the Hachette Book Group, picked up the popular trilogy and the unknown Jodi. The third book of the trilogy, This Man Confessed, took Jodi to the top of the bestsellers lists, earning her the proud title of #1 New York Times Bestselling Author. This Man has since been voted one of the top romance novels of all time.

With so much love, enthusiasm and a thirst for her words from her readers, Jodi suddenly wasn’t afraid of her imagination anymore. She went on to write The One Night Trilogy with the delectable and mysterious Miller Hart, and stole the hearts of her readers once again. Her first stand-alone novel, THE PROTECTOR, released in September 2016 and has since been nominated for a Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Award. Jodi’s next stand-alone novel. THE FORBIDDEN, is set for release in August 2017.

All seven of her published novels have hit the New York Times best sellers list – as well as the Sunday Times list and various international best seller lists. Her work is now published in over 24 languages across the world

Jodi was born and raised in the Midlands town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys and a beagle. She is a self-professed daydreamer, a mojito addict, is famous for her obsession with Converse, and has a terrible weak spot for Alpha Males. Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters has become her passion – a passion she now shares with her devoted readers

Connect with Jodi:






                        





Thursday, 22 June 2017

Blog Tour: Katy Evans's "Tycoon."

The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog are pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for Katy Evans's "Tycoon." 


Synopsis:

He wasn’t always this rich. This hot. This difficult.
Aaric Christos was a guy who protected me. Wanted me. Maybe even loved me.
That man is gone.
In his place is the most powerful real estate tycoon in the city.
He’s a cold, ruthless, aggressive businessman.
The only one who can save me and my startup from ruin.
It takes every ounce of courage to put my pride aside and ask for his help.

I didn’t expect him to offer it easily.
And he doesn’t.
Instead, he vets me harder than he’s vetted anyone.
Don’t invest in what you don’t know, he says.
He's assessing every piece of me, to the point I've never felt so bare.
I yearn for the boy I once knew, whose touch once craved me.
Putting it all on the line will be worth it, I tell myself.
Until I realize—too late—that some risks are not worth taking.


Excerpt: 

I hop off the train and walk several walks to his building.

It’s a brownstone in Park Avenue, one of the most elite of the elite spaces in town.

My lungs feel a little bit overworked from awe as I head up the steps to the double doors, grateful that I came dressed to kill in a little black dress, a jacket, and pumps. Simple, but effective.
See, I may be feeling a little awkward, but at least I don’t look it.

I’m greeted by his maid. She’s dressed in black and white, her hair drawn back in a neat bun, her expression stoic and formal as she leads me down the hall to a gorgeous study. 

I catch my breath when I notice all the books and shelves. 

It’s like a reader’s paradise in here. There’s a sleek chrome bar, a modern mahogany glass-topped desk, and two huge whiskey-colored leather chairs that almost swallow me up when I’m instructed to wait in one.

I drum my fingers, inhaling the scent of leather and wine, remembering a guy I knew with his mechanic navy-blue uniform, black streaks on his jaw, his big nose always the first thing you’d see, which was a pity because he had beautiful eyes and a really sinful pair of lips.

He’s living in luxury now. Wow. Good for him. 

I hear footsteps approaching and the little hair on my arms prick at attention. My head turns as a tall, dark figure steps into the room, and the most intimidating guy I’ve ever seen enters and crosses the room toward the desk. He walks like he’s the shit…his strides proud and composed, elegant and powerful.

Christos, I hear myself breathe in surprise.

He’s so tall now…six three, at least. Dirty-blonde hair, gold-green eyes, chiseled jaw, and a gorgeous profile. 

All in black, he looks very much a New Yorker.

He’s wearing a black jacket, black pants, and a black turtleneck beneath the jacket...

I stare at him, my jaw hanging a little bit open. The man is….all man. Testosterone. Muscles. Height. Width. My chest hurts all of a sudden because I realize…

The boy you knew is gone.

I force myself to stand. “Thank you for seeing me.”

He heads to the bar to pour two drinks, then he prowls over, takes the whiskey leather chair across from mine and leans forward, pushing a glass of cognac with one finger across a small table, toward me. 

