Review: Pushing The Limits By Brooke Cumberland

From USA Today Bestselling Author comes a new contemporary student/teacher romance standalone…

He’s my art professor.
I’m his student.
With an electric connection and undeniable chemistry, I know it won’t be long until one of us cracks.

When the opportunity arises to pose naked for the entire art class, I can’t help the thrill of knowing he’ll be watching me.
While they all look past me with their eyes narrowed and concentrated, drawing only the lines and angles of my body, he sees right through me down to my vulnerability.
He sees more than just the physical aspects—he sees me.
That’s when I see the struggle in his features as he tries to stay in control.

How do we keep our distance when everything seems to be pulling us together?
What feels so right can only go wrong if we keep pushing the limits. 

There is just something about reading a taboo book that, for me at least, makes it oh so much more exciting.  It’s no secret that I like these types of books, but I especially enjoy them when they are teacher/student romances.  And ladies and gentleman, this is not only a hot teacher/student romance, it will have you on an emotional rollercoaster with your feelings.  Let me make that last statement perfectly clear, you will feel emotions, you will be sucked into this book and you will not want to put it down until the very end. 
This is not just a book about a teacher and a student, nor is it just a book about that same teacher and student having a hot taboo affair, it is so very much more.  I don’t want to give anything away that could spoil the book for you and honestly I can’t believe I am about to type this, but I hope that you don’t even read any reviews, including mine, and just dive right into Pushing The Limits.  I am a huge advocate of reading reviews, and the reviews I have seen have been great but I want you to take the chance and just read this if you like teacher/student romance books.

Brooke Cumberland, you have a fan for life in me.  I am truly amazed at the way you hooked me in and didn’t let go until the end.  Days later I am still thinking of this book and this is one that I will not forget any time soon.

Release Blitz: Coletrane By Rie Warren


Her name is Sinclair Chatham. Sin. That’s exactly what she is—walking, talking, in the flesh sin. She’s haughty, privileged, so goddamn starlet sexy, with an ass I want to grab and spank raw. 
I want her to give herself over to me. I want her to lose that polished princess veneer. I want to strip away the money, the manicures, the maids, the immaculate façade. 

I need her to be mine. But I’m a grunt. A biker. A tattoo artist. I’m blue collar all the way, and her family will probably shit bricks if they ever meet me. 

Not to mention, I’m running from a bad past that’s about to catch up with me. 


I would never go for Cole in a million years. He’s gruff, rough around the edges—and covered in ink. He’s unapologetic, demanding, and sometimes scary as hell. He tells me what he wants, how he wants it, and why he’s going to ruin me for all other men. 

Coletrane destroys my vanity, gets inside my head while he gets into my bed, and I can’t say no to him. He’s not what I expected—tender at times, taking no prisoners at others. He breaks me down, builds me up. 

He is not my type.

They say opposites attract, and they’re right. I just didn’t expect him to turn my cushy life upside down and inside out. But it’s too late, and someone’s going to get hurt.
It’s no secret that I wasn’t overly in love with the previous two books in this series, but I have enjoyed this author’s books so I decided I was going to go ahead and finish reading the last book in the series.  Let me tell you, within the first few pages I knew that this one was making up for the previous ones that sort of let me down.
Coletrane is fucking HOT!  Like change your panties multiple times, reaching for your significant other for some loving HOT.  What I also loved more than just his sexiness was that deep inside that tough chain wearing, tattooed, bad boy biker, he was emotional, sweet, and in his own emotional pain.  He will surprise you more than once, but let me make something perfectly clear.  Just because he has that sweet emotional side, it does not take away from even one millimeter of his hotness.
Sin is Cole’s perfect match in my opinion.  He needed the sass and feistiness that she brings, but he also needed the way she continues to show him that he is worthy of her even when he has doubts.  I loved Sin’s character, she may have been a rich girl but she didn’t act like she was better than anyone.  For me to love a female character as much as I loved Sin is rare.
We get to see the whole Retribution game throughout the book and I loved a certain surprise party at the end.  I can actually picture everything that happened.  Overall this one was my favorite of the series, it had me smiling, laughing, hot and bothered, emotional and last but not least I didn’t want to put it down.  Rie Warren saved the best for last with Coletrane and I loved every single word.


GODDAMN. SIN LOOKED FIIINE. It was a Saturday. I guessed her idea of slumming it was wearing a sarong that bared the length of one of her amazing thighs, a pair of sandals that wrapped up her calves in soft leather, and a strapless top that hugged her fuckhot figure in all the right places. 

And her idea of going ghetto must’ve been trawling down here by the train yards. 

Shock carried across Sin’s face as she took in Trixxie, me, and the aforementioned cock ring. 

“Oh, hon. You worried about a little cock ring? Cole has things up his sleeves you ain’t even—”

“Trixx,” I cut her off midstream.

“Yeah. Yeah. I’ll zip it.” Swooping into one of the back rooms, she poked her head out for a final zinger. “Call me if you need a fluffer for her.”

