Friday, November 29, 2013

review: Headfirst Falling by Melissa Guinn

Headfirst Falling
Headfirst Falling by Melissa Guinn

My rating: 4/5
DRC provided by NetGalley for an honest review
Published: 9.23.2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Summary –
Falling in love. It doesn't seem to fit, like falling shouldn't be used in conjunction with love. We don't fall gracefully. In fact, there's nothing graceful about it. We crash into things—hit them hard, bounce around, give ourselves cuts, bruises or break bones… And it's never planned. It takes you by surprise. You lose control.

Charlie Day fell in love with Jackson Stiles a long time ago. But that was before he and her brother enlisted and went to Iraq. Before Jackson came back different. Before they told Charlie her brother would never come back at all.

A lot of things have changed since then. But when Jackson takes a job at the company where Charlie works, she discovers that one thing hasn't changed—the spark between them. She's not sure she can love this new Jackson, or forgive him for the part he played in her brother's death. It's too bad for Charlie that, with love, you don't always have a choice.
(Thanks to for the summary)

My Thoughts –
A heart felt, emotional story of loss, love and forgiveness. Well written and faced paced, this story is sure to tug at readers heartstrings.

Charlie didn’t know how to deal and most of the time I thought she was a super big B to Jackson. She just couldn’t get over herself, her feelings, and her loss. She realized almost too late that others are involved in this story as well. Jackson – OMG. He was patient, passionate and just plain freaking awesome. I feel both characters grew and had some “come to jesus” moments. They grieved, forgave, loved and moved on.

Great job to the author for making me bawl like a baby during the letter and making me care so much for her characters. I enjoyed Charlie and Jackson’s story and look forward to more from this author!!

review: Naked Sushi by Jina Bacarr

Naked Sushi
Naked Sushi by Jina Bacarr

My rating: 3/5
DRC provided by NetGalley for an honest review
Published: 10.15.2013
Genre: Red-Hot Contemporary Romance

Summary –
From Jina Bacarr comes a sexy and provocative new release from Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin.

One day I'm getting canned from my job as a computer programmer for having wild copy-room sex with a guy I thought was the new game designer. The next, I'm crashing my ex-boss's business lunch in a creative attempt to get my job back and men are eating sushi off my naked body!

That's when I realize:
a) My ex-boss is a hiding corporate secrets
b) Hot copy-room guy is an undercover FBI agent
c) I would make a kick-ass spy!

Then Special Agent Hottie brings out his cuffs, and things get really interesting… (Thanks to for the summary)

My Thoughts –
Is the title a good/bad choice for the story? Not at all – after all , there is naked and there is sushi
List the top 2 characters and 1 word to describe them each. Pepper – ballsy, Steve - suave
Give the book an alternate ending…or were you happy with it? I think it worked out fine
Did you cry, laugh, sigh, cringe, fume or feel nothing? I laughed, that’s for sure

I thought this novella was hilarious. Steve and Pepper’s relationship from the get-go is hot, steamy and comical. Hunting down the ex-boss and confronting him while naked and covered in sushi – laugh out loud funny. Sexy time in a dressing room, yes please!! I think the two of them are awesome together, no matter how awkward and clumsy they are. The writing was ok and didn’t line up in a few spots – other than that, it was easy to read and I flew through it.  More form this pair would be great!!

review: Cake by Lauren Dane

Cake by Lauren Dane

My rating: 4/5
DRC provided by NetGalley for an honest review
Published: 9.15.2013
Genre: Red-Hot Contemporary Romance Novella

Summary –
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Dane comes the latest release from Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin.

She won’t be satisfied with just one bite...

Art student-slash-bike messenger Wren Davis pursues what she wants. And what she wants now is Gregori Ivanov, rock star of the Seattle art scene. With his tattoos, piercings and sensual sneer, Gregori is the ultimate bad boy. Wren’s gotten to know the man beneath the body art, too—and it only makes her crave him more.

But Gregori loves women like he loves cake and champagne—intensely, but only for the moment. And after Wren experiences just how scorching sex with Gregori is, she’s determined to show him that just one taste won’t be enough... (Thanks to for the summary)

My Thoughts –
Wren and Gregori are a wicked hot duo. When they come together they are almost combustible. Wren had courage to finally go what what/who she wanted. She knew the eccentric Gregori was the man for her and she was on a mission to prove to him that she was the girl for him. I liked Wren puts him in his place – she takes no shit and takes names at the same time.

This is an extremely quick, easy read. The writing is great, as Lauren Dane’s writing always is, and I read it all in one sitting.

review: Some Like It Spicy by Robbie Terman

Some Like It Spicy (A Perfect Recipe, #1)

Some Like It Spicy by Robbie Terman

My rating: 4/5
DRC provided by NetGalley for an honest review
Published: 7.31.13
A Perfect Recipe #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Summary –
Ashton Grey’s restaurant, Sweet Home, is in trouble. Months of empty tables have left her and her partners near bankruptcy, and her father’s prediction of her failure as a chef seems imminent. But a chance encounter could provide Ashton with the publicity she needs to save her restaurant—if the fiery chef is willing to compete on a reality cooking show. But in order to win, she needs to stay focused. No problem…until she meets the head judge.

