Review: Letting Go (Surrender Trilogy #1) by Maya Banks

Letting GoTitle: Letting Go
Series: Surrender Trilogy, book 1
Author: Maya Banks
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Erotica, BDSM
Publication Date: February 4, 2014 by Berkley
Buy Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N
Source: Purchased
Synopsis
Josslyn found perfection once, and she knows she’ll never find it again. Now widowed, she seeks the one thing her beloved husband couldn’t give her. Dominance. Lonely and searching for an outlet for her grief and wanting only a brief taste of the perfection she once enjoyed, she seeks what she’s looking for at an exclusive club that caters to people indulging in their most hedonistic fantasies. She never imagined that what she’d find is the one man who’s long been a source of comfort—and secret longing. Her husband’s best friend.

Dash has lived in an untenable position for years. In love with his best friend’s wife and unwilling to act on that attraction. He’d never betray his best friend. And so he’s waited in the wings, offering Joss unconditional support and comfort as she works past her grief, hoping for the day when he can offer her more.

When he finds her in a club devoted to the darker edges of desire, he’s furious because he thinks she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Until she explains in detail what it is she wants. What she needs. As realization sets in, he is gripped by fierce, unwavering determination. If she wants dominance, he is the only man who will introduce her to that world. He is the only man who will touch her, cherish her…love her. And the only man she’ll ever submit to.

Addtogoodreads

Review
Joss has been a widow for three years when she finally decides to let go of her husband and move on. She believes that because she had true love with Carson she’ll never find that type of love again. Joss has always wanted to be dominated, it was something her husband was unable to give her due to his past. Now she’s free and able to make her fantasy become a reality. What she doesn’t expect is Dash, her husbands best friend to be a dominant and everything she craves.

I love Maya Banks, I buy all her books, they’re marvellous. Theirs to Keep and the KGI series are amongst my favourites. The way Maya weaves her tales leaves me an emotional wreck every time, I’m never disappointed. I purposely kept away from reading reviews for Letting Go as I wanted to go into it without knowing anything (I didn’t even read the synopsis)! I have to mention the cover, isn’t it beautiful? So bright and colourful! it’s stunning.

I enjoyed Joss’s journey, watching her find herself again after grieving for three years was emotional. She is a determined woman, going after what she wants but has denied herself for so long. She doesn’t rush into anything but thinks things through before committing. I agreed with Joss a lot, at times she got on my nerves. Especially when she thought about going back to school/work, it irritated me that she didn’t just do it rather than worrying what Dash would think.

Poor Dash, the hell he must have gone through standing on the sidelines whilst the woman he loves is happily married to his best friend. Even after Carson died he was Joss’s rock, a shoulder to cry on, I just couldn’t imagine it. At long last though he gets his shot, a chance at something he never thought possible and wants more than anything.

I felt connected with all the characters, they had depth, the character development was really well done. Now the dominance part… It was done right, not too overdone, especially as Joss is new to the scene. Dash eases her into it properly and it’s not rushed, they take it slow and figure it out together as it should be done.

I especially loved Chessy! What a woman she is, she made me laugh endlessly. I loved the bond the three women shared (Joss, Chessy and Kylie), theirs is the sort of friendship everyone wants. Always there for each other, whether for encouragement or a shoulder to lean on. Kylie was a lovely character and drew the emotions from me the easiest. Along with Carson (Kylie’s brother) she had a hard life growing up and finds it hard to trust and be around dominant men.

The only downside for me was at times it felt a little slow, there was parts I wanted to flip the page a few times, and Dash’s insecurities JESUS! I get that he feels he has some big shoes to fill but he lets it get in the way of their relationship, one he’s craved for years yet is determined to mess up.

Overall I enjoyed Letting Go, but it’s not one of Maya’s best in my eyes.

4 Rating

Ashton

Advertisements

Cover Reveal: Impulsion by Jamie Magee

Impulsion cover reveal banner

ImpulsionTitle: Impulsion
Author: Jamie Magee​
Age Group: New Adult
Buy Links: iBooks
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Tours
Synopsis
With a glance Wyatt Doran stole Harley Tatum’s heart. With each summer that passed, touch by touch, they robbed each other’s innocence, birthing a love that was so deep that it scorched within. Without warning, they were ripped from the clutches of each other, placed in lives that were worlds apart. Only to cross paths after a freak accident where Harley’s horse rig was flipped. An accident that Wyatt Doran, from fire station 32, responded.
The tension was immediate, the emotions were raw. One breath told them they were not the same as before, one touch…changed their world.

Book Trailer

Excerpt
His fingertips slowly moved down her face, down her neck. He noticed how all the tension in her body drifted away, how her eyes slowly closed, the long, deep breaths that were causing her chest to rise and fall.
“The sight of you brought it all back, past and present colliding with a magnitude that is so great…that I have no choice but to stop and realize that the only thing holding us back this go ‘round is us.”
He reached his arm around her waist and pulled her body against his, causing her eyes to fly open, those breaths to come even faster. “And Harley, I’m going to fight like hell for you. And as soon as I make you mine again, I will die before I ever let anyone take you from me again.” His hand rose to her face, his thumb grazed her flesh, his eyes dipped to her lips, then met her gaze once more. “You’re the only woman I have ever loved. That I ever will love.”
All at once, they both moved forward, their lips connecting as if they were molded from one source, a well-practiced dance of flesh, the perfect rhythm, teasing brushes of tongues that knew just when to fall into a deeper kiss, a kiss that was so devouring that all thought, all reason vanished. The impulse of the heart, that deep passion that lies dormant within erupted to a euphoria that made it impossible to fathom life outside of that very instant.

