Giveaways

Book Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher @colleenhoover @Tarryn_Fisher

Book Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher @colleenhoover @Tarryn_FisherNever Never by Colleen Hoover
on January 11, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Young Adult
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Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen.

Complete strangers since this morning.

He'll do anything to remember.She'll do anything to forget.

 

 

 

(more…)

About Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover’s love for writing began in 1985 when she was five years old. Her first story was titled “Mystery Bob” and was a huge hit with her mother, who was really good at faking interest.
Colleen continued to write short stories for friends and family until December of 2011, when she decided to write a long story she titled, “Slammed.” She self-published SLAMMED to Amazon in January, 2012 and it hit the NYT’s bestsellers list in May, 2012. She has since signed with Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, and now has six NYT’s bestsellers. Colleen prefers to be called a writer, as the term “author” still terrifies her and makes this feel like a job with expectations. She doesn’t work well under pressure and hopes writing will always remain fun and exciting.

You can follow Colleen on Instagram and Twitter @colleenhoover. You can also find her on her blog at http://www.colleenhoover.com where she holds a daily book-a-day giveaway, or on her very active Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/authorcolleenhoover where she loves to give away more free stuff when her husband isn’t looking.

Colleen also wants the world to know that writing short biographies in third person is incredibly awkward.

Welcome Party Giveaway (signed paperback + Amazon GC)

As we embark on our second year of blissful blogging, 
we would like to welcome Jen Oreto to the Book Avenue family.
Now let’s get to know her better! 
(and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post)
The floor is yours, Jen! 
~~~~~
Hi! I’m Jen Oreto.
I’m a lover of words. I started reading two years ago and haven’t stopped. I love talking about books, book boyfriends and really want to start a Wine Book Club to combine my two loves. 
My top five books (series) The Proposition Series by Katie Ashley, The Black Falcon Series by Michelle A. Valentine, Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan, Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James and Gabriel’s Inferno Series by Sylvain Reynard
I met a blog owner at an authors meet and greet. I messaged her and said, “Hey, can I write a review for your blog?” I spent a year blogging with that blog and loved it. I had so much fun and I’ve met some amazing people along the way. I love interacting with fellow book lovers the most. Blogging has brought some great people into my life. True friendships that I’m so thankful for. 
I’m so excited to be joining the wonderful ladies here at The Book Avenue Review. I know these ladies personally, and have always followed the blog and their reviews. I’m really looking forward to sharing my reviews with you all. I read everything, YA, Contemporary, Erotic, M/M, New Adult, and I’ve been known to fall in love with shifters, vampires and werewolves. 
My plans for the future are more of a dream. I started a book over a year ago, and I would love nothing more than to finish it. Maybe someday (which is an awesome book). I’d also love to continue blogging. I like telling the world about the books I read. Some books are worth more than just reading. Some you have to stand on the rooftops and shout about.

Book Review and Giveaway: The Muse by Raine Miller @Raine_Miller

Title: The Muse 
Author: Raine Miller
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What if the truth about a famous painting was not what it’s been told to be? What if it was not even the original work and a different painting had inspired its creation? The story of a painting… The motivation behind the work, Flaming June—Romanticist painter, Lord Frederic Leighton’s magnum opus—a woman sleeping in a chair. Hauntingly beautiful, but with its inspiration locked away in the mystery of times past.
1811…
Burdened with family skeletons and agonizing guilt, an unwilling Lord Rothvale, one Graham Everley, returns from a long sojourn in Ireland to attend to the obligations awaiting him in England. The last thing he imagines to find is his destiny, but find her he does. Imogene Byron-Cole, a girl as lovely as her past is tragic. Graham can’t walk away from her, and so he marries her instead, in spite of an increasingly tangled web of troubles that threaten to destroy the very foundation of his entire existence.
As Graham and Imogene start out on their journey together, they express their love through a series of portraits. The art ensnares them completely, and in the end, becomes their salvation, bearing them through their deepest pain of loss, and inspiring a masterwork.
[This will be book one of a three part saga in the Rothvale Legacy Historical Prequel series.]

Rating: ★★★★★ 


Another excellent masterpiece from Raine Miller!
In this poignant novel of yearning and salvation, two broken souls discover the promise of love’s magic and new beginnings.
Graham Everley was forced to give up his dreams of becoming a painter to perform his duties and takes over the estate he has inherited from his parents. But there’s something in his past that keeps haunting him. He is struggling to move on, and is in dire need of healing. Graham never expected that hope would come in the form of a beautiful woman who has seen her own share of suffering, Imogene Byron-Cole.
Graham is a wonderful character! I loved the way Ms. Miller chiseled him. He was a character that instantly stole my heart. Watching him with his realizations of love and the decisions he had to make was both enlightening and emotional. I truly could feel his inner struggles!
Imogene is a character I won’t soon forget. Her emotions were truly strong! She made me feel a whole array of emotions watching her deal with grief and grapple with her loss. It was just brilliant, touching and got me all choked up. 
