Review: A win-win proposition by Cat Schield

imageTitle: A win-win proposition
Author: Cat Schield
Format Read: 
e-ARC provided by NetGalley courtesy of the publisher
Series: Case Family #2
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: October 4th 2011
Formats Available:  paperback, kindle, ebook
Number of pages: 192
Rating:

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Book Blurb:

Sebastian Case relies on his irreplaceable assistant for everything. But since arriving in Vegas for a conference, mousy Missy Ward has transformed herself. From ordinary to ravishing. From modest and reserved to bold and sensual. And Sebastian, who’d barely noticed she was a woman, finds himself dazzled by her allure.
Now she’s quitting and Sebastian will do anything to keep her. Including accepting her outrageous bet. One spin of the roulette wheel—black and she’ll stay…red and Sebastian owes her one night of passion. What can he lose, except maybe his heart?

My Thoughts:

There are three books about the Case Brothers but they are not sold as series. I’ve been reading Harlequin for quite a while and bundled this book in a family series. First one is already out and the third and last will be available sometime this year.

This is a sweet story about a girl going wild and fighting for her love. Missy has been working for Sebastian during four years and he never noticed the girl beyond her clothes and the extra hours since he’s a difficult boss. But after her boyfriend dumps her claiming she’s pinning for her boss and is in denial, Missy jumps the opportunity and decides for a change and that happened in Vegas.

Sebastian is a pain in the ass kind of boss, never noticed anybody how they really are just how much they improve the family company he just assumed after his father retired. So when Missy goes missing in Vegas in the middle of important week, and leaves him alone he definily goes crazy.

But Missy decided to change right? And the pastor daughter improves a lot in clothes and hair even with a new attitude that her boss can only dream about.

Overall is a fun book and Missy really teaches Sebastian how love is and that he’s life can be more that just job. He’s family is also very fun especially while trying to help.

Purchase information:

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Books in this Series:

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Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

imageTitle: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Format Read: 
ebook
Series: Paranormalcy #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult
Release date: August 31st 2010
Formats Available:  ebook, hardcover, paperback, kindle
Number of pages: 352
Rating:

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Book Blurb:

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours, but still. Normal.
Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie’s dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

My Thoughts:

What first hooked me to this series was the covers. They’re pretty and also when you put paranormal beings living in the world and a girl as the only chance for society they continue to live things start to look more fun than ever.

Evie has never being normal, since her childhood the place she calls home is underground and hidden from society, can you imagine living like this? But it is all she has and they keep her save, plus she sees through the glamour. Crazy, hum?

Several paranormals are hiding in plain sight, they just chance how they look in front of humans and only Evie can see and force them to work for her agency, IPCA.

But things are not that simple in her life and she has a stalker ex-boyfriend that is a bit disturbing; a new guy who nobody knows nothing about it and her best friend is a mermaid.

But not all are flowers and some paranormal are being killed by a strange thing and Evie is caught in the middle of the investigation.

The book really fun and has a sweet romance, definily will read the next one in this series, because the world is very well written and need to know how Evie is doing with normal life.

Purchase information:

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Books in this Series:

Paranormalcy Supernaturally (Paranormalcy, #2) Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)

TBR Intervention #11

TBR Intervention is a weekly challenge hosted by  April @ Books4Juliet, Dani @ Refracted Light and Ayanami @ Whatever You Can Still Betray

The goal of this challenge is to help each other (fellow readers and bloggers) manage our enormous and constantly growing TBR (To-Be-Read) List. The rules are simple and everyone is encouraged to participate. It does not force you to commit to more than what you can manage to read in a week or so, but participants are encouraged to read at least one book within a week. You are free to choose the book you want to read and commit to this challenge. You may post your entry every Saturday, at the frequency of your choice–EVERY WEEK or EVERY TWO WEEKS. However, we will sponsor this event regularly every Saturday.
 
Last week TBRIC:

I’ve finished two books from last week TBRIC and failed completely on my TBR pile because I’ve bought and started two new series. Reviews will be up someday nest week as always. 
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I loved Shannon Stacey books and this family is really special.
Crave was actually a great surprise, didn’t expect so many witchcraft.
THIS WEEK’S TBRIC:

I’ll go back to small steps. Since I’ve signed up Soul Screamers challenge, this will I’ll try book one. 