And he waits.

In silence.

But my stomach dips as if he’d said something ultra-sexy and decadent.

“You might not remember me, I’m sorry to be reaching out like this,” I say, nervous.

“What do you want?” 

There’s a pleasant shiver as he speaks. Recognition of his voice, even though it’s far deeper than I remember.

“I was told you sometimes invest in startups.” 

“I’d say more than sometimes.” He raises his eyebrows as if I should’ve done my homework better. 

Ugh, Bryn! Focus! Be SMART! Make yourself and your business irresistible! A silence settles as he eyes me, slowly setting his drink down as he leans forward and finally, unexpectedly, smiles. At me.

It’s just a smile.

But the world tilts under its impact.

“Hello, little bit.” Amusement touches his gaze as he tilts his head and watches me. “You know, I’d think you’d have grown up the ten-plus years since I last saw you. At least an inch.” He leans back in his seat, seemingly displeased. Wow, this guy is not the lanky kid I knew once. This guy oozes danger. 

Every ounce of “boy” is gone. Oh God. For a moment I wish that we could go back in time and I could discuss my startup with the guy I knew before.

But time travel is not really my talent, and it seems like I have yet to see if I even have any special talents at all—depending on what this guy thinks.

“I grew two in width,” I shock myself saying.

He laughs then, his eyes drinking me in openly. 

“Shame on you, you’re not trying to see if it’s true?” I ask him, frowning now.

He shrugs casually, his lips curved at the corners. “I can’t help it. Something has to have changed.”

“Why?” 

“Because nothing good ever lasts. Even you, little bit.” A smile touches those unforgettable gold-green eyes.

A shiver runs through me. Because…

Christos recognized me. 

“I can tell you’re as incorrigible as ever.” I shake my head, but I’m smiling, truly just relieved that he recognized me.

“I try to be,” he purrs dangerously.

I’m feeling warm all of a sudden. I can’t believe I’m staring at him so much, but it’s like I cannot take my eyes away. He looks achingly familiar, but at the same time, so different I cannot help but stare and track the differences in his features. The way his jaw squared out even more, the way his body filled out with hard, lean muscles that shift and ripple beneath his expensive designer clothes. I cannot believe that this is a guy I knew once.

He seems to silently be taking in my changes too, his keen stare allowing me to see that he seems to approve of it all. Even the dress I’m wearing. “You changed enough for the both of us,” I blurt.

“Really. How so?” he asks.

“You grew into your nose.”

“Really?” He chuckles as if despite himself.

“Width and height too. Quite a bit,” I add.

“Anything else,” he prods, one eyebrow rising.

“You learned how to dress.”

He looks down at his black suit. “This old thing?” He grins, then shifts forward, sobering up. “What can I do for you, Bryn? Considering I’m rather surprised to see you here, I’m eager for you to satiate my curiosity.” His stare becomes keen.

“So am I. I didn’t expect to be here,” I admit, and for a moment when I look into his eyes, all I see is someone I’ve seen before. Someone who belonged in my life long ago. “You know when you had that misplaced crush on me and told me one day I’d know what it felt like to throw pebbles at someone’s window wanting them to open? I’m sort of throwing rocks here.”

“Not to sing me a love song,” he says flatly, his eyes shuttering.

“No. Well, you know that was never....I mean...” Don’t bring up your rejection of him, Bryn! “It’s for something better. Business.”

“Go on.”

“I knew that’d get you.” I smile privately. “So it’s true your love is money now.”

“She gives back what I put in. Though her ass isn’t as juicy as I like,” he says nonchalantly.

“Wow. No matter how polished you look, your mouth is still as crude as ever.”

“Thank you,” he purrs, his eyes grinning at me.

I laugh. Then I sober up and realize he’s waiting for me to speak. “I’m looking for money for my startup,” I say.

“How much.”

“One hundred thousand.”

“I don’t invest less than a million.” He twirls his whiskey in his glass, eyeing the liquid.

“Well then, I’ll ask for a million.”

He raises his brows, setting his glass down. “It’s not how much you want to ask for, it’s how much the company’s worth.” Eyebrows up, he skewers me with a cold, intimidating look.

