Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review: On Solid Ground by Melissa Collins

On Solid Ground
By: Melissa Collins
Pub. Date: January 15, 2015
Publisher: Self
Source: eARC

When Jacob “Dax” Daxton returns home from war, he has to fight a new battle – the one to find his place in the world. The man who normally has a clear path to victory surrounded by brothers in combat is suddenly lost and alone. After meeting Beckett Ridge, a bearded tattoo artist, Dax’s journey begins winding down an unexpected path.

Still reeling from events that shook his foundation, Beck has never been part of anything meaningful. Now faced with responsibilities foreign and daunting, Dax’s broken spirit mends Beck in ways he never even knew he was destroyed.

As both struggle to find balance, they are healed by the comfort they find in one other. On the other side of chaos, they hope to find themselves On Solid Ground.

Since getting into m/m romances, I have read a lot of stories that pretty much were all the same. Then I read On Solid Ground and my faith in m/m stories was renewed. I absolutely loved everything about this story, especially the characters.

Jacob "Dax" Daxton has just returned from war and is suffering from PTSD. He's trying to come to terms with what happened to his best friend and now that he's back home he has to figure out who he wants to be. He never came out to his parents, and he doesn't think he ever will. When Dax goes to get a tattoo in honor of his fallen friend, he meets tattoo artist, Beckett Ridge. Beck has his own issues that he's trying to deal with, including taking care of his sister who is back in rehab and her four year old daughter who he's trying to get custody of.

What I loved most about these two was it wasn't instant. Sure, there was an instant attraction and connection, but the sex/love wasn't instant. It happened right when these two broken guys needed it the most and it was perfect. I really loved them together.

On Solid Ground really broke my heart. Dax and Beck were two of the sweetest, most amazing guys I have read about in a book. The love they have not only for each other, but for everyone around them was touching. The both of them have been though so much and I really wanted them to find their happiness.


This was the first book I have read from Melissa Collins and I can not wait to read some of her other books. I highly recommend On Solid Ground, if not for the amazing characters, then for an amazing story.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cover Reveal: On Solid Ground by Melissa Collins

coverrevealbanner



On Solid Ground by Melissa Collins is a contemporary M/M standalone romance with a release date of January 15, 2015.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00037]

When Jacob “Dax” Daxton returns home from war, he has to fight a new battle – the one to find his place in the world. The man who normally has a clear path to victory surrounded by brothers in combat is suddenly lost and alone. After meeting Beckett Ridge, a bearded tattoo artist, Dax’s journey begins winding down an unexpected path.

Still reeling from events that shook his foundation, Beck has never been part of anything meaningful. Now faced with responsibilities foreign and daunting, Dax’s broken spirit mends Beck in ways he never even knew he was destroyed. As both struggle to find balance, they are healed by the comfort they find in one other. On the other side of chaos, they hope to find themselves On Solid Ground.

  excerpt
About the author:
10710740_10203986134187677_754082531395662491_n
Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream. Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.


WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | AMAZON | GOODREADS | TWITTER | TSU

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00037]
Photographer: Perrywinkle Photography Models: Zachary Randall and Michael Walker Designer: Sommer Stein, Perfect Pear Creative

Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Alec by L.A. Casey


Today I am hosting L.A. Casey on the blog and promoting her new book ALEC. Read on for the first chapter! 


 "Miss Daley? Open up! I know you're in there, your car is outside in the tenant car park!"
I groaned at the sound of the loud voice, and flicked my eyes open then quickly re-closed them. It took a few moments for me to be able to keep them open, and when I could, I couldn't see very well. I squinted through the darkness waiting for my eyes to adjust to the minimal lighting. When I could finally see, I quickly narrowed my eyes at the fat snoring male beside me. I shoved him hoping to knock him off the bed, but instead of falling off like I'd hoped he only farted and rolled over in my direction then placed a big sloppy kiss on my mouth.

"Storm!" I shouted and wiped at my mouth and tried not to heave, but the smell of Storm's breath made that very hard.

Storm lazily got to his feet, stretched and made some weird noises then proceeded to belly flop on top of me until I gasped for air. Storm, my two year old German Shepherd, needed to be put on a diet or one of these days the fat baby was going to smother me in my sleep.

"Off!" I gasped and shoved at his large body with both of my hands.

Storm did as ordered and got off me. But he didn't get off the bed, instead he just rolled back over to his side - yes, my dog had a side of the bed - which was just typical. The only time he willingly moved was if it was breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time or pretty much any time he knew there would be food in it for him.

"You pathetic excuse for a guard dog," I muttered as the banging on my apartment door started up again.

Storm replied with another fart that had me opening the windows before I left my bedroom to proceed down the hallway to open my door. I stubbed my toe on one of Storm's doggy toys as I walked and cursed the person on the other side of the door for making me get out of bed - it was the middle of the night for God's sake!

