Consolation Prize by Linda Kate Release Blast

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What do you
think? Should I give him a try?


Forbidden Men #9
Linda Kage
Released Nov 17th, 2016

Don’t you just hate it when someone destroys all your carefully made plans?

I mean, I had goals: college to graduate in one semester, a future I was working hard to reach, and an image of myself I wanted the world to see. My life was stacked into these precisely placed blocks. But then Colton Gamble came along and knocked them all askew.

I hated how he messed everything up, how he could hog all my attention whenever he was around, how he made my pulse quicken–but only because he ticked me off…not because I was attracted to him. Oh! And I hated how he knew how attractive he was too, the shallow, full of himself, doesn’t take no for an answer, too-flirty, too cocky, extremely irritating jerk.

The boy had all the qualities that turned me off. Or so I thought.

One night he wasn’t quite the brainless, over-confident jerk I usually took him for.

One night, he took care of me when I was at my lowest. He opened up to me and made me open up to him.

Now I’m learning maybe he’s not what I first thought he was. And maybe I’M not what I first thought I was. Maybe it’s okay to rearrange a couple of my perfectly set blocks. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll stop worrying about what I’m afraid everyone else will think and finally reach for something I really want. It’s possible some of my plans need to be destroyed, and Colton Gamble is exactly the kind of mess I need in my life.

What do you think? Should I give him a try?

Desperately seeking your advice,
Julianna Radcliffe


“Juli can’t stop staring at you tonight.”

“Juli?” That name perked me to immediate attention. “Julianna’s here?”

I followed Asher’s gaze to a dimly-lit table in the back corner that bordered the dance floor. It was empty save for one individual, one of the loveliest individuals to grace the planet.

I have no clue how she did it, but Julianna Radcliffe always managed to look equal parts disdainfully untouchable and wet-dream sexy.

Tonight, her dress was pure sin. She wore a long, strapless light gray number that had a front slit, exposing a perfectly toned leg most the way up her thigh and a bustier top that hugged proud, ample breasts. The paleness of her dress made the tone of her skin appear even darker than usual, which made my stomach knot with tension because I yearned to investigate all that dark-dark skin, see how it felt under my hands, how it tasted against my tongue, how it trembled when I stroked it.

Yet I knew without a shadow of a doubt there was no way that would ever happen, because that lady right here was a ball breaker. You could tell it by the straight-backed, poised way she held herself, as if she might as well be behind a boardroom table, doling out punishments to her inferior insubordinates, and by the way she had no tolerance for stupidity or players. I swear, her stare alone could shrivel a guy’s family jewels to impotent nothingness. I usually had the itching urge to cover my junk whenever I talked to her.

And yet she was an irresistible challenge to idiots like me. Not just because she was model-worthy stunning, which she was. Nothing on her was ever out of place; it always struck me with the urge to mess her up…in the best ways possible. But because I felt the need to be the exception to the rule, the one who got past her defenses and scaled that impossible mountain.

Brandt groaned.

I glanced at him, forcing my brain back to the problem at hand, that being Julianna and her inability to take her eyes off my newly married brother. “Hasn’t it been months since you and she were over?” I asked, confused.

He sent me a sharp glance. “Over? We never started. There’s nothing to be over. Juli and I didn’t even finish the one date we went on.”

Asher sniffed. “Well, it looks as if she’s still willing to finish it.”

“Dammit.” Brandt glanced toward his wife. “I hope Sarah doesn’t see her watching me. I don’t want anything upsetting her on our wedding day.”

Asher shook his head. “So, why’d you even invite Juli?”

“I work with her.” Brandt moodily tugged at the collar of his tux.

It seemed odd to me that someone so classically beautiful worked in a nightclub as a bartender. To me, Julianna clearly belonged on a runway, displaying the latest fashion, or—

“It would’ve been strange to invite everyone else and leave her out. Besides, we’re still friends. She’s probably my favorite coworker.”

“Hey,” Asher muttered, offended since he occasionally bartended at Forbidden with Brandt too.

Brandt rolled his eyes. “You don’t count.”

But that only seemed to confuse Asher more. “Why don’t I count?”

Ignoring him, Brandt brought his hand up to his mouth so he could chew on his thumbnail. “We need to distract her somehow. Someone needs to…” Trailing off, he turned slowly toward me, and the intent in his gaze was pretty damn clear.

I paused mid-sip. “Wait, what? You can’t possibly want me to distract her?”


Consolation Prize
Consolation Prize by Linda Kage
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Linda Kage crafts a beautiful and inspiring story about a relationship between a young white man and a slightly older black woman who apparently have nothing in common but together forge an incredible partnership based on love, respect and friendship.

Maintaining her impeccable image was just one of Julianna Radcliffe’s concerns, adhering to her sensibly constructed life plan in which she saw herself graduating from college and moving out of town for a big and meaningful job were the main ones. Getting over one brother and falling for the annoying younger, cockier one was certainly not on her list. When the whirlwind that is Colton Gamble comes along there’s not much she can do but give him a chance.

Colton Gamble had hit on and flirted mercilessly with Juliana for months getting constantly rejected. But on the eve of his brother’s wedding he didn’t care he was second best in Juliana’s eyes, he only wanted to erase the sadness from her face when she looked at his brother getting married. He never thought that opening up to her would lead her to open up in return. Can he use this chance to convince her that despite all their apparent differences he’s exactly what she needs?

I’ve loved and followed the Forbidden Men series missing the last two books, which I’m reading ASAP of course, enjoying both the appealing plots and flawed yet charming characters Linda creates in this forbidden romance subgenre.

I met Colton way back when he was just a boy being rescued by his oldest brother Noel in book #2. He was a defenseless kid who was being raised in a bad situation, but after moving in with Noel and his wife Aspen things got better for him and the rest of the Gamble clan.

So why the history lesson? Because one of Noel’s best friends happens to be the smart, unfiltered and incorrigible Oren Tenning, a caring man Colton took to whose character seems to have rubbed off on the young Gamble. Colton is witty, funny, incorrigible, and has a comeback for everything that sometimes hides a heart of gold. He’s loyal, loves his friends and family fiercely and sometimes feels as though he’s not deserving of their love and that he’s just a Consolation Prize. I fell completely head over heels for him.

Although some of her priorities as a bit tangled up, Juliana is smart, independent and sassy and perfect for Colton. Together they tease and banter, steam up the pages but are also sweet and caring which leads to a lovely romance which is tested by racism, an overbearing father and a twist so shocking that had me devouring the last pages like a crazy person. That epilogue though was swoony sweet, but also felt as a farewell to the series which gave me a bittersweet feeling because I’ll miss the entire set of characters which along the way became dear friends.

Two mentions of more things that worked for me. I loved getting up to date with the characters from past books which are part of Colton’s incredible family and the quotes at the beginning of each chapter which were part of Aspen’s quote board from book #2 (…)

Consolation Prize is book 9 in the Forbidden Men series by Linda Kage that can be read as a standalone. It’s written from both points of view and interconnecting characters from past books. I recommend it for readers that like touching and sexy romances with a sweet happy ending.


Linda Kage grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the
youngest of eight children. Now she lives in Kansas with her husband, daughter,
and nine cuckoo clocks. Her life’s been blessed with lots of people to learn
from and love. Writing’s always been a major part of her world, and she is so happy
to finally share some of her stories with other romance lovers.


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