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Author: Katy Evans
Series: Real Series Book #5
Release Day: December 9th
Rage bubbles up inside me full force.
“Now?” Melanie keeps asking me.
- Loathe. Him.
“Now?” she asks again.
I loathe him. He’s the only boy I’ve ever kissed. He took kisses that meant everything to me and turned them into a joke of a fucking song. A song that turns me into some sort of Eve, torturing and teasing him to sin. He is the sin. He is the penitence, the hell, and the devil, all in one.
I reach into my bag, nicely tucked under my poncho, and grab the first thing I find.
“Now,” I whisper.
Before Mackenna knows what hit him, Melanie and I have sent three tomatoes and a couple of eggs flying through the air.
The orchestra music isn’t enough to drown out his muttered “fuck,” audible through the microphone.
His jaw clamps and he yanks the mic down over his chin as he jerks his eyes around to find the source of the attack. I feel delirious when I see the genuine anger on his face. I squeal, “The rest!” and grab the remaining things we brought and just keep throwing. Not only at him, but at anyone who tries to get in the way—like the stupid dancers who rush to protect him. One of them makes a whimpering noise as an egg hits her face, and Mackenna jerks her back by the arm so he can take the hits himself, his furious eyes trying to find us in the crowd.
Then I hear Melanie shout, “Hey! LET GO, asshole!”
My arms are yanked behind me, and I’m suddenly shoved and pulled out of my place and down the aisle.
“Let go of us!” Melanie cries, struggling as two burly guards drag us away. “If you don’t let go of me right now, my boyfriend’s going to find your home and kill you in your sleep!”
The guard yanks me back harder, and I catch my breath as pain rushes up my arm.
“Asshole,” I hiss, but I don’t even bother to struggle. Melanie’s getting nowhere and I know it.
“She knows them! She knows the band! Who do you think he was singing about just now, asshole?” Melanie kicks into the air. “She’s Pandora! Let us fucking go.”
“You know Mr. Jones?” one guard asks me.
“Mr. Jones!” I scoff. “Seriously! If Mackenna’s a mister, I’m a unicorn!”
They seem to chuckle among themselves as they lead us past more security, around the stage, and to a small room in the back. One guy starts speaking into a radio as he unlocks the door.
Melanie struggles and tries to kick out, but the enormity of what could happen starts settling on me, and I grow quiet.
Holy. Shit. What have I done?
“You don’t have to look so happy, dickface. My boyfriend will find your home too and kill you next!” she tells the other guard.
They yank a door open and shove us inside. I stumble as I take a step, fighting for some dignity as I wiggle free of his grip. “Let go,” I grit, and he finally releases me.
The radio transmitter on his hip emits a sound. A voice says something I can’t make out, but it sounds a lot like cursing.
“Remove these,” one of the guards commands, pointing at our ponchos.
I pry the plastic off my body and Melanie does the same, then we watch helplessly as they strip us of the bags we’d hidden underneath the ponchos.
Melanie groans when they set our things on a table to the side. Cell phones. Two more tomatoes. Car keys.
“Wow. You guys can’t take a little joke now, can you?” Melanie asks them with a haughty little scowl.
I close my eyes and try to quell the panic rising in me.
Fuuuuck. What was I thinking?
I haven’t done anything this reckless in years.
And it felt good.
Also wrong. Very, very wrong.
But good. Great, in fact.
Hell, I can still picture the pissed, disbelieving look on Mackenna’s face. It gave me intense pleasure. Orgasmic pleasure. But now the intense feeling I’m experiencing is more along the lines of paralyzing fear.
What if the guards call him into the room to ask if he does, indeed, know me?
What if I have to stand here in this small stuffy room and look at him from thisclose!
