7/27/16

REVIEW AND EXCERPT: THE ANGELS' SHARE BY J.R. WARD!!!

Title: The Angels' Share
Series: The Bourbon Kings
Author: J.R. Ward
Release Date: July 26, 2016! 
PURCHASE HERE:

SYNOPSIS:
#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation…
In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…
No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.
Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior...or the worst of all the sinners?
PURCHASE HERE:
JR Ward set the stage for this soap opera style Southern saga in The Bourbon Kings where she introduced this vast ensemble surrounding the country's oldest bourbon company. The barbed bonds between the Baldwine siblings and their parents dripped of both wealth and deceit, privilege and venom. Behind the opulent walls of Easterly Estate are secrets, lies, betrayal and infidelity. The Bourbon Kings framed the backdrop of this storyline, illustrating the lavish lifestyle of the elite Baldwine family, but The Angels' Share is a gritty closer look into the state of the family as they're faced with losing everything. In this decadent sequel, Ward thrusts the reader deeper into Lane Baldwine's life, into his romance with Lizzie, into his search for answers after the jaw-dropping ending of The Bourbon Kings. As The Angels' Share evolved, I found myself completely consumed by, not only Lane's evolving romance, his search for answers and his tireless efforts at salvaging the family legacy, but with every character in this book and their side stories. Every single player, every Baldwine sibling, every family friend, every long lost love, every new and old BBC employee has a fully fleshed out personality, a captivating story of their own, and each of them adds depth to an already complex storyline. I continue to be blown away by the manner in which Ward delivers such a richly intricate storyline with such a lengthy cast of characters. 

This series is the perfect mix of decadence, sex, murder, romance and scandal and The Angels' Share not only lives up to every expectation I had after devouring The Bourbon Kings, but it surpassed them. This addictive family saga had me turning the pages with vigor. This series reads like a movie, like a television serial that'll have you obsessed. I couldn't wait to see how this story played out but at the same time, I wanted to read it slowly, to savor each page. 

The cast of characters in this series is colorful and the secrets and lies that bind them are extraordinarily messy.  Peppered with longing, anger and shocking revelations at every turn, The Angels' Share packs so much within its pages. With its moments of tenderness, humor, heartfelt emotion, edge of your seat suspense, and raw sex appeal, this story is the perfect package. The Angels' Share made me laugh, made my eyes well up with unexpected tears, had me white knuckled as I gripped the pages, dreading what would come next. I did not want this book to end. I was lost in Charlemonte, Kentucky, lost in the Easterly mansion, lost in the wicked web of sex and drama and fragmented relationships and long lost loves. 

This is the PERFECT summer read. Curl up in your porch swing with a glass of bourbon-spiked sweet tea and GET LOST in this divine story. Prepare to step into another world with The Bourbon Kings series. A world of southern charm and old money. A world where everyone is polite and well mannered even when they're discussing murder and infidelity, betrayal and bankruptcy. A lavish world of mystery and deceit. A world of longing for loves lost. A world where the rich sip bourbon and marry for financial security. A world where butlers and staff don't make eye contact unless addressed. A world where secrets are revealed as rapidly and unexpectedly as long lost relatives reappear from the woodwork. A world where the grown children of this wickedly wealthy household hold more affection for the cook, Miss Aurora, than their own parents, and where they'd rather eat soul food in the staff quarters than rub shoulders with the elite out on the vast estate lawn. This world is lush and tumultuous and sexy and repugnant and swathed in southern drawls and lies and sweet tea and I. NEVER. WANTED. TO. LEAVE. This is a provocative world, a world JR Ward crafts so superbly, so exquisitely, so thoroughly, I was immersed. I was consumed. I am addicted.

Jessica's Rating:

Toyota trucks were not supposed to go seventy-five miles an hour. Especially when they were ten years old.

At least the driver was wide awake, even though it was four a.m.

Lizzie King had a death grip on the steering wheel, and her foot on the accelerator was actually catching floor as she headed for a rise in the highway.

She had woken up in her bed at her farmhouse alone. Ordinarily, that would have been the status quo, but not anymore, not now that Lane was back in her life. The wealthy playboy and the estate’s gardener had finally gotten their act together, love bonding two unlikelies closer and stronger than the molecules of a diamond.

And she was going to stand by him, no matter what the future held.

After all, it was so much easier to give up extraordinary wealth when you had never known it, never aspired to it—and especially when you had seen behind its glittering curtain to the sad, desolate desert on the far side of the glamour and prestige.

God, the stress Lane was under.

And so out of bed she had gotten. Down the creaking stairs she had gone. And all around her little house’s first floor she had wandered.

When Lizzie had looked outside, she’d discovered his car was missing, the Porsche he drove and parked beside the maple by her front porch nowhere to be seen. And as she had wondered why he had left without telling her, she had begun to worry.