Celebrity chef Ty Cates is ready to get away from the camera and back to the kitchen where he belongs. Performing as head judge on a reality show is just one more commitment he’d like to get out of, especially after he meets Ashton. Head judges dating contestants is about as taboo as putting ketchup on filet mignon, but from the moment they meet, there’s a simmering heat between them that neither can ignore.

As the competition heats up, they rely on sneaking around, stealing amazing night after amazing night together when the cameras aren’t rolling. When both realize what’s starting to feel like love could easily be a recipe for disaster, Ashton and Ty need to make a choice—get out of the kitchen or turn up the heat. (Thanks to for the summary)

My Thoughts –
I really thought this was a great story that could easily be converted into a chick flick. The chemistry between Ty and Ashton is smokin’ and amazing.

Ashton doesn’t even want to be on the dumb cooking show and only agrees to try and win to save her restaurant. She a little attitude is slightly arrogant in regards to her cooking, but I think she’s a great character all around.

Ty has been there and done that. He’s sick of celeb life and misses cooking. He misses his family and really doesn’t want to host the cooking show – until he meets Ashton.

Aside from the wicked hot romance going on through the story, the interaction between contestants, the challenges that they are given and the outcome of the contest make this book extremely hard to put down. The writing is modern, not too descriptive and the dialogue is fresh. I loved it all. I’m looking forward to more in this series for sure!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
100 of 5 stars

Summary -  
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Thoughts - 

So I bought this book when it first came out because I love John Green books. My daughter read it and loved it. I've read almost all of his books via audiobooks, but own them as well. I wanted to listen to this one. I listen to these at work; now imagine trying to listen to this while working. Right - that's why it took forever. I'd cry laugh and then bawl again.

Finally one day, I said to myself - I am finishing this book today. Und I did. (anyone get that?) I fucking cried so hard, I think I went a little crazy as a side effect. Holy hell is this a great book.Sobbing and bawling aside - GREAT job John Green!! I fall so in love with your characters, it hurts like hell when they hurt and even worse when they die. UGH..that's all I'm sayin'...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

review: Jet by Jay Crownover

Jet (Marked Men, #2)

Jet by Jay Crownover

My rating: 5/5
DRC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review
Marked Men #2
Published: 5.28.13
Genre: New Adult Romance

With his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire.

Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships.

Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes? (Thanks to for the summary)

My Thoughts –
Where does the story take place? Denver
Is the title a good/bad choice for the story? great - fits with the series theme
Give the book an alternate ending…or were you happy with it? I was more than satisfied with the ending.
Did you cry, laugh, sigh, cringe, fume or feel nothing? All of those things doubled.

I think Jet was an intense, enthralling, steam-hot story! I absolutely love this series.

Like Rule, Jet is a complete manwhore – but he owns it. He’s angsty and gorgeous and all the ladies want to ride the Jet-plane – if you know what I mean. He’s got issues with his parents and is the lead singer in a heavy metal band. He lets his concerns over his mother hold him back form furthering his career as a musician. He’s all that, but there more than meets the eye here. He’s established as a music producer, song writer and he’s a great guy.

Ayden – ugh. Girl, no one is perfect and who wants “normal” anyway?? I understand that she had dark past, but seriously – get over yourself. She doesn’t trust herself, her brother or Jet. All the doubt and angst associated with Ayden just made me want to bitch slap the hell out of her. I really hated that she could see/believe that he was changing and was worth being with.

I think the two of them were absolutely meant to be. They had smexy hawt smokin’ love and they meshed so well as a couple. Like I said before – I love this series. Great job!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

review: Me, Cinderella? by Aubrey Rose

Me, Cinderella?
Me, Cinderella? by Aubrey Rose

My rating: 3/5
DRC provided by NetGalley for an honest review
Published: 6.24.2013
Genre: New Adult Romance

Summary –
One kind deed can change your life forever...

Brynn Tomlin could never afford to follow her heart. But when she sees a stranger shivering in the snow outside of the college library, an inexplicable urge leads her to buy him a hot cup of coffee. It's just a small act of kindness, a few words of conversation. Brynn should be focusing on her finals, after all, not on the man who looked up at her gratefully with piercing blue eyes.

He could have been anyone - a janitor on break, a graduate student, a bum. But the man standing outside in the cold turns out to be Dr. Eliot Herceg, one of the most brilliant minds in mathematics and heir to a fortune. After years of reclusive isolation, he now finds his heart awakening to the kind girl whose name he does not know.