I feel sick to my stomach. Later, Melanie’s going to want explanations. Big-time explanations; more than what I’ve told her so far. She’s going to have to tell Greyson what happened, and he’s going to want to know everything, because these stupid security guards messed with his girl. I don’t even know if I can explain to her the kind of past Mackenna and I share. January 22: the day I unfailingly get drunk and don’t bother to even see the light of day—I’d sworn to myself I’d never discuss that day. But Melanie and Greyson? They will want me to open my box of secrets. Of me and Mackenna Jones.
Hot, wet mouths melding . . .
Him, pushing into me, stretching me, taking me, loving me . . .
The kind of hatred that’s only born of an intense, out-of-this-world love that went woefully wrong.
What am I going to say to him if I see him?
What am I going to do?
Please god, don’t punish me by making me look at him thisclose.
I pace and pray, pace and pray while Melanie studies her nails, the wall, and me, sighing with the bored confidence of someone who knows she’s getting out of here intact. If I see Mackenna, I really doubt it’ll be so easy. My stomach’s already in knots, and I’m having the most awful urge to vomit right now.
The concert seems to last forever. One of the guards comes and goes while the other opts to stand a few feet behind Melanie, standing all military-like, as if waiting for something.
Oh god, please let that something not be Mackenna.
I’m wearing off a layer of my boots’ soles when, a century later, the door swings open and a chubby man in a suit and tie steps in. My blood pools in my feet from my nervousness. Lionel Palmer, the band manager, also known as “Leo.” I saw his face and interview in this morning’s paper, but I have to say he looked much happier in that picture.
He glares at us—Melanie glaring back, me standing motionless—and his hands make meaty fists at his sides.
“Have you any idea what you just did?” he grits out, chubby cheeks blazing red. “How long we could keep you two cozy in a fucking lady prison? What kind of fucking fans are you?”
“We’re not fans,” Melanie says.
The door swings open and the twins, in all their male glory, join the melee. They look intimidating all the time, but now—with their blond hair, odd-color eyes, and perfectly pissed-off scowls—they’re a force to be reckoned with.
I can’t breathe.
“Who the fuck are these bitches?” the one with the snake tattoo demands.
“I’m getting to that, Jax,” Lionel says.
So the other one must be Lexington. He charges forward and looks at me, eyebrow piercing and all, then he looks at Melanie. He points his index finger, swinging it from her to me. “I hope you two have a lot of money, because one of our dancers is injured. If she’s screwed up for Madison Square Garden—”
“Don’t worry, Pandora, Greyson will take care of this,” Melanie says easily.
“Pandora,” Lionel repeats suddenly. He grows still, his eyes sliding back to me. “Your friend called you Pandora. Why?”
“Because it’s my name? Duh.”
I’m in the middle of rolling my eyes when the door swings open and a figure fills the space. I don’t think my heart is beating anymore. I feel like someone is strangling me and punching me on the inside.
A few feet away.
In the same room as me.
Bigger and manlier than ever.
He kicks the door shut behind him. He’s wearing aviators, so I can’t see his eyes, and ohmigod, I hate him with a passion. I came here to hurt him, but I’m so overcome by my anger, I can’t seem to do anything but stand here with my breath getting trapped in my lungs, my heart squeezing in my chest, my body trembling as all my suppressed anger bubbles up inside me.
He is tall and dark, and the remains of a red gooey liquid trickle down his chest.
But what a perfect chest, with its thin trail of hair that leads the way from his navel to his dick. Tight leather pants mold to his bulging thighs. A bulging cock too. I swear girls might think he sticks a loaf of bread down his pants, but I can assure you that fucker is real. As huge as his fucking ego, and I remember it used to get as hard as his fucking head.
Not everyone can pull off a buzz cut, or a diamond stud earring, but he has a perfectly shaped head that makes you want to curl your hands around it and trace the curves with your lips. The diamond glints almost menacingly in his right ear, and when he takes off the sunglasses with an angry jerk, I see his brilliant, furious silver eyes, and I swear that it feels like coming home.
To a home that was wrecked, and burned, and there’s nothing left, but it’s still your home.