Raine Miller brings an honest, wonderfully written story that tugs at your heartstrings. Her writing was magical in itself! The depth to her characters, their lives, and the detailed description of each scene is so strong, it was easy to transport yourself back to the time in which the story takes place. The conversations were believable as the deepest, painful moments were brought to life bearing their souls to one another as if it is happening right before your eyes. It was just one of those really touching, complicated stories that broke my heart but also mended it in ways.
The romance was hot and the dialogue was spot on. I personally loved the ending because as always Raine has a flair for the romantic. It was epic and beautiful. It is full of wit, wisdom, and hope–everything needed to balance the heartbreak and tragedy.
Raine has made a forever fan out of me, for sure! The Muse left a searing impression on my heart and I am happy to add it to my long list of re-reads. From history, to love and inner struggles, this book has it all.

Raine Miller has been reading romance novels since she picked up that first Barbara Cartland book at the tender age of thirteen. And it’s a safe bet she’ll never stop, because now she writes them too! Granted Raine’s stories are edgy enough to turn Ms. Cartland in her grave, but to her way of thinking, a hot, sexy hero never goes out of fashion. A part-time teacher and writer of sexy romance stories every other chance she gets pretty much fills her days. She has a handsome prince of a husband, and two brilliant sons to pull her back into the real world if the writing takes her too far away. Her sons know she likes to write stories, but gratefully have never asked to read any, thank God! Raine loves to hear from readers and to chat about the characters in her books.

OTHER BOOKS OF RAINE MILLER

THE PASSION OF DARIUS
THE UNDOING OF A LIBERTINE
Amazon | B&N
NAKED (BOOK 1)
Goodreads | Amazon US | B&N | Kobo 
ALL IN (BOOK 2)
EYES WIDE OPEN (BOOK 3)
CHERRY GIRL (BOOK 3.5)
Blackstone Affair spin-off, yet can be a standalone
RARE and PRECIOUS THINGS (BOOK 4)

Book Review and Giveaway: Mr. Beautiful by R.K. Lilley @Authorrklilley

Book Review and Giveaway: Mr. Beautiful by R.K. Lilley @AuthorrklilleyMR. BEAUTIFUL by R.K. Lilley
Series: UP IN THE AIR #4
on October 14, 2014
Genres: Erotica, Romance
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I’ve been remade four times in my life.

It is a distinct feeling. Impossible to mistake. The very marked sensation of being unraveled and reknit into a new thing, a new person. It can be good or bad, helpful or harmful, but above all, it is unstoppable.

I was remade when my parents died, went from a happy childhood, into navigating a very dark world, with endless responsibilities, surrounded by enemies, and despairingly alone.

It happened again at the hands of a cowardly predator. I’d become angrier with that one, more cynical, and it undoubtedly turned me into the kinky f**k I was today.

The third happened swiftly. One day I looked up into a pair of pale blue eyes and saw the other half of my soul. Checkmate. I went from a completely controlled existence, a life where I made every decision with cold calculation, to a man overcome with feelings and emotions that were foreign but somehow wonderful.

And all too soon after that cataclysmic change was this fourth one, this one where I begged a God I’d never entertained to spare the life of a woman that I could not live without.

Follow all of the characters from the Up in the Air universe in the years after the trilogy, with POVs from James, Stephan, Frankie, Tristan, and Akira.

This book is intended for readers 18 and up.

About R.K. Lilley

R.K. Lilley lives in Texas with her husband and their two beautiful sons. She’s had a lot of interesting jobs, from being a first class flight attendant, to being a stablehand, but swears she never knew what hard work was until she had children. She’s been addicted to both reading and writing fiction since she can remember. She loves to travel, read, hike, paint, game, watch anime, and make the most of every single day. She is currently working on Boss, The Other Man, and Crossing Fire, Book #2 of Heretic Daughter series.

Promo Tour: The Firsts by R.K. Lilley @Authorrklilley

Title: THE FIRSTS
Author: R.K. Lilley
Buy from Amazon | iTunes
This is a limited time boxed set of the first books in all of R.K. Lilley’s series. This set will only be available for one week, and is a savings of almost $12 from the current books’ totaled prices.  
A portion of the proceeds for this boxed set will benefit the Keith Milano Memorial fund 

Set includes: 
In Flight 
Bad Things 
The Wild Side 
Breathing Fire 

In Flight (Up in the Air #1) 
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When reserved flight attendant Bianca gets one look at billionaire hotel owner James Cavendish, she loses all of her hard-won composure. For a girl who can easily juggle a tray of champagne flutes at 35,000 feet in three inch heels, she finds herself shockingly weak-kneed from their first encounter. The normally unruffled Bianca can’t seem to look away from his electrifying turquoise gaze. They hold a challenge, and a promise, that she finds impossible to resist, and she is a girl who is used to saying no and meaning it. 
