Review : Luca (Ruin & Revenge #2) by Sarah Castille

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Published June 27th 2017 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Blurb

Luca Rizzoli was nearly destroyed by a brutal betrayal that cost him his family. Now a ruthless crime boss in the city of sin, he lets nothing touch his frozen heart–until a smoldering encounter with a beautiful stranger ignites his passion. One night isn’t enough for a man who takes what he wants, but his mysterious temptress has slipped away.

For two years police detective Gabrielle Fawkes has lived for revenge. But a night of indulgence with a sexy stranger changes everything. Powerful, charming, and deliciously dangerous Luca, has his own private reasons for offering to help her pursue the drug lord who killed her husband. There’s a lot Luca isn’t telling her and the more she finds out the less she wants to know.

When Gabrielle becomes the target of the drug lord she has vowed to hunt down, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in a mobster’s hands. To save her, Luca must break his Mafia ties–or risk losing Gabrielle forever.

My Review

Rating : 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Danger, angst, deception, passion, Sarah Castille delivered a thrilling read with the second installment in her Ruin & Revenge series. This dark and fast-paced ride into the mafia underworld is centered on Luca Rizzoli and Gabrielle Fawkes, two intriguing heroes on opposite sides of the law.

Luca is the loyal capo of his closest friend, Nico Toscani, head of one of the big Italian crime families in Vegas. Gabrielle is a detective responsible for an investigation into the activities of a drug cartel. After her husband’s murder, she has set herself the goal of avenging him. Luca and Gabrielle are both shooting victims and find themselves in the same hospital room. They have this insta-attraction going on from the first meeting.

I loved the conflicting emotions in this story, the heroes see justice in a very different way, Gabrielle is a rule follower, Luca follows the rules of his crime family. According to mafia rules, association with cops is forbidden, and the punishment for infringing them is extreme. And yet Luca can’t stay away from Gabrielle, she has become his obsession. He is torn between his loyalty to his family and his love for Gabrielle. The mirror has two sides: he is dark, brooding, dangerous and a cold killer, and yet he is tender, protective and loving with her.

Gabrielle is strong, assertive and honest. She doesn’t understand the social hierarchy in his crime world, and, obviously, she doesn’t care. She can’t accept the submissive role of a mafia wife, but she makes him believe he is capable of feeling. To save Luca, Gabrielle is ready to go rogue and break a lot of rules.

This sexy romance and edge-of-your-seat suspense with some breathtaking twists was a captivating read. It started a bit slowly, but Sarah Castille did a great job of building up the tension and I was hooked until the very last page! She introduced several intriguing secondary characters, and I’m really looking forward to Rocco’s story. I recommend this book (and this fantastic series) to all mafia romance lovers.

ARC generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.

Release Day Blitz : The Highland Commander (Lords of the Highlands #2) by Amy Jarecki

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER

Author: Amy Jarecki

Series: Lords of the Highlands, #2

On Sale: June 27, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $3.99 USD

Audio: $22.98 USD

Add to Goodreads

She cannot resist the man behind the mask…

As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father’s urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year’s holiday masquerade. It’s practically her civic duty! But when one such officer—whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask—sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can’t help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.

But will he betray his country for a kiss?

Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie’s true identity—and learns that her father is accused of treason—will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?

My Review

Rating : 4 out of 5 Stars

The Highland Commander is bursting with political intrigue, devious nobility, betrayal and romance. This fast paced story is set in 18th century Scotland and England, during the reign of Queen Anne.

Lady Maddie Keith is the illegitimate daughter of an earl. Her father is a fervent Jacobite who doesn’t hide his allegiance to James Stuart, as the rightful king of Scotland. She has been made feel like an outcast all her life, even though she has been granted a title, which is surprising. Lord Aiden Murray is the second son of a duke and has joined the Scottish Navy. He has spent two year aboard a ship, serving Queen Anne. He is conflicted, though. He is loyal to James Stuart and yet, he has accepted to serve his enemy, Queen Anne. Aboard the ship, he remains aloof from politics and doesn’t side with the government. But his greatest regret is his failure to establish his reputation as a rake.

