Blog Tour – Megan Hart’s Tear You Apart & Giveaway

You may remember I recently reviewed Megan Hart’s Tear You Apart. It’s out now and Megan has kindly offered an excerpt to whet your appetites if you’ve not yet read it. I was totally knocked out by the book for its honesty and well-observed commentary, so it’s a pleasure to be able to share it with you.

tear you apartEver wondered how authors get their inspiration? Me too, so in true Megan style, here’s a little Tear You Apart trivia – did you know..?

  1. The title comes from the song by She Wants Revenge.
  2. The character of Will is unabashedly based (physically) on Norman Reedus. Love him! (Google him)
  3. In the book, Elisabeth experiences synesthesia, a condition in which sights and smells or sounds and sights, etc. become linked. I don’t experience this to the same extent as she does, but I definitely link sensations in odd ways…for example, something might taste the way something (totally unrelated) smells.
  4. I also despise modern art, and experienced something very much like Will and Elisabeth’s trip to the Museum of Modern Art. Moved to tears by Starry Night. Underwhelmed by some other pieces. Drunk on the MOMAtini. (The rest of it didn’t happen to me!)
  5. The book can be experienced, in addition to the text, as a “rock opera” with a full playlist. It can be found in the back of the book, and should be listened to in order. The songs tell their story.
  6. Tear You Apart is one of the fastest books I’ve ever written, and until literally just a few chapters from the end, I had no idea what was going to happen.
  7. Elisabeth is named in honor of the main character in 91/2 Weeks.
  8. Will is not named in honor of anyone; I can’t remember why I picked that name, only that it fit him.
  9. Gillian Anderson would be a great Elisabeth.
  10. Tear You Apart is not a romance. It’s a love story.

Excerpt

It happens all at once, so smoothly, how he pulls me close to him. He is going to kiss me. I am going to let him.

At the last second, I turn my face. I can’t do it. To feel his mouth on mine would be too much. It’s already all too much. Will smiles and everything inside me melts, liquid, running hot. He pulls me closer. He doesn’t kiss my mouth.

He kisses my neck, not soft or accidental but entirely on purpose. I don’t cringe, and I don’t pull away. I offer myself to him like I was waiting for this all along, and maybe I was but didn’t know it, but the first moment I feel the scratching brush of his stubble on my skin, all I can do is give up to it.

I give up to him.

My fingers thread through the back of his hair, holding his mouth closer to the soft and sensitive skin of my neck as my own lips part on a sigh I can not contain within the jail of my throat. Then my back is against the wall and Will presses against me, but he didn’t push me. I went there on my own. I pulled him against me. His leg eases between mine, his thigh pressing. My heel hooks over his calf. His kiss slides along my throat and jaw, but again when he tries to kiss my mouth, I turn my head. My hands find the hem of his shirt. Don’t do it, I tell myself. Don’t. But I do it anyway, I lift his shirt and let my fingertips find his smooth, hot skin underneath. His back. His stomach. The flat of my hand slides across him, and it’s not enough. It will never be enough.

“I have to go. I really should go.” Murmured between kisses against his throat, the words are insincere. No matter what I should do, what I have to do, I’m not leaving.

Will pauses, his breath hot on my cheek. He doesn’t move away, and oh, God, I can feel his cock, hard through his jeans, the thick ridge of it against my belly. I am undone.

We stay that way for the in-and-out of three or four breaths. My hands are still under his shirt. I blink rapidly, a puddle of silk ribbons in my brain for a couple seconds when my fingertips skid along the small indents of his spine. Crimson silk ribbons, that’s what his skin feels like.

“You should go,” he whispers. “You really should go.”

But I’m not leaving, I’m following a few stumbling steps toward the small alcove beneath the loft and the couch there. Leather, overstuffed, I think it’s black but it might be brown, I can’t focus on the color or the pattern of the pillows. My hands are flat on his chest, and Will lets me push him back onto the couch. Then I’m on top of him, straddling, my dress hiked up around my thighs, and his hands are skimming the edge of the fabric the same way mine did with the bottom of his shirt, and all I can think about is how much I want him to touch me.

Everything is hands and mouth and teeth and lips and tongue. We fumble, and it doesn’t matter. Laughter stutters out of me like rocks skipping on a lake. I bend over him, yank at his belt, freeing him. My hair falls in my face, and he pushes it back so he can get at my neck again. My throat. I can not get enough of him.

I push up his shirt, then pull it off over his head. Smooth, smooth skin. Hot. My fingers curl against his ribs. He has a tattoo, a stylized bird over his heart. My thighs grip his. His erection nudges me, thick and hard, and all I can think about is touching him. My hand strokes. His hips push upward. A groan slips from his throat.

I did that.

I did that to him.

Fancy winning a signed copy of this fabulous read? Head to our Facebook page and click on our Giveaway tab to enter, or click on this link: http://bit.ly/13o0UKF

It’s open to all. Good luck!

Cake by Lauren Dane

Cake

Book: Cake

Author: Lauren Dane

Publisher: Cosmo Red-Hot Reads

Format: Uncorrected ARC

Review by: Onnica

Basic Story: Wren Davis is studying art and determined to make her dreams to be an illustrator come true. Working hard with a job as a courier on the side, she becomes good friends with artist, Gregori Ivanov, Russian enfant terrible and toast of the art world. He’s enigmatic, flirtatious and demanding, but Wren likes him. They flirt, they talk art and she gets him. Gradually she begins to look forward to more and more delivery jobs that bring her to his door.

Art is Gregori’s life and nothing gets between him and his work. He’s used to being pursued by hangers-on and women that want to be the centre of his universe. Wren is different. She’s sassy, confident, beautiful and she is unimpressed by his wealth and his lifestyle. She doesn’t take kindly to his caprices and is always honest with him. She can give as good as she gets and he loves that. When it becomes clear that she could be good for him in more ways than one, he struggles to accept it as he wants her friendship more than anything else. How can he offer her more when all along he’s thought of women as disposable?

Why you should read this: This is a delightful novella that’s fun and has a great heroine. Comfortable in her own skin and knows what she wants she has he man in her sights and she usually gets what she wants. There’s humour and the author sets the scene nicely. It’s well paced and sexy as hell. Who doesn’t like a tattooed and moody artist with an accent? The power play between Wren and Gregori is enjoyable – did I mention how much I enjoyed her character??

What you might hate: Can’t think of anything here – too short maybe? Ah yes, that’s the nature of novellas – I think it was the perfect length.

Rating: 4/5 – this was a highly enjoyable quick read – sweet and delicious. A lot like cake.

Cake is out on 15 September.

After the Kiss by Lauren Layne

After the KissBook: After The Kiss

Author: Lauren Layne

Series: Sex, Love and Stiletto #1

Format: ARC

Review by: Onnica

Basic Story: Julie Greene loves her job at Stiletto magazine. She has a great reputation as a romance guru – men want to get with her and women want to be her. She writes about the magic of the first kiss, the first date and the initial stages of love. What comes after that is not her concern. She’s never been in a serious relationship, nor is she about to start now.

Unfortunately, her boss has other ideas. She needs Julie to write a personal piece on taking a relationship to the next level – easy right? Not for Julie, she has no personal experience to draw on. Her boss doesn’t care how she goes about but she either does it or the piece goes to her arch-nemesis and colleague Kelli.

Mitchell Forbes is a bachelor wanting to settle down – every female he meets is judged on how suitable a wife she’d be and whether he could raise a family with her. His dull and structured life is familiar but unsatisfying. At a charity event, a friend suggests he takes some time out from the search and just enjoys a no-strings attached fling. The perfect candidate is in front of him – Julie. Game on…

Julie thinks Mitchell may be the perfect mark for her article. Get with a stuffy suit and make him fall for her – do the relationship thing for a while, then walk away. Simple. Or not…

Why you should read this: I loved this story – the characters were so much fun and really polar opposites in every way. Not realising that life is about more than playing it safe, the pair are both in trouble in different ways. Mitchell is buttoned up (think Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones) but underneath it all, there’s a very passionate and exciting side just waiting to be revealed. Julie is a fun character – she had a vulnerable side that made my eyes tear up a bit. Lauren Layne has a storytelling style that flows and she makes it look really easy.

What you might hate: it’s quite a quick read and I devoured it in a few hours. That’s not a bad thing but I really enjoyed the story that I was a bit sad to see it end…

Rating: For the sheer fun and sentimentality of it, I give it 4/5 – I’ll definitely look forward to reading more from Ms Layne.

After the Kiss is out now.

Unscrupulous by Avery Aster

Unscrupulous CoverBook: Unscrupulous

Series: Book #2 The Manhattanites series

Author: Avery Aster

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Taddy Brill, independent twenty-something businesswoman is mistress of all she purveys and is busy leading her fabulous life in Manhattan. No time to meet a man she buries herself in work and her friendships – her chosen family, since she legally emancipated herself at the age of sixteen. Needing a little r’n’r at Christmastime, she and her equally fabulous friends descend to St. Barth’s, a Caribbean paradise.

Warner Truman is tired of fending off the attentions of gold-diggers and career girlfriends. He wants a woman with her own career, her own money and her own life. Having lost his first wife to cancer, he’s keen to make a meaningful connection again. When he meets Taddy, he’s convinced it could be her…

Why you should read this: As a kid I used to love reading my mum’s copies of Judith Krantz and Shirley Conran. This series reminds me a lot of Jackie Collins’ style of plot lines, intrigue and drama. The bitches are super-bitches and the heroine has a good heart underneath the tough exterior.

What you might hate: I really struggled to connect with the first half of this book, I’ll be honest. The characters felt two-dimensional and the humour seemed to be more important than the overall plot. This frustrated me – I didn’t want to read about a heroine who would stroke herself in public – there’s no need for it! Also, calling your potential other half Big Daddy? Sorry, I know there were Daddy issues, but it was a turn off for me. However, once the hero and heroine met and got to know each other, the dialogue became more natural and once Taddy’s character and vulnerability was allowed to develop, it became a decent read. I even teared up a little during one of their scenes together – it really was quite a sad scene. Warner is a refreshing hero – he’s reliable, faithful and sexy as all get out. I liked him throughout the book and the way he saw through Taddy’s tough veneer was hot.

Rating: Difficult – I struggled with the first half of the book which I’d give 2.5. The second half really picked up and I was left with an affection for the main characters. So I’m going to give it 3/5 overall.

Unscrupulous is out today.

Tear You Apart by Megan Hart

tear you apartBook: Tear You Apart

Author: Megan Hart

Format: Uncorrected ARC

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Elisabeth has been married for twenty-something years to Ross. Her twin girls have flown the nest and are at college. This leaves a lot of time to think about her life and the way things were and how they are now. At a gallery showing she meets Will. Enigmatic, open and interested in what she has to say, Beth is intrigued. Ross, her husband hasn’t noticed her for years. Their life is steeped in routine, non-communication and apathy has crept into their relationship.

Beth comes into contact with Will, an artist, more and more. Meeting innocently through her job it soon becomes obvious that their meetings are anything but innocent. One encounter turns into several and soon Beth is unable to think of much else beyond how alive she feels. Will has woken her up inside in a way that Ross was never able. The only rule is not to become too attached, not to form strong feelings for the other. Each person can walk away any time it stops being fun. But life isn’t like that. Beth has fallen out of love with her husband and her homelife. Routines and housework and an absent husband who takes her for granted press upon her, until she has to ask herself, whether she can give it all up to be happy…

Why you should read this: perhaps this book doesn’t really belong on a romance site, but I felt I needed a change from the usual stuff I’ve read lately. Megan is a super smart writer who isn’t afraid to go to difficult and even taboo places. Infidelity is an ugly topic, but it’s not uncommon – it’s fascinating to delve into the reasons why people find themselves cheating on their partners. I felt for Beth at times and then there were times when I wanted her to pull herself together. The dialogue and the encounters she has with Will are spot on – I couldn’t put it down I was so absorbed in the story and how things would end up. Megan didn’t disappoint – don’t expect a happy ending, but enjoy the journey and if you needed further proof that life isn’t black and white, you will find it here.

What you might hate: the subject matter. I know a lot of people can’t even read about fictional infidelity – and I get it, I do, but I do enjoy reading about human frailty. We make mistakes. It is worth reading for Megan’s ability to write real characters, who are realistic and flawed.

Rating: 4/5 for this bitter-sweet tale of forty-somethings trying to find happiness outside of themselves. I was absorbed from the start and if you enjoy original writing that doesn’t shy away from the darker side of human nature, you should read this! It’s hot – for some of the scenes between Will and Beth my mouth must have been hanging wide open. Even my other half guessed I was reading one of ‘those’ books!

Tear You Apart is out September 6.

Blog Tour: Unscrupulous by Avery Aster

Manhattanites Tour BadgeHi all, Onnica here. This week we’re happy to report that we’re part of Avery Aster’s blog tour. You may have read Undressed, book one in the Manhattanites series already, but we’re discussing her prequel Unscrupulous, which releases on August 14 and we managed to persuade Avery to give us an excerpt from the new book! But first, the lowdown on the main characters.

Meet Taddy…

A young, beautiful redhead and brilliant, Taddy has it all – well almost. So dedicated to her fabulous life, work and friends, she hasn’t had any for quite some time. Running her own empire and making it a success has left very little time in her schedule for romance. That’s all set to change.

Enter gazillionaire Warner Truman. This thirty-something tycoon and widower is sick of the hangers-on and gold diggers he seems to attract. He wants a female with her own money and own self worth. When he sets eyes on Taddy, things get interesting…

Here’s an excerpt – in the scene, Warner Truman finds his hotel in a media nightmare. He’s gone to the Cannes Police Station to press charges against the culprit. Taddy Brill jets in from NYC to bail her assistant out of jail:

From chapter twelve: Two Percent of the Women in the World

 May 19th

Commissariat de Police, Cannes, France. 

            At the Cannes police station, Warner had declined all press interviews. That left the media anticipating a statement from him even more. The reporters waited outside.

Inside, he stood holding his cell phone. A text message from Sheldon, who was partying in Ibiza, read, “Yo, bro, ur hotel is creamed on TV. Hook me up w/ Caramel.”

Asshole. He typed back, “Fuck off, Shel.”

            Sheldon immediately texted back, “Rock-on w/ ur hard-on dude!”

Thick in scandal, Warner had arrived in Cannes only twenty-four hours ago, and Hôtel du France, his elite property, was the news headline. Warner didn’t have a problem with porn. And this could’ve stayed under wraps with no one the wiser. What set him off? It had all been captured on the major TV stations around the world. His Hôtel du France’s sign and logo had been broadcast right behind the adult actors while they sucked, jacked, screwed, and came all over the spectators below. The news this morning had coined the property “Hôtel du Anal,” with the catchphrase “You’ll get a load full at Hôtel du France.” He’d placed Kip Von Scott on an unpaid leave and had stepped in as an acting general manager until his relief arrived from Marseille. He’d have to sell Hôtel du France at the end of the season or rebrand the property under a new name. The hotel video, combined with the fact that he hosted Prix du Cinéma Pour Adultes, had nailed his grave shut. Any hopes for his luxury hotel to be taken as a five star property on the French Riviera had just died.

            He filed the papers against who’d started the drama, the American. “Here’s my signature for the trespassing charge.” Warner stood at the counter, returning the documents.

            “Monsieur Truman, your signature confirms Hôtel du France will file charges against Mademoiselle Izatt.” The officer stamped the papers and placed them atop a large claim file. Warner had worked too hard to build his empire to have it ruined over something so crass.

            “Oui, correct.” He smiled, confident that he’d made the right decision. Someone needed to be made an example of.

            “Take a seat in the waiting area. We’ll call you up once the paperwork has been processed.” The policeman pointed to an alcove area in the middle to sit.

            “Merci.” He walked over, poured himself a glass of water, and sat on the bench, closing his eyes to rest. I will never come back to Cannes as long as I live. We’re ruined.

            A racket at the front from someone struggling to get through the reporters and paparazzi, who’d tried to get Warner’s attention when he arrived, caused him to look over.

            “I’m here for Kiki.”

That voice. Her voice! Red’s voice?

Unscrupulous CoverFancy winning your very own copy? Head over to our Facebook page and click on our giveaway tab. Good luck!

Please note: Unscrupulous is TheManhattanitesCarddefinitely an ADULT read – there’s plenty of bad language, sexy stuff and conspicuous wealth. Think Gossip Girl ten years on.

Unscrupulous is out August 14.

Slow Summer Burn by Elisabeth Barrett

Slow Summer BurnBook: Slow Summer Burn

Author: Elisabeth Barrett

Series: Star Harbor #4

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Val Grayson, eldest of the Grayson clan and all-round good-guy, has spent most of his adult life getting things done. Keeping his brothers out of trouble following the deaths of their parents, seeing them through school and working hard meant that there there was very little time for anything other than work. At thirty-five, Val sees all of his brothers settling down and he realises his life is empty. No significant other to come home to, all he has to focus on is his work. Trying to solve the case of who is behind the drugs being imported to the Harbor is consuming most of his time, but when he meets Cameron Stahl, he knows everything is about to change.

Cameron Stahl is a Boston socialite and local businesswoman. She works hard, much to the chagrin of her mother, who wants her to be a society wife, busy with charity work and social functions like her. Cameron once accepted that life, but as she spends more time away from Boston, away from her controlling parents, the more free she becomes. Meeting Val at a social event, she immediately feels drawn to him. He’s not her social equal but she doesn’t care. She wants to escape the confines of the middle-class prison she was groomed for and discover who she is without the trappings of wealth and privilege. Her family is sure to disapprove, but for once Cameron is determined to take the plunge and put her happiness first. Val’s the man for her and she has no intention of letting him go. When a close friend of Cameron’s family are implicated in a case Val is working on, Cameron begins to question Val’s motives for getting close to her – surely he can’t have been using her. Knowing what they have is real, she is determined to prove her love for him, even if that means putting herself in the firing line.

Why you should read this: If you’ve been following the Star Harbor series and followed the Grayson brothers’ ups and downs, then you’ll absolutely adore the end to the series and enjoy getting to know Cameron and Val. Cameron is by far the best of the heroines so far – she’s sweet, unsure of herself but truly likeable. Her journey to find out who she is was an interesting one and I really enjoyed the chemistry between her and Val.

What you might hate: It’s the end of the road for the Star Harbor series! – there’s drama aplenty happening in the Cape, with plots and intrigue. I really enjoyed the mystery subplot and it gave the book depth – it wasn’t just a sexy read – it concluded the series nicely.

Rating: 4/5 for a fun, exciting and sexy read. Val is a sensitive and attractive hero – I enjoyed him finally finding happiness.

Slow Summer Burn is out 12 August.

Claimed by Stacey Kennedy

ClaimedBook: Claimed

Author: Stacey Kennedy

Series: Club Sin #1

Format: Netgalley ARC

Review by: Onnica

Basic Story: Presley Flynn is curious about an alternative lifestyle. When her roommate and friend Cora invites her to Club Sin, she’s nervous yet excited by the prospect of making her fantasies into a reality. When she meets the leader of the club Dmiti Pratt, she’s keen that he be the one to train her in how to be the perfect submissive.

Dmitri is at first amused by the innocent Presley and wonders what brought her to his door. She can barely talk about sex let alone become an exhibitionist in front of others. Simple curiosity converts to genuine affection for her and he’s determined to make her the perfect sub. His sub.

Presley enters a world that is completely different to her own. She finds acceptance for the things she wants in life and starts to build up her self-esteem. Dmitri is a strict yet considerate dom and she wanders whether they could ever be more…

Why you should read this: If you like the whole bdsm vibe but like it mainstream, then you will probably enjoy this book. It’s fun, it’s very smutty and there’s a story there too. Dmitri is a good guy with very particular tastes. He’s successful, strong, fair-minded with a heart. He doesn’t appear to be damaged or messed up in the head, which is a relief! Presley is a good girl who finds she needs to be dominated in order to feel fulfilled. Together they try to see whether they can take things further.

What you might hate: I expected there to be more of a story there. I don’t know, some of the interactions between Presley and Dmitri were a little cliché and at times I did skim over passages to get to the ‘plot’. There was no hook but it was a tale about a girl being trained in the art of being the perfect sub. Don’t expect too much and it’s an enjoyable read.

Rating: 2.5/5 for a pleasantly hot and steamy read set in an alternative lifestyle. I know I complain about too much drama but there wasn’t enough in my opinion. Just plenty of kink.

Claimed is out on 5 August.

Complete Me by J. Kenner

Complete-MeBook: Complete Me

Series: The Stark Trilogy #3

Author: J. Kenner

Format: Uncorrected ARC

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Nikki Fairchild and Damien Stark are back in this final instalment. Damien’s in trouble – he’s been ordered to appear in court in Germany, facing charges of the murder of his former coach and abuser, Richter. Nikki has rushed to Damien’s side, knowing that he cannot face the trial without her support, despite his trying to break up with her before he left. Facing an uncertain future, the pair are desperate to spend each and every moment together (usually horizontally) and they explore their submissive-dominant relationship in greater depth. As the case draws to a close, Nikki and Damien face even greater challenges. No sooner has one problem been solved but another seems to spring up in its place. This time, Nikki is the one in the firing line. Damien is determined to protect her but what if the only way for them both to survive is apart?

Why you should read it: if you’ve been on board this train since Release Me and Claim Me, then you owe it to yourself to find out what happened next for team Damikki – as the ups and downs of their relationship come to a satisfying conclusion.

What you might hate: OK – I know this is erotica, you know that it’s erotica and having read the last two books you know what you’re getting. HOWEVER, two thirds of the book were just plain old nasty monkey sex, which got a little exhausting if I’m honest. I’m not complaining, but when they actually came up for air, I was actually interested in the twist near the end as we found out who Nikki’s persecutor actually was. It was a pretty nifty plot – it would have been nice to see more of that creativity earlier in the book.

Rating: Difficult – I was wavering, but I give it a generous 3/5, due mainly to the plot device near the end which was surprising and the fact that Damien’s a pretty decent, sexy chap. (We won’t dwell on the fact that they’re incapable of breathing without each other…) Complete Me is out on 30th July.

Lick by Kylie Scott

LickBook: Lick

Series: Stage Dive #1

Author: Kylie Scott

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: When Evelyn Thomas turned twenty-one, she was determined to let her hair down for a change. Little did she realise how far-reaching the consequences of too much tequila would be. The day after she wakes up in a hotel room, sick as a dog, wearing a ring on her finger the size of the Hope Diamond with a strange man holding her hair back while she’s sick. There’s also the case of the strange tattoo on her posterior with an even stranger name – who the hell is David?

Not remembering anything about the night before and clearly not recognising her new husband, Evelyn is panicked and quick to point out that it has all been a huge mistake. David – hurt and angry agrees to take of it and will have his people arrange an annulment. Ev flees the scene with her best friend and resolves to pretend like it never happened. That is until the paparazzi descend on her at the airport asking whether the rumours about having married Dave Ferris, guitarist with the band Stage Dive, were true. Suddenly it all becomes clear to Ev that she won’t be able to pretend this situation away. And then there’s the small matter of dealing with her parents! Chaos ensues and Ev and David decide that it’s best she stay with him until their situation is resolved, away from the prying eyes of the media. Evelyn is sure that an annulment and putting things back the way they were before she met the charismatic guitarist would be the best option. She has a life to live and LA is not her thing. However, as she spends more time with her husband, the idea of separation is no longer such a viable one…

Why you should read this: Like stories about rock stars? Tattooed rock stars? Like believable and likeable characters? Then this book is a no-brainer. The story is fun, touching, humorous and sexy as all get out. Seriously – it will make your toes curl (in a good way). Dave Ferris is hot, sexy and demanding – but not in an over the top alpha way. He’s sensitive and attentive and all you could possibly want in a hero. Evelyn is sweet, mature and her internal monologue is very entertaining. I loved her.

What you might hate: not much to hate about this book – you know I’m a tough critic and if an author adds in complications to the plot just to create drama then I’ll be honest about it and criticise – but this wasn’t the case here. There are misunderstandings aplenty, but they don’t create huge scenes with the hero and heroine fighting back and forth endlessly. Maybe you like your reads with slightly less graphic smut…for me it wasn’t a problem – but look, he’s a rock star, it’s what they do! (I’ve heard…)

Rating: 4/5 for me – a hugely enjoyable, hugely sexy read. I’m also really happy that David and Evelyn’s story was wrapped up in a single book rather than dragged out in a sequel. My prediction is that subsequent books will concentrate on other members of the band. I will certainly be reading more.