Bianca is accustomed to dealing with supermodels and movie stars in her job as a first class flight attendant, but James Cavendish puts them all to shame in the looks department. If only it were just his looks that she found so irresistible about the intimidating man, Bianca could have ignored his attentions. But what tempts her like never before is the dominant pull he seems to have over her from the moment they meet, and the promise of pleasure, and pain, that she reads in his eyes. 

Check out our interview with R.K. Lilley and Mr. Beautiful himself, James Cavendish

Bad Things (Tristan & Danika #1) 

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Danika hasn’t had an easy life. Being insanely attracted to bad boys has never helped make it easier. 
One look at Tristan, and every brain cell she possessed went up in smoke. This man was trouble with a capital T. It was a given. 
She knew better. Bad boys were bad. Especially for her. Considering her history, it was crazy to think otherwise. So why did crazy have to feel so damn fine? 
For as long as she could remember, Danika had been focused on the future with single-minded purpose. Tristan came along and taught her everything there was to know about letting go, and living in the present. She fell, hard and deep. Of course, that only made her impact with the ground that much more devastating. 
Bad Things is about Tristan and Danika, and their train wreck of a love story. This series can be read as a standalone, or with the Up in the Air series.

 

 Pam’s Review of Bad Things
The Wild Side (The Wild Side #1) 
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Are you ready to take a walk? Alasdair Masters is in a rut. He just hit forty, has been nearly celibate for the past year, and his life has turned into a daily sequence of lonely patterns that revolve around avoiding human contact. 
His tidy life is turned on its head when a hot young blonde at the gym that’s been pseudo-stalking him decides to rock his world. A very young blonde. Way, way too young for him. The problem is, he can’t seem to tell her no, and she just keeps coming back for more. 
It doesn’t help that he’s ninety percent sure she’s a criminal, and still, he can’t seem to turn her down. What is a dull introvert to do when a chaotic cyclone that oozes sexuality comes twisting into his life? 
At first, he thinks she’ll give him a heart attack, but after his twenty-year marriage ended a year ago, he’s been a little lost, and when she comes crashing into his life, he realizes that he’s never felt more alive. 

Read Pam’s Review of The Wild Side

Breathing Fire (Heretic Daughters #1 
Add to Goodreads
Every head start has a price… 
Seven years ago, Jillian burned just about every bridge she ever had. Being a lifelong fugitive, she’d seen it as her only chance to get away clean, but it had taken its toll. 
In a world where those with supernatural powers must stay hidden from normal society, being a creature that even most of the supernatural community considered a myth did not make for an easy life. And when the ex she ran away from finds her again, it’s about to get much harder. It doesn’t help that she’s still hopelessly in love with him…

OTHER BOOKS OF R.K. LILLEY
R.K. Lilley lives in Colorado with her husband and their two beautiful sons. She’s had a lot of interesting jobs, from being a first class flight attendant, to being a stablehand, but swears she never knew what hard work was until she had children. She’s been addicted to both reading and writing fiction since she can remember. She loves to travel, read, hike, paint, game, watch anime, and make the most of every single day. She is the author of the erotic romance novels In Flight, Mile High, Grounded, and the novella, Lana.

HARD KNOX BY NICOLE WILLIAMS RELEASE HOP

Happy Release to HARD KNOX by NYT Bestselling Author Nicole Williams! This is the first book in a new standalone series. Fans of Nicole’s Crash Series will be interested in this new series.

You can find HARD KNOX on Amazon | Barnes and Noble
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Knox Jagger. The name inspires resent in every male at Sinclair University, want in every female, and contempt in Charlie Chase.
Charlie can be summed up in three words: independent, independent, and independent. To Charlie, Knox epitomizes everything that’s wrong with college males: prolific one-night stands, drunken senseless fights, and a body that hints at prioritizing gym time over study time.
As an up-and-coming writer for Sinclair University’s newspaper, Charlie’s tasked with getting to the bottom of who’s been dropping little white pills into girls’ drinks at parties. In an ocean of All-American boys sporting polo shirts and innocent smiles, Knox is the obvious suspect. As evidence piles up against the bad boy of Sinclair, Charlie becomes more and more certain it isn’t Knox. But when her drink is dosed at a party and she wakes up on Knox’s couch the next morning, Charlie’s left with more questions than answers when it comes to Knox Jagger.
How can Charlie ever hope to uncover the truth behind a guy so closed off he’s become . . .
Hard Knox.

Nicole is offering a Release Grand Prize! Visit her Facebook page to enter to win (1) Signed copy of HARD KNOX and (1) $50 USD Amazon Gift Card – International
Don’t forget to stop by the other Release Hop stops and enter their giveaways too!!

I’m the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the LOST & FOUND series, the CRASH series, and a handful of others. Basically, I get to do what I love. Every single day. I write romance because I’m a sucker for a good love story, and I write happy endings because there are too few of them in real life.