Sinclair stood just inside the door, shafts of sunlight making a halo of her hair. “Are you with her?” 

“No. We’re coworkers. I don’t fuck where I earn money.” 

“Then how does she know about your cock rings?” Staring at the silver ring I closed my fingers around, she perfected the hands on hips stance once again. 

“Why? You jealous?” One of my eyebrows hooked up. 

“Hardly.” She flicked back her amazing pure blonde curls and peered at me. “Just seems like something personal.”

“We tattoo and pierce each other, see half-naked bodies all day long. Ain’t much that’s personal around here, precious.” I punched my knuckles down on the counter, the muscles in my shoulders and arms bunching. “Your driver waiting outside?”

“No. I drove myself. I have my own license and everything.” She used that same give it to me, big boy breathy voice she’d taunted me with last night. 

Like she knew exactly what I thought about her—overprivileged, unused to hard times, freewheeling and fancy-free without a care in the world. 

Her soft green eyes widened to complete the look of total ingénue. Too bad her body spoke another story. And I knew she was taking me for a ride with this Little Miss So Innocent façade. 

I stalked to the windows and checked outside. Then my mouth dropped open. I rocked on my heels. I looked some more. 

I groaned. “You’re fucking kidding me.” Pressing my index finger to the window, I think I probably drooled. Like a fool. “Tell me that’s not yours.”

“All. Mine.” Her sultry whisper hit my neck, and damn, that was hot, but not as hot as the car illegally parked outside the shop. 

A kick-ass ’77 Trans Am. 

“Four hundred horsepower in that thing?” I asked.

“Kicks like a mule with the engine of a bull on ’roids.” Sin slid next to me as I goddamn salivated over the muscle car. 

With the pop-out top windows and the massive hood bird decal an authentic red and black Firebird, the car was sex-on-four-wheels. 

“Fuckin’ A.” I almost jizzed in my jeans. I wanted to fuck her in it, on it, see her drive it, and get behind the wheel with her in my lap. Fuck. “I thought you’d drive a Merc.”

“This is my weekend car.” Her fingers traipsed down my arm. “What can I say? I have a thing for hot rods.”

And I just happen to have the one for her. 

It fucking thumped in my jeans. 

Dragging myself away from the imminent girl plus car-gasm, I walked back to the counter and ignored the ancient black bakelight phone ringing at the far end. 

“So, what can I do you for, Sin?”

And how soon can I do you?

“Sadie told me where you work.” 

Of course she did.

I made no comment. 

Sin glided across the floor as I heard Trixxie get on the horn in the room next door, answering the call I’d tuned out. 

“I think I want some ink.” Sin stood right in front of me. 

“What did you have in mind?”

“I’m not sure yet. Can I see some examples?”

We-elll, there were photos all over the walls, but I just so happened to have some living art to show her. 

“Sure.” I whipped off my shirt.

I wasn’t a small boy. I was a badass man. The muscles came from daily workouts. The height—a mere six foot two that put Sin half a foot under me—matched my framework. The tats? They detailed memories, moments, people . . . my life. 

Sin sucked in a breath and her eyes grew wide. She rounded the counter. Her touch on my chest fizzled through my skin, but I stood stock-still. 

I remained silent except for a low grunt when she tugged on one of the nipple barbells. 

“You weren’t kidding about the piercings.” Her warm gust of breath hit my skin, causing havoc to my willpower.

“I might be an asshole sometimes, but I never lie.”

She licked me, right across one of the barbells, right there in the middle of the shop. 

My hand flew into her hair, and I pulled her back. “Unless you wanna get your pussy reamed across the counter right now, you better stand down.”

She moved back so suddenly she almost knocked over one of the boxes on the counter. 

I shuddered all over, lifting half-mast eyes to her. “I’m not about to mar your perfect skin. Tattoos are off the table.” 

She was gorgeous. Untouched. Peaches and cream and obviously protected from the hot South Carolina sun.

And she looked sooo damn good as she was, glaring at me.

“I don’t take no for an answer.” Her leg slid from the slit of her sarong as she cocked her hip and curled her lips. 

“Too bad, precious. Ain’t gonna happen.” I smirked as I approached her. “And I’m more than happy to say no to you.”

“Then I’ll just get your colleague to do it.” Her arrogant chin lifted. 

“The fuck you will. You don’t need another damn thing on you.” I set my lips to her ear. “You’re sexy. A stand-out. A walking wet dream.” I licked those lush lips I’d kissed the night before—just a taste. “There is something I wanna do to you though.”

“What?” she whispered, searching for my lips as I pulled away. 

“I’ll pierce your nipples.” 

Her mermaid eyes flicked to mine then down to my nipples. “Like yours?”

“Oh, no. Although I’m sure you’d like that.” Lifting my hands to my chest, I tugged on the two barbells and twisted them. 

Hot flames of arousal coursed through me. 

Sin moaned through parted lips. 

I’d been hard before, but now my cock suddenly broke new records stiffness. 

My voice dropped, and I skimmed a hand down the clenching ridged muscles of my abdomen. “It can make your nipples ultra sensitive.”