How fucked up is that?
God, please let him not be real. Let this be a nightmare. Let him be on the other corner of the world while I hate him safely from my corner in Seattle.
“She’s fucking Pandora?” Lionel asks Mackenna.
When Mackenna’s hard jaw only tightens, Lionel turns slowly around to study me. My brain is a tangle of confusion because Mackenna is staring straight at me like he can’t believe I’m standing here.
I can barely take his steely gaze. I thought this night would give me closure. That I could make him feel in front of his fans like I felt when he left: humiliated. Instead he stands there, every inch the rock god, even with tomato puree on his chest. He owns the room, carrying that unnamable X factor that nobody can pinpoint but that he has in spades, that tells you he owns this room and everyone in it.
And that fact only serves to piss me off further.
“Lionel,” he says in a low, warning tone.
Just one word makes Lionel ease back. Now nothing stops Mackenna from staring straight at me.
My face burns as I remember how I loved him. Deep, hard, completely.
Don’t think about that. You hate him now!
“Nice hair.” He shoves his glasses into the belt loops of his pants.
His voice, oh god.
His eyes run down the length of my hair, and Melanie offers, “I suggested she add a little spirit to her hair, so at least she looks happy.”
He doesn’t even look at Melanie. He looks at me in the most intense way, specifically the pink strand in my hair, waiting for me to answer. I loathe that pink strand, but not as much as I loathe him.
“Nice tights,” I return, and gesture to his leather pants. “How’d you get into them? From the top of a building and with a pound of butter?”
I refuse to let his chuckle move me, but I feel it run down my legs as he starts approaching. “No need to use butter anymore. These pants are a part of me.” He holds my gaze helplessly trapped. “Like you were a part of me once.”
He’s coming closer, and every step affects me. My cheeks burn. The gall of him to remind me. I’m so angry. Years of hurt simmer in me. Of loneliness and betrayal.
“Fuck you, Mackenna.”
“Already done, Pandora.”
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1Bfzsis
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1yia714
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/11X9CAG
RELEASE DATE: December 9th
The fifth book in the New York Times new adult series that began with Real. When an angry, heartbroken girl is forced to be near her rocker ex-boyfriend, only time will tell if the fire between them will consume them both.
Pandora, the gothic friend of Brooke (Real, Mine, Remy) and Melanie, thought that getting her heart broken by her bad boy rocker ex could only happen once. But now, he’s back in town with the biggest concert of the year. Pandora hates him so much that she gets Melanie to come with her and play a prank on him at his gig. But when they are caught by security, and her ex himself is summoned, he decides not to press charges if she’ll follow certain conditions. Pandora likes none of his rules, or that he’s in charge of her, especially since they seem designed to make sure she’s in close contact with him again. But the closeness reignites the passion they once shared, and soon no matter how much she wants to hate him, it’s clear she’s still hung up on him. And worse: he knows it too.
Series Reading Order
Real (bk 1)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1I6ersv
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1w35g8N
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1zT7J31
Mine (bk 2)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1yXVZOl
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1tHrdns
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1zmq1cT
Remy (bk 3)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1vte5XF
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1w35lcN
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1ynVnBv
Rogue (bk 4)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1yXWrw3
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1FOFfJy
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1wvpqI6
Ripped (bk 5) 12/9
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1AoDcuR
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1yia714
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/11X9CAG
About the Author
Hey! I’m Katy Evans and I love family, books, life, and love. I’m married with two children and three dogs and spend my time baking, walking, writing, reading, and taking care of my family. Thank you for spending your time with me and picking up my story. I hope you had an amazing time with it, like I did. If you’d like to know more about books in progress, look me up on the Internet, I’d love to hear from you!