Book Review and Giveaway: Dair (The Wildside #3) by R.K. Lilley

Book Review and Giveaway: Dair (The Wildside #3) by R.K. LilleyDair by R.K. Lilley
Series: The Wild Side #3
on July 25, 2014
Genres: Erotica, Romance
Buy on Amazon|B&N|Kobo
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I’d started writing everything about her down. I didn’t want to forget.
The color of her hair. The depth of her eyes. The stubborn shape of her jaw. The way her lips shaped words with such expression. The way her voice made my chest ache. The way she gave advice beyond her years.
The way she listened like she cared about every word.
The way she made me feel—Alive.
Every curve and hollow of her body was recorded, in my mind, and now my hard drive.
There was a bit of truth in every lie, and even if it had only been fed to me in the smallest increments, I wanted, needed to remember the real Iris.
Because in the end, there was one irrefutable thing that I couldn’t deny.

Hostage or hustler, sinner or saint, whatever she was or wasn’t, whether she lied to my face or taunted me with hints of the truth, all of this seemed always to defer to the more pertinent fact at hand.

She was mine.
Inconceivably.
Undeniably.
Mine.

After yet another shocking discovery, followed by a disturbing letter, Dair is almost certain Iris has left his life for good. He tries his best to move on.
Easier said than done, and when an unexpected and dangerous opportunity arises for him to find out what happened to her, he doesn’t hesitate to take it.
As usual, with Iris, the answer leaves him more lost than the question.
Every revelation is shrouded in mystery, and every disclosure leaves Dair more in the dark than ever.

And when finally, the messy truth is revealed in its entirety, will he be ready for it?
This is the final installment in Iris and Dair’s story

This book is intended for readers 18 and up

(more…)

About R.K. Lilley

R.K. Lilley lives in Texas with her husband and their two beautiful sons. She’s had a lot of interesting jobs, from being a first class flight attendant, to being a stablehand, but swears she never knew what hard work was until she had children. She’s been addicted to both reading and writing fiction since she can remember. She loves to travel, read, hike, paint, game, watch anime, and make the most of every single day. She is currently working on Boss, The Other Man, and Crossing Fire, Book #2 of Heretic Daughter series.

WHAT’S NEW AT THE AVENUE PLUS 8K LIKES GIVEAWAY

YES! We did it and it’s all because of you.
To celebrate this very special moment, we are giving away 
8 new releases from 8 amazing Authors. 
1 winner, will run from July 1st -8th.

(check out the giveaways at the end of this post)

PLUS! Here’s a snip of what’s new at THE AVENUE.

  
 

 

Blog Tour Review & Excerpt: Mended by Kim Karr

Title: Mended (Connections #3)
Author: Kim Karr
Release date: June 3, 2014

MUSIC HAS THE POWER TO HEAL ALL…BUT NOT ALL BROKEN HEARTS CAN BE MENDED.

Always in control, Xander Wilde considered life on the road to be a perfect fit for him. But when disaster strikes on the Wilde Ones’ latest tour, fate intervenes…and a newly single Ivy Taylor, the only girl he has ever loved, steps back into his life.

After moving past her painful breakup with Xander years ago, Ivy was poised to become the next big name in pop music…when suddenly she withdrew from the limelight—the same day she announced her engagement to her controlling agent, Damon Wolf.

Xander knows he should keep his distance. But once they’re on the road, he can’t resist pursuing her for a second chance. Yet a jealous Damon can’t let her go—and he’s keeping dangerous secrets that could destroy them all.

When the three of them come together, everything falls apart. But if Xander and Ivy can hold tight to the bond that connects them, they just might have a chance at reclaiming the powerful love they thought they had lost forever….

 BOOK TRAILER

Seeing as how I completely and totally fell for the Connection series and the writing of Kim Karr in book one, it was no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to read Mended, the third installment. The fact that this book revolves around Xander, and his first love, Ivy, just made me more interested in reading it. 
A wonderful love story ignites between Xander and Ivy in this third story and I enjoyed the heck out of the stimulating romantic chase between these two. Beautifully paced, the mounting passion between this couple makes for some truly HOT reading.
I love Xander. I have always known there is much more to the guy than his usual arrogance and confidence. Personally, I wanted to smack him around a little for letting go of the only love he once knew but he has his reasons and so I wanted stay to soothe his pain. This book has definitely revealed his other side, vulnerable, caring, and loyal. 

“With his first grin in my direction – I melted. When he first played his guitar for me – he scored my mind. When he first kissed me – he stole my heart.”

Let’s not forget about Ivy. Ivy made for one staggeringly seductive, bewitching, and bewildered heroic romantic lead. Always the sweet and beautiful girl, she’s had more than her fair share of complications in life.

“Xander, my body might want you but my heart doesn’t.”