"I'm comin', keep your knickers on!" I shouted when I reached my door and began unlocking all the locks. There were five of them in total because in the area where I lived, one lock was not enough. I switched on my hall light and jumped when the bulb blew, coating the hall in darkness once again. I sighed as I turned to my front door, even though I was pretty sure I knew who was on the other side, I still looked through the peephole just to be safe.

When I confirmed the noisy menace at my door was in fact my neighbour, I unlocked the final lock and pulled it open then harshly glared at the man who was stood before me. Mr. Pervert - his real name was Mr. Doyle - was a middle-aged man who was the CEO at Perverts 'R Us. The man was a major creep, and I hated that I answered the door to him dressed in nothing but my nightdress because it gave him free rein to ogle me with his ever-roaming eyes.

"Can I help you, Mr. Per-Doyle?" I asked, biting my tongue so I didn't laugh at almost calling him Mr. Pervert out loud.

He snapped his eyes up from gawking at my legs to my face and cleared his throat as he lifted his hand - a hand that contained one single envelope. I simply stared at the envelope for a moment then flicked my eyes up to Mr. Pervert and found his eyes weren't on my face anymore. I knocked on the outside of my door with my free hand which made him jump with fright and me inwardly snort. When his eyes were once again on mine, I nodded to the envelope in his hand and then raised my brows in a silent question.

He cleared his throat again before he said, "I've been away the last few weeks and found this in my mailbox when I got home a few moments ago. It is addressed to you, but has my apartment number on it instead of yours."

I wanted to punch him. I used the light from the hallway outside of my apartment to look back inside and lock my eyes on the clock hanging on the wall behind me, it was twenty past three in the morning.

Couldn't he have just waited till morning before he delivered it to me?

The bloody eejit!

I sighed as I turned back to Mr. Pervert, who was back to looking at my body. I reached out and gripped the envelope and gave it a little tug until Mr. Pervert released it.

"Thanks, I appreciate you goin' out of your way to make sure I get me post." I faked a smile and then pulled the hand that now held the envelope away until it was tucked safely behind my door - along with the rest of my body - so Mr. Pervert couldn't see me anymore.

He blinked a few times and looked at my face, because it was now all that he could see.

"It was no problem at all, sweetheart."

Sweetheart? No!

I smiled and nodded my head as I inched my door closed. "Good night."

"Good-" I closed the door before he could finish his sentence.

I shook off my shivers then I relocked all of the locks and closed the bolt at the top of the door. I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard Mr. Pervert's footsteps trot back across the hall and into his own apartment where he closed the door behind him. I looked at the envelope in my hand and decided to open it because I was curious as to what was inside it. I couldn't see very well because the hallway was still dark but I knew it wasn't a bill, it didn't feel like the envelope bills came in, it was thicker. From what I had seen it looked nicer than a bill envelope. Fancier.

I headed into my kitchen that also doubled as my sitting room and flicked on the light. I tossed the envelope on the kitchen table and went to the counter drawers to look for my envelope cutter. I found it after only a second of looking, but had to put it down when I heard my phone ring from my bedroom. I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion.

Who the hell would be calling me at twenty past three in the morning?

"Aideen," I said out loud and headed in the direction of my bedroom.

Aideen Collins was my best friend. She was the closest thing I had to a sister and I loved her dearly, but she had her moments when she royally pissed me off. Ringing me at half past three in the morning was one of those moments.

When I got to the phone in my bedroom and pressed answer I said, "You'd better have a good reason for ringin' me at this hour Aideen Collins or I am goin' to kick seven shades of shite outta you!"

I heard a deep, rumbling chuckle.

"She does have a good reason, so you don't need to kick any shade of shit out of her," a male voice replied, it made me jump with fright because I wasn't expecting it.

"Who are you? Where is Aideen? Why do you have her phone?" I asked then gasped and shouted, "If you have hurt me friend in any way I'm goin' to fuck you up!"

The stranger laughed this time and said, "Is that a promise, kitten?"

Ex-fucking-cuse me?

"Where is Aideen? You better tell me right now or I'm gonna-"

"Fuck me up? Yeah, I got that part," he chuckled again then before he could say anything else I heard a different male voice speak, "I asked you to ring the girl's friend, Alec. What the hell is taking so long?"

I mentally made a note of the name Alec in case I had to call the Guards.

"I'm talking to her friend, but I haven't been able to tell her the point of my call. She is too busy threatening to 'fuck me up' if I have hurt the girl," the lad who called me laughed.

I was mad and also scared as to where Aideen was and who these foreign guys were. I knew they weren't Irish or even English - their accents sounded too different - but I couldn't pinpoint where they were from because there was a lot of background noise. It sounded like music.

"Just tell her what I told you to say so she can get here already," the second lad said to the one who called me.

The lad who called me sighed and said, "Keela, I'm calling to let you know your friend Aiden was in a fight and we need you to come pick her up. She told me to call you."