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1FPwwca
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1wtgS4E
*Hansel Part 4 is the final installment in this erotic fairy tale. Full disclosure: it’s a dark read. If you don’t enjoy mind-bending stories with disturbing twists, this story may not be for you. *
They were captives who shared a wall, and cut a hole in it so they could hold each other’s hands. Until he killed their captor, Mother. Then he disappeared, and as the world swooped in to save the Children locked away in Mother’s house, the girl called Gretel became…lost. No breadcrumbs.
Finding Hansel, years later, is the shock of Leah McKenzie’s adult life. Finding out how far she’ll go for him – that’s no surprise.
Leah’s given Hansel – Lucas, he says it is – every piece of herself. And he’s been both cruel and kind.
What they share is dangerous.
What they feel is dark.
Their history is twisted.
Their hearts already broken.
And that’s before the secrets are revealed.
My pulse quickens as I see a long lump on the bed farthest from where I’m standing.
For a moment, I think I hear him talking in his sleep.
For a moment, I think of sliding under the covers with him, just to enjoy the irony. We’re sleeping with a wall between us tonight, but instead of a hole he sawed, there’s a door he left propped open. For once, we can actually reach each other.
But he said he didn’t want your company.
I exercise my will power and tip-toe slowly around the hotel bed, so I’m standing right beside his sleeping form.
At least I think he’s sleeping.
His cheek is pressed against the pillow, and his unhurt hand is curled into a fist up near his chin.
I’m fighting the urge to touch him, battling the forbidden desire to lean down close enough so I can brush my lips over his damp hair. From where I’m standing, I can smell the shampoo he used. It’s fruity; sweet. It’s so at odds with his big, rugged body. As if to make me want him more, he shifts his hips a little, and the sheet covering his chest slips down, revealing huge shoulders, smooth, hard pecs, and the upper portion of his incredible abs.
That’s a lot of muscle there.
I take a step back, feeling exhilarated because he’s beautiful, and I’m a bad, bad girl for sneaking in to watch him sleep.
That’s when his hand shoots out and grabs my wrist.
I let out a little cry as he jerks me toward the bed. Then he’s sitting up. His hands close around my waist and I’m dragged atop his sheet-covered lap. He strokes up from my hips, over my sides, and over my bare shoulders, tickling my neck before he gets a firm grip on my face.
“What did I tell you,” he hisses, “about coming into my room?”
The Hansel Series Reading Order
HANSEL (Book One)
HANSEL #2 (Book Two)
HANSEL #3 (Book Three)
HANSEL #4 (Book Three)
Ella James is a USA Today bestselling romance author. Her books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the Movers & Shakers list and the Amazon Top 25 overall; two were listed among Amazon’s Top 100 Bestselling Young Adult Ebooks in 2012. To find out more about Ella’s projects and get dates on upcoming releases, you can stalk her on the following social media sites:
Subscribe to her newsletter HERE
Hansel swag pack including a necklace, lip gloss, and a key chain
Hansel 1-4 paperback (book four not to ship until January)
Title: For Valentine’s
Author: Kat Bastion with Stone Bastion
Series: No Weddings Series
Release Day: January 5th
Genre: Contemporary romance
This steamy nightcap novella, the fifth book in the No Weddings Series, takes us on a post-happily-ever-after adventure as Cade attempts to rewrite Valentine’s Day with his new wife, Hannah.
Wedded bliss. After everything Hannah and I have been through, we finally have it. Yet dark dreams from my troubled past continue to escalate as we approach Valentine’s Day.
Determined to fill our present with great memories that overtake all others, I plan a trip to New York—down to every scheduled detail. Yeah, there will even be a musical.
But Mother Nature has a few tricks up her sleeve. And the universe keeps throwing us curveballs…
*** PLEASE NOTE ***
Scorching (explicit) sex scenes.
Fire extinguisher highly recommended.
Continue ahead for reading order and buy links
About the authors
A few factoids about the writing team…
Kat enjoys her chocolate rich and dark, her music edgy and soul-filling, and her vacations exotic with toes dug into the sand. And she’s wildly, madly, deeply in love with Stone.