Just a matter of nights since his father had killed himself, only a matter of days since William Baldwine’s body had been found on the far side of the Falls of the Ohio. And ever since then Lane’s face had had a faraway look, his mind churning always with the missing money, the divorce papers he had served on the rapacious Chantal, the status of the household bills, the precarious situation at the Bradford Bourbon Company, his brother Edward’s terrible physical condition, Miss Aurora’s illness.

But he hadn’t said a thing about any of it. His insomnia had been the only sign of the pressure, and that was what scared her. Lane always made an effort to be composed around her, asking her about her work in Easterly’s gardens, rubbing her bad shoulder, making her dinner, usually badly, but who cared. Ever since they had gotten the air cleared between them and had fully recommitted to their relationship, he had all but moved into her farmhouse—and as much as she loved having him with her, she had been waiting for the implosion to occur.

It would almost have been easier if he had been ranting and raving.

And now she feared that time had come—and some sixth sense made her terrified about where he had gone. Easterly, the Bradford Family Estate, was the first place she thought of. Or maybe the Old Site, where his family’s bourbon was still made and stored. Or perhaps Miss Aurora’s Baptist church?

Yes, Lizzie had tried him on his phone. And when the thing had rung on the table on his side of the bed, she hadn’t waited any longer after that. Clothes on. Keys in hand. Out to the truck.

No one else was on I-64 as she headed for the bridge to get across the river, and she kept the gas on even as she crested the hill and hit the decline to the river’s edge on the Indiana side. In response, her old truck picked up even more speed along with a death rattle that shook the wheel and the seat, but the damn Toyota was going to hold it together because she needed it to.

“Lane . . . where are you?”

God, all the times she had asked him how he was and he’d said, “Fine.” All those opportunities to talk that he hadn’t taken her up on. All the glances she’d shot him when he hadn’t been looking her way, all the time her monitoring for signs of cracking or strain. And yet there had been little to no emotion after that one moment they’d had together in the garden, that private, sacred moment when she had sought him out under the blooms of the fruit trees and told him that she’d gotten it wrong about him, that she had misjudged him, that she was prepared to make a pledge to him with the only thing she had: the deed to her farmhouse—which was exactly the kind of asset that could be sold to help pay for the lawyers’ fees as he fought to save his family.

Lane had held her, and told her he loved her—and refused her gift, explaining he was going to fix everything himself, that he was going to somehow find the stolen money, pay back the enormous debt, right the company, resurrect his family’s fortunes.

And she had believed him.

She still did.

But ever since then? He had been both as warm and closed off as a space heater, physically present and completely disengaged at the same time.

Lizzie did not blame him in the slightest.

It was strangely terrifying, however.

Off in the distance, across the river, Charlemont’s business district glowed and twinkled, a false, earthbound galaxy that was a lovely lie, and the bridge that connected the two shores was still lit up in spring green and bright pink for Derby, a preppy rainbow to that promised land. The good news was that there was no traffic, so as soon as Lizzie was on the other side, she could take the River Road exit off the highway, shoot north to Easterly’s hill, and see if his car was parked in front of the mansion.

Then she didn’t know what she was going to do.

The newly constructed bridge had three lanes going in both directions, the concrete median separating east from west tall and broad for safety purposes. There were rows of white lights down the middle, and everything was shiny, not just from the illumination, but a lack of exposure to the elements. Construction had only finished in March, and the first lines of traffic had made the crossing in early April, cutting rush-hour delays down—

Up ahead, parked in what was actually the “slow” lane, was a vehicle that her brain recognized before her eyes properly focused on it.

Lane’s Porsche. It was Lane’s—

Lizzie nailed the brake pedal harder than she’d been pounding the accelerator, and the truck made the transition from full-force forward to full-on stop with the grace of a sofa falling out a second-story window: Everything shuddered and shook, on the verge of structural disintegration, and worse, there was barely any change in velocity, as if her Toyota had worked too hard to gain the speed and wasn’t going to let the momentum go without a fight—

There was a figure on the edge of the bridge. On the very farthest edge of the bridge. On the lip of the bridge over the deadly drop.

“Lane,” she screamed. “Lane!”

Her truck went into a spin, pirouetting such that she had to wrench her head around to keep him in her sights. And she jumped out before the Toyota came to a full stop, leaving the gearshift in neutral, the engine running, the door open in her wake.

“Lane! No! Lane!

Lizzie pounded across the pavement and surmounted barriers that seemed flimsy, too flimsy, given the distance down to the river.

Lane jerked his head around—

And lost one hold of the rail behind him.

As his grip slipped, shock registered on his face, a flash of surprise . . . that was immediately replaced by horror.

When he fell off into nothing but air.

Lizzie’s mouth could not open wide enough to release her scream.

Posted by arrangement with New American Library, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © J.R. Ward, 2016.



J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with more than 15 million novels in print published in 25 different countries around the world. The books in her popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series have held the #1 spot on the New York Times hardcover, mass market, eBook, and combined print/eBook fiction bestseller lists and have debuted in the top 5 on the USA Today bestseller list. Prior to her writing career, Ward worked as a lawyer in Boston and spent many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard’s world-renowned academic medical centers. Ward currently lives with her family in Kentucky where she has learned to enjoy and appreciate all things Southern. Connect with her online at www.jrward.com, Facebook.com/JRWardBooks, and Twitter.com/JRWard1.

