From the USA Today bestselling author of The Story of Us and Fisher’s Light comes a new, standalone novel—a heartwrenching story about first loves and second chances that will make you fall in love all over again….

 

 

 

Five years.  I would have stayed away longer if I hadn’t received the letter.Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about her, haven’t missed her smile, haven’t wished that things were different.

The last time I saw my two best friends, I vowed to not stand in the way of their happiness, even if that meant I couldn’t be a part of their lives. Cameron James and her emerald-green eyes were too much of a temptation and I couldn’t stay and watch them together. Cameron deserved better than me. She deserved him.

But now that I am back, things are different.  I’m not going to stand by and watch the woman I’ve always loved slip away again. I’m done living my life with regrets and I’m ready to tell her the truth. And I’ll do whatever it takes to show her that I always wished she was mine.

Book Links:  AmazonB&N  | iBooks  |  Kobo 

(Links on this post contain Amazon affiliate link)

 

 

Giveaway

 

Enter to win 1 of 15 free ebook downloads of The Story of Us!

(courtesy of Forever Romance)

 


read more

Review: The Sumage Solution by G.L. Carriger

Review: The Sumage Solution by G.L. CarrigerThe Sumage Solution by G.L. Carriger
Series: San Andreas Shifters #1
July 18, 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 313
Format: Audio
Source: Purchased
Narrator: Kurt Graves
Length: 10 Hrs
Amazon US
Goodreads

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

NYT bestseller Gail Carriger, writing as G. L. Carriger, presents an offbeat gay romance in which a sexy werewolf with a white knight complex meets a bad boy mage with an attitude problem. Sparks (and other things) fly.

Max fails everything - magic, relationships, life. So he works for DURPS (the DMV for supernatural creatures) as a sumage, cleaning up other mages’ messes. The job sucks and he’s in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there’s something oddly appealing about the huge, muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.

Bryan AKA Biff (yeah, he knows) is gay but he’s not out. There’s a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date. Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question.

Delicate Sensibilities?
This story contains M/M sexitimes and horrible puns. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. The ¬¬¬¬San Andreas Shifter stories contain blue language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not for the faint of heart (mouth/tongue/etc.).

This book stands alone, but there is a prequel short story featuring Bryan’s brother, Alec, the Alpha. Want to know why the pack moved? Read Marine Biology.

I can’t tell you how saddened I am to have not enjoyed The Sumage Solution. Well, that’s not exactly true. I can tell you. I will tell you. But, I’m not happy about it.

I love Gail Carriger. I love shifters. I love male/male romance. So…of course, this sounded like the perfect book to grab, yeah? For some of you who also love those three things, it will be the perfect book for you to grab. Though, it did not work for me.

Okay, quick breakdown. An East coast, newly formed, pack moves out to the Bay area in search of a new start for their members that don’t really fit in to what a “normal” pack looks like. We’re talking gay werewolves, inter-species mating, atypical alpha’s and beta’s. You get the picture, they want a place where they will be accepted for who they are. San Francisco sounds perfect.

Biff (yes, you read that right) is the Beta and it’s his responsibility to properly register the pack with the local paranormal authorities. Biff is not an outed homosexual yet, though most of his pack, including his brother (and Alpha) are. Biff was once married to a woman and he’s pretty tight lipped about all things, especially his own feelings.

While registering, he meets Max. Max is a failed mage, also gay and they have an immediate connection. Max has some family history that weighs on his life pretty heavily. As his and Biff’s relationship grows, Max’s problems do as well.

All of that ^^ is well and good. I had zero problem with the world Carriger built, and no issues with the overall plot lines. So, why the two star rating?

Two things:

1 – The language. Some of the actual words used turned me off soooo much. Look, I get that these are shifters and their ‘rough’. But the words spunk and jizz do nothing for me. Or, nothing good. There were too many occasions where words such as these were used and I actually, physically, cringed. But – she pairs these words with some other quite sophisticated vocabulary (if you’ve read some of her other titles, you know her usual style) and it THAT threw me off even more. We’re coquettishly holding teacups after we spunk all over each other?