Her gaze drifted lower, following the path of my hand. “I can see that.”

Leaning forward, I whispered against her ear. “For you I’d do hoops. Pretty little ones for what I bet are your pretty little nipples. Hoops I can attach things to, charms . . . ” And weights. And delicate chains . . . 

Oh hell yeah.

Sin licked her bombshell lips. 

I set my teeth lightly on her earlobe then bit down with firmer pressure until she moaned. 

Drawing back, I observed her with a lazy smile. She practically trembled, and it was an insane turn-on seeing her lose her control. 

“Unless you’re too much of a good girl?”

“I’ll let you do it.” Her hair whipped over her shoulder as she met my burning gaze. 

I inhaled harshly, the image of her baring her tits for me, holding still while I pierced her nipples, overwhelmed me with a surge of animal-like lust. 

Not yet though. 

Dragging my shirt back on, I grinned. “You have to earn it first.”

“What?” Her voice rose several octaves. 

“You heard me.” I checked the clock. 

Twenty minutes until my next appointment. Definitely not enough time to do what I wanted to with her. Not here. Not now. 

Sin wouldn’t go down without a fight, of course. That was what made baiting her so damn fun. 

She shoved me on the shoulder when I turned back to my sketch. 

“Let’s get one thing absolutely clear, Cole. I’m the Executive Director of The Fairley-Chatham Family Foundation. I manage millions of dollars per annum. I might’ve been privileged”—she stomped her foot—“but I work for what I have, and I’m damn successful. So if you think you can keep treating me like some harebrained flake just because of where I come from—”

“Then act like it, precious.” I cut her off mid-riff. 

Pressing up onto her tiptoes, she got in my face, hissing, “Stop calling me that.”

I glanced behind her, then quickly pushed her away from me. Three rough-looking hoodlums were outside with their hands all over her car. 

“You need to leave now.” I prodded her to the door, going cold all over.

“But I’m not done—”

“You’re done. We are done.” My voice flinty hard, I urged her to hurry up as the gang bangers strutted inside.
I got out and loped around to Sin’s side. I liked the way she waited for me to open the door and help her out—she was a woman who knew she was quality. 

With a flash of those long bare legs, she slid up against me. Her body felt incredible, curves in all the right places the perfect counterpoint to the hard muscles of mine. 

Brushing the hair back from her temples, my fingers lingered at her neck where her pulse drummed against my skin. I leaned down and tasted her lips, quickly delving into her mouth before retreating with a smile. 

“I hope you’re ready for this, precious, because I’m gonna eat you up.”

“Out here?” Her pale green eyes twinkled. 

I pulled her away from the car and guided her up the steps that created an open breezeway in the apartment building. My place was at the top and overlooked a tennis court. 

“You play?” she asked. 

I unlocked my door and ushered her inside. “Hardly.”

Flicking the light switch, the tidy, tiny living room shifted into brightness, and just then a calico fur ball darted into the kitchen with screeching yeowl. 

“What was that?” Sin pointed after the fleeing feline. 

“I dunno. I think it’s a cat.” I rubbed a hand over my chin. “Could be a cross between a porcupine and an overgrown chipmunk? I call it Pincushion.”

As she giggled I waved vaguely around the four-room place. “So this is it. It’s not luxurious but—”

“It’s so clean.” She left my side to walk around the living room, her fingers occasionally coasting along the coffee table and the sound system set-up.

“Right? And I don’t even have a maid.” Lounging against the doorway opposite her, I winked. 

“Shut up.” She rolled her eyes.

In just five long steps, I caged her against the wall. “Oh, I don’t think you want me to do that.” 

I twisted her head up and crashed my lips to hers. My tongue lunged into her mouth, stroking hers. Brutal. Hard. Wet. I swallowed the whimper that escaped the back of her throat, and her hands flew to my ass to pull me all the way against her. 

With a grunt, I tore my lips free, licking them to taste more of her. 

A sneer of lust crossed my face, and my voice came out in a low deep rumble. “The things I’m gonna say to you tonight will make you so hot you’ll be begging me to fuck you harder, faster.” I nipped and licked the neck she arched for my tongue and teeth.

“Cole!” she gasped.

“Make your body ache for my cock.” I pressed my hips against her just once so she’d know what she was getting. 

Then I stepped back, watching her as she panted. Her hair disheveled. Her tits jutting. Her eyes heavy. 

“But we gotta talk about how this is gonna go down first,” I said. 

“We do?” She slowly regained her composure. “This about the control thing again?”

“Mm hmm.” I dropped onto the couch and patted the cushion beside me. 

She approached slowly and perched next to me. 

“I want to push you to the limit. Find out what your limits are.”

“Is this about the power struggle,” she asked. “Does that get you off?”

“Not as much as you completely giving yourself over to me would.”

She hissed a sharp breath, her back arching unintentionally.

Damn. She might not like giving away control, but her body sure seemed interested in the idea. 

Her voice a little shaky, she asked, “So is this a BDSM thing?”