"Her name is Aideen not Aiden, it's pronounced Ay-deen," I said then widened my eyes when I comprehended the rest of what he had just told me. I screamed, "Is she okay? What happened? Who hurt her?"

"Calm down, hellcat. She is fine, we just need you to come and collect her. I'll explain everything once you get here."

"Where is 'here'?" I snapped as I moved around my room pulling on my shoes. I grabbed my car keys from my bedside table as I held my phone to my ear with my shoulder.

"Playhouse Nightclub, it's right beside the Tallaght bypass-"

"I know where it is, I'll be there in five minutes," I said and hung up on him.

I gripped my phone and car keys in my hand as I closed my bedroom window. I told Storm to stay put, but it feel on deaf ears because he didn't move an inch or even wake up. I ran down my hallway and unlocked the locks and the bolt on my door then flung it open and sprung into the corridor. I closed my front door, locked it, then ran like a bat out of Hell down the hallway, down four flights of stairs and out into my apartment complex's car park. I sprinted towards my car and only realised I was in my nightdress when a cool breeze hit me and made me shiver.

"Fuck!" I snapped as I unlocked my car, got into it and started the engine.

I didn't think of changing my clothes, I just thought about getting my shoes on and then getting out to my car. I wasn't going back inside to change. I had to get to Aideen and make sure she was okay before changing clothes even became an option. It was okay though, I didn't show off any valuables. The nightdress was just a little short, it was black so I didn't have to worry that it was see through, at least I got lucky with that. The weather was good tonight as well, it was cool but not windy or raining. I would just have to hold the hem of my nightdress down when I got out of my car to keep it from rising up in case I had to run anywhere.

I pulled out of the car park and straight onto the main road and headed towards the nightclub. I was wide awake now, but the stinging in my eyes didn't go amiss. I had only been asleep for four hours before Mr. Pervert woke me up. Before that I hadn't slept in twenty-seven hours. I worked in my local supermarket, Super Value. I was broke and I needed all the hours I could get, so yesterday I worked an eleven hour shift and instead of going straight to bed when I got home, I dove straight into writing and pulled an all-nighter.

I have always had a passion for bringing the stories in my head to life on paper - or on a laptop screen. I only ever dabbled in silly little things here and there, never a full length novel. Luckily for me Aideen - literally - gave me the kick up the arse I needed and said I should just 'go for it' because I wouldn't know if my writing would be a success if I never put it out there. After my wake up call, which was three weeks ago, I knuckled down and started writing my very first book. Yesterday, even though I was shattered, I was completely in the zone and I just had to write. I had so much inside me for my story that if I didn't get it out of my head soon I was going to explode. So I wrote, wrote, and wrote some more. The lack of sleep and the stinging in my eyes from staring at my laptop was kicking my arse now though because I felt like death and I was pretty sure I looked the part too.

When I came to a red traffic light I pulled down my visor and looked in the little mirror and winced. Scratch that, saying I looked like death would have been kind. The sclera around my green eyes looked like a road map to Hell, that's how bloodshot they were. My fiery red hair was slightly greasy, and pulled up into a disastrous looking bun. I glanced down at my long bare white legs and shook my head.

Why did I have to be so tall?

If I were shorter, this nightdress would be longer and less exposing!

I angrily pushed my visor up when the traffic light changed to green and sped to the location of the nightclub Aideen was at with these men. I got there in less than five minutes because the green lights were with me, and there was little to no traffic on the roads thanks to the early hour. I turned into the nightclub car park entrance and looped around until I saw two huge males looking down at a small woman sitting down on the path a few meters away from the nightclub's entrance. It was Aideen, I just knew it. I parked my car across from them, jumped out, and slammed my door before I took off running towards Aideen.

When the sound of my feet hitting the pavement could be heard both men looked up at me, but didn't say anything as I reached them. Once I was next to them, I dropped down to my knees and pulled Aideen into a hug. I ignored the slight stinging in my knees from the concrete ground digging into my skin and held Aideen tightly.

"Are you okay? What happened?" I asked then pulled back from the hug so I could look at her.
Aideen looked back at me and I gasped at the sight that greeted me. She had a small cut over her eyebrow and her right jaw was swollen.

"Some bitch jumped on me," she grumbled.

"Who?" I snapped. "I'll fuckin' kill 'er!"

I was surprised that I sounded like I could actually follow through with my threat.

I was not a fighter.

I mean I could stand up for myself when needed, but I wasn't exactly Mike Tyson.

I have been in one fight in my entire life, and that was only because my younger cousin Micah punched me in the face when we were kids to see if my blood was blue. She told everyone I was an alien from outer space with blue blood and the only way to prove I was a human was to punch me and make my nose bleed. I agreed because I didn't think it would hurt that much - I was wrong, very wrong, because it hurt like hell.