Stone likes pounding the trails on a mountain bike, vibrating the sound system with rock music, and down time spent on a stand up paddleboard. And he loves Kat wildly, madly, deeply…and then some.
Together, they’re having a blast bringing fun-filled romantic stories to life and hope you’ll join them in the exciting adventure.
Kat’s first published work, Utterly Loved, was a twentieth anniversary gift of love poems to Stone that they decided to share with the world to benefit charity. Net proceeds from Utterly Loved, and a portion of net proceeds from all their books, go toward charities involved in the fight against human trafficking.
Kat and Stone live amid the beautiful Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Visit them at their blog, website and Twitter accounts for more information.
FOR VALENTINE’S ~ A steamy nightcap novella ~ 25,000 words
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks
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Title: The Second Life of Magnolia Mae
Author: Angela Schroeder
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: December 2
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
Magnolia Mae has always had strange dreams, even before her parents died in a car crash leaving her older brother to raise her. Only a few weeks before Halloween and her eighteenth birthday the dreams start to come more frequently, her life seems even more chaotic than usual and the guilt that she did not stop her parents’ death is beginning to tear her apart. The only one who has never treated her like an outcast is handsome Bash, the boy whose eyes have haunted nearly all of her dreams.
As Halloween draws closer Magnolia enlists the help of her brother and Bash to try to discover what these dreams mean. Why does it feel like she has lived what she sees and why are Bash’s eyes in every dream?
“Why is it just standing there?” The memories of her dream creeped up on her. “I’ve seen it before.” It came out in a whisper.
Jace reached for her blanket and laid it across her shivering shoulders.
She pulled it tightly around her, searching for a form of comfort. “In my dreams, Jace, that wolf is in my dreams. I know because of the silver over its eye.” Her eyes went wide and stared up into her brother’s face.
“It can’t be.”
“I know what I saw.” Fire shot through her eyes at the thought of her brother doubting her. “That’s the wolf in my dreams. It’s always there, in every single one. Why?” The long low howl caused her to jump away from the window.
“I don’t know, M&M, I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with Dad.” His golden-brown eyes looked over at her wall.
The mural had been there for years; it had been studied and memorized by the both of them, especially since their parents died. In the far distance of the forest there was a wolf sleeping. Magnolia had always thought it was sweet that her father had painted animals in the forest, but the wolf was the only one sleeping.
“It is right there. Right there in front of you this entire time. Maybe Dad was trying to tell you something.”
“Tell me what? That I would have awful dreams about a wolf? Jace, that doesn’t…” Her voice trailed off as she walked to the mural and crouched down before it. The wolf in the painting had the same silver mark. “Tell me what, Jace?” Her voice raised.
He sat next to her. “Maybe we need to start going through their things in the attic. Maybe he had a journal or something.”
She knew from the tone of her brother’s voice that there was something else. Something he was not telling her. “Jace, what do you know?”
The muscle in his jaw clenched then relaxed. “When we were younger, Dad used to tell us legends of his people. He loved to tell you about a young girl who was thought to save them from a life of being outcasts, running from place to place. A girl who had a wolf for a guardian. She was supposed to save them all. She was their princess. Though they had no kingdom, they were forced to travel from place to place, searching for a land to call their own. Something happened to her, but I don’t remember what. It was something terrible, and the wolf has been searching for her ever since.”
“The wolf never died?” An eyebrow shot up into the air skeptically.
“It’s a legend, M&M. What do you expect?” He shrugged his shoulders and leaned against the wall. “What if that wolf has really been searching for her all this time?”
Angela Schroeder is a single mother of three. She was born and raised in Iowa in a river town known for its pearl buttons. Having four siblings she never lacked for someone to play with, as she grew older she found herself pulled into books and writing more and more.
Her parents are her heroes, her siblings her confidants and tormentors and her children are a wonderful blessing. Church is important to her children and her. They enjoy the friendships they’ve made with the people there.
