Review: Lucky in Love by Kasie West

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*ARC provided by Scholastic in exchange for an honest review*
This is the third book I’ve read by Kasie West and unfortunately it wasn’t up my alley. I think my excitement over a new West novel might have been my downfall.
This story follows Maddie as she’s getting ready to graduate high school and is on the look out for acceptance letters from colleges. She works at a zoo and we see her turn 18 early on in the novel. She ends up celebrating it by buying a lottery ticket. The lottery ticket turns out being the winning ticket and it flips her entire life upside down. She was invisible at school and now she isn’t so we get to witness how the spotlight mends and breaks certain parts of her life.
Every word out of her mouth made me reel with disappointment and rage at every turn of the page. She was beyond naive and every one of her decisions/actions made my stomach clench with anxiety. I wanted to shake some sense into that girl far too many times to count and it wasn’t a fun experience. On the other hand, I really liked that the chapters were short. It was easy to get through without tearing my hair out over my dislike of Maddie.
I also didn’t like how this book was immensely predictable. No character managed to capture my interest except for Seth and the zoo animals. He was the only one that actually made me laugh every now and then and made the book a little bit entertaining.
I love YA, but sadly, this book was a bit TOO juvenile for me. My favorite part out of the entire novel were the last 2 chapters. I couldn’t help but wish the entire book were as cute as the very last chapter.
Even though I didn’t like this novel, it doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on Kasie. I am still holding on to hope that I will like the rest of her novels as much as I loved The Fill-In Boyfriend.

2.5/5 stars

Review: The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova & Release Day Signing Photos!

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My review:

*ARC provided by Keymaster Press in exchange for an honest review*
“Your song will flat, I fear, since I have heard the truth of its melody.”
(I am still in shock over this book… I have no idea how to make my emotions known but I will definitely try for all of you.)
This is the sequel to the beauty that was The Alchemists of Loom. (If you haven’t read it yet, go go go!) I have to take a second to praise Kova’s sequels for never EVER falling flat to her readers but doing the exact opposite. I already know that I will always love anything from Elise Kova but this book took my awe to a whole new level. I will always treasure Air Awakens with my entire being but I think DoN has officially become THE book I’ll recommend from Elise until my last breath. I think a lot of it has to do with this being an adult novel/series. It didn’t restrain the force that is Elise Kova and boy, did it pay off. This book to her epicness to new heights and I can’t wait to see what she does with book 3!!!!
“No half measures.” Yveun might speak the words, but Elise Kova is the embodiment of such a phrase. Her writing is beyond savage and unusually tender at the same time. She played my emotions like a ukulele and I loved every second of it. You can do that anytime, Elise!
This novel takes place in a new setting, Nova, the Dragon Land, and I loved witnessing Ari and Cva switching roles because of it. Ari is now the one out of her element and the journey she let us see through her eyes was nothing short of interesting.
As greedy as I’ve become for every detail of these characters, I was also equally greedy for details of the world around them. This rarely happens since I’m usually too focused on the characters to even think about the setting. Leave it to Elise to explode my expectations.
We are introduced to new POV’s and I honestly couldn’t choose a favorite. But if I really have to, my favoritism lies between Cvareh and Petra!! I am afraid to admit that I didn’t notice how much I missed my baby Cva until my first sighting of him in this book. I swooned and died on the spot, only to be resurrected by his adorable quirkiness. That man is something else, and I love him beyond belief. Also… Holy Gods. I appreciated Petra in TAoL but I ADORE that woman now. She’s my role model from now on and I will live only to make her brutal majesty proud. Arianna also blew me away in this novel. She is the definition of BADASS but she took it to- you guessed it-new heights. The character developments were beyond magical and oh so fulfilling.
Another thing that I deeply appreciate about this series is how diverse it is. It’s navigated in a subtle and perfect way, just how diversity should always be handled. The chapters were short so even though there are a few characters to keep track of, it was fairly easy to devour.
The ending has me super excited -and nervous- about what is to happen but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pumped for the most part!!