After Micah punched me and red blood streamed from my nose, we confirmed I was in fact human. I jumped on her then because I was in so much pain and decided that she needed to be punished for hurting me. Instead of dishing out a hiding, I received a black eye and a chipped tooth. Micah kicked my arse and it was the first and only fight I have ever been in. Regardless of my inability to bring the pain, if anyone hurt Aideen or Storm, I would go Bruce Lee on those fuckers.

That was a cold hard fact.

Aideen smiled at me and pulled me in for another tight hug. "I know you would, but I just want to go home now. Can I stay with you?"

Was that a serious question?

I shook her. "Of course, you bloody eejit."

Aideen laughed and so did the males who stood over us. I don't know how, but I forgot they were next to us. I quickly stood up and pulled Aideen with me. She wasn't exactly drunk, just a little tipsy. I didn't have to balance her or anything, but I still kept a tight hold on her just in case.

"This is Alec," Aideen said and lazily pointed to the man on the right who was openly looking me up and down, "and Kane." I tightened my hold on Aideen when I looked at Kane, the man on the left. He was just as tall and as muscular as the arsehole who was looking at my body, but he was scary looking. He had a large scar that curved around the left side of his mouth and some claw like scars going from his right temple and down through his eyebrow leaving gaps in the hairs like they were styled that way.

"Hi," I said lowly and avoided direct eye contact.

"Kane came to me rescue when Alec's girlfriend hit me," Aideen said and smiled at Kane, who smiled right back at her.

"She was my lay from last week, not my girlfriend... and I apologised for her actions," Alec said with a sigh.

I ignored Alec, the eejit who just spoke and looked at Kane when he smiled and felt myself instantly become relaxed. He didn't look scary when he smiled like that. I frowned though when the rest of what Aideen said settled in my brain. Before I knew it I let go of Aideen and shoved Alec in the chest as hard as I could. He wasn't expecting it so when I shoved him he lost his balance and fell back onto his arse with a grunt.

"That is for your bird hurtin' me friend and if I find out who the slut is I'm gonna fuckin' kill 'er!" I bellowed.

Aideen pulled me back by the arm and begged me to stop while Alec looked up at me with wide eyes before he looked to Kane, who stared down at him also with wide eyes and his mouth agape. A few seconds passed until they both burst out laughing like what just happened was the funniest thing ever. I saw red and tried to go for Alec again, but Aideen moved herself in front of me and pushed me back by the shoulders.

"I told you bro, she is a fucking hellcat!" Alec cackled as he gripped onto Kane's outstretched hand and was helped to his feet.

Kane continued to laugh as he shook his head. "I wish the twins had seen that, Dominic would have helped her hit you while Damien recorded it."

I had no idea what or whom they were talking about, but I pointed my finger dangerously over 
Aideen's shoulder at Alec and snarled at him.

"Keep laughin' pretty boy and I'll scratch up that face of yours!" I warned.

Alec stepped forward, a grin tugged at his mouth. "I'm finding myself highly attracted to you right now. Would you like to come home with me since you're already dressed for bed?"

I dropped my jaw in shock, and so did Aideen who spun around and shoved him in the chest, but didn't manage to knock him to the ground. "Knock it off! I appreciate you both helpin' me, but I won't have you treatin' me friend like she is one of your old clients, Alec. She is a good girl!"
Clients?

What the hell did that mean?

Alec grinned at Aideen before he flicked his eyes to me. "Oh, I'm bettin' there is a bad girl deep inside her somewhere. I'll just have to use my fingers, mouth, and cock to bring her out to play."
What. The. Fuck?

"Who the hell do you think you are?" I snapped.

He grinned and gave me a wink as he said, "Alec Slater, your next - or only - great fuck."

Was he for real?

"You're about to be Alec Slater - murder victim - if you don't shut that hole in your face!"

Kane cracked up with laughter as he reached for Aideen's arm and pulled her into him and away from me. "Please, don't interfere. I've never seen a female, besides Bronagh, backtalk him like this before," he said to Aideen then brushed her blonde hair out of her eyes. The action caused her to melt into a puddle by the way she sagged into him.

I rolled my eyes at her then looked at Alec who had inched closer to me before I growled, "Try touchin' me, and you won't ever be able to have kids. I'm warnin' you."

Alec grinned and folded his arms across his board chest; it caused all his muscles that I could see to contract and tense. He settled on staying put, but openly raked his eyes over my body, mainly my legs, and it made me feel very uncomfortable.

"Stop lookin' at me you dirty bastard!" I growled.

Alec flicked his eyes up to me. "Why would you come outside dressed like that if you didn't want people to look at you?" he asked.

I clenched my hands into fists and took a step towards him. I had to tilt my head back a little bit because he was a lot taller than my five foot eight inches and when I realised that fact I felt intimidated, but I was not ready to back down.

"I came outside dressed in me nightdress because me friend needed me and gettin' dressed didn't cross me mind when you rang me, you bloody eejit."

