Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Cannot tell you how excited I was to be able to get my hands on this book!! This is the second in the fantastic Hard Ink series by Laura. The first, Hard As It Gets, was a fabulous 5 star read for me, and this one follows right along.
This is Shane and Crystal's story. We of course, met Shane in HAIG as he is Nick's best friend and long lost battle companion that stepped in and stepped up in order to help Nick save Becca and her brother Charlie. Crystal, we only briefly met, as she was working in the nightclub where Charlie's rescue occurred. Never did we realize that a chance meeting by these two would set off such a wonderful story and chain of events.
Shane..... what can you say?? The man is sexy and Southern. What more is there to love? And the fact that he so quickly imbeds himself in Crystal's business, when he really doesn't even know her at all-- total swoonworthy. And a true sign of a man. I fell even harder for him when I saw the way he was with Jenna (Crystal's epileptic sister). It melted my heart to see how caring and gentle he was in the face of such a scary episode, and how he didn't hesitate to step in and take control of the situation- all the while taking care of Jenna. Both of those girls hit the jackpot when they found Shane- he really was their knight in shining armor.
And Crystal, god how my heart hurt for her. The things that she had already been through and continued to go through on a daily basis- just so that she could keep her sister safe and healthy. Not alot of people can face all of that and not break. But Crystal does- time and time again. The hardest of those being with Bruno-- and let me tell you, he is someone that should hope he never met me in a dark alley. The things he does- they sickened me. I found myself wanting to rip out the pages of my book that he was in-- just so that I wouldn't have to see his name. That's how much I hated him.
That's how easily Laura was able to evoke that kind of emotion from her words. That is why I have loved both of these books, and why I will be glad to read and review the ones to come. And yes, I can imagine there are several more to come- the Hard Ink story is far from finished. These guys have more love and life to share with us, and I for one cannot wait to see it all unfold.
I just wonder who is next up to spill onto Laura's pages??
And since Laura is so freaking awesome---- be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card:
Monday, February 3, 2014
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 . . .
I dropped my leg so I was sitting cross-legged in the couch and leaned into him. “Honey, you remember everything so I don’t have to remind you I haven’t seen you in nine years. I dig it that we reconnected and I love having you back.” I again threw an arm out, this time toward him and back to me. “This is great. You and me spending time together, shooting the breeze. I missed that. And I get it that friends make gestures, but this is too much.”
His eyes warmed during this speech and he took his arms from the couch, bent his legs, leaned into them, and me, and put his elbows to his knees, never releasing my eyes.
“Baby, I want you warm and liquid. The first bein’ physically, the second bein’ financially. You stop payin’ so much for heat, you’ll have more money for the rest of the shit you gotta do.”
This made sense.
But he’d again called me “baby.”
And I needed to address that.
So I asked, “What is that?”
His head cocked and his eyebrows drew together. “What’s what?”
Something happened to his eyes, his face, his whole big body and that something made me brace at the same time it made my heartbeat escalate.
“You know what it is,” he said softly.
“I don’t,” I shared.
His eyes stayed locked to mine and I knew him relatively well, or I used to. But even if we hadn’t been separated for years, I still would not have been forewarned to the fact he was about to blow my mind.
“Before, we had Elsbeth between us. My head was fucked about that, about her, and it took almost a decade to get it unfucked. Lookin’ back, havin’ you back, I now know and I reckon you know, that’s the way it was. She was between us. She knew it too. And she didn’t like it. But it didn’t matter. My head was fucked so I couldn’t see clear of her and not doin’ that, I didn’t see you.”
I knew my lips had parted. I also knew my eyes got big. And last, I had no clue what to say.
So I said nothing.
“Now she isn’t between us,” he finished.
It was then I knew what the “baby” business was.
I just had no idea how to react to it because I never considered it. He was beautiful. He was kind. He was smart. He was funny and interesting and affectionate.
But he was my best friend’s boyfriend.
That didn’t mean my mind didn’t go there in vague ways, not stupid enough to wish for something I could never have, just silently covetous of what Elsbeth had. And, because of all that he was and that Elsbeth had it, in the end, infuriated she threw it away. Angry enough to end an important friendship because of it.
Sitting there, all that was Jacob, and all that being spectacular sitting across from me, holding my eyes, I finally understood that the reason I was angry at my friend was because, in throwing Jacob away, she took him away from me.
And now I had him back, but also, he was saying I’d always had him a different way, we just didn’t go there and he was going to take us there.
Yes. I had no clue what to say but my body had a clue how to feel. Warm and there were a lot more tingles.
“Jacob—” I started on a whisper.
But he interrupted again.
“You saw me, asked me out to dinner that same night, no fuckin’ around. Since then, you’ve called twice for no reason except to connect, and, baby, before you freak that I noticed that and what it said, I’ll tell you, I’m fuckin’ glad you did and I’m also fuckin’ glad about what it said. The boyfriend you were on the fence about, you got off the fence in less than twenty-four hours after seein’ me again and decided to get shot of his ass. And you didn’t waste any time gettin’ me right where I am tonight. That is not friends reconnecting. You know it. So do I.”
“Don’t deny it.”
I shut my mouth.
For anyone that has ever read one of my reviews of Kristen's books before, you know that she is my tippy top favorite author. Knowing that, I am gonna say again- I freaking love this woman's work!!!! She honestly can do no wrong in my eyes, I swear- she is just a damn dream. I cannot even start to sing her praises enough. I really don't ever feel like I do her justice- that's how great I feel she is. And Kaleidoscope is absolutely no exception!! It is phenomenal!!!
To finally get Deck's story after meeting him in Breathe- holy hell- takes my breath away!! This man.... There are no words. I love Jacob Decker!! Emme is a damn lucky woman. Not only is he drop dead sexy, but totally swoon worthy. The things that he does and says to her- totally makes me melt. And the kaleidoscope...... Talk about making you want to jump a man's bones. So sweet!!!
Of course it doesn't mean that their story is all sunshine and rainbows the entire time- there is some normal KA drama and suspense thrown in, but as per her usual- KA gives Deck and Emme that HEA they so well deserve. Their story is beautiful, and has spanned several years- which makes the outcome all the more sweet for them both. This book is one that you cannot miss out on- and if you are a true KA fan- you're gonna love it!! And if you are just discovering KA- this is why you will fall in love with her work. She is just like the finest wine- just keeps getting better. Total 5 stars!!!!
Enter here for a chance to win a copy of Kaleidoscope!!
And you can read the first chapter for FREE here:
About the author:
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.
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Nova has haunted his dreams for nearly a year-but Quinton never thought a sweet, kind person like her would care enough about a person like him. To Quinton, a dark, dangerous life is exactly what he deserves. And Nova has no place in it. But Nova has followed him to Las Vegas, and now he must do whatever it takes to keep her away, to maintain his self-imposed punishment for the unforgivable things he's done. But there's one flaw in his plan: Nova isn't going anywhere . . .
I suddenly realize that I’m in my room. Awake. And Nova’s here. With me. My thoughts start racing as I try to recollect what happened. I was planning on those guys beating me to death. Why didn’t that happen? Because it was too easy? Do I deserve not to be let off so easy—do I deserve worse than death? But if that’s true then why’s Nova here?
“What are you doing here?” It’s painful to talk, but I force the words to leave my mouth. “Or am I dreaming?”
She repositions her hand on my cheek, but doesn’t pull away, the startled look in her eyes diminishing. “You’re not dreaming…you were unconscious but…are you okay?” She seems nervous and it reminds me of how innocent and good she is, and how she shouldn’t be here in the crack house that I call home.
“Why are you here?” I ask, my voice feeble as I try to sit up, but my arms aren’t working and I fall right back down on the mattress.
“I came here to see you,” she replies, absent-mindedly touching her lips, and I wonder if I really kissed her or if I was imagining it.
She stares at me with her fingers on her lips and it’s uncomfortable because she’s really looking at me. I’ve been so used to people looking through me, as if I were a ghost, seeing the drugs, the person that I am now, theworthlessness all over me, instead of who I used to be. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be really looked at and for a split second I enjoy it. Then she looks away and I feel like I’m dying, my brain registering the pain in my legs, arms, chest—everywhere. And I’m crashing. Badly. My hands start to shake, my heart rate picking up as soon as I realize this.
“Go put some ice in a plastic bag,” she says, snapping her fingers at someone.
I hear a mutter and then Tristan steps into my view. He glances down at me and the haziness in his eyes lets me know he’s high on something, but I’m glad he’s at least here and it doesn’t look like he’s been beaten up. “Dude, you look like shit,” he tells me with a dopey-ass grin.
“I feel like shit,” I mutter, managing to get my hand up to my face to rub my eyes. “You look like you got away.”
“I did, and you should have run with me, you dumbass…I thought you were for a while until I realized I was alone.” Tristan chuckles under his breath. “Wait until you see yourself in a mirror.”
His amusement seems to piss Nova off and she gets to her feet, tugging the bottoms of her shorts down, fury burning in her eyes. “Go get a fucking bag to put the ice in,” she says, not yelling, but her tone is cold, abrupt, harsh, and she sort of shoves him. This isn’t the Nova I remember at all and she kind of scares me.
She seems to scare Tristan, too, who surrenders with his hands in front of him and backs toward the doorway. “Fine. Jesus, Nova. You don’t have to get crazy about it.”
“You haven’t even begun to see me get crazy,” she snaps, pointing at the door. “Now go get a damn bag.”
After Tristan leaves, she turns to the doorway and says, “What am I going to do?”
I can’t see who she’s talking to and it makes me wonder who the hell is in here. Delilah? I doubt it, since I don’t think she’d be asking Delilah that question.
“I don’t know,” someone replies. I still can’t see who it is, but I can tell the voice belongs to a female and I hate how excited I get over the fact that Nova’s not here with a guy.
Suddenly a girl with black hair and big blue eyes steps in. “He looks…” She assesses me, then looks at Nova. “He looks like he needs to go to a hospital.”
“No hospitals,” I croak. “I don’t have the cash to pay for that.” And I don’t deserve to heal so easily. I should suffer for getting up and running away from my death.
Nova stares down at me with reluctance. “Quinton, I really think you need to go to a hospital.” She kneels back down on the mattress, sweeping her long brown hair to the side as she leans over me. Her fingers gently enfold my wrist and, moving slowly, she bends my arm so I can get a good view of my hand. It’s twice the size it normally is and my skin is purple and blue. Even where her fingers are, the skin is swollen and raw, and it seems like her touch should hurt, but all I can feel is heat—her heat. God, I’ve missed her heat. I’ve spent the last year wrapped up in coldness, feeling the numbness of drugs and sex with random women and now she’s here and I feel like I’m burning up.
“It’s just a bruise,” I say, not looking at my hand, but at her. I want to hold her, hug her, kiss her, touch her, but I also want her to go away. Stay. Leave. Right. Wrong. Lexi. Nova. Guilt.
It was all your fault.