7/26/16

ANGIE'S 5 STAR REVIEW: TO HAVE AND TO HOLD BY LAUREN LAYNE!! <<--- AMAZINGLY SWEET READ.

Title: To Have and to Hold
Series: Bk #1 Wedding Belles - Standalone
Author: Lauren Layne
Release Date: July 26, 2016!
PURCHASE HERE:

SYNOPSIS:
USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne is the “queen of witty dialogue and sexy scenes” (Rachel Van Dyken)! Now, Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true... but their own.
Discovering her fiance is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin's business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.
Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya's fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiance is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning... is theirs?
PURCHASE HERE:
"Welcome to the Wedding Belles."

I. AM. IN. LOVE! Completely smitten and enamored with every single sentence this author has written. Sexy, intense, To Have and to Hold stole the show. It is hands down my FAVORITE Lauren Layne book to date. It had a spark, a sprinkle of magic that made it downright addictive. I'm ecstatic to have found a series that I know I'm going to be heavily invested in. To have found a group of characters that I love. One, where each of them is getting their own book! Yes, that's right!! This is the first in a series of interconnected Standalones. And let me tell you, EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER is AMAZINGGGGG. This is the best of the best when it comes to sweet, sizzling romance.

I literally had moments where I felt as though my heart was going to run away with itself. God, the goosebumps. Seth and Brooke made me feel happy, they made me feel wooed. And I ended up being crazy in love after finishing. There wasn't a single element I would change in this novel. Not a word, a scene, a single thing.

It was a PERFECT romance.

And just thinking of it, just thinking of these characters, brings me a warmth I can't explain. It's pure escapism. Lauren Layne has always been one of my fav authors but this cemented that for me. She stepped up her game. And honestly it's hard to write anything but a bunch of babbling swoon.

Perfection!
Just PERFECTION. 

Brooke has moved to NY after having her life ripped out from beneath her. She's trying to get a fresh start after her fiancé was literally arrested at the alter! Yes, the alter, thus throwing her life, and career, into a total tailspin. Lucky to escape the mess in LA, she's secured a job in NY with the Wedding Belles--a highly sought after group of Wedding Planners.

Seth is running a multi million dollar business after his father passed away, and trying to take care of his not so little sister. Maya (Seth's sister) has decided, rather shockingly, that she's getting married. And not only that, she's tying the knot to a man Seth doesn't know. At all. He's never even met the guy. But after hearing several things about him, he's sure of ONE thing - the man has ulterior motives, ie: money, money, money. Seth doesn't want to hurt Maya outright by telling her he thinks the guy she loves is a crook. He doesn't want to push her away. And he knows that his sister is stubborn and she's going to do what she wants to do anyway. So he decides to do some investigating by throwing himself full force into the wedding planning.

Brooke, and the Wedding Belles, are then hired to plan Maya's big day. But from the first moment that Brooke lays eyes on Seth, and he on her, there's a spark that cannot be denied. It's MAGIC. But Seth's temperamental nature gets underneath Brooke's skin in every way. He's rude and snippy, and she's just trying to do her job. What starts as a hate to love you, turns into way more than Brooke and Seth could ever bargain for, igniting a romance that is down right delicious.

Honestly, these two are so sexy together. Seth is gruff and moody. He runs hot and cold and just makes you smile. And Brooke is the sweetest thing. She's trying to move on with her life and not get attached. There are so many layers to these two, and this story. So many fun dimensions. And like I said before, you can't help but be wooed by these characters.

From the chemistry, to the heartfelt conversations, to the searingly HOT sexy times, and the sweetest of feels, Lauren Layne brings everything to the table in this fantastic start to a fabulously fun series. I am so excited for the next book and I highly recommend reading To Have and to Hold. It was just perfect.

Angie's Rating:

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011, where she ditched the corporate world to pursue a full-time writing career.

Hobbies include cocktail hour, a designer purse addiction, and dry rosé.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL's ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

7/25/16

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MAX MONROES MUST READ SERIES!!!!!!! <<--- MY MOST FAVORITE ROMCOM EVERRRR!

So here's the thing, If you haven't read this series, you must. IT IS PHENOMENAL! 

The FUNNIEST
SEXIEST
MOST CAPTIVATING
CHARMING
ENDEARING
HAPPY
FUN
ADDICTING
AND MEMORABLE series I have ever read. 

I've been screaming about these characters for awhile now, since Tapping the Billionaire came out, and I won't stop. I'm PASSIONATELY in LOVE with these characters and I WANT you to read these books so bad. Seriously, the BEST READS of the year.

Series Reading Order:
BK #1 - Tapping the Billionaire - Amazon
Bk #1.5 - Tapping Her - Amazon
Bk #2 - Banking the Billionaire - Amazon
Bk #2.5 - Banking Her - Amazon


PS: Technically Tapping the Billionaire and Banking the Billionaire are standalones! However, I recommend reading this series in order. There is just TOO MUCH greatness you'll miss out on if you don't.