Maddie and Aiden meet at a masquerade ball and are instantly quite taken with one another. When Maddie’s father is captured by Queen Anne’s men and taken to the Tower of London to stand trial for treason, she needs Aiden’s help to gain an audience with the Queen and plead her father’s innocence. In these troubled times, her relationship with him is the highlight of her life. When she is accused of being a spy working to oust the Queen, Aiden is willing to risk everything to come to her rescue and to escape with her.

The sequences of their journey across the Highlands, with the British soldiers on their trail, moved with rapidity and were full of drama. Every time they found themselves in an impossible situation, they miraculously found their way out. The stakes are high and they know it, but they are also confident that they have the skills and the will to overcome the obstacles. Their romance is tested throughout the story. Their happy ending felt a bit rushed, though, with very little struggle.

Overall, this story is packed full of action, intrigue and drama. If you are looking for an historical fiction that includes plenty of adventure with a dash of romance and well written characters to boot, The Highland Commander is a good choice.

An advanced copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.

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Excerpt

As in the Highland custom, Aiden wore the plaid belted at his waist, the length pulled from the lower right opening of his doublet, around his back and pinned at his left shoulder with a silver brooch bearing the Atholl arms. The valet had put forth a good effort ensuring there was neither wrinkle nor hair out of place.

He regarded himself in the looking glass above the mantle in the drawing room, sliding one foot forward as he would do for a portrait. Not liking the image, he puffed out his chest and moved a hand to his lapel.

God’s bones, take me to sea where I can cast aside these frills.

Tuning his back to the looking glass, Aiden resorted to pacing and pulling out his pocket watch. The coach would arrive in five minutes, and Maddie hadn’t yet made an appearance.

At least a light glowed from beneath her door indicating she was within. It cast a hazy glow in the otherwise dark passageway. After pacing around the chamber half-dozen times, he again eyed his timepiece. Another minute had passed. Perhaps he should knock on the door—perhaps Maddie’s mantle clock had stopped and she was unaware of the time. Just as he started off, her door opened. A burst of light flooded the passageway, and with the tap of dainty footsteps, an angel emerged.

Aiden knew she’d purchased a new gown, but he hadn’t expected this. His mouth went dry and he suddenly needed to take in two stuttered breaths to steady the thumping of his heart.

Christ, men aren’t supposed to experience such heart hammering. Especially men bred for the sea. Damnation.

She smiled, and his goddamned knees wobbled. He should have taken a healthy tot whilst he was pacing in the drawing room.

Her golden gown rustled as she walked forward, with a matching fan in her hand. She moved the fan to her waist…just below her breasts. Creamy skin Aiden knew to be softer than spun silk swelled above a dangerously plunging neckline. His mouth went completely dry. If Maddie’s serving maid had been anywhere but behind her lady, Aiden would have taken the lassie into his arms, pushed through his bedchamber door and damned the recital.

“I hope I haven’t made us late.” Maddie batted her eyelashes as if she had no idea of the effect she had on his aching cods. “Miss Agnes spent ever so long curling my hair.”

Aiden’s tongue slipped over his bottom lip. “Your curls are exquisite. You are exquisite, m’lady.”

Agnes cleared her throat, coming up behind with a cloak over her arm. “You’d best say so, m’lord. It took the greater part of the afternoon to make those ringlets.”

Nay, there’d be no slipping into the bedchamber for a hasty sampling of those pearl-tipped bosoms.

Aiden glanced to his pocket watch—they still had a few minutes—and now that he knew Maddie was ready, there’d be no harm in making the coach wait for a minute or two. “Fine job, Miss Agnes,” he said with more sobriety than he felt. “I think you deserve a healthy tot of fine spirit for taking such fine care of her ladyship.”

“Have we time?” asked Maddie.

Aiden led them into the drawing room and gestured to the settee. “A stolen moment will not set us behind overmuch.”

Agnes gave a firm shake of her head. “You needn’t make a fuss for the likes of me.”

“It is no fuss. You take good care of your lady, and for that I want to thank you.” Aiden poured three tots of sherry and offered each of the ladies a glass. “Shall we drink to Miss Agnes?”

