Book Review — Moonshot by Alessandra Torre

Book Review — Moonshot by Alessandra Torre
Baseball wasn’t supposed to be a game of life and death…The summer that Chase Stern entered my life, I was seventeen. The daughter of a legend, the Yankees were my family, their stadium my home, their dugout my workplace. My focus was on the game. Chase … he started out as a distraction. A distraction with sex appeal poured into every inch of his six foot frame. A distraction who played like a god and partied like a devil. I tried to stay away. I couldn’t. Then, the team started losing. Women started dying. And everything in my perfect world broke apart.
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Mistress of Romance is a place for all romance lovers to come and explore new reads. Come let me be your book Mistress and check out moonshot

MOONSHOT WEBSITE CLICK LINK TO VIEW

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Mistress of Romance is a place for all romance lovers to come and explore new reads. Come let me be your book Mistress and check out moonshot

Mistress of Romance is a place for all romance lovers to come and explore new reads. Come let me be your book Mistress and check out moonshot

Review:

Moonshot is told in dual point-of-view, which is my favorite. I love hearing both sides of the story. Dual point-of-view also keeps from having another book told from the other side, which I feel are a bit of a waste. Sorry, had to gush over my love of dual pov.

Moving on. Ty Rollins is the daughter of famed closing pitcher for the New York Yankees. She has been traveling with the team as a bat girl since her Mom died when she was young. The teammates have kept a close eye on her and see her as family.

Ty is in love with all things baseball. She knows all the stats, all the players and even watches ESPN everyday to keep up with it all. I don’t believe anyone knows baseball more than her.

The Yankees are always looking to win The World Series. They will do whatever it takes to clench that title. Ty knew one of the guys had to go and be replaced with the eye catching troublemaker Chase Sterns.

After being bumped from his last team, the clean cut Yankee’s snatch him up. Ty is stoked because she knows this will help them win The World Series. What she doesn’t realize is that her life as she knows it is about to change.

There is instant attraction between the two, but with Ty being only 17, there wasn’t much Chase could do until she became legal. With that in mind, a friendship was born.

As time wore on, their love burned bright and hot like a wildfire. Unfortunately, fate had a way of screwing it.

I found myself flying through the pages. I just couldn’t get enough. I was learning more about baseball than I ever knew before. I grew up with the Chicago Cubs. My husband is the biggest baseball fan I know. I felt like I betrayed him reading about The Yankees when he loathes them more than any sports team out there.

The romance in the book was very well written. AT developed their love in an all-inclusive way that you can’t help but want to devour it. You found yourself grinning. I was reading it while waiting for a prescription at the pharmacy and found myself covering my smile because it was so bright.

My only complaint about the book, and why I gave it 4 stars is because the twist of the story, the murders, just didn’t seem to fit. Let me first say that the murders are not the only twist to the story. There are more.

Back to the murders. It was at least 50% into the book before the murders even started making their way into the story. I found that a little disheartening. Even with the action starting, they still felt forced. In AT’s other books, her twists work seamlessly. You’re like, “Oh, shit!” I honestly feel like the murders could have been left out of the story and Moonshot would have been just as great.

The ending came rushing in like a hurricane. There was no stopping it and you better hold on because it is intense.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book. AT never lets you down and you will definitely enjoy this one. I would compare Moonshot to Hollywood Dirt. It isn’t dark and twisted like her other books. It is a sweet romance, but some real shit happens. If you loved Hollywood Dirt, chances are you will really enjoy Moonshot.

My review of Hollywood Dirt

Alessandra’s other books:

four-stars

About Alessandra Torre

Alessandra Torre is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of ten novels. Her books focus on romance and suspense, all with a strong undercurrent of sexuality. Torre has been featured in such publications as Elle and Elle UK, co-hosted Dirty Sexy Funny with Jenny McCarthy, as well as guest blogged for the Huffington Post and RT Book Reviews. She is also the Bedroom Blogger for Cosmopolitan.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | IG | TSU | Google+ | Goodreads Author Page | Amazon Author Page | YouTube Channel | Goodreads Group | Newsletter

Mr Romantic by JA Huss Book Review

Mr Romantic by JA Huss Book Review
Charm is the key to the world.

Charisma, magnetism, sex appeal—that ‘it’ factor that can’t be described.

Nolan Delany has it is spades.

The infamous Mr. Romantic.

And maybe he is out of my league… But I’m going to give it the old college try anyway. Because I didn’t travel two thousand miles for a job interview at his request just to be put out like trash.

Don’t underestimate me, Mr. Delaney.

I’m really not as innocent as I look.
Goodreads

First off let me say I almost didn’t read this book. My sons name is Nolan, and I just couldn’t see myself reading a dirty JA Huss book without seeing my sons face in my head. However, like all the other books, I had to read it. I’m lucky that Nolan’s name isn’t said that much, especially during sex, so I was able to enjoy the book.
Mr. Romantic is a much darker book than Mr. Perfect. We get some new pieces of information on the story arc that will be happening over these five books. We also have some cameos from some of our favorite characters from Julie’s other books. Yay!
Yes, the story has a fantasy rape scene. It is dual consent. If this bothers you, don’t read the book. However, I feel like the scene is important because of what happened in Nolan’s past. There is a lot of conversation before it happens between both parties, so there is no way it happens without consent.
Again, we have the main story between the two main characters, but we also have this mystery overall story arc. With even more hints from Julie, I don’t know if I’m more excited about the series story, or each individual story because that huge storyline is always so good. So good.

four-stars

About JA Huss

JA Huss is the author of the Amazon bestselling Rook and Ronin series, the epic science fiction I Am Just Junco series, and hundreds of kid-friendly science books in subjects such as biology, physics, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, and forensics. She has an undergraduate degree in equine science and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology. She has never taken a creative writing class and she hopes she never will.

Mr Perfect by JA Huss Book Review

Mr Perfect by JA Huss Book Review
Wanting the perfect man doesn’t make me crazy. I just know what I like.
A powerful billionaire in a suit wasn’t even my first choice. Mcallister Stonewall was never on my radar, I didn’t even know he existed.
But I do now.
His hands are all over me at work. The heat of his chest pressing against my bare back as he bends me over the desk is the only thing on my mind.
He is my most forbidden desires unleashed. He is my new secret obsession. He is my Mr. Perfect.
Until the moment I realize… There’s no such thing as perfect.
Goodreads

I love books that have banter back and forth between main characters. It makes you break out in a huge grin that you then try to hide. This happened to me while reading this book while waiting at the pharmacy at Walgreens. I was a grinning idiot.
The heroine lives in the land of fantasy and denial, and Mr. Perfect brings that world to a crashing halt. Like Huss’ other books, the book has hot sexy times and another story arc covering the Mr. series that we haven’t figured out yet.
I loved the book, just like Huss’ previous books. You will not be disappointed.

four-stars

About JA Huss

JA Huss is the author of the Amazon bestselling Rook and Ronin series, the epic science fiction I Am Just Junco series, and hundreds of kid-friendly science books in subjects such as biology, physics, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, and forensics. She has an undergraduate degree in equine science and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology. She has never taken a creative writing class and she hopes she never will.

Leveled by Jay Crownover Book Review

Leveled by Jay Crownover Book Review
Love hurts... Leveled by a broken heart Orlando Frederick has spent so long running from a real connection with another person that he can’t remember what love even feels like. The fear of being hurt by someone leaving is almost overwhelming and he can’t get past it. Leveled by a broken body Dominic Voss was a cop, first and foremost, until a life-threatening injury put his career on the back-burner. Unable to face the prospect that he might never go back to his old normal, he’s ready to try anything to feel alive again. Leveled by love As Lando and Dom try to find a way to be together, they must find a way to be themselves first.
Goodreads

Review:

If you have never read Jay’s books before, let me prepare you. She writes about sexy tattoo, sometimes alpha males that have a fantastic love story.
In leveled she mended two series and families together beautifully. I liked that there wasn’t drama in Leveled just for drama’s sake. You know what I mean? Yes, Lando had his secrets, but he was coming from a good place, especially after what he has been through.
Dom, that guy’s nickname says it all. He is alpha male cop through and through with a heart of gold. When he finally found the one, he fought harder than he ever has in his job.
Leveled is a pretty quick read about two men who find love in the most unexpected place. 

four-stars

About Jay Crownover

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

Drop Dead Sexy by Katie Ashley Book Review and Cover Reveal for next book

Drop Dead Sexy by Katie Ashley Book Review and Cover Reveal for next book

For Olivia Sullivan, love is more a four letter curse word than a sentiment. Growing up as the daughter of a small town mortician, guys didn’t warm to the fact there were dead people in her house. At thirty, taking over the family business and becoming the town Coroner helped to cement her undateable status. Of course her past sex history didn’t help matters either.