Twelve years later and this two still find themselves insanely attracted to each other. And now that Xander gets a second chance to make the relationship work, he makes sure he does things differently and doesn’t make the same mistakes that caused the first try to fail. 

“…everything I ever felt for her, it’s all still inside me.”

“…we could play the game – pretend we both didn’t feel what we felt the minute we saw each other at the pool, but I’d rather not. I loved you when I was fourteen. I loved you when I was eighteen and had to let you go. I’ve loved you for the last twelve years. And I love you now. Ivy- I love you.”

But its not as easy as he thinks, because things are a little too complicated now. Not only is Ivy already engaged to her controlling freak of an agent, Damon, but also the emotional baggage, the past grudges and resentment keeps carting back, hampering their chances at improving on what they had.
Can Xander and Ivy move past whatever is still bothering them? Are they ready to start fresh, avoid temptations to rehash old fights and MEND old wounds? 

“Xander Wilde the boy may have broken my heart once upon a time… but Xander Wilde the man, is the one who mended it.”

I simply adore this book! I think this is my most favorite book in the series. It was far more lighthearted than River and Dahlia’s story, but it had its share of drama to balance it out. Xander is even more intriguing than I could have conceived and the plot presented a much more realistic story. Mended has a very rigorous underpinning with some heartrending moments that definitely suit the story and will firmly hold your interest up to the very last page.
It is a beautiful story that involves reconnection with a lost love; a love so familiar, beautiful and comforting. And it is such a wonderful feeling to witness how Xander and Ivy were swept back to the powerful emotions of their own past, the regrets, desires, sexual chemistry and lost chances, while at the same time propelling them into a new future.
Kim Karr did a very good job in redeveloping their relationship with no traces of romance for a very long time. The tension is high up until the last few pages – and the final twist threw me for a loop but the true brilliance can be seen at the ending. It is astounding and arresting! Any author who can keep my interest like this and make me feel everything from in love, to anger, and finally relief, has my deepest respect! 
And Kim Karr has definitely earned it.
However, I do recommend reading this series in order. Having a bit of a background on Xander and Ivy from previous books certainly provides some grounding and insight of their past. 
If you enjoy strong characters and the conflict they can end up while working their way to a second chance romance, Mended could be the perfect fit for you. 4.5 stars!

Xander Wilde 
Excerpt from Mended Connections #3 by Kim Karr © 2013 by Kim Karr 
Published by the Penguin Group Release date: June 3, 2014
The magic of rock and roll—it casts a spell on you. I’m no exception. I’m a band manager and I’m living the dream, touring with The Wilde Ones, helping them secure their well-deserved place in the music industry. I love being a part of it all, especially watching the band perform live—the crowds, the cheers, the music. It’s a high and a low all at once and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Every step of the way with this band has been fun, exciting, stressful—every possible emotion. Obviously we’ve had some breaks but mostly we all put in a lot of hard work—myself, Garrett Flynn, Phoenix Harper, River Wilde, and now Zane Perry. 
“Can you hear me now?” he bellows. 
I nod my head as my heart pounds in my chest. My hands feel cold and clammy and a nervousness that makes me weak and shaky takes over. Doubts race through my head and I’m questioning if he’s going to make it through this. A vague awareness that something bad could happen kicks around in my mind and I can’t shake it. The Wilde Ones are doing a sound check on stage and Zane’s not on his game. 
It’s July and the weather has been brutally hot. But today it seems cooler. Maybe it’s the California weather maybe it’s the excitement of being home. The Beautiful Lies Tour bus finally rolled back into our home state of California after six months away. When we pulled into the amphitheater, we could see tanned kids in board shorts and bikini tops already lined up at the will call window. Security guards in polo shirts directed us to the artist parking lot, and we were officially home. Tonight we’ll be headlining our biggest show to date. We’re on tour without my brother, River, and still more than half of the shows are sold out, including tonight’s. River quit the band—touring just wasn’t for him but even so the album is on its way up the charts. Who knows it may even hit gold status. 
The songs on the album were written and sung by River but are performed in concert by Zane. Having him as my brother’s replacement has been the key to our successful transition in a world where replacing leads is normally unsuccessful—simply put, we’re lucky as hell to have him. River promised to make a surprise appearance at our next stop. It’s going to be epic. 
But tonight is all about the arena—Mountain View and the Shoreline. “That’s enough,” I yell to the band and call rehearsal. This place is the biggest outdoor venue we’ve played and I couldn’t be more stoked—or more nervous. A sold out show and a rocking opening band—what a combination. But a lead singer with another cold and a weakened voice that can’t be heard throughout an amphitheater scares the shit out of me. 
I head straight for the bus and spend the next few hours hashing out a song with Nix that he calls a jumbled mess of muscular sense and big-riff sunshine—whatever the hell that means. All I know is that it needs help and that’s why he’s turning to me. I hadn’t played guitar since I was eighteen but for some reason over the course of this tour I’ve picked it back up. At first I used whatever was lying around but last month I had my mother mail my old one to me and it feels like home. It’s a light blue and brown Gibson and I had to have it because it was the guitar that Slash played on. Playing again seems to help pass the time and brings a calm over me that I haven’t felt in awhile. 
Hours pass and before I know it, it’s almost show time. We make our way over to the Amphitheater, do the typical festival schmooze fest, and then settle back to wait. Waiting for them to take the stage is always the most nerve-racking time. I’m sitting in the practically vacant makeshift meet and greet area back stage and sipping a beer in a worthless effort to calm my nerves when a voice travels through the sound system. It’s a powerful and emotive mezzo-soprano range that is nothing short of explosive. She sounds unlike any singer I’ve ever heard before—with only one exception, Ivy Taylor. I push back the memory of her name and the emotions it evokes—the memories are just too painful. I can’t see her on stage but I know that the voice belongs to Jane Mommsen. Her band Breathless is playing right before The Wilde Ones. 
A hand on my shoulder startles me. I twist and glance up as Amy sits down beside me, crossing her legs. “Hi, Xander. I thought I saw you earlier at the hotel.” 
She’s a beautiful woman—long, wavy dark hair, petite figure, very natural looking. She’s wearing jeans, a blue shirt with some kind of foil design, and silver sandals. Grinning at her I say, “Finally we catch up. Can I get you a drink?” 
“I’d love that. How’s life on the road been?”
“You know, it has its ups and downs but actually not bad. You?”
“Jane’s been going full-force for a while now. But the tour ends with the summer. 
I’ll be glad to be back in LA.”
Standing up, I laugh. “I know the feeling. I’ll be right back, let me grab us that 
drink.” Tossing my empty bottle, I make my way to the coolers lined up under the tent and grab two beers. I know she’d rather have a glass of Chardonnay but beer it is. Amy is Jane’s assistant and I’ve taken her out more than a few times. We went to high school together and Amy and I know most of the same people so whenever I need a date, I ask her. Last time I saw her was almost nine months ago when I took her to River and Dahlia’s wedding. 
Heading back to the table I hear Jane yell out to the crowd, “Are you ready for three of the hottest guys in music?” The audience starts screaming and the stage lights dim cuing the guys that it’s the fifteen-minute countdown until they take the stage. The band huddles together in their typical pre-performance stance. I’ll have a quick drink with Amy and then join them. As I hand her the bottle my fingers touch hers and we both grin, knowing that we will end up alone by the end of the night. 
“You sticking around for the whole show?”
“I think I might,” she smiles.
“How about we ride back to the hotel together and grab a real drink at the bar?” “Sounds like a plan.”
“Great. Time for me to get back to work.” 
She rises from the table, I do the same. She stands up on her toes and kisses me quickly on the lips. “See you tonight,” she smiles. 
“Catch you later,” I say and then cross the room to join the band.
“You’re late,” Nix snickers. “What’s with you two anyway?” he asks.
I shrug my shoulders. “Nothing. We casually see each other once in a while.” Garrett raises an eyebrow. “Chicks are never cool with casual.” 
Shaking my head at him, I don’t bother to disagree. Amy and I have been doing this for years. It works for her and for me. We like each other’s company but only see each other sporadically. I’ll call her once in a while and we’ll go out but we are in no way exclusive. I don’t ask her about other men and she doesn’t ask me about other women. I grab the bottle and pour the amber liquid into the shot glasses stacked on the cap. It’s our pre-show routine. A shot and a prayer, so to say. It’s Garrett’s turn tonight to ‘pray’ so this should be good. 
He raises his glass. “Here’s to hoping Xander gets laid so he’ll get off our backs.” 
Tipping my glass back, I quickly down the amber liquid. It burns as it makes its way down my throat. Once we’ve all drank our two shot maximum before a show Garrett follows his toast up with, “Seriously man, you need to get laid.” 
The guys laugh and I actually join in. Jerking off in the small bathroom on the bus is definitely one of the downsides of touring. I’ve slept with a few girls at some of our stops but screwing groupies isn’t really my thing. I’m not one to have time for a girlfriend but I’m also not about to pull my dick out backstage, so it’s been a long six months. 
Zane coughs after he slings back the shot and I look at him with concern. “You’re going to a doctor tomorrow.” 
He shakes his head. “Yes, Mom, if you say so.”
“I’m not kidding. Your voice sounds like shit.”
“It’s a fucking cold. I took some medicine. I’ll be fine.”
“Doctor. Tomorrow. I mean it. I’ll have Ena set it up.”
“I can always sing,” Garrett chimes in and I smack the back of his head.
“Hey. I can.”
The lights start to flicker and I look at Zane with that feeling of uneasiness again. 
Second time this tour he’s coughing and hacking. We’re screwed if he really gets sick. He nods at me as I pat him on the back. Slinging his guitar over his shoulder, he heads out first raising his arm in the air. The crowd goes crazy. The six foot guy is a chick magnet and no one misses my brother tonight. Garrett heads out next yelling, “Great to be here Mountain View!” and Nix follows with his trademark nod. Zane skips his normal charming banter and I know he must be saving his voice. Again, I think about how we’re fucked if he gets sick. 
I stand at the edge of the stage all night until they finally come to their last song. “It Wasn’t Days Ago,” is a simple but crowd affecting ballad and Zane belts it out. Shouts from nearly thirty thousand fans call for an encore. Turning away from the microphone Zane coughs again. Biting his thumbnail he looks over at me and I slice my finger across my neck. 
“One more song for tonight,” he tells the screaming fans and my blood pressure rises. “This one is a cover, an ‘ode to’ I’ll call it. It’s for Xander Wilde, the band’s manager and it’s his favorite song. Everyone ready?” As he starts to sing Linkin Park’s “Iridescent,” I close my eyes and listen. When he hits the chorus his voice gets so low my eyes snap open. Zane turns to grab a bottle of water while the guys continue to play but I can tell something isn’t right. 
*** 
Last night definitely didn’t go as planned—a visit to the ER, then sleeping in a chair next to Zane all night on the bus because the steroids he was given freaked him out. It’s noon and Amy and I are just arriving at the Pelican Hill Resort. Breathless was leaving right after the show last night so Amy had already planned to ride with us and meet up with them in Irvine. She invited me to some party being thrown by her band’s label that I would have rather not gone to but Ellie, the tour manager, insisted we all go for the good PR. 
I’m exhausted and really need some sleep before dealing with the press and tomorrow night’s show. The paparazzi have been everywhere—by the bus as we exited to the waiting car in LA, outside the doctor’s office, at the gates of Zane’s father’s house, and now they’re here in Irvine at the hotel. 
To avoid the chaos awaiting us in the lobby, I call Ellie, who is already here, and ask her to check me in and meet me at the pool bar with the key. Draping my arm around Amy, we head that way. I’ve been here a few times so I know my way around. Cutting through the grotto and over to the pool and cabanas, I steer Amy to the right and stop in my tracks as all the air rushes from my lungs. 
My body floods with adrenaline and my gut twists. I don’t even have to do a double take because I’d know her anywhere. There’s no mistaking her. She’s just so beautiful— the elegant planes of her face, those high cheekbones, red lipstick, her platinum blonde hair shorter than it used to be tucked behind her ear, that face of an angel. She looks the same. No, she looks better. Her skin glistens in the sun and my gaze automatically follows the shape of her long legs. They look smooth and tan against her white bathing suit. An ache forms in my chest as I think about running my fingers up them. She’s still that eighteen-year-old girl I once knew but now she has the body of a woman—lean and toned and full of curves. When she moves it’s so familiar it doesn’t seem like a day has passed—and everything I ever felt for her, it’s all still inside me. 
My pulse races at the mere sight of her. She’s lounging in the cushioned chair reading a magazine just outside a cabana. My heart slams harder in my chest when she sticks her earphones in her ears like she always used to do and it transports me back to the last time I saw her do the very same thing. We’d skipped school and were at my grandparents’ house—their pool. She was lying on the lounge chair listening to music and singing along—her voice so full of soul. I’d moved to sit with her under the guise of putting lotion of her back. She sat up and smiled that shy smile she didn’t need to have when she was with me. I squeezed the tube into my hand and after rubbing them together I slowly applied it to her back kneading my way up and down, touching every inch of her that I could. 
It brings me back to the here and now when she suddenly sits up and looks over at me. Her eyes pin me in place. She looks at me as if she remembers me for who I was, what we were, not what I did to her. With my chest pounding, memories of us keep flashing through my mind. Fighting a smile, I wonder if she’s thinking the same thing— remembering what we were, what we shared, how we loved. 
She quickly breaks our connection when she averts her eyes over to the man handing her a drink. I suck in a deep breath trying not to feel sick at the sight. He’s nearing fifty, wearing a terrycloth robe. He’s about my height, dark brown hair, meticulously groomed facial hair, and not exactly ripped but fit. He’s Damon Wolf, a man I’ve never actually met but hate all the same. I’ve seen their picture on TV and in magazines. He’s her agent, her fiancé, and I’m sure he’s the reason she’s not singing anymore. 
She looks up at him with that same forced smile she used to give people she just wanted to appease and mouths “thank you.” I have a sudden urge to go over and deck him when her gaze shifts back to mine and he pulls her chin back to look at him. I can sense a discomfort between them. We could sense each other’s feelings even when we weren’t near each other. 
Amy’s hand slides down my face and I have to blink a few times before I can hear what she’s saying. Glancing one last time at Ivy I see that she’s staring at me again. Then suddenly her mouth forms a scowl and she flicks her attention toward him. Hooking her arm around his neck, she pulls him down for a kiss and I think I might throw up. 
“Are you okay?”
I nod. Not able to say a word.
“Isn’t that Ivy Taylor over there? The girl you used to date in high school?” Amy 
asks. There’s an irritated tone to her voice I’m not used to hearing and it makes me agitated. 
“Yeah, it is,” is all I say. She’s not just a girl I used to date…she’s the only girl I ever really loved. She’s also the girl whose heart I broke. Seeing her now brings back all those feelings I blocked, ignored, tucked aside. So many times over the years I wanted to go after her and tell her the truth—but I never did. Why I don’t know. Then one day it was too late—she had gotten engaged. 
Amy chatters on. “I think that’s Damon Wolf with her. We should go say hi.” 
My body goes cold and my face blank at the thought. I straighten and just as I’m about to say, “No fucking way,” my phone vibrates in my pocket. Squinting at the screen, I see that it’s my brother. I look over to Amy and motion toward the bar. “Hey, this is River. I need to take it. I’ll meet you over there in a minute.” 
“That’s fine. We can catch up with them later. I’ll go order us a drink.” She smiles and starts toward the bar. 
Turning around to avoid staring at Ivy, I answer the phone. “It took you long enough to call me back.” 
“I was in a meeting and stepped out as soon as I could, so don’t start. What did the doctor say about Zane?” 
“He’s out for the rest of the tour and we’re fucked.” 
“You sure? You’re back in LA for almost two weeks after tomorrow night right? Isn’t that enough time for him to heal?” 
“Technically yes. But his old man wants him out. The doctor said that he couldn’t be sure how long the blood that accumulated under his vocal cords had been there but obviously last night, the amount of ruptured vessels was enough to cause his voice to change. He advised at least two weeks of rest before another evaluation to see if surgery is necessary. Zeak wants his son to take a longer period of time off. He’s just afraid that if Zane keeps singing and it keeps happening, scar tissue will build up and cause his voice to change forever.” 
“Do you blame him?” 
“No I don’t,” I tell River and I feel like shit that I have to put him in a position to do what he didn’t want to do in the first place. But I also know that if I don’t, the band won’t survive. If I have to cancel this tour—the Wilde Ones are done. So I ask, “Did you talk to Dahlia?” 
He sighs. “Yeah, I did. She’s cool with it, Xander. I’m just trying to figure it all out.” “You know I’ll do whatever you need me to do, right?”
“Shit why can’t you just be an ass and make it easy for me to say no?”
“Because you have no idea what this means to me.” 
“Actually I do, and that’s why I’m going to make it happen. But Xander, remember I can’t play a twelve string.” 
Laughter and relief take hold of me. I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. “Right now I wouldn’t care if you only played the violin,” I joke. 
He laughs and I add, “You’ll be here tonight?” 
Now he sounds slightly annoyed. “I said I would. We might be a little late so don’t get your panties in a wad.” 
“That’s cool. Thanks for everything. Hey, one more thing.’ “What?”
“Ivy Taylor’s here.”
“No way. Have you talked to her?” 
“Fuck no. You know she won’t talk to me. And besides she’s with that asshole.” “You should talk to her. Tell her the truth.” 
“What’s that going to do now? She’ll just think I’m lying.”
“You want me to talk to her? I can explain everything.”
“No. I don’t need my little brother to fight my battles. I’ll talk to her if I feel the time 
is right. Do you hear me?”
“Whatever you say. Look, I have to run but I want to discuss this later. And 
Xander…you don’t know he’s an asshole. Just because Dad said his name once doesn’t mean shit.” 
“Right. Okay, see you tonight,” I say and end the call. My head is spinning knowing that after all these years I’m actually in the same place she is. I want to talk to her, tell her everything but what would it matter now anyway. Glancing behind me, I catch another glimpse of her with him that turns my stomach. He’s such a slime ball. Since his father was hospitalized and he took over the business, he’s been scooping up labels, tearing them apart, and rebuilding them with bands he thinks are better fits. My guess is he picked up Jane’s label—that’s why he’s here. I heard they were having some financial difficulty and he’s just the kind of bottom feeder that would want to capitalize on not only being her agent but now also her producer. The sight of him touching Ivy makes my skin crawl. 
Damon Wolf—two of the last words my father ever spoke to me before killing himself, and I never knew why. Of all the guys in the world Ivy had to end up with him— why him? I look up and they’re gone. But I’m anything but relieved. Rubbing my chin, I’m antsy, agitated, pissed as hell, but feel more alive than I have in years. 
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** TORN **
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** MENDED ** 
(releases 6/3/2014 – novel)
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Hello June Giveaway!!!

The past five months have been soo overwhelming. We have reached more than 7,700 likes in Facebook, more than 2,800 followers in Twitter, lots of 5 star reviews, overflowing book sale and new releases, what more could we ask for? Now as we welcome June and enjoy the heat of the summer, let’s all take a look back of our most unforgettable reads!
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