2 – The inner speech bubbles. These two have a lot of random thoughts and every time, they felt off or just a little cheeseball. I would have much rather had a written description of what they were feeling as opposed to these strange comments happening inside their minds. It kind of gave me Fifty Shades inner goddess feels, and I was not a fan of that either. 

Like I said, I’m sure there is an audience out there who won’t find these things irritating. I’m just not that audience. It could also be that the narrator didn’t work for me…made these things sound stronger than what my own inner voice would have sounded like. It’s hard to say. I might try book two without the audio to see if I have different feels. I’m not ready to give up, damn it!

About Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger writes steampunk comedies of manners mixed with urban fantasy. Her books include the Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol series for adults, and the Finishing School series for young adults. She is published in 18 different languages and has 13 NYT bestsellers via 7 different lists (including #1 in Manga). She was once an archaeologist and is overly fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea.


read more
Chat Review: Grip Series by Kennedy RyanStill by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Grip #2
September 24, 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 434
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads

**STILL is the conclusion of Grip & Bristol's emotional journey. You must read FLOW, the prequel, and GRIP, book 1 before beginning STILL**

I'll be there.
Through thick and thin.
Ride or die.
You can count on me.

The promises people make.
The vows we take.
Assumptions of the heart.
Emotion tells us how we feel, but life...life has a way of plunging us in boiling water, burning away our illusions, testing our faith, trying our convictions.
Love floating is a butterfly, but love tested is an anchor.

For Grip and Bristol,
Love started at the top of the world
On a Ferris wheel under the stars
But when that love is tested, will they fly or fall?.

 

Technically, we will be chatting about the entire GRIP series: Flow, the prequel novella, book #1 Grip and book #2 Still. We can’t really tell you what’s going to happen here, this was an unexpectedly emotional series and our black hearts are just going to bleed all over this page. 

 

Q. Three words to describe the Grip Series?

Ali: I have three words. One for each book. Flow is the BONES of the series, the foundation. Grip is the BLOOD. Still is the HEART, the key to making it all of it work. Okay, fuck this. I have so many more words than just three. THIS IS THE MOST RELEVANT ROMANCE YOU COULD BE READING RIGHT NOW. And…you should be reading it. Not only for the romance, for the brilliant perspective on racial tension and stereotypes, or for the heart stopping words Ryan writes in regards to healing, or for the absolutely poetic way she has written these three books. But, for all those reasons combined. You will learn something from these books and hopefully it’s something you can take with you and teach someone else. 

Tiffany: How am I supposed to follow up to that?! Ali you legit just went Iz on me and I’m like stuck on stupid right now trying to pull up the dictionary! Lol. But okay three words let me try… POIGNANT because so many scenes throughout the entire series moved my emotions and forced them to exist outside of the space I gave them.  CONSEQUENTIAL because every action had a consequence whether it be hurtful or helpful, it proved how we all need to be more accountable in this world.  And lastly I think I am going to have to say LIFE, this book is real life with the added benefit of romance.  Grip and Bristol lead a LIFE we should aspire to have, their ever present awareness and curiosity in all facets of life are awe inspiring.  

Ali: You are so right. We should all aspire to live a life as full as them!

 

 

Q: Flow while just as vital as Grip and Still set up a foundation and possibly a tone for Bristol and Grip’s relationship, how did you feel going into Grip? 

Tiff: I was excited and oh so nervous.  I felt like from the start Bristol was this unknown of sorts. Grip saw her as this powerhouse and curious soul from the start and I loved that but I think he was the only one. Her parents and even Rhyson (at the time) for a lack of better words just didn’t get her or her motives. I don’t even think I answered this question properly but going into Grip after the many years later I felt “READY” well I thought I was ready, till Kennedy Ryan was like SIKEEEEE.

Ali: Same. For those who originally met Bristol in the Soul series, she was a mystery. She was intriguing, for sure, and you couldn’t help but be curious about her relationship with Grip. But, unknown, she was. As was he. So, Flow was essential reading to get that background and it made me so excited to see how things would shake out in Grip.

Tiff: I just finished the first the first book in the Soul Series, like half ass obsessing is not something I am capable of… I know though, I’m late to the game!

 

Q: Quick question, on a scale of 1-10 how much time do you want to spend on a rooftop with Grip? 

Ali: 10×10. All day. Every day. No questions asked. That man is sexy. And fucking sweet. Sexy sweet!