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Review: Vanish by Sophie Jordan

imageTitle: Vanish
Author: Sophie Jordan
Format Read: 
ebook
Series: Firelight #2
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult
Release date: September 6th 2011
Formats Available:  hardcover, ebook, kindle, paperback, audiobook
Number of pages: 294
Rating:

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Book Blurb:

An impossible romance.
Bitter rivalries.
Deadly choices.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.
Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

My Thoughts:

I liked the first book and was happily waiting for the next one on this series, especially because I needed to know how Jacinda was going to handle the exposure and having to go back to the pride after everything that happened.

So I bought this one on the same week as the release and before I even started to read some reviews were popping up and was a bit disturbing what people were speaking about, so I decided to wait and when the Harper Imprint challenge was up I started to read.

Is a fast book and mostly is setting on the pride after Jacinda, Cassian and Tamra return. Things are not good for Jacinda and after losing almost everything her sister finally receives her dragon power.

Return was difficult for everyone but Jacinda had a worst time, because everyone is blaming her after leaving and the only way for things to go back how they used to is accepting Cassian as her partner and let the pride rule her life.

So knowing Jacinda as we do, she chooses the hard way and also has to deal with Will; he finds the pride and now is trying to save her.

The end has a cliff, but overall is a good book. YA until the end so just a couple of kisses. Very enjoyable. If you liked the first this is a nice series.

Purchase information:

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Books in this Series:

Firelight (Firelight, #1) Vanish (Firelight, #2)

Review: Tool Belt Defender by Carla Cassidy

imageTitle: Tool Belt Defender
Author: Carla Cassidy 
Format Read: e-ARC provided by NetGalley courtesy of the publisher

Series: Lawmen of Black Road #5 
Publisher:  Harlequin
Genre: Romantic Suspense 
Release date: December 20th 2011
Formats Available: paperback, ebook, kindle 
Number of pages: 224

Rating:


Book Blurb:
“It’s party time.”
That’s the “invitation” shoved under her door. It’s got Brittany Grayson fearing for her life…and her sanity. She’s sure the monster who once held her captive for months is dead, so why his chilling words in the note? His menacing face in the window? And why won’t anyone —even her lawmen brothers—believe that somehow he’s after her again?
Brittany just wants a normal, independent life in Black Rock. Romance is out of the question…although she’s okay as friends-with-benefits with Alex Crawford, her hunky, marriage-phobic contractor. Alex, a single dad, has his own good reasons not to fall for Brittany. But none of them matter when the race is on to find the killer who’s kidnapped her!

My Thoughts:

First I’ve read on this series and I have to say that it was a great surprise. I’ve heard great things about Carla Cassidy but have never actually had the pleasure of reading her romances.

This is a family series and I love those, but this is #5 and I didn’t the others, which doesn’t really matter since romances are never really connected within each other. And this book is a story about trust, finding love after some unpleasant times and starting over.
So Brittany Grayson suffered during four month while kidnapped by a crazy person and after being rescued by her brothers she’s stills several months later trying to find normality on her life and thinking of everything she almost lost brings Alex Crawford to her life.
While in captive she made a list of things to change and decided to start buy building a deck behind her house and Alex is the new handy man in town, and he’s also trying to find a life after losing his wife and having to raise a child alone is difficult for a big time layer.
While Brittany and Alex are trying to with their feelings another crazy person decides to attack Brittany by coping what the other did while this time going until the end. Is a romance with a lot of suspense and a quick read but very good read?

Purchase information:

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Books in this Series:

His Case, Her BabyThe Lawman's Nanny OpCowboy Deputy (Silhouette Romantic Suspense)Special Agent's SurrenderTool Belt Defender

Interview and Giveaway: Dianne Venetta

Hey everyone today I’ll be receiving author Dianne Venetta to answer some questions. Dianne’s new novel Lust on the rocks was released in January 3rd.