I laughed, a long low sound. “Why, precious? Are you into the scene?”

“Of course not,” she snapped. 

“Nothing wrong with that, you know?”

She narrowed her eyes on me. “I didn’t mean to imply that there was. Just—”

“You’re a good girl?”

Biting her lip, she gave a hesitant nod. She had no idea how hot she made me, just that little shot of insecurity in an otherwise totally impressive babe. 

I scooted closer, dragging my fingers up her bare arm to the soft skin of her shoulder. “Wanna be my good girl?”

Again with the hesitant nod. 


I withdrew my hand before I could be tempted to run it all over her smokin’ body. “It’s not a BDSM thing with me. I don’t call it that. Don’t call it anything. It’s just how I like to fuck.”

She made a small noise, and her thighs parted just a little bit. She was so ripe for this, right for me.

My voice lowered. “I don’t want to be your Dom or your Master or your Daddy. It’s not about pain. It’s about letting go. Finding out what gives you pleasure, and sometimes that’s not always orthodox.”

Her breath stuttered in an out as she shifted her gaze to me, her eyes sweeping over my face, my shoulders, my chest. “Do you ever just have sex?”

“Vanilla sex?”

Sin nodded, her cheeks turning a delicious shade of pink.

“I like all kinds of sex. Kinky. Straightforward fucking. Fast. Hard.” I turned toward her and kissed her lips between each subsequent word. “Long.” Kiss. “Slow.” A lingering touch of my tongue on hers. “ . . . anal.”

Her body snapped against mine, and her lips opened, her tongue rolling into my mouth. 

After the soul scorching kiss that set my balls on edge, I eased my lips to her ear. “But if I’m really into a woman—and I’m really into you”—goddamn understatement—“I need to know it’s okay if I fuck you the way I want to.”

I leaned back. “So what do you say, Sin. Are you in?”

“I’m in.”
Rie is the badass, sassafras author of Sugar Daddy and the Don’t Tell series–a breakthrough trilogy that crosses traditional publishing boundaries beginning with In His Command. Her latest endeavors include the Carolina Bad Boys, a fun, hot, and southern-sexy series. 
A Yankee transplant who has traveled the world, Rie started out a writer—causing her college professor to blush over her erotic poetry without one ounce of shame. Not much has changed. She swapped pen for paintbrushes and followed her other love during her twenties. From art school to marriage to children and many a wild and wonderful journey in between, Rie has come home to her calling. Her work has been called edgy, daring, and some of the sexiest smut around. 

You can connect with Rie via the social media hangouts listed on her website She is represented by Saritza Hernandez, Corvisiero Literary Agency.


Blog Tour: UnTouch Me By Dawn Martens

The truth always comes out, no matter how deep you try to bury it. Secrets never make their way to the grave.

Lilly Mayer has always lived a simple life. She’s loyal—maybe too loyal since faithfulness cost her the love of her life. Keeping Eden’s whereabouts a secret from everyone, including Vinny, has ripped away Lilly’s future.

Vincent “Zippo” Torino knows he’s a goddamn bastard. And he’s willing to use Lilly’s loyalty to Eden as his own escape from a hell he created. He doesn’t give a damn that he’s leaving the woman pregnant with his child behind—not when he has to protect his own destructive secret. And not when he’s sure she’s going to beat him to the punch and leave first.

As the dangers to the club escalate, nobody’s hearts—or lives—are safe.

*All books in this series are 50K words, all to be combined into ONE paperback titled UnLove Me* 

Ok I am breaking out the monopoly references again so you know I am serious about what I am about to say.  If you have not read UnKiss Mefirst, do not pass go and do not collect $200. In other words stop reading this review right the hell now, pick up UnKiss Me, read it, and then you can not only read my review of UnTouch Me but read the book as well.
Okay are we ready to proceed? Yes? Then good.  Once again I am going to keep this short and sweet as to not give any spoilers away per the author’s request and out of respect for her.  Now some of you may remember in my UnKiss Me review that I was curing (like that’s a big surprise lol), throwing my kindle and demanding that we had book two immediately.  So I am sure you are wondering if the same happened again.  Yeah let’s just say my three year old heard one of my curse filled rants and told her grandma mommy was saying bad words again. *Hangs head in shame*  All those emotions are intensified times one hundred, at least for me they were.  Just trust me you will be on a rollercoaster ride filled with twists, turns, stomach dropping, scream inducing, loppy loops, that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
So, Dawn Martens, what does a book whore like me have to do to get the next book in her greedy little hands right now?  I can’t wait to see what else she will have in store for us, because if it is anything like the first and second books then we will be in for one hell of another ride.

Dawn Martens is a young, spunky Canadian Author.

Being a wife to Colin, and a mother to three beautiful little girls (Sarah (2007), Grace (2010), and Ava (2014)) hasn’t stopped this Canadian Firecracker from pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer!

Dawn’s number one passion in life is the written word, and she’s extremely thankful that she has the ability to share the ramblings from the characters inside of her head with the rest of the world!