Writing has always been a passion. Her first experience was in fifth grade when she went to a one day writing conference. After that she knew it was something she wanted to pursue.
An alluring and poignant, sinfully sensual and gutting story wrapped by a beautiful rock ballad that you won’t be able to put down until the very last page and still want more.
“The way you feel about her is the kind of love most women dream of. That, my friend, is some epic Titanic type shit.”
Gray met Jazz when she was fourteen and was brought to his home as a foster child and he’s loved her ever since. Almost a decade later and all he’s ever been to her is a protector and friend because he hasn’t acted upon those feelings.
As far as he knows he’s been forever slotted in the friend zone. But the truth is, Jazz has loved him just as much for the same time. And she’s tired of him being so close yet so far away and out of reach.
“All I care about is making you mine”
“You did that years ago. All the years in between were us just getting it right.”
They’ve been like two magnets constantly flipping over without the opposite ends being able to properly align, the perfect song with the harmony and melody just a beat off, can their love be enough to get them in synch?
“He was the lock for her key. The hand for her glove… He was her everything. Still. Always.”
I was spellbound by Seduced, Rocked, and Rock, Rattle and Roll, books 0.5, 1 and 1.5 in the Lost in Oblivion series respectively, and addicted to Twisted with its flawless writing and the best rock performance descriptions I’ve ever read. But even those sizzling bits of sensual bliss couldn’t divert me from the overall plot in which these two halves of a whole had years of unresolved issues that needed addressing before they could lose themselves in happy oblivion.
“She was his melody. His breath and his heartbeat. His very life, and the reason he still wanted to live it.”
I loved Jazz since I met her. She’s strong and sassy yet vulnerable and even a bit naïve because just like Gray, she thought he didn’t want her for more than friendship.
“My heart leads me to Gray… Always.”
She had been scared to do something about her true feeling towards him, but once she made up her mind there was no stopping her.
He was her constant. The center of her life. Without Gray, nothing made sense.
My heart had ached so much for Gray. He has made Jazz the cornerstone of his life. It’s the kind of love that is completely swoon worthy but also unhealthy because his tortured soul felt he would never have her and had nothing to live for. And having nothing left to lose fell into a spiraling drug addiction with which he felt even less deserving of Jazz. I knew reading about him would be difficult but I never thought it would be so agonizing being in his head. To live with him through his drug induced highs and experience what drove and troubled him was nothing short of painful.
“Even his gorgeous perfect best friend couldn’t compare with a sweet white pile of powder.”
In the end though, it was so worth it when the book changed from sex, drugs and rock and roll to sex, love, and rock and roll because their love IS epic, and when push came to shove, they both faced their fears and each other.
“I thought one of my dreams had died… I never expected to get another chance. Now that I am, you can be sure I won’t give it up for anything.”
And even knowing that the road to recovery was a long walk ahead, they would walk it together.
He could do anything, survive anything, but he couldn’t turn away from Jazz. She would sustain him where every other drug had failed.
Jazz and Gray’s story was everything I expected from this dynamic writing duo and more. I’m not very familiar with their writing so I wasn’t sure how they would deal with raw issues. It could have either been the easier Disneyland version or the very difficult but real deal. I loved that they went for the later because otherwise I doubt it would have left me emotionally exhausted in the best possible way.
I must also confess I have a weakness for rockers because I’m a rock chick myself. So besides the love story I also I fully enjoyed how these two authors transported me to some of the best concerts I’ve been to with their incredible accounts and how their characters never veered from their musical natures.
“When the sweat was coursing down his face, the salt burning on his lips and tongue, and his fingers were climbing the frets, so fast he wondered how any skin still covered the muscles and bone, he tasted every note. Became them”
And have I mentioned the blindingly hot attraction and sizzling chemistry between these two was off the charts? They were like dry tinder waiting to be ignited into an impossible to put out blaze.