6.5 stars!!!


Dragons of Nova (2)

As many of you know, I spent release day with Elise Kova herself! (Which is why this review is being posted the day after.) My friend Myranda took me with her to the San Mateo signing and I am forever grateful! I went Live on my Instagram for a bit of it but here are some pictures I took! This was my second time meeting her and I also got to see some of my other fellow book-loving friends! Elise Kova’s signings are always extremely laid back and it just feels like a reunion with best friends. She had some pre-order swag available so if you are ever on the fence about going to her signings, (I don’t know why you would be in the first place) go for the swag!

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She caught me taking selfies with her in the background so this happened:

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Can you tell I’m trying not to laugh? Haha


And then we had a Tower Guard group shot!

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And last but not least, selfies with the Dragon Queen!

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This was such a fun event and I can’t wait for the next! Thank you Elise for writing and making me cry with every book you put out!

Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett!

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This was my first read by Jenn and I really can’t wait to read more from her.
This time, I’ll start with what I didn’t like so I can only focus on the good after. The only thing that made me feel robbed as a reader was the fact that the dust jacket gave the entire plot away. Usually, I don’t care, but it gave away a major plot twist and I’m not a happy camper about it. It could’ve done without it. So, my advice to you, is to NOT read the dust jacket (if you haven’t already) nor the Goodreads synopsis. Because of this, I already knew everything that would happen in the second half of the book and I don’t like being proved right when it comes to reading.
With that said, I would like to go on to everything I loved about this book.
The premise was so intriguing that I had to read it as soon as I got home from buying it. I am always interested in books revolving around friendships that originated on the internet since it’s relatable in this time and age. Even more for me because I actually met an Alex online that yes, I had a crush on, and would have loved to meet in person one day. But sadly, we fell out of touch and that was that.
This book was super cute and adorable from the very beginning which blew my expectations (which were quite ‘meh’ to begin with due to the synopsis telling me everything) away because it only got even more adorable from there.
We follow Mink, a film fanatic who has just moved to California where her online crush, Alex, coincidentally lives. She’s not stalking the guy, if that’s what you were thinking. She has her reasons and I really liked digging into her past which isn’t spoken about much. My favorite part of this book, besides the romance, was watching the dynamic between Mink and her dad. It always makes me feel a pang of jealousy whenever a main character is close to one (or both) of their parents because that is so far out of my reality that it astounds me. We get to see her character develop in a believable pace and I enjoyed watching it play out; She’s the type of person to keep everything bottled up due to her dislike of confrontation and watching her open up was a treat within itself. I quite enjoyed being in her head and I thought this book was too short for me even as it almost reached 400 pages.
I also loved, loved, loved, Porter beyond belief!!!! Porter is the security guard at Mink’s new summer job and I couldn’t get enough of the two. Porter is a guy that loves with everything he has and will do everything he absolutely can in order to protect them. He’s an amazing listener and his humor was always making me cry from laughter. He’s a surfer, loves quizzes, and is part Hawaiian which was a delightful addition to the story; We learned quite a bit of their culture through him. I would like to meet my very own Porter, if that isn’t too much to ask. Please and thank you! Also, his dynamic with his family was super sweet to witness.
The diversity in this book was phenomenal and it made California sound like a magical place. From someone who has lived here her entire life, I don’t know if I would call it ‘magical’ but it does have a certain charm. At least, some places do. I also really loved how my beautiful home town, San Jose, made a few cameos throughout the story. It made me yearn for more details of it since I miss living there and added to reading my experience.
Moving on to Alex. I liked seeing the messages he would send Mink and I could tell just how important she was to him. Their relationship was cute and it made the story even more enjoyable. The ending left me a smiling maniac and questioning why my life isn’t as cute as Mink’s…

4.8/5 stars!

Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan!

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*ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review*
“We never get lost
And
When I wake
I fear that our love will never be
Found.”
This was my first book by Sarah and Brain I was quickly blown away by them. I’ll admit, I was intimidated by this book as soon as I found out that it was written in verse. I’ve never read a book like this and honestly, it was way out of my comfort zone. I always feel like I won’t understand what the authors are trying to tell me but I’m glad this wasn’t the case here. I finally made up my mind to binge read this before I fell asleep yesterday and I ended up reading it in less than 2 hours. Because of that, I have officially fallen in love with verse books and I can’t wait to get my hands on more like it. I loved that the writing worked completely in its favor. It didn’t impede the message of the book to get lost in translation and it made me feel just as much as any regular written book ever has.
This book is dual POV and it was separated into 3 parts. It follows Nicu, an emigrated Romanian and Jess, as their lives entwine when they are both sent to the same place after getting arrested for stealing.
My heart was completely stolen by Nicu from the very beginning and it’s not just because he was the male lead. The way he expressed himself quickly told me that he had one of the sweetest and purest of hearts that I’ve ever come across. His verses were written in poor English which helped bring the story, and his background, to life even more beautifully than it already was. I loved seeing how carefully he chose his words and they were never, ever without a deep meaning. His humor made me smile until it hurt every single time and I just couldn’t get enough of him. I saw him as a little brother and I wanted to reach into the pages to comfort him at every turn. I was also really impressed by how Sarah and Brian didn’t need to tell us which POV we were reading. Jess and Nicu had their own unique voices that were easily distinguishable.
This story deal with a lot of racism, abuse, and mostly everything in between. It tore my heart out whenever anyone so much as thought something negative towards Nicu and it made me tear up more times than I could count.
The only reason I didn’t give this book a 5/5 was because I didn’t care much for Jess. Don’t get me wrong, I sympathized with her situation a lot but I feel like her character wasn’t as interesting as Nicu. I really liked her relationship with Nicu but I feel like she disappointed me more than not. They both had ugly lives at home and it had my stomach turning with a bad feeling in my stomach throughout it all.
With that said, I absolutely despised every other character in this story. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that I went into a murderous rage every time anybody besides Nicu and Jess were being mentioned.
Now that I have read this from cover to cover, that title is killing me inside. I will always cry and die a little bit every time I hear/see it from now on. Thank you, Sarah and Brian, for writing a book that will stay with me forever. Also, one more comment…. SEQUEL?!?!??!
“And I dreaming of you last night,
But my eyes don’t close for sleeping,
And it raining in my stomach,
And it storming in my heart.”
4.5/5 stars!

4.5/5 stars!

Review: Breaking by Danielle Rollins!

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*ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review*
This was my first book by Danielle and I am abso-freaking-lutely a fan of hers now! As soon as I read that this was a suspense/thriller type of book, I was all for it. No questions asked. The dark undertone that it seemed to ooze with every page made me too giddy for words and I wanted it to last a lifetime.
Going in, I knew NOTHING about this world and I just found out that I read the ‘second’ book in the series. They actually seem to follow different characters so I don’t feel like I’ve spoiled myself too much. No harm done! This news made me really happy because I’m dying to know more about this world and now I can read a ‘prequel’ as I hope for a continuation to this one. I seriously can’t wait to get my hands on it!! I feel like my prayers have been answered and I don’t have to wait for a release.
This book follows Charlotte as she tries to dig through the aftermath of the suicides of her two best friends. We get to witness as her world is torn from under her feet and she starts to question everything she thought was true. I have never read a story like this one and Charlotte was a unique main character, in my opinion. I loved seeing how she reacted to everything around her and she made me proud at times.
There were quite a few characters that I did not like but I won’t name them in order to keep myself from spoiling anything. But I will say that I really liked Zoe and the dynamic she had with Charlotte. It took me a while to actually get to that point but I am glad I did.
This entire story made me feel like I was walking through a field of landmines where the only way to get answers was to step on each of them . It ripped out many tears from me because there were some brutal events that I couldn’t stop envisioning. They were horrendous and it took a while for me to collect myself before forcing myself to continue with the story.
With that said, there was also a lot of badassery and savagery that I didn’t know I was in store for. A lot of other things caught me by surprise, and I am glad I didn’t know about them, because I would’ve been too intimidated to read this if I had. I really hope I can read more books as dark -and darker- as this one.
The only critical comment I have for this novel was that a few things were anticlimactic when it was built up like crazy. I still liked the story a lot but I would’ve loved for some secrets to have had more ‘unf’ to them in order to make the story a true 5 star read. Besides that, this is a story that I deeply cherish because it appealed to my dark side and I can’t wait for the next one!

4.5/5 stars

(Belated) Release Blitz & Review: Enforcer by Katana Collins!

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Title: Enforcer

Series: Harrison Street Crew #3

Author: Katana Collins

Genre: Gritty Erotic Romance Standalone

Release Date: June 6, 2017


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Worse than bad. Hotter than hot. These are the bad boys of the Harrison Street Crew, and they answer to no one. They take what they want. And what they want is you.

Ryan Gallagher is the one who does the dirty work. The brute force in the Harrison Street Crew, he lives to have the club all for his own one day. But the one thing he can’t have is Megan Mahoney—the one woman he’s loved since she was a teenager who needed saving.

Megan never forgot the all-consuming passion she felt for Ryan, her larger-than-life, wild teenage love. But coming from a hard, shocking past has left her broken and scared—and untrusting of the Harrison Street Crew. Ten years later, she’s back in Ryan’s world to claim a promise he made to her years ago. And even though she knows she shouldn’t fall for him, Ryan still has an explosive, sensual pull on her that she can’t ignore.

Ryan’s powerful love for Megan is the only thing that could ever soothe the tempestuous beast that roars in his soul. And when she comes back to him to aid her in a dangerous quest—a deadly revenge plot he swore he would be a part of years ago—Ryan can’t say no. He lives to protect this woman. He will die loving this woman. And as the stakes get higher, the love that they have kept hidden all these years explodes and goes further and deeper than either of them expected. But with a dark threat from Megan’s past thrust headlong into their lives, can their love win out?

Ryan Gallagher

[Goodreads


MY REVIEW:

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*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*
I already lost count of how many reviews I’ve written for Katana but all I know is that this won’t be my last. Enforcer is the third installment in one of my favorite series ever. Each installment follows a different romantic duo in the lives of the Harrison Street Crew (run by the sexiest men ever), while at the same time, delving deeper into one of the most suspenseful and intricate plots I’ve ever stumbled upon.
I was already shredded to the core soon after reading the beautiful dedication for this book. It hit deep and I had to take a moment to compose myself before continuing on. I want to take a moment to say that this book touches upon some dark and twisted subjects so I classify this as a TRIGGER WARNING.
This book follows Ryan, a dark, sexy, lethal crew member, and Megan, the daughter of his father figure. Megan has officially become one of my favorite female characters of ALL time. Her childhood was the worst thing you could possibly imagine, yet she didn’t let that break her. She made life her b**** and there wasn’t an ounce of her that was sorry about it. I loved seeing her journey in becoming a woman and her relationship with Ryan develop. They both have some character developments that left me fulfilled and proud.
One of my favorite things to witness in this series is how all of these characters are tied together. Sometimes I can never see their connections coming and I live for the ultimate reveal. I know this is something we all do with every book we read but I feel like Katana brings it out of me the most. I usually only care about the 2 main characters but in this series, EVERY single side character has a major role to play and, excluding the bad guys, I found myself treasuring each and every one. The magic of Katana is that if I ever find a character I am not passionate about, she completely changes my mind about them in the next installment. I love it when an author changes my mind or proves me wrong so thank you, Katana!
Collins is a mastermind when it comes to creating delicious men and plots to drool over. This wonderful novel tore massive laughs out of me while the sexual tension drove me off the wall. It lifted me up more than it tore me down so it’s a close 5 star!
The only negative comment I have was that I saw most of the things coming at the end. Either way, it didn’t steal away from the deep affection I have for every single character Katana chooses to explore and share with us. I can’t choose a favorite couple or novel of Katana’s so I won’t even try to. Also, the very last chapter was the most perfect thing I’ve ever read and it made me feel warm and bubbly inside as I melted with jealousy that it didn’t happen to me. I can’t wait for the next HSC novel!

4.8/5 stars


PURCHASE LINKS:

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 [Amazon US] [Amazon UK[Amazon CA]  [Amazon AU]

[Barnes & Noble[Kobo[iBooks]


 ALSO AVAILABLE

IN THE HARRISON STREET CREW SERIES:

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#1 Ex-Con 

Ex-convict Shane McGill is as rugged and wild as they come. Bad to the bone and back on the streets, he’ll do anything and say anything to survive. Even if that something means joining the one car club he had worked so hard to avoid. But there’s one person out there who can match him toe-to-toe…the hot mechanic pin-up doll of a woman with the body of a goddess and tomboy attitude would even give him a chance.

Shane McGill

[Amazon US ] [Amazon UK ] [Amazon CA ] [Amazon AU ]
[
Barnes & Noble ] [Kobo] [iBooks]

——

 Outlaw 3D Cover

#2 Outlaw

Patrick Flanagan lives outside the law. The cops don’t like him. The law doesn’t trust him. He may come at you with a charm and a handsome smile, but make no mistake—he’s as reckless and bad as they come. But when a total bombshell with stilettos and a power suit comes blazing into his life, this bad boy is about to be so, so good…

Patrick Flanagan

[Amazon US ] [Amazon UK ] [Amazon CA ] [Amazon AU ] 

[Barnes & Noble] [Kobo[iBooks]


  AUTHOR BIO:

 Katana Collins

When Katana Collins was younger and stole her mother’s Harlequins to read beneath the covers with a flashlight, she wanted to read about the tough as nails heroine. The perfectly imperfect girl with quirks and attitude and sass. And the anti-heroes who were anything but “Prince Charming.” Forget the knight on a white horse… she wanted the bad boy on a motorcycle.

So, now, she writes those romance novels she craved to see on the shelves all those years ago—the sassy heroines. The badass heroes. She penned her first romance novel back in 2012 and now, a few years later, she is an international author with 15 published books, in a wide range of contemporary romance genres (Paranormal, New Adult, Small town, Erotic Suspense… you name it!).

She lives in Portland, Maine, with an ever-growing brood of rescue animals: a kind of mean cat, a very mellow chihuahua, and a very not mellow lab puppy… oh yeah, there’s a husband somewhere in that mix, too. She can usually be found hunched over her laptop in a cafe, guzzling gallons of coffee, and wearing fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes.

She loves connecting with book lovers like herself, and fellow sassy storytellers, so feel free to drop her an email, visit her on her website: www.katanacollins.com Or connect on Instagram/Twitter (@katanacollins) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/katanacollins)!

——

 AUTHOR LINKS:

[Website] [Facebook[Twitter]

 [Goodreads] [Instagram]


WHO IS YOUR BOOK BOYFRIEND FROM THE HSC??

Book Boyfriend Quiz

Feel free to share your results down below!

Release Day Blitz, Giveaway, & Review: Detour by Kacey Shea!

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Title: Detour

Series: Off Track Records #1

Author: Kacey Shea

Cover Design & Photography: Marisa Shor, Cover Me Darling

Cover Model: Haley Loan

Release Date: June 1, 2017


SYNOPSIS:

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Trent Donavan is the golden boy of the rock world. As lead singer of Three Ugly Guys, he’s every fangirl’s dream, and with his newfound fame the women flow as readily as alcohol and drugs. There’s no doubt women are Trent’s preferred indulgence after a successful show.

That is, until the feisty little blonde joins the tour.

Lexi Marx loves music. It runs in her blood and flows through her soul. As the -illegitimate daughter of a rock legend, she’s determined to make it in the music industry on talent alone. So when her agent scores her the opening act gig for the next 3UG tour it seems her hard work, hopes, and dreams have finally come to fruition.