Brynn has spent her life trying to forget her desires, and Eliot's deep wounds have taken nearly a decade to heal. After so much hurt, will either of them be able to open their hearts again? (Thanks to for the summary)

My Thoughts –
Where does the story take place? Turkey
Is the title a good/bad choice for the story? It works fine
List the top 2 characters and 1 word to describe them each. Brynn – young, Eliot - mourning
Did you cry, laugh, sigh, cringe, fume or feel nothing? Meh, a little of this and a little of that

I thought this story was ok. It was a cute, easy read. I felt for Brynn when she was at the cemetery making peace with her mother’s passing. I liked the way Eliot and Brynn first met, outside the coffee shop. I didn’t like that he was so much older than her – for a New Adult story. I thought the Pretty Woman moment she had was pretty cool, but I never really felt intense sexual chemistry they were supposed to have. At times the story seemed rushed and and at others it seemed wordy and overdrawn.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

review: Louder Than Love by Jessica Topper

Louder Than Love
Louder Than Love by Jessica Topper

My rating: 3/5
DRC provided by NetGalley for an honest review
Published: 9.17.2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Summary –
In this powerful debut novel, a young librarian grieves the loss of her husband...and discovers a love that defies classification.

It's been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth...the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.

Recluse rocker Adrian "Digger" Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids' TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.

Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it's unclear whose past looms larger: the widow's or the rocker's. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart? (Thanks to for the summary)

My Thoughts –
Where does the story take place? Suburbs outside NYC
Is the title a good/bad choice for the story? I guess
List the top 3 characters and 1 word to describe them each. 1-Kat/Tree=dwelling, 2-Adrian/Digger=reclusive, 3-Abbey= precocious
Give the book an alternate ending…or were you happy with it? It was great
Did you cry, laugh, sigh, cringe, fume or feel nothing? Mildly some of the aforementioned…

OK story. Kat and Adrian were a good couple. I like how they met and how they came together. I think Kat’s friends are all slightly dim for not recognizing him and then getting pissy over it later. I liked this a lot, but I didn’t love it. At times it was slow and some of the wording was too much – too wordy.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

review: Foreplay by Sophie Jordan

Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles, #1)
Foreplay by Sophie Jordan

My rating: 4.5/5
DRC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review
Published: 11.5.2013
Genre: New Adult Romance

Summary –
Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted, she’s about to find the one she needs.

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real… (Thanks to for the summary)

My Thoughts –
I thought this story was amazing!! Smokin’ hot, well written and great characters made this about impossible to put down. Pepper and Reece aren’t perfect. They both have their issues front he past, they both make mistakes, but they but grow into the people their destined to be in the end.

Pepper was naive and inexperienced and I also think she tended to overreact to things. Aside from all of that, the author wrote her so well, I still cared about her. I wanted to hit Pepper almost every time she mentioned Hunter, because he was so NOT the one for her. Reece, I think, is my new book boyfriend – totally. He’s wicked sexy, smart and a great guy. The pair of them made for lots of burning cheeks and sighing. Totally unfair.

The writing was well done. The writing tone and dialogue were not cheesy, overly descriptive or old-fashioned. The story was fast paced and I loved it! I’m looking forward to more from this author!!

review: Ruin by C.J. Scott

Ruin (Summer in Winter, #1)

Ruin by C.J. Scott

My rating: 3/5
DRC provided by NetGalley for an honest review
Published: 8.21.2013
Genre: New Adult Romance

Summary –
Kate Bell isn't perfect. Not even close. The things she got up to in college would cause her parents to fall off their pedestals in shock. Home for the summer vacation, Kate settles in for a long, boring break in the tiny backwater of Winter with folks who still treat her like she's twelve.

Then Ben Parker arrives and suddenly Winter gets interesting. He's hot, mysterious and good with his hands. Kate falls for him instantly, but her cop father warns her to stay away. But how can she stay away from someone as compelling as Ben? Someone who thinks she's perfect just the way she is?

When Ben's secrets catch up to him, not only is Kate's heart in danger of being broken, but Ben's entire future could be ruined.

RUIN is a new adult contemporary romance intended for mature readers. It contains strong language and sexual situations.

To read a long excerpt of RUIN and discover what Ben has tattooed on his shoulder, check out C.J.'s website: (Thanks to for the summary)

My Thoughts –
Where does the story take place? A little town called Winter
Is the title a good/bad choice for the story? Maybe, I think something else may suit it better though
List the top 3 characters and 1 word to describe them each. 1 – Kate = tired, 2 – Ben = searching, 3 – Jane = stuck
Did you cry, laugh, sigh, cringe, fume or feel nothing? Honestly, maybe sighed. Ben is awesome, I mean!!

I liked this story – it was steamy, quick and there was Ben. Ben, Ben, Ben. My feeling is that he made the story. I liked the general plot/storyline, but I had a hard time caring for the heroine of the short novella. I feel that Kate wasn’t a well-developed character. Ben and Kate’s smexy scenes were smokin’, that’s for sure – but I think it had more to do with Ben than Kate. It also seemed to jump around at times in the story – maybe due to the DRC editing, not sure. I liked this one, I just didn’t love it like I think I could have had it been longer and the characters had more depth.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blog Tour: Buried Threads by Kaylin McFarren Excerpt & Giveaway

About the Author:

Kaylin McFarren is a California native who has enjoyed traveling around the world. She previously worked as director for a fine art gallery, where she helped foster the careers of various artists before feeling the urge to satisfy her won creative impulses. 