Blinking, the woman drew a hand over her mouth, dipping her head and smiling broadly. “Heavens.”

“Aye, we should.” Maddie patted her chambermaid’s knee and raised her glass. “To the woman who has seen me through one and twenty years of happiness. I have no idea what would have become of me if you hadn’t been by my side. Sometimes I’ve felt as if you’re the only person in all of Christendom who cares.”

Aiden’s gut twisted. He cared a great deal, but it was inconceivable that Maddie had been made to feel like an outcast from such a young age. He drank thoughtfully, watching the two women as they sipped. Even their mannerisms had become similar. “Miss Agnes, how long have you been serving Lady Magdalen?”

The woman’s eyes glistened with pride. “Since the day she was born. The moment I held her in my arms I knew my purpose.”

Aiden glanced to Maddie and knitted his brows. “Did your mother pass in childbirth?”

Shaking her head, the lass bit her bottom lip. “Nay. My mother knew I would have a better life if she gave me to my father. Only…” Maddie looked away, and took another sip.

“What?”

“The one caveat was that she could never set eyes on me again.”

Grumbling under her breath, Agnes guzzled the remainder of her sherry. “We shan’t discuss the countess any longer. It sets both of our hackles to standing on end.”

“Agreed.” Aiden set his glass on the mantel and offered Maddie his hand. “Shall we be off, m’lady? We do not want to miss the opening. I hear it will be most spectacular.”

Maddie tapped the chambermaid’s shoulder before they strolled toward the door. “I want you to take some time for yourself this night. Do something that will make you happy. You have nothing to worry about, my pet. I’ll be in Lord Aiden’s capable hands.”

THE LORDS OF THE HIGHLANDS SERIES

Lords of the Highland

THE HIGHLAND DUKE, #1

THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER, #2

THE HIGHLAND GUARDIAN, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Jarecki CREDIT Bruce Heinsius Photography

Amy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.

 

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Release Day Blitz : The King (Masterpiece duet #1) by Skye Warren

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The King by Skye Warren is NOW AVAILABLE
long live the king…

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The highest stakes…

My father gambles every night, falling deeper and deeper into debt. When he hits the bottom, he places a new bet: his daughter. I’m his entry bet to the biggest underground poker game.

Every kind of danger circles the velvet-covered table, but only one man makes me tremble.

A trailer park princess.

The son of a criminal king.

We don’t belong together, but I’m caught in a twisted game.

His eyes meet mine with dark promise. And when he puts down his cards, I know I’m going to lose more than my body. I’m going to lose everything.

* * * * *

THE KING is the first book in the new Masterpiece duet about risking your heart and finding yourself. It’s a spin-off from the USA Today bestselling trilogy but can be read separately.

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Preorder THE QUEEN now!

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About the Author:

Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat.

Contact Skye:

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Relaunch Blitz : Needing Moore series by Julie A. Richman

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A brand-new version of The USA Today Bestselling Needing Moore Series by Julie A. Richman, containing never seen before NEW FEATURES is available NOW!!.

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To celebrate the relaunch of this top-rated series, the all new boxed set is ON SALE for only 99¢ for a very LIMITED-TIME!

Synopsis

‗‗‗‗‗

Sometimes the one you never got over is just a friend request away …

There were no cell phones or internet or google when she left me and I never knew why she walked away from our relationship.

I loved her, like head-over-heels crazy loved her.

And when she walked out on me at the end of our freshman year, without even a goodbye, she broke my heart.

So, I got a surprise gift the other night at my birthday party, an old college friend casually mentioned he saw her on Facebook.

Best present I’ve received in over twenty years.

Now, I’m finally going to get my answer.

She owes me an explanation at to why she left …

Damn, I loved her.

‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗

I was having such a crappy morning at work and then his email arrived.

It was a friend request and to say I was shocked would be an understatement.

A lifetime had passed since we’d last been in contact.

But just seeing his name on my computer screen,

made me react in a way I thought I was no longer capable of,

you see, I had never gotten over loving him,

even though he betrayed me.