Until she spends time with the band. More accurately, Trent Donovan. She’d feel better if that arrogant manwhore of a lead singer would stop hitting on her with his dreamy eyes, witty comebacks, and voice that melts the most jagged of hearts.

But Trent is determined to prove to Lexi he’s not such a bad guy, and as music binds their friendship, Lexi’s left with the most confusing of emotions. Could this be love or an uninvited distraction? She can still have it all, if only her heart doesn’t lead her off track.


MY REVIEW:

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*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
“She’s my world your, my greatest award, better than any bestselling album or performance.”
This was my 4th book by Kacey and I loved it just as much as every other one of hers. I have to admit, I thought this was going to be completely separate from the Uncovering Love series but I was super excited to find out that I was dead wrong! I couldn’t contain my excitement when I found out that this book follows a hunk that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the other books. I didn’t want to let the characters from UL go and now I don’t have to. This new series is giving me so much hope! Kacey has given me something I didn’t know I was yearning for and hopefully that shows just how much I love her work.
This is a rock star romance and it was like none other I’ve ever read. It’s a dual POV so it also follows Lexi, an up and coming singer/songwriter. These two meet right before they go on tour together and they both stole my heart right away. As individuals, they are hilarious and as real as you and me. But as a duo, they are that plus so much more. I loved how Trent showed his fierce, caring side right from the start. He was so perfect for Lexi and vice versa. They both tell it how it is and the way they worked through their problems was nothing short than awe-mazing. I wish I meet my own Trent soon because this book gave me all the feels that I didn’t want to stop experiencing.. I’m a bit obsessed with Trent, in case it isn’t obvious.
The only criticism I have for this book was that a few things were more than a bit predictable. I saw some things coming and yes, it put a bit of a damper on my mood, but I just shrugged it off and kept going.
Kacey is a mastermind when it comes to writing. Her novels always feel lighthearted and epic until you get slapped by a sudden depth that you can’t crawl out of. The rawness that Kacey includes in her books brings you to the ground while at the same time, everything else keeps you soaring. This is exactly what this novel was and I loved it even more because of it.
The ending was beyond beautiful and it had me bawling like a baby. I can’t tell you how many times I went back to reread it because I didn’t want to let go. I can’t wait for Sean’s story next!
“When life gets off track, sometimes a little detour is all it takes to set things right.”
Not recommended for readers under 18.

4/5 stars!


BUY LINKS:

Special Release Week price of $2.99/Kindle Unlimited

Detour Release 2.99

 [Amazon[Amazon CA]

[Amazon UK[Amazon AU]


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Kacey Shea is a mom of three, wife, and indie author who resides in sunny Arizona. She enjoys reading and writing romance novels as much as her son loves unicorns, which is a lot.

When she’s not writing you will find her playing taxi cab to her children while belting out her favorite tunes, meeting friends or family for food and to share some laughs, or sweating it out in the gym. Kacey finds that picking up heavy weights repeatedly is good for her mental health as much as it is for the physical.

She has an unhealthy obsession with firefighters. It could be the pants. It could be the fire. It’s just hot. On occasion she has been known to include them, without their knowledge, in her selfies outside the grocery store.

Kacey one day aspires to be a woman hand model in a sexy photo shoot. You know, the woman’s hand raking across the muscular back or six pack stomach of the male fitness model. Yep, that hand.

Until that day comes she will continue writing sexy, flirty romance novels in hopes to bring others joy!

Kacey enjoys interacting with her fans so please feel free to stalk her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

——-

Social Media Links:

 [Website] [Facebook] [Instagram]

[Twitter] [Amazon[Goodreads]

[Book Bub]

 [Kacey’s Closet Vixens (Reader Group)]

[Kacey’s Newsletter Sign Up:]


EXCERPT:

REVEAL-WRAP-Detour

Enjoy this excerpt from lead singer of Three Ugly Guys, Trent Donavan from Kacey Shea’s rock star romance, Detour:

The dive is actually charming inside, with its retro fifties décor and twenty-four-seven breakfast menu. The crowd is popping for a weekday lunch, and with its location in the heart of downtown I take that as a sign the food will be good.

A no-nonsense waitress leads us to an empty booth near the back.

“This okay?” Her tone dares us to suggest it’s not . . . and end up with spit in our meal.

“Perfect. Thanks.” Lexi slides into the seat across from me. The waitress points to where the menus are nestled between the table and a dish of creamer, sugar packs, and other condiments.

“What can I get you to drink?”

“I’ll have a glass of orange juice,” Lexi says and then glances at me. “And I don’t need to see the menu. I’m ready to order. If you are?”

“Yeah.” I’m surprised, since most people scan the menu before deciding on their meal.

“A stack of plain pancakes. Please,” she says.

“You want the half or the full?” our server asks without looking up from her notepad.

“Full, please.” Lexi smiles.

The waitress pauses to glance at Lexi and raise her brows. “Mmm’kay. And for you?” She nods my direction more than asks.

“Same. Except coffee for me.”

“’Kay.” She turns and leaves without a backward glance.

“I don’t know how you do that,” I say.

“What? I can eat a lot of food. Especially pancakes. Don’t judge me by my size.”

I grin. “Not that. I’m talking about ordering orange juice.”

“You don’t like OJ?” she asks as if I’m the crazy one.

“I do. But you have no idea the pulp situation. Does it have none, or extra? How can you order a glass without knowing the level of pulp?”

She laughs and at that moment our server comes back to set down our drinks. “Pancakes’ll be up shortly.”

“I take it you’re not a fan of pulp.” Lexi observes and takes a sip from her drink.

I eye her from over the brim of my mug. “That obvious?”

She laughs and sets down her glass. “You’ll be happy to know there’s a low pulp situation going on. We’re safe here.”

“Thank God!” I bug my eyes and delight in the way her lips lift in a comfortable smile. Not forced or guarded. I like this Lexi. “Hey, there’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you since we met.”

Her shoulders straighten just the slightest and I can’t help but kick myself for chasing away some of her ease. “You don’t have to answer, if you don’t want. Just call me curious.”

“Fine.” She rolls her eyes but her lips twitch up with the trace of a smile. “Shoot.”

“Why Marx?” The words leave my mouth and I instantly regret the question.

Her eyes drop and her jaw hardens with her frown. She studies the patterned Formica table and traces her fingertips along the silver plated fork and spoon atop her paper napkin. Fuck. She was just starting to open up. Talk to me. Now she’s like ice. I should apologize. Or make a joke. An inappropriate one about her luscious breasts. Yes, then she’ll get angry. Angry I can do.

“Don’t laugh,” she warns.

My gaze snaps up to watch her still playing with the silverware. “Okay.”

“Swear it.”

I reach my hand across the table and set my fingers next to the napkin. “Pinky promise.” I wiggle my finger and her lips soften as though she wants to smile. “I won’t tell a soul.”

Her pinky slides along mine, and the soft brush of her tiny finger against my much bigger one kicks up my pulse. Her hands are so delicate and skilled, and fuck if my dick isn’t already making my tight jeans irritably uncomfortable. She squeezes her finger and I barely lock mine with hers before she pulls her hands back into her lap.

“I was a child. I can’t be held responsible.” She glances around the room before her gaze settles back to me. “But I had a major crush on Richard Marx.”

“The singer?” I press my lips together because I’m certain there’s a smile stretching across my face.

Lexi’s glare confirms my suspicion. “Not a word. You promised.”

“I won’t. It’s cute. What were you, like five?”

“More like twelve.”

“But you’re only twenty-three, right? Wasn’t Marx big in the late eighties, early nineties?”

“Yeah, well, my mom loved his music so we listened to it a lot.”

“You’re telling me your stage name is a shout out to the guy who romanced millions of women with his piano and soft rock ballads, all from a little childhood crush?”