He flashed his teeth at me when he smiled. "You sound like my bro's girl, she calls me an eejit a lot too."

I looked him up and down, my lip curled in disgust. "She must be kind 'cause there are a lot of words that would suit you much better. Batty boy would be two of them," I snarled then turned in Aideen's direction and found her kissing Kane. Not just smooching, she was completely necking with him. I walked forward, grabbed her arm and tugged her not so gently next to me.

When she was next to me I squeezed her arm and snarled, "Do you not remember the stranger danger film we watched when we were in school?"

Aideen gave me an are-you-serious look before she snickered and shook her head. "They aren't dangerous. Kane saved me from danger."

I pointed over my shoulder. "Yeah, and batty boy's bird put you in danger so let's go."

"I get the feeling that you're calling me gay," Alec said from behind me.

I set my jaw and continued to tug on Aideen as she frowned over my shoulder and said, "She is callin' you gay, but she doesn't mean it as an insult or anythin'. She's not homophobic, she just said it because she hoped it would piss you off."

Seriously?

"You aren't supposed to tell him that, Ado!" I snapped.

"Ado? I like that nickname," Kane's voice purred from my right.

He pronounced Ado so proper.

Ay-doh.

I pushed Aideen behind me, ignoring her complaints as I fixed Kane with a glare that wavered the longer I looked at him. "Listen, thanks for helpin' me friend after she got hurt, but she isn't goin' to thank you with some personal pole dancin' so give the flirtin' a rest."

Kane raised his eyebrows as he looked over my shoulder and asked Aideen, "You're a stripper?"

"No, I am a teacher," Aideen scoffed. "No pole dancin' means no shaggin'."

Kane laughed then. "Your friend is banning you from having sex with me?"

"Yes," Aideen and I said in unison.

"And you're going along with it?" Alec asked Aideen as he rounded on us and leaned back against the same car Kane was leaning on.

They looked like a pair of fitness models and noticing that pissed me off.

"Yeah," Aideen sighed. "She is pretty big on no sex with strangers and... so am I."

Kane's eyes bore into Aideen's and then he smiled as he said, "Pity."

"Uh huh," Aideen agreed with a sad sigh.

I rolled my eyes and said, "I'll stop off at the late night shop on the way home and buy you some batteries for your vibrator to get you through the night. You will be grand."

"Keela!" Aideen gasped and smacked my arse, it made me yelp and jump.

Both of the lads laughed at what I said and shook their heads as they continued to look at us. I got annoyed and said to Aideen, "Maybe they could apply to Perverts 'R Us, they fit the bill with those stares."

Aideen laughed and smacked my arse again.

"Excuse me?" Alec said.

Aideen was snickering as she said, "Keela's neighbour, Mr. Doyle, is a man who stares a lot so she named him Mr. Pervert and imagined him bein' the CEO of a company called Perverts 'R Us."
I narrowed my eyes when the two hyenas started laughing again - they seemed to do that a lot.
I angrily reached behind me and grabbed Aideen. "We're leavin'. I have to go home to Storm."

"Storm?" Alec questioned.

"Storm is her-"

"Boyfriend." I smiled as I cut Aideen off and gave her a go-along-with-me look. She looked back at me and I could see the amusement in her eyes as she nodded her head and looked back at Alec.

"Storm is pretty protective of her," she said.

Alex cocked an eyebrow. "If he is so protective then how come he let you come out here alone while dressed like that?"

He made it sound like my nightdress was skimpy!

I snarled and made a move forward to set him straight but Aideen put herself between Alec and myself before saying, "Storm is very hard to rouse durin' the night. He probably didn't even hear her leave, but he is still a great... lad."

I inwardly snorted.

"Yeah, and he will kick your arse for even suggestin' we have sex!" I stated.

Alec popped his head around Aideen and grinned at me. "I'm a lover, not a fighter."

Good news!

"You better back off then because one more crude comment and I will fuck you up, never mind Storm!" I snarled.

Alec bit down on his bottom lip and grinned at me, I knew he was thinking crude things so I glared at him which made Kane snort.

"Can we keep her? I like hearing someone put you in your place, the fact that she is a female is even better. You don't affect her bro, you're losing your touch." Kane chuckled and playfully shoved Alec when he settled back beside him on the car they were leaning on.

Alex continued to grin at me as he spoke to Kane, "It's still early, don't shoot me down so quickly, bro."

"I'll fuckin' shoot you," I murmured making Aideen snort as she reached for my hand.

"This has been... interestin'. However, Keela is right, we better get goin'."

"Thank you, Jesus," I cheered making Kane snicker before looking to Aideen.

He grinned at her and said, "I guess I'll see you around, Ado."

I narrowed my eyes at him. "I'm the only one allowed to call her Ado."

Kane flicked his eyes to me and smiled. "I like you."