“It’ll be worth more than a million, trust me,” I bluff.

“Good for you. Except…” he leans back with a rustle of clothes, every athletic inch of his black-clad body flowing sinuously like a feline with the move, “considering that has yet to happen and I’ll need to trust you on that, my trust needs to be earned.”

This version of Christos is even more intimidating than the old one, unfortunately.

I try to hide it, keeping my voice as level as possible. “How does one earn your trust?”

“I’d tell you if I were interested, but I’m not exactly sure that I am.” He eyes me as if debating in silence.

This guy is the only guy in the world that unnerves me in this way, and I can’t seem to slow the fast pounding of my heart in my chest as I try to remember what I came here to say.

“I have a full presentation for you. I’m not taking no for an answer.” I reach into my briefcase.

“Darling. Are you ready?”

I start at the female voice and glance at a gorgeous woman striding into the study. Christos continues looking at me as he stands and reaches for the cell phone the woman extends out.

“We’re done here,” he answers her as he pockets the phone, his gaze remaining on me.

“I’ll wait for you in the car.” She leans up and kisses his jaw, her hands proprietary on his chest, then sends me a woman-to-woman claiming look, before she swishes away, all glittering jewels and lean body.

There’s a silence as he approaches, and for a second all I can hear is the sound of a toilet flushing, taking my only opportunity with a possible investor away.

“I’ll think about it,” he says.

“Christos.”

“I said I’ll think about it,” he says from the door.

“Please do,” I say as he exits the room. I cup the sides of my mouth, “I’ll be back tomorrow. Same time?” I say jokingly.

I’m surprised when I hear footsteps returning. He pauses when our eyes meet. “I’ll make contact,” he says, raising his eyebrows meaningfully, “If I’m interested in hearing more.” He nods. “Nice to see you, Bryn.”

“Nice to see you. Christos.”

Well, that went sort of awful.

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/xhAcb5

About the Author: 

Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world. 

Connect with the Author:

Email: katyevansauthor@gmail.com


Twitter @authorkatyevans





Friday, 16 June 2017

Review: Tara Sivec's "The Story of Us."

Amazon.com:    http://amzn.to/2r5x0Mj
Amazon UK:     http://amzn.to/2rp8hUd

Synopsis:

From USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec comes an emotional, breathtakingly romantic new book about the power of first love and the promise of second chances.

How much can a man take before he breaks?

1,843 days. That's how long I survived in that hellhole. They tried to break me, but I resisted. And I owe it all to the memory of warm summer nights, the scent of peaches, and the one woman who loved me more than I ever deserved to be loved. Now, I'll do anything to get back to her. 

Only Shelby Eubanks isn't the girl I left behind all those years ago. She's someone else, a stranger. My Shelby-my little green-eyed firecracker-would never give up her dreams, would never disappear into her mother's ambitions. But I won't give up on her. On us. I may be broken, and scarred, and not the man I used to be, but I will do whatever it takes to remind her of the story of us.

Review: Surj

After reading the synopsis for Tara Sivec's "The Story of Us," I was really looking forward to reading what looked to be a heart breaker of a read, the prologue and first couple of chapters only reinforcing my initial thoughts. Right from the get go, the angst levels were through the roof and I immediately felt a connection with the two main characters Shelby and Ely, their plight really striking a chord, bringing me close to tears. I mean who doesn't love characters that are broken and who are in desperate need of some tender loving care and a whole heap of glue to help put them back together, right? 

Set in the deep South, "The Story of Us" was about two people who made sacrifices in the name of love. It was about two people who bore the brunt of betrayal, double crossings, selfish wants, family loyalties and of course greed. The aftermath of which would change each of their lives forever, leaving them so scarred by everything they had gone through, that going back to how they used to be wasn't even a possibility. War changes you and Shelby and Ely had fought the ultimate war. 

Sounds great, right? So it could just be me but somewhere along the way, the story lost something  and my connection to the main characters was severed which absolutely gutted me. Every now and again something would happen that made me feel like I would get those initial feelings back but then I'd lose it again leaving me with that deflated feeling all over again.