Since launching her writing career, McFarren has earned more than a dozen literary awards in addition to a finalist spot in the 2008 RWA Golden Heart Contest. A member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers, she also lends her 
participation and support to various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest.

McFarren currently lives with her husband in Oregon. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Her latest book is Buried Threads (Book 2 of the Threads series).
Visit her website at

Connect & Socialize with Kaylin!

Rachel’s mouth sagged. “You mean you’re really a monk? But how’s that possible? You’re not even wearing a robe, and your hair…”
He simply smiled.

 A disturbing prophecy sends a treasure hunting duo on an urgent race to rescue a country in Kaylin McFarren’s heart pounding new novel,  Buried Threads. Full of erotic suspense and wild adventures, this is one trip that readers will never forget!
Rachel Lyons and Chase Cohen work together as the successful owners of a treasure hunting company. But a seemingly simply assignment – to track down a priceless gem that is believed to buried in a shipwreck deep within the Sea of Japan – takes a starling, and dangerous, turn.

Faced with a monk’s dark prophecy that a natural disaster will soon strike Japan, killing millions, Rachel and Chase must embark on the mission of a lifetime in order to uncover the three cursed samurai swords that can avert the catastrophe.

Chaos ensues as their adventure takes them from shark infested waters and creepy caves to haunted hidden tombs and a confrontation with Yakuza gang members.

Time is running out as the prophecy’s day of reckoning draws near. Will Rachel and Chase succeed before disaster strikes?

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Sneak peak!!!!!