I flushed but forced myself to stand up straight as I said, "Well, I don't like you or your pervy friend-"

"Brother. I'm his pervy brother." Alec cut me off making Aideen snicker.

I shoved her and glared at Alec before I looked back to Kane, who still looked at me with an amused expression. I cleared my throat and said, "I don't like you or your pervy brother. You're both clearly nothin' but trouble if the people you pal around with attack girls for no reason. You're both very fuckin' rude as well!"

I turned and grabbed Aideen's hand and took off walking away from the brothers and in the direction of my car.

"What? No goodbye kiss? Now who is being rude!" Alec's voice called out after us making Aideen cackle.

I grunted. "Fuck you!" I shouted without turning around.

"Name the time and place, kitten," Alec called back which caused Aideen to break out into a full on laugh.

Kitten?

I fumed in silence as I all but hauled Aideen across the dark car park and into my car. "Name the time and place, kitten," I mimicked Alec's voice which caused Aideen to laugh harder as she buckled her seat belt.

I buckled my own seat belt then started up my car. I pulled out of the space I was in and quickly drove out of the car park. I don't think I calmed down enough to breathe normally until we were on the Tallaght Bypass.

"Can you believe him? What a fuckin' dick!" I spat.

Aideen snorted. "I found that entire conversation hilarious."

I shook my head. "Well you shouldn't have. Look at your face, Aideen!"

Aideen sighed. "I know, but it honestly wasn't their fault. We were just havin' a good time when out of nowhere this girl jumped on me."

I gripped my steering wheel so tight that my knuckles turned white.

"Why were you even with them?" I spat.

I wasn't angry with her, I was just angry that she got hurt by some bitch.

"I wasn't even with them. Tonight was the first time I met them. I was out with Branna. Tonight was a small twenty-first birthday party for Bronagh. Branna, Ryder, Nico, and Bronagh just left. I was sat with Kane and Alec when a drunk girl came over and accused me of bein' Alec's latest shag. Alec laughed at the girl but didn't deny it so she jumped on me."

I grunted.

Branna Murphy was Aideen's friend and has been her friend since they were in preschool. Aideen is a few years older than me so she has known Branna longer than she has known me. I'm a grown woman, I'm not at all jealous of their friendship. Branna was cool after all. Her sister Bronagh was great as well, I was two years older than Bronagh, who turned twenty-one today. I had been invited to go out with everyone tonight, Aideen hounded me to go, but my body was beat, so I declined the invitation.

My thoughts calmed me down enough for me to loosen my white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel but I still shook with anger. "You should have let me punch 'em."

Aideen chuckled then lifted her hand to cradle her face. "You would have broken your hand! Did you see how big he was?"

I grunted and nodded my head. "His brother was even more muscular. Do they live at the gym or somethin'?"

Aideen snickered. "Branna said they have a gym in her house. 'Member I told you she moved in with Ryder and the oldest twin, Nico, moved in with her sister?"

I nodded my head.

"Branna didn't just move in with Ryder, she moved in with Alec and Kane as well. She said there is a gym room where the sittin' room should be and that they all work out a lot. You should see Nico; he's twenty-one and the lad is ripped. He is a fighter or somethin'."

I glanced at her wide-eyed. "Why the hell are you hangin' around walkin' tanks, Aideen?"

Aideen burst into a fit of giggles that made me grin even though I was mad.

"They are lovely - big and scary - but lovely."

I shivered when I pictured Kane's face, calling him lovely was not a word that I would use to describe him.

"How do you think Kane got those scars on his face? They are kind of severe."

Aideen sighed. "I've no idea what happened to him but he is still gorgeous!"

"You like his accent as well, right?" I questioned.

Aideen purred, "Oh my God. I could listen to him talk all day! He could make me wet by just sayin' 'Hello'!"

I rolled my eyes. "I swear you think with your dick."

Aideen cackled. "You mean vagina?"

"Yeah, I mean vagina but sayin' dick sounds better."

Aideen continued to laugh then hissed a little and covered her face with her hands. I glanced at her every so often during the five minute drive back to my apartment complex. I parked in my usual spot, then Aideen and myself got out of the car. After I locked it we quickly scurried across the car park and into my apartment building. We took the stairs two at a time until we got to the fifth floor where my apartment was located. I opened my hall door with lightening like speed because I didn't want to be caught by Mr. Pervert again dressed in just my nightdress.

Luckily, we got inside with no one seeing us. Aideen and I then went into the bathroom where I got out my first aid kit while she pulled her dress off then pulled down her underwear and sat on the toilet.

I was opening an antiseptic packet when I glanced up at her through the mirror and snorted, "Do you reckon lads do this?"

Aideen opened her eyes and lazily smiled at me as she said, "Willingly go to the toilet with another lad in the room? Nah, they would call each other gay."