Attempt number one with her first love ended barely before it got started with a horrific latex allergy hospitalization. Attempt number two had him coming and then going with an undiagnosed heart condition. For the past three years, Olivia has closed up shop for fear of what might happen next in the bedroom.

After being forced to go single to her mother’s lingerie shower, Olivia stumbles into an out of town bar with one intention: find an able bodied stud to go home with to end her losing sex streak. Enter Holden Caulfield Mains aka Catcher, who earned his nickname not just from the book he was named for, but for the fact he was sure to catch the attention any woman who came within a five mile radius. Waking up after a night of the most mind blowing sex she could have ever imagined, a horrified Olivia runs away thinking she’s left Catcher behind.

When Olivia’s small town is wracked by its first murder, she never could have imagined her one night stand would reappear in the form of the GBI’s lead investigator. To her mortification, Catcher isn’t ready to let go of their sizzling chemistry, and he doesn’t understand the meaning of no. As things start to heat up between them, the body count starts to rise, and they’re led on a wild goose chase from backwoods mountain Nudist Colonies to altercations with the Dixie Mafia. Can Olivia and Catcher survive to solve the murder while also not succumbing to their explosive passion?

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Purchase your copy Today!

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***

Drop Dead Sexy Review:

I love Katie Ashley. I haven’t read a book she has written and ever been disappointed. Drop Dead Sexy is another one I really liked.

I love that Katie picked a career for a woman (town coroner) that is typically a man’s career. That right there was enough for me to be excited for this book.

Drop Dead Sexy has lots of humor in it. I found myself laughing out loud at the silly and outrageous things Olivia has to do or endure. One example is when she found out she had a latex allergy. I felt so sorry for Olivia having this allergy. Can you imagine how many men buy only latex condoms and don’t think about women who could have the allergy? I mean, when you go to the doctor they always ask you if you are allergic to latex. Lots of people are. But to find out while losing your virginity has to be the worst.

Next, Olivia has to endure yet another sucky incident: her Mother’s lingerie party. I mean, would you go to your Mother’s lingerie party? I’m really open about sex, and I knew my parents had it, and it was talked about openingly at my house, but I can’t say I would want to go to a lingerie party for my Mom.

Well, before she went to the party, she decided she was going to leave town and find herself a man. Her dry spell had lasted too long, and come hell or high water, she was getting laid. Enter sexy Catcher, a Georgia Bureau Investigator.

Well, they hit it off right away. They both had eyes for each other and it didn’t take but a minute for the introductions to begin. Enter sexy scenes. Then more sexy scenes. And more sexy scenes. So many sexy scenes I felt bad for Olivia’s hooha, but cheered for her too.

After doing the walk of shame the next morning, Olivia thought that it would be the last she would see of Catcher, only to find him on a case that she was working on too. Seriously, how had these two never met before?

This is the part of the book that has lots of voodoo, suspense, mystery and some laughs pulled in. It wasn’t a hard core Lisa Gardner detective book, but it had it’s own mystery to figure out with Olivia and Catcher at the helm.

Overall, I give this book a solid 4. I save those 5’s for books that blow my heart apart. I would definitely recommend everyone read this book. It has comedy, sex and mystery all wrapped up in it. I think most people would really like it if you’re into the comedy, sex and mystery aspects. I love reading Katie Ashley books, and I can say I recommend all of them.

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Drop Dead Sexy: For Olivia Sullivan, love is more a four letter curse word than a sentiment. Growing up as the daughter of a small town mortician, guys didn’t warm to the fact there were dead people in her house. At thirty, taking over the family business and becoming the town Coroner helped to cement her undateable status. Of course her past sex history didn’t help matters either. Attempt number one with her first love ended barely before it got started with a horrific latex allergy hospitalization. Attempt number two had him coming and then going with an undiagnosed heart condition. For the past three years, Olivia has closed up shop for fear of what might happen next in the bedroom. After being forced to go single to her mother’s lingerie shower, Olivia stumbles into an out of town bar with one intention: find an able bodied stud to go home with to end her losing sex streak. Enter Holden Caulfield Mains aka Catcher, who earned his nickname not just from the book he was named for, but for the fact he was sure to catch the attention any woman who came within a five mile radius. Waking up after a night of the most mind blowing sex she could have ever imagined, a horrified Olivia runs away thinking she’s left Catcher behind. When Olivia’s small town is wracked by its first murder, she never could have imagined her one night stand would reappear in the form of the GBI’s lead investigator. To her mortification, Catcher isn’t ready to let go of their sizzling chemistry, and he doesn’t understand the meaning of no. As things start to heat up between them, the body count starts to rise, and they’re led on a wild goose chase from back woods mountain Nudist Colonies to altercations with the Dixie Mafia. Can Olivia and Catcher survive to solve the murder while also not succumbing to their explosive passion?

Drop Dead Sexy: For Olivia Sullivan, love is more a four letter curse word than a sentiment. Growing up as the daughter of a small town mortician, guys didn’t warm to the fact there were dead people in her house. At thirty, taking over the family business and becoming the town Coroner helped to cement her undateable status. Of course her past sex history didn’t help matters either. Attempt number one with her first love ended barely before it got started with a horrific latex allergy hospitalization. Attempt number two had him coming and then going with an undiagnosed heart condition. For the past three years, Olivia has closed up shop for fear of what might happen next in the bedroom. After being forced to go single to her mother’s lingerie shower, Olivia stumbles into an out of town bar with one intention: find an able bodied stud to go home with to end her losing sex streak. Enter Holden Caulfield Mains aka Catcher, who earned his nickname not just from the book he was named for, but for the fact he was sure to catch the attention any woman who came within a five mile radius. Waking up after a night of the most mind blowing sex she could have ever imagined, a horrified Olivia runs away thinking she’s left Catcher behind. When Olivia’s small town is wracked by its first murder, she never could have imagined her one night stand would reappear in the form of the GBI’s lead investigator. To her mortification, Catcher isn’t ready to let go of their sizzling chemistry, and he doesn’t understand the meaning of no. As things start to heat up between them, the body count starts to rise, and they’re led on a wild goose chase from back woods mountain Nudist Colonies to altercations with the Dixie Mafia. Can Olivia and Catcher survive to solve the murder while also not succumbing to their explosive passion?

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The Hard Way by Katie Ashley Caleb Hall has always been the golden boy of the gridiron. Because of his talent at football, coupled with his father’s wealth, he’s always gotten his way. But when a night of drunken debauchery lands him in hot water with the college athletic board, neither his influential father nor his charming grin can save him. He finds it a total buzz kill when he is sentenced to community service with troubled youth at an inner-city shelter. But his nightmare is only beginning when his greatest high school regret is the very one in charge of the program, and she has him by the balls in more ways than one.  For Avery Prescott, senior year was a nightmare of epic proportions, and Caleb Hall played the lead villain. After she fled her small town for college in the bright lights of Atlanta, she thought she had escaped the painful memories of her past. She never could have imagined Caleb would waltz through the door of the outreach program she presided over. But Avery has news for Caleb—she isn’t the same shy, doormat of a girl she was in high school. Since she holds Caleb’s football future in her hands, she’s more than ready to make payback a real bitch.  Will they stay in the defensive zone or discover that sometimes life's greatest lessons are learned the hard way?