+++++++++++++

Title: Banking the Billionare
Series: Bad Boy Billionaires #2
Author: Max Monroe
Release Date: July 25, 2016!
PURCHASE HERE:
AMAZON | iBOOKS 

SYNOPSIS:
Uninhibited. Sarcastic. Confident. Beautiful.
With a thriving photography career that allows her to travel all over the world and capture the hottest of men behind her camera lens, Cassie Phillips is the woman who can’t be tamed.
Adrenaline-junkie. Jokester. Billionaire. Hot-as-sin.
At six-foot-five, with muscles for days, and that perfect playful smile, Thatcher Kelly is the kind of man you don’t want to deny.
Wild for wild.
Prank for prank.
The two most unlikely of people may be the only ones to see that some personality traits only run skin deep.
Uncensored. Hilarious. And too damn hot to put into words.
Grab a fan and get ready for one hell of a ride because when the opposite of opposites attract, things are bound to get a little messy.
PURCHASE HERE:
“Cassie. My Cassie,” he whispered, the sound of my name guttural and penetrating and completely unfiltered. I felt it all the way to my toes.

This series is EVERYTHING a superb RomCom should be. It's downright hilarious, unequivocally sexy, and enchantingly fun. Sweet, charming, swoony and sassy, it's a series that makes me grin at just the thought. I'm so invested in these characters. They are a part of me as a reader. They make me happy. They give me flutters, shivers, warm flushes. They make me want to sing and dance. They inspire joy and every good thing. That's exactly what a great romance does, it inspires happiness and contentment in the reader.

I'm not sure where Max Monroe came from but they've found a home with this reader. These characters, these books, have burrowed into my heart. I honestly feel as though I've been romanced down to my bones by this extremely well written and well rounded series. And I'm in love. 

I am so so so in love. 

Each character is a wonderful blend of unique quirkiness. They are lovable and relatable. I swear, I didn't think it could get any better after reading Tapping the Billionaire. Georgia and Kline stole the beat of my heart. They were more than a delight to read. I laughed. I cried. I swooned. I loved. And God, I was not ready to let them go at the end. So when I got Tapping Her, the novella that came after, I was beyond thrilled, but I didn't think it could get better. But then it DID!

It freaking did. 

It got better and better. We not only got more of our sweet Kline and his beloved Benny, but we got an epic introduction to our hero and heroine in Banking the Billionaire, Thatch and Cassie. And by God, I fell deeper. I didn't think it was possible to fall so hard and so deep for a series, but I did. I am slayed by the perfection that is these characters and their stories.

In Banking the Billionaire we get Thatcher Kelly and Cassie Phillips. Thatch is our fantastic and charming Billionaire playboy who is knocked off his feet by the fiercely fiery Cassie. Their story is the complete opposite of what Georgia and Kline's was. Cassie is as far from innocent and sweet as you can get. She's mouthy. She's spicy. She has a deliciously wicked bite to her that Georgie didn't have. She does things that make you grimace and blush. Wild. Untamed. An uninhibited mare in female form. And so much flipping fun. 

And then there's Thatch, equally reckless and wild, but yet in the same breath laid back, sexy as f*ck, confident down to his bones, sweet as sin, and completely enamored by this crazy woman who he wants to steal for himself. It's endearing. So breathlessly charming. 

Together, Cass and Thatch are FIRE. They're burn you down to the ground. Their chemistry is electric. They have very similar personalities and one of the things they have in common is that they love running pranks and one-upping each other. They get a thrill out of getting a rise out of one another. And they push and push and push each other to their limit. 

I can't explain how much I adored the sizzle between these two. Addictive. At first I wasn't sure about Cassie. She's intense. She did things that bothered me, things that made me pause, but then she'd have these moments of softness, of vulnerability, that made me melt. 

This is romance with a feisty touch. Two characters who find one another at the perfect time in their lives. Recklessly fun. An attraction leads to a prank that leads to so much more. I'm not telling you much plot wise, but be ready to laugh with abandon as Cassie invites herself into Thatcher's life. And be prepared to swoon for days as Thatch meets her head on and you watch as these two fall in love. 

This is romance, you guys. 

This. Is. Romance. 

A magical series that will entice and enamor you beyond words. One that will take your breath away, that will leave you feeling like you could ride a damn unicorn into the sunset. HAHAHA. It's an unforgettable ride. And I cannot say enough good things about this book, this series, or Max Monroe! I want more words. I want more books. I just want more more, more, more. FANTASTIC.

Angie's Rating:
A secret duo of romance authors team up under the pseudonym Max Monroe to bring you a sexy, laugh-out-loud new series…& more. ;)

New writing partners and long time friends, Max and Monroe strive to live and write all the fun, sexy swoon so often missing from their Facebook newsfeed. Sarcastic by nature, their two writing souls feel like they’ve found their other half.