“Tasting her pleasure as he created it felt more like making music than he’d ever known before.”
“He whispered her name, the mystery and beauty of it, unable to hear anything anymore but the relentless beat of her heartbeat matching his. That was the only music he needed. The only one that still made sense.”
I also loved the secondary characters. Of course I had already met them in the past books, but for some reason I feel like I connected more with them in this one. Getting to know Nick, Simon and Lila was pretty fascinating. Where Nick had before seemed a bit of an ass, I now feel like he’s just a bit lost but is a decent person, Simon is just hilarious, and Lila is a ball buster! I enjoyed her role so much in this book I can’t wait to read more about her and her dealings with the band.
“You’re really that much of a ball sac, hmm? … I won’t call you a pussy, because pussies are damn fucking strong”
Each chapter alternates between past and present. So we get to know most details about Jazz and Gray’s history and what moves them into that constant push and pull. It’s also told from both points a view which allows us to have a rich and full range of emotions from both characters.
This is the second book in the Lost to Oblivion series, which can be read as standalone (it does rely on some past events but they are explained) and has its own happy ending but I still meant when I said this will leave you wanting more. I really can’t wait for Untwisted which is a novella featuring more of Jazz and Gray.
* I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review via Netgalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *
The perfect holiday novella to snuggle up with. Holiday Hat Trick, like all of Catherine Gayle’s books, tugs at your heartstrings and give you the warm fuzzies.
Mitch and Mia, and everyone around them, thought they belong together since high school. But Mitch’s job put a big strain in their relationship, forcing them to get a divorce.
When Mitch “Q” Quincey from the Portland Storm sets out for his three day holiday break and his three goals in mind, he never thought a deviation from them is just what he wanted but never thought he could have.
“I felt as though I had come home. But this wasn’t my home anymore. This wasn’t my family anymore. No matter how much I wanted them, no matter how readily they might still accept me, if I couldn’t be with Mia, I didn’t really belong.
Having her ex-husband intrude in her family holiday festivities is not what Mia had planned. But now that she has a better foothold on herself and life, could Mitch’s unexpected visit be the perfect second chance to have it all?
“He was air, and he brought the dying parts of me back to life, filled the hollowness with a desperate sort of hope.”
I love how Catherine make us feel for these characters who easily find a way to your heart with their charm and all around good, loving nature. It was so sweet how family and friends teamed to give these two the nudged they needed. It was equally pleasing how both Mitch and Mia communicated to work through their issues. And let’s not forget about the smile inducing romance.
This short story packs a powerful fun, heartwarming punch full of hope and love and lots of holiday fun. Holiday Hat Trick is a standalone novella from the Portland Storm series (#5.5) by Catherine Gayle.
Amazon buy link -> http://amzn.to/1tqlfah
* ARC graciously provided by author. I am sincerely grateful! *
A story about mad passionate attraction and love between a brooding, tortured hero and a naïve, hilarious virgin who is the only one that has any hope in helping him. It was complete sexual tension escapism.
A quick note, this will be a two part review. The first is a hopefully short diatribe and then the actual book review. For those of you who want to get to the nitty gritty I’m going to hide my pre-review in a spoiler block, but there are no spoilers.
While checking out book lists I came across a pinkish cover with a shattered heart that coupled with the title turned my thoughts to the most famous Romeo of all time, and I was almost goner. See, I thought I’d spend December knitting and crocheting instead of reading. Who was I kidding!
I go to GR to check out reviews and I see it has a good average rating and that several of my GR friends want to read it. But the first two reviews from people I follow come up with a 2 and a 5 star rating. I’m more than curious after reading both, because even when they coincide about the angst and good writing style, they obviously differ in everything else.
Doing more research (probably too much judging from my review’s length) I find out this was originally a fanFiction story called The Diva Diaries (now the heroine’s diary entries make more sense). It also turns out, that the fanFic was originally based on the two characters that hooked me into reading: Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. The file has been pulled from the site for rewrites and publishing, but there were still a few out-takes which gave me some perspective from Ethan’s POV.