And so begins the saga of Schooner Moore and Mia Silver, lovers separated after their first year of college and not reunited again for over twenty years. But two decades was not long enough for their flame to be extinguished and reuniting could cost them everything.

Check out these amazing bonus components that will be exclusive in this box set:

– New Cover (OMG, get ready to fall in love!)

– Never before seen Sneak Peek of MOORE THAN A FEELING, the highly anticipated Holly Moore story – releasing Fall/Winter 2017

– Available for the first time as a set in a single- volume paperback

Single Volume Paperback (all 3 novels) will be on sale for 1-week beginning 6/26

$19.99 (reg. 26.99)

– Complete re-edit of all 3 books

  • Bonus chapters for EACH book will still be included

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Read Today for only 99¢!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2t66ROx

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/641US8

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About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Julie A. Richman is a native New Yorker living deep in the heart of Texas. A creative writing major in college, reading and writing fiction has always been a passion. Julie began her corporate career in publishing in NYC and writing played a major role throughout her career as she created and wrote marketing, advertising, direct mail and fundraising materials for Fortune 500 corporations, advertising agencies and non-profit organizations. She is an award winning nature photographer plagued with insatiable wanderlust. Julie and her husband have one son and a white German Shepherd named Juneau.

Julie Richman

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Release Blitz : Where I Belong (The Debt #2) by Molly O’Keefe

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THE DUET IS COMPLETE
Where I Belong by M. O’Keefe is NOW LIVE!
“[T]otally one-clickable!” — J. Kenner NYT and Internationally Best Selling Author

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THE GIRL I LOVED IS THE WOMAN I CAN’T HAVE

It was simple: Pay the debt and I stay out of jail. Pay the debt and I stay alive.

But I sacrificed it all for Beth.

I didn’t pay what I owed. I’m sure punishment is coming, but I can take it – as long as Beth is safe. Away from her mother and everyone else who would hurt her.

I gave it all up for two days with her. And it was worth it.

She always was.

THE SECRETS WE KEEP ARE WHAT TEARS US APART

We’re supposed to be done. Over. Tommy goes his way, I go mine. Cue the heartbreaking music.

I’m supposed to forget him, but I don’t think I can. And when the danger closes in on Tommy, we’re on the run again. From Bates. From my mother. From our past. And there are no safe places to hide.

Except one. And it’s the place that will hurt Tommy the most.

But maybe it’s time for me to face my past. My demons.

Maybe it’s time for me to save Tommy for once.

START THE SERIES TODAY!
Lost Without You is live!

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Beautiful young couple hugging and kissing isolated on black background.

ALL DEBTS MUST BE PAID

Tommy

Seven years ago, I thought I could save Beth, the girl I loved from the monster who was supposed to take care of us. I thought I could keep Beth and all the other kids at St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles safe.

I failed. Badly. Now we all have blood on our hands and owe a dangerous man a very dangerous debt. We don’t know when he’ll come calling for payment, but when he does – we pay, or we suffer.

When my turn comes, I’m ready for anything.

Except seeing Beth again.

LOVE IS NEVER FREE

Beth

No one ever tells you that the cost of having your dreams come true is literally every single other part of your life. Yes, I’m a huge pop star these days, but I’m pretty much a mess, too.

I’ve spent my life hiding behind disguises, make-up and costumes, all to protect myself from the kind of pain that comes from revealing your true self to someone.

I did that once. With Tommy. The only person I ever loved. It didn’t turn out so well.

And now, with everything else falling apart around me, I’m suddenly in the backseat of his car.

Being kidnapped.

And the past we’ve both tried to run from is catching up with us.

Contains The Debt: A Prologue and 50,000 more words in the continuation of Tommy and Beth’s story

About the Author:

Molly O’Keefe is an award-winning author of over 30 romance novels. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her family and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America. Sign up for her newsletter to get release day news, exclusive excerpts, sale announcements and in-depth author interviews!

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Blog Tour : Revenge (Lawless #3) by Lexi Blake

Passion and danger collide in the latest contemporary romance featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

When Drew Lawless discovers a fatal flaw in his plan to avenge his parents’ deaths, he turns to the one woman he promised he wouldn’t touch. He offers her a deal, one that will bring her into his investigation, his life, and his bed.

Investigative reporter Shelby Gates never dreamed how twisted the case would become—or how fascinated she would be with Drew. Every day they spend together binds them. And every night brings her closer to realizing he might be the man for her.

As Drew’s feelings for Shelby grow, so does the danger. From the streets of Dallas to Austin’s high-tech business world, Drew and Shelby play a game begun twenty years before—a game they will win, or die trying.

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My Review

Rating : 5 out of 5 Stars

Revenge is the intense, powerful and riveting conclusion to the Lawless series and the book I have been waiting for. It combines passion and familial love with intrigue and danger in a fast paced and enjoyable story. It is centered on two amazing characters: tech billionaire Andrew, aka Drew, Lawless and Shelby Gates, reporter extraordinaire and badass investigator.

Revenge picks up where Satisfaction ends. Drew has found the people responsible for his family’s destruction. But one of them is still alive, and he needs to protect his siblings. He has hired Shelby to help him track down this dangerous predator and master manipulator. I loved getting into Drew’s head, he is rational, self-assured, cocky and yet so vulnerable. Drew and Shelby got off on the wrong foot, but they are a great team. Shelby wants to help him finally find justice. Drew is deeply scarred by his tragedy, he is amazed that Shelby can handle him, with his weird, manipulative and ruthless side. She puts up with his socially awkward, frustrating nature. He’s not the most emotional guy, at least not outwardly, but he cannot deny the attraction he feels for her. Their bond keeps getting stronger, they have a natural connection despite their rocky beginning.

Drew is a man who plots and plans to get what he wants, his courtship is unusual. But even though he is a shark in business, with his family, he is sweet, loyal and protective. He has learned to guard himself, but he wants to be a better person for Shelby. She is a wonderful character, warm, tolerant and patient. And obviously, she is not immune to his charm.

I was captivated by this dramatic, sexy and thrilling story from start to finish. Lexi Blake definitely delivered with this final installment that reveals shocking twists, turns and harsh truths. The way this author writes romantic suspense is flawless, with a perfect balance between the characters’ smoldering romance and heart pounding action and drama. I loved the Lawless family, with their dedication to one another and great family spirit. Highly recommended!

Thank you for reading!

ARC generously provided by the publisher and Inkslinger PR, via NetGalley.

Excerpt

“I suppose we’re going to be seeing Carly and Bran while we’re in Dallas next week.”

She had one week to get comfortable around Drew. One week to figure out if she could actually sell this cover to his family.

“It would seem odd if I didn’t pay them a visit. Bran knows I have a meeting with Taggart scheduled. We’ll be in Dallas for two days. Dinner with Bran and Carly and Mia and Case has already been planned.”

“Exactly. And you don’t want to raise a bunch of questions. So I was thinking it might be smarter for me to get my own hotel room. I can lay low and they don’t have to know I’m in town.” She’d sat up for a good portion of the night doing two things: thinking about how much she’d wanted to kiss Drew Lawless and then freaking out about it because that was a bad idea. Beware of billionaires with six-pack abs. It was her new mantra. Yes, she’d signed the contract last night, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t reason with her new . . . boss . . . partner . . . whatever he was.

“I told Bran you’re coming with me.”

This was exactly what she’d worried about. “You told him? I thought I would have more time. How am I going to explain this to Carly? I think she’ll wonder why one of her closest friends didn’t mention she was dating her future brother-in-law.”

“I’ve already explained it. We wanted to make sure it was real before we went public. It’s that simple. We met in Los Angeles. I contacted you. We went on a few dates and we’ve been talking a lot. You’ve come out to Austin because we’re contemplating moving in together. This is a trial run,” he said calmly, as though he hadn’t upended her entire life. “Also, I asked Bran not to mention it to Carly because you would rather tell her yourself. It was a safe bet Bran wouldn’t ask too many questions, but Carly will want to know everything. It’s why we need to get our stories straight.”

She focused on the words that messed with her life. “Moving in together? You told them we’re thinking of moving in together?”

“How else was I supposed to explain it when all your belongings arrive here?”

“What?” She winced because the words had come out in a screech. “I’m having your things packed up as we speak. They’ll be here in a few days.”

“Why the hell would you do that?” How was she going to get everything back to LA?

Drew relaxed again as though he’d already gone over this argument in his mind and knew he would win. “I wanted you to be comfortable. This is going to be a full-time job, and not a quick one. I suspect we’ll have to keep up our ruse for at least six months. Potentially a year. Also, that apartment you were living in was incredibly dangerous. Did you know it was recently condemned? The movers told me about it when they explained they were charging me extra for how fast they had to move. It’s scheduled to be demolished in two weeks.”

“What?” She stared at him. He expected her to live with him for six months to a year? Somewhere in the back of her head she’d been thinking a week or two tops, and then she’d go back to LA and work from there. Her apartment building was shitty and she was fairly certain someone cooked meth in part of it, but it was all she could afford. And it was solidly built. There had been no hint that anyone was planning on building in her part of LA. Gentrification had not reared its upscale, hipster head yet, so that left her with one very manipulative bastard. “Tell me you did not buy my apartment building and schedule it for demolition in an attempt to leave me with nowhere to go.”

He managed to look almost angelic in the soft light of morning. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

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Blog Tour : Tycoon by Katy Evans

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Tycoon by Katy Evans
Publication Date: June 20th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Tycoon, an all-new standalone from Katy Evans is available now!!!

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He wasn’t always this rich. This hot. This difficult.

Aaric Christos was a guy who protected me. Wanted me. Maybe even loved me.

That man is gone.

In his place is the most powerful real estate tycoon in the city.

He’s a cold, ruthless, aggressive businessman.

The only one who can save me and my startup from ruin.

It takes every ounce of courage to put my pride aside and ask for his help.

I didn’t expect him to offer it easily.

And he doesn’t.

Instead, he vets me harder than he’s vetted anyone.

Don’t invest in what you don’t know, he says.

He’s assessing every piece of me, to the point I’ve never felt so bare.

I yearn for the boy I once knew, whose touch once craved me.

Putting it all on the line will be worth it, I tell myself.

Until I realize—too late—that some risks are not worth taking.

2 a little bit bad

My Review

Rating : 5 out of 5 Stars

I am addicted to Katy Evans’ stories. This author has a way with words, she makes you feel so much. Rarely do you find a writer who can reach inside the reader to evoke such strong feelings and emotions. Her books are like kindle crack for me, addicting and intoxicating! Tycoon is a wonderfully seductive story, a slow burn that is at the same time utterly romantic and simmering with longing and raw emotions.

Aaric Christos and Bryn Kelly were friends in high school, but life happened and they were separated. Aaric wanted to offer her everything, but he had nothing. He moved on to become a powerful business magnate, the guy with the Midas touch. Years later, Bryn wants to start a new life. She has lost her parents and her family business. She is looking for an angel investor and hopes that Aaric will fund her startup, even though they haven’t seen each other in over a decade. But the easygoing boy she knew has changed, he is intimidating, intense and unpredictable. Right from the start, I loved Bryn. She is a fighter and a positive thinker. She always had feelings for Aaric, but she wasn’t ready for his intensity.

Aaric is a shark in business, but he is not a bad guy. He believes in Bryn’s abilities and wants her to think big, like he did. They complete each other perfectly, their connection is genuine and undeniable. They slowly rebuild their friendship, enjoying every moments spent together. Both are confused by the storm of emotions they feel for each other, the yearning, the angst, the intense attraction. Aaric thought he knew what he wanted, he was about to enter into a marriage of convenience. But Bryn changed everything.

Katy Evans does a great job of building up the tension, and she definitely knows how to write a super sexy alpha hero. Bryn and Aaric’s heartwarming and gorgeously romantic story kept me swooning. This book was an absolute delight and a new top favorite of mine. I highly recommend it.

Thank you for reading!

ARC generously provided by the author and Social Butterfly PR

Excerpt

I hop off the train and walk several walks to his building.

It’s a brownstone in Park Avenue, one of the most elite of the elite spaces in town.

My lungs feel a little bit overworked from awe as I head up the steps to the double doors, grateful that I came dressed to kill in a little black dress, a jacket, and pumps. Simple, but effective.

See, I may be feeling a little awkward, but at least I don’t look it.

I’m greeted by his maid. She’s dressed in black and white, her hair drawn back in a neat bun, her expression stoic and formal as she leads me down the hall to a gorgeous study.

I catch my breath when I notice all the books and shelves.

It’s like a reader’s paradise in here. There’s a sleek chrome bar, a modern mahogany glass-topped desk, and two huge whiskey-colored leather chairs that almost swallow me up when I’m instructed to wait in one.

I drum my fingers, inhaling the scent of leather and wine, remembering a guy I knew with his mechanic navy-blue uniform, black streaks on his jaw, his big nose always the first thing you’d see, which was a pity because he had beautiful eyes and a really sinful pair of lips.

He’s living in luxury now. Wow. Good for him.

I hear footsteps approaching and the little hair on my arms prick at attention. My head turns as a tall, dark figure steps into the room, and the most intimidating guy I’ve ever seen enters and crosses the room toward the desk. He walks like he’s the shit…his strides proud and composed, elegant and powerful.

Christos, I hear myself breathe in surprise.

He’s so tall now…six three, at least. Dirty-blonde hair, gold-green eyes, chiseled jaw, and a gorgeous profile.

All in black, he looks very much a New Yorker.

He’s wearing a black jacket, black pants, and a black turtleneck beneath the jacket…

I stare at him, my jaw hanging a little bit open. The man is….all man. Testosterone. Muscles. Height. Width. My chest hurts all of a sudden because I realize…

The boy you knew is gone.

I force myself to stand. “Thank you for seeing me.”

He heads to the bar to pour two drinks, then he prowls over, takes the whiskey leather chair across from mine and leans forward, pushing a glass of cognac with one finger across a small table, toward me.

And he waits.

In silence.

But my stomach dips as if he’d said something ultra-sexy and decadent.

“You might not remember me, I’m sorry to be reaching out like this,” I say, nervous.

“What do you want?”

There’s a pleasant shiver as he speaks. Recognition of his voice, even though it’s far deeper than I remember.

“I was told you sometimes invest in startups.”

“I’d say more than sometimes.” He raises his eyebrows as if I should’ve done my homework better.

Ugh, Bryn! Focus! Be SMART! Make yourself and your business irresistible! A silence settles as he eyes me, slowly setting his drink down as he leans forward and finally, unexpectedly, smiles. At me.

It’s just a smile.

But the world tilts under its impact.

“Hello, little bit.” Amusement touches his gaze as he tilts his head and watches me. “You know, I’d think you’d have grown up the ten-plus years since I last saw you. At least an inch.” He leans back in his seat, seemingly displeased. Wow, this guy is not the lanky kid I knew once. This guy oozes danger.

Every ounce of “boy” is gone. Oh God. For a moment I wish that we could go back in time and I could discuss my startup with the guy I knew before.

But time travel is not really my talent, and it seems like I have yet to see if I even have any special talents at all—depending on what this guy thinks.

“I grew two in width,” I shock myself saying.

He laughs then, his eyes drinking me in openly.

“Shame on you, you’re not trying to see if it’s true?” I ask him, frowning now.

He shrugs casually, his lips curved at the corners. “I can’t help it. Something has to have changed.”

“Why?”

“Because nothing good ever lasts. Even you, little bit.” A smile touches those unforgettable gold-green eyes.

A shiver runs through me. Because…

Christos recognized me.

“I can tell you’re as incorrigible as ever.” I shake my head, but I’m smiling, truly just relieved that he recognized me.

“I try to be,” he purrs dangerously.

I’m feeling warm all of a sudden. I can’t believe I’m staring at him so much, but it’s like I cannot take my eyes away. He looks achingly familiar, but at the same time, so different I cannot help but stare and track the differences in his features. The way his jaw squared out even more, the way his body filled out with hard, lean muscles that shift and ripple beneath his expensive designer clothes. I cannot believe that this is a guy I knew once.

He seems to silently be taking in my changes too, his keen stare allowing me to see that he seems to approve of it all. Even the dress I’m wearing. “You changed enough for the both of us,” I blurt.

“Really. How so?” he asks.

“You grew into your nose.”

“Really?” He chuckles as if despite himself.

“Width and height too. Quite a bit,” I add.

“Anything else,” he prods, one eyebrow rising.

“You learned how to dress.”

He looks down at his black suit. “This old thing?” He grins, then shifts forward, sobering up. “What can I do for you, Bryn? Considering I’m rather surprised to see you here, I’m eager for you to satiate my curiosity.” His stare becomes keen.

“So am I. I didn’t expect to be here,” I admit, and for a moment when I look into his eyes, all I see is someone I’ve seen before. Someone who belonged in my life long ago. “You know when you had that misplaced crush on me and told me one day I’d know what it felt like to throw pebbles at someone’s window wanting them to open? I’m sort of throwing rocks here.”

“Not to sing me a love song,” he says flatly, his eyes shuttering.

“No. Well, you know that was never….I mean…” Don’t bring up your rejection of him, Bryn! “It’s for something better. Business.”

“Go on.”

“I knew that’d get you.” I smile privately. “So it’s true your love is money now.”

“She gives back what I put in. Though her ass isn’t as juicy as I like,” he says nonchalantly.

“Wow. No matter how polished you look, your mouth is still as crude as ever.”

“Thank you,” he purrs, his eyes grinning at me.

I laugh. Then I sober up and realize he’s waiting for me to speak. “I’m looking for money for my startup,” I say.

“How much.”

“One hundred thousand.”

“I don’t invest less than a million.” He twirls his whiskey in his glass, eyeing the liquid.

“Well then, I’ll ask for a million.”

He raises his brows, setting his glass down. “It’s not how much you want to ask for, it’s how much the company’s worth.” Eyebrows up, he skewers me with a cold, intimidating look.

“It’ll be worth more than a million, trust me,” I bluff.

“Good for you. Except…” he leans back with a rustle of clothes, every athletic inch of his black-clad body flowing sinuously like a feline with the move, “considering that has yet to happen and I’ll need to trust you on that, my trust needs to be earned.”

This version of Christos is even more intimidating than the old one, unfortunately.

I try to hide it, keeping my voice as level as possible. “How does one earn your trust?”

“I’d tell you if I were interested, but I’m not exactly sure that I am.” He eyes me as if debating in silence.

This guy is the only guy in the world that unnerves me in this way, and I can’t seem to slow the fast pounding of my heart in my chest as I try to remember what I came here to say.

“I have a full presentation for you. I’m not taking no for an answer.” I reach into my briefcase.

“Darling. Are you ready?”

I start at the female voice and glance at a gorgeous woman striding into the study. Christos continues looking at me as he stands and reaches for the cell phone the woman extends out.

“We’re done here,” he answers her as he pockets the phone, his gaze remaining on me.

“I’ll wait for you in the car.” She leans up and kisses his jaw, her hands proprietary on his chest, then sends me a woman-to-woman claiming look, before she swishes away, all glittering jewels and lean body.

There’s a silence as he approaches, and for a second all I can hear is the sound of a toilet flushing, taking my only opportunity with a possible investor away.

“I’ll think about it,” he says.

“Christos.”

“I said I’ll think about it,” he says from the door.

“Please do,” I say as he exits the room. I cup the sides of my mouth, “I’ll be back tomorrow. Same time?” I say jokingly.

I’m surprised when I hear footsteps returning. He pauses when our eyes meet. “I’ll make contact,” he says, raising his eyebrows meaningfully, “If I’m interested in hearing more.” He nods. “Nice to see you, Bryn.”

“Nice to see you. Christos.”

Well, that went sort of awful.

Tycoon-ANLOGOS

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About the Author:

Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world.

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Email: katyevansauthor@gmail.com

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Twitter @authorkatyevans