She also may or may not have the hugest girl crush on Author Kristen Ashley, who is her personal idol and helped inspire Dawn in the beginning of her Indie career.

#Oneclick UnKiss Me (Angels Warriors Book #1)

Blog Tour: Broken Chords By Carrie Elks

Lara knows she should feel lucky. Married to the man of her dreams, with a gorgeous new baby, she should be enjoying her happy-ever-after. But she never expected motherhood to be so difficult, or for her life to change so dramatically.

Alex has it all: hot, tattooed looks, a beautiful wife, and a band that’s finally getting noticed. A lucrative offer of a US tour should be the icing on the cake. But as he leaves the country, distance isn’t the only thing that starts to pull their relationship apart.

With half a world dividing them, Alex and Lara have to battle for a marriage they once took for granted.

Broken Chords is the second story in the Love in London series but can be read completely as a stand-alone. 
Though it’s a series, it’s not a serial and there are no cliffhangers, each book features a different couple!

As I have stated before when I have a book to read that is part of a series I always try to read the previous books even if each book can be read as a stand alone, this time I didn’t get a chance to read book one first but I will be one-clicking and reading it as soon as I get the chance.  That being said, I didn’t feel lost for not reading the first book so if you haven’t yet and want to read Broken Chords now, trust me you can.
Broken Chords was a very easy book to read and what I mean by that was it kept my attention from beginning to end and I didn’t get bored and set it down before picking it back up.  This book felt more realistic to real life than others because it is about a married couple who is struggling, my heart would drop and I cried a couple of times while reading it.  I am not going to get into everything that happens because I personally feel that this is a book that needs to be read to truly feel the emotions I felt and that the author was portraying on the pages.
Just be sure to grab your tissues because while this may not be an ugly cry type of book, it will tug at your emotions and you may have tears in your eyes a few times like I did while reading Broken Chords.  Carrie Elks, if this is how all your books are written, well then sign me up to read them all.

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“You want one?” he asked, cupping his hand to shade his match from the slight breeze.

“I don’t smoke. It’s a disgusting habit.” I smiled, letting him know I was flirting more than anything. Trying to wind him up.

He stared at me, throwing the burnt-out match into the ashtray. Already, I’d noticed Alex had this intense way of making me feel as if nothing else mattered. That I was the only interesting thing in the room—or in this case, the street.

“You’re one of those, then,” he said.

“One of what?”

“A crusader.” He inhaled deeply, then let the smoke drift out of his lips. Even I had to admit he looked sexy.

His words made me grin. I was anything but; smoking rarely bothered me at all. “I don’t kiss boys who smoke,” I said.

The corner of his lip twitched up. He leaned forward, still staring intently. “That’s good. I don’t want you kissing them.”

“You’re a boy who smokes,” I pointed out.

This time a full-on smirk broke out on his face. “I’m the exception that proves the rule, sweetheart.”

The way he said it made my heart hammer against my chest. There was something about Alex Cartwright that made me feel breathless. I wasn’t used to boys like him, ones who oozed sexuality out of every pore. Until then my boyfriends had been more friend than boy. Low key, almost feminine

Alex didn’t have a feminine bone in his body.

“What makes you think I want to kiss you, anyway?”

“You’re the one who brought up kissing, not me.” Another cocky response. “Not to mention the fact you keep looking at my mouth and licking your lips. I can tell you want to eat me for breakfast.”

The image his words conjured up made me choke on my coffee. I spluttered the hot liquid out. Alex started to laugh.

“Kissing. I was still talking about kissing.”


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Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. At the age of twenty-one she left college with a political science degree, a healthy overdraft and a soon-to-be husband. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.


Blog Tour: The Summer Remains By Seth King

Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may very well end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.
As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app – and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.

Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.

Ugly Cry alert! Have your tissues handy and don’t plan to read this in public because this will have you crying ugly tears.
Rarely there is a book that has moved me as much as The Summer Remains has.  I am sitting here trying to find the words to express what I felt while reading this and I am having one of the hardest times I have ever had writing a review because nothing seems to perfectly describe it.  This is the first book by Seth King that I have ever read and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it will not be my last.
Normally when I don’t want to give anything away in my reviews I say that it will be short and sweet.  I am not going to give anything away but I don’t know if I could even do short and sweet for this book because I want to try to convince our readers the beauty that is The Summer Remains.  This book will move you emotionally; will change all your preconceived notions of what you believe a romance should be, it will change you.   Summer and Cooper will hold a special place in your heart.  Yes it is an ugly cry type of book, but the beauty that it contains will make each and every one of your tears worth it.  If you don’t feel some sort of emotion while reading The Summer Remains then, please check your pulse and make sure you are alive because there is no possible way that you won’t feel anything but I can almost guarantee you will feel something that stays with you even after you finish. I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, and about how emotionally moving it was for me, but I won’t because I want you to experience the feelings for yourself, so please just go get it and experience it for yourself.
Find on Goodreads