Stay tuned for the future—this is where the fun begins.
Max Monroe is represented by Amy Tannenbaum of Jane Rotrosen Agency.


Bad Boy Billionaires Series Order:


Tapping the Billionaire (Bk #1)
PURCHASE HERE:

Tapping Her (Bk #1.5)
PURCHASE HERE:

Banking the Billionaire (Bk #2)
PURCHASE HERE:

Banking Her (Bk #2.5)
PURCHASE HERE:

7/22/16

EXCERPT + $10 AMAZON CARD + SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY ALERT: VIVIENNE'S GUILT BY HEATHER M. ORGERON!!!

Title: Vivienne's Guilt
Series: Standalone Novel
Author: Heather M. Orgeron
Release Date: July 14, 2016! 
PURCHASE HERE:

SYNOPSIS:
Vivienne
Guilt...
Like a cancer, it festers, slowly stealing your life bit by painful bit.
What do you do when you have betrayed the love of your life but he is no longer there to grant you forgiveness? How do you carry the weight of your gravest mistake knowing there is no way to atone for it?
I've made a terrible choice–one that can't be undone.
Hiding this secret is eating me alive.
But if it ever came out?
If it were ever discovered?
It would destroy everything.
Reid
They say you always want what you can't have.
From the moment I laid eyes on Vivienne Parker, I knew I was fighting a losing battle. I want to believe that I'm better than this–that I wouldn't cross that line–but deep down, I know if I were ever given a chance, there's no way in hell I'd refuse.
She's my uncle's wife, so why does it feel as if she is mine?
***For ages 18+ due to adult language and sexual content.***
PURCHASE HERE:
“Tillie, honey . . . let’s go!” I whine. Yes, whine. That is what spending every waking moment with a toddler has reduced me to. “Daddy will be here any minute!”
“No, no-no, no-no, NO! I’m not wearing this one!” my sweet angel screeches as she stomps her fat little foot on the bathroom tile. “I want the pink bow!” She turns her back to me and crosses her arms over her chest in a stance that lets me know she means business.
Dear Lord, here we go again with the freaking pink! If being the mother of a three-year-old girl has taught me anything, it is that they are serious about their pink, and you can’t rationalize with three-year-old girls. Ever. About anything. From the moment Matilda Grace could walk and talk, she has been a little tyrant! I am sure Abbott and I don’t help matters by catering to her every whim, but she is just too damn cute with her golden blonde hair, crystal blue eyes, and the deepest set of dimples you’ve ever seen. I know, we are going to regret it later, but we choose to enjoy her now.
“Baby girl, your dress is blue, just like your beautiful blue eyes,” I tell her as I hold the pink bow against the silky blue fabric of her dress. “See, the pink bow won’t match. Don’t you want to look pretty for your date with Daddy?”
Tillie tilts her head to the side as she considers this for a moment before coming up with a solution of her own. “Ummm, I sink pink is fwitty, Mommy, right? You said pink is your favorite, too! Pink is my faaaavorite, Mommy! We can just pick something else to wear that’s pink, and I get to wear the pink bow! That’s a great idea, right?” she suggests, a little too pleased with herself.
Sure, it’s a great idea. It’s not like we went shopping for a “date dress” and matching shoes only yesterday. It isn’t like it took her hours to pick a dress she liked. Now she wants to wear something else so she can match the dress to the bow, rather than matching the bow to the dress. I thought this stuff didn’t start until they were teens. Mommy needs to get creative fast. Abbott really will be here any second to pick her up.
He’s taking her to see Disney on Ice. She has no clue where they will be going, only that she has a birthday date with her daddy. She’s bubbling over with excitement, and I could not be more in love with that man. Seriously, I thought I loved him before Matilda, but there is just something about watching a man dote on his baby girl that multiplies that love tenfold.
Wow! Our baby will be three tomorrow. Where has the time gone?
“It’s a fantastic idea, sweetie, but I just remembered a surprise Mommy got for you. I think it will be perfect!” The word surprise, of course, captures her attention. She is all eyes as I rifle through the vanity drawer for a little crown that I bought for her to wear to a princess dress up party in a few weeks.
And there it is—that million dollar smile. As I pull the hairpiece from the drawer, I know I have won this round.
“Oh. My. God! Mommy! Is that for me?” she asks, practically bouncing out of her skin. “I’m going to be like a reeeeeal princess!” Tillie squeals in excitement.
“You sure will, sweet girl. Now hop up here on the stool so I can get it in your hair before you’re late.”
“Can I wear some make-ups?”
“Makeup is for Mommies,” I say as I slide the comb of the crown into the golden bun atop her head.
“Can I pleeeeeease just wear some lipsticks? Please? Please? Pleeeeease?” she begs with a pout. Oh God. Not the pout. I can never refuse that pitiful look, and she knows it. Manipulative little shit.
We settle on lip gloss and light pink blush. Just as I finish strapping her sparkly, silver dress shoes, there is a knock at the door.
“I believe your date is here, baby girl! Go answer the door!” Tillie sprints across the living room to the door and opens it just as I power on the camera. The sheer joy that crosses my beautiful girl’s face at the sight of her prince makes my heart skip a beat. Abbott looks like a dream in his suit and tie, perfectly styled blond locks, and the same striking blue eyes as Tillie. Her smile is radiant, and the look of adoration on Abbott’s face makes my eyes well up.
My girl is living her own little fairytale.
God, I love that man.
Abbott crouches down to her level and pulls a dozen pink roses from behind his back with one hand and swoops her up into his arms with the other. “You look stunning, Bossyrella!” he says as he kisses her chubby little cheeks. “Are you ready for our date?”
“Yes, Prince Abbott. Do you like my fwitty dress? And look,” she says as she points to the top of her head, “Mommy gotted me a real princess crown!”
“I love it!” he tells her as he leans over to give me a light kiss. “Great job, Momma,” he whispers against my lips. His scent and the warmth of his breath leaves me momentarily flustered.
“You didn’t do so bad yourself, Charming,” I say, and I give him a lingering look that lets him know just how significantly he will be rewarded for his efforts. “You two better get going or you’ll be late.”
Abbott glances down at his watch. “Mommy’s right. We better head out.” He sets Tillie down and reaches for her hand. “You don’t have too much fun with Cassie while we’re gone . . . and make sure you’re alone when we get back,” he whispers suggestively into my ear. He brushes his nose along my nape, causing the baby hairs to stand on end as a shiver moves through my body.
I smother my sweet girl in kisses and instruct her to have a great time. As I practically shove both halves of my heart out of the door, a pang of guilt hits me because of how much I am looking forward to some girl time.