I chuckled and looked back down to the first aid kit while Aideen finished up on the toilet. I turned when the toilet flushed and waited for her to wash her hands before I began cleaning her face up. She was four inches shorter than me now that her heels were off, so it made holding her head still a lot easier.

"Ow!" Aideen suddenly hollered which earned a bark from my bedroom.

"Go back asleep you fat shite!" Aideen shouted when I swiped the antiseptic wipe over a small cut above her eye.

I hissed at her, "Leave him alone, he isn't fat. He just has a thick coat!"

Aideen laughed through her hissing. "Yeah, a thick coat of blubber."

I gave her a firm look. "Don't slag me baby when I'm cleanin' you up. Me finger might slip and jam into your eye."

Aideen gave me a wary look and closed her mouth which made me inwardly grin as I finished cleaning up her face. When I was finished, she went into my bedroom to get some of my pyjamas to wear while I went into the kitchen to get a glass of water. I turned on the kitchen light then moved to the sink and filled up a glass and quickly gulped down the water. I looked to my left and noticed the envelope Mr. Pervert gave to me earlier, still unopened on my kitchen table.

"Storm, get off the bed... or at least move over!" Aideen's voice shouted from my bedroom.
I roughly rubbed the back of my neck and sighed. I glanced at the envelope once more before I shook my head and walked over to the kitchen light switch and flipped it off. I turned and walked towards the sounds of growling and shouting coming from my bedroom and decided that dealing with Storm and Aideen was enough to deal with for one night.

Whatever was in that envelope could wait until morning.


L.A. Casey was born, raised and currently resides in DublinIreland. She is a twenty two year old stay at home mother to an almost two year old German Shepherd named Storm and of course, her four and half year old (the half is apparently vital) beautiful little hellion/angel depending on the hour of the day.
Her first novel, Dominic, was released on March 17th, 2014, and on March 21st, 2014, it became an international Amazon bestseller.

Author links:

Dominic:
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00J1SP9FI

Bronagh:

Alec:


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review: Alex by Sawyer Bennett

Alex
(Cold Fury Hockey # 1)
By: Sawyer Bennett
Pub. Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Random House - Loveswept
Pages: 224
Source: Netgalley


Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.

As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people—like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries—and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy façade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers. 
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Let me just start by saying how much I loved this book! When I first read the synopsis I was intrigued. I love books where a famous bad boy falls in love with a non-famous girl. While this story has been done over and over again, Alex is still original, and that is because of the characters. Both Alex and Sutton were written so wonderfully. Alex is just so beautifully broken, that I wanted and needed to get to the bottom of his issues. Sutton is a sweetheart who grew up to want to help people, especially children, who deal with addiction because she has seen her father battle it.

Alex is a fantastic hockey player and he knows it. But he has a horrible attitude on and off the ice. While he might play amazingly, he hates the game because all it does is remind him about how much his father abused him into being that amazing hockey player. Alex struggles everyday with it, and it's starting to take a toll. In order to stay on the team he has to work with social worker Sutton to create an anti-drug program, with him as the spokesman. The second these two entered the page together, their chemistry was ignited. It was so hot! I loved these two together.

I also loved watching Sutton break Alex's walls down and seeing Alex change because he wanted to be the best man possible. Not only for Sutton, but for Sutton's family and his own. I'm also glad when he really started talking to his brother and father about their shared pasts.

This was the first book that I read from Sawyer Bennett, and it definitely won't be the last! I'm very excited for the next book in the series, which will be about Garrett, a secondary character and Alex's teammate in Alex.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Black Ice
By: Becca Fitzpatrick
Pub. Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 400
Source: Edelweiss


Sometimes danger is hard to see... until it’s too late.

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there... and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally? 
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Black Ice was a really interesting and quick read. While a few things didn’t make sense to me, I still really enjoyed this one. Britt and her best friend, Kolbie are spending their spring break in the mountains, instead of on the beach with the rest of their friends. On the way to the cabin, their truck gets stuck and they found themselves at the home of Shaun and Mason. Turns out the two young men are fugitives and they take Britt and Kolbie hostage.

I really loved Britt. She was so strong and smart. She was going to do whatever she had to do to save her friend which I found really admirable. I thought her relationship with Mason was very interesting. One of the reasons I kept turning the page so quickly was I had to know what Mason’s story was. He didn’t seem like he was evil, but then he would turn around and say something that made you change your mind. The mystery surrounding him definitely made the story for me!

I loved the mystery surrounding the killings. It wasn’t until the end when I started to realize who the killer actually was and about 50% in when I started to figure out what Mason’s deal was. The author did a wonderful job with this.

Britt’s dad seemed involved in her life, so I didn’t understand why a father would allow his daughter and her best friend to go hiking in basically abandoned mountains where 1. Girls have been found dead around the surrounding areas and no one knows who killed them 2) no one is around to help the girls if something happens and 3. Skilled hikers have died on these same mountains!!!! My parents would have never let me go, especially if I was in high school. Actually, they still would try to get me not to go and I’m an adult!