Chapter 1
On a sunny Tuesday morning towards the end of March, a white-haired man walked into a cold room and told me I might die soon.
I fidgeted on the hospital bed as Dr. Steinberg entered, the late-spring sunlight mocking me as smiled onto the industrial tile floors. I’d known Steinberg since I was four. He’d handled almost all of my throat problems, and I trusted him. He was like a second father to me, and I knew he would always tell me the truth.
That’s why the look on his face scared the living shit out of me.
I listened for the next ten minutes as he gave me the gist of the story. It was all so surreal that my mind could only catch certain phrases before the sentence would run away from me again:
Your esophagus has ruptured again, for good this time…
Your stomach is leaking more and more…
Toxicity levels are through the roof…
Your body just isn’t getting the nutrients it needs from your feeding tube any longer…
And finally, terminal.
“Terminal?” I heard myself squeak, my throat filling up with that weird, shivery feeling you get when you know your life has just changed. Steinberg suddenly became very interested in a fraying string on the sleeve of his jacket.
“T-terminal,” he stuttered. “Summer, the thing is…I’m afraid this is a…well, nobody has ever…”
He finally cleared his throat and met my gaze, tears pooling in the corners of his cerulean eyes. “Sweetheart, I am so sorry to tell you this, but this mountain may be unclimbable for you.”
My mother let out a small, sharp sob in the corner and then clapped her hands over her mouth.
“Okay, unclimbable,” I swallowed, staring down at the floor as I tried to grasp just what that word now meant to me and my family and this weird little life I had created for myself.  “Okay. Unclimbable. Okay.”
But Steinberg wasn’t done yet.
“Hold on. I said it may be unclimbable, not that it definitely will be. I want to prepare you, and I don’t want to give you any false hope, but there may be something we can do, Summer. It’s a small chance, but still, it’s a chance. A Hail Mary, if you will.”
I reached up to rub my temples. “Okay, well, survival sounds good. Better than death, I suppose. What is this Hail Mary?”
Steinberg crossed his arms, studied me for a moment, and then took out a chart and launched into a spiel about something called the Porter-Collins Procedure, an extremely major surgery that would perhaps be saving my life in three months’ time.
“Nobody has ever survived this particular operation,” he concluded a few minutes later, skipping all the medical jargon to keep from boring you to death, pardon my pun. “Nobody. It’s been attempted three times, but none of those were ultimately successful. One person survived for three months in intensive care, but she was fifty-one, and in frail health in general. We think you’re a much more viable candidate, but then again, there is no way to be sure. We can do it in two, maybe three months, after I assemble the specialists and create a game plan – considering your health doesn’t take another nosedive before then, that is. If we’re going to try this, we need you in tip-top shape – or as close to that as we can get you, anyway.”
“Okay,” I said again, sitting a little taller. “And what are the chances that this Hail Mary will even work, and that I won’t just die a few days later, anyway?”
He peered down at me from over his glasses. “I’m afraid to say that it would be stretching things to even tell you eighty/twenty.”
I steeled myself and took a breath. “Okay, well, that’s better than a hundred to zero. Let’s go out with a bang, then, Steinberg. Let’s do this.”
He threw up a fist, triumphant, but I could see the fear in his eyes. “It’s settled, then. Hail Mary it is.”
My mom rushed over to sit beside me and kind of hang onto my shoulder as some counselor woman came in who helped families handle these types of situations – “transitions,” she called them, and just hearing that word threatened to pull me under. Dr. Steinberg watched, an apology on his face, as she said things like “preparations” and “options” and “arrangements.” I tried to be polite and pay attention, but truthfully I didn’t give a damn about what she was saying. It was go time, and things were looking grim. I already knew that. The wet, metallic panic erupting in my stomach was due to an entirely different subject.
“And finally,” the counselor, Angie, said in a hushed, clipped, polite voice that spoke of years of having impossible conversations with worried families huddled in chilly waiting rooms, “I work very closely with Last Great Hope, a wonderful organization that specializes in situations like this, and if there is anything you want before the surgery, Summer – a trip to Tahiti, a cabin in the mountains, whatever – we can do it. Or if-”
“Thanks, but no thanks,” I said, making her stop short.
“Wh – excuse me?”
“Save the Disney trips for the twelve-year-olds,” I told her. “Spend all that money on a cancer kid or something; I know the truth about those fairy tales now. Make someone else happy – I’ve got everything I need. Or almost everything.” I paused as everyone leaned in. “I do have one request, actually. First of all, all of you are forgetting something vital.”
“Oh no, did we forget your milk?” my mom asked as she reached for her purse. “I thought I put some-”
“No, Shelly, we did not forget the baby milk I pump into my stomach tube every day to keep myself alive because my throat doesn’t work, but that does have something to do with it.”
As she pouted in my general direction I realized what a complete bitch I was being, and then I realized just as quickly that I probably wouldn’t be able to stop myself anyway.
“What is it, then?” my mom asked, stung, and I took a breath and then pushed it back out.
“Frankly, I need all of you to chill the fuck out.”
My mom dropped her purse onto her lap. Dr. Steinberg looked at me like I’d just tried to jump out of the third story window. Angie held her pen in midair and stared at me, the sun turning her brownish eyes ocher.
“Excuse me, young lady?” my mother asked. “We need to what?”
“Chill the eff out,” I said, editing my language the second time around. “Sorry, but all this emotion and drama and doom and gloom crap is already making me freak out. You’re all forgetting I’ve had a broken throat and a tube in my abdomen since I was in diapers, and that I can handle this. I’ve dealt with health scares before, and I will do it again, no matter how much scarier this Scare is than all the other Scares. Like, I know you’re trying to help and stuff, and I love you, but having meltdowns in front of me is not going to help me deal with all this, so please, I beg you, everyone take a deep breath, close your eyes, and get your panties out of a bunch.”