About the Author
Jamie MageeThe fun non boring Bio 🙂
I’m an obsessive daydreamer. Lover of loud alternative music. Addicted to Red Bull. I love to laugh until it hurts. Fall is my favorite season. Black is my favorite ‘shade.’ Strong believer in the saying: there is a reason for everything, therefore I search for ‘marked moments’ every moment of everyday…and I find them. Life is beautiful!
Boring one….
Jamie Magee has always believed that each of us have a defining gift that sets us apart from the rest of the world, she has always envied those who have known from their first breath what their gift was. Not knowing hers, she began a career in the fast paced world of business. Raising a young family, and competing to rise higher in that field would drive some to the point of insanity, but she always found a moment of escape in a passing daydream. Her imagination would take her to places she’d never been, introduce her to people she’s never known. Insight, her debuting novel, is a result of that powerful imagination. Today, she is grateful that not knowing what defined her, led her on a path of discovery that would always be a part of her.

You can find Jamie at: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

Guest Post: Colette Freedman; Author of The Consequences

A day in the life of Colette Freedman
I would love to say that there are typical days, but I find that no one day is identical to the last. I am a little different from many other writers, because I am also an actress, and living in Hollywood, I try to balance the two worlds of acting and writing.

What I can say fairly definitively is that each day starts with a cup of coffee and it ends with a glass of wine. I can also add that every day, I will walk the dogs several times and I will write several hours.

If I have no auditions, I will wake up, walk the dogs and write. I generally do my best work between 8am and noon. My brain is sharpest, my dogs are quietest and I am the most focused and least distracted. Because I generally work on several projects in a day, I will devote the morning to the project which is in the priority spot. This spot often switches depending on deadlines and getting over the difficult parts in the story.

By noon, I usually need a break, so I’ll take a walk, go for a swim, meet a friend for lunch or go for a long bicycle ride.

That’s often when auditions come along and I’ll quickly “put on my face”, jump in my car and head to an audition. It would not be usual to have to wait an hour or more for the casting director to see me, so, I bring along my iPad and edit something I’ve written the day before. Other actors knit or gossip or zone out. I use the time to write. Most recently, I had a small part in Sean Hanish’s Return to Zero, acting alongside Minnie Driver and Kathy Baker. While I waited for my scene to be shot, I sat in my trailer and worked on my book. Rather than scarf down three donuts at Craft Services, I used the waiting time to complete a chapter of Sister Cities, my next novel, and to rewrite a scene for the musical I’m working on.

If I’m not out on a job or in a meeting (there are A LOT of meetings in Los Angeles), after lunch I’ll jump into my second project. Currently, I’m working on a novel, a screenplay and a musical. In the afternoon, I’ll usually focus on the screenplay.

After a few hours of getting into the psyche of the Oscar winning actress on whom I’m doing a biopic , I’ll take another break and garden or catch up on social media, checking into Facebook and Twitter or Pinterest. Some writers find this a chore; I don’t. I love the immediacy which allows me to connect with readers. Also, I find it uses a different part of the brain so I can listen to music and relax.

Then dinner and, afterwards, a little more writing.

Currently, I’m writing the book for a musical, and I will often meet my partner in her studio and go over her music with my lyrics, take notes, move on to the next song and set up for the next scene.

When I come home, I’ll have a glass of wine, turn on the tv and binge watch. I just finished House of Cards and I am now watching Scandal.

It might not seem like it, but there is a rhythm to the days. But, and no matter what else I am doing, I am always writing. That’s what I do.

About the Book
The ConsequencesTitle: The Consequences
Series: The Affair, book 2
Author: Colette Freedman
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Publication Date: January 28, 2014 by Kensington
Buy Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N
Book Blurb
In the riveting follow-up to her acclaimed debut novel, Colette Freedman explores the aftermath of infidelity from three different perspectives–husband, wife, and mistress.
Synopsis
The end of an affair may be only the beginning. . .
Over the course of one tumultuous Christmas Eve, Kathy Walker confirmed her suspicions about her husband’s affair, confronted his mistress, Stephanie, and saved her marriage. She and Robert have eighteen years, two teenagers, and a film production business between them–plus a bond that Kathy has no intention of giving up on. Yet though Robert is contrite, Kathy can’t quite silence her doubts.

While Robert reels from his wife’s ultimatum and his mistress’s rejection, Stephanie makes a discovery: she’s pregnant. Her resolve to stay away from Robert wavers now that they could make a real family together. And in the days that follow, Stephanie, Robert, and Kathy must each reckon with the intricate realities of desire, the repercussions of betrayal, and the secrets that, once revealed, ripple through lives and relationships in thoroughly unexpected ways.

Addtogoodreads

About the Author
Colette FreedmanCOLETTE FREEDMAN – An internationally produced playwright with over 25 produced plays, Colette was voted “One of 50 to Watch” by The Dramatist’s Guild.

Her play Sister Cities was the hit of the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe and earned five star reviews: It has been produced around the country and internationally, fourteen times including Paris (Une Ville, Une Soeur) and Rome (Le Quattro Sorelle). The film version has been optioned and is in pre production.

She has co-written, with International bestselling novelistJackie Collins, the play Jackie Collins Hollywood Lies, which is gearing up for a National Tour. In collaboration with The New York Times best selling author Michael Scott, she wrote the thriller The Thirteen Hallows (Tor/Macmillan).

Her novel The Affair (Kensington) came out January 29, 2013. The play of the novel earned both critical and commercial success as it toured Italy February through May 2013.

You can find Colette at: Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Book Blitz: An Aria in Venice (A Musical Interlude #1) by KaSonndra Leigh

An Aria in Venice blitz banner

An Aria in VeniceTitle: An Aria in Venice
Series: A Musical Interlude, book 1.5
Author: KaSonndra Leigh
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Buy Links: Amazon US
Synopsis
**This novel is a standalone with no cliffhanger.**

His goal…One night with the ballerina.
Her goal…To beat the player at his game.
The outcome…Something completely unexpected.

Adriana Dostov pegged Luca Martuccio from day one: gorgeous, talented, arrogant, a man who has had difficulty committing to one woman in the past. He is known in fashion circles as the player with a scandalous history. So when the girls in her ballet troupe suggest she gives up her virginity to him, she doesn’t say no. But she’s not sure that a ‘yes’ is the right answer either. Yet, she can’t stop herself from making the offer…a one night stand in Venice.

Luca wanted fiesty little Adriana the moment they first met – and he fully intends to have her, hence why he’s agreed to accept her proposal. In the end, he’ll get what he wants. No commitment. All sex.

But, as Luca discovers, there’s more to the ballerina with the overbearing mother – and he can’t help but care about the frightened girl behind those sad eyes.

Adriana discovers Luca isn’t just walking sex on a stick – he has a wildly passionate side, a lost soul who has suffered just as much grief as her. And it could be, they’re exactly what the other one needs.

Addtogoodreads

About the Author
KaSonndra Leigh was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. She now lives in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, North Carolina. She likes to write about people of all ages doing fantastical things in magical worlds. Her two sons have made her promise to write a boy book next.

She loves to play CLUE, Monopoly (the Indiana Jones version), and Pandora’s Box (good writer’s block therapy). She lives in an L-shaped house with a garden dedicated to her grandmother. It has a secret library complete with fairies, Venetian plastered walls, and a desk made out of clear blue glass.

You can find KaSonndra at: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
-$25 Amazon GC

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday #11

WoW

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating!

My pick this week is…

Second StarTitle: Second Star
Series: None
Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Retellings
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Synopsis
A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete’s nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she’s falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up – and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

Addtogoodreads

I absolutely loved Peter Pan when I was younger, and I love retellings in general too so this one definitely excites me!

What are you waiting for?

Ashton

Cover Reveal: Tested (New World #3) by Janelle Stalder

Tested cover reveal banner

TestedTitle: Tested
Series: New World, book 3
Author: Janelle Stalder
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian
Expected Release Date: June 24, 2014
Synopsis
Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.

Faced with the scariest decision of her life, Missy is going behind enemy lines to save the rebel that seems to haunt her every dream. Finding courage is one of the hardest things she’s ever done, especially when she comes face-to-face with a terrifying reality. The green eyes that have fascinated her, no longer gleam with recognition. Now Missy must find a way to not only get them out alive, but to save the mind of the man who is quickly capturing her heart. And she must do it all without getting caught. Put to the test, will Missy be able to rise above her fears and find love, or watch it all blow up in smoke?

*This book is for mature audiences due to sexual situations, violence and strong language*

Addtogoodreads

Other books in the New World Series

SwitchAll’s fair in love and war.

Two thirds of the world’s population has been wiped out, devastated by the worst war earth has ever seen. Still standing amongst the ruins is a mind reader who finds herself on the wrong side of the war. Everyone does what they must to survive. When the rebels bent on bringing down the New World leader start to rise up, it is her job to make sure they stay down where they belong. That is, until one rebel sneaks past her defences and into her heart. Love will blossom from the ashes, but will it be enough to save them, or will it mean the end of them both?

MaskedHatred paralyzes life; love releases it.

New Berlin, 2040. Rebels prepare to fight against the New World Order, bent on bringing down the world’s greatest tyrant. One girl wanted nothing to do with it, content to keep her head down and make the best of this new world. That is, until she has no choice but to work with the rebels and infiltrate the NWO headquarters. Every moment she spends there puts her in danger, especially when one man, the second in command to the New World leader, continues to make his way into her every thought. She must stay focused and protect not just her mind and body, but also her heart. Will she be able to complete her task without being unmasked? Or will the one man standing in her way ruin it all?

About the Author
Janelle Stalder was born and raised in Brampton, Ontario. At an early age she developed a love for literature. Her debut novel, Eden, was the first book in a series of four, released in September of 2011. The second book, Eden-West, was released in July of 2012, and the third book, Eden-South was released in March of 2013. The fourth book of the Eden Series, Eden-East, will be release at the end of 2013. She is a strong supporter of other independent authors, and loves to interact with her readers. When she’s not writing, Janelle is at home with her husband, two children, Aiden and Elora, and her two furry children, Alice and Lily. She now resides in a small town in Ontario in her old, possibly haunted, century home.

You can find Janelle at: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Email

 

Review: Moonflower by Angela J. Townsend

MoonflowerTitle: Moonflower
Author: Angela J. Townsend
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: March 31, 2014 by Clean Teen Publishing
Buy Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N
Source: Publisher
Synopsis
Natasha remembers little from her Russian childhood, other than the lingering nightmares of her mother’s tragic death. So when someone close to her hands her a one-way ticket to Russia, along with the deed to her family farm, and then is brutally murdered, she has little confidence about what awaits her in that distant land.

With doubt and uncertainty, Natasha has no choice but to leave her life in America for an unknown future. Once overseas, the terrifying facts as to why she was really summoned home come to light.

Fact one: Monsters do exist.

Fact two: The only thing keeping those monsters out of the world is an ancient mural hidden below her family’s farm.

Fact three: The mural that keeps the evil out of the world is falling apart.

The final fact: It’s up to Natasha to restore it and save the world from a horror unlike anything seen before.

Luckily, Natasha isn’t alone in her mission. Three Russian Knights are tasked with protecting her from the demons as she restores the mural. And leading the Knights is the handsome and strong Anatoly, who seems to be everything Natasha could hope for in a man. Unfortunately, there is one huge problem. Her Knights are forbidden from having relationships with the artists they protect, and Anatoly is a hardcore rule follower. But rules cannot stop the way she feels.

When a horrifying demon breaches the barrier and pulls Anatoly inside the mural, Natasha can’t help but charge, once again, into the unknown—this time to save the man she secretly loves. Now on the demons’ turf, she risks her own life to free the very one who is supposed to be protecting her. Little does she realize that if she should fail, it could mean the destruction of the very last barrier shielding mankind. Will Anatoly refuse Natasha’s help? Or will he finally realize, when love is at stake, the rules will be broken.

Addtogoodreads

**A copy was provided for review purposes**

Review
I went into Moonflower blind. Most of the time I’ll read the synopsis before daring to read a book but not this one. I absolutely love the cover AND the publisher so I thought I’d be fine and I was right. And I’m glad I didn’t read about it beforehand because I was surprised at so many turns that wouldn’t have been possible had I gone in prepared.

