Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Excerpt Reveal: RIDE HARD by Laura Kaye

RIDE HARD - Excerpt Reveal banner


We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Excerpt Reveal for Laura Kaye’s RIDE HARD! A sexy romantic suspense, RIDE HARD takes you on a new adventure and kicks it into overdrive! RIDE HARD is set to release Tuesday, April 26th! RIDE HARD is the first novel in Laura Kaye’s highly anticipated Raven Riders Series. Make sure you pre-order today and get your special bonus story-more info on that is below!

  RIDE HARD - cover

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Laura Kaye has something hot and fun and new to share with you today – a scene from her upcoming book, Ride Hard, the first in her Raven Riders Motorcycle Club series about a new kind of MC with a protective mission. You might’ve first met the Ravens in the Hard Ink world, but this series stands on its own and is even sexier, edgier, and grittier! So read on for a taste and see below for a free bonus story offer!

  Excerpt from Ride Hard: 

 So much better out here,” Haven said, the night air cool against the tingling warmth of her skin. Although she was pretty sure that not all of the heat burning through her insides was from the alcohol—her unusual flirtatiousness and closeness to Dare over the past half hour had made her desperate with a heat that had nothing to do with her drinking game. She walked to the railing and leaned against it, chuckling a little at herself for needing the support it offered. She felt so damn free, and it was a heady, exhilarating thing. “What’s funny?” Dare asked, settling a hip against the railing right beside her. Arms crossed, jaw ticking with tension, dark eyes blazing, he was staring at her like he wanted to reprimand her or devour her. Oddly, neither alarmed her the way she would’ve expected it to. Haven shook her head, leaning it back and letting her gaze float over the night sky. Blurry points of light swam in the moonlit heavens. It was beautiful and peaceful despite the pounding bass beat of music thumping from inside the clubhouse. “Not funny, just good. Happy, you know? Being able to do something a little . . . scary, but knowing I’d be safe doing it.” When Dare’s gaze narrowed, she shrugged. “I don’t know.” A long moment passed before Dare finally spoke. “You are safe here, Haven. Never doubt it.” Peering up at him, she nodded, all kinds of words sitting on the tip of her tongue, challenging her to let them fly. “It’s weird feeling safe—or at least safer—after a lifetime of not. It makes me want to try things I could never let myself try before. It makes me . . .” She shook her head and dipped her chin. Dare stepped closer, his thighs coming up against her hip. He lifted her chin and made her look at him. The contact combined with the command in the gesture lanced white-hot desire through her veins. “Makes you what?” “Want to feel alive,” she whispered, her heart suddenly racing in her chest. Dare’s jaw ticked again as his gaze swept over her face. She didn’t think she was imagining the raw emotion pouring off of him and wrapping around her, but she wasn’t sure if she was reading that emotion right or projecting her own desire onto him. “Do you feel alive, Dare?” she asked, the alcohol flowing through her and the night spinning around her like she was walking through a dream. “Jesus,” he bit out. The rough desperation in his voice made her wet between her legs. “Just once,” she whispered, not sure what she was asking him for. But he seemed to know. Because his hand was suddenly tangled in her hair and his mouth was suddenly on hers, claiming, probing, tasting. Haven moaned and parted her lips, inviting him deeper. Dare jerked back from her, his fingers rubbing roughly over his lips. “Fuck, I’m sorry.” On instinct, Haven’s body pursued his, pinning his back to the railing. “Please don’t stop,” she said as her hands gripped his shoulders. She had the strongest urge to climb him, to wrap her legs around him, to grind against the hard bulge pressing electrically against her belly. “Please,” she whispered, tilting her mouth toward his. “I liked it.” Dare’s hand cupped the back of her head. “You’re killing me.” “Dare,” she said, her body restless against his. In a move that sent the world spinning, he flipped them around so that she was the one pinned against the railing. He pushed his legs between hers and leaned down over her, forcing her to arch her back, to yield, to open to him.“Tell me what you want from me. Say the words,” he said, his eyes absolutely on fire. Her heart was a runaway train in her chest, frantic and picking up speed. The thought of giving voice to her desires was terrifying and thrilling and dizzying all at once. “I want your mouth,” she said. The words sounded odder out loud than they had in her head, but they were more accurate than asking him to kiss her—because her mouth wasn’t the only place she wanted his. “Jesus,” he rasped again, his mouth coming down on hers once more. The whimper she released was part relief, part anticipation. It had been so long since she’d kissed someone that she felt a little uncertain, but Dare’s intensity barely allowed her the capacity to worry about it. He was like a dark storm bearing down on her, relentless, magnetic, all-consuming. Rough callouses from his hands scratched against her cheeks as he guided her. Hard breaths spilled over her lips, and the wet slide of his tongue tasted like whiskey and desire and man. Her hands found the soft length of his hair, and her breasts pushed against the hard plane of his chest. Then her lips were freed as his mouth slid over her skin—exploring her cheek, her jaw, her ear, her neck. He hiked her up to sit on the wide railing, the move surprising a gasp out of her, especially as he crowded the space between her legs, pushing himself closer, bringing his erection against the place between her legs craving friction, hardness, so much more of him. Maybe even all of him. One strong arm wrapped around her back and held her steady, while the other hand stroked her hair, her face, her breast. The soft groans and breathy grunts spilling out of him were delicious and thrilling, and bolstered her confidence that she wasn’t the only one losing herself in this moment, in these touches. She almost couldn’t believe this was happening, and part of her was certain she must be dreaming. Because Haven Randall didn’t have beautiful things in her life. At least, never before.    