***

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Title: The Hard Way

Author: Katie Ashley

Genre: New Adult

Release Date: May 31, 2016

Cover Designer: Letitia Hasser at RBA Designs

Cover Model: Drew Ater

Cover Photography by: Eric Battershell

***

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The Hard Way by Katie Ashley Caleb Hall has always been the golden boy of the gridiron. Because of his talent at football, coupled with his father’s wealth, he’s always gotten his way. But when a night of drunken debauchery lands him in hot water with the college athletic board, neither his influential father nor his charming grin can save him. He finds it a total buzz kill when he is sentenced to community service with troubled youth at an inner-city shelter. But his nightmare is only beginning when his greatest high school regret is the very one in charge of the program, and she has him by the balls in more ways than one.  For Avery Prescott, senior year was a nightmare of epic proportions, and Caleb Hall played the lead villain. After she fled her small town for college in the bright lights of Atlanta, she thought she had escaped the painful memories of her past. She never could have imagined Caleb would waltz through the door of the outreach program she presided over. But Avery has news for Caleb—she isn’t the same shy, doormat of a girl she was in high school. Since she holds Caleb’s football future in her hands, she’s more than ready to make payback a real bitch.  Will they stay in the defensive zone or discover that sometimes life's greatest lessons are learned the hard way?Caleb Hall has always been the golden boy of the gridiron. Because of his talent at football, coupled with his father’s wealth, he’s always gotten his way. But when a night of drunken debauchery lands him in hot water with the college athletic board, neither his influential father nor his charming grin can save him. He finds it a total buzz kill when he is sentenced to community service with troubled youth at an inner-city shelter. But his nightmare is only beginning when his greatest high school regret is the very one in charge of the program, and she has him by the balls in more ways than one.

For Avery Prescott, senior year was a nightmare of epic proportions, and Caleb Hall played the lead villain. After she fled her small town for college in the bright lights of Atlanta, she thought she had escaped the painful memories of her past. She never could have imagined Caleb would waltz through the door of the outreach program she presided over. But Avery has news for Caleb—she isn’t the same shy, doormat of a girl she was in high school. Since she holds Caleb’s football future in her hands, she’s more than ready to make payback a real bitch.

Will they stay in the defensive zone or discover that sometimes life’s greatest lessons are learned the hard way?

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four-stars

About Katie Ashley

Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Shakespeare, Harry Potter, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo. With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent eleven years teaching both middle and high school English. As of January 2013, she became a full-time writer.

Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Shakespeare, Harry Potter, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo.

With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent eleven years teaching both middle and high school English. As of January 2013, she became a full-time writer.

An Unforgivable Love Story by BL Berry Review

An Unforgivable Love Story by BL Berry Review
Love is patient.

Love is kind.

Love is UNFORGIVABLE.

She wanted to forget her past.

He wanted to change the course of his future.

She was everything he never knew he needed.

He became her unexpected.

Everything was perfect.

Until ...

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is UNFORGIVABLE. She wanted to forget her past. He wanted to change the course of his future. She was everything he never knew he needed. He became her unexpected. Everything was perfect. Until ...

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is UNFORGIVABLE. She wanted to forget her past. He wanted to change the course of his future. She was everything he never knew he needed. He became her unexpected. Everything was perfect. Until ...

An Unforgivable Love Story Review:

I don’t know what to say about this book. Stay with me during my rambles.
First, I met Barbara at Penned Con right before she was to release Love Nouveau. I was giving her unsolicited advice, and she showed me the amazing cover and then I read the blurb. I was honestly stunned that this was her first book. I read it and it was amazing. She made a name for herself in the tough book industry.
Moving on to An Unforgivable Love Story, Berry departs from the basic formula. She wrote the book in 4 sections. Each section is about a different character.
During the first section, I had a good idea where the book was going, and I even sent a tweet to Barbara that I was going to live tweet her as I read the book. The first section leaves you with a cliffhanger.
During section 2, you start all over again, just to leave you with a cliffhanger like section 1 did. That’s okay because when you start section 3, you have all the important information and you feel like you can get a handle on what’s happening.
As you read through section 3, you are going back-and-forth with how you are feeling about the whole situation. Where do you stand on what is happening. Do you agree with the characters decisions or not.
Then when you finish up section three, you feel like things are settled, but then you realize there is section 4. Now what is going to happen? You read it, and it is such a plot twist that I don’t even know how I feel about it. I don’t even think I understand it. Maybe Berry wrote it so you don’t get it and you make your own opinion on what happens. I don’t know. I need to tweet her. The end definitely left me scratching my head.

Purchase Links:

Amazon– oh, and it’s free on Kindle Unlimited at the time of this post

Playlist:

  1. Wild Honey – U2
  2. Like Real People Do – Hozier
  3. Colorblind – Counting Crows
  4. Oh Darling – Gossling
  5. Breathing Underwater – Metric
  6. Let It Die – Foo Fighters
  7. I’m Sorry – Imagine Dragons
  8. Fools – Troye Sivan
  9. Don’t Mess Me Around – Clare Maguire
  10. Heal – Tom Odell
  11. Unbreakable – Jamie Scott
  12. I’m The Man Who Loves You – Wilco
  13. Creep – Radiohead

 Other Places to Connect with BL Berry are:

Newsletter signup link: http://bit.ly/1zCPOPr

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BLBerryAuthor/?fref=ts

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/629890583798312/

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8441842.B_L_Berry?from_search=true&search_version=service

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blberrywrites/

Amazon Author Page: 

 http://www.amazon.com/B.L.-Berry/e/B00O0DZATE/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1456287479&sr=1-2-ent

 

four-stars

About BL Berry

BL Berry grew up telling lies. Eventually, those lies turned into elaborate stories and when she grew older she started writing them down. When she’s not hiding behind her computer writing, you can find her spending time with her family or catching up on her favorite TV shows. Rumor has it she’ll sleep when she’s dead.

Residing outside of Kansas City, she lives with her husband, two children and black pug. Each day her family thanks the makers of e-Readers, because without which they would be living amongst stacks and stacks of romance novels. Conversely, each day B.L. Berry thanks the makers of e-Readers for hiding her book-hoarding tendencies.

Book Review – He Will By My Ruin by KA Tucker

Book Review – He Will By My Ruin by KA TuckerGoodreads

Today I have KA Tucker’s He Will Be My Ruin book review for you, along with the prologue and the first chapter of the book.

Review:

We start off the book finding out that Maggie’s best friend Celine has committed suicide. However, Maggie doesn’t believe that she would ever do such a thing. They grew up together. Maggie’s parents are wealthy and Celine’s mom worked for them. They were tight. The bestest of friends.

Maggie comes back to take care of Celine’s estate and to figure out her suspicion that maybe Celine didn’t kill herself after all. This is where it gets good.

Without giving too much of the plot away, a very expensive antique is missing from her apartment, and fuels Maggie’s drive to prove her friend’s murder and find justice for her.

The cast of characters includes Maggie, a private investigator, a hacker, a sweet old lady who is Celine’s neighbor, Jace – Celine’s love interest and Grady the apartment super.

Maggie goes down one road after another with her PI and Hacker, and when she thinks she’s got a solid bead on someone, things don’t shake out.

I really liked the pace of the story that Tucker wrote. It didn’t dredge on like some crime books can. One minute you are thinking one thing, then another chapter goes by and you’re not sure at all. While I find it didn’t have the trope of the main character in danger, it did have you constantly thinking about who did it.

One thing I love about books, and it helps me choose what to read, is if I can learn something new. In He Will Be My Ruin, I learned about antiques, especially asian antiques.

In all, I give He Will Be My Ruin 4 Stars.

K.A. Tucker’s HE WILL BE MY RUIN – Prologue and Chapter One:

Prologue

Maggie
December 23, 2015
My wrists burn.
Hours of trying to break free of the rope that binds my hands behind my back have left them raw, the rough cord scrubbing away my skin and cutting into my flesh. I’m sure I’ll have unsightly scars.
Not that it will matter when I’m dead.
I resigned myself to that reality around the time that I finally let go of my bladder. Now I simply lie here, in a pool of urine and vomit, my teeth numb from knocking with each bump in the road, my body frozen by the cold.
Trying to ignore the darkness as I fight against the panic that consumes me. I could suffocate from the anxiety alone.
He knows that.
Now he’s exploiting it. That must be what he does—he uncovers your secrets, your fears, your flaws—and he uses them against you. He did it to Celine.
And now he’s doing it to me.
That’s why I’m in a cramped trunk, my lungs working overtime against a limited supply of oxygen while my imagination runs wild with what may be waiting for me at the end of this ride.
My racing heart ready to explode.
The car hits an especially deep pothole, rattling my bones. I’ve been trapped in here for so long. Hours. Days. I have no idea. Long enough to run through every mistake that I made.
How I trusted him, how I fell for his charm, how I believed his lies. How I made it so easy for him to do this to me.
How Celine made it so easy for him, by letting him get close.
Before he killed her.
Just like he’s going to kill me.