VBT_LongBanner_LustOnTheRocks 

BookTravels: Why did you decide to write a romantic women’s fiction novel?
Dianne Venetta: To me, romance centers on the hero and heroine and the multitude of reasons these two (who are otherwise hot for one another) cannot be together, but why they should be.  It doesn’t give equal weight to best friends or family and it doesn’t focus on a woman’s personal growth and maturity where women’s fiction can. 
Sure, the heroine is someone with whom you can identify, someone with whom you can sympathize throughout the story, but she’s flawed (who isn’t?). But what keeps her hopping is that delicious hero, right?
Yet while I enjoy being whisked away by a handsome fantasy, my feet are firmly entrenched in terra firma (usually between the rows of my garden) accepting that life is beautiful, but not without its blemishes. Emotions can be a landscape of colorful experience, but they also include rainy days and sleepless nights.
And that’s where women’s fiction comes into play. This genre allows for friends and family to share the stage with the heroine. Their thoughts and opinions matter which—much of the time—means flushing out the heroine’s flaws.
Enough said?
BookTravels: What do you think makes your book stand out in today’s market?
Dianne Venetta: This particular story involves a sub-plot that many may find controversial. It involves the unexpected pregnancy of my heroine’s younger sister and deals with the difficulties of her decision thereafter. While I don’t advocate for one side or the other, I do allow the issue to drive a wedge between my hero and heroine. (Meanie J)
To me this is the crux of women’s fiction—writing about the issues facing women today. Yet what makes my novels different is the fact that I center these issues around a romance, because love is at the center of all we do—or a lack thereof. Besides, I need a HEA to give me hope! Walking away from a novel depressed is not my idea of fun. If I want to feel sad, I’ll turn on the news. So for issue-oriented romances, you’ve come to the right place when you pick up a Dianne Venetta novel.
BookTravels: Do you have any must-haves while you are writing?
Dianne Venetta: <!--[if gte mso 9]>

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Water, two computer screens—one for note checking, fact checking—the other for writing.  I like music when I’m writing deep emotion or sex (not always the in the same scene!) and blocks of time. I’m a plotter, not a “pantster” so I need time to think about what I’m doing before I sit down to do it.  When it comes to writing, anyway. The rest of my life seems to be a spontaneous free-for-all!
Once I get started though, I tend to lose track of time which is why blocks of the stuff becomes so crucial—helps me stay productive and happy.  And if mamma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy!

BookTravels: What kind of books do you read in your spare time? Do you read the same genre that you write?

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I read what I write, mostly romance and women’s fiction, though I do enjoy a good non-fiction book if I feel I’m going to learn something interesting and/or thought-provoking.  A few thrillers here and there will be found in my hands, so long as they’re not too graphic. You see, I have an over-active imagination which tends to get carried away when I’m trying to sleep.  Not good.


BookTravels: Can you tell us anything about what you are currently working on?

Dianne Venetta: You bet. My current project is actually the third in this series and features an ambitious, competitive young woman trying to find her way in life. She knows what she wants (she thinks) and she’s hell bent on getting it (just not sure how!). As you can see, she’s somewhat fraught by indecision and insecurity.

 
But there’s a particularly delightful hero waiting to help her wade through the murk of uncertainty and emerge strong and sure with a clear vision of not only what she wants from life, but what she needs.  The man is quite a charmer, to boot.

BookTravels: What is one romantic women’s fiction novel book that you would recommend?

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Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris.  It’s her debut novel and quite a good one!

Cover

Lust on the Rocks

She has what he needs, and he won’t stop until he gets it. Trouble is, what begins as a matter of death, becomes a matter of life.

# # #

One case away from partnership, Samantha Rawlings is forced to share her high-profile case with a sexy younger man, whose eyes are on a different prize. In the best interests of her client, Sam opens the door to his strategy. Turns out, a little too far…
Victor Marin has ulterior motives. The defendant in her case holds the key to his revenge, and his last chance for justice. But as he chases old demons, he uncovers a powerful woman with no inhibitions, one he wants to possess for himself. But decidedly single, Sam wants no part.

Until Vic walks away.

And now a short excerpt from the book…

“It’s nice out here, isn’t it?”

The light breeze tossed hair into her face as she looked at him. “One of my favorite places to be.” The feel and sound of crashing waves reminded her of life’s ebb and flow, the powerful force of nature, the calming sense of continuity. Sam loved the ocean, from the deep dark depths to the slide of incoming tides across a shore littered with shells.

Vic kept his pace slow. Jean pant legs rolled up, he carried his loafers in one hand, allowing the other to occasionally bump with hers. “Why aren’t you tied down yet, Sam? Seems to me, a woman like you would have men lining up with proposals.”

She chuckled at his compliment. “I don’t want to be tied down.”

“Ever? You mean to tell me you never met a guy who did it for you?”

“Did it for me?” she repeated, amused by his choice of words. But she knew what he meant and relaxed into a laugh. “I’ve met a lot of men who have done it for me, as you so neatly put, but I choose to be single.”

“Why? Someone hurt you?”

“No.” Other than my family. Being forced to care for five little kids when you were scarcely one yourself wasn’t so great. But life did that to you. It put you in situations and forced you to deal—which she did. But that was behind her now and she didn’t intend to go back. Ever.

“You don’t want kids? Is that it?”

“Let’s say I had an overexposure at a young age, caring for my brothers and sisters and I’m cleansed of any desire to have my own. What about you?”