There were a number of things that didn't work for me. The first was the letters. For me, they were revealed too late. I wish they had been woven throughout the whole story. Also, the letters didn't have that "letter" feel. The way they were written was way too detailed, far too much emotion written down and too much dialogue within them. They felt more like the writing in the main body of the book that heart felt letters (IMO). 

Secondly, towards the end of the story there were so many curve balls thrown in, my head was left spinning. The one involving Ely directly was  fab and I definitely didn't see it coming. The others were (unfortunately) kind of hit and miss. 

The walls have officially crumbled on this house of lies and I'm finished. 

This is probably a case of it being me and not everyone else but I really wanted to love this one and instead, just liked it. "The Story of Us" gets ❤️❤️❤️ from me. 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Blog Tour: Emma Scott's "Sugar & Gold (Dreamcatcher #2)."

The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog are pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for Emma Scott's "Sugar & Gold (Dreamcatcher #2)." 


Synopsis

Nikolai Alexei Young was born with a special gift…one he’d do anything to lose. The heart and soul of every person he comes into contact with is an open book to his heightened senses. Colorful emotions, whispers of thoughts, the sour tastes of old memories…He feels them all. The sci-fi books would call him an empath. For Nikolai, his ability has made him an exile. He roams the U.S. alone, avoiding the glut of life in big cities, and using his innate talents to win money in underground poker games. Just enough to keep going, one town to the next. He has no hope that his life can be anything else, until he meets her…

At nineteen, Fiona Starling was trapped in an ugly, desperate situation until she freed herself the only way she knew how. Now three years later, living outside Savannah, Georgia, she is rebuilding her life on her own terms; seizing every moment and saving every penny so that she might fulfill her dream of moving to the raw wilderness of Costa Rica. But behind her carefree smile beats the heart of a lonely young woman haunted by her past, until a chance encounter with a tattooed stranger changes everything… 

Fiona takes Nikolai under her roof for three sultry nights, waiting out the rain of a summer storm. She grows more and more fascinated by this brooding stranger with whom she shares an intense physical connection—a connection so strong, she wonders if there is something between them beyond lust and passion. Nikolai is shocked to discover that Fiona calms the raging turmoil in his heart. She alone silences the din of other people’s lives, and envelops him in the sweet beauty of her inner self. Every moment he’s with her—every touch of her skin—brings him closer to the peace that’s been eluding him his entire life.

But Fiona harbors secrets that she is too terrified to reveal. After Nikolai confesses his unique ability, she is caught between wanting to believe him and fearing he’ll eventually unearth her own dark past. When the unthinkable happens, Fiona’s plans come crashing down, and Nikolai discovers his hated ability might be the only thing that can save the woman he loves. 

Review: Jo 

When it comes to emotional reads, Emma Scott never fails to deliver. Her books always contain so much heart and evoke so many feelings from me. The stories that Emma creates consistently sweep me up and hold me captive every step of the way. "Sugar & Gold" was all of these things and so much more. Nikolai and Fiona's tale truly was spellbinding and mesmerising. It was a story that I loved so much and just like this author's previous work, it was a standout read because of its uniqueness and ability to capture my heart. 

"...all that was rusted and broken inside of me
 reached out for all that was good and pure inside of her." 

What stood out for me the most in this book was the love that was shared between Nikolai and Fiona. Their story was beyond beautiful and so enchanting. A love so special that I felt it oozing from the pages. This couple were made for each other. Their love was unavoidable. I felt as though I was witnessing something magical with Nikolai and Fiona. I very rarely use the phrase "epic love story" but I wholeheartedly feel that this is what Emma Scott produces with every book that I have read and this was no exception. 

"I was his shield, guarding his peace, 
and he was my foundation, unwavering beneath me always." 

I have not read the first book in this series, however that really didn't matter. "Sugar & Gold" can easily be read as a standalone. I do have the first book on my kindle and I'm sure that I will be reading it as soon as I get the chance. I am quickly discovering that it is simply impossible to pick out a favourite from Emma Scott's work. This author continues to blow me away with every single book. Emma Scott is a must read author for me. If you haven't already, I implore you to one-click this amazing book today and start reading. I'm certain that you are going to love it! 