“We’re sorry,” my mom said after an impossibly long and awkward moment. “It’s just that we need to prepare you for…for what will happen, and-”
“Prepare me to die?” I asked. “Guess what, Shelly, I’m going to die one day, be it in three months or sixty years, and wasting all my time crying over it isn’t going to help. Here’s what I want, my one last wish – or my maybe-not-last wish, or whatever the hell this is.” A tear appeared in my mom’s eye, and I softened my voice as I reached up to wipe her cheek. “Okay. Before the surgery, I want to have a normal summer by the beach,” I began as I cleared her eye and shook the water from my finger. “I want to go to the sea and go to work and read my books and go about my business like usual without everyone breathing down my neck and treating me like A Broken Person, because if I am treated like A Broken Person for one more month of my life I will break some faces, no offense. Shelly, if you so much as make one special meal – I mean, not that I can eat or anything, because I can’t – anyway, I’m burning down the house. There will literally be a pile of smoldering ashes where your kitchen used to be, I promise.” Shelly pouted again, but I trudged through. “I’m serious, no special treatment. No Christmases in July, no excessive hugging, not even a midnight run to Target for some trinkets from the dollar section. And most of all…”
I looked around and, seeing sympathy in everyone’s eyes and knowing this request would be completely futile, said – “No sympathy. Please. The sympathy is what breaks me and makes me feel broken. If this is gonna be my last chance to live and have fun and be normal, then I’m going to need to feel as normal as possible, and that means absolutely no pity, because that separates me from everyone else and makes me Different with a capital D. And if I don’t stay in a good headspace I’m gonna spend the next three months in a fetal position in my closet having an endless anxiety attack about the surgery, so please work with me here and keep the pity locked up.”
A sigh and a smile. Shelly put her hand on mine. “I would never pity you, Summer. You’re the strongest person I know, and you always have been. You know that. We all know that. That’s not what this is about.”
I tried to smile back. “Thanks, Shelly.”
“Anytime. And can you please call me Mom, like a normal twenty-four-year-old?”
“Not a chance, Shelly.”
“Okay, fine. So, then…a Jax Beach summer? Is that really all you want?”
I paused as her words hung in the overly sanitized air. It wasn’t all, and I knew it. As I sat there I thought of the one thing I didn’t have, the one thing I’d never had, the one thing that screamed at me from the silence and jumped out at me from the shadows – and now that this upcoming summer had perhaps just become Summer’s Last Stand, my desire was suddenly more urgent than ever. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop the longing from rising to my face, and as I felt the blood burn my cheeks I caught Steinberg’s eyes again, which just embarrassed me even more.
“Well, I mean, since you’re asking, there is one thing…”
“Anything!” Shelly and Dr. Steinberg said at exactly the same time, and I stared out of the window as my eyes got all weird and watery.
“Okay, well, I know something so sentimental is going to sound crazy coming from someone so…well, you know how I am…”
“Honest?” Steinberg offered, trying to be polite.
“Opinionated?” Shelly said.
“Brash?” Angie asked, even though she’d just met me ten minutes ago and it was literally beyond embarrassing that she already held that opinion of me.
“Headstrong and stubborn and annoying,” I finally said, shoving it out of the way, and they all nodded. “Anyway, here goes. Since you’re asking, the thing is…well, I’d like to fall in love.”
I looked down at the ground again as everyone in the room broke my most important rule already: I could feel their pity descending on me, smothering me just like it had my entire life, snuffing out any chance I had at being treated like a normal, living, breathing human, who deserved to love and be loved just like anyone else, as they say in the Hallmark cards.
“Oh, honey…” Steinberg sighed.
“It just wouldn’t be fair to someone…” my mother chimed in, just as Angie the counselor lady threw in her two cents, too.
“Sweetie, you have to understand, your situation is very serious. People get irrational during times like these, and if you get involved with someone and the worst happened, well-”
I crossed my fingers behind my back and shook my head. I’d known they’d react like this – why had I even tried in the first place? Some things, I knew, were just better left unshared.
“Yeah,” I said. “Okay, yeah, you guys are right. I’ll try to…put that off, I guess. For now. God knows I have tons of time to think about it – it’s not like I’m dying or anything.”
Everyone forced quick, fake laughs and then got back to business. Unbeknownst to them, however, my mind was quickly leaving the room, flying past the barren oak branches outside the window and soaring above the clouds to someplace only I knew. My desires could not be contained by the circumstances in this room, or by sickness, or even by reality in general, really. I wanted love more than anything – this was true, as much as it humiliated me to admit it. I’d wanted love ever since I was a cookie-cutter little girl being brainwashed by cookie-cutter Disney movies about cookie-cutter princes and princesses falling into cookie-cutter love and then prancing off to their cookie-cutter castles to live out their cookie-cutter lives. And strangely enough, this desire had only deepened after the fairy tale fantasies faded away and melted into a more grown up, real-world entity known as relationship FOMO, when my condition had rendered me an observer from the social media sidelines as everyone my age paired up and got engaged and married and pregnant and then shouted about it from the Facebook treetops as loud as their keyboards would let them while I sat there single as a nun with the flu. But I didn’t want that cookie cutter love from the Disney movies and my social media feeds. I didn’t want some run of the mill summer romance that would fizzle out as soon as the sunrays slanted in the fall and the Facebook Official status went to shit.
Because I, Summer Johnson, Purveyor of Pragmatism, Lover of Logic, Ultimate Believer in the Rational, and Person Who Was Maybe Going To Die Soon, wanted to drown in someone.