“Don’t judge, okay. I was a kid.” Even she can’t hold back a laugh.

“Not judging, just finding the connection rather shallow for a woman who does everything with great meaning.”

Her eyes narrow. “I’m not sure if you’re trying to compliment or insult me.”

I wink. “Compliment. Go with the positive.”

“You’re delusional.” She throws up her hands.

“Says the Marx diehard fan!”

“Look. It’s more than that,” she grumbles and when I tilt my head she shakes hers, her next words leaving her lips in a rush. “God, I can’t believe I’m telling you this . . . When I was a young girl I had this ridiculously famous rock star dad. One who was a horrible father. One who never remembered to call or visit, and who made my mom cry herself to sleep. One who made her waste her entire youth devoted to a man who didn’t give two shits about us.

When I listened to “Right Here Waiting,” I used to pretend that my dad wasn’t Richie Sands. That my mom had gotten it all wrong. I imagined my father was Richard Marx and he was singing that song to us—my mom and me. That he loved us.” She gave a short pause. “So as soon as I turned eighteen, I legally changed my last name to Marx.”

“Two big stacks.” Our server interrupts by setting down our plates with a clatter. “Refills?”

“Yes, please,” Lexi answers. However, I can’t seem to move my gaze from her eyes. The green shines a little too brightly under the florescent lights while she pours way too much syrup on her pancakes. She continues with her meal as if she hadn’t just shared something completely intimate and personal.

“Syrup?” Lexi holds the jug over my stack and I quickly grab it from her hands.

“I’ve got it, Sugar Tits! You’ll give me diabetes if I let you pour.”

“What? I like syrup with my pancakes!”

“I can see that.” I grin and douse my stack with a conservative amount before cutting a few bites with the side of my fork. “So, when you’re not basking in pancake griddle heaven, what other food do you enjoy this much?”

“Chinese, Thai, Sushi. I love them all. But there’s nothing like a stack of pancakes.” Lexi shovels in another mouthful. A groan of pleasure escapes from where her lips lock around the fork. Fork me. What I wouldn’t give to be a piece of cutlery.

“And don’t think I didn’t notice the sugar tits comment, either. That nickname ends here.” She points the fork in my direction before taking another bite.

My lips pull up with a big ass grin. “I don’t know . . . ’Cause that I didn’t promise.” I pop in a mouthful of pancakes.

She shakes her head, rolls those eyes, and takes a sip of juice. “Hey, Trent.” She glances down at her plate, using her fork to push around the sopping mess she’s made of a perfectly delicious breakfast.

“Yeah?”

“I never said thank you.” She lifts her gaze and those eyes pierce me with their sincerity. “Thank you.”

I lick my lips and take a big gulp of coffee. “You’re welcome. For what exactly?”

She smiles and taps her fork against the plate. “Why did you bring me on your bus in Oklahoma?”

That night fills me with sadness and I rub my hands through my hair. “To keep you safe.”

“That’s it? No ulterior motives?”

“Lexi, that night, I . . . There was no way I was letting you sleep in Big Betty. Not after what happened. What could have happened. No. I just needed to keep you safe. The best way to do that was in our bus. Simple.”

She scoops up her drenched pancake and brings it to her lips. Oh, those damn lips. “Well, then, thank you,” she whispers before the food goes inside her mouth and she does the groan again.

It’s all I can do to not pounce over the table, claim those lips, and join her in the sound.

“And thanks for not trying to get in my pants.” She grins, wider now, and I feel as though she’s playing some kind of mindfuck game. She’s gotta be on to me, inside my head, knowing I’ve been thinking unprofessional thoughts throughout this entire breakfast.

“Who says I’m not trying to do that?” I go with humor, always my best defense, and it works when she laughs aloud.

“You’re such a manwhore.”

“You got me.” I join in her laugher and pray my little obsession with her mouth dissipates the further into this tour we go. Lexi is a cool chick, more down to earth than I ever imagined, and she deserves the best. More than I could ever give, that much is true.

Pick up your copy to find out what happens next!

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