Chapter 1

Maggie
November 30, 2015
The afternoon sun beams through the narrow window, casting a warm glow over Celine’s floral comforter.
It would be inviting, only her body was found in this very bed just thirteen days ago.
“Maggie?”
“Yeah,” I respond without actually turning around, my gaze taking in the cramped bedroom before me. I’ve never been a fan of New York City and all its overpriced boroughs. Too big, too busy, too pretentious. Take this Lower East Side apartment, for example, on the third floor of a drafty building built in the 1800s, with a ladder of shaky fire escapes facing the side alley and a kitschy gelato café downstairs. It costs more per month than the average American hands the bank in mortgage payments.
And Celine adored it.
“I’m in 410 if you just . . . want to come and find me.”
I finally turn and acknowledge the building super—a chestnut-haired English guy around thirty by my guess, with a layer of scruff over his jawline and faded blue jeans—edging toward the door. Given the apartment is 475 square feet, it doesn’t take him long to reach it.
I think he gave me his name but I wasn’t listening. I’ve barely said two words since I met him in front of Celine’s apartment, armed with a stack of cardboard flats and trash bags. An orchestra of clocks that softly tick away claim that that was nearly half an hour ago. I’ve simply stood here since then, feeling the brick-exposed walls—lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and filled with the impressive collection of treasures that Celine had amassed over her twenty-eight years—closing in on me.
But now I feel the need to speak. “You were the one who let the police in?” Celine never missed work, never arrived late. That’s why, after not showing up for two days and not answering her phone or her door, her coworker finally called the cops.
The super nods.
“You saw her?”
His eyes flicker to the thin wall that divides the bedroom from the rest of the apartment—its only purpose is to allow the building’s owner to charge rent for a “one-bedroom” instead of a studio. There’s not even enough room for a door. Yes, he saw her body. “She seemed really nice,” he offers, his throat turning scratchy, shifting on his feet. He’d rather be unplugging a shit-filled toilet than be here right now. I don’t blame him. “Uh . . . So you can just slide the key through the mail slot in my door when you’re finished, if you want? I’ll be home later tonight to grab it.”
Under different circumstances, I’d find his accent charming. “I’ll be staying here for a while.”
He frowns. “You can’t—”
“Yeah, I can,” I snap, cutting his objection off. “We’re on the hook with the lease until the end of January, right? So don’t even think of telling me that I can’t.” I’m in no rush to empty this place out so some jackass landlord can rent it next month and pocket my money. Plus . . . My gaze drifts over the living room again. I just need to be in Celine’s presence for a while, even if she’s not here anymore.
“Of course. I’m just . . .” He bites his bottom lip as if to stall a snippy response. When he speaks again, his tone is back to soft. “The mattress, the bedding, it’ll all need to be replaced. I would have already pitched it for you, but I figured that it wasn’t my call to make. I pulled the blanket up to cover the mess and tried to air the place out, but . . .”
I sigh shakily, the tension making my body as taut as a wire. I’m the only jackass around here. “Right. I’m sorry.” I inhale deeply. The linen air freshener can’t completely mask the smell. Her body lay in that bed for two days.
Dead.
Decomposing.
“I’ll be fine with the couch until I can get a new mattress delivered.” It’ll be more than fine, seeing as I’ve been sleeping on a thin bedroll on a dirt floor in Ethiopia for the past three months. At least there’s running water here, and I’m not sharing the room with two other people. Or rats, hopefully.
“I can probably get a bloke in here to help me carry it out if you want,” he offers, sliding hands into his pockets as he slowly shifts backward.
“Thank you.” I couple my contrite voice with a smile and watch the young super exit, pulling the door shut behind him.
My gaze drifts back to the countless shelves. I haven’t been to visit Celine in New York in over two years; we always met in California, the state where we grew up. “My, you’ve been busy,” I whisper. Celine always did have a love for the old and discarded, and she had a real eye for it. She’d probably seen every last episode of Antiques Roadshow three times over. She was supposed to start school this past September to get her MA in art business, with plans to become an appraiser. She delayed enrollment, for some reason.
But she never told me that. I found out through her mother just last week.
Her apartment looks more like a bursting vintage shop than a place someone would live. It’s well organized at least—all her trinkets grouped effectively. Entire shelves are dedicated to elaborate teacups, others to silver tea sets, genuine hand-cut crystal glassware, ornate clocks and watches, hand-painted tiles, and so on. Little side tables hold stained-glass lamps and more clocks and her seemingly endless collection of art history books. On the few walls not lined with shelves, an eclectic mix of artwork fills the space.
Very few things in here aren’t antique or vintage. The bottles of Ketel One, Maker’s Mark, and Jägermeister lined up on a polished brass bar cart. Her computer and a stack of hardcover books, sitting on a worn wooden desk that I’d expect to find in an old elementary schoolhouse. Even the two-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree has well-aged ornaments dangling from its branches.
I wander aimlessly, my hands beginning to touch and test. A slight pull of the desk drawer finds it locked, with no key anywhere, from what I can see. I run a finger along the spine of a leather-bound edition of The Taming of the Shrew on a shelf. Not a speck of dust. Celine couldn’t stand disorder. Every single nutcracker faces out, equidistant from the next, shortest in front, tallest in back, as if she measured them with a ruler and placed them just so.
Being enclosed in this organized chaos makes me antsy. Or maybe that’s my own ultra-minimalist preferences coming out.
I sigh and drop my purse onto the couch. My phone goes next, but not before I send a text to my personal assistant, Taryn, to ask that she arrange for a firm double mattress to be delivered to Celine’s address. Then I power the phone off before she can respond with unnecessary questions. I’ve had it on silent since my plane landed in San Diego five days ago for the funeral. Even with two proficient assistants handling my organization’s affairs while I’m dealing with my best friend’s death, the stupid thing hasn’t stopped vibrating.
They can all wait for me, while I figure out where to begin here.
I know I have a lot of paperwork to get to the lawyer. All estate proceeds will eventually go to Celine’s mother, Rosa, but she doesn’t want a dime. She’s already demanded that I sell off anything I don’t want to keep for myself and use the money for one of my humanitarian efforts in her daughter’s name.
I could tell Rosa was still in shock, because she has always been a collector by nature—that’s where Celine got it from—and it surprised me that she wouldn’t want to keep at least some of her daughter’s treasures for herself. But she was adamant and I was not going to argue. I’ll just quietly pack a few things that I think would mean a lot to her and have them shipped to San Diego.
Seeing Celine’s apartment now, though, I realize that selling is going to take forever. I’m half-tempted to dump everything into boxes for charity, guesstimate the value, and write a check. But that would belittle all the evenings and weekends that Celine devoted to hunting antique shops, garage sales, and ignorant sellers for her next perfect treasure.
My attention lands on the raw wood plank shelf that floats over a mauve suede couch, banked by silky curtains and covered with an eclectic mix of gilded frames filled with pictures from Celine’s childhood. Most of them are of her and her mom. Some are of just her. Four include me.
I smile as I ease one down, of Celine and me at the San Diego Zoo. I was twelve, she was eleven. Even then she was striking, her olive skin tanned from a summer by the pool. Next to her, my pale Welsh skin always looked sickly.
I first met Celine when I was five. My mom had hired her mother, Rosa Gonzalez, as a housekeeper and nanny, offering room and board for both her and her four-year-old daughter. We had had a string of nannies come and go, my mother never satisfied with their work ethic. But Rosa came highly recommended. It’s so hard to find good help, I remember overhearing my mother say to her friends once. They applauded her generosity with Rosa, that she was not only taking in a recent immigrant from Mexico, but her child as well.
The day Celine stepped into my parents’ palatial house in La Jolla, she did so with wide brown eyes, her long hair the color of cola in braided pigtails and adorned in giant blue bows, her frilly blue-and-white dress and matching socks like something out of The Wizard of Oz. Celine would divulge to me later on that it was the only dress she owned, purchased from a thrift shop, just for this special occasion.
Rosa and Celine lived with us for ten years, and my daily routines quickly became Celine’s daily routines. The chauffeur would drop Celine off at the curb in front of the local public school on our way to my private school campus. Though her school was far above average as public schools go, I begged and pleaded for my parents to pay for Celine to attend with me. I didn’t quite understand the concept of money back then, but I knew we had a lot, and we could more than afford it.
They told me that’s just not how the world works. Besides, as much as Rosa wanted the best for her child, she was too proud to ever accept that kind of generosity. Even giving Celine my hand-me-down clothes was a constant battle.
No matter where we spent the day, though, from the time we came home to the time we fell asleep, Celine and I were inseparable. I would return from piano lessons and teach Celine how to read music notes. She’d use the other side of my art easel to paint pictures with me of the ocean view from my bedroom window. She’d rate my dives and time my laps around our pool, and I’d do the same for her. We’d lounge beneath the palm trees on hot summer days, dreaming up plans for our future. In my eyes, it was a given that Celine would always be part of my life.
We were an odd match. From our looks to our social status to our polar-opposite personalities, we couldn’t have been more different. I was captain of the debate squad and Celine played the romantic female lead in her school plays. I spearheaded a holiday charity campaign at the age of thirteen, while Celine sang in choirs for the local senior citizens. I read the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times religiously, while Celine would fall asleep with a Jane Austen novel resting across her chest.
And then one Saturday morning in July when I was fifteen, my parents announced that they had filed for divorce. I still remember the day well. They walked side-by-side toward where I lounged beside the pool, my dad dressed for a round of golf, my mom carrying a plate of Rosa’s breakfast enchiladas. They’d technically separated months earlier, and I had no idea because seeing them together had always been rare to begin with.
The house in La Jolla was going up for sale. Dad was buying a condo close to the airport, to make traveling for work easier, while Mom would be moving to Chicago, where our family’s company, Sparkes Energy, had their corporate headquarters. I’d stay wherever I wanted, when I wasn’t at the prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts that they decided I should attend for my last three years of high school.