“What about me.”

“Siblings, nieces, nephews…”

“None,” he said, and Sam almost tripped over the soft quality of his voice.

“Must be strange.” When he didn’t reply, she said, “I’m sorry, that didn’t come out right.”

He looked at her and said, “Don’t worry about it. No big deal.”

But the vulnerability in his eyes unraveled her heart. Had he been hurt? Was that the reason behind his distinct change in demeanor, the wall that slid between them?

This was usually easy territory for a man. Unless there was a problem, rang the sentiment again. “Ever thought about marriage and kids for yourself?”

“Maybe someday.”

Someday?”
“I’m focused on my career, but later, when I’m ready to settle down…” The thought fell away. “Who knows?”

“They’re a lot of work,” Sam tried to make light, willing the ease to return.

“But the connection is worth it.”

She turned to him and he stopped. In the distance, the sound of partygoers blended with the thumping base of music drifting far and wide. Behind them, a large wave crashed. Racing up the shore, it submerged them ankle deep, then glided across the wide expanse of sand as it made its retreat to the ocean. Something changed. The hairs on the back of her neck stood amidst goose bumps prickling her flesh. Vic’s gaze cut through the gentle evening light as he touched her hair, ceasing its lash across her cheekbones. Her pulse quickened.

“I had a nice time.”

“Me, too,” she uttered, her breathing reduced to wisps.

“I’m glad we’re working together.”

She could only nod, suspended by what came next.
AuthorPicDianne lives in Central Florida with her husband, two children and part-time Yellow Lab–Cody-body! When not whacking away at her keyboard crafting her next novel you’ll find her in their organic garden chasing grasshoppers and plucking hornworms all while drawing wild analogies between kids and plants and men. Definitely men.

A girl’s gotta have fun, right?

When she’s not knee-deep in dirt or romance, Dianne contributes garden advice for various websites and volunteers in her kids’ school garden (a crazy existence to be sure). But at the end of the day, if she can inspire someone to stop and smell the roses–or rosemary!—kiss their child and spouse good-night, be kind to a neighbor and Mother Earth, then she’s done all right.

http://www.BloominThyme.com – the last being my garden blog
Giveaway

Dianne will be giving away a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

To Enter:

Leave a comment or question with your email address.

VBT_CoverBanner_LustOnTheRocks
January 16: Riverina Romantics
January 17: Roz Lee
January 18: Novel Reflections
January 19: REVIEW ONLY: Reviews by Molly
January 20: Book Bags and Cat Naps
January 23: Kacey’s Kreations
January 24: Book Travels
January 25: Cocktails and Books
January 26: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
January 27: It’s Raining Books
January 30: Sugarbeat’s Books
January 31: Traditional Romance for Modern Women
February 1: I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read!
February 2: Rachel Brimble Romance
February 3: Carrie Ann Ryan’s Blog
February 6: A Tasty Read
February 7: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
February 8: Love To Read for Fun
February 9: BK Walker Books Etc.
February 10: Jersey Girl Book Reviews

On my mailbox #14

image
Is the place where I show all the books that came home with me, some on ebooks others paperback. I prefer ebooks, they are easier for me to read, cause is lighter to carry everywhere. So most of them will be ebooks.

This week I had fun on netgalley and of course improved my TBR list by requesting tons of books. And I got Goddess Interrupted from Harlequin. Thank you for the Auto approved thing. 


Private Arrangements (Kimani Romance) Escape to Paradise Woodrose Mountain Deadly Is the Kiss Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss (Pregnancy & Passion, #3) These Arms of Mine (Kimani Romance) Dark Sins and Desert Sands (Harlequin Nocturne, #124) Barefoot Season Spellcaster (Spellbound #2) Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2) Sinful Seduction (Twins of Sin, #1) Stuck With You The Cowboy Father (Love Inspired Historical) Stellarnet Rebel

IMM make it possible to feature books they receive that week… bought, borrowed at the library or received to review. That way they could mention titles that might not otherwise get some face-time on their blogs.

TBR Intervention #10

TBR Intervention is a weekly challenge hosted by  April @ Books4Juliet, Dani @ Refracted Light and Ayanami @ Whatever You Can Still Betray
The goal of this challenge is to help each other (fellow readers and bloggers) manage our enormous and constantly growing TBR (To-Be-Read) List. The rules are simple and everyone is encouraged to participate. It does not force you to commit to more than what you can manage to read in a week or so, but participants are encouraged to read at least one book within a week. You are free to choose the book you want to read and commit to this challenge. You may post your entry every Saturday, at the frequency of your choice–EVERY WEEK or EVERY TWO WEEKS. However, we will sponsor this event regularly every Saturday.
 