"I glanced up at Nikolai Young 
who'd come into my life like a fiery storm of lust and passion, 
and became everything I'd ever wanted." 

"Sugar & Gold" gets 5 enchanting hearts from me. 




Excerpt:

She breathed a genuine laugh and held my gaze. Everything about her was pink; her drink, her hair, the bright halo of glimmering dust that surrounded her. 

Kindness, compassion, charity. Those were the feelings I associated with pink.

I hadn’t seen it this strong in anyone in a long time. 

Fiona clinked her glass to my bottle. “Thanks for taking care of my over-eager dance partner, Nik. And for the drink.”

“Sure.” 

She sipped her Cosmo. “Not much of a talker, are you?” Her eyes were impossibly bright, her smile showing a broad mouth and full lips. 

“Club’s not a great place for talk,” I said.

“True,” she said, “but here we are.”

Here we are…

A short silence fell.

“Nik,” Fiona mused. “Nik, Nik,” she said again, in a light, sing-song manner. “Short for Nicholas?”

“Nikolai,” I said. 

“Oh, I like that.” Her colors warmed and sweetened, like an invitation, drawing me closer. “Are you Russian? You don’t have an accent.”

“My mother is.”

“Do you speak it?” 

“Yeah,” I said. “I picked some up.” 

She scooted closer on her seat. “Say something in Russian.”

“Like what?”

“I’m not picky. I can’t speak a word so anything is going to sound good.” 

I thought for a second and then spoke aloud the only thought I had in my head. 

“Ti samaya krasivaya devushka na svete.”

Fiona’s smile widened and the bright wisps of her happiness wrapped around me. I wanted to take in more of it. Which made no sense at all. With other women, their scents were so often cloying and unwanted like the air wasn’t mine to breathe.

What the fuck is wrong with you? Get a grip. 

I sucked down a long swig of beer. Fiona watched me, her eyebrows raised, then she laughed. “Um, Nik? You realize you’re supposed to tell me what you said, right?”

I shrugged and my lips twitched. “Don’t remember.”

Fiona laughed again. “Liar.”

We both took a sip from our drinks and let a little silence fall between us. A nice silence. 

“That was lovely, your Russian,” Fiona said eventually. “Whatever you said, it sounded…sexy.” 

My gaze swung to her eyes. “Yeah?”

She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “Yeah. I was going to say something harmless like ‘unique’ or ‘exotic’, but I’d rather be honest with you, Nikolai. I don’t like playing games.” Her brow furrowed slightly. “I don’t like it at all.”

I sensed a shadow starting to creep over her. Something old and full of pain. Driving it away suddenly became my only goddamn purpose in life.

“I guess you’re not going to like me much then,” I said. “I play games constantly. Every day.” 

A smile crept over her lips. “Is that so?”

“Sure,” I said. “Omaha, Texas Hold’em, stud, draw, lowball, high-low split…”

She laughed, flaring pink again, and the shadow around her retreated. “A joke and a smile too. I was beginning to wonder if you ever smiled.”

I shrugged. “It happens.” 

“And those games, they’re all poker, right? You play poker every day?” 

“Not every day. Most days.”

“For a living?”

“No, I’m a…” I coughed. “I’m a salesman. Motorcycle parts. I travel a lot for the job, and finding poker games in each city is sort of my hobby.”

My standard lie, though I hated laying it on her. I knew plenty of grinders who lived off their poker winnings, but that was for the love of the game. I played because thanks to the ken it was easy to win, and I’d never cared that it was cheating. It was the only way to put my strange ability to use that I knew of, and it allowed me to give a big fuck you to the universe for cursing me with it in the first place.

But lying to Fiona felt dirty. Even when haunted by bad memories she was luminous, while I was tatted and stained, as if the ink on my hands would bleed out and onto the white of her dress if I touched her. 

She cocked her head at me, wearing a perplexed little smile. “You don’t look like a salesman.” Her eyes drifted over my tattooed arms and neck, to the talons piercing my ears. “When I think of ‘traveling salesman’ I picture a middle-aged guy in a suit with a suitcase full of encyclopedias.”

“No suitcase,” I said. “Catalogues and order forms.”

“And you travel a lot?”

“Almost non-stop.”

“That sounds lonely.” 

“You do something long enough, you get used to it.”

“I know what you mean,” Fiona said, a tinge of darkness around her words—that shadow started to creep back until she buried it. “But the poker makes it fun?”

“Breaks up the monotony of the road.”

“Do you make a lot of money?” she said, then laughed, beautiful in her self-consciousness. “Sorry, I’m not asking for your bank balance, I just meant, are you any good at it?”

“I’m really fucking good at it,” I said. 

Her eyebrows shot up and she nudged my arm with a laugh. “If you don’t say so yourself.” 

“Maybe I feel like being honest with you too.” I could feel where she touched me, a tingling heat that was slow to fade. 

“I like that.” She swirled her cherry around in her drink by its stem. “So are you in town, selling motorcycle parts, for very long?”

“Couple of days.”

“I hope the storm doesn’t put a damper on your business.”

“It won’t.” 

“You’re lucky. At my job, we’ve been given the next few days off.” 

“You sound bummed about that.”

“Every penny counts.” She met my eye. “I’m moving out of the country very soon and want to save up.” 

I took a sip of my beer. I’d known Fiona for five minutes, but the idea of her moving any further away than her seat at the bar filled me with inexplicable dread. 

What the fuck is wrong with you? 

But it wasn’t what was wrong with me, anymore. It was what was right. The girl exuded a calm that danced along my skin, and when I inhaled, it was like breathing in the scent of something delicious but far away. The thrumming life all around me grew quiet. For the first time, I felt close to peace, and I wanted more. 

If I touched her…

“Nikolai?” Her blush matched the color of her drink. She rested her chin in her hand. “Not to sound cheesy but you’re undressing me with your eyes.” 

I felt heat creep along my neck and a bumbling apology rose to my mouth. Instead, I held her gaze, leaned closer to her. “You want to know what I said to you in Russian?”

Her eyes were bright and I could feel her draw closer to me. “Yes. Tell me.”

“I said that you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”

The deep pink of her darkened to red. Not the ugly red of hate or anger, but the heated red of intense want. Hers matched mine. I wanted that strange sense of peace she exuded, but I wanted to touch her too. To take her hard and lose myself in her completely.

Fiona held my gaze. “I don’t think that’s true, but the way you look at me…I can almost believe it. Like how you watched me on the dance floor. I liked you watching me, Nikolai. It was as if I could feel your eyes on me before I found you.”

You found me…

Author Bio:

Emma Scott writes romances with flawed characters, characters with artistic hearts: builders, poets, and writers of various makes and models. And love always wins. Always. 

Where to Find Emma:
Twitter: @EmmaS_writes
Instagram: @EmmaScottWrites



Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Review: Debra Anastasia's "Poughkeepsie (The Poughkeepsie Brotherhood."

Amazon.com:    http://amzn.to/2sLG4V8
Amazon UK:     http://amzn.to/2ren8wu

Synopsis:

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day. 

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.

Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.

Review: Surj 

"Poughkeepsie" was one of those few books that has left me at a loss as to how to rate it. It was such a mixed bag that had me feeling so many things, sometimes not of the good variety. There were even a couple of moments where I almost DNF'd. Luckily there was something inside of me that felt compelled to see where this story would go and so despite taking a week to read, I made a point of finishing the book. 

“You make the rest of the beautiful things in the world cry 
for even trying at all. You make it hard for me to breathe.”

If you've read the synopsis, you'll know that the main plot for "Poughkeepsie" revolves around Blake and Livia. However this book was about so much more than just Blake and Livia. There were so many different stories that had a connection to the main plot and I guess this is where the problems arose. There were some stories that I absolutely loved and there were others that were okay but for me, it was the main plot that really didn't cut the mustard. There were parts I found slow, other crucial parts rushed and unfortunately, I didn't really connect with Blake and Livia. I'm not sure whether this was because the book was written in third person or whether there was another reason I can't quite put my finger on but I found myself skimming pages of their story to get to some of the other juicier bits. 