Get a FREE bonus story from Laura’s Hearts in Darkness world for buying RIDE HARD before April 30!

  Ride Hard - bonus stry graphic     

About Ride Hard (Raven Riders #1): 

Brotherhood. Club. Family. They live and ride by their own rules. These are the Raven Riders… Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile. Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could. The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before…  

Laura Kaye - author picAbout Laura Kaye: Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.      

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

ARC Review: NOT A MISTAKE by Amber Belldene

Not a Mistake
by Amber Belldene
Hot Under the Collar, book 1

Sometimes a scandal isn't a sin...

On the night she graduates from seminary, Jordan Sykes finds herself in bed with Dominic Lawrence, the ethics professor she’s crushed on for years. Two months later, she discovers she’s pregnant and is determined to hide it to protect his career. Maybe, if she loves her new church like hell, they won’t fire her for being a single mother.

Dominic knows the difference between right and wrong, and he’s filled with remorse after sleeping with his favorite student. He’s offered the job of his dreams, but he'd be a hypocrite to accept without making things right with Jordan first.

Dominic proposes marriage to save their careers, never expecting they will prove a perfect—and passionate—match. But can Jordan give her heart to a man who still believes the first night they spent together was a mistake? 

I've been complaining (a lot) lately that I seem to be reading the same story over and over again.  I'm in a reading funk.  I'm starving for something new, something different.  Then this little gem falls into my lap and I am happy.  

First, this topic is interesting, especially for the romance genre.  Not a Mistake features two faith leaders who engage in a one-night stand that results in a pregnancy. To complicate things further, Jordan is a new priest just graduated from seminary and Dominic is her former professor of ethics. He investigates ethical breaches between priests and members of congregations that violate trust. Their affair happens just after graduation.  So under the letter of the law, they should be okay, right?

I read this book to see if I could challenge my own preconceived notions of about sexuality and the clergy.  Having grown up in the church, it is difficult to see church leaders as “regular” humans. Also, having witnessed my church go through several scandals involving the people engaged in affairs, the idea of sex and church leadership represents human frailty and bad decision-making, not necessarily healthy human behavior. 

I really enjoyed reading this book.  It is unusual and gives great insight into the world of faith leaders. Amber Belledene brings her expertise in the field and delivers the story with care. Modern leaders, especially single leaders, must deal with multiple concerns that go beyond their congregation and their relationship with God.  They have to consider how as healthy human beings, they will express their sexuality. 

I like that these are upstanding characters challenged by what some might consider a "mistake" and the moral implications of that one choice.  Jordan and Dominic manage to overcome most of their hurdles, but they face on last obstacle to their happiness.  In my mind, I don’t understand Dominic’s reaction.  Up to this point, he overcome his concerns by willing to give love a chance.  I think this part of the story is very sweet.  His reaction to Jordan’s confession, on the other hand, seems very legalistic to me.  Ironically, this issue is an honest mistake without malice or ill will.  His reaction diminished him a little in my eyes. 

Educational, thought provoking, and highly entertaining – this book is a respite from my normal paranormal, high octane action, sci-fi reads – blessedly so.  I'm thrilled that this is book one in a series.  Looking forward to the books to come!
Thank you to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Book Review: FOOL MOON by Jim Butcher

Fool Moon
by Jim Butcher
Dresden Files, Book 2

I'm pretty sure I am crushing on Harry Dresden as evidenced by the fact that I'm starting a binge read of the series, and this is a commitment as these books are expensive for e-books. 


Harry Dresden--Wizard
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn't been able to dredge up any kind of work--magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can't afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses--and the first two don't count...

Harry is a multi-faceted hero. He has a high level of self-awareness.  He knows when he is at risk for temptation to the Dark side and manages to get himself straight.  He's conscious of the limitation of his powers. He is sensitive and vulnerable enough to shed a tear or two.   He is brave, heroic and very loyal. He's self-deprecating, despite his substantial power.  I love that he does not have his act together and struggles to be able to live as the wizard he wants to be.  

This story pits Harry against werewolves -all different kinds of werewolves.  I feel like Jim Butcher does a wonderful job summarizing the various types of wolves found in the UF/PNR - the Hexenwolf, werewolf, lycanthropes, and the loup-garou.  As much I want these stories to be light and comical, after all, Harry doesn't take himself too seriously and I don't want to either, this installment is scary.   Harry is terrified through most of the book and he has good reason to be. The one scene in the police station with the loup-garou will give me nightmares for days.  

It don't find the mystery of overly complex, but it does have depth.  The struggle between good and evil is nuanced with many shades of gray.  Intriguing. 

Given my new crush, I am curious if Harry will find himself in a romance triangle.  Karrin or Susan?  Susan has the inside track right now, but I don't know.  I have a feeling Karrin  will be making a run sometime in the future.  I cannot wait to see how this plays out.  

I'm thrilled to have found this series.  I am concurrently listening the Harry Potter series with my young son on audio, and I cannot help but think of Harry Dresden as an adult version of Harry Potter.  With tons of charm, lots of magical talent, and the capacity to get into a lot of trouble, Harry Dresden is a satisfying and highly entertaining read.