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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Blog Tour & Giveaway : The Fantasy (A Desperate Man, #1) by Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine‏

The Fantasy
A Desperate Man, #1
by Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine

December 16th, 2014


eARC received in exchange for an honest review

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Fantasies - we all have them. 
For some it’s their dream job; others want the wedding, the 2.5 kids, the white picket fence.
My fantasies are a bit more...depraved.
Dark and sinful, they have destroyed relationships and my livelihood, yet I still submit to them like a slave. 

For most, it’s a natural expression of love, caring, or lust.
But there are those of us who can’t stop once we’ve had a taste.
Those of us who don’t want to.
And the shame of that never-ending cycle will eat us alive...

My name is Evan James, and I am a sex addict.

Purchase links for The Fantasy:
Amazon | Amazon AU | Amazon UK
B&N | Kobo

Blog Tour Hosted by:
The Book Avenue


“Come here.” 

Evan James crooked his finger at the blonde currently shimmying back into her minuscule, tight, black dress. The same one she’d worn last night that had called like a siren’s song to his cock in the middle of the dimly lit club. 

She looked over at him with heavy-lidded eyes and held the barely there fabric still around her waist. His eyes zoomed in on the impressive breasts overflowing out of her sheer, black bra. Covered, but not enough. 

His mouth watered, and he wanted to drag her back to the bed and take hold of her ripe nipple before pulling the fabric down and out of his way to take her fully into his mouth again. 

After having had her so many times in the last few hours, she’d no doubt taste of him on every inch of her soft skin. He liked that. Before, she’d tasted faintly of vanilla musk—a fragrance he wasn’t overly fond of. He’d made quick, dirty work of her though, marking and leaving his scent on her with his lips, his sex, his come, and he figured one last go-round before sending her on her way would suppress his craving for at least a couple of days. 

He hoped. His appetite was voracious. 

“Can’t get enough, can you?” She leaned down over the edge of the bed and placed her hands there, giving him an ample view of what he wanted. Now. 

He narrowed his eyes. “Don't play with me.” 

Blondie tsked and put her knees on the mattress, crawling on all fours toward him. “Oh, baby, I told you you’d never want me to leave once you got inside.” 

She was right about that much. If he could live in pussy, he would. It was his weakness, his addiction, the one thing he’d give up anything and everything for. And he nearly had.


1. 3 things you never leave home without?

Ella: Phone, wallet, keys

Brooke: A bottle of water, chapstick/lip gloss, and some form of communication

2. Name the last 3 books you have purchased.

Brooke: The King by Tiffany Reisz, Made by J.M. Darhower, and a signed copy of The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

Ella: A King Undone by Cooper Davis, Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead, and Sempre by J.M. Darhower

3. Your biggest pet peeve?

Ella: Being told to talk in a quieter voice. I get loud when excited. It takes away the fun when interrupted and told to speak softly. ~pouts~

Brooke: Most of mine have to do with people being glued to phones in public, whether it’s during a movie or live theatre, at dinner with friends, or while trying to have a one on one conversation. No one’s in the moment anymore.

4. Favorite male body part?

Brooke: Eyes, always. Can height be a body part too? Because I hate being taller than the guy all the time.

Ella: Nice, broad shoulders.

5. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Ella: No. I think you can find someone extremely attractive, but to love a person, I believe you need to know them.

Brooke: No way. To love someone, you need to love all of them, even the ugly parts they don’t want you to see. And at first sight, they definitely aren’t showing off those flaws.

6. Sex on the first date?

Brooke: For my friends? Absofuckinglutely. I love hearing about it afterward. ;) But for me, probably not. I’m much shyer than I let on.

Ella: No. And not because I’m a prude, I just never have.

7. If you can be any fictional character for a day, who would you want to be?

Ella: Elizabeth Bennett on her wedding day (and night) to Mr. Darcy.

Brooke: Ohhh, good one, Ella. I’m gonna go total potternerd and say any character in Harry Potter. For the butter beer and magic spells, of course.

8. Write a short letter to Santa Claus and show us how it would like.

Brooke: Dear Santa, I’ve been really good for the last twenty minutes that I’ve been writing these answers, so let’s just focus on that, shall we? Ps – I’ll leave you dark chocolate bacon cupcakes instead of stale cookies this year if you put our book in everyone’s stockings.

Ella: Dear Santa, Just because my name made it to the top of the naughty list does not mean I participated in any kind of shenanigans. I was a good girl, I promise… well okay, maybe not promise, how about…I think? Love & kisses, Ella

Mikki's Review:


Hellooooooo Mr. Evan James! Where have you been hiding?! 

Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine did an amazing job with the first volume of this new, steamy, addictive and page-turning series! I have no clue how many volumes we are going to get in this series, but the only thing I can say is BRING IT!!! Holy crapola!!! This book was an explosion of erotically delicious scenes and two of the most unique characters that I have ever had the pleasure of discovering! 

I have a love and hate relationship with serials. I usually one-click if the synopsis captivates my attention, but I wait until the series is complete to start reading it. I did make an exception for this serial. I have to admit that the synopsis and the teasers that have been shared on many social media sites have made me super curious and I could not wait to give this series a try.

From the first page to the last, Evan James will captivate your attention until the very end. The way we find out about his every single thought is fascinating. Evan is a man that is controlled by a sex addiction. He can't control his behavior even if he's trying. The more I read his story, the more I got a closer look at the person hiding behind the addiction. I don't want to give anything away because the way the story plays out is what keeps you turning those pages! What I will say is that HOT DAMN!!!! This book was a scorcher! You have been advised ... Your panties will be melting off of you!

It is a serial so it does end with a cliffhanger. And, what a freakin' hot cliffhanger might I add! *Fans Self* Both these authors left me panting for more!!!!!! Gah!!!! I need the next one ASAP!!! I'm officially addicted to EVAN JAMES!


I give, The Fantasy, by Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine 4.5 fascinating, steamy, deliciously erotic stars!


About Brooke 

You could say Brooke Blaine was a book-a-holic from the time she knew how to read; she used to tell her mother that curling up with one at 4 a.m. before elementary school was her ‘quiet time.’ Not much has changed except for the espresso I.V. pump she now carries around and the size of her onesie pajamas. Her first solo novel, a romantic comedy, is due out in early 2015, but first, she thought she’d write a raunchy story with her best friend that would scar her conservative southern family for life. If you’d like to get in touch with her, she’s easy to find - just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that’s dominated her cell phone for ten years. 

Instagram: @brookeblaine1

About Ella 

Ella Frank is a #1 Amazon Bestselling Author. She writes both contemporary and erotic fiction and is best known for her Exquisite Series, and Temptation Series. The minute she began her love affair with reading, she became and avid supporter of the romance genre and has never looked back. Ella is Australian born and bred but currently resides in Houston, Texas with her husband. 

Instagram: @Ellafrank1 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Release Day Blitz : Bold Tricks (The Artist Trilogy, #3) by Karina Halle

Bold Tricks
The Artist Trilogy, #3
by Karina Halle

Release Date:
December 17th, 2014


Publisher via NetGalley


The Faster They Live, the Harder They Fall . . . 

Raised by con artists, Ellie Watt has a lot of crazy childhood memories-but none crazier than being scarred with acid by the demented crime boss Travis Raines. Now Ellie is a full-grown woman who lives for revenge, and Travis is a full-blown drug lord who kills for pleasure. The sadistic bastard has kidnapped her good friend Gus as well as her mother, whom he's been holding as prized possessions in his heavily guarded lair. And Ellie has only one chance in hell of getting them out alive-using two dangerous men who love her to death . . . 

One is Camden McQueen, a talented tattoo artist who's made a permanent mark on Ellie's heart. The other is Javier Bernal, her fiery ex-lover who's busted more than a few heads in his time. From the crime-ridden streets of Mexico City to the predatory jungles of Honduras, this unlikely trio forms an uneasy alliance in the deadliest game of all-a gun-blazing battle to the finish that will pit enemy against enemy and lover against lover. And Ellie must choose the right man to trust . . . or die.