Last week TBRIC:

For this week I had chosen only two books and I failed to finish one of them on time. Busy week and family is visiting so read was a bit difficult.

imageI finished Heartstrings on Thursday and was intending to post the review on Friday but didn’t find the time for it.

I loved! Is a sweet love story with a match maker. And he is really good about reading people.

A girl trying to find love or marriage and a boy afraid of settle down, is bound to be good right?

First Jane Graves that I’ve read but feel in love with her writing and the story.

imageAlready started Don’t mess with Texas but there’s still around 100 pages for me to finish.

The cover is gorgeous right, but the book is not about rodeo or cowboys for that matter.

Is an investigation and a love story. I’ve been reading a lot romances lately.
Is a series released on the end of last year so I’m sure will be hearing a lot about it in the future.

Promise both reviews will be up next week.

THIS WEEK’S TBRIC:

Still Netgalley reads.

imageimageimageimage

So this week I’ll try to mix a little the reading. Some contemporary romance, two historical. It’s bound to be good.

Interview and Giveaway: Tori St. Claire

Hey everyone today I’ll be receiving author Tori St. Claire to answer some questions. Tori’s new novel Stripped was released in January 3rd.
BookTravels: Why did you decide to write an erotic romance?
Tori St. Claire: I was wondering if someone was going to ask me this question!  I’m so glad you did… because this is probably the only instance in my publishing career that has a legitimately interesting story.
I spoke at the NOLA Stars conference in March of 2011 and met Delilah Devlin and Alexis Walker.  In talking with them, I decided I’d give erotica a shot when I finished the current novella I was working on because it sounded challenging.  A few months prior to this Stripped had finaled in a contest for romantic suspense and when I left my agent was shopping it.
I came home on a Sunday night with only my critique partner, my special guy, and Alexis knowing I was going to definitely try my hand at erotica.  Monday I was sitting with my boys finishing off the last of the crawdads I brought home when my agent called.  My hands were a mess, so I didn’t answer.  Her message – “Berkley has some input on Stripped”.
Immediately I dialed and learned the conditional offer had been made on my book if I modified it to become erotic.  I then jumped in place and informed my agent yes I was willing and all the details about what I’d decided at the conference.  Her response?  “Good, I already told them you would.”  Laugh!
So Stripped came to life rather coincidentally. The only deliberately erotic book I’ve consciously written is its counterpart, Lie to Me, coming in July.
BT: What do you think makes your book stand out in today’s market?
TSC: My book is actually a bit controversial, to be frank.  I have dark characters.  Morally ambiguous characters doing amoral things for the sake of national security.  Many erotic suspense books have characters who are covert operatives in one fashion or another, but we rarely see them engaging in the parts of their professional lives that might make us, as “normal people” cringe.  I broke that barrier and took risks with the Black Opals.
I don’t expectthe reader to walk away from the book saying “If I could only be a Black Opal.”  What I hope is that readers will see the characters for who they are and understand the story as it fits the character, not necessarily as an idol to be looked up to.  Kinda like Tom Hanks’ character in Road to Perdition.  He was not a nice guy.  He was a hitman for the mafia who was, at the core, a human being.  But we understood his journey, his obstacles, and for awhile, we walked in his shoes, supporting his goal and rooting for him to live.
BT: Do you have any must-haves while you are writing?
TSC: Coffee, coffee, coffee… and some sort of snack.  Currently its either honey-wheat pretzels or cinnamon pretzels.
BT: What kind of books do you read in your spare time? Do you read the same genre that you write?
TSC: I do read the same genre that I write.  It’s very important to be familiar with what’s popular in the markets.  But when I’m not reading romance or erotic romance, you’re apt to see me with a non-fiction book on ancient civilizations or with an epic fantasy story I hand.
BT: Can you tell us anything about what you are currently working on?
TSC:  Because I write under two pen names, I have a lot of projects in the works.  As Tori St. Claire, I’m working on follow-up proposals at the moment and tackling edits for the second Black Opal novel, Lie to Me.
Under my Claire Ashgrove hat, I’m working through edits on my second book in the series, The Curse of the Templar and I’m also finalizing the Inherited Damnation series.  I’m also constructing a proposal as well that’s entirely different than anything I’ve written before.  All I’m going to say on that note 🙂
Stripped
Body of secrets…
As a member of the CIA’s elite, Black Opals, Natalya Trubachev must live a lie, working undercover as the lover of Dmitri, a Russian mob boss. His business is trafficking vulnerable Las Vegas strippers overseas for twisted sex games. Natalya’s business is to blow the ring wide open and bring down Dmitri and his American contacts. But the stakes are raised when she learns that the next target is her own sister Kate, a dancer in the famed club Fantasia. Only now does Natalya realize how personal her mission has become, and how far she’s willing to go to complete it.
Body of lies…
The manager of Fantasia is Brandon Moretti, an undercover detective who keeps a close eye on his girls, and an even closer one on his sinfully sensual hire. For Natalya, working the club could be the break she’s been waiting for. But for Moretti, Natalya is a possible link to a killer. Only he never counted on her being so lethally seductive or so dangerous to get close to.  As every forbidden pleasure between them is stripped away, his own secrets threaten their security, but it’s Natalya’s that could destroy them both.
And now a short excerpt from the book…