The mystery begins…
Kenji Otadidn’t fit the description of a bloodthirsty killer. Upon meeting him, it would be difficult to believe he’d gotten away with murdering at least twenty-five men. He was intelligent, intuitive and physically attractive. His black hair was kept short and neat, and from the professional manner in which he dressed and carried himself, he could have been mistaken fora television announcer or successful business executive. He socialized in mixed circles – with stockbrokers, politicians and street-smart hoodlums alike – and his charming, larger-than-life personality drew the attention of women everywhere. However, after meeting Mariko Abe, his taste in the fairer sex had been spoiled forever. No one in his mind would ever compare to Kyoto’s most beautiful geishaorbe foolish enough to keep her away from him.
At 8:45 P.M., he stepped inside RAIN, one of the hottest nightclubs in Japan’s Roppongi district with his face hidden behind a katou anime mask. He knew only the “big” people in Tokyo could gain access to this place, and at the age of 29, he was already considered one of the largest. His loyalty to his yakuza family, the Zakura-kai, carried great weight and had earned him three rankings within the Japanese syndicate: Kaito Mitsui’s body guard, his personal advisor, and captain of his own crew of soldiers. Yet his hard-earned promotions were not the result of monies earned, smart business dealings or his ability to entice new, ambitious recruits. They came as the result of his eight-year incarceration on behalf of his boss for a botched extortion scam.
With renewed interest in the noisy scene before him, Kenji pulled off his mask and tucked it into his black studded belt. He ran his hand across the back of his sweaty neck – the irritatingresultof another muggy August night. Unlike the devoted men in his crew, he shied away from solid black suits by wearing tight jeans and a loose white shirt most days. And although the police had released him only four days earlier, across his back he carried a red wakazashi– a lethal 31” sword.
Associates who were below Kenji’s rank moved quickly aside and bowed in respect as he passed. On more than one occasion he’d proven himself a deadly adversary with his sweeping blade, the most memorable occurring ten years earlier. Boss Mitsui had called a meeting between Katsu Nagura and all the underbosses in the Zakura-kai to discuss territorial issues. Foolishly, Nagura had challenged their supreme leader, bringing him to his feet.
You’re not even worth killing! You stupid ingrate!” Kaito Mitsui yelled at the top of his lungs.
Dedicated to his mission to protect his boss at any cost, Kenji appeared in front of Nagura in the blink of an eye. He whipped out his sword and slashed the yakuza boss’s face twice across both cheeks. Within seconds, four of his men jumped in and were dropped to their knees with gaping wounds and severed arteries. The ones that could stand scrambledto get out of there. The two that couldn’t were carried off and deposited in a common grave. Strangely, the whereabouts of these men were of no interest to local officials or members of Nagura’s group. Kenji was never confronted for his part in the bloody incident and was left to conduct business as usual in the Zakura-kai with the same unaffected attitude he exhibited tonight.
As he neared the DJ’s booth, the base-infused rock music grew louder. Hundreds of bodies were bouncing to the techno beat. Dresses were shimmering beneath flashing strobe lights and the surrounding bar was filled three deep with thirsty customers. By Kenji’s estimate, it was unusually busy for a Monday night, even with the discounted drinks andRockabilia theme.
While he continued to eye the club’s glitzy interior, contemplating owning it one day, two girls crossed the dance floor and were heading straight for him.“Ken-chan, come dance with me,” the girl in the skimpy red dress called out. She was swaying her hips to the music provocatively and angling a come-hither look. Her friend in a micro blue skirt joined in, matching her move for move. In his book, with their thigh-high stockings and hemlines barely covering their assets, they looked like Sasebo bargirls. But another quick look around convinced him they weren’t alone in their meat market attire.
You promised last time,” the girl in red persisted.
Right. Kenji feigned a smile. He knew these girls belonged to Tak – a “family” member who enjoyed cheap whores and spending his money in by-the-hour love hotels.
He’s not interested in you,” the other girl said, tugging at his arm. “He promised to dance with me. Right, Kenji?”
He didn't, of course. He had better things to do and would have remembered if he’d made a promise to anyone…especially these two. He pulled his arm free with little effort. “Sorry, Tak’s waiting. Maybe another time.” Kenji could hear their annoying little whines as he stepped away. Hustlers like these were more disappointed in the watered-down drinks you didn’t buy them than the time you weren’t willing to spare.
He edged his way around the crowd and spotted his friend at the back of the room. As usual, the acme-scarred rebel was holding court in one of the club’s high-back chairs with drinks on the table and two girls seated before him hanging on every word.
As he drew near, Tak’s eyes lifted. “Hey, man! Been waiting for you. What took you so long?” Unlike most of the people Kenji socialized with, Takashi Bekku lacked proper manners. He was slow at paying tabsunless there was someone at the table he needed to impress. Although he was street smart, his education ended at junior high. The knife scars on his arms and cheek came from his father and not from gang members as his girlfriends were lead to believe. But despite it all, Kenji Ota valued their friendship and was confident that if worse came to worst, Takashi would be there for him – watching his back all the way.
Sorry I’m late,” Kenji said. “I had some business to take care of.” He pulled up an empty chair and two new girls came over to join them. They giggled, prattled away and padded his shoulder, but he paid them no mind.
By the look of excitement in Tak’s eyes, he knew exactly what Kenji was talking about. Earlier that night, Mitsui-san had ordered a hit on Nobu Kimura. He was a retired detective who had spent half his life trying to bring down the Zakura-kai. The man was clever, considering he was old, half blind, and favored a leg from a childhood injury. But he was also brazen and secretly corrupt. He had raided their clubs, planted wires and hassled their business associates. He even went so far as to interrupt the boss’s birthday party just when his cake arrived. All because Mitsui refused to drop a dime – hand him a boss on a silver platter to make him look good with his department heads.
Of course, it came as no surprise when Kenji got the order to get rid of him. Yet the recollection left him grimacing. He didn’t mind taking care of the competition or squirrely guys in the organization, but this was different. Kimura was an outsider, a well-known official people were likely to miss.
Tak was grinning over the top of his drink. “So how’d it go? As good as I'm guessing?”
Kenji glanced away, recalling the white bathroom’s blood-splattered walls. He grew anxious and started bouncing his heel under the table. Like chewing on fingernails, he found it hard to sit still and not move when surrounded by people.
C'mon, gimme the gory details,” his friend insisted.
Kenjileaned in and lowered his voice. “I sliced his neck from ear to ear like I’m gonna do yours if you don’t shut up."
Tak laughed and slapped his fist into his hand. “Aw, man! Nice. Quick death. Now if it was me, I would’ve delivered slow torture.”
Yeah, that sounds like you. Anyway, you didn't ask me to come here to discuss Kimura. There must be something else on your mind, right?”
The girl on his left handed him one of the beers from the table. He nodded his thanks and twisted off the cap. After a long pull, he sat back and waited for Tak’s answer. “I heard Satoru Yamada hooked up with an American treasure-hunting company and is flying in from Los Angeles tonight. The lead diver showed up three days ago and has been real tight with your sister Yuki ever since. They’ve been buying gear and going to libraries…checking out history and treasure-hunting shit. No one seems to know much, but I got a good feeling about this one.”
Kenji listened closely, thoughtfully nodding.
Anyway, it turns out this guy has been trying to line up a dive boat. Since you got one stored in that marina you own, this could be your chance to pull in some real dough…maybe even throw a few crumbs my way.”
Kenji snorted a laugh. “Yeah, right. What else do you know?”
They’re getting together for a meeting on Friday night andYamada invited that geisha Mariko Abe to join him. He was checking out rings before leaving town. Before the night’s over, they might be celebrating more than a partnership.”
Shit. Kenjiswallowed hard. He lowered his crossed arms but managed to keep his eyes level, knowing the slightest sign of weakness could undermine his position. “Is that it?” he asked.