****

About thirty minutes later, Cassie arrives armed with tequila and strawberry margarita fixings.
“Hey, hooker!” she says as she wraps me in her boney arms. “God, I’ve missed you!”
Cassie and I were roommates through all four years at Tulane University. We spent the first year together in the dorms before getting our own apartment. Both transplants from different states, we quickly became more than friends. Cassie and I are family. She is the only person I have beyond my mother, who still lives back home in Alabama, and Abbott. Abbott and I decided to settle down in Louisiana near the university because he’s from Georgia and I’m from Alabama, so we didn’t know how to choose. Also, I couldn’t bring myself to leave Cassie. Cassie grew up in and out of different foster homes in Mississippi and has no one else. She has no family. Although we have been here nine years now, she has yet to find “the one” or even come close. Cassie is the sister I never had and Tillie’s godmother. She spends every holiday with us, whether it is here in Magnolia Pines or back home at Mom’s house. Cassie is always saying how lucky she is to have us, but I know without a doubt that we are the lucky ones.
I squeeze her tight and give her a peck on the cheek. “I know, right? Three. Whole. Days. How did you survive without the Parker casa chaos?” I tease.
“Speaking of chaos, I’m sorry I missed my little BFF. Was she excited? Show me pictures. I know you took some, paparazzi.”
I pull out my iPhone and start scrolling through the pictures. “You should have seen her, Cass. She was so excited. Abbott got all dressed up for her and showed up with roses. If it wasn’t so damn sweet, I might’ve been a little jealous.”
“I need an Abbott. I swear he’s the only good one left. Tillie’s dating life is better than mine . . . and she’s dating her daddy.” She shakes her head. “I’m in such a rut, girl. My hand is tireddddd. I’m going through batteries like nobody’s business,” she divulges while waggling her eyebrows at me.
“You’re right . . . it isn’t my business. What happened to that one guy . . . Jared, Jacob, Jeremy . . . ? What was his name again?” I can’t keep up with this girl anymore.
“Jason? Yeah, uh, no. He was too into himself. I can’t handle all that cockiness. If you’re more into your own body than mine . . . you’ve gotta go. Doesn’t he know this body is a temple just begging to be worshiped?” she teases while running her hands provocatively down her front, tracing her tiny breasts and hips.
I shake my head and laugh at her silliness. “Speaking of your body, you’re looking really thin again, Cass. Are you eating? I swear you’re withering away.” Cassie has always been a stick of a girl. At 5’9”, she dwarfs my 5’3” frame. She could best be described as a beanpole, but don’t let that fool you. Cassie is absolutely stunning with her wavy red hair and green eyes. She could be a runway model. But I hate seeing her look sickly.
“I’m eating. It’s just stress, and my thyroid’s acting up again,” she says with a shrug. Sure it is.
“You’d tell me if something was wrong, right? I don’t want you making yourself sick again. I don’t want to mother you or overreact. I’m just worried.” Cassie has a bad habit of “forgetting to eat” whenever she’s lonely. She swears she doesn’t have a problem, but I lived with her long enough to notice that her stretches of not eating always occur during or immediately following a breakup. Maybe she was more into this Jason guy than she’s letting on. I feel myself begin to sweat, and my throat constricts. I’m apprehensive, but I have to tread carefully, or Cassie will shut down on me. I will just have to keep a closer eye on her.
“I’m fine, love. I swear it. I’ll even come over every night this week and hit up some of your good home cooking just to show you.”
“I’ll hold you to it. The boss’ll be excited to have her favorite playmate over for dinner every night,” I say as I wink at her. “Now, are you going to get this frumpy, old housewife drunk or are we going to sit here and stare at that bottle of Jose all night?”
“On it, sista!” Cassie grabs the blender from the pantry and sets up shop on the island counter.
I make myself comfortable on one of the bar stools and watch my best friend do her thing. Her tiny hips shake to the beat of some pop song blaring from her iPhone.