Despite that, I really enjoyed Black Ice. I love that it was a standalone as well. Becca Fitzpatrick is a terrific author, and I can’t wait to read what’s next from her!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: The Balance Keepers # 1: The Fire of Calderon by Lindsay Cummings

The Fire of Calderon
(The Balance Keepers # 1)
By: Lindsay Cummings
Pub. Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss


The first book in an epic middle grade fantasy adventure series that takes place in an underground society at the center of the earth. Packed with action, humor, magic, and mystery.

After following a mysterious map into the woods and then under the woods, eleven-year-old Albert Flynn learns he’s a Balance Keeper—someone with special magical skills for fixing problems in three underground Realms at the Core of the earth. His new job is important; if the realms fall out of balance, the world above could be in great danger.

Albert and his Balance Keeper teammates Birdie and Leroy arrive in the Core not a moment too soon. There’s an Imbalance in the Calderon Realm and it’s threatening to bury Albert’s hometown of New York City in a mountain of ash.

The three must train hard completing mental and physical challenges, but above all, they must harness the power of their Tiles—unique superpowers given to each Balance Keeper. So far, Albert’s mastered the art of not mastering his Tile....

With the situation in Calderon growing worse every day, can Albert, Leroy, and Birdie restore balance before New York is destroyed forever? Will Albert master his Tile before it’s too late?

Perfect for fans of Percy Jackson, The Unwanteds, and the classic Journey to the Center of the Earth.
I received this galley from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I am usually not a fan of fantasy, especially middle grade fantasy. But for one, The Balance Keepers series is being described as a Percy Jackson/Harry Potter type series, which I love, and second, Lindsay Cummings is a brand new author who published TWO books in one year. I think that definitely says something. I was excited to read The Fire of Calderon for these reasons. It was a fast paced read that I really enjoyed.

Albert Flynn is a regular, lonely kid until he discovers he has magical powers. Over night his life is completely changed. I really loved watching Albert grow. All the characters were really fleshed out. I liked that they all surprised you.

The world that Cummings created was so creative and original. I really can't wait for the next book so I can learn about the other realms. I thought the writing was very vivid as well. I really felt like I was right there in the action with the characters.

While middle grade isn't usually for me, this is just the type of books that middle graders will absolutely love. There is enough action and adventure to keep everyone happy. Its a quick read that is easy to understand and follow along with.    


Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör
By: Grady Hendrix
Pub. Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 256
Source: Edelweiss


Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring wardrobes, shattered Brooka glassware, and vandalized Liripip sofa beds—clearly, someone or something is up to no good. To unravel the mystery, five young employees volunteer for a long dusk-till-dawn shift—and they encounter horrors that defy imagination. Along the way, author Grady Hendrix infuses sly social commentary on the nature of work in the new twenty-first century economy.

A traditional haunted house story in a contemporary setting (and full of current fears), Horrorstör comes conveniently packaged in the form of a retail catalog, complete with illustrations of ready-to-assemble furniture and other, more sinister accessories. We promise you’ve never seen anything quite like it!
I received this galley from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

When I first heard about Horrorstör I became a little obsessed. I thought this was the coolest book I have ever heard about it. I was so excited when I got the opportunity to read it early and I absolutely loved it! So original, creepy, fun and fast paced!

Amy, our MC is not very driven. She works at Orsk superstore, basically a knock off Ikea (her words, not mine!). She doesn't like her job, she's in debt, she's really not heading anywhere in life. The only thing she can think about is being allowed to transfer to a different Orsk to get away from her manager, Basil, who she can't stand. It was hard to like Amy at first. Her personality did not make it easy too, but I love seeing how much she changed from the beginning to the end of the book. She ended up being a very loyal, kind, selfless person. One character that completely surprised me, and ended up being my favorite was Basil. We start off not liking him because of Amy, but by the end I was completely in love with him. Such a sweet and awkward guy who really just wanted to do the right thing.

Things have been happening at Orsk that no one can explain. Basil decides to ask some employees, including Amy to stay the night so they can catch the guy who is vandalizing the store after closing. The money is good so Amy agrees. No one expected that it could be ghosts. Ghosts who died over a hundred years ago and are still being tortured, even after death. This is when the story really started to pick up. Who doesn't love a good ghost story? Sometimes ghost stories are done really stupid. The authors try to hard to make it scary and creepy. This story was actually scary and creepy in the most subtle ways. I had goose bumps for basically the whole second half of the novel.

The ending is definitely something to think about. I have no clue if there is going to be a second book, it really can go both ways!

I don't want to give anything away, but I highly recommend that you read this book. Not only is the story well written, but the book is super cool looking. It looks just like a catalog. There are pictures of products, a how to guide on how to work the store, and even an order form. I can not wait to have a physical copy of this super original book!  


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