Tiff: The answer is infinite, I would like to spend an infinite amount of time with him up there while he reads poetry and does dirty things.  He is filthy, AND I LOVE IT!

Ali: Filthy is so true. His sniffing…fuck. Who would have thought that could be so fucking hot?

Tiff: FIRE! He was so dirty, I couldn’t even deal!

 

Q. Did Still go in any of the directions you anticipated?

Ali: Hell to the no, man. Nowhere even close. To be brutally honest, I expected more of what we got in Grip. Celebrity and racial prejudices getting in the way of a #gripstol happy ever after. I DID NOT SEE WHAT HAPPENED COMING IN A MILLION YEARS. And even though it was so emotional and I cried (and cried and cried), I loved that Kennedy went there. Brilliantly went there.

Tiffany: FUCK NO!! I am in total agreement with you, while they still battled racial prejudices I was still expecting that to be the main war. WRONG. I loved that you cried as much as I love the book!  You are greedy with your tears so basically it’s like Kennedy won a grammy. The direction she went set her apart from so many books right now, and it wasn’t just the direction but the execution. As hard as it is, I could live in that rawness with them time and time again, that’s the kind of s*d I love.  <- Is that a spoiler? I put an asterisk in the word… HAHHAHA.

Ali: Hahaha, like she won a grammy!! Her execution was genius. No other word for it.

 

Q: Racism and reverse racism were not issues that Kennedy shied away from in the least and the way she portrayed each side was so relevant.  But she also softened it for us and readers to understand and process it. Was there any one quote that spoke to you directly?

Ali: So many, but the one that stood out for me, is the one Bristol used to make a very important point. “Too many of our American systems are built on bias. The irony is that these biases are often inextricably, if unconsciously, connected to our own sense of superiority. The very biases that make those in power feel stronger, better, actually weaken them. Our biases are our blind spots, and we need others to guide us in the darkness of our own ignorance.”

This spoke so true to me. But, I also loved that when Kennedy was guiding one character with the words of another – it was done with patience and understanding. We see people, in real life, so easily write off ignorance with insults and more hate. It’s no way to change someone’s perspective. Kennedy showed it can be done with rational conversation and I loved that.

Tiff: “…Ignorance is a naturally occurring state. It’s not what you feel guilty about, it’s what you do something about. We are born not knowing, and our experiences feed us information. You limit your knowledge and understanding of not only your place in this world, but the place and plight of others by doing what you’ve always done and knowing only what you’ve always known. Position yourself socially and intellectually to know more, to understand beyond the scope of your experiences. That is how we evolve as individuals and as a society.”

That spoke to my soul and while I know so many of us do what we can we have to do more.  We have to try harder, we have to progressively move forward even if we are doing it singularly at first.  There are so many truths I feel this book will impart on us, I know it opened my eyes and heart even more.  I’m not blind to the injustices of the world but this passage truly made me dig  deeper within myself.  These words I am grateful for.

 

Q. Final thoughts?

Tiff: Quick to the point… Life and death do not care what color you are, what God you do or do not pray to, the amount of money you have or do not have.  We all enter and leave this world the same way. The first breath in and the last breath out, we may get there differently but it will all happen the same. Love who you want and be who you want, but DO NOT hate anyone for doing that. This book is powerful, something everyone could benefit from reading whether you are a romance reader or not. Also when can we read it again, because I want to see Ali cry! Hahaha!

Ali: Now I’m not sure how to follow that. This series is further proof that humanity needs to adjust our perspectives and opinions of others, but it’s also proof that we CAN. It may not stick the first time, or the fourth time, but eventually…we can learn and evolve. Society may struggle with this time and time again, hopefully in lesser and lesser forms. But as long as we have people willing to teach and to love, indiscriminately, we’ll continue to grow.

Gah! This is all so deep for a romance review. Then again, this is much more than a romance.

Save

Save

Save

Save

About Kennedy Ryan

Kennedy Ryan grew up in North Carolina, but loves living in Atlanta with her husband (tall – check, dark – check – handsome – check), and her handful of a son. Though she knew, like writers often do, that she was supposed to tell stories, the road to fulfillment has been paved with “some of everything” jobs that kept her family eating and living indoors. With her degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!), she has focused on writing for non-profit organizations and even doing some non-fiction ghost writing. Only in the last few years did she start telling stories again.

In addition to being a devoted wife and mom, she’s also passionate about serving families living with Autism. Her son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two, and she has made it her mission to help as many families as possible find the resources and services they need.

I am just as passionate about the REAL LIFE stories I tell as I am about the worlds I build in fiction. Some of these use my given TINA DULA and some are written under my pseudonym KENNEDY RYAN.


read more

Chapter Reveal: Exes with Benefits by Nicole Williams

Chapter Reveal: Exes with Benefits by Nicole WilliamsExes with Benefits by Nicole Williams
September 18, 2017
Also by this author: Mister Wrong
Amazon US
Goodreads

***He wants a second chance. I want a divorce. To get what I want, I’ll have to give him what he does.***

From New York Times & USA Today bestselling author, Nicole Williams:

The only benefit I want from my ex is a divorce.

We got married for all the wrong reasons. The one thing we got right was our separation. I should have known better than to think I could bet on forever with a guy like Canaan Ford. Everything about him screamed impermanent, from his wild eyes to his restless soul.

When I left him and the small town I’d spent my whole life in, I swore I’d never go back. Never only turned out to be five years. Canaan claims he’s changed, but he hasn’t—same knowing smile, same rough demeanor, same body crafted from sin and sinew. And yet, something is different. He thinks this is his chance for redemption. My disagreement comes in the form of divorce papers dropped in his lap. He refuses to sign them. Unless . . .

He wants a month to prove himself to me—that’s his offer. One month to make me fall in love with him again and if I don’t, he’ll sign the papers. As much as I want to say no, I agree. I can suffer my ex for a short amount of time if that’s what it takes to be free of him once and for all. I fell for him once; I won’t make that same mistake twice.

He says we’re not over. I say we were over before we got started. Only one of us can be right, and I can’t let it be him.

We’re pretty excited for this book and so thankful to have an early chapter – check it out!

 

Chapter 1

 

PROLOGUE

Goodbye.
It was the one relationship guarantee we could all expect. Whether it was death or circumstance, tragedy or choice, it was the only promise we were assured. Goodbye. It had been coming since the day we met, and now it was here. Sooner than I’d hoped. Even sooner than the sensible segment of me had predicted.
Still, it was later than maybe I should have expected out of a relationship with Canaan Ford.
I’d been waiting all night for his truck to rumble up the driveway when it finally did just past two a.m.. Before his footsteps echoed up the stairs, I shouldered the couple of bags I’d packed and waited in the shadows of the hallway. My paintbrushes were sticking out of one of my oversized totes, tickling the underside of my arm. I’d packed everything that seemed important at the time, but now, I wasn’t sure that what I’d stuffed in my bags mattered at all.
It was late, dark, and Canaan would be coming home exhausted, hurting, and some degree of drunk. He wouldn’t see me, and I could just slip away without him knowing.
Maybe I should have left before he made it back, but whenever I tried, my feet froze to the floor before I could make it to the door. I needed to wait for him to get home first—to make sure he was okay before I left him. That might have been a messed up model of morality, but most of Canaan’s and my relationship was messed up, from the beginning to now, the ending.
He struggled with the key in the lock before shoving the door open and clomping straight toward the couch. He’d stopped crawling into bed beside me after a night of fighting and drinking months ago, like he thought it would spare me the pain of seeing him bloodied and plastered. It never had. The black eyes, the swollen lips, the bruised ribs; they were that much worse in the light of morning.
Canaan had barely crashed onto the sofa before his breathing evened out. Still, I waited another minute in the hallway before moving into the living room.
Don’t look, Maggie. Don’t let yourself look at him.
I looked. Of course I looked. I never listened to what was best for me—if I had, my life would have wound up so much differently.
He was already passed out, sprawled across the couch we’d bought at a yard sale the summer before . . .
Before all of this.
One arm and one leg were hanging off the end, his face tipped far enough toward me I could gauge the type of fight he’d been in tonight. A good one by Canaan’s definition—the best kind. The type where his opponent got in as many hits as he did. The type of fight that made him almost question if it would be the first one he’d lose. Canaan loved the challenge, the fight. He thrived off of chaos, seeming to wilt when life was simple. I used to admire that about him, and maybe I still did. It just wasn’t the life for me. I couldn’t live life like it was a battle—not anymore.
He was passed out hard, but I still crept slowly toward the front door, my heart thundering as the boards creaked below me. Even though I was moving toward the door, my eyes stayed on him.
Look away.
I couldn’t. Canaan was the best part of my life. And the worst. The best memories. And the worst. He was the high and the low and I was so damn tired of the sick cycle I thought would kill me one day.
As my hand cupped around the cool doorknob, my eyes burned. This was it. As resolved as I’d felt in the weeks leading up to this, I felt like I was being torn in half by walking away. I knew if I stayed, this relationship would be the end of me. But at the moment, leaving felt like the same.
Lying on that couch, he looked so vulnerable. Almost like he needed someone to protect him. From the world. From his demons. From himself. I’d tried. God, I’d been trying for what felt like forever, but the only thing I had to show for my efforts was scars and pain.
One of his eyes was swollen shut, his bottom lip three times its normal size, and he’d split the same eyebrow open again. It was going to need stiches. Six, I guessed. I’d gotten really good as estimating the number of stiches needed to seal a wound.
A sob rose from my chest, but I managed to swallow it back down. He was the only boy I’d ever loved—the only one I’d ever come close to loving. In some ways, he was perfect for me. But in more ways, especially lately, he was entirely wrong for me.
That was why I needed to leave. We might have been good together, but we weren’t good for each other. I knew that now.
I opened the door slowly, so it wouldn’t make a sound, then I let myself take one last look at the life I was leaving behind before I forced myself to walk away.
Now that I wasn’t looking at him, moving was easier. Each step down from our little apartment above the garage came quicker, so by the time I reached the ground, I was jogging.
Canaan’s truck was parked right beside my old car. Ancient was maybe a better description of how “mature” my car was. It was almost like he’d known I was going to leave tonight, because he’d parked his truck so close I could barely crack my door open half a foot. Getting my bags tossed into the backseat and managing to wiggle in through the door was a tight fit, but I made it work.
The moment I was inside, I jammed the key in the ignition and turned it over. I didn’t pause. I didn’t flinch. The hardest part was behind me, and now I needed to keep moving.
Easing my car around the truck, I noticed the one light burning inside the big house in my rearview mirror. Grandma knew what was happening tonight and was keeping her light on for me as her unique way of expressing that no matter what, she was here for me. She’d keep the light on—even when it felt like there was nothing but darkness around me.
My throat constricted as I kept backing down the long driveway. I’d tried saving him, but it had cost me almost everything. I was taking what I had left and saving myself.
As I rolled past Grandma’s front porch, my gaze shifted from the rearview mirror to that little garage apartment I’d lived the last eleven months in. The door was open, light was streaming from inside, and a dark, towering shadow loomed in the doorway.
My foot instinctively moved toward the brake. Canaan was too far away for me to determine the look on his face, but I could imagine it. It came easy since I’d known him as long as I had. Knowing his face was like second nature.
He stayed unmoving in that doorway for a moment, my car doing the same. It wasn’t until he started moving down the stairs that my foot flew back to the gas. If he got to me before I made it out of this driveway, I wouldn’t leave. I knew it. Walking away from someone I loved was hard enough, but Canaan wasn’t just someone I loved—he was someone I’d shared everything with. He’d walked with me through the hardest part of my life, and I’d walked with him through his. We’d been each other’s beacon, shelter, and compass through all of life’s shit . . .
So how had we gotten here? To this hopeless, dead end of a place?
He was charging down the stairs now, taking them two at a time. How was he able to move that nimbly when he’d just been comatose on the couch?
“Maggie!”
The windows were rolled up, but his shout broke through the glass, sounding so close it was almost like he was pressed against me, whispering it into my ear.
He sprinted the moment his feet touched the ground, his long arms pumping hard at his sides.
“Canaan, don’t,” I whispered inside the car, my lower lip trembling as I focused on the driveway behind me. “Please don’t.”
I didn’t miss the shadow that had appeared in that lit window. Grandma was watching me leave, witnessing Canaan trying to convince me to stay. Before, his attempts had been successful, but not this time. I couldn’t stay for him one more time—I had to leave for me.
“Maggie! Please!”
Canaan’s shouts were so loud, they were going to wake up the neighbors a few acres over. Each word emanated like a blast inside the car.
“Let me go,” I whispered as I swung the car onto the street.
Right before I could punch it into drive and hit the gas, Canaan swooped in front of the car. His chest was moving hard from the exertion, his snug white tee stained with fresh and dried blood. His face was so messed up it was practically unrecognizable, but I couldn’t help seeing the young boy with a clip-on tie walk up to me when I was frozen on a porch step, appraising me with those wild gold eyes before holding out a tiny box. How had that boy, who’d saved me back then, become the ruin of me now?
When I revved the engine, he didn’t move. Instead, he slid closer so his legs were pushing against the bumper. He raised his arms like he was surrendering, his unswollen eye landing on me. “I’m not letting you leave. Not without a fight.”
A breath rolled past my lips—a fight. Everything was a fight with him. He couldn’t land enough hits or take enough. His guilt wouldn’t let him.
Cranking down the window, I made myself glare at him. It was harder to achieve than it should have been. “I’m not something you win or lose in a fight.”
His jaw moved as he pressed his hands into the hood of the car. “You fight for what’s important. That’s the way life is. And you are worth every fight I have in me.”
“You’re too busy fighting everyone else—including yourself—to fight for me.” My sight blurred as I stared at him. So little of the person I’d fallen in love with remained. So little of who he’d fallen in love with remained in me as well. “I can’t wait around, watching you kill yourself one fight and drink at a time.”
He wiped at his split-open brow, leaving a streak of blood on his forearm. “I can change.”
My fingers tightened around the steering wheel. How many times had I heard those words come from his lips? Those same lips that claimed ownership of my first kiss?
“Yeah, you can.” I steeled myself against him a little more. “That’s not your problem. Your problem is that you won’t change.”
“This time I will.” His head whipped side to side. “It’s taken this, you trying to leave me, to slap some sense into me.”
I’d tried leaving so many times. This was just the furthest I’d ever made it. “I’m not trying to leave you. I am leaving you.” I made myself look at him. I made myself appear strong when I felt so very opposite. “This is it.”
He slowly came around the side of the car toward me. I rolled up the window halfway, aiming my eyes at the road in front of me.
“One more chance.” Even from a few feet back, I could smell the alcohol on his breath. I could smell the sweat and blood on him mixed with it, the trace of perfume that didn’t belong to me.
“You’ve had a thousand one more chances.” I studied him from the corners of my eyes, knowing better than to let them lock on his when he was this close. “This was your last one.”
“Maggie . . .” His hands formed around the lip of the window. His knuckles were split open and swollen, dried blood covering them. Still, I wasn’t sure I’d ever craved having them reach for me more. I wasn’t sure I’d ever needed him to pull me to his broken body and soul more than I did right then.
In that moment, I might have needed him more than I needed air, but I couldn’t give in. Kicking the habit was the only way to cure myself.
“Let me go, Canaan.” My legs were trembling as my foot moved back to the gas.
His head lowered so it was in line with mine. “You’re my wife.”
My left hand curled farther around the steering wheel, until I couldn’t see the gold band circling my finger. “No. I was your wife.”
His head dropped for half a second, his eyes flashing with defeat right before. “I love you.”
​My chest ached. The man was the boy again, and I wanted to save him the way he’d saved me. But I couldn’t. The only person who could save Canaan Ford was Canaan Ford.
“I promised to love you forever, and I will.” My foot touched the accelerator. “But I can’t spend forever with you.”
His hands braced around the window harder when I rolled forward. “I made a promise. To you, and to myself. A promise to love you forever. To look after you as long.”
When I found my mind drifting to that overcast afternoon eleven months ago, my heart wringing when I remembered the way he’d stared at me as we repeated those phrases in the courthouse, I shook my head. Good memories weren’t enough. Hope wasn’t enough. Empty promises weren’t even close to enough.
“We exchanged vows.” My eyes focused on the road in front of me, letting go of the dead end beside me. “There’s a difference between saying them and meaning them.”
When my foot pushed down on the gas, Canaan moved with the car. “I’m not letting you go. I’m not giving up.” The car moved faster, his feet pounding the asphalt as he struggled to keep up.
“I know. But I’m giving in.” Breaking my own rule, I let my eyes meet his before punching the gas pedal as far down as it would go. “Goodbye.”
That was enough. Hearing that word shocked him just enough to still him. For one second. I didn’t ease up on the gas, not even when I heard his fists pounding the trunk as he struggled to keep up.
“I can change!” His footsteps were thundering after the car. “I will change.”
With him behind me, I let the tears I’d been fighting fall. Everything I’d ever known—my whole life—was getting smaller and smaller behind me. With every tick of the odometer.
“MAGGIE!!!” His voice pierced the air one last time before I was too far away to hear whatever came next.
It was morning by the time I stopped seeing his reflection in the rearview mirror, still chasing me into my new life.