I just wanted to explain my mindset while reading Bad Romeo. Before this dubiously starts to look like a diary entry from the heroine’s book (I’ll remember not to comment on how weird it seemed that a 25 year old would keep a diary) I’ll get to the actual review.
While trying to get into a most prestigious school of arts, emotionally challenged but incredibly talented Ethan Holt meets equally gifted Cassandra Taylor. And although their onstage chemistry while playing the most famous star crossed lovers of all time is remarkable, their offstage connection runs even deeper, frightening Ethan into strengthening his emotional armor. But even when Cassie is compliant with the rest of the world, she’s fiery and determined with Ethan and she’ll stop at nothing to get past the walls he’s erected.
“I’m going to ruin you for all other women.”
But even after their three years in school and in a relationship, Ethan seems to still be fearful of failure, rejection and being a Bad Romeo. Deciding to walk away from Cassie right after graduation.
“I thought I was cutting the cancer that was me out of your life.”
Three years later he has realized that leaving her was the biggest mistake of his life. He’s matured, grown and sought help to better himself because failure to get the woman he loves is not an option. Can he convince a now bitter and jaded Cassandra?
“We’ve never been over. You know it as well as I do. Even when I was halfway around the world and you hated my guts, we weren’t over.”
Bad Romeo starts off in present time when Cassie and Ethan have once again been cast opposite one another in a romantic Broadway play. And while she’s angry at Ethan, there’s no denying their attraction and the fact that her feelings for him haven’t died but been buried deep. The story and even Cassie’s diary entries alternate between past and present while revealing their story.
I wasn’t sure I would like Cassie at first. I like strong, independent woman, so reading solely from the perspective a girl with no identity or backbone seemed unappealing. But besides me understanding where that lack of character came from, she could laugh at herself,
“If there were a Nation of Stupid People, I would be their queen.”
she was general funny especially when it came to her obsession with vaginas, penises and sex,
“You rubbed your girl flower on his love muscle.”
and was forward when it came to Ethan.
And Ethan, the ultimate tortured soul, completely opposed to love, but was sweet and even fragil underneath his moodiness. He had betrayal and abandonment issues and knew he was not an easy person to get along with. He tried so hard to resist and push away Cassie. For her sake as well as his.
“If Romeo thought he loved Rosaline and she broke his heart, why wouldn’t he be terrified of Juliet, considering his connection to her is a hundred times stronger?”
Even though I had read the outtakes from his perspective, we get to know him slowly and once I got a better picture I understood where he was coming from.
I really enjoyed their love-to-hate-you parrying, even when at times it felt like two children were arguing.
“It’s an I’m-a-dick-achino”
“Huh. Smells like plain old hot chocolate to me.”
“Yeah, well, it turns out they were out of dick-achinos. I offered to make some more, but they said I was overqualified.”
Not to mention their scorching intense connection.
“The way we react to each other is elemental. Candle wax and flame.”
I did feel that their present story never really moved forward and their past was only half told. But I never felt any angst, probably due to my research (see hidden diatribe) and because I found the author’s hints telling of what was to come. I also thought that since Romeo+Juliet is such a timeless classic, I would get some sort of rinse, wash and repeat of it. But I found more similarities with Twilight and given its origin, it would have been weird not to.
In the end the writing was addictive. I smiled, swooned (I wish I could share all the swoon worthy highlights) and had some pretty good laughs while reading Ethan and Cassie’s story. I would’ve liked to have read Broken Juliet immediately after to see if my unresolved questions get answers.
I recommend this book if you like coming of age and second chance romances. There is no cheating, no triangle and no happy ending but certainly the promise of one in the next book.
“Sometimes it’s not about trying to fix something that’s broken. Sometimes it’s about starting again and building something new. Something better.”
* I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review via Netgalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *