Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blog Tour: Staying On Top (Whitman University #4) by Lyla Payne

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Staying On Top
Whitman University #4
By:  Lyla Payne
Published:  December 10, 2013
Host:  Inkslinger PR
Source:  Publisher

GR's Summary:

Sam Bradford has it all—he’s the #2 tennis player in the world, plenty of girls want to date him, and he’ll never want for money. At least, that’s what he thought until his accountant stole everything and disappeared. Interpol has no idea where to start, and neither does the American F.B.I., so Sam figures he’ll just have to take care of his body and play a few extra years to make it back.

When Blair Paddington, the accountant’s daughter and a friend of a friend at Whitman, shows up and claims she can help Sam get his money back he’s torn between wanting justice and the very real possibility that Blair is just as big a con man as her father. When she promises not only money, but justice, Sam agrees—but only if he can go along on the search.

The two of them set off on an adventure neither rich kid is prepared for—cheap hostels, the same clothes three days in a row, and nothing but a backpack of possessions—so they can fly under the radar as college lovers on a winter break. In spite of Blair’s shady family, her daring and resourceful personality strike Sam’s interest and he finds himself falling for the one girl he shouldn’t.

When they finally find her father, the truths that come to light not only make Sam question his affection for Blair, but could cost him more than money—if they can’t work together one last time, neither of them may be going home. Ever.

Whitman University Series:

My Review on Broken At Love Here
My Review on By Referral Only Here

My Thoughts:

I have enjoyed Lyla Payne's, Whitman University Series since I read, Broken At Love.  One thing that I have noticed about all of the stories in this series, is that they each have a unique and interesting plot that hooks me, immediately.  One of the characters usually deals with a huge moral/ethical dilemma, and I always find myself rooting for the main character to change and grow.  I always enjoy seeing the journey that the main character takes, as well as the circumstances that are a catalyst for the changes made.  I was introduced to Sam and Blaire in Be My Downfall.  Sam is Quinn's good friend, and the second most successful professional tennis player in the world.  Blaire, was Kennedy's room mate.  As secondary characters, Sam came off as fun, easy going, and a womanizer.  Blaire came off as cold, callous and was not a very likable character.  However, I was really excited to read their story, because from the previous installment it was obvious how interested Sam was in Blaire, and he was persistent, even though she continually gave him the brush off.

Staying on Top, as well as all of the other installments in this series can be read as stand alone novels.  However, it's fun to see how all the characters connect to one another.  In this story, we learn Blaire's background.  Her father is a notorious and wealthy con man that has had Blaire working with him as a co-conspirator since she was a young child.  Blaire never really knows where he is because he's even secretive with her.  We get a glimpse in to Blaire's double life early on as she pulls a con on a little old lady at the beginning of the story.  Right away, I disliked Blaire as a character.  She was ruthless, and didn't harbor any guilt when working cons.  Sam is very well off, and has worked hard for his money.  Then, he finds out that his accountant stole 30 million dollars from him, and he has no way of getting it back.  Enter Blaire, her father knows Sam has even more money stashed away in private accounts, and has given her the task of getting access to his private account information.  Blaire doesn't want to participate in this con, but she never refuses her father, and he encourages her to use anything she has in her con arsenal, even sleeping with Sam.

Blaire knows getting Sam to trust her is going to be difficult.  Last spring, she continually turned him down when he kept texting, calling, and asking her out.  She ends up locating Sam, and telling him that his accountant was her father, and that she can get him back his money.  Thus, ensues a trip all around the world to locate her father.  Along the way these two become friends, and share an undeniable chemistry, and embark on a crazy adventure.  The beginning of the story felt a bit slow to me, and I had trouble with buying in to and "feeling" the connection between Blaire and Sam.  It was obvious to me that Sam was crazy about Blaire, and I loved him as a character.  He was such a good hearted guy.  He was trusting, and his sexual play on words were hilarious!  Yet, I had trouble buying in to Blaire's affections for Sam, and it frustrated me.  It was hard to see her caring about anybody other than herself.  Eventually, she underwent a huge amount of character growth, and I was proud to see how it all came about.

My Rating:

Overall, I enjoyed this story.  My favorite aspect of the story was Sam's character.  He made me laugh, swoon, and grin from ear to ear.  I was intrigued to learn how con men worked, and the type of lifestyles they were used to living.  Beautiful homes in various countries, and anything that money could by (even corrupt law officials), all at the expense of someone else.  The various settings, as Blaire and Sam traveled all throughout Europe were fun to experience.  The romance scenes were swoon-worthy, and the sex scenes were intense and sexy!  I give, Staying On Top, by Lyla Payne 3.5 Intriguing, Adventurous, Sexy Sam Stars!

My Favorite Quotes:

"I'm not thinking about the next year, Sam.  Hell, I'm not even thinking about next week.  I'm just....ready to live in the moment.  With you."  (eARC, Loc. 2157)


"Now, being so happy with someone else, I worried losing him would make me feel like less than a whole.  Like he had somehow become part of the puzzle that was me, and without him, pieces would be missing."  (eARC, Loc. 2244)


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About Lyla Payne:

I’ve long had a love of stories. A few years ago decided to put them down on the page, and even though I have a degree in film and television, novels were the creative outlet where I found a home. I’ve published Young Adult under a different name, but when I got the idea for Broken at Love (my first New Adult title), I couldn’t wait to try something new – and I’m hooked.  In my spare time I watch a ton of tennis (no surprise, there), play a ton of tennis, and dedicate a good portion of brain power to dreaming up the next fictitious bad boy we’d all love to meet in real life.


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  1. I liked Broken at Love, but just haven't continued the series. I'm glad you ended enjoying SoT, despite not feeling a strong connection to Sam.
    Great review!

  2. Sam sounds wonderful. I love a guy who can make you laugh and swoon. This series sounds cute and I love that the author grabs you with a hook.


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