“No.” Sitting forward, Brandon folded his hands on the stack of papers atop his desk. “You worked with Kate. That was when? Ten years ago? Have you danced since then?”

“Fifteen, and no. But I’m quite capable.” Only because Dmitri made her dance for him. She supposed she could consider that a benefit. If he hadn’t insisted on private pole dances, her body would have forgotten how.

The reproachful arch of a dark eyebrow hinted at doubt. “What makes you certain you can compete with the girls who’ve been doing this for years?” His gaze dropped to her breasts, then slid slowly back up to lock with hers. “Beyond the obvious.”

Natalya’s body flushed with heat. She crossed the opposite leg over her opposite knee, unsettled by the blatant appreciation in those tawny eyes. How many times had Dmitri looked at her with the same suggestion in his gaze?

How long had it been since she’d liked being stripped bare with a mere glance?

The sudden tingling of her skin disturbed her. Moretti could very well be one of Dmitri’s faithful—he had more than one cop on the take. While Dmitri understood her job required a bit of . . . feminine finesse . . . he’d only grant her so much leeway. If she gave him a reason to suspect her allegiance, he’d slice her throat before she could see the knife glint. And the way her body was warming beneath Brandon’s heated stare spelled trouble.

Determined to ignore his blatantly sexual gaze, she focused on the small white scar across Moretti’s chin and dredged up every reason she could think of to convince him into giving her the job. “I danced well. Was the crowd favorite for a while. I held the job all through college, and two years in, the girls were coming to me for dance suggestions, costuming, on-the-spot fixes for breakdowns. Advice on how to handle the more exuberant customers.” She took a breath and began counting items off her fingers. “I hired. I fired. I kept the drugs out of the dressing rooms. I trained the girls on the pole—Kate said you needed someone strong with the pole. My core body strength—”

“You’re hired.”

Natalya snapped her mouth shut. Slowly, she blinked. “What?”

“You’re hired.” Moretti stood, stretching out his muscular thighs that even his loose denim jeans couldn’t disguise. He shoved his left hand into his hip pocket. Against her will, Natalya’s gaze dropped to his crotch. Her breath caught at the tightening of his fly, the hard ridge that evidenced arousal.

When she yanked her gaze back to Brandon’s, his eyes flashed dark gold, telling her he knew exactly where she’d been looking. His voice, however, belied his awareness. “We open in three hours. I’ll need you here early to help get the girls settled in.”

“The girls?”

He fished a set of keys out of the top right desk drawer and held his fist over her hand. “These are to the dressing rooms. I have a copy, you have a copy. No one else. Kate’s our star. She goes on at ten, and every two hours after. Jill follows. Beyond that, you’ll have to talk to the girls.”

Natalya moved her hand beneath his, palm up, waiting for the keys. “And me?”

“I need a housemom more than I need a dancer.” His fingers brushed the base of her wrist.

Ignoring the chill that raced to her shoulder, she blinked again. “A housemom?” He had to be kidding! She needed to be onstage. Scoping out the crowd. Looking for Discovery, as he was bound to be looking for potential targets.

Brandon lifted his hand a fraction. “A housemom.”

Or the job wasn’t hers. The hard line of his chiseled jaw voiced what he didn’t say.

Hell, not if she had anything to say about it. She was here to crack a case, and she couldn’t do that locked away in the back of the house.

He slammed the ball of his fist down on her desk. A box of chocolate-covered cherries jumped. He glanced at the white and red carton briefly, then dismissed it, locking his gaze with Natalya’s once more. “I’ll tell you about wrong ideas. Let’s start with how your boss told you not to dance, and you decided to do so anyway.”