So far. I’m going to do a little more snooping around to see if there’s anything worthwhile to report. Just wanted to give you a head’s up.” it made sense. The real reason Tak had called and insisted he show up. It wasn’t about his sister forming an alliance with Yamada. They’d been friends for years and were always covering for each other. But when it came to his boss, if the American was here to recover something of value, stealing it and handing it over to Mitsui could result in gaining his favor. Maybe even expedite a promotion.
So, where’s this meeting going to take place?” Kenji asked. “If it's anywhere near the Tanahashi mansion, you won't make it in there alive. There are hundreds of guards surrounding that place. You'll be cut into tiny pieces if you take one step on their ground.”
Tak was quick with a comeback. “No way in hell. You think I'm stupid? My connection at the Garden restaurant said they’re due at 6:30.”
Fancy. Yamada must’ve swindled some rich gaijins out of their money,” Kenji said. “So you got any idea what they’re after?”
Tak half shrugged. “Not a clue.”
Well, if you hear anything, I’d be interested in knowing.”
Sure, you got it. Anyway, I'm thinking of crashing their party.”
Kenji huffed a laugh. "Why would you do that?”
First hand information, of course.”
Well, good luck with that.”Kenji stood up and started to leave.
Tak reached out and grabbed his arm.“Wait a minute! I need your help.”
No way. It doesn’t matter how much I hate Yamada, I’m not going anywhere near him. Not without the boss’ say-so.”
Tak’s eyes narrowed. “Whatever I find out could benefit the Zakura-kai,” he reminded him.
It was no secret Kenji would do anything for the family: infiltrate investment companies, circulate meth, demand protection money…even destroy their enemies should he be called upon to do so. And even though friendships were short-lived, they were equally important. He didn’t want to waste the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. Too many years had been spent that way.
Kenji heaved a sigh. If he didn’t go along to keep Takashi Bekku out of trouble, the next execution order he received could have his name written all over it. "All right,” he finally said. “What do you want me to do?"
You’ll love it. I picked up a wig and borrowed some women’s clothes. I heard they’re looking for wait staff, so I thought we’d sneak into the restaurant pretending to be servers.”
Kenji unleashed a cynical laugh. “You’re kidding, right? Women’s clothes? And who do you think is going to wear those?”
Tak’s brow furrowed. “You got a better idea?”
As a matter of fact I do.” Kenji thought about Yamada and Mariko, and the promise he made to himself to never let anyone have her…especially that ridiculous self-serving monk. “I might have to clean out half my bank account before I’m through,” he said, “but in the end, it will all be worth it.”
* * *
The doorbell buzzed again. Kenji laughed and walked to the front door of his apartment with his towel draped over his shoulder and his white shirt unbuttoned. He was getting ready to tell Takashi he wasn’t interested in his stupid plan or in hearing more about the container he was in the process of loading. But by the time he'd pulled the knob and begun to swing the door open, he realized he really didn't know who was on the other side and almost slammed the door in the face of a nerdy-looking guy.
Kenji Ota? I’m here about a plumbing issue. Sorry, am I interrupting?”
What the hell. Kenji looked him up and down. “Yes to the first, no to the second,” he said sternly. The guy had brownish hair, which was scattered ambiguously about his head. His face was freckled and he appeared to be middle-aged with neither the build nor the dress of a yakuza gang member. All and in, he looked perfectly harmless. Still, Kenji reflected, so had the others.
I'm in charge of maintenance,” the man explained. “My name is Daiichi Asano. As you may know, there have been some concerns about possible water leakage in the building. We're having a terrible time trying to find the source, though, and we're reduced to looking at any suspect blip in our readings, no matter how insignificant. Uh, have you noticed anything leaking in your apartment?”
I was using the shower earlier,”Kenji said. “Would that do it?”
Daiichi sighed. “Ah, yes. I believe it would.” He fiddled with the seam in his pants, then seemed to notice himself and swiftly placed his hand in his back pocket.
Did you want something else?”Kenji said.
Well…I know this is a bit of a bother, but might I take a look around, just for appearance sake? If I can't tell my boss I gave this an inspection, even a cursory one, he'll have my head.”
Kenji hesitated, but decided that he might as well let the man take a look rather than arouse any kind of suspicion, however small. “Sure, help yourself,” he said.
Before Daiichi could respond,Kenji immediately walked into the kitchen. He tookKimura’swatch from the counter where he had left it and slipped it into his backpocket. When he looked up, Daiichiwas peering around the corner, scrutinizing his movements.
You keep this place pretty neat.”
Well, you know…confirmed bachelor here,” he said with forced cheer.
The man nodded and flashed a wry smile, showing he didn't have a clue. He followed Kenjithrough the kitchen and looked around. Surprisingly, his gaze passed over a steak marinating on the counterand the diamond-inlaid tanto knife Kimura had confiscated from a local hood – the same one Kenji had reclaimed on his sister’s behalf and intended to flaunt at their next meeting.
Getting dinner ready?” Daiichi asked.
Yeah. I hope you’re not planning on joining me.”
The man turned away with no comment. He stepped into the living room and didn’t seem to find anything of interest. Then he took a quick peek into the bedroom before withdrawing into the hallway.
Well, I think we're good here,” he said, smiling the wide smile of someone who didn’t really want to be there.
Kenji nodded and smiled back. He walked toward the entry and waited for Daiichito follow. But as the inspector passedby the bathroom,he halted.“Oh, mustn't forget!” he said.
Before Kenji could stop him, Daiichi ducked inside and took a look around. Kenji rushed after him, thinking up distractions. By the way the manwas staring, it was obviously too late.
What on earth is this?” he asked.
Wrong question, Kenji thought. The sudden urge to take this little man and put his head through the wall was threatening his self-control.
I don't believe it!” Daiichi said. “Have you been washing clothes in here?”
Kenji had the sense to look at the ground, feigning deference and biting the corner of his lip to hide the smile that was threatening to break out. “Yes, “he managed at last. “As a matter of fact, I have. Exactly. God, how embarrassing.”
Mr. Ota, while I doubt that this habit of yours has anything to do with the water leaks, it sure isn't helping to prevent them. We have industrial washing machines in the basement to take care of your laundry needs. Why don't you use them instead of wasting water and doing this in your own home?”
While he was talking,Kenji had been staring at him, but now he glanced back at the pile of clothes in time to notice a tiny thread of blood weaving its way down the drain.
Daiichi’s eyes were stretched wide in horror.
Great. Kenji sensed that he was about to say something that would undoubtedly evoke a negative reaction. His faithful wakazashiwas stillhanging on the back of the bathroom door. It would only take two seconds to grab it. One quick swingand thisannoying little creep would be silenced forever.
Oh, that,” Kenji said, tracing his line of vision.
Daiichi tilted his chin. “Exactly. What’s been going on here?”
Relax, Mr. Asano. I work part-time as a butcher. Iripped a carcass wide openearlier today and had to rush home to changefor a date. Normally, I wear an apron when I work…especially when there’s a mess to clean up. But as you can tell, I left everything in the wash.”
Daiichi’s eyes dropped to Kenji’s ripped abs and the claw marks tattooed on his chest. His Adam's apple bobbed up and downwith audible swallows. “Right…okay…great. I think we're done here,” he said. “But if this happens again, I…well, never mind. Just finish what you need to get done.”
Thank you,” Kenji said, smiling. “I always do.”
He shut the door behind the maintenance inspector and peered through the keyhole. As soon as Daiichi was out of sight, he leaned against the wall. This time it had been a little too close. His confidence was making him bold and careless. But at least now, he had a faithful ally – someone who wouldvouch for his innocence, if it ever came to that.
Kenjiwiped his damp forehead with the towel from his neck. He went into the bedroom and mused over how easy it was to convince feeble-minded people of anything. Their blind faith wouldn’t allow them to see the worst in mankind. He knelt down in front of his clothes cupboard, opened it and reached deep inside, grabbing hold of a small box hidden behind his shoes and spare arsenal. It was heavy, and its contents clinked as he pulled it out. He removed its lid and dropped the watch on top of all the others. Then he stood back and looked into the sink mirror.
Hmmm…how sad,” Kenji said aloud. “People just have too much faith these days.”

