Excerpt: One to Protect - Tia Louise

Monday, February 24, 2014

One to Protect (One to Hold, #3) - Tia Louise
WARNING: Recommended for adult readers (18+) only. Mature themes, strong language and sexual content. 

Justice, revenge, retribution.

When Melissa's ex-husband Sloan manages to beat criminal charges, she stops believing he will ever pay for what he did. Derek Alexander will not accept that--a tiny silver scar won't let him forget, and he is determined to make the man who hurt his fiancee pay.

After exhausting all legal options, Derek is ready to take matters into his own hands. Until his partner Patrick Knight shows up with an unexpected solution...

Note: This stand-alone adult romance will be best understood if read following One to Hold and One to Keep.

By Tia Louise
*unedited draft, subject to change*
expected release March 2014
© 2014, Tia Louise

“What have you done?” Derek’s voice is full of warmth as he watches me from the sofa. 
“Since you’ve been working too hard—”
“Since you’ve been working too hard,” I repeat, “I decided to recreate our relaxing spa vacation in the desert.”
Placing the tray on the coffee table, I hand him his flute and lift mine. “To family restrooms.”
He laughs and clinks back. “To the gorgeous woman who drives me to crazy extremes.”
We sip and I crawl forward on the couch to kiss him and tell him again. “I love you.”
He leans forward, placing his flute, the tray, my flute, all of it on the coffee table. Then his hands move through the open robe to pull me onto his lap in a straddle, facing him. Just that fast, his mouth is on my neck, nibbling and kissing. Shivers fly down my legs with every movement. My eyes are closed, and I’m powerless to resist.
“I love you,” he says beside my ear with a deep inhale. “You smell so good.”
For a moment, we make out like teenagers, hot and breathless. He holds me against his bare chest, my elbows are bent, and my palms are on his cheeks. His mouth is like some rich, decadent chocolate I can’t get enough of tasting. As we kiss, I feel him relax, and my hands slide down to his neck, my lips move up to his brow. He hugs me to him and doesn’t move. Neither do I.
This big strong man saved me twice. If comfort is what he needs, I’m here to give it to him. I’m here to give him anything. He holds me, and after a few more breaths, his arms relax. I lean back and study his face a moment. The robe has dropped around my shoulders, so I’m basically sitting nude on his lap, but I don’t care.
“Hungry?” I reach for the sandwich plate and hold it between us. “You probably won’t think it’s as good as Central Grocery, but I think it’s delicious.”
His blue eyes take me in before he bites. “Mmm…” is all I get.
Giggling, I lean forward and take a bite myself. The tangy, savory flavor of olives and smoky provolone fills my mouth.
“Delicious!” My voice is muffled.
His smile is glowing as he watches me, his voice warm and full of love. “How’s the baby?”
Lowering the sandwich back to the plate, I turn and put it on the side table again. “I can’t feel a thing, but the doctor said he’s doing great.”
My last checkup was two days ago, and we both agreed unless something unusual occurred, Derek could miss the routine exams. I only briefly using them as leverage to have him with me an extra visit each month.
“So he’s a boy now?” I love his grin at the prospect of a little son.
Shrugging, I acquiesce. “Maybe… it’s too soon to know.”
His attention moves from my face to my abdomen. Large hands span my bare stomach before he leans forward and kisses me right below my sternum, right at the top of my belly. 
“I love you,” he whispers to the little bean growing there.
I’m certain my heart melts in that instant, and I catch his face again to cover it with kisses. He’s right with me, lifting me into his arms and carrying me to the master suite. A California king-sized bed fills the space, and he spreads me out on the soft mattress, lying on his side next to me.
For a moment, we only take in each others’ faces. I trail my fingers lightly over his brow, down his temple to his strong jaw. Whatever he wants I’ll give him, as he well knows, but he isn’t taking. He looks at me like I’m the most fragile thing in his bed—another fact he knows isn’t true.
We don’t disturb the moment, though. We touch each other like glass. The truth might be that both of us are strong as iron, tough as flint, but holding each other, we know how precious it is that we’re here, together. The randomness of chance keeps us both in awe, and for that, we treasure these moments. After working so hard, our reunions are the sweetest bliss.
“I’m sorry I interrupted dinner. Can you wait?” Leaning forward, he pulls a nipple between his lips and a tingle moves between my legs.
My voice is thick as I answer. “I guess so…”

Check out the first two books in the series that can be read as a Stand-alone:
One to Hold (One to Hold, #1) - Tia Louise
WARNING: Mature themes, strong language and sexual content. Recommended for adult readers (18+) only!

Derek Alexander is an ex-Marine, ex-cop, and the top investigator in his field. Melissa Jones is a small-town girl trying to escape her troubled past.

When the two intersect in a bar in Arizona, their sexual chemistry is off the charts. But what is revealed during their "one week stand" only complicates matters.

Because she'll do everything in her power to get away from the past, but he'll do everything he can to hold her.

Standalone, M/F, HEA.

Purchase Links:
Amazon     |     Barnes & Noble     |     Kobo     |     All Romance     |     Smashwords 
CreateSpace     |     Amazon

You can check out my review of the first book: One to Hold review

One to Keep (One to Hold, #2) - Tia Louise
WARNING: Mature themes, strong language and sexual content. Recommended for adult readers (18+) only!

Patrick Knight is not a nice guy.
At least, not anymore.

After a failed engagement, a one-night stand, and a random office shag, he’s sent to the desert so his business partner (Derek Alexander), can clean up his mess. Before he kicks his ass.

When Patrick meets Elaine on his desert exile, all he wants is to make her his. The problem is Elaine’s not looking for any guy—or a long-distance relationship.

Now Patrick’s doing everything he can to change her mind. And just when it seems he’s convinced her he’s the one to keep, the skeletons from his past life start coming back.

Note: Standalone, M/F, HEA

Purchase Links:
Amazon     |     Barnes & Noble     |     Kobo     |      ARe

In the mood to read a long poem? After my review, I made a long poem about this book

Author Bio:

Tia Louise is a former journalist, world-traveler, and collector of beautiful men (who inspire ALL of her stories... *wink*)---turned wife, mommy, and novelist.

She lives in the center of the U.S.A. with her lovely family and one grumpy cat. There, she dreams up stories she hopes are engaging, hot, and sexy, and that cause readers rethink common public locations... It's possible she has a slight truffle addiction.

ONE TO HOLD is her debut adult romance.

Books by Tia Louise:
One to Hold (Derek & Melissa), 2013
One to Keep (Patrick & Elaine), 2014

Author Links:
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads     |     Facebook     |     Twitter
Pinterest     |     Instagram     |     Tumblr
email: allnightreads@gmail.com
-     Jassie

Valentine's Read: The Dividing Line (The Space Between #2) + Heart & Seoul (The Space Between #2.5) by Victoria Smith

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Dividing Line (The Space Between, #2) - Victoria Smith
The Dividing Line
(The Space Between #2)
Cover designed by Okay Creations
New Adult Contemporary

A new love and a new life.

Drake left Chicago with little more than the clothes on his back to be with his girlfriend Lacey. Though he has no regrets, he sometimes wonders if his time spent in Paris has put his life on hold. He’s overworked and underpaid at his dead-end job, and his employer sees him as expendable. His bright light at the end of the day is Lacey, but he finds himself slowly falling into the shadow of her newly-acquired fame. The city of love has found their new starlet in Lacey, but Drake is simply the man by her side.

With all good things there comes a price.

Lacey has been living the dream. She arrived in Paris with nothing but heartache and loss. Now, she’s the rising star of the city’s newest opera and dating the man of her dreams. When her performance contract is extended, she must decide if her new life of glitz and glam is what’s best for a future with the man she loves—or if it’s just what’s best for her.

Paris brought Drake and Lacey together. But when their hopes for the future begin taking them in different directions, they must a find common ground or risk a line dividing them that may prove to be insurmountable.

The Dividing Line is the sequel to the new adult multicultural romance The Space Between.

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Book Trailer:

My Thoughts:
How could I splurge my thoughts without spoiling the story? The story was interconnected with the events that were happening so I would try to limit speaking about those parts – some of which had been favorites, to be honest.

"The song wasn't magic, but something it did hold was love, and love had a way of mending the most severe pain."
-          The Dividing Line by Victoria Smith

First and foremost, if I didn't love Truman Drake before, fortunately, he already did, this made me love him more! The sequel just made me swoon to the nth power!

Breather, the story picked up where it last left but with a fast-forward to several months (almost a year) in France. Lacey was an up-coming opera singer that French people came to love, she was becoming successful in her career while Drake was working sort of a blue-collared job. Both characters had depicted character-growth and as for their relationship, it was still strong. Unfortunately, where Drake was working prioritized seniority on the job, he was cut-off. Though he still had his savings, he needed to work soon; Lacey’s production would end soon (though still able to manage until the next season). Financial problems arose and a greater opportunity (compared to France) was offered to Drake that kept him to consider going back to Chicago. This led to have a discussion of what their lives would be, how their relationship would work and what the future will hold. Drake decided to go back to the US and Lacey accompanied him then went back to France.
How would they overcome the seas between them,
the time zone, the longing,
the long distance relationship?
Will the distance tackle down their relationship?
Or will the absence make the heart grow fonder?

As always, it was in dual POV. So as much as Lacey was in France and Drake was in the US, a reader would be able to know what was happening to the two beloved characters. Lacey was enjoying living her dream, to be an opera singer and being well-loved by the French. She was living the moment and it was her dream and for her Mom, she was savoring every moment. She deserved it and she was great at it. Meanwhile, Drake had a better life than the one in France, even though his job was still manual and as tedious, he lived above Derrick’s house and it was easier because he knew someone. Drake was always on the sidelines in France; he respected Lacey's decisions and made his life on the shadows there. Drake was just so considerate and really sacrificed for Lacey. I know it was also hard for Lacey and she grew sort of dependent from Drake. This would be the time to say kudos to Drake for being such a sport, he left everything and he was creating a new sturdy persona for himself. Drake literally held back his life to support (not financially) Lacey on her dream. He was always there. Lacey, on the other hand, as much as she was thriving to be the best while loving what she did, everything started to seem different. The passion was becoming work. It was different because back then, even if she was exhausted Drake would always be there. Something was lingering at the back of her mind; it would take time to reach a toll on her. And when she decided what she would do, it was worth it.

Of course, there were twists in the story unexpected and expected ones. I wouldn’t divulge the unexpected, as for the expected ones, I’d just point out an obvious – the supposed ‘other person’ that would come barging in their lives that would complicate and somehow crack their relationship. Lacey would be partnered with an internationally-known guy whom she would be partnered with and Drake would meet a certain lady that helped him what he wanted to do in life and discover the things he had given enough thoughts about. Worry not there would be no cheating (I personally despise those, so yeah, it was a great deal for me to point-out). For Lacey, it was just work but because she lived far-away and it was hard to explain with persistent evidence, it was difficult to clarify it. Back to Drake, the thing was, I saw a part of myself at him (not the male-thingy because I am a girl all the way), the ‘going with the flow’. I could finish something but don’t let me consider another thing – I finished college but I’m taking my gap year since I still don’t know what to do. There would be options but it’s hard to decide, so you just do what’s suggested or what you should do. But it doesn’t mean you like what you do. It’ll be work and what I seek is passion about something. Okay, Drake. Sorry for the interlude. Drake was able to figure out what he wanted. He had a sort of life-decision right there, as helped by ‘lady’ and of course pursued by Lacey. They regained their trust with each other, it made them believe and wholly-trust their partners more. They had been through a lot and those they had encountered where just obstacles in their jealousy side (like that moment where Lacey unleashed her claws: You go, girl!).

Additionally, I would mention my favorite parts:
#1 Page 90 - Derrick and Drake *profusely blushing*
#2 (person) Whitney
#3 Drake (subconsciously) calling someone on the laundry room and the other part where he cried on that person (while he hugged that person)

Lastly, this book tackled several issues without boring me. It was still fluid as the story progressed, it was not forced. It was so jammed-pack. Lacey’s closure for her Mama and a new beginning for Drake, and the unfortunate event that happened to them. Then, another chance for both their pasts: Lacey, for her dad and Drake, for his mom and biological mother. Moreover, Lacey and Drake’s relationship with each other – how they kept on overcoming the curveballs ‘together’. How they were able to fix their relationship with their families. Another thing to take note, I loved the portrayal of “Y” and how the ‘lady’ there had made Drake had life-altering decisions to make him know the person who gave him life. So throughout the story, I loved how heartfelt the writing was. I understood the reluctance, the doubt, the anger and everything on the character's behalf but mostly, the forgiveness and to seek a new life with things almost-fixed. The story gave light for Drake and Lacey as a couple and what people in relationship faced (especially those in an interracial relationship). For any person (or couple) in search of having a wonderfully romantic with ‘real’-feelings in it, a must read.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Can’t get enough of Lacey and Drake? Well there’s a FREE novella on Smashwords entitled, Heart and Seoul. After reading, The Dividing Line, I still didn’t want it to end! I’m happy that Victoria Smith, the author, had written a special novella about Drake’s biological Mom!

Heart & Seoul (The Space Between, #2.5) - Victoria Smith
**Note to the reader: HEART & SEOUL is a bonus novella included in The Dividing Line**

The time was 7:04 a.m. Seoul time, and he was almost home...

Drake has been through a lot with his fiancée Lacey, but the biggest obstacle has yet to come.

His journey into adulthood has been one constant struggle due to doors left open from his past. By definition, Drake was adopted into a good home, one of opulence and opportunity. But he wonders about his former life, and the country he was forced to leave behind.

In search of closure, Drake heads to his home country of South Korea with Lacey by his side. He hopes seeking out his birth mother will give him peace, help him on his way to healing, before he begins his new life with his fiancée.

Told from the voice of Lacey, Heart & Seoul is the story of one man's search for identity as seen through the eyes of the woman who loves him.

Heart & Seoul is book 2.5 in The Space Between series. It is not a standalone and is a novella at 21,000 words.

My Thoughts: 
Heart and Seoul was a novella told in Lacey’s POV. It made me an observer yet again of what was happening and Lacey’s reaction on what would happen to Drake – will the past make him whole or will it leave him hollow? As much as I wanted to delve into Drake’s mind because I knew how the things would have been shocking to him, I was still grateful that it was Lacey, the person who loves Drake the most was the one telling it for us. Boy was I glad it wasn’t a third person POV!

Let me just spill this before anything else, “Memaw” and “Hyo”. These were two people a reader would have a glimpse at this novella. I enjoyed those parts! Still trying not to spoil yet at this part, the novella, all were almost well – between Drake and Lacey and their families and all of the troubles that hindered their relationship ‘together’ and between their own families.  So delving with the story, the story picked up after Drake had already talked with his Mom regarding his intentions on meeting his real Mom (or parents). A little part back in the US was shown then their flight to Seoul wherein Lacey was video-recording important events during their stay there. I loved how it really focused on Drake yet the story was able to connive it with Lacey and Drake’s relationship. As much as it was all Drake, the presence and the POV of Lacey really helped. Since it was Lacey’s view, I was able to see how Drake got anxious, excited, disappointed, confused and mostly, lost. Another thing, I personally think, Victoria Smith, the author, had this knack on visualizing ‘racism’. Why did I say such? It was because of the fact that: Even Drake was a Korean, when he went to Seoul just by his way of enunciating words, it created a barrier. The people knew he wasn’t born there and such – just like their interracial relationship was not accepted by both communities: black and white (since Drake was raised by white people). That aside, Lacey also found that unfair, not really accepted by the people whom should have welcomed you. But as the story progressed, it already focused on their trip to Drake’s past. Things were trying to sink it? Drake had gathered information about his adoption and the lack thereof. Drake got distant at some point yet like what he did at Lacey at The Dividing Line that was what Lacey did. Lacey tried Drake to be back as normal. Then of course, when hope almost fades that would be the perfect moment to give a sparkle of hope, well with the help of Lacey, of course! Drake was able to meet his biological mother and other additions. To be honest, Lacey’s expression in that moment was what I also felt. Drake deserved to know his Mom, the place wherein he should have been accepted. Then, yes, I haven’t forgotten, as always, the author’s writing of ‘physicality’ (sex) never ceases to amaze me, it was always spontaneous yet the ‘love’ was still there. Drake could be rough or gentle but bottom line, his desire at Lacey was almost worshiping (well, really it was already at that point).

Overall, it still ache me how this story was the ending. I did enjoy the love story of Drake and Lacey all throughout the series. This was the first book wherein I read about interracial relationship but was able to open-up more issues along the way – the society’s acceptance and disapproval, all these things. But mostly, I must acknowledge Lacey and Drake, for their perseverance. That perseverance to stay together, to fight everything together, to reach their dreams, to be supported by each other and to achieve it with knowing each would be cheering for them. I already mentioned the issues yet I couldn’t help but not utter it again, the whole series really dealt with so much issues. I would say my personal favorite on the books was ‘The Dividing Line’ (second book), the first book introduced the characters for us and the fight for the relationship was hard since it was starting but the second book showed how life was between them – another country, a family still glaring at their choice, Drake’s without his resources. The third was to make Drake learn about his biological family and so. But, ‘The Dividing Line’ really depicted ‘more’ on their relationship and their lives. There was so much about them and how they were surviving and how Drake was just so supportive and Drake’s return to the US (Lacey’s too) and how their families, little by little, were trying to fix things. It really was such fully-loaded read! To end this ranting, the whole series really was such a good read and there would be another story but not about Lacey and Drake yet I can’t wait for it, would it be about Derrick? That was such a wishful thinking!

Rating for Heart and Seoul: 4 out of 5.

You can check 'My Thoughts' about The Space Between,
the first book in the series!
'The Space Between - Victoria Smith'

Rating for the overall series: 4 - 4.5 out of 5.

Author Bio:
Victoria H. Smith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She puts it to good use writing romance all day. She resides in the Midwest with her Macbook on her lap and a cornfield to her right. She often draws inspiration for her stories from her own life experiences, and the twenty-something characters she writes give her an earful about it.

In her free time, she enjoys extreme couponing, blogging, reading, and sending off a few tweets on Twitter when she can. She writes new adult fiction romance in the sub-genres of science fiction, urban fantasy, and contemporary, but really, anywhere her pen takes her she goes. She's also the co-founder of NA Alley, a group fiction blog dedicated toward the spread of the 'new adult' fiction genre.

Author Links:

Blog     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Goodreads

-     Jassie

Just a couple more days: Take A Chance - Abbi Glines

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

OMG. Total swoon! I love Abbi Glines and I've read all her books -- yes, that's how much I enjoy reading her stories. She always bring a unique flavor to the cliche stories I already know -- I love the familiarity it has then it gives an unexpected twist. Also, I personally love Because of Low from the Sea Breeze series and Fallen Too Far from the Too Far Series. The complicated relationship in Because of Low made me want to read about it, the twist of Low and Marcus (whom I love from 'Breathe') then the angst and bad boy-image that Fallen Too Far have. But I must say, Grant is sort of my bias because he 'was' the good guy there and now he has his own story? I really need to read this! (I also love Woods, don't get me wrong but I had my sights on Grant from the beginning).

Okay without further ado below are the Cover, Blurb, Pre-order Links, Teaser and of course ways to contact the author, Abbi Glines. Enjoy! *soooo excited*

A post-Valentine must read!
Because it wasn't enough that Grant would always be in the sidelines.
There is more from our young man.
Will Nan's poison consume him?
Or will Harlow's purity enrapture him
to take a chance to fight Nan's venom?

Take A Chance - Abbi Glines
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines comes the story of Grant, the sexy playboy who first captured readers hearts in Fallen Too Far

When Harlow Manning's rocker father goes on tour, he sends her to Rosemary Beach, Florida, to live with her half-sister, Nan. The problem: Nan despises her. Harlow has to keep her head down if she wants to get through the next nine months, which seems easy enough. Until gorgeous Grant Carter walks out of Nan's room in nothing but his boxer briefs.

Grant made a huge mistake getting involved with a girl with venom in her veins. He'd known about Nan's reputation, but still he couldn't resist her. Nothing makes him regret the fling more than meeting Harlow, who sends his pulse racing. Yet Harlow wants nothing to do with a guy who could fall for her wicked half-sister; even if there are no strings between Grant and Nan. Grant is desperate to redeem himself in Harlow's eyes, but did he ruin his chances before he even met her?

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US     |     Barnes and Noble     |     iBooks     |     Chapters !ndigo
Indie Bound     |     Books-A-Million



Bookworld      |     Booktopia     |      iTunes AUS      |      Amazon AUS      |     Google Play AUS

Three days after Grant had disappeared, I was outside swimming.  Today I had successfully managed to push all thoughts of Grant to the back of my mind. So when my head broke the water to find Grant Carter standing there, looking down at me, I wasn’t sure if I was imagining things or if he was really there.
I pushed my wet hair back and wiped the water from my eyes. Then I opened them again, and there he stood. Still there.
“Hey,” he said with his sexy grin. I wanted to hurl something at him to make that smile go away. It needed a warning label, too.
I wasn’t in the mood to talk to him. “Nan isn’t here,” I replied. She hadn’t been back since she’d left for Rosemary the last time. I was sure that was where Grant had run off to as well. He had gone to find her. Like he always did.
“Yeah, I know,” he replied.
I really should’ve gone back to swimming and ignored him. It was the smart thing to do. But then he could possibly take that as an invitation to join me. “What do you need?” I asked, in the most annoyed tone I could muster.
“I came to see you. It seems once a guy kisses you, you’re hard to forget,” he replied.
Not what I had been expecting. I swallowed the nervous knot in my throat.  I would cave and forgive him too easily if he started saying things like that. Where had my backbone gone? I used to be stronger than this.
“You’re mad because I left,” he said.
I thought about retorting and changed my mind. That would only give him more power. He didn’t need to know he affected me at all.
“It was a jackass thing to do. But you scared me. I like to flirt with beautiful girls, but I don’t handle it well when one simple kiss makes my fucking head spin. You make me want things and feel a certain way. I’m not ready for that.”
I was expecting a lame I’m sorry; not that. “Oh,” was the only thing I could come up with. What did it mean, exactly, that our kiss made his head spin? Was that a good thing? It sounded like it… maybe.
Grant ran a hand through his long, unruly hair and let out a frustrated sigh. “I shouldn’t have left you without an explanation. It was unfair and I was only thinking of myself. I’m good at that. I just… what can I do to get you to forgive me?”
He still wasn’t asking for forgiveness. He was asking how to get forgiveness. Had anyone ever asked me how to get forgiveness before? How… unique.
Warning signs were going off in my head loudly, but somehow I ignored that. Because my heart wanted to forgive him. I didn’t want to push him away. No one ever took this much time to get to know me. Being lonely was something I had grown used to. Having someone here who wanted to get to know me bad enough to admit he was wrong, someone who cared to ask me how he could fix it, meant more than he realized.
“Don’t do it again,” I replied.
Grant’s eyes went wide and then a slow smile slid across his handsome face. “I won’t.”
I stepped back as he started tugging his shirt over his head. He threw it aside and slipped off his shoes, and then his eyes lifted to meet mine. “I’m not leaving this time. When you get tired of me, you’ll have to force me out.”
I couldn’t keep the silly smile off my face.

Author Bio:
Since publishing her first novel Breathe in May of 2011, Abbi has also released The New York Times bestselling Seabreeze Series which includes Breathe, Because of Low, While It Lasts, Just For Now and Sometimes It Last, The Existence Trilogy that includes the USA Today Bestseller Ceaseless. New York Times and USA TODAY bestsellers The Vincent Boys and The Vincent Brothers. Last but not least her most popular series to date, Rosemary Beach which includes The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers Fallen Too Far, Never Too Far, Forever Too Far, Twisted Perfection and Simple Perfection. Her newest book scheduled to be released on December 17th, 2013 is Misbehaving (Seabreeze).

When Abbi isn’t locked away in her office typing away she is hauling her kids to and from their many social activities. You could say her second job is the Glines Kids personal chauffeur. It’s a rather illustrious job.

Author Links:
Goodreads     |     Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Instagram

-     Jassie

Everything for Us - M. Leighton

Friday, February 7, 2014

Everything For Us - M. Leighton
When it comes to passion this hot, it’s all or nothing. 

Olivia Townsend’s wealthy cousin Marissa had everything a girl could ask for—a great job, a privileged life, and all the friends she wanted. Or, at least, all the friends money could buy. But one case of mistaken identity has turned her privileged world upside down.

An abduction gone wrong lands her right in the lap of the sexiest, most dangerous man she’s ever met. To Marissa, he’s an enigma, but one to whom she’s irresistibly, inexplicably drawn.

With him comes a new world of freedom and passion, of dark shadows and dangerous secrets, a world where nothing is what it seems—except for the blind passion that Marissa can’t escape—or maybe even survive.

Purchase Links:

Amazon     |      Barnes and Noble

My Thoughts:
"I guess it just shows what the love of a good woman can do for a man. It can fix all the broken pieces and heal all the old wounds. If she loves a man, scars and all, that is. And mine does."
-         Nash, Everything for Us

I read in a book that, “It's okay to be broken and sometimes we don't need saving, we just need to be healed.” In this case, Marissa and Nash also saved each other. The past already happened but they were trying to live the life that they knew at first wasn’t for them. But the thing is, maybe it really was for them. Life always throws curveballs and we don’t know what to do. In Marissa and Nash’s case, they had this expected and supposed life before. Nash was thrown into a life he never thought would be of his, as Marissa was in a simulated life created by her father. And this was what I thought:

Two people who were confronted
with a life that they needed to survive.
How their future altered as they found each other,
how both felt broken and unworthy of love,
and how they were just…

With a past that created such an impact,
a ruined future – that future that was taken from him.
He was exiled and the hope that was holding him wasn't enough.
He was the golden boy turned felon.
His hope extinguished,
replaced with an all too possessive fuel of anger.
He was consumed by a highly-combustible combination:
anger and a ruined future.

From high-society and shrouded with artificial people,
also once that fake, snide and controlling,
an event turned her world upside-down.
That little girl who wanted daddy’s approval,
learned all of the deception.
As she got to know what was really expected of her,
she wanted to get away from it.
To rebel from what was the norm,
to be different and be herself.
Standing up and walking away, it was time to break free.

As their path crossed,
the spark that was supposed to ebb out,
turned out to be a piece to ignite an all too intense fire.
‘To be unleashed of being held captive from what was expected,
and to be extricated from the shackles that held them back.’
A feral tension escaped,
that devoured them in passion, pleasure, lust
and love.

That stated, I must proclaim: I loved this series! And of course, my first thoughts about Nash: To save others to keep a secret. To be blood thirsty for the greed of revenge. And mostly, to trust no one. How Nash’s past was stolen and how his future (the one of the ship) turned to a life where his perception had gone to something twisted – there was nowhere safe and it would always be the survival of the fittest.

“Do you wanna be somebody else?
Are you sick of feeling so left out?
Are you desperate to find something more
Before your life is over?
Are you stuck inside a world you hate?
Are you sick of everyone around?
With their big fake smiles and stupid lies
While deep inside you're bleeding

No, you don't know what it's like
When nothing feels all right
You don't know what it's like
To be like me

To be hurt
To feel lost
To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you're down
To feel like you've been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down
And no one's there to save you
No you don't know what it's like
Welcome to my life”
-                      Welcome To My Life by Simple Plan

He was fueled with rage. A riot intertwined with anger and hate and he has this gasoline of revenge. Then, his Dad wanted him to let it go. Just No. That was the breaking point, everything he had survived and endured and to hear that your Dad felt like he was giving up because he thought he deserved it? How about Nash and Cash’s mom? As a son or a child for that matter, it was normal to seek for justice. Taking into consideration that Nash was able to see who did it. That hurts. And I understood why he was always fuming, it was a natural reaction. Yet, he was still the old Nash. He was still a gentleman, he was just so realistic and he didn’t beat around the bush so he was so harsh with the truth. He knew what people were like – he knew that it was hard to trust because he was crowded with people who were deceiving and manipulative. Then when Dmitry found Duffy, instead of the pent up rage to kill Duffy, he did the right thing and the typical old Nash thing to do. He was clever enough to make a deal with Duffy, to fix the RICO case, to be able to send justice to his parents and mostly, even if he wasn’t that educated with Law, he knew some and sought help or gave the others the necessary information to create a criminal and more so, a civil case. Then there was the time when he was wrapped up with his conflicting emotions. He was enamored with Marissa and he didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want to admit it but he felt it. They both thought such fire just needed an explosion then it would be extinguished. But they were in deep. It just ignited the leftover sparks from before *coughs New Orleans coughs*.

Also, I loved that Nash had Dmitry. Dmitry was really like a second father to him and took care of him, not really that present but the mere help that Dmitry was there all the time and when Nash called him. Then Dmitry already got Duffy? I saw how Dmitry really looked-out for Nash. Plus, how he called Nash, Nikolai; they already have that bond connecting them to each other. Aside from that, I also ached more for Nash and his experiences with Yusuf. It wasn’t really as detailed but he really gained a friend there. It was just heart-breaking that Yusuf was murdered in from of him and Yusuf’s wife and daughter. And to think, Nash said that it was one of the pleasant memories he had in the ship. As he shared that story, I loved how Marissa’s character reacted. She didn’t judge
 Nash or anything but she empathized with him for his lost. And she showered kisses and cried for him. That was just real, the Marissa there. And I loved Marissa there. They were in that unlabeled bubble of theirs and the emotions were just there – acknowledged or not.

“But I'm only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I'm only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
'Cause I'm only human”
-          Human by Christina Perri

Marissa was the spoiled, bitchy, typical rich and snotty girl. But when she was accidentally kidnapped, it turned her world in the opposite direction. She wasn’t that confident anymore and the people she surrounded herself with were just a means to an end, they were all using each other and as much as they store legal information in their heads, emotionally and morally they can be shallow. Even though I don’t wish for anyone to experience what happened to Marissa, that terrifying event led Marissa to be open-minded about her life. I admired her change in personality even though Cash was very adamant about it. It was understandable to doubt but in everything couldn’t Cash gave Marissa the benefit of the doubt? That aside, I also acknowledged her bravery. She was a strong woman to face all the obstacles after what happened to her. She might have still live in that dread of having people lurking in the shadow but the thing was she never admitted to others what happened to her yet she still fought it every day. By merely residing at her house, it was a defiant gesture that she was sturdy enough to face the upcoming struggles. When she knew what her father was planning and grooming her for, I pitied her, why would her father do such thing? He degraded Marissa. After Marissa proved in every step her worth, it was the typical discrimination and stereotype Marissa’s father still lived with – that women are just a trophy wife. Marissa would never prove herself because her father was just as stubborn. But it helped her way to be strong and I was happy for her that she stood her ground from her father and even if she didn’t know what to do next, she knew that she needed to get away from there. Maybe not a pragmatic choice for a lawyer to not think ahead but Marissa made it work. She still had that spark in her what she needed to do and that was to help Nash.

“Your love is bright as ever (ever, ever, ever)
Even in the shadows (shadows, shadows, shadows)
Baby kiss me (kiss me, kiss me, kiss me)
Before they turn the lights out (lights out, lights out, lights out)
Your heart is glowing (glowing, glowing, glowing)
And I'm crashing into you (into you, into you, into you)
Baby kiss me (kiss me, kiss me, kiss me)
Before they turn the lights out (the lights out)
Before they turn the lights out (the lights out)
Baby love me lights out

In the darkest night hour (In the darkest night hour)
I'll search through the crowd (I'll search through the crowd)
Your face is all that I see
I'll give you everything
Baby love me lights out
Baby love me lights out
You can turn my lights out”
-          XO by Beyonce

There were really sparks within Nash and Marissa. It was just undeniable. They made it like the “with benefits” kind but (un)fortunately their emotions rivaled the passion. It wasn’t enough physically. Their bodies hunger each other and they were famished with the needed love they both lack with. Yes, they were both broken and what bothered me with was that – do they know love? Of course they do but I took into consideration that they were consumed by another set of emotions – sadness, anger, and so on. And I was thinking that maybe they found the affection they were ravenous about that they mistook it as love. But then as the story progress, they really had a fire brewing. To be honest, it already was brewed, from that moment in New Orleans. It was passionate, yes. Pleasurable, yep. But it wasn’t just lust-filled, the emotions were already there. It was already trigged. It was so different from the experiences they had and was so powerful that it was impossible to doubt that it was love. It resonated within the both of them. It consumed them. They tried to distance themselves but because it was all too real, it also led them back to each other. As every feeling and emotions were so intense, the love and even the pain they felt were just so insurmountable. As they tried to defy their invisible yet persistent pull, they took what they could – the pleasure of being with each other even if it was purely physical.

“I am a fire, you're gasoline,
Come pour yourself all over me
We'll let this place go down in flames
Only one more time

You kill the lights, I'll draw the blinds
Don't dull the sparkle in your eyes
I know that we were made to break
So what? I don't mind

Are you gonna stay the night?
Are you gonna stay the night?
Oh oh oh, are you gonna stay the night?"
-          Stay The Night by Zedd ft. Hayley Williams of Paramore

The hope that Marissa still had was vanishing. When the case was over, her connection to Nash would be over. I felt her. I felt the depression building up, the pessimistic nagging that Nash would not come back. That everything would be over. It hurt worse than when Nash left and the case was in progress. I could imagine the pain she was feeling – emotionally and physically. The emotional pain would be the most excruciating yet her body also was seeking the comfort only Nash could give.