Purchase links for Bold Tricks:

The Artist Trilogy on Goodreads

Lindy & Ria's review of Sins & Needles HERE

Our review of Shooting Scars HERE


The motel room was a lot nicer than the one we stayed at before. Sort of a Best Western, middle-ground quality of place. No roaches on the floors, no geckos on the wall. Shit mattresses, I discovered as I pounded my fist on the bed, but I didn’t care. 

Camden had just put the final box on my bed,Violetta sprawled out on hers in a state of drug-induced euphoria, when I noticed Javier lingering at the doorway. 

“I’m going to be meeting Dom in about twenty minutes,” Javier said to me. “Is that enough time for you to get ready?” 

I frowned and he quickly added, “You know he’ll want you there, if this is going to get anywhere. I figured you might want to shower and look nice.” 

He rapped his fingers along the doorframe, his mouth opening as if to say something else, then he turned and walked off. 

Camden eyed me. “I’m going with you.” 

“You might be kind of drunk, Camden,” I told him, though the determination in his voice warmed me like the finest cognac. 

“I’ve never felt better,” he said, enunciating each word. His eyes, my god they were still such a clear fucking blue, even in the pallid light of the hotel room. They bore into me with such startling clarity, sending shivers down my back like trailing fingertips. He would be coming with me. 

I wished he’d be coming in me. A vision of us in this hotel room, alone, him nailing me to the bed, the headboard banging, slammed into my head. 

“Are you okay with that?” he asked.  

I suppressed the thought, the flare of heat between my legs, and smiled quickly. “Yes, of course.” 

Meanwhile Violetta’s head flopped to the side, her arm still bound to her stiffly in the sling, and started snoring lightly. I motioned to her. “Do you think it’s safe to leave her here?” 

He watched her for a few moments, blinking a few times, before saying, “I think she needs to sleep it off.” He went and sat down on my bed. “I’ll be here when you get out.” 

I grabbed my bag of clothes I had brought out of the car and brought it into the bathroom. I had a quick shower, trying to rub off all the grim – both real and imagined – with the flimsy hotel soap, then picked through my clothes. Everything that had been in my trunk was musty and wrinkled, some even dirty. I had a packet of unopened (and decidedly unsexy) Hanes underwear, a bra, another pair of jeans, a pair of gladiator sandals that I thought were dressy enough, a pair of Timberland hiking boots, a plain white tee shirt, a couple of wife-beaters, a coral-colored blouse, a plaid shirt, and a light blue tank dress that went to the ground. I wasn’t exactly known for my fashion sense and even with the cherry blossoms covering the scars on my leg, bringing me beauty that I didn’t have before, I didn’t see myself branching out anytime soon. Dressing up in my old clothes for Javier hadn’t exactly helped either. 

I slipped on the tank dress, opting to go commando for the evening, and put on the sandals. I looked at myself in the mirror. Once again, I felt like a different person was staring back at me. This me, this Ellie, was tired and hardened. I rubbed the residue mascara away from under my eyes and applied a new coat. My skin was brown from the sun now and I didn’t need much else. 

When I came out of the bathroom, Camden straightened up on the bed. I felt strangely shy in front of him, especially as his eyes trailed up and down the length of me. 

“Do I look okay?” I asked him, feeling the need to say something. “I mean, if you can see me, that is.” 

He bit his lip and stared, a multitude of emotions flashing through his eyes, too fast for me to pick up on each individual one. I thought I saw lust in there – maybe that’s what I wanted to see. 

When he still didn’t say anything, I walked over to the dresser where I had my clutch purse left over from the other night at Travis’s and rifled through it for my lip stuff. His silence at my back was a heavy weight, laden with too many uncertainties between us. It was eating at me, burning through me, rendering me with a lead heart. There were so many things I had to focus on, to worry about, fucking impossible things, and yet I needed him to tell me I looked beautiful. I needed him to tell me I was something to him. 

I heard him get off the bed and walk toward me, that heaviness, that warmth that he brought with his bones, teased at my back. He stopped, close enough to touch me, and I was about to turn around, perhaps to do something foolish, when he crouched down. 

“How is my art?” 

His hands found my leg, one of them lifting the hem of my dress, the other slowly moving over the cherry blossom tattoo. I sucked in my breath, holding completely still, trying to contain my nerves that were firing wildly as his fingers ran along the ridges of the ink. He touched me gently over every vine, leaf and petal, until I had to supress a shaky moan that that tried to escape from my lips. 

“It feels fine,” I said softly when I found my voice. 

“It looks beautiful,” he said. 

 “I had a beautiful artist,” I told him. I turned at the waist and look down at him, my blue dress glowing in his tanned hand, his other one placed firmly around my calf, his strong fingers imparting heat that sunk deep. He was looking up at me, lips parted slightly. 

I couldn’t take a second more of this. 

I turned and dropped to the ground, my knees rubbing against his. 

I grabbed his face, his rough stubble pressing into my palms, and kissed him. 


There was surprise for a second, a hesitation, a pulse that refused to beat on. Then Camden kissed me back, his soft lips enveloping mine, his mouth opening to give me life. He put his hand behind my head, holding it there with power and control. 

My heart was an elevator car, the cable suddenly snapped, and I was freefalling and falling and falling as his lips and tongue and hot, wet mouth took away every inch of my resolve. The more he kissed me, the deeper and longer we found each other, the thirstier I got for him. I felt like if we stopped, I would die, empty on the inside and forever longing.

Mikki's Review:

Oh, Yeah!!!!!!! 

The conclusion to the fantastic Artist trilogy, by Karina Halle, was AMAZING!!! 

I really loved the two previous books in this trilogy, and I could not wait to see what kind of reading escape this was going to be! The other books in this series left me on the edge of my seat a couple of times, and I was positive that this last installment was going to be intense and emotional. This third book picks up where Shooting Scars ended. Javier, Ellie and Camden are running towards danger. To save her good friend Gus, and her mother, Ellie will do whatever it takes to get to them on time and to obtain her revenge on Travis, the man who destroyed her life. What she did not expect was to embark on this heart-pumping journey with Camden and Javier by her side. Both these man have drastically changed her life. Will she be able to get her revenge without losing the people that she loves?

It's really hard to talk about this last installment without giving anything away from the previous two books or how it's going to end. What I will say is that Karina Halle did an amazing job at writing the conclusion of this fantastic trilogy! Javier, Ellie and Camden form an alliance that is hard to resist. I am not a fan of love triangles and my mind was made up at the end of Shooting Scars who I wanted Ellie to end up with. I love both Camden and Javier. They have a je-ne-sais-quoi about them that pulled me in and they never let me go! I enjoyed every single scene that they had with Ellie and I'm extremely happy about how their story ended. I have to admit that I was an emotional mess in some parts. Some of the stuff that happened was unexpected and my heart was hurting for these characters.

What I loved the most about this trilogy is that Javier, Ellie and Camden are characters that felt so REAL. They always said what they were feeling and they all grew has individuals along the way. This story was action-packed and an absolute page-turning reading journey! I want more, more, moreeeeee!


I give Bold Tricks, by Karina Halle, 4.5 thrilling, steamy, intense, fascinating stars!

About the Author

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and the USA Today Bestselling author of Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920s farmhouse on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Cover Reveal: Asa (Marked Men # 6) by Jay Crownover

We are so excited about the cover reveal for Jay Crownover's ASA! ASA is the sixth and final book in Jay's Marked Men Series, published by HarperCollins. Check out the hot cover and don't forget to pre-order your copy today!

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Amazon US ** iBooks ** Barnes & Noble ** Kobo

About ASA: 

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one stunning arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best. Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak. A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.  
  Marked men Banner

And don’t miss the previous books in The Marked Men Series!






 And don't miss Jay at 3pm EST over at the Between The Covers page on Facebook today! Come chat with her! 

Jay Crownover

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE's BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saint of Denver. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter **

 ASA Goodreads ** Jay Crownover Goodreads

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Release Week Event: Kiro's Emily (Rosemary Beach #10) by Abbi Glines is FREE!!!!!

Kiro's Emily

Rosemary Beach #10

By: Abbi Glines

Published: December 25, 2014

Publisher: Atria Unbound

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GR's Summary:

The year is 1992, and no one on the rock music scene is hotter than Kiro Manning, the lead singer of Slacker Demon. With a multi-platinum record, total ownership of the Billboard charts, sold-out concerts, and sinful amounts of money, Kiro can have anything—and anyone—he wants. 

So when a dark-haired, conservative beauty rebuffs him at a concert after-party, his first thought is, “Who the hell does she think she is?” His second thought: “How do I make her mine?” Kiro has always loved a good challenge, but not every girl wants to get involved with a rock god. Especially this girl.  

He let her go that night, but he never forgot her. And when they met again, he vowed not to give up again so easily. 

As the world worshipped Kiro, he came to worship the girl, who became everything he never knew he needed. The only girl he would ever love. His Emily. 

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines comes a heart-wrenching e-novella in the Rosemary Beach series about the star-crossed romance between Kiro and Emily, first introduced in Take a Chance. This is Abbi’s holiday gift to the devoted fans of the series.

Book Teaser:



     I knocked on the door, trying hard not to be pissed that this piece of shit apartment complex with no fucking security was Emmy’s home. This wasn’t where I’d been picturing her. And I pictured her a fucking lot. Waiting with my hands tucked in the pockets of my jeans, I was trying to remain calm. But fuck it all, I had been waiting to see her face for months. Every time I heard her voice my entire body went on high alert. I couldn’t rein in its attraction to Emmy. 

     I heard a chain sliding out of the lock as the door swung open, revealing her in a pair of tiny little shorts and a camisole. Her hair was tangled and her gorgeous eyes were wide. “Kiro,” she said, unable to hide the grin that lit up her face. It was midnight. I had changed my flight from London to come here instead of Los Angeles. I didn’t fucking miss my house. I only missed one thing while on tour, and it was this face. Fuck me. 

     “I wake you up, angel?” I asked, stepping into her apartment with my hands still firmly stuck in the pockets of my jeans. I didn’t trust them around Emily. They wanted to touch her. It was then I realized she had just crawled out of bed. Her hands went to her hair as she ran her fingers through the strands, trying to tame them. But I liked it just the way it was. 

     “I... you’re here. At my apartment.” She sounded flustered. Then her nose scrunched up and she frowned. “Oh wait. I’m asleep. This is a dream.” Her face fell. Fuck it! I took my hands out of my pockets and wrapped her in my arms. She inhaled deeply as I held her to my chest. “I’m real and you’re very awake,” I told her, unable to keep the thickness out of my throat. She got to me. She was fucking with my head. Seriously fucking with it. 

     “You feel real.” Her arms came around my waist. 

     I closed my eyes and soaked her in. Pressing a kiss to the top of her head, I stood there with her in my arms as long as she would let me. Hell, I would’ve stood there all damn night if she wanted me to. 

     “I thought you’d be ready to go home. Aren’t you homesick?” she asked, tilting her head back to look up at me. “I was only missing one thing, angel. And it wasn’t in fucking L.A.” I winked as I cupped her face and felt her soft skin under my thumbs as I brushed her cheekbones. 

     She frowned a moment. “Do you mean me?”

     I hauled her against me and lifted her inches off the floor as I took the few strides to the sofa and sank down with her in my lap. She didn’t pull away, and God, that felt good. “So fucking sweet,” I murmured as I stared down into her face. I hadn’t made this shit up. She was better than I remembered. Fuck, she was so much better. That voice had gotten me through the tour.

Get the Book for #Free On:

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Launch Day Blitz: Kaleidoscope (Colorado Mountain #6) by Kristen Ashley


Colorado Mountain #6

By: Kristen Ashley


January 1, 2014


Forever Romance



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GR's Summary:

When old friends become new lovers...anything can happen. 

Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at "hello." His relationship with Emme's best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that's ever happened to her? 

It isn't easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she's a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme's always been the one; she excites Deck's body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme's past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she'll let him...

Colorado Mountain Series:
My Review of The Gamble Here
My Review of Sweet Dreams Here
My Review of Lady Luck Here
My Review of Breathe Here
My Review of Jagged Here

My Thoughts:

The Colorado Mountain Series by Kristen Ashley is one of my favorite when it comes to the Romantic Suspense Genre.  The Colorado Mountain Men and their ladies are like one huge family!  The men are uber apha males and the women know how to stand toe to toe with their men!  I've been looking forward to Deck's story, and with also being reunited with the rest of the crew.  

Private Investigator, Jacob Decker, has only been in love once with a woman named Elsbeth.  However, she left him because she wanted a wealthy man, and at the time Jacob was just starting out in his chosen career.  He was devestated and broke off all ties to Elsbeth, including his close friendship with her best friend at the time, Emme Holmes.

Many years later, while in the small mountain town of Gnaw Bone, Colorado, he runs in to Emme.  She has blossomed in to a striking beauty, and he has only gloriously fond memories of their intellectual debates, her fun sense of humor, and fierce loyalty.  Right then, he decides that he wants to be with Emme, and she's everything he could ever want in a woman, but was too blind to see.  However, there are a few obstacles standing in their way, the largest one being that Emme keeps pulling away from Jacob, and she doesn't even understand why.  Jacob is determined to be patient with her, and not let disconnect herself from him.  Emme will need to be able to deal with what's broken within her, or risk losing the only man that she's ever loved.

I enjoyed, Kaleidoscope, but it took longer for me to get through then the rest of the series.  There wasn't as much suspense in this segment, and there were fewer plot twists, which made for a lot slower pace to the story.  However, there was plenty of chemistry, humor, and connection between the main characters.  I loved how Emme became part of the girl posse, and there were some great times had with Faye, Zara, Krystal, Lauren, Maggie, Lexie, Nina, and even Twyla.   We got a lot of Chace, due to the fact that he is Jacob's best friend, and they are working on a burglary case together. 

Rumor has it the the Colorado Mountain Series is not over yet, and that Wood and Deke will be getting their own story as well!  I can't wait!!!  It will be a bittersweet day when I read the last book in this series, as I love it so much and each of these characters are some of my all time favorite fictional book characters.  

My Rating:

I give, Kaleidoscope, by Kristen Ashley, 4 Traumatic Pasts, Sexy Soul Mates, Sizzling Chemistry, Beautiful Prism Colored Stars!

My Favorite Quote:

"This was a kaleidoscope of beauty, the dials spinning, ever changing, but never anything short of spectacular."  (eARC, Loc. 3501)