I felt so sorry for Natasha. Being thrown into care and having to put up with Bit*h Bambi until she could escape. Even though she was dealt a rubbish hand she powered through and became stronger for it. She had strength and courage, I don’t think I’d be able to pack up and go to a new country looking for answers on my own, that would be scary as hell but she did it and much more.

I loved all the characters in Moonflower with the exception of Bambi but I’m sure everyone will feel the same as me. Chuck captured my heart and held it for a long time. He put up with all of Bambi’s crap because he wanted to stay close to Natasha, how amazing it that? I get why he done it now that I’ve finished but still, he won some major points from me. Anatoly was another great character, a knight in shining armour if you will, he swears to protect and help Natasha, even if it means making sacrifices of which he has to make.

I loved the plot, Natasha is an artist, as was her mother before her and ancestors before them. I thought it was brilliant and different. To have a mural that can come to life if it’s not restored was a great idea and I really enjoyed it. I also liked where Natasha’s nightmares were rooted from and how she overcame them.

The only thing that let it down for me was the ending, I felt as if the story was nowhere near finished and I wasn’t ready to let it go yet but I didn’t have a choice. I’d have liked to see where things went. Why isn’t it a series please? Other than that I really enjoyed Moonflower and I think any lover of paranormal will too.

4 Rating

Ashton

Review: Wicked Hunger (Someone Wicked This Way Comes #1) by DelSheree Gladden

Wicked HungerTitle: Wicked Hunger
Series: Someone Wicked This Way Comes, book 1
Author: DelSheree Gladden
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: April 1, 2014 by Clean Teen Publishing
Buy Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US
Source: Publisher
Synopsis
“Save him and hurt him, don’t save him and hurt him. Pain, either way. Delicious pain. Hunger will be the only one that wins. Hunger always wins.”
Vanessa and Zander Roth are good at lying. Their whole life is a giant web of deceit made in an effort to conceal the deadly secrets that plague their family.

Zander will do anything to forget his mistakes, including pushing everyone away. He was barely surviving in his self-forced solitude before Ivy Guerra entered his life. The new girl in school, with her pink-striped hair and unyielding curiosity, incites something wicked inside Zander that can only be blamed on his family genes. Now Zander is forced to fight an internal war and make a choice between loving Ivy Guerra and killing her.

Vanessa wants nothing more than to shed the strange powers she wields and be normal. Because if Van were normal, she’d be able to have normal things… Like a relationship with the boy she’s been secretly in love with for years. Unfortunately, her life is anything but ordinary. That boy who owns her heart just happens to be her brother’s kryptonite and a potential liability for her entire family. When choices between love and family loyalty have to be made, Van finds herself faced with an impossible decision.

As if the Roth family needs anything more to worry about, a vicious plot to expose Van and Zander for what they are is uncovered. When it becomes apparent that someone close to them is at the center of this devious plan, the fight to maintain control and keep their cover ensues. It’s a seemingly impossible battle because something is causing their powers to stir stronger than ever before… and it won’t stop until Van and Zander give in to their wicked hunger.

Wicked Hunger is the first book in the all-new paranormal series, Someone Wicked This Way Comes.

Addtogoodreads

**A copy was provided for review purposes**

Review
Van, Zander and Oscar are siblings who all suffers from a curse, hunger. They have to fight their hunger all the time and certain people can set it off. When the new girl Ivy starts at their school she sets both Van’s and Zander’s hunger off, which is unheard of for them both to react to the same person. Zander is unable to stay away from Ivy and has to fight his raging hunger around her constantly. Can he control it or will his hunger control him?

Do you ever compare books to others you’ve read? The majority of the time I don’t but I did with Wicked Hunger, I couldn’t stop myself. Twilight was my comparison. New girl starts school, boy is drawn to her, he can hurt her but can’t stop himself from being around her. His family warn him off but he ignores them. Ring a bell? God, it annoyed the living day lights out of me 😦

I really wanted to love Wicked Hunger, the synopsis really grabbed my attention but unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be. I did enjoy it I guess but it wasn’t anything special for me. I found myself taking long breaks from reading and when I did pick it back up it took me a while to get back into the story.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, not one. Van wasn’t too bad as she stuck by her brother and was determined to save him even if he wasn’t willing to save himself, she didn’t give up on him which I admired. Zander was a selfish ass who really irritated me, I mean he forces Van to choose him over someone she’s loved since kindergarten but is unwilling to do the same for her with someone he’s only just met?

But I did enjoy the ending. And not because it meant I was done, I was shocked when I finished it and wanted to keep reading. I didn’t expect it at all and now I’m dying to know what they’re going to do. Will it help or make it worse? Is he really there to help or has he got an ulterior motive? Argghhhh……I hate a book leaving me with questions. Whether or not I’ll read the next book to get answers who knows, we shall see.

2 Rating

Ashton

Book Blitz: Freedom (Fearsome #2) by S. A. Wolfe

Freedom blitz banner

FreedomTitle: Freedom
Series: Fearsome, book 2
Author: S. A. Wolfe
Publication Date: April 7th 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Buy Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N | Smashwords
Synopsis
*This is a stand-alone sequel to Fearsome. No cliffhanger!

Dylan Blackard is back in town and certain everyone knows his secrets.

Putting away his notorious reputation as the wild guy with a womanizing past, he’s now on a new path, wanting to be the good guy his brother can stop worrying over. As long as he gives up his old vices—including women—he can keep himself on the straight and narrow and finally live up to everyone’s expectations.

However, obsessing about his lack of self-control is making Dylan one humorless, cranky hermit. That all changes, though, when his brother hires a new employee, the stunning Emma Keller, who will be sharing an office with him and all of his tightly wound nerves.

Emma, a spunky young woman from New Jersey, isn’t about to feel sorry for Dylan and his situation. She is beyond distracting to him, and that is enough to turn his emotional balancing act upside down. Not only is she intelligent, and a smart aleck, she’s also very determined to pull the sexy Dylan Blackard out of his self-imposed isolation.

From the moment he meets her, he feels alive again, but Emma doesn’t come as a gift with a pretty bow; she comes with major baggage—a family embedded in its own tumultuous history.

Will Emma be the tipping point that causes Dylan to regress into his past destructive behaviors…or will he actually pursue her for keeps?

*Due to adult language and sexual content, this New Adult Contemporary Romance is intended for readers over the age of 18.

Addtogoodreads

Freedom will be 0.99c until April 11th!

Excerpt
“You’re living with her and you’re trying to keep it platonic?” Dr. Wang pauses his typing and squints at me.
“Am I screwing up?” I ask. “I really like Emma, but I don’t want this to go to crap. I don’t want to do what I did to Jess… I don’t want to get in deep and then find out I’m on another bender.”
Dr. Wang smiles at my term for going manic. “I’ve been seeing you for months and you’re doing well. There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to Emma and dating her, if that’s what you’re suggesting, although living and working together so soon may be a challenge. However, if it’s comfortable for both of you, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Although, you seemed to have rushed right in to living with her, the circumstances are unique. Dylan, no one—not even your brother—expects you to never have a relationship with a woman again. This choice of celibacy was yours. Did you plan on living like that forever?”
“I’m not sure. I suppose I thought I could pull it off and keep it together.”
“Do you really think it’s realistic?” Dr. Wang leans back in his chair and looks at me. “You’re young, you’re healthy, and for the most part, you’ve got your depression under control. You sound indecisive about it. Tell me about that.”
“I’m indecisive about what to do with her. I don’t know what I’m allowed to do.” I get nervous just talking about Emma and my hands start fidgeting on the armrests.
“Allowed? You keep referring to these rules you think someone has established for you. Tell me more about what you’re feeling with Emma.”
“I like her a lot.”
“You’ve said that at least six times since you walked in the door.” He smiles. “From my perspective, I can see you’re different. You’re happier. Is that all because of Emma?”
“Yeah. When I’m around her, I think I actually feel my blood pumping, and I start feeling optimistic. It’s like every part of me has finally been woken up from a coma. It’s very vivid and that’s what’s scary.”
“So you’re in love?” Dr. Wang asks thoughtfully.
“No, I like her a lot, though.” I have to downplay my feelings for her. If I say that I think I’m falling in love with her, I really will sound like a nut job.
“That’s seven likes.” He smiles again. “Okay, I see where this is going. I’m going to ask you two questions, and I want you to give me the first thing that comes to your mind. A quick response without deliberating. Understand?”
I nod and think of Emma back at the office, probably wondering why I have been keeping my hands off her for the last two days since our hot and heavy, near-sex episode on the couch. We drive to work together and spend our days dealing with accounts, and then when we go home, I cook dinner and we watch TV while she knits. We’re like an old married couple that never has had sex, not even the consummation part. That’s my fault, of course. She is not shy about what she wants, and I would want it, too, if I knew that my crazy head couldn’t possibly put us on the road to ruin.
“Go ahead,” I say.
“Why do you like Emma?”
“She makes me feel fantastic.” I sound remorseful rather than thrilled.
“Why are you afraid of being with Emma?”
“Because she makes me feel fantastic… and I might turn into the old Dylan again. I might lose all this self-control I’ve been managing for months.”
“Okay, this is what I want you to hear. Fact, you like her a lot and she makes you feel fantastic. You worrying about losing control and turning into the old Dylan are speculation and fear, not fact. We have to work with facts. If you keep letting your fear dictate how you live, you will miss some very big things in life.”
His words provide some relief. It’s like my shrink is handing me a golden ticket.

About the Author
S. A. Wolfe lives with her very loud, opinionated children and husband. She is a voracious reader and passionate about writing, and when those two activities don’t keep her locked away in her room, she loves roaming the streets of New York City. Sometimes she even hikes mountains, but most of the time she finds excellent ways to procrastinate.

You can find S. A. Wolfe at: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Blitz-wide giveaway
-2 signed Paperback copies of Freedom (US only)
-2 Amazon Gift Cards @ $50 each (INTL)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Irish Pride Series by Kemberlee Shortland

Location, Location, Location
We hear it all the time when it comes to choosing space. Whether you want to buy a house, start a new business, or even deciding where to place sales items in a shop. It all comes down to location, location, location. No truer words have been spoken, especially when it comes to setting scenes in your stories.

In the first story in my Irish Pride series, Rhythm of My Heart, I’ve set various scenes all over Ireland . . . Dublin City, Killarney in County Kerry, the Cork and Kerry Mountains, and in Cork City. It’s Cork City I want to talk about today.

First, let me tell you a little about Cork City. Cork is the second largest city in Ireland, it was once a major shipping port, and in medieval times it was surrounded by high walls with guard towers. Today’s main streets were once shipping lanes; merchant houses are still evident in some areas. The River Lee flows from the west into the city but divides at Sunday’s Well into two channels and rejoins in Cork Harbour east of the city, making the heart of the city Ireland’s only island city.

Many famous people are from Cork City and County Cork, many of them rebels, which gives the county its nickname, The Rebel County. Ireland is also famous for naming streets and bridges after notable figures. Cork’s main street is called St Patrick’s Street after Ireland’s patron saint, or Patrick’s Street as it’s usually called. The road travels across Patrick’s Bridge onto Bridge Street, and then up Patrick’s Hill, the steepest city street in the country.

MacCurtain Street (named for Tomás MacCurtain [1884-1920], a Republican rebel and one-time Lord Mayor of Cork City) crosses Patrick’s Bridge at the foot of Patrick’s Hill, and it’s these two streets which feature in part of my story.

In Rhythm of My Heart, the first view of Cork City we have is when Keiran Vaughan is driving through the city to his destination —

Cork city

Kieran cruised through Cork City, making his way up side streets to the top of Patrick’s Hill. During the day, this steep street had a fantastic view over the city. Down the hill and across the North Channel and Saint Patrick’s Bridge to Cork’s main street, Saint Patrick’s Street, was lined with graceful, tall, colorful buildings.

By night, there was an equally fantastic view of a city in lights. Night people wandered the streets going from pub to club, and diners in their fancy clothes were doing ‘pana’, the phrase the locals used for the traditional lovers’ stroll along the main street in the evening.

You can see how pretty the city center looks at night, and what Kieran saw when he looked down Patrick’s Hill that night.

Also in this photo, the yellow building with the patinaed copper dome is Debenham’s Dept Store. Eason’s Bookstore is directly across the street. Both are places where Kieran and Gráinne shop before going to the music store and The Wolfhound Pub.

Another thing making Cork City unique is Patrick’s Street’s curved layout. From either direction, when you’re walking or driving on this street, the buildings always seem to be right in front of you. This is the only street in Ireland like this.

As Kieran suspected he would, he’d slept through most of the morning. Gráinne rose an hour before him, using up all the hot water of course, before coming down to put the kettle on. He needed a few things if he was going to stay with her for a few days and suggested she tag along. He didn’t know a single woman who wouldn’t jump at the chance to shop till she dropped followed by a nice meal. And Gráinne didn’t let him down.

Their first stop was Debenham’s, a modern department store built on the old style after the original building was burned down by the Black and Tans in 1920, as were many buildings in the city. The architecture of the new store blended in with the surrounding older buildings, as was fitting. His and Gráinne’s people were originally from Cork, so Kieran always found himself taking his own walking tour when he was here.

image

Here are some of those houses on Patrick’s Hill. That’s a mighty steep grade to walk every day. Knowing this, the city put in steps on parts of the footpath, as you can see here on the right of the image.

Gráinne lives in one of these houses. And as it turns out, Eilis’s best friend, Megan, also lives on this street. Long terraces line both sides of the hill, broken by a couple cross streets. It’s almost like the Streets of San Francisco on that hill! Probably why Red Bull hosts the Soapbox Derby in the city every year.

 

image

Let’s check out MacCurtain Street. The Victorian period in Ireland is most noted for its red brick buildings. The building here was once the sorting office for An Post, Irish Post. Facing this building is the Gresham Metropole Hotel. These buildings were constructed in the 1850s, post Famine.

 

imageMacCurtain Street is a one way street and it’s the crossroads with Bridge Street when we’ll find Crowley’s Music Centre and the Wolfhound Pub. At one time, Crowley’s was a Cork tradition. Sadly, they closed their doors in the last year because of the recession.

Now, standing in the little music shop on McCurtain Street, Kieran gazed at the guitars on display. Acoustics hung beside six and twelve string steels, which hung beside electrics and bases. All lovely, but by no means the shop’s best.

“What’s yer pleasure?” came the owner’s lyrical Corkonian voice. Kieran turned to see a middle-aged gentleman of lean, average build standing beside him, his face clean-shaven and sincere. He knew this man knew his business frontward and back and always offered the best deals in Ireland. But that was just one reason why he shopped here. “Ah, Kieran!” the man exclaimed. “‘Tis yerself. How’s the craic?”

“The craic is mighty, Ger.” Kieran put out his hand and was met with a solid handshake.

“What brings ye to Cork, boy?” Ger asked, adding in the traditional Corkonian endearment. Kieran grinned at how the man’s accent made two common words sound like ‘cark’ and ‘buy.’

image
Now, The Wolfhound Pub . . . When I first came to Ireland in 1997, The Wolfhound was here at the corner of MacCurtain Street and Bridge Stgreet. Today . . . it’s . . . a Subway restaurant! {headdesk} The pub was in the basement of this building and was very popular for live music. It had been there for years, and being across from Crowley’s seemed appropriate.

“Miss Kennedy,” whispered the man who’d assigned himself as her personal assistant tonight. “Can I refill your glasses?” The bottle of Jameson whiskey was already in his hand. She nodded without looking away from Kieran.

“Do you see that man over there?” she asked the waiter.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Tell your manager he has Ireland’s top blues guitarist in his pub and see if you can get him to perform.” She looked into the young man’s eyes. “And don’t,” she emphasized, “tell him who found him out.” She hoped the look she gave the man told him she’d have his job if he did. He agreed and she watched the man go to another man she assumed was the manager. She’d noticed him earlier standing at the back of the room overseeing the goings-on in the pub.

There was a brief discussion, fingers pointing, then the manager stepped over to Kieran. She was thankful the manager didn’t motion towards her as he spoke to Kieran, but it was obvious he was confused. His woman pushed him out of his chair. He hesitantly stepped up to the stage when the other performers were done with their set.

“Ladies and gentlemen. The Wolfhound is honored to have one of Ireland’s greatest blues guitarists with us tonight,” the manager oozed dramatically. Eilis knew he had no idea who Kieran was, but because she’d mentioned him he took her word for it that Kieran was as good as he was now telling the audience. “Please put your hands together for Kieran Vaughan.” The audience applauded, though not enthusiastically. They had no idea who Kieran was either. But they would.

Eilis leaned over to Megan. “Sometimes it’s very good to be me. Watch and listen.”

The Wolfhound was once very popular for live music — for both bands and singers just starting out in the business as well as for established performers.

You may also notice the big sign on the building which says, “The official pint of us—Murphy’s.” Dublin City has its Guinness and Cork has its Murphy’s. Both are Irish stout . . . black ale. Cork also produces Ireland’s third black ale, Beamish which is produced by Beamish and Crawford, now part of Murphy’s. On wort-making days, you can smell the yeasty fermentation in the air all over the city . . . {drifting . . .}

Sorry. I went away there for a second. Back now!

There has long been a rivalry between Cork and Dublin, Corkonian’s proclaiming Cork is the real capital of Ireland. So sure of their status on this issue, many have gone as far as proclaiming Cork as The People’s Republics of Cork. Gotta love a tryer!

Guinness may be for strength, but Murphy’s is the official pint of us!

See how you’re getting a feel for the city? You’ve learned some city history, geography, and landmarks. You’ve had a glimpse at some of the places Corkonian’s shop and relax, you’ve even heard a bit of the accent which is regional only to the city. What’s more, you’ve caught a wiff of the city air on worting day. AND if you were paying attention, you got the briny scent of the channel water as the harbor water mixes with the river as it flows through the city.

And now that you’ve had this glimpse of part of Cork City, when you read Rhythm of My Heart, or any other Irish story set in Cork, you’ll know what it looks like, smells like, and practically tastes like as you read. If location, location, location doesn’t liven up your reading senses, I don’t know what will.

About the Series
Rhythm of my heartTitle: Rhythm of My Heart
Series: Irish Pride, book 1
Author: Kemberlee Shortland
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 16, 2012 by Tirgearr Publishing
Buy Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N
Synopsis
Artist Representative, Eilis Kennedy, gave up a singing career so that other women could have a fair chance at having their music heard. Having suffered rejection from callous men in the industry, she thought she would get away from ‘casting couch’ mentality. But when she finds herself in the office of Fergus Manley, all bets are off. Disgusted by his continual come-ons and lewd invitations, Eilis is looking for ‘the one’ who will take her career to the next level, getting out from under Fergus’s controlling thumb.

Aspiring blues guitarist, Kieran Vaughan, is looking for his big break. But after suffering near bankruptcy at the hands of an unscrupulous business partner, Kieran is left picking up the pieces. He’s unsure if the debts will ever be paid or if he’ll ever have a chance to do something with his music. At his whit’s end, he’s about ready to throw in the towel and find a full-time job with real hours.

When Eilis discovers Kieran playing in a seedy pub in Dublin’s Northside, she knows he’s the one rare talent she’s been searching for. With her know-how and his talent, Eilis will finally get everything she’s been waiting for. Neither of them count on the powerful attraction from first meeting. Eilis is so rocked by Keiran’s forthright words that it sends her running. Kieran risks being arrested as he chases Eilis across Ireland.

Seeing what’s happening between Eilis and Kieran, anger wells inside Fergus and he steps up his pursuit of Eilis. Refusing to let Kieran get in his way, Fergus vows to add Eilis’s notch to his bedpost, whatever it takes.

Will Kieran be able to protect her?

Addtogoodreads

Excerpt
Dublin’s Northside looked far different by day than it did at night. Last night’s storm had been one of the season’s worst. Huge puddles hampered traffic, and trash had collected in the corners of doorways and blocked the gutters. The lingering breeze was still crisp and signaled the imminent winter. Wisps of dark clouds streaked the pale blue sky but remained reminiscent of last night’s tempest.

As the taxi drove through Dublin’s inner city, a blur of tacky euro shops, shoddy newsagents and off-licenses, all with shop fronts that had seen better days, flashed by.

Finglas wasn’t noted as one of Dublin’s prime locations. This was a large blue collar suburb in a rapidly expanding city. Lack in a pride of ownership was evident, as residents struggled to make ends meet, which gave the area a rough underbelly. The Little Man Pub was a perfect example of both.

Eilis wrapped her arms around her middle, instinctively protective. Was this the compromise she must face to get where she wanted?

When the taxi slowed at a junction, she pressed herself back in her seat. A group of out-of-work young men sipping something from a paper bag spun their heads and looked at her.

Just this once, just this once, she chanted to herself.

Just this one trip to find Kieran Vaughan and that would be it. She’d never have to come back to this place ever again. She could stay safely tucked away in her D2 house for the rest of her days. She’d worked hard for that house. She deserved it. She deserved it all the more now by putting herself through this.

Long ago, Eilis had vowed never to set foot in the Northside again. But if it took this one last visit to get what she needed, it would be worth it.

The taxi pulled around the corner and the now familiar entrance to The Little Man Pub came into view. Nicotine-stained curtains were pulled across windows, reflecting the unkempt street. The façade’s red and black paint was weather-faded to pink and gray. The ‘M’ on the sign hung askew and swung in the breeze, and the ‘P’ was missing altogether. Had she not been here last night she would have thought the place was shut.

She pulled some money from her purse to hand to the driver. “I’ll wait fer ye, luv,” he said, waving her money away. “Taxis can be hard to come by ‘round here.”

Eilis was suitably taken aback. “Thank you. I won’t be a moment.”

She swallowed hard, got out of the taxi then entered the pub.

Her eyes slowly adjusted to the dark room. The few men sitting around the bar turned their gazes in her direction. Understandably. A well-groomed businesswoman in the pub was surely a novelty. These men were long since retired, or long since employed. Their stubbled faces meant they hadn’t shaved in several days, or possibly weeks. The dim light hid the worst of their unkempt appearances, but nothing could disguise their unwashed clothes. A pong in the room wafted into her nostrils, causing her stomach to lurch again.

Shoulders back, she strode to the bar.

The same man from last night stood behind the counter. He was short and pudgy with missing front teeth. His disheveled appearance made him look like one of his patrons. Had he not been behind the counter she wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.

His striped brown and white shirt had frayed cuffs and was open to mid-chest, showing a sweat-stained t-shirt underneath. His brown trousers had seen much better days and were held together not with a button or belt, but with a bit of twine looping between his belt loops, his round belly spilling over. The only thing holding up the trousers was his equally round bum. It seemed to push the waistband up in the back as his belly pushed it down in the front. The sight would have been funny if her stomach hadn’t been flip-flopping.

Her voice cracked when she first spoke, but it picked up strength in her determination to make something of this horrid trek. “A-are you the proprietor?”

A broad gap-toothed grin creased the man’s face and, loud enough for his patrons to hear, he said, “I’ll be who ever ye want me to be, luv.”

His friends burst into laughter. Eilis felt the flush rise in her cheeks. Not because she was embarrassed, but from frustration. She just wanted to get this meeting over with and she wasn’t in the mood to spar.

She stood her ground. “I’m looking for the man who played guitar here last night. Kieran Vaughan. We have business. Will you please tell me where I can find him?” She looked the man in the eye, much as she could, considering she stood a good half-foot taller than him, even without her heels.

“No, miss, I doubt you have any business with himself. ‘Speshly a fine lass such as yerself. Now, if ye were to come home with a real man like meself, well . . .” He left the rest unsaid, the insinuation hanging in the air.

Her gaze never wavered as she stared the little man in the eye.

“Sir,” she smiled sweetly, honey dripping from her words. She leaned over the bar just enough to give him a glimpse of the swell of her breast through the opening of her blouse. “I doubt you have anything I would be interested in. Besides, you don’t really want me to find out why this place is called The Little Man, do you?”

This earned the publican long oohs and sniggers from the patrons, who were now on the edges of their seats waiting to hear the disagreeable little man’s response.

Obviously taken aback by such a brazen retort, the man stood gaping and red-faced at her for a moment before he got his wits about him. He winked at the men around the bar. “Oy does like me birds feisty!” That only encouraged more laughter.

Eilis could have enjoyed the banter if only the man wasn’t so repulsive. All she wanted to do was meet Kieran Vaughan and get out of Finglas as quickly as possible.

When the laughing stopped, Eilis’s gaze never wavered as she said, “Well?”

“Well what, loov?” he asked, wiping the tears from his eyes with a dirty bar towel.

“Are you going to tell me where to find Kieran Vaughan?” He was trying her patience, but she did her best to keep the frustration out of her voice.

Then she sensed someone step up behind her and straightened instantly. Somehow she knew it was Kieran. The feral scent of him permeated her senses and quickened her pulse. Butterflies replaced the strange ache in her stomach that had been there just moments before.

She slowly turned and looked up at the most handsome man she’d ever seen in her life. She found herself instantly speechless.

She’d seen him on stage the night before and knew he was handsome. But this close up . . . Never before had she seen such blue eyes. As she gazed into them, they changed from the light steel blue to the color of storm clouds heavily ringed with gunmetal. That he had dark brows and thick lashes only made his gaze seem more intense.

“Ye’ve found him, loov,” said the little man, taunting her. “Now what are ye goin’ ta do with him?”

The hammering of her heart and the pulsing blood in her temples blocked out the noise in the room as she looked into Kieran Vaughan’s eyes. To her dismay, her knees actually quivered.

Something in the pit of her belly ached. No, something else. It was like warm melting honey running through her marrow. In that moment she longed to touch him, to brush the unruly wave of his dark hair away from his face, to feel his lips against the pads of her fingers, to . . .

When he spoke she almost didn’t hear him.

“Like the man said, now that you’ve found me, what are you going to do with me?” His eyes sparkled with unabashed mischief.

“Anything you want me to.”

A piece of my heartTitle: A Piece of My Heart
Series: Irish Pride, book 2
Author: Kemberlee Shortland
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: January 8, 2010 by Highland Press
Buy Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N
Synopsis
Mick and Kate thought they were falling in love. Kate hadn’t been just the girl next door. She’d been Mick’s life, and he hers. When an unforeseen force draws them apart they’re left with wounds that refuse to heal. Now, ten years on, Mick’s father’s will should have been straightforward, except his addendum was like ice water in Mick’s face.

It’s essential that Mick and Kate work together to save his family’s farm. Mick doesn’t count on his new manager being accused of murder, and Kate doesn’t expect a dangerously seductive woman from Dublin to claim Mick is the father of her child.

Kate thought she was falling in love with Mick all over again; however this newest revelation is too much for her. She is determined to finally say goodbye to her childhood sweetheart forever, but Mick has other plans for Kate’s future. And none of them involve goodbye.

Addtogoodreads

Shape of my heartTitle: Shape of My Heart
Series: Irish Pride, book 3
Author: Kemberlee Shortland
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: April, 2014
Buy Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US
Synopsis
Gráinne has moved back to Dublin to get her life straightened out. She dreams of college and a better life. She’s working for her brother, Kieran, in his newly reopened pub, The Blues Tavern, but the money isn’t enough to support herself and pay tuition. Moonlighting at The Klub! as an exotic dancer seems to be her answer fast money.

John ‘JD’ Desmond is a detective working undercover in the Blues Tavern. The Klub!, owned by Jimmy Malloy, is being used as a drug front, headed by the notorious Taylor Wade. JD had intended to get Gráinne to snitch for him, but when he falls in love with her, things get complicated.

When Gráinne witnesses Jimmy’s murder, she and JD are forced to go on the run until Wade can be apprehended. Wade lives up to his nickname, The Hunter, and JD and Gráinne quickly find themselves at the end of a gun and running for their lives.

Addtogoodreads

About the Author
imageKemberlee Shortland was born and raised in Northern California in an area known as America’s Salad Bowl. It was home to many authors, including John Steinbeck, and for a while Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson. In 1997, Kemberlee had the opportunity to live in Ireland for six months where she ended up meeting a man who convinced her to stay. Kemberlee is now celebrating her seventeeth year in Ireland and has been lucky to travel the country extensively, picking up a cupla focal along the way—a few Irish words.

Kemberlee was an early-reader and has been writing since a very young age, and over the years she has published many travel articles and book reviews, as well as worked some notable authors who’ve set their books in Ireland.

After publishing travel articles since 1997, Kemberlee saw her first short stories published, and now has eight published books to her name and half a dozen others languishing in a drawer.

Away from the computer, Kemberlee enjoys knitting and other needlecrafts, playing with her Border Collies, castle hunting, travel, reading, gardening, and cookery. One day she hopes to have time to learn to play guitar properly.

You can find Kemberlee at: 

Website: http://www.kemberlee.com
Blog: http://www.kemberlee.blogspot.com
Blog: http://www.heartshapedstones.blogspot.com
Blog: http://www.hearticles.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KemberleeShortland
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com.kemberlee
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kemberlee
Pinterest: Time suck! Not on there. But I’m sure it’s only a matter of time
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kemberlee-Shortland/e/B003C0F7C6
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kemberlee
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2980907.Kemberlee_Shortland
Tirgearr Publishing: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Shortland_Kemberlee

WMS button