 

 


read more

Review: A Strange Hymn (The Bargainer #2) by Laura Thalassa

Review: A Strange Hymn (The Bargainer #2) by Laura ThalassaA Strange Hymn by Laura Thalassa
Series: The Bargainer #2
May 27, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Rhapsodic
Also by this author: Rhapsodic
Goodreads

Siren and soulmate to the King of Night, Callypso Lillis survived the clutches of Karnon, the mad king, and his twisted prison. But the nightmare isn’t over. Callie wears the physical reminders of her time as a captive, and mounting evidence suggests the Thief of Souls is still out there.

When a fae celebration thrusts Callie and her mate, Desmond Flynn, into the Kingdom of Flora, they take their investigation with them. But under the bright lights and striking blooms of the realm, they find there are more immediate issues to deal with. No place is more uniquely savage than the great fae halls, and no amount of bargains can save Callie from royal intrigues.

Fairies play dangerous games. Some want love, some want vengeance, some want flesh, and some want things too unspeakable to utter. One thing is for sure: no one is who they appear to be. Not even Des, who only grows more enigmatic with every passing secret.

But the Kingdom of Flora has its own secrets, from bleeding trees to branded slaves and missing guards. Something is stirring in the land of all that grows, and if Callie isn’t careful, it will claim everything and everyone she loves—and her along with it.

The obsession continues.

If you didn’t see my reviews for Rhapsodic, book one in The Bargainer series, you can go read me gush >here<. If you did see it, you know that I fecking loved it. A whole lot. It’s my favorite book of 2017 so far. That said, I had very high expectations for A Strange Hymn.

Mostly, it lived up to those expectations.

Cassie and Des have to travel to the Flora realm for peace making and to continue the investigation of the sleeping warriors, missing men and creepy ass children. This really allowed the level of fairy treachery and trickery to be raised quite a bit – and I loved it all. There is little better I like in a fantasy than deceitful fairies, this story gave me plenty.

The romance was still hot and heavy, not over the top or graphic, yet a very strong aspect of the story itself. The reader really gets to know Des better in this part of the story. His background is slowly revealed. Slowly is the key word there. While I understand Des is a secretive and reserved dude, the pace of the story sometimes lagged for me with him. I didn’t always understand his reluctance to share information with Callie. Though, every time he did, you fell that more in love with his vulnerable side and that made up for some of it.

As for the actual mystery they are trying to solve… In Rhapsodic, I truly fell in love with how incredibly creepy this plot line played out. I missed that in A Strange Hymn. The new elements that were revealed are still quite unique and I was entertained and enthralled by them. I just wasn’t as fearful of them, if that makes sense.

So, those were issues for me. The pacing at times and the change in creep factor. However, the last 15% of the book had me obsessed all over again and that’s where I stand now. Obsessed. Waiting. Obsessively waiting.

I still strongly recommend this series. Thalassa is a strong story teller with a refreshing perspective on adult romantic fantasy that I think many readers would enjoy.

 

 

About Laura Thalassa

Born and raised in Fresno, California, Laura Thalassa spent her childhood cooking up fantastic tales with her best friend. Lucky for her overactive imagination, she also happened to love writing. She now spends her days penning everything from paranormal romance to young adult novels.

Laura Thalassa lives in sunny Santa Barbara, California with her husband, author Dan Rix.


read more


%d bloggers like this: