Book Blast + 2 Giveaways: One to Hold Series - Tia Louise

Friday, May 23, 2014

One to Hold (One to Hold, #1) - Tia Louise

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"HOT! FUN! ENJOYABLE! 5 STARS!!! I highly recommend this story and can't wait to read more from Tia Louise!"
- Aleatha Roming, NYT & USA Today bestselling author of the Consequences series

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.

Have you seen how many pages it was? It was that short but it filled the pages with the amount of story on finding love again. The friendship. The guys. The worst past. The true love. And the future.

First off, I love how it was written. It was free-flowing and continuous. It made me feel Mel more. Her inner thoughts that were bugging her. She was one of those heroines that would not frustrate you. She was not shallow. She was not weak. She was not whiny. She all had her reasons and I understood her. She was both an open and closed book. Ironic but true, as it was one person POV, I read her dilemmas, the insecurity, the needs and mostly, feel her bravery. She was both vulnerable but was in the process of becoming much stronger. She did the first-step before she went to her week-escape; and that was a thumbs-up for me. I did not care how long it took her, but she still did it. At the same time, I did mention she was a closed book as she kept her mystery. It had those moments that you kept on guessing what had happened to her. But like her, I had become distracted.

Distraction in a form of a man. An alpha male, a true portrayal of a man. It was either a Charlie Hunnan or a Chris Hemsworth looking guys. Though I was not fond of beard and long-haired males, Derek just proved me that you can change your likes. He put those I was not fond off to his advantages *insert mega wink*.

Back to the story: I understood Mel’s resistance. The hesitant demeanor. Yet she was fueled with a charge not only by a powerful sexual tension but by the raw craving to feel again.
What I really loved was that: it was not entirely lust but there was something brewing that was much more. I would not say love at first sight but it was somehow there. Let me tell you, that first sight did lead them somewhere. I felt how Mel was desired, worshipped even.
The sexual tension bubble was that suffocating and it was just ready to burst.
Burst to gazillion of pieces it did.
And, they broke whatever rules that should have been there for a week-stand.

Mel was just a female, and yes, she has her naughty thoughts (I was laughing at her some of her thoughts, really). What had I gotten from the Vampire Diaries: “You want a love that consumes you.” (I think that was what Damon said, if not, correct me if I am wrong). And consumed she was. It was all there: the fvcking and the love-making. It was both steamy, raunchy, gentle, incredibly hot but mostly, intense.

This was described as adult already, so no holds barred with the sex-spree. It was that intense and it was many to mention. But EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It just surpassed the intensity of the previous night (or day). And yes, you might need to full on that thermostat. Get lots of ice. Have your shower on cold. You all would need it. The author, Tia Louise, just proved how to rock your world and how it, you know what I meant, would be earth-shattering!

Moving on a lighter part, I would like to note the pacing; Yes, it was depicted to be fast. Every part of it. Be reminded that it was only a week. But the author made it work, yes it was fast but at the same time, she made some parts slow. The focus on the two of characters, Derek and Melissa, worked. Like the-time-stopped-for-us or it’s-just-us-just-the-two-of-us. The characters developed in that week, well their emotions and feelings. It was desire but something more. Her craving still lingered, but it was not about escaping anymore. It was craving to be “hold”.

Wait, I haven’t said something about Derek, aside from his smexy appeal. So, I loved the story behind Derek (all those that would be spilled by Patrick, his friend, and those he would divulged himself). He was not the spotlight but the occasional turn to him made me want to know more about him. So the basics: He was an ex-Marine (so you know why he was so buff and that strong), had a background on Finance (Banking), and was sort-of a cop turned detective/investigator. So, nearly-perfect, eh? I know. I was thinking how good to-be-true he was. Or not? There was a part where I felt betrayed by Derek, but then it pays to know the whole picture. Yet he redeemed himself. The guy who never thought would be able to love again, fell in love, deeply and intensely with someone he just wanted to be with for a week. There were some strings that messed him up in front of Melissa but then fixed it up. And, there was this innate feel on Derek that can make you calm and your response to be triggered – he was hot and he knew it yet he also has that aura that can make you feel secured and comforted.

Lastly (and this would be long):
I would start on how I loved Elaine, Melissa’s best friend. She was so supportive of every of Mel’s decisions. She knew what Melissa had been through, and she stayed by Melissa’s side. She was bringing Melissa, light from the first day then she made Mel make her own decisions. She was not pushing her to do something, but she was helping her (Mel) get-through, making Mel realized what she (Mel) can do. And I was glad for Elaine as she ended up with someone who loves her.

Elaine was the best friend you wanted to have. She was always there but she never pushes. She was that firm and constant cane for Melissa. Then again, not everyone knows what goes on a person’s mind. What Melissa projected on the outside could be anything. Whenever I read Melissa’s thoughts there was these melancholy feel. I imagined how a breeze would pass through your face or hair and it somehow magically caress you and makes you feel liberated; that was what I thought while I was reading Mel’s dilemmas and thoughts. So when Mel’s happy, I feel happy for her. When her other emotions triggered her, I understood her, I felt an ache towards her. And when she opens us, you just wanted to grasp on it and let her be heard. Even how she uttered how Derek held her, it was so weird that I felt like I was feeling it too. I had written awhile ago how I loved how it was written. It was just fluid, spontaneous and real (which I loved so much in a book). I felt the comfort exerting from Derek, and I too, felt safe.

This was the part what I really admired throughout the story, about how it was written: the “power to women” part. Though it took her long enough, at least she fought. The author made Melissa fragile then courageous. She, Melissa, was blinded. Every detail on how a person in a relationship tried to make things work: putted the blame on herself, counseling, just about everything. She needed an eye-opener, and she had: before, during and after that one-week. After that strenuous battle, though she did not fight further, it was enough. She just wanted out of it, she did not care anymore and she just wanted to be free.

She took time to start again, to heal, to be alone and to find herself.
And lastly, after she felt whole as a person…
She took the opportunity to be whole with someone who can hold her.
And be happy. She deserved it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Book Trailer:

One to Keep (One to Hold, #2) - Tia Louise

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

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

One to Keep Goodreads Link

Again, Tia Louise had written another heartfelt novel about a guy who was broken and completed by love. Patrick portrayed a guy shattered and betrayed by his so-called ‘the one’ yet he found different kinds of love that helped in the process of him mending his broken heart. The levels of love that Patrick had found in: friendship, sibling, relationship and another unexpected kind of love.

The story about Patrick was not lost in the book. It was very much about Patrick. Very Patrick. How he tried to recover from his heartbreak. How he treated his meeting with Derek, Kenny, Melissa and Elaine as a part of his character developing from his past to present. Of course the unexpected twists about his pasts (before and during Elaine) and how it affected him and his relationship. Mostly, it never lost that sense that it focused on Patrick entirely. Also how Patrick and Elaine were more than just a couple, it was more. They were ‘growing’ together and I loved that about this book. And it was interconnected with several of the scenes at ‘One to Hold’ and also bounded  by Mel-Derek, and as supporting characters on the previous novel, I saw more insight as an observer from Patrick’s POV and then it shifted to my focus on Patrick-Elaine’s story. The details and how it was written was as crisp and clear like before. I personally loved One to Hold but One to Keep also behold such a love story about a different kind of ugly love to healing and recovering then transforming that ugly love to a well-deserved beautiful love – both with the main characters, Elaine and Patrick (even Kenny) and their story.

Patrick was a lot deeper than what he was at ‘One to Hold’. He was different from the previous book – he wasn’t that kind charmer. He had a baggage that was sort of an ego-inflating as he was cheated on by his ex-fiancĂ©e.  He was once that total fool in love. But he was betrayed to and he took the jerk way out to recover. He was hurt. Then he found love again. An intense one that he never expected. On another note, the deleted prologue (I posted it after my rating – originally found at: Vilma’s Book Blog) was helpful to fully-understand and have a detailed grasp on what happened to Patrick.

I literally felt both characters, as much as I felt Patrick, Elaine was also too much. I loved Elaine’s character and how she helped Patrick. How Patrick grew as himself – that was really promising, how he changed but now in a good way. The moment Patrick and Elaine had met, I was squealing like a fangirl! Patrick was really attracted to her and it wasn’t just lust. Also, there were sparks between the both of them that were natural, exciting and consuming (in a good way). There was a connection that wrapped them together – it was not cheesy but romantic. It was like I felt they were ‘it’ for each other. The hugging was even more compelling. I could sense how warm their embraces were. I swear it was natural to do and sweet. I felt the “I don’t ever want to let go” feeling whenever they hug each other. It felt like whenever Patrick-Elaine’s parts came up, it was like they were in their own bubble. Then sexual scenes were like in ‘One to Hold’ – emotion and physical-wise; but steamier and borderline kink on top. It was different but the same in the way it exerted the lust, desire, worship that surrounded them. His love for Elaine was so real and to compare the hurt he felt at Elaine was incomparable to the pain he had felt when his ‘ex’ hurt him. Because Elaine was his real deal, he realized that the moment the devastation on Elaine’s face when she knew something that almost crushed their relationship, that pain he felt just by looking at Elaine’s eyes. Just by him to have felt that overwhelming sense of hurt, dread and shattered, I knew his feelings for Elaine was nth power genuine and unconditional. For him to also hate himself and have that fear of losing Elaine, that made me love Patrick more. He was scared to lose Elaine and that was when I knew how his feelings consumed him.

Then the part where another part of Patrick’s recent past came back, he manned-up and supported Kenny – plus, I liked their relationship. Kenny and Patrick were a couple that was “healing”. It was just for one day-night but it helped them vent their pasts. Then they had this relationship that was ‘special’ it was like a sibling love – the urge to protect and knew about what they had in common. But what happened afterwards was unexpected yet a blessing. It was both an ideal and real thing to do – the decision they (Kenny and Patrick) did. About the Kenny issue: I understood Patrick and how he wanted to explain but then I felt for Elaine – because I felt her as a girl and I kept it mind that she had just recently ended a 5-year relationship. That 5-year relationship was still a relationship; she might not have loved her ex as much as Patrick but it was still years being together. That plus Patrick didn’t correct Elaine for the first time about Kenny. There were so many obvious faults and as much as I knew Patrick and his misery while it was happening, I could not help but cry for Elaine (I really did because she stated it was true but she didn’t know the whole story). There was a moment where Patrick said he would never hurt Elaine and Elaine replied that he already did. It pained me deeply. Then I wanted to console Patrick because it caused him another heartache but much more intense. No, ache did not even suffice… his heart shattered, shredded, stomped and almost ash.

He gave tried to apologize, he told her countless times how he loves her, he gave her space, he did everything… Then my favorite line was delivered by Derek: “Go to her. Beg her to forgive you. Grovel if you have to.” He made his moves to win her back. Elaine was a very understanding character. I applaud her to everything she had done. Gods, to be in her shoe? To be able to welcome Patrick as she was shattered to bits by the hurt and the jealousy? Yes, jealousy. Because even if I was in her position I would be wishing for the same thing, “I wanted…” that part. I cried at that part and I wanted Elaine to have that too but that would be impossible so when another unexpected twist happen, I was still overjoyed! Patrick was dedicated to Elaine as he was to Kenny, but Elaine was always the exception. Elaine was always the number one. He had new priorities but Elaine would always be the one that would be the first. No one ever came close. No one.

This book was different from ‘One to Hold’ though both had gave a second shot at love. The difference made me love both books in their very own way. Aside from delving on Patrick’s POV here (and how the author managed to grasp a man’s head), it really dealt on Patrick’s life. Even a girl could relate to Patrick, he experienced it in another way but it was still painful and then he fell in love again. It was a refreshing read but very familiar. It had the sense of hurting, healing, recovering, wishing, apologizing and of course of proving that when you find true love, you would literally grovel to have it back. You just know when it happens but no precursor, it was just unexpected but elating and blissful.

Lastly, to end this rant, I share to you an original (long) poem that nagged at me after I read this book:

‘Ode to Elaine by Patrick Knight’
By Jassie

“Everything happens for a reason,”
I am still hurting
but that is also preparing me
to be stronger.
I am fooling around to recover
but I know I am just wasting time.

My brother tries
to keep me on track,
I befriend his friend
and work with him.
Was it really helping?
I don’t care. I’m winging it, man.

Then I meet someone,
she is broken like me,
I feel her.
We become friends,
but that is it.
Just a couple of days and she will leave.
But she will always be special.

Am I being on the right path?
I am trying to be on the right path,
I need to work harder.
Get my mind off things.

Then I see her.
Her luminous beauty shines.
I feel the earth shifting on its axis,
all those poet stuffs
crashing to me all at once.
Sh*t, in this desert escapade
I meet my oasis.
Blame the desert air,
I am being romantic.
Damn, aesthetic-wise
that woman is a hands-down.
I am trying to keep my cool,
checking to turn on my charms.
As I step closer,
she looks at me.
She is radiating.
She is f*cking beautiful.
Wait, I see how she looks at me,
Is she interested?
She smiles at me,
Oh baby, I am a goner.

One day, one night.
Turned to a couple more days.
We need to leave soon
at this paradise.
Really, paradise?
But seeing that goddess?
To feel her in my arms
and inside?
Heaven might be a disappointment.
This right here is heaven.

I am not going to deny it…
I am falling in love.
No, not again.
I am in deep. Deeper.
When I thought I already fell,
I keep on falling in love more
and more on every little things
This time the love I am feeling
is different.
For me,
this is what love is right now:
Worth it.

Yes, I am all-in and very
committed to this girl.
At that I smile
on all things holy,
God, I feel blessed.
I have this girl.
Mine. All mine.

The pain of the past is
nothing compared to the devastation
I am seeing on Elaine’s face.
I will be gaining another,
I cannot believe it.
It literally shocks me to the very core.
Elaine’s beautiful face now crunch up
will forever be etched on my brain,
those soulful eyes holding the
hurt, betrayal, disbelief,
every pain keeps on  flashing on her eyes.
I want to explain,
to hold her tight and speak.
Then her tears start to flow,
my gut constricts,
my heart clenches,
my whole being paralyzed with the hurt
as I feel every pain she feels.
I am the one responsible for her tears.
No, no.
I step forward,
she turns and rushes out.
Please. No.
This. Cannot. Be. Happening.

F*ck to the moon and back,
I want to take all her pains
and clarify the misunderstandings
but what she said is true.
Sh*t, can I punch something?
I want this nagging ache be gone.

Not her.
Anything. Everything. Except her.
No. Not her.

Hurt, guilt, heart break, pain.
betrayal, disappointment, remorse,
and tragedy.
Yes, tragedy because I sense that the
‘Us’, that is Elaine and I,
is over.
Just the thought pierces me
and breaks my broken heart into
another shattering spectacle.
All the previous pain is nil
compared to this.
This is numbing my whole body
but on the inside,
it is overwhelming me with a
strong sense of unfathomable
pain and dread.

I will do anything to get her back,
“You would never be hurt so much
unless you have fallen deep.”
I already admitted I am in deep,
I will give ANYTHING she wants,
needs, every-f*cking-thing.
I will win her back.

I will do what Derek said,
“Go to her. Beg her to forgive you.
Grovel if you have to,”
I cannot promise not to hurt her
but I will try not to.
Never intentionally.
But the one thing I can promise,
there will never be
to use. Ever.

As she cry yet again,
I am keeping my arms around her,
crying with her.
Because I will trade whatever I have
to keep her with me.
Hugging her tightly, I confess everything.
Loosening my arms, I look at her,
her face twits to doubt – forgiveness..
I am hoping there is the spark back.
I stare and I am at bliss.
I see the love and I cling
to the slightest silver lining,
I love this woman.
I love her.
I will beg and apologize forever if I have to,
anything for this woman.

She is my heart and soul,
I am hers and she is mine.
She will always be:
the one to hold,
the one to keep,
desire, worship,
(lust), want, need,
and the only one to love.

I love her.
My Elaine.
The future Mrs. Patrick Knight.

That thought makes me smile
like I had been given the moon and the stars,
the universe.
Who wouldn’t?
I am such a lucky bastard.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Book Trailer:

One to Protect (One to Hold, #3)- Tia Louise

Purchase Links:
Amazon US     |     Nook     |     Google Play     |     ARe     |     Amazon UK

WARNING: Recommended for adult readers (18+) only. Mature themes, strong language, and sexual content.

One scar.
One betrayal.
No escape.

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

Then a face from the past turns up dead.

After exhausting all legal options, Derek is ready to do whatever it takes to protect his family... until his partner Patrick devises a trap that changes everything.

First and foremost, Tia Louise had done it again. She had written another beautifully-crafted novel. It was still as heartfelt like the previous ones she had written. I praise her for her finesse as a great storyteller: knows how to pace the story, makes the flow fluid, knows how to drop a climax and to end it while asking for more; but mostly, she knows how to make a reader immerse in her novel.

Congratulations to the author, Tia Louise, since my ultimate favorite was “One to Hold” yet “One to Protect” stood so close! This was a tricky and a well-thought story. Tia Louise had used layman's terms and wrote a very detailed narrative of the scenes. The way she had written each POV was spot-on without giving away too much of the story. Once again, as a reader, I was captured by the magnificence of the story. As always, Tia Louise never fail to make me ache as the characters – I felt lost while Mel was confounded on what Derek was doing and I was frightened while Derek was just to protect his family.

As for the double POV, it had enlightened the story more. The passion, love and care that each Derek and Mel had for each other was shown here. But who was the One to Protect? Was it Mel? Dex? Derek? Patrick? Elaine? Who?

“Entangled with a mess from the past,
Haunting their future,
And fear lingering the present.
How will they overcome this?”

“One to Protect” had that suspense, thrill and heart-clutching moments. It made me sit up right on my bed, my leisure reading became an all too consuming fist-sheet-clenching reading as I swipe pages to unravel what would Derek do and what would happen to Sloan. In all honesty, I am a TV crime-drama bias and I would admit that this novel was like watching one. Though this novel dealt with such anticipation for action, it was still filled with unconditional romance. The action was there, the risks, the emotions and the reason that kept the character doing these things.

It was again Derek and Melissa’s story but now they were faced with a bigger fight. Mel's case was not yet done… Sloan was taking his time. Sloan was delaying and it was the calm before the storm.
Sloan was, if not, like a psycho. He was obsessed. Obsessed with what or obsessed with whom? I couldn't help but think it was an obsession of an idea. An idea of Mel or the physicality of Mel? But one thing was clear: Sloan had this obsession to possess. He once had Mel and it had kept him addicted to the thought of possessing Mel. The one he deemed he loved and the one who was his. He was like a victim on loose, he was needed to kept tabs with but Sloan was sneaky, rich, powerful and he had his mind set on what he wanted and he would go for it. A person with a mind like his would always seek what he wants and he would do his best to get it… especially if he knew it was his on the first place. As if Derek would not put up a fight? Mel was, is now, Derek’s and no one would change that. Yes, Mel was Sloan’s before but it already ended. Derek was also a man with a mindset like Sloan. This would be difficult, both guys were competitive and they always reach their goals. And sometimes you resort to different tactics and strategies, to protect someone.

So that the gang was back and they were stronger than ever. Mel was still that strong woman I had described in my “One to Hold” review, like Derek was still an enigma of sorts in here. There were things that changed for the better between these two. Not just the baby in the mix but also how their relationship had become. They were each other’s saving grace. When all felt like life had let them down; they found each other and everything was almost right again. It was as much as a drama-filled book as it was cloaked with romance. The book shouted “I’d do anything for love”. The sacrifice and all in-between? Amazing.

The development and progress of the story were congruent with the characters and their relationships. It showed that Mel and Derek were in a very serious relationship. They were let talking about building a future together. A path where there would be no turning back. Full-on responsibility and deciding together. That would lead there. But first, Derek must eradicate the barrier. Yes, eradicate. Intentionally or not. Then there were times that the story was all-too-consuming and I was glad Elaine and Patrick were there. They were the ice-breakers in the story. Yet, I also feared for Elaine and Patrick since they were helping Mel and Derek; they were also at risk (more so on Patrick, too).

Like at “One to Hold”, I was still mystified with Derek and it helped that he had his POVs in here. There was a heavy feeling I always encounter whenever I read Derek's POVs; that I felt trapped with his darkness yet overwhelmed by all his emotions for Melissa. He was still moving-on from his past love and he was consumed by a real and new love with Melissa. It was tougher because Mel and he were faced with a very strong opponent. I saw, felt and knew how powerful his love was at Mel especially that part when he voiced out his fear at Mel, I couldn’t remember it verbatim but Derek said that he fears a person who could take Mel away from him (that was total spoiler and swoon-alert!) not only that, consequences be damned he has a goal in mind: Mel and Dex. No questions asked and no second thoughts. He was all-in, to hold and to protect.

As for the romance, I covet every moment Derek and Mel meet. It was like a lover who was sent back from the war (no pun intended). It fills that longing. They relish the affection and the savor each moment together. The sexual tension and the intimacy were there, as powerful as ever. The fire from within was ignited and they fused not only their bodies but also their hearts and minds. The raw craving, that I mentioned back at “One to Hold”, to feel again was met and love was included in the equation, it made the story overwhelming, brilliant and beautiful.

On another note, it felt like there was more to the story. I thought about how it still had the sense of elation yet the closure was not fully-reached. Derek and Patrick still had an unfinished business. For me, I'd say he did what he had to do and it was justifiable. A piece of advice: have a great defense attorney. That aside, the problem ended all right but there were still strings attached and I couldn’t wait if there would be more or that was it. Either way, the overall story had created a great sense of balance of romance and drama.

Lastly, what I loved the most was that after reading this novel, there was something that clicked. It was the double entendre about the title. It was not to be overlooked. I literally said, ‘Oh! Oh! I get it!’ when I had the light-bulb moment and I even disclosed what I thought to Tia Louise! The title really acknowledged not only Mel and Dex but also for Derek (and Patrick). The questions were: ‘Who was the one to protect?’ and ‘Who was the one protecting?’ There were interconnections within those questions; plus the epilogue was very fulfilling.

“’It is over, we’re going to be okay.’
An assurance, a half-truth.
That was all he needed to say…
For now.”

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Book Trailer:

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

Stalk the Characters of One to Hold & One to Keep:

Author Links:
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-     Jassie