~Jacob Decker


      I looked out my office window, down to the yard, my eyes to the bustling activity, and I did this tapping my phone on my desk. 
     I should be working but I wasn’t thinking about work. I was thinking about Jacob. 
     More precisely, I was thinking about calling Jacob, had an overwhelming urge to do so. 
     I was also trying not to do so because I had a boyfriend, even though he was a boyfriend I wasn’t all that sure about. He was sweet, he was into me, but he was just… off. 
     Then again, I didn’t have a lot of experience so what did I know? 
     Additionally, after my dinner with Jacob last night, within an hour, I’d called him after ten at night and now it was only eleven thirty the next day. 
     I didn’t want him to think I was psycho, and calling him would imply psycho behavior. Further, when I called him last night, I’d asked him to dinner, which was dinner two nights in a row with a woman he hadn’t seen in nine years, a woman with a boyfriend, and that was semi-psycho. 
     Okay, maybe it w
as totally psycho. I didn’t want Jacob to think I was psycho.     Ever. 
     But I wanted to hear his voice. 
     I wanted to connect with him on the phone. I’d missed him and I liked having him back. I liked it a great deal. I also missed him a great deal. 
     And I needed to ask him something. Further, he was the only one I could ask. 
     I looked from the yard to my phone. My mind telling my thumb not to do it, my thumb not listening, 
     I found Jacob’s contact and hit go. I put it to my ear.
    “I’m a psycho,” I whispered and luckily finished whispering two seconds before Jacob’s voice sounded.
     “You okay?” he answered. 
     He kept asking that mostly, I figured, because I kept calling when I didn’t need to so he probably thought something was wrong. 
     Or that I was a psycho. 
    “I need to know if you don’t eat anything,” I lied. 
     Actually, it wasn’t a lie. Although I remembered a lot about Jacob (most everything, in all honesty), I couldn’t recall if there was something specific he didn’t like to eat. 
     I could recall how beautiful he was, how tall he was, how strong he was. I could recall how smart he was and how funny he was. I could recall how cool he was with me. I could also recall how much I missed him. 
     But I couldn’t recall if he didn’t like chicken. But that wasn’t the only thing I needed to know. I needed to know something else too. 
     Much like last night, when he didn’t make me feel like a psycho, in fact, the opposite and sounded like he was happy to hear from me and would be willing to talk all night, he again sounded like me psychotically calling him yet again in a precursor to stalker way was no big deal. 
     “I don’t eat it, I’ll pick it off.”
     “You can’t pick it off if I cook with it in it or if the mainstay of dinner on the whole is what you don’t eat,” I informed him. “You makin’ Indian food?” he asked. 
     “No. Don’t you like Indian food?” I asked back
     “Love it,” he answered.
     “Then why’d you ask if I was making Indian food?”
     ’Cause I hoped you were.”
     I burst out laughing. 
     No, Jacob definitely didn’t make me feel like I was being a psycho. When I quit laughing, I told him, “Sorry, honey, I don’t know how to make Indian food.” 
     “Shame,” he muttered, a smile in his deep, attractive voice, and if I was on an infrared scanner, specific parts of me would have shown up hotter. 
     You have a boyfriend, Emme! I told myself. 
     For a while, I answered myself. 
    Jacob is also your ex–best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Emme! I reminded myself. 
     So? I asked myself. 
     I shoved those thought aside, thoughts that, if anyone knew I was talking to myself in my head might prove I was indeed a psycho, and pointed out to Jacob, “You haven’t actually answered the question.”
     “I’ll eat what you cook, Emme. Cook what you like.”
      He was such a nice guy. 
      He always was. 
      Nice. Tall (very tall). Handsome (unbelievably handsome). Smart (so damned smart). Funny. Interesting. Gentlemanly. And a repeat of nice because it was worth a repeat since he was just that nice. 
     I liked all that about him. I liked that he wore his dark hair way too long. I liked that sometimes a thick hank of it fell over his forehead and into his eye. I liked that he was who he was and didn’t wear designer jeans or put gel in his hair. I liked that, even considering he was extortionately intelligent, in fact, a genius, he never made anyone feel less than him because they weren’t as smart. I liked that he never acted superior or arrogant and with all that was him, looks, body, brains, he was one person who could. And I liked that he liked to do what he liked to do, he did what he liked to do and wouldn’t get pushed into doing something he didn’t want. 
     Like Elsbeth tried to do. 
     He’d lost her to that and he’d accepted it. I knew it killed. He’d loved her to distraction. But he refused to be the man she wanted him to be and instead was the man he was. 
     She should have seen she had it all even if he didn’t make bucketloads of money and thus couldn’t give her the life she was used to getting from her daddy. Country clubs, tennis lessons, vacations in villas in Italy and beaches in Thailand, fabulous homes kept by maids and fabulous meals cooked by cooks. 
     She didn’t see all she had.

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About Kristen Ashley:

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.