“So, how’s Momma Anderson? Have you spoken with her lately?” Cassie asks while chopping the stems off a handful of strawberries before adding them to the blender.
“Ugh, no. You know how she is. She’s constantly nagging me to visit her. No matter how often we go, it’s never enough. I get tired of hearing it, honestly. She will never truly forgive me for settling down here instead of going back home. If she misses us so much, she should just move here. We have nothing there but an empty house filled with memories of my father. It’s sickening. She keeps that place like a shrine to a man who left her for another woman. A woman ten years younger than him! It’s not like he died, Cassie. He’s out there somewhere with his new, younger wife and kids, and she’s stuck in the same old place.”
“Viv, I know she drives you crazy,” she says, “but you’re lucky to have a mother that loves you, worries about you, and wants you around. Don’t ever forget that.” Her face turns sad, and I’m having one of those all too frequent “foot in mouth” moments. “Some of us don’t have that. You have no idea how much I would love to have a nagging, bitching mother.”
“Oh God, I’m such a bitch. I know you’re right. You know my nagging, bitching mother loves you like her own, right?” And she does. Most of the time I’m convinced she would take Cass over me as her daughter any day. “I know it’s not the same thing, but you’re family. You have a family. Don’t ever doubt that.”
“I know it. I do,” she says as she wipes the tears just beginning to form in the corners of her eyes. “Gah, how did girls’ night turn into a pity party?” Cassie sniffs. “Get your ass up out of that chair and shake that sexy booty, Momma!”
For the next two hours, my best friend and I drink margaritas and dance until we drop. Then, we cuddle up on the couch in front of the fifty-inch flat screen to catch a few DVR’d episodes of American Idol. It’s nice to spend time with her like this. Just the two of us watching mundane TV. Just like old times.
Halfway through the second episode, I receive a text from Abbott. It’s a picture of him and Tillie at the show that he must have had someone else take. I can’t help the smile that spreads across my face at what a beautiful pair they are. She is his spitting image. Where I am unremarkable with my brown hair, brown eyes, and freckles, they are breathtakingly beautiful. I will never understand what Abbott saw in a plain Jane like me. Whatever it was, I hope he never loses sight of it.
“What are you making that shit-eating grin at over there? Is Abbott sexting you? He is, isn’t he? Gross!” Then, she runs over to check it out because the girl does not know the meaning of the word boundaries. She snatches my phone out of my hand, and she too cracks a huge smile. “Wow, Momma. They are something, aren’t they? Tillie is such a lucky girl to have a father that adores her the way Abbott does. Neither of us had that, ya know? I’m so happy our baby girl does.”
Before I have a chance to respond, the phone dings again. And, being the nosey bitch that she is, Cass reads it. “It’s lover boy again. He says I better be gone by the time they get back. They’re leaving now. Damn. And all this time I thought we were cool,” she jokes.
Thirty minutes later, as Cassie is packing up her things to head home, my phone rings. I don’t recognize the number, and since it’s after nine o’clock, I get a nervous feeling in my gut as I press the phone to my ear.
“Hello.”
“Hi, is this the wife of Abbott Parker?”
“Yes, this is she. Who’s this? Did something happen?” Oh my God. Oh my God. Please let them be okay.
“This is Officer Thomas. There’s been an accident . . .”

Heather M. Orgeron is a Cajun girl with a big heart and a passion for romance. She married her high school sweetheart two months after graduation and her life has been a fairytale ever since. She’s the queen of her castle, reigning over five sons and one bossy little princess who has made it her mission in life to steal her Momma’s throne. When she’s not writing, you will find her hidden beneath mounds of laundry and piles of dirty dishes or locked in her tower(aka the bathroom) soaking in the tub with a good book. She’s always been an avid reader and has recently discovered a love for cultivating romantic stories of her own.



7/21/16

REVIEW + SERIES INFO + $10 AMAZON CARD GIVEAWAY: PROVOCATIVE BY ALEX LUCIAN!! <<--- MUST READ SERIES!!