“My boss?” Natalya laughed again. “Make up your mind which role you want to play, Brandon. You’re only my boss when it’s convenient for you. Otherwise you’re too busy fucking me.”

He clamped his teeth down on the stream of oaths that choked off his air. He couldn’t argue with the truth. Moreover, he caught the flat glint of her eyes. The unfeeling stare that told him the words were real enough, but the woman who said them wasn’t. For a moment, in the dancers’ lounge, he’d glimpsed that mesmerizing Natalya who drove him to maddening limits. While this shell made him every bit as crazy, he ached for the woman who prompted him into foolishness. She had been on the stage. She deserved the fight.

“Damn it, where are you?” Frustrated beyond all means, he swiped his arm across the desk, sending the chocolates flying into the wall.

She blinked. But not at him, he realized, as he followed the trajectory of her gaze. She stared at the floor where the box had broken open. Smashed chocolate-covered cherries coated the floor, sugary ooze pouring from a squashed corner.

Brandon straightened. Unease filtered through his angry haze. He’d hit the candy hard. But not hard enough to smash two entire trays of candies, each held in egg-shaped cups. That candy was already crushed, long before he’d hit it. And to accomplish that, while keeping the flimsy plastic cups from collapsing, someone had done it piece by piece.

“Who gave you that?” His gaze flicked back to hers, and he took a small measure of satisfaction at witnessing the truth behind her eyes before she once again snapped the shutters closed.

“I told you jealousy wasn’t a pretty color for you.”

He pursed his lips, ground his teeth together. With patience that defied his years of training, he gritted out, “No games. Who gave you the chocolate, Natalya?”

Defiance radiated in the proud jut of her chin. Sparkled behind her unblinking stare. Then, as she blinked, the facade crumbled. She shook her head. “It wasn’t here when I left for the stage.”

In the next heartbeat, the color drained from her face. He knew then, she’d made a connection. Associated the candy with someone else. Someone who had the capacity to strike fear into her fearless little heart.

“Tell me what you want, beautiful.” His breath rasped over her cheek. Featherlight kisses accompanied the whisper, trailing across her skin in a taunting path toward her mouth.

Kiss me. She turned her head in search of lips she instinctively knew would be warm, the words on the tip of her tongue. Kiss me until I don’t care whether I live or die.

Honesty. Just once.

He caught her lower lip with his teeth, the nip nowhere near gentle. But the lazy stroke of his tongue soothed the stinging bite. She parted her lips, dipped her tongue out to touch his.

Brandon’s body tightened like a whip. The pressure in her lower back increased as his fingers curled into her skin. Their breaths mingled. The tips of their tongues met in a slow, sensual dance. As another spasm of ecstasy threatened to send her tumbling into his solid chest, she braced her hands on his shoulders.

And then Brandon was gone, the magic of his fingers disappearing as he stepped back and set both hands on her waist. His gaze scorched in to flood her body with tingles. He waited, his question unspoken, but hanging between them.

Tell me what you want.

Clearly he intended to make her admit she wanted to feel him deep inside her. Wanted to experience the slide of his bare skin against hers. And God, how she wanted to kiss him. To taste the desire that burned in his gaze and the indescribable flavor of hot, aroused man.

Confessing might lead her to an early grave, but for once, her conscious would be clear. She swallowed hard and dug deep for the courage that had kept her alive these last three years. His gaze followed the sweep of her tongue as she moistened her lips.

“Kiss me.” Her senses honed in on her whisper, amplifying it and the ragged fall of their mutual breathing. She became aware of every minuscule sound as she waited for Brandon to either dip his head and honor her request, or shove her aside with a wicked sneer.

He took a step closer, bringing their bodies in contact from chest to toes. One arm wrapped around her waist, then slid up her back to offer support between her shoulder blades. The other tangled in her hair, tipping her head back. Putting her where he wanted her—subtle dominance that thrilled her in places she hadn’t known existed. Her womb clamped hard, sending another rush of moisture through her pussy.

His mouth descended. Warm lips played against hers, drawing her into the spell his body wove. Pulling her in so deep she struggled for air.

The sudden, brassy ring of her cell phone jolted her out of hazy desire. She froze. With Kate and Sergei due to arrive at Fantasia any minute, there could only be one other person calling at this time of day—Dmitri. It would be almost one in the morning in Moscow. The time Dmitri put aside his work and crawled into bed. He’d want to talk before he slept.

“Don’t answer that,” Brandon whispered against her mouth.

Damn if those lips weren’t compelling. She’d had his mouth on her breast, knew the incredible magic his tongue could create there, but had yet to experience the tantalizing slide of his tongue against hers. The need to feel his mouth on hers, to get lost in his potent masculinity pressed her to ignore the ringing tones.

Duty, however, rose up screaming. If she didn’t answer, Dmitri would get suspicious.
“I have to.”

Tori St. Claire grew up writing. Hobby quickly turned into passion, and when she discovered the world of romance as a teen, poems and short stories gave way to full length novels with sexy heroes and heroines waiting to be swept off their feet. She wrote her first romance novel at seventeen.

While that manuscript gathered dust-bunnies beneath the bed, she went on to establish herself as a contemporary, historical, and paranormal author under the pen name, Claire Ashgrove. Her writing, however, skirted a fine line between hot and steamy, and motivated by authors she admired, she pushed her boundaries and made the leap into erotica, using the darker side of human nature and on-the-edge suspense to drive grittier, sexier, stories.

Her erotic romantic suspense novels are searingly sensual experiences that unite passion with true emotion, and the all-consuming tie that binds — love.

Tori can be found at:

Twitter: @claireashgrove
Giveaway
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 January 2: AsianCocoa’s Secret Garden
January 3: Rachel Leigh – Erotic Romance
January 4: It’s Raining Books
January 5: The Forbidden Bookshelf
January 6: Riverina Romantics
January 9: Adventure Into Romance
January 10: Romancing the Book
January 11: Seductive Musings
January 12: Immortality and Beyond
January 13: Ramblings From This Chick
January 16: Carrie Ann Ryan’s Blog
January 17: Sexy Lady
January 18: As The Pages Turn
January 19: Book Travels
January 20: Love To Read For Fun
January 23: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
January 24: Roz Lee Contemporary Erotic Romance Author
January 25: Beyond Romance
January 26: Kacey’s Kreations
January 27: Erotica For All







Review: Stripped by Tori St. Claire

imageTitle: Stripped  
Author:  Tori St. Claire
Format Read: ebook provided by the author for the book tour
 
Series: Black Opal #1
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Release date:  January 3rd 2012
Formats Available: kindle, ebook, paperback 
Number of pages: 416 
Rating:






Book Blurb:

In Tori St. Claire’s dangerously naughty debut novel, a body of secrets is entwined with a body of lies…and deception is part of the game.
As a member of the CIA’s elite Black Opals, Natalya Trubachev must live a lie, working undercover as the lover of Dmitri, a Russian mob boss. His business is trafficking vulnerable Las Vegas strippers overseas for twisted sex games. Natalya’s business is to blow the ring wide open and bring down Dmitri and his American contacts. But the stakes are raised when she learns that the next target is her own sister Kate, a dancer in the famed club Fantasia. Only now does Natalya realize how personal her mission has become, and how far she’s willing to go to complete it.
The manager of Fantasia is Brandon Moretti, an undercover detective who keeps a close eye on his girls, and an even closer one on his sinfully sensual newest hire. For Natalya, working the club could be the break she’s been waiting for. But for Moretti, Natalya is a possible link to a killer. Only he never counted on her being so lethally seductive or so dangerous to get close to. As every forbidden pleasure between them is stripped away, his own secrets threaten their security, but it’s Natalya’s secrets that could destroy them both.

My Thoughts:

First I have to say this book was great and the story is really engaging. Natalya Trubachev has been working for the CIA in the special force called Black Opals for a while doing awful things while trying to uncover a Russian mob. She’s his fiancé and has been handling some parts of his work just for collect evidence that would lead him to jail.
Natalya part is to drug dancers that are sold to rich men as slave, but the problem is now they are after her sister and Natalya needs to find a way to both, arrest Dmitri and save her sister.
On the other side we have a very sexy undercover detective, Brandon Moretti trying to discover who has been killing women on his area, so he decides to work as manager of Fantasia and put in jail the serial killer.
So Natalya is going to work as a dancer on Fantasia and let me say that sparks fly while she and Brandon try to stay away from each other and work in the while.
Loved that the author uses other characters to help explain what’s happening and we can see glimpses of the people that’ll be on the next books. Also the story is good situated. We have some time in Russia and Las Vegas.
Is very interesting seeing Brandon and Natalya trying to save the other without exposing their work, both have issues from the past and currently difficult for them to just trust in another person. Kate deserves to find someone to love again, so I’ll be hoping with cross fingers that on some other book we get to see her happily ever after.

Purchase information:

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Books in this Series:

Stripped