Moving forward, the time when Marissa asked if he'll leave when she wakes up the next morning. OMG, I just become a wreck. I don't know why but I pause reading it. I was like feeling Marissa's pain and the thought that Nash was ditching her. I wanted to reach out to her then after a breather, I read it and I was suuuuuuper ecstatic! It took them long enough but they were meant to be. It just proved me how strong love was. The way Nash practically mauled her right there and then? Woah. THAT IS INTENSE PASSION. I was coveting that part, not just the ravaging her like a starved animal but the way he just took her in his arms and kissed her? Just wow. I felt the tension all the way from the book consuming my room. It was real, it was still raw and it just exploded! It took them long enough but at least they found each other. Then the suave proposal, it was so beautiful! I mean, Nash was smooth. I love the ‘sort of’. Haha, nice one, Nash!

Lastly, the story was just so brilliant! Especially on how the sequence was made and how natural the flow was. How the plot never wavered and it was still focused on Nash and Cash’s parents, Nash and of course, Nash and Marissa. And another thing that I loved the most was that every character was worth it. From the mistakes to whatever, because those mistakes had lead them to who they are now, how far they had gone and those past that will redefine the amazing future ahead of them. From Marissa’s decisions, to Cash and Nash’s perseverance to fight for the right, to Olivia’s support, to Cash and Nash’s Dad and his decision to let it go because he felt that he needed to serve his sentence in a way that he deserves, to Gavin and Ginger’s humor throughout the series and of course, Jensen’s help. I think even Marissa’s Dad was also a character that made Marissa strong, he was building Marissa in the wrong way but it was still helpful enough for Marissa to overcome her new life.

“This could be perfect (yeah)
But we won't know unless we try (try)
I know you're nervous
So just sit back and let me drive

Tonight we'll just get drunk
Disturb the peace
Find your hands all over me
And then you bite your lip
Whisper and say, "We're going all the way."

Take me to the other side
Sparks fly like the Fourth of July
Just take me to the other side
I see that sexy look in your eyes
And I know we ain't friends anymore
If we walk down this road
We'll be lovers for sure
So tonight kiss me like it's do or die
And take me to the other side”
-          The Other Side by Jason Derulo

Overall, this book was something different from the series. The humor wasn’t like Cash’s and Liv’s friends – Ginger or Gavin, who cracked me up. Yet the humor was replaced with innuendos and much more complicated characters. It never ceased to amaze me how spot-on the guy’s perspective was. Whenever there was a shift in POV, it really was written and the utterance of words and the thinking were very male. Though it was the continuation of ‘The Bad Boys Series’, this one was more action-packed, maybe not as visually but by the recounting of some moments for both Marissa and Nash, it showed a lot about the characters. Nash was notably a criminal there, so his experiences were downright distinct. At first, I was thinking that the conclusion would still be with Cash and Liv. I didn’t think that with presenting the conclusion with Nash and Marissa, the ending made more sense. As for Cash and Liv’s love story, it was time that their spotlight was given to another couple. The author, Michelle, gave a detour and as a reader the only plausible thing to do was to buckle up, reverse and go on reading this story about Nash and Marissa. As much as it was still Cash and Nash’s story and to bring justice for their parents, the inclusion of Marissa created a more promising and stable plot. Because of Marissa’s connections, it made the process of the book faster – in the sense of the case. Then the well-deserved life for Nash was there. He lived years in a life that was not he wanted, he had the bright future ahead of him but he was robbed by it. He has another future wherein it was not the one he expected but the one that worked for him. He created a new future that still was him. The him that was molded from the past that he was eager to survive. The complications on the book were definitely making the story more complex, deeper and have more about the story. The only thing I was possibly be correct was that they would fix the case and to whom and that they would end up together. I thought that maybe Nash would still pursue a career on Law but as he saw the synthetic and cynical people, it also made him steer back from that old dream. Or that Marissa would be a court lawyer. There was a point when I closed the book that what will happen to them. Just sailing or chartering their boat? I had those, I need more information. But as I reread it, maybe sailing would make them work or at one point or another, they would have that place where they will stay and have a more stable future but being with each other and sailing would always be a priority. The book held the closure, where the finality of everything will reside and where all ends but it sent a justifiable and fulfilling ending. My expression when it ended was: smiling like a nutcase as I feel sated with it. After all those months, all those despair, all those heartbreak and Megaton OMG, it was the perfect happily-ever-after!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Author Bio:
M. Leighton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Wild Ones and The Bad Boys romance trilogies.  She is a native of Ohio, relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she lets her mind wander to romantic settings with sexy Southern guys much like the one she married and the ones you'll find in her latest books.  When her thoughts aren't roaming in that direction, she'll be riding horses, swimming in ponds and experiencing life on a ranch, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.  

For more about M. Leighton, visit her:
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-     Jassie