The worst of it was that Rosa and Celine would be going their own way.
Rosa, who was more a parent to me than either of my real parents had ever been.
Celine . . . my best friend, my sister.
Both of them, gone from my daily life with two weeks’ notice.
They’re just a phone call away, my mom reasoned. That’s all I had, and so I took advantage. For years, I would call Celine and Rosa daily. I had a long-distance plan, but had I not, I still would have happily driven up my mom’s phone bill, bitter with her for abandoning me for the company. I spent Christmases and Thanksgivings with Rosa and Celine instead of choosing to spend them with Melody or William Sparkes.
To be honest, it never was much of a choice.
Through boyfriends, college, jobs, and fronting a successful nonprofit organization that has had me living all over Africa and Asia for the last six years, Celine and Rosa have remained permanent fixtures in my life.
Until thirteen days ago, when Rosa’s sobs filled my ear in a village near Nekemte, Ethiopia, where I’ve been leading a water well project and building homes. After a long, arduous day in the hot sun, my hands covered with cuts from corrugated iron and my muscles sore from carrying burned bricks, it was jarring to hear Rosa’s voice. California felt worlds away. At first I thought that I hadn’t kept myself hydrated enough and I was hallucinating. But by the third time I heard her say, “Celine killed herself,” it finally registered. It just didn’t make sense.
It still doesn’t.
Hollowness kept me company all the way back—first on buses, then a chartered flight, followed by several commercial airline connections—and into Rosa’s modest home in the suburbs of San Diego. The hollowness held me together through the emotional visitation and funeral, Rosa’s tightly knit Mexican community rocked by the news. It numbed me enough to face Rosa’s eyes, bloodshot and rimmed with dark circles, as she insisted that I come to New York to handle the material remains of her only child.
The case is all but officially closed. The police are simply waiting for the final autopsy report to confirm that a lethal dose of Xanax— the pill bottle sitting open on her nightstand was from a prescription she filled only two days prior—combined with an unhealthy amount of vodka was what killed her. They see it as a quick open-and-shut suicide case, aided by a note in her handwriting that read I’m sorry for everything, found lying next to her.
The picture frame cracks within my tightening grasp as tears burn my cheeks, and I have the overwhelming urge to smash the entire shelf of happy memories.
This just doesn’t seem possible. How could she do this to her mother? I shift my focus to the picture of Rosa—a petite brunette with a fierce heart, who gives hugs to strangers who look like they’re having a bad day and spouts a string of passionate Spanish when anyone tries to leave the dinner table before every last bite is finished.
Before this past week, I hadn’t seen Rosa since last Christmas. She still looks frail eleven months after the doctors told her that the double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation had worked and she was considered in remission. It’ll be a year in January since the day Celine phoned me to give me the good news: that Rosa had fought breast cancer hard. And had won.
So why the hell would Celine make her suffer so horribly now?
I roam aimlessly through the rest of the apartment, in a state of extreme exhaustion after days of travel and jet lag and tears, taking in everything that remains of my childhood friend.
But there are things here that surprise me, too—a closet full of designer-label dresses that Celine couldn’t possibly have afforded on an administrative assistant’s salary, a bathroom counter overflowing with bold red lipsticks and daringly dark eye shadows that I never saw touch her naturally beautiful face, not even in recent photos.
Knowing Celine, she bought those dresses at secondhand stores. And the makeup, well . . . She would have looked beautiful with red lipstick.
I smile, sweeping the bronzer brush across my palm to leave a dusting of sparkle against my skin. I’m supposed to be this girl—the one with the extravagant clothes and makeup, who puts time and stock into looks and money. As the fourth generation of one of the biggest energy companies in the world, I will one day inherit 51 percent of the corporation’s shares. Though my parents don’t need to work, they each run a division—my industrialist father managing the ugly face of coal burning while my mother distracts the world with a pretty mask of wind and solar energy farms, hiding the fact that we’re slowly helping to destroy the world.
I grew up aware of the protests. I’ve read enough articles about the greed and the harm to the planet that comes with this industry. By the time I turned twenty-one, still young and idealistic and embroiled by the latest disgrace involving our company and an oil tanker spill off the coast of China, I wanted nothing to do with the enormous trust fund that my grandmother left me. In fact, I was one signature away from handing it all over to a charity foundation. My biggest mistake—and saving grace—was that I tried to do it through my lawyer, a loyal Sparkes Energy legal consultant. He, of course, informed my parents, who fought me on it. I wouldn’t listen to them.
But I did listen to Celine. She was the one who persuaded me not to do it in the end, sending me link after link of scandal after scandal involving charity organizations. How so little of the money ever actually reaches those in need, how so much of the money lines the pockets of individuals. She used the worst-case scenarios to steer me away from my plan because she knew it would work. Then she suggested that I use the trust fund to lead my own humanitarian ventures. I could do bigger, better things if I controlled it.
That’s when I began Villages United.
And Celine was right.
VU may only be six years old, but it has already become an internationally recognized nonprofit, focused on high-impact lending projects throughout the world geared toward building self-sustainable villages. We teach children to read and give them roofs to sleep under and clean water to drink and clothes to wear and books to read. Between my own money and the money that VU has raised, we have now left a lasting mark on thirty-six communities in countries around the world.
And I’m not just writing checks from my house in California. I’m right there in the trenches, witnessing the changes firsthand. Something my parents simply don’t understand, though they’ve tried turning it into a Sparkes Energy PR venture on more than one occasion.
I’ve refused every single time.
Because, for the first time in a long time, I’m truly proud to be Maggie Sparkes.
I haven’t even warned them about my newest endeavor—providing significant financial backing to companies that are developing viable and economical green energy solutions. VU was preparing to announce it to the media in the coming weeks. As much as I can’t think about any of that right now, I’ll have to soon. Too many people rely on me.
But for now . . . all I can focus on is Celine.
I wander into her bedroom, my back to another wall of collectibles as I stand at the foot of the ornate wrought-iron bed, the delicate bedding stretched out neatly, as if Celine made it this morning. As if she’ll be back later to share a glass of wine and a laugh.
I yank the duvet back, just long enough to see the ugly proof beneath.
To remind me that that’s never going to happen.
Edging along the side of her bed—I actually have to turn and shimmy to fit—I move toward a stack of vintage wooden food crates that serve as a nightstand. A wave of nostalgia washes over me as my finger traces the heavy latches and handmade, chunky gunmetal-gray body of the antique box sitting next to the lamp. The day that I spied it in an antique store while shopping for Celine’s sixteenth birthday, it made me think of a medieval castle. The old man who sold it to me said it was actually an eighteenth-century lockbox.
Whatever it was, I knew Celine would love it.
I carry it over to the living room, where I can sit and open it up. Inside are sentimental scraps of Celine’s life. Concert stubs and random papers, a dried rose, her grandmother’s rosary that Rosa gave to her. Rosa is supremely religious, and Celine, the ever-devoted daughter, kept up appearances for her mother, though she admitted to me that she didn’t find value in it.
I pull each item out, laying them on the trunk coffee table until I’m left with nothing but the smooth velvet floor of the box. I fumble with a small detail on the outside that acts as a lever—remembering my surprise when the man revealed the box’s secret—until a click sounds, allowing me to pry open the false bottom.
Celine’s shy, secretive eyes lit up when I first showed her the sizeable compartment. It was perfect for hiding treasures, like notes from boys, and the silver bracelet that her senior-year boyfriend bought her for Valentine’s Day and she was afraid to wear in front of Rosa. While I love Rosa dearly, she could be suffocating sometimes.
My fingers wrap around the wad of money filling the small space as a deep frown creases my forehead. Mostly hundreds but plenty of fifties, too. I quickly count it. There’s almost ten thousand dollars here.
Why wouldn’t Celine deposit this into her bank account?
I pick up the ornate bronze key and a creased sheet of paper that also sits within. I’m guessing the key is for the desk. I’ll test that out in a minute. I gingerly unfold the paper that’s obviously been handled many times, judging by the crinkles in it.
My eyes widen.
A naked man fills one side. He’s entrancingly handsome, with long lashes and golden-blond tousled hair and a shadow of peach scruff covering his hard jawline. He’s lying on his back, one muscular arm disappearing into the pillow beneath his head, a white sheet tangled around his legs, not quite covering the goods, which from what I can see, are fairly impressive. I can’t tell what color his eyes are because he’s fast asleep.
“Well then . . .” I frown, taken aback.
I’m not surprised that Celine could attract the attention of a guy like this. She was a gorgeous young woman—her Mexican roots earning her lush locks, full lips, and voluptuous curves tied to the kind of tiny waist that all men seem to admire.
Nor am I surprised that he’s blond. It has always been a running joke between us, her penchant for blonds. She’s never dated anything but.
But I am surprised that she’d have the nerve to take—and print out to keep by her bed—a scandalous picture like this in the first place.
I wonder if she ever mentioned him to me. She always told me about her dates, utter failures or otherwise. Though it’s been years since she was seeing anyone seriously, and she was definitely seeing this guy seriously if she was sleeping with him. Celine usually waited months before she gave that up to a guy. She didn’t even lose her virginity until she was twenty-two, to a guy she had been dating for six months and hoped that she would one day marry. Who broke up with her shortly afterward.
So who the hell is this guy and why didn’t I ever hear about him? And where is he now? When were they together last?
Does he know that she’s dead?
Worrying my bottom lip between my teeth—it’s a bad habit of mine—I slowly fold the paper back up. Celine’s cursive scrawl decorates the back side in purple ink. Words I hadn’t noticed before.
Words that make my heart stop now.
This man was once my salvation. Now he will be my ruin.

four-stars

About K.A. Tucker

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

If You Dare by A.R. Torre

If You Dare by A.R. Torre
Enter a world equal parts Dexter and 50 Shades in this first, award winning erotic thriller from A.R. Torre!My life is simple, as long as I follow the rules. 1. Don't leave the apartment. 2. Never let anyone in. 3. Don't kill anyone. I've obeyed these rules for three years. But rules were made to be broken.
Goodreads

I’m not sure what it is with Alessandra because I swear I can’t find a common thread in her books that makes me know that she is the author of all of them. Each book is complete unique and has a different voice, something you expect from Oscar winner actors. Hell, something maybe only 1% of those who have an Oscar can do.

I’m going to tell you that of all the books books Torre has written, The Girl in 6E is my least favorite. I don’t know why. I just wasn’t feeling it and that’s okay. Thousands of other women where, and it won several awards, and it deserved to win.

I decided to give it another go. I’m at a different spot in my mind. Who knows? I didn’t go back and read the other two books, because you can read If You Dare by A.R. Torre as a standalone, but you will find the series much more satisfying if you read all 3 of them together. Being as I’m in the book world, I kept close tabs on Torre’s work and knew what they were all about, so I went ahead and read book 3, and I enjoyed myself.

I was caught off guard how long the book was. Reading on a Kindle, I have no concept how long a book is. I just kept looking at my % thinking, crap, I haven’t gotten very far.

As for the 4 stars I’m giving the book, it’s because I knew how it was going to end. I feel let down when I know how books are going to end and they actually end that way, especially with Torre’s books. I beam with pride that she can shock the hell out of me. That is a huge selling point of her books for me. I thought for sure there was going to be this amazing plot twist. I was waiting for it. Waiting. Waiting. Then nothing. Ugh. Taps mic. Hello? Alessandra. Minus one star. Others who read the book may feel like it is a huge plot twist, but I didn’t. I’ve become really good at reading foreshadowing and picking up on hints left by authors since I read so much, so maybe it’s me?

I know if you have like the previous two books, you’re going to love the final book, If You Dare. You still get lots of crazy Deanna moments. Lots of, “did she really just do that or think that moments?” And a couple of her friends play a little bigger roles in this last book than in prior books. All-in-all, you’re going to love it, If You Dare to read it, that is.

If you dare a.r. torre teaser

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Alessandra Torre

Author Info:

Alessandra Torre is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels. Her books focus on romance and suspense, all with a strong undercurrent of sexuality. Torre has been featured in such publications as Elle and Elle UK, co-hosted Dirty Sexy Funny with Jenny McCarthy, as well as guest blogged for the Huffington Post and RT Book Reviews. She is also the Bedroom Blogger for Cosmopolitan.com.

You can learn more about Alessandra on her website at www.alessandratorre.com, or you can find her on Twitter (@ReadAlessandra) or Facebook.

 

four-stars

Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre

Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre

Cole Masten. Abandoned by his superstar wife, Hollywood’s Perfect Husband is now Hollywood’s Sexiest Bachelor: partying hard and screwing even harder. Watch out Los Angeles, there's a new bad boy in town.

Summer Jenkins. That’s me, a small town girl stuck in Quincy, Georgia. I cook some mean chicken and dumplins, can bluff a grown man out of his savings in poker, and was voted Most Friendly my senior year.

We were from different worlds. Our lives shouldn’t have collided. But then Cole Masten read a book about my small town. And six months later, his jet landed on our dusty airstrip, and he brought Hollywood with him.

From the start, I knew he was trouble. For our town. And for me.

Sometimes, opposites just aren’t meant to attract..

 

Review

Great easy read that is a departure from Torre’s typical plot twists. Hollywood Dirt is more of a feisty second chance romance.
One thing that I loved about this book, and it is a silly thing that really has nothing to do with the story, is that it has really short chapters. I love that I can zoom through a chapter in one to three minutes, each through either Cole’s or Summer’s eyes and then, if I absolutely have to, get up and do something. Let me be real with you though, most of the time, I just kept turning that page because I couldn’t wait to read what was next. Having the next person’s point of view next in the book really presses the book forward for me, making me that much more interested to keep reading.

One of the negative’s for me was the lack of sex in the book. Granted, I understand why Torre did this, following the script of the Hollywood movie, but I love Torre and her no-holds-bar sex scenes. The ones in the book where rather “meh” at best. I mean, Torre, I know what you’re capable of, and there was barely any description.

I think the break out star of the book was Cocky the chicken. You’re going to fall in love with him just like I did. I’m going to beg Torre for Cocky swag at signings.

 

Excerpt

When the door to the production trailer burst open, it brought with it a wave of heat and beauty. Cole looked up from the storyboards and locked eyes with Summer, who blew across the room at him like a tornado on tilt.
“There’s no love story between Ida and Royce.” Summer snapped, throwing down the script, pages fluttering down between them. In the small trailer, conversations stalled and he could feel the attention turn their way. “I’ve read the book. Three times!”
It was good to know that someone had read the damn book. Cole glanced down at her temper tantrum of a mess and back up, raising his eyebrows mildly. “It’s a movie,” he said, turning back to the storyboards. “The writers are adding some excitement. It’s normal. You’d know that if you were in this business.” The dig was unnecessary but he couldn’t help it. This woman turned him into the devil.
“I read the first script. The one you sent over with my contract. Ida and Royce hated each other. Why would Royce…” she snatched up a page from the ground and read out a line. “pushes Ida against the file cabinet and kisses her passionately.” She balled up the page and threw it down to the ground and he could see, in her eyes, the panic. Panic. An unexpected reaction.
“We’ll use that,” Don made the dangerous move of stepping in, putting a soft hand on her shoulder. “You don’t understand. The passion from their hatred will make it hotter.”
“No.” Summer said, her face hard, her eyes on Cole. “It doesn’t make it hotter. It makes it stupid.”
“Aww… come on, Summer.” Cole chided, stepping closer, his hand reaching out to pull at her wrist. She fought him, yanking it back and the moment of their bodies meeting didn’t happen. He leaned down and whispered, right against her ear, the smell of her apple-scented lotion enough to make him want to empty out the production trailer right that moment. “Sure it does.”
She jerked back and twisted away. “If he kisses me on camera I’m going to lose it.” She shot at Don, pointing an accusatory finger in Cole’s direction.
“I know you will,” Cole laughed, crossing his arms to fight from reaching out. “You’ll fall apart under my mouth, baby.”
Summer screamed in response, her hands thrown up in frustration, and spun to leave, her script left behind, the slam of the exit door loud in the full production trailer.
“That went well,” Cole mused. He linked his hands and rested them on his head, rolling his shoulders back. Panic. She’d had panic in her eyes. Fuck.
“What do you expect?” Don said. “You threw this on her without warning. I told you we should have met with her this morning, gone over the changes to prepare her. But no – you just wanted to dump it on her via call sheets and sides.”
“Dump it on her? I was People’s Sexiest Man last year. She’s not mentally adjusting to a war camp for God’s sake. How hard is it to kiss me?”
“It’s actually three kisses,” a dark-haired PA to his left pointed out. “And a grope.”
He gave her a hard look and she withered a little.
“I’ll go talk to her,” Don said. “Eileen, you shoot #4 and I’ll talk to Summer. I want to try to get #14 shot at eleven so let’s get our asses in gear and get this done.”
“I’ll talk to her.” Cole stepped in. “You shoot #4 and I’ll talk to her.”
“No,” Don snapped. “With my luck you two would make up and any authenticity to the scene would disappear. Just stay away from her and be ready at eleven.”
Cole chewed on his cheek, then nodded. “Fine.” Don was right. He should stay away from her. Far. Far away.

KISS SUMMER

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About Alessandra Torre

Alessandra Torre is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of ten novels. Her books focus on romance and suspense, all with a strong undercurrent of sexuality. Torre has been featured in such publications as Elle and Elle UK, co-hosted Dirty Sexy Funny with Jenny McCarthy, as well as guest blogged for the Huffington Post and RT Book Reviews. She is also the Bedroom Blogger for Cosmopolitan.com.

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This entry was posted in 4 stars.

Bleeding Love by Harper Sloan

 

bleeding love blog tour

Meet Liam & Megan in the newest stand alone

in the Hope Town Series by Harper Sloan!

BLEEDING LOVE

NOW AVAILABLE 

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1RiNskm

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1NPEUMz

Nook: http://bit.ly/1HKBNX7

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00005]

Blurb

(Stand alone)

I’ve loved once. I gave everything that I had to that love. Blindly believing that nothing could ever take that feeling away from me. Away from us. And when my little world of happiness was ripped from my fingers, I felt a loss that still haunts me to this day.

Now I use that lingering grief as a shield to keep my heart from loving again. It’s that fear that keeps me from letting anyone, except my daughter, get close enough to make it hurt. To make my heart bleed when I inevitably lose again.

Until the day I met Liam Beckett and everything I thought I had protected myself from was shoved back in my face.

He’s on a mission to prove to me that a love worth having is a love worth fighting for.

bleeding love teaser 3

 

Excerpt #1 

His mouth leaves mine and with his hand still on my leg, he demands, “Dig your heels in deep, baby.”

I give him what he wants, but not because he told me to. I give him what he wants because when his hand leaves my leg and pushes into the mattress, bringing his body up he goes even deeper into my body and those heels push hard.

Just as he demanded earlier, my hands go to his shoulders on my own accord and as he takes my body hard, my nails dig in with my heels still pushing hard against the small of his back. Our eyes never leave each other’s probing gaze. Never once do I take my eyes away from his, so full of lust that I know there isn’t an ounce of control left in his body.

He drops his head and I lift up to meet him in a kiss so sweet it doesn’t match the powerful way that he’s taking my body. A kiss that gives me more than words ever could at this moment. His hips slow and as his tongue rolls against mine, his hips start to take me in slow, deep rolls. He doesn’t pull back, just rocks his hips against mine.

I push up and cry out when he slips even deeper.

His lips come from mine and his hooded eyes open a sliver. “Feels like heaven,” he says softly. “Everything, darlin’. Feels like everything.”

bleeding love teaser 2

Prologue

Prologue – Megan

Holy shit.

What am I doing?

Oh, God! Right there… I’m coming… Don’t stop!”

Is that me screaming like that?

Holy shit.

I didn’t even know that noises like that could come out of my mouth!

You like that?” he asks with his lips pressed against my neck – the vibrations shooting straight to my core.

I focus, my now alcohol free vision, on the man thrusting above me. His dark hair is blending in with the shadows that are dancing around the room. His face is a mask of ecstasy as he thrusts into my waiting body. It’s a look of pure desire that I will never forget.

What the hell am I doing?

You feel so good. Your body so greedy for my cock. You want it harder, darlin’?”

I moan shamelessly and feel my body get even wetter with his huskily whispered words.

Screw it – this feels way too good to stop now.

I reach down, dig my fingers in the firm globes of his ass, tip my head back and beg. Beg with incoherent cries for him to take me harder. To take everything he can.

**Two Hours Earlier**

You look beauuuutiful,” I sing as Dani Reid – No, Dani Cage – walks over to sit next to me at one of the tables scattered around the backyard wedding.

She looks at me, her stunning green eyes bright with love and happiness.

And you sound a little drunk, my friend,” she laughs.

I just smile at her, running my fingers through the lace on her wedding gown. “This is soft.”

She just laughs and leans back and looks across the yard to where her new husband, Cohen, is standing by the dock talking to some of his friends. This is another one of those moments when I’m reminded that this group doesn’t have a single unattractive person in it. I take a second to look at all the well-built, good-looking men standing around him. When my eyes meet Liam Beckett’s, I look away quickly. For months now Liam has made no secret that he would love nothing more than my undivided attention.

They’re all so unfairly hot. No men should be that attractive,” I whisper in awe, gaining me another chuckle from Dani. I blush when I realize that my thoughts aren’t staying in my head, where they belong. When I look back over to where the group of men are standing, my eyes hit the familiar pair of deep brown ones again, eyes that always seem to know each and every time I’m looking their way. I quickly look away, feeling that blush get even brighter. I’m not ready to deal with him right now. At least not when I’m this tipsy.

Picking up my wine glass, I take another healthy swallow as I do a quick scan, taking in all that is the Reid Family property. They’ve done a beautiful job transforming the backyard of Dani’s family home for Cohen and Dani’s wedding. I still can’t believe that Dani managed to pull off a surprise wedding without Cohen even catching the smallest hint of her plans.

Are you sure you’re okay with Molly spending the night with my parents, Megs? I know it’s hard for you to leave her overnight, but they just love your daughter to pieces. And I know Owen loves having her around.” Dani reaches out and takes the hand I had resting against the table while she speaks.

Yup,” I smack and nod my head.

You’re drunk,” she says, repeating her earlier observation.

I’m not drunk, I’m tipsy. There’s a huge difference there. If I was drunk I wouldn’t be able to walk. Watch!”

I jump up from my chair with a little more power than I mean and quickly stumble when the narrow heel of my five-inch shoes sinks into the soft grass beneath me.

Whoa, there darlin’.”

I feel it, those words, every single syllable deep down in my gut. Each rumbled word vibrating through my body creating a slow burn until they end with a sharp pulse between my legs. His arms locked at my elbows and my back solidly against his front – where my graceless stumble caused me to end up. I jerk my body tight and feel his laughter reverberate through my body once again.

I attempt to pull my arms from his loose but strong hold, only to give up when it becomes clear that he isn’t going to let go. Shifting until my face is turned, he lets one arm go and helps me spin until I’m facing him, and moves his hands from my elbows to my hips.

Hey,” he says with a smile, the dimple in his cheek popping out.

Liam,” I sigh and then curse myself for not being able to hide my reaction to him.

His smile turns knowing and his eyes darken before dropping to my lips.

I gulp.

You should be more careful, Megs.”

It’s Megan,” I snap.

I know, babe, you don’t have to keep reminding me.”

Then why can’t you seem to actually remember it?” I squeak and try to pull my body away from his grip – and fail, again.

Someone doesn’t sound drunk anymore.” I hear Dani speak but I don’t take my gaze off Liam. “She does look it though.” She muses on a laugh, which finally gets my eyes to snap to hers.

I’m fine! I just had a few glasses of wine and I haven’t eaten much. But, I most definitely am not drunk. I think I would know if I was drunk.”

Okay, so that’s a lie. I might not be drunk, but I am definitely slightly past tipsy. Dealing with Liam – or rather my attraction to Liam – is hard enough for me on a good day, when I’m completely sober. But with this amount of wine flowing through my body, I just can’t trust myself.

It’s taken everything I have to keep him, and his obvious interest, at bay for the last couple months. When he’s around he goes out of his way to get me alone and lay it out. He wants me.

You look stunning when those shadows aren’t rolling around your shoulders,” Liam whispers, his lips press close enough to my ear that I can feel his words one by one against my skin.

I shiver, his words hitting me close to home, but the tone causing me to forget I should be pushing him away. Especially when he’s talking about things that he has no business speaking about.

I’m fine,” I stammer.

Yeah, darlin’, I know you are.”

His eyes keep their hypnotizing hold on my own. I hear Dani excuse herself. I don’t turn to watch her disappear in the lingering crowd of party-goers that are still left milling around. The music is still floating in the air around us. As I look into his eyes everything around me feels like it’s…alive. It’s a feeling that I’ve been missing for the last few years. A feeling that only comes to visit when I’m with my daughter, or until recently, when Liam Beckett is in the same room. It’s a feeling that, even though I shouldn’t, I feel guilty for allowing myself to enjoy.

Whether it’s the wine, the fact that Molly left a few hours ago with Dani’s parents, or the man standing in front of me, all I know is if I don’t hold on to this feeling for as long as I can right now, I’ll regret it for years to come.

Megs,” he says on a sigh, his fingertips digging in and his eyes swirling with a rich hopefulness that turns those golden flecks you can normally see swimming in his brown eyes into a burning fire lighting his gaze.

Hungry eyes.

I don’t think. If I had given myself just a second to process my next move, I’m sure I would have backed out of his hold and run as fast as I could to my car. But, I didn’t think, so my next move was pure, one-hundred-percent Megan. But not the Megan I’ve been for the last couple years since my husband died. No, this Megan feels like I’ve finally dug myself out of those ashes I’ve been living in since my life burned up around me. The cloak of depression that normally lingers loosely around my shoulders, dropping to my feet with the feel of Liam pressed tight. I know this feeling won’t last, but I suddenly want to hold on to every second I can of this experience, until it leaves me.

I reach out and curl my fingers around his forearms. My eyes growing wide when his brow lifts. With a quick push I rock up and close the distance that is left between our mouths. When my lips touch his, that feeling of being alive burns so bright every nerve in my body feels it, each inch of skin boiling and cooling so quickly it’s as if I can’t make up my mind if I want to be hot or cold. My hairs stand on end, my skin pebbles – going cold before rushing heat fills my veins, and the very thump of my heart seems to skip a beat the second our lips touch.

One thing I know for sure. I want this. I want this and Liam’s going to give it to me.

He doesn’t pause. His groan vibrating against my chest only lights the feeling that is firing through my skin. My hands move from his forearms and I run my hands up his chest until both hands curl around his neck and I use the hold to pull my body even closer to his.

His hands move from my hips and he curls them around my bottom, pulling me tightly against his body. When I feel the very obvious sign of his attraction, I moan deeply, and shiver when he answers with one of his own.

I can’t tell you how long this kiss lasts. When his tongue moves to swipe against my lips, I open without reservation. We continue, our tongues dancing together while each of our moans are swallowed by the other, until I have to pull away to gulp a breath of air before I pass out – however, the way I feel right now, passing out might very well be a possibility.

This is finally happening,” he snarls in a tone that should scare me, but all it does is act as kerosene to our already uncontrollable fire of lust.

It is,” I agree without question.

Now,” he says.

Okay,” I agree on a sigh and sway toward his hard body.

With the encouragement he needs, his hands finally leave my body. He turns me, wraps one thick arm around my shoulder, and turns to walk toward the front of the house.

We’re leaving?” I question lamely.

Darlin’ I didn’t stutter. This is happening,” he says, pausing when he reaches the side of the house and the shadows that will give us the privacy we need. His body turns, moving me to stand before him once again. “I need to know you’re with me, Megan. I’ve wanted this since the day I met you, but I knew you weren’t ready for me. I’ve been trying to keep my distance, just waiting for those clouds to leave your eyes. If you don’t want me to take you back to my house, strip you naked and fuck you until you can’t walk for weeks, then say so now, because the second I have you I won’t be letting go.”

Oh, boy,” I whisper.

I prefer oh God, but I’ll make that the first item on my to-do list.”

You’ll make what?”

My to-do list, Megs. The list of things I’ve wanted to do to you for months now. Making you scream oh God will be number one, followed by my name, of course.”

Oh, God,” I repeat, my mind swilling with the promise his words inflict.

Yeah, you’re getting it.”

His mouth crashes down on mine for a hard but quick kiss before pulling back and giving me another one of those knee-melting smirks. “Last chance, Megan,” he whispers while his hands are framing my heated face.

Whatever he sees in my eyes is enough, he gives me a light kiss, takes his hands from my face and curls one around my left hand and pulls me toward his truck.

bleeding love teaser 1

Excerpt #3

Last chance,” he tells me with a wicked grin. “And this time I mean last one, darlin’. We take this step and make no doubt about it, you will be mine. You give me this and I fucking promise you that I will never make you regret taking that step. You ready to jump from that chapter you’ve been skimming through and skip into mine?”

I give him a smile, one that is full of confidence and not the least bit unsure as the words that he had told me weeks before come back between us.

I’m ready.”

Fuck,” he groans. “Buckle up, baby.”

My smile doesn’t slip for a second. Not when I pull my belt across my chest. Not when he slams the door and races to his own. It grows wider when he slams the truck in drive and fishtails back onto the path that will take us back toward town. It isn’t until his big hand reaches out and takes my leg in his strong hold that my smile slips slightly, but it only slips because my head falls back and I whimper and try to rub my legs together to ease the ache between them. I lose the smile completely when my mouth drops open and that whimper turns into a loud whine as his long fingers dance up my legs until he slips beneath the hem on my shorts and pushes my panties to the side, pressing against my clit in sure movements that have me panting in seconds.

Fucking drenched,” he grounds out through his tightly clamped teeth.

I roll my head against the headrest and look across the cab at his face. His finger dips from my swollen clit and as he drops his hand lower, his wrist twists slightly so that when he gets there his finger slides deep inside me.

My legs spread instantly when his thick finger fills me and I hear his rumbled groan fill the space around us as he slides his finger as deep as his position allows before pulling it back, then repeating his movements until I can feel myself soaking his hand. If he keeps this up, I won’t last. He adds a second finger and my hand digs into the door and I reach out, wrapping my other around his forearm and choke on shattered breaths when he thrusts his fingers so deep, I feel like I’ve been electrocuted as he hits that spot that has me panting, whimpering and begging incoherently.

Please, Lee, please,” I pant. How I formed those words, I’ll never know.

Fuck,” he snarls, the sound making my arousal spike even higher. “You’ll call me that when I’m so deep inside you my balls will be soaked with this sweetness.”

His fingers curl and I pant, my hand cramping around the force of my grip.

Please, oh God. Not without you, please.”

I pray he understands my plea and when he curses, I know he gets me. His hand leaves my pants and I cry out, causing him to spit out a string of curses that would make a sailor blush. His leg slams down and I feel the truck pick up speed as I watch him take his fingers to his mouth and lick every drop of my wetness from his skin.

Holy shit,” I exhale.

You’re getting my mouth first, darlin’. That wasn’t enough of a taste and fuck me, I’m starved.”

I say nothing, just continue to feel like my heart is about to slam from my chest as I continue to shift my legs back and forth in attempt to ease the burn he’s lit between my legs.

About the Author:

harper sloan

Harper lives in small town Georgia just a short drive from her hometown of Peachtree City. She (and her 3 daughters) enjoy ruling the house they dubbed ‘Estrogen Ocean’, much to her husband’s chagrin. Harper has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books; you can almost ALWAYS find her with her eReader attached. She enjoys bad reality TV and cheesy romantic flicks. Her favorite kind of hero–the super alpha kind!

Harper started using writing as a way to unwind when the house went to sleep at night; and with a house full of crazy it was the perfect way to just relax. It didn’t take long before a head full of very demanding alphas would stop at nothing to have their story told.

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