I absolutely loved Beckett and Eve. Their individual stories and their journey together captivated me from the get go. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't perfect but I couldn't wait to see the direction their story was headed. It was raw, gritty and often brutal with a truck load of heart ache. Yet there was also a hint of hope in there and it was this that kept me glued to the pages. 

"Beckett is probably the hardest person there is to love, 
he does life wrong for all the right reasons."

Cole and Kyle's story felt like it had been a little diluted by everything else that was going on in "Poughkeepsie" which is a shame because this as a book in it's own right would have more than likely made for excellent reading. both characters had quite  history and I would have loved to have delved deeper into each of their backgrounds instead of only getting glimpses here and there. 

Actually, come to think of it, maybe this is where the problem lies. There were three stories that could have been brilliant on their own but unfortunately felt diluted packed into one jumbo book. Add to that, the fact that "Poughkeepsie" was written in third person and the writing didn't really gel with me, and I guess there was a level of disconnect on my part. I am glad I finished the book though and I am desperate to dive into the second book in this series but that's because it's about two of my favourite characters that I'm desperate to see get a HEA. 

"Everytime I think i couldn't love you a bit more, you stretch my heart again"

I rated "Poughkeepsie" ❤️❤️❤️

Friday, 9 June 2017

Blog Tour: Kristen Ashley's "The Farthest Edge (Honey # 2)."

The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog are pleased to be a part of the Blog Tour for Kristen Ashley's "The Farthest Edge (Honey # 2)."

Amazon.com:    http://amzn.to/2rRUvcD
Amazon UK:     http://amzn.to/2r8d0Z8

Synopsis:

A man without a past. A woman who lost her future. Together they'll push each other to the farthest edge and ignite a passion that's harder and deeper than they ever imagined. But is it strong enough to turn into something real and lasting? In the second highly anticipated book in the Honey series, New York Times bestselling author Kristen Ashley once again delivers a smoldering hot story that is achingly romantic and populated with intensely raw characters that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.


Review: Surj & the delightful Derna from Always Books Blog

Surj: We loved the first book in the "Honey" series by Kristen Ashley but this one ... this next instalment, sweet baby Jesus, this really was something else. Not only was the story exquisite but we think we are going to need to park our backsides in a deep freezer for the next few days and cool ourselves down, because "The Farthest Edge" was so darn HOT!!! Oh yes, we all know this author can write the most delectable sex scenes but this... this was a whole new level of heat that had our toes curling, our thighs clenching and our faces turning all kinds of shades of red, we got that flustered. Uh huh, alpha sub kinkiness... OH DEAR LORD. 

Who knew it felt that good to take the plunge, land and shatter?

"The Farthest Edge" is one of those books that rubber stamps itself in your memory, not just for the kinkiness and heat (although that really was a huge bonus), but for the unconventional yet fantastic story that wove itself through the pages. This was so classic Kristen Ashley yet so unique in so many ways, wouldn't you agree Derna? 

Derna: Totally right Surj! There was so much more to this story than the kink and the heat. It was pure KA magic. The scenes between Branch and Evangeline were beautifully written. Two broken people who found comfort with each other, what started as Dom / sub relationship turns into so much more as they connected on a physical and emotional level. 

You really get to know the characters especially Branch who I adore. This hot alpha sub who was everything I would expect sexy, intense, brooding, and confidant. I was completely captivated by him from start to finish. To say I was jealous of Angie would be an understatement. Haha

God what kind of beauty was this that was Branch? She didn't know. 
She'd never had it. And lord help her, she couldn't lose herself in it. 

Surj: For those of you who are a little hesitant to read this book (or the series for that matter) because you feel that an alpha couldn't be a sub or you're not massively into reading the whole sub/ dom thing, trust us and trust KA. Firstly, she has written Branch so perfectly that even as a sub, he is seriously freakin' hot!!!! Also, in this second book in the series, KA continues to dispel the myths, stereotypes and pre conceived ideas of what a sub/ dom relationship looks like. Yup, there were no leather clad, whip yielding characters in this one. In fact, what you got was something that felt kinda normal and I think that was the intention. What Branch and Evangeline shared felt so personal, so private and even intimate at times, I felt like I was a bit of a peeping Tom, spying on moments that were not for sharing. Set behind closed doors and in Evangeline's home, it was a stark contrast to the relationship between Olivier and Amelie which had been very public and had predominantly developed within the walls of the Honey Club. 

He liked to be pushed to the edge? She was going to take him there. 
Shove him right over. And go over with him. 

You touched on our heroine Evangeline, Derna, and wow what a heroine she was. I just loved her strength and resilience. She was one hell of a head strong woman who knew exactly what she wanted and had every intention of getting it. She may have a fight on her hands but this lady had every intention of winning!!! 

Derna: Yes, She was going for gold she wanted the top prize and wouldn't settle for anything less. I did like her character, she was also compassionate and understanding. You could see that whenever she spoke to Branch in and out of their Dom/ sub relationship never pushing him to tell his story letting him tell her when he was ready.

But then she'd realise he was like a drug, and once you got your dose, you were good. 
You were brilliant. You were flying high. But when it was gone, you needed more. 

surj: "The Farthest Edge" was a story about guilt, revenge, healing and of course finding love when you least expect it. We absolutely adored this second addition to the Honey series and cannot wait for the final book. We love that KA took a chance and penned  this series and we truly hope that you take a chance and read it. Trust us, you won't be disappointed. 


Derna: I couldn't have said it better myself Surj. In true KA style It's at long read, but wow it was so worth it. And I couldn't go without letting you all know that there was mention of one of our favourite KA alphas from the Unfinished Heroes series which had me grinning so hard!!!!  I'm excited for the next book, even though at this point I'm not completely sure who it could be about. Surj and I have a few ideas but only time will tell.

"The Farthest Edge" gets ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️   from us. 

All's fair in love. not war. nothing was fair in war. But all was fair in love.


Excerpt:
Aryas knew her. 
He knew what she liked. 
He knew how she played. 
He knew exactly what would make her squirm in her seat. 
And he knew precisely how long it had been since she’d had her kink.
“You’re throwing down the gauntlet,” she accused quietly.
“You feel like picking up the glove?” he shot back, shaking the piece of paper at her. 
She stared into Aryas’s eyes. 
No strings.
Anything she wanted to do to get him off. 
When he was done with her, he’d vanish from her life. 
Her gaze dropped to the paper. 
“Be you, and we’ll make it interesting, lay five grand on that fucker, he’ll give you one go and then he’ll move on,” Aryas pushed, but it was a dare. 
She looked back at him. 
A dare. 
Yes, he knew her. 
“No reflection on you and your skills, which are sublime, my beautiful baby.” He grinned wicked grin. “Just that this guy is unbreakable. There’s no edge for him any Domme can get anywhere near to push him off and that’s what he’s looking for. Being taken to the farthest edge and shoved right the fuck over.”
Taken to the farthest edge. 
Evangeline was not into that. She wasn’t into extreme. Not like many who were into that in the life. 
No, the edges she coasted were exactly what Aryas wasn’t quite saying, but she read this guy couldn’t handle. 
Unless he had the right Mistress to lead the way. 
Damn it all, she was getting wet. 
“Five grand?” she snapped. 
Aryas pressed his lips together and she was too peeved to get more peeved that he did it to suppress his amusement. 
He unpressed them to confirm, “Five grand. But Leenie, babe, just to get it straight, he walks away from you at first meet, we’re even. It’s only if you get a crack at him the bet is on.”
She lifted her nose at the same time she snatched the paper from his hand, declaring, “He won’t walk away.”
“He might,” Aryas said gently, and his sudden loss of humor and careful tone made her focus on him again. “Beware of that. He’s done it before. In some ways, he doesn’t give a shit about anything. In some ways, he can be frustratingly choosy.”
“If I want him, he walks away, I’ll still get him,” she announced. 

About Kristen Ashley:

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn't taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen's Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning. 

Nothing's changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she's blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

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

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.