Title: Provocative 
Series: Tempting Bk #3
Author: Alex Lucian
Release Date: July 21, 2016
PURCHASE HERE:

SYNOPSIS:
Coming home to a quiet, dark house.
Meals by myself, because she was already done.
Excuses and apologies, they were never enough.
But even with that, when I touched her—when she arched under me and pulled me deeper— we couldn’t get back to where we needed to be.
Where we used to be.
It was all frustration.
Loneliness.
Loss.
Because even though she was no longer my student, the chemistry was always there.
Adele and I loved each other.
We thought we were unshakeable.
But love isn’t always enough.
It wasn’t enough when I constantly disappointed her.
It wasn’t enough when loss cleaved us in two.
And when she left me, love was not enough.
She didn’t know yet that I’d never stop fighting for her.
But she would.
**Author’s note- Let’s be real clear that this is BOOK TWO of a duet, and you’re going to want to read Tempting before you read this one. Adele and Nathan started their story in that book, and you’ll get the same sex, fighting, and cursing that you did in the first. But if you want it to make sense, read Tempting first. If any of that offends you, please avoid them both.**
PURCHASE HERE:
It's not a secret that I'm in love with Alex Lucian's writing. I find it more than addicting, to me it's as close to perfection as you can get. I love the way this author tells a story. I'm hooked by it. The depth of feels, the sensuality and heat, the way his words weave together to create the most vivid and intoxicating scenes, it's magic. I could read these books over and over and over again. I just love them.

That said, I need to be honest. I had been dreading the moment I would have to read Provocative. Now let me explain! You see, I loved Tempting. It was my favorite read of 2015. BRILLIANT, SEXY, JAW DROPPING. The best Student Teacher romance I've read since the Gabriel's Inferno trilogy by Sylvain Reynard. Tempting pushed all my buttons, it thrilled and hurt me as a reader and when I got done reading that book, I was practically vibrating with energy from the story. It was everything. And to me, Tempting felt complete. The story itself felt whole. I was truly happy where Nathan and Adele left off. And I felt as though I had closure. Sure, I had a question or two about Elias, but nothing that a novella or an Elias book couldn't answer. So simply put, I didn't need more of Nathan and Adele's story. And I was very concerned that Provocative would RUIN my Tempting buzz.

Now I know that that sounds crazy, but there have been series where the sequels have killed my feelings for the first book. It's really has happened. Moments where the author was trying too hard to keep the story going. I had no idea what more these two characters could go through. In Tempting they went through A LOT.

A FUCKING LOTTTTTTTTTTTT!

And here we were again, another trip down angst lane. I was scared. So, when I got Provocative on my Kindle, I sat on it. And sitting on an Alex Lucian book, without diving in right away, is akin to torture. Finally, after several days, I couldn't hold off anymore. I knew I needed to read it, but most importantly I was ready to see what we were going to get.

I sat down and from the first words I was swept up in the story. All those feels I had for the characters returned with a fiery vengeance. I read Provocative in ONE SITTING. I could feel my heart slamming against my chest in an array of emotions--excitement, happiness, unease. If I thought I couldn't love Adele and Nathan any more than I already did, I was wrong! So wrong. Nathan both infuriated me and made me fall in love deeper. He and Adele are explosively hot together and in the sequel it's down right intoxicating. The intimacy between these two characters is so all-consuming, you FEEL it everywhere.

Both characters had a lot of growing up to do. They had some very devastating landmines to wade through, and recover from. The angst slayed me. I'm pretty sure I cried enough to fill a couple coffee mugs with my pain. **Hahaha.** Gut wrenching. This book felt real. I have actually lived some of Adele's pain, going through some of the same things she did. Heart breaking.

The relationship growth between Adele and Nathan hurts in the best way. You can feel Adele's loneliness, feel the urgency she has for Nathan, and he for her. Both of them have to transition into living with each other and they've both got such different habits, it's something they both need to get used to. With Adele in school and Nathan teaching at Harvard, they're busy and quality time with each other is taking a hit.

There is SO MUCH THAT HAPPENS in this book. And I don't want to spoil it in a review. Just know this, I fell deeper and harder for Nathan and Adele. What they went through to get to the end was really intense. This sequel was everything it needed to be and so much more. I felt as though it brought depth to this series. Alex is a strong writer. I can't fangirl enough over the actual writing, it just SPEAKS to me. I LOVE it. And with Provocative, there's a rawness to the emotions that hit me hard.

Overall, I cannot recommend Tempting, Provocative and Beguiling enough. This is a series I want to force on everyone. It's an ULTIMATE favorite of mine that's not only sexy, but also emotionally explosive in depth and heart. Adele is a FIERCE character who carries herself with a confidence that's down right enthralling, and Nathan is a man who has swept me off my feet time and time again. Forbidden, sensual, heart pounding, electrifying, this series encompasses EVERYTHING a superb erotic romance should be. I just LOVE it. 

My Rating:


Alex Lucian is an author living on the eastern coast of the United States who appreciates being anonymous, for personal and professional reasons. Tempting is Alex's first novel, followed by Beguiling and Provocative. 


SERIES ORDER EXPLANATION:

Bk #1 Tempting

^^^^^ That is a TWO part DUET. 

And then ....

Beguiling, a companion novel in this series. It is a STANDALONE. You do NOT need to read Tempting or Provocative to read it. It's about Leo and Scarlet. Leo is Adele's BFF!


CLICK HERE TO ENTER TO WIN A $10 AMAZON CARD.