Title: Buried Threads
Genre: Erotic Romantic Suspense
Author: Kaylin McFarren
Publisher: Creative Edge Publishing LLC
Pages: 328
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1492120469

Purchase at AMAZON

Rachel Lyons and her partner Chase Cohen accept a contract to recover a lost priceless treasure in the Sea of Japan. However, upon arriving in Tokyo, they soon discover their mission is more complicated and dangerous than they originally believed. In order to prevent a natural disaster from striking Japan and killing millions, they must form an alliance with yakuza members, dive into shark-infested waters and recover three ancient cursed swords...before time runs out.

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  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ana Blaze - A Late Thaw -- Excerpt & Giveaway!!


Author: Ana Blaze
Publisher: Entranced Publishing

Imprint: Kissed

Genre: contemporary romance

Length: 102 pages (novella)

Release Date: October 28th, 2013

The town’s too small for Kiley St. Claire’s reappearance to be a surprise, still seeing her hits Cole Thomas like a punch to the gut. She ripped his heart apart when she turned to ice and ran away all those years ago. Now that she’s back, Cole’s going to say his piece and move on.

Even if she does look damn good in that uniform.

Kiley St. Claire is back in the small town of Barrett, Vermont, for one reason and one reason only: to earn some cash so she can survive her final semester of grad school. She’s not there for the sexy Christmas tree farmers.
Even the one who once held her heart.

Buy links: 


About the author:

Ana lives just outside Washington DC with her very supportive husband and three rather demanding cats. She loves the ocean, Indian food, Ikea, and cooking. Ana admits to watching too much television and she swears that someday she’s going to learn how to play the guitar resting on the bookshelf in her office.

Connect with Ana:

Chapter One

COLE THOMAS HAD BEEN a late bloomer. One of the smallest boys in their middle school, he’d disappeared to his uncle’s ranch in Wyoming the summer before high school and had come back six inches taller, wearing a cowboy hat. Kiley St. Claire doubted the woman he was currently flirting with remembered that. It was practically ancient history.
She squinted as she tried to remember the woman’s name. Cole’s fangirl looked vaguely familiar under her over-processed blond hair and cheap but abundant makeup. She was probably one of Cole and Kiley’s former classmates. Amber maybe, or one of the Ashleys. She was pretty—whatever her name was—and she had a fantastic rack. More importantly, she wasn’t wearing a cheap Bavarian Miss costume and pigtails like Kiley was. If they were competing, the babe with the penchant for bleach and blue eye shadow would win. They weren’t, of course. Kiley was done crushing on Cole. It was obvious—had been for years—that he’d never see her as more than a friend.
She straightened the red bodice that made even her own modest chest look full, pulled the notepad from her already sticky apron, and marched over to their table. Her heels clicked along the scuffed and murky wood floor. No doubt it had originally been a beautiful walnut. Now it was covered with a layer of scum as old as she was and fit right in with the rest of the decor.
The entire bar was filled with heavy, dark wood tables and stools covered in faded maroon vinyl. Kept clean and under the right lighting it had probably once been genuinely attractive. Probably. If that had ever been the case it had stopped the day Kiley’s boss, the infamous Buddy, bought the building and started filling it with kitschy, vaguely German-themed knick-knacks and neon beer signs. Cole and the blonde were sitting near a display of Hummel knock-offs, one of which appeared to be mooning the patrons.
A table full of afternoon-drunk Frat guys signaled to Kiley. She held up a single finger in acknowledgement. They could use a couple minutes before their next round, and she had to do this, face Cole, before she lost her nerve. “Are you guys ready to order, or do you need another minute with the menus?”
“Kiley?” Cole’s dark eyes widened for a second before he started laughing. His shoulders shook, and he slapped the worn wooden tabletop. “This is…” He gestured toward her. “This…oh, you gotta give a turn.” He circled a finger in the air.
“Do you want a beer or not?” She refused to be embarrassed. Yes, she was dressed like the St. Pauli girl, but it obviously hadn’t been her idea. She didn’t even like wearing costumes on Halloween.
“I heard you were coming back for the summer, but this…damn.”
“School’s expensive, Cole, and there aren’t a lot of summer jobs in this town.” Barrett, Vermont was a pretty little town, not a thriving metropolis. If there had been other options, any other options, she wouldn’t be dressed like slutty Gretel serving beer and waffles in a Bavarian-themed restaurant owned by a man who’d never traveled farther than Montreal.
Cole looked her up and down with a big grin on his too-handsome face. Kiley pretended not to notice that his thick, brown hair was a touch longer than the last time she’d seen him, or that it curled appealingly against the collar of his blue-green plaid shirt. She tried not to check the scar on his left arm—a thin jagged line that was only really noticeable when the skin around it tanned a shade or two darker. Her heart melted a little when she saw it.
Cole had only recently turned eight the night they went searching for Kiley’s runaway dog. He got tangled in a bit of barbed wire fence hidden amongst the leaves in the woods behind her neighbor’s house. The dog came home on his own later that night, but Cole ended up needing
stitches in four places. And a tetanus shot. He made her promise not to tell anyone he’d cried, and she drew a cross over her heart and wished for untold tortures if she broke her word.
She still hadn’t.
“So why’d you come then?”
Kiley shrugged. Way to make a girl feel welcome, Cole. “It’s home.”
“Wasn’t enough to bring you home last Christmas, or the one before.”
Yup. She was a horrible daughter, and her mom let the whole town know it. Mother dearest undoubtedly left out that Kiley couldn’t afford to pay for a rental car sturdy enough to make the several-hour trip in wintry weather.
Before she had a chance to respond, the blonde sitting with Cole tilted her head to the side and frowned at her. “I remember you.” She smiled then, broadly, as though remembering anything was an accomplishment worthy of her pride.
Kiley tried to smile at the woman, but her lips were too tight. “Go Bobcats,” she said weakly.
“Yeah, you were in my gym class. Didn’t you get hit in the face with a tennis ball one time?”
Kiley had long ago accepted that, despite the lack of any reasonable scientific explanation, her face clearly attracted sporting equipment. She’d absolutely gotten hit with a tennis ball, as well as a volleyball, a softball, and a Frisbee. Once she’d even managed to get wacked in the nose with a broom while they’d attempted to play a grounded version of Quidditch. “Yup, that was me.”
The other woman nodded. “I knew it. I’ve always been good with faces.”
“Wow. Catching up is super fun, but I have a bunch of tables. So…”
“Were you even going to give me a call?” Cole looked hurt, and Kiley wished she didn’t care.
“Sure. Once I got settled and all, I—”
“Right.” He scowled. “Why don’t you bring us a couple of drafts. Whatever’s on special is fine.”
His cool tone sliced through her resolve and made her stomach churn. Why couldn’t she just move on? Being Cole’s friend, watching him date every other girl in town, hurt too much. She’d promised herself she wouldn’t fall back into his well-meaning but clueless clutches this summer. Kiley had come home to work and to save up enough money to live on for the final semester of classes she needed to earn her Master’s in Meteorology. That’s it. She already had job prospects for after graduation in January. This would be her last summer at home.
She nodded. “I’ll be right back with your drinks.”
He’d already turned back to the blonde.