Seth King is a twenty-five-year-old author and artist.

Release Day Blitz: Garrett By: Sawyer Bennett

New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett hits the ice with the story of a playboy athlete whose winning ways lead him to a beautiful woman with a lot to lose.

Carolina Cold Fury star Garrett Samuelson never wants to miss out on a single minute of fun. Whether he’s playing hockey, hanging out with friends, or walking the red carpet with a new date on his arm, he lives every day to the fullest. When he meets Olivia Case, he sees someone who’s exactly his type—confident, sexy, smart . . . his next fling. But the more he pursues her, the more Garrett shares a side of himself that other women don’t normally get to see.

Olivia has been keeping a secret. While Garrett lives for the next thrill, Olivia’s not sure she’ll live to see the next day. She’s undergoing treatment for some serious medical issues, and she doesn’t have time for a relationship with no guarantees—especially one with a hot-as-sin womanizer who won’t take no for an answer. But as she gets to know the real Garrett, Olivia can’t help falling for him . . . hard. To reveal the truth would mean risking everything—but you can’t score without taking the tough shots.

Cancer is a horrible disease.  I have lost two very special people in my life to it and I hate that they lost their battle, and that is exactly what it was, a battle.  So I knew going into Garrett that this was going to be one that brings up some pain from my past.  There is no way to romanticize cancer, and that isn’t what happens here at all.  Garrett at least for me is a book of hope, strength and the building of a love that will be tested by hardships.
We knew from the previous book that Garrett is a manwhore, different women, no relationship or commitments, love em and them em type of guy.  But as we all have seen before, all it takes is one women to knock them off their ass and their entire world is turned upside down.  Garrett had no idea that Olivia was sick, but when he finds out, he seriously made me love him because he wasn’t with her because she was sick, no he was with her because she was it for him.  Olivia, I liked but didn’t love and let me explain why.  She in a way was selfish, she wanted Garrett in her life but didn’t take the time to stop and think that while this may be hard on him he never once showed a second of regret.  She tried to make a decision for him and I wanted to scream because she just couldn’t see past her own fears.

This isn’t a happy romance even though there is happiness in the book.  It is one that is moving, one that will open your eyes and make you want to hold your love ones a little tighter to your heart because you never know what is going to happen, whether you live until you are 100 years old, or maybe something tragic happens  you just need to keep them close.  I want to read Zach’s story which comes out next right now because I have a feeling that it will be another heart wrenching story.  Fans of Sawyer Bennett need to read the Cold Fury Hockey series and have your tissues ready once you finish Alex because Garrett is going to pull at all your emotions.

Links to Buy
Also Available
Author Bio
New York Timesbestselling author Sawyer Bennett is a snarky Southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company that lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Bennett would like to report that she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.
Author Links

Blog Review Tour & Giveaway: Loving Cara (Love Under the Big Sky #1) by Kristen Proby

Loving Cara was the perfect blend of romance, heat, angst and emotion. Kristen Proby has swooned me with her new series, Love Under the Big Sky. S-W-O-O-N-E-D me!
Josh King and Cara Donovan have grown up together in a small town in Montana. Two years ahead of her, Josh never really noticed Cara before. Sure he use to pull on her curls in passing, but that was about it. Years later however, they are both all grown up and settled into their adult lives. Josh has taken over for his parents and runs the Lazy K Ranch. Cara works as a teacher in town. An unfortunate circumstance has them crossing paths. Josh definitely takes notice of Cara now. Long gone is the curly haired plain Jane from their school days. Now, standing before him is a breathtaking curvy blonde full of sass and heart. And well, who’s not noticed Josh. He’s 6’3”, tanned, muscular and incredibly hot.

This one truly pulled at my heartstrings. Let me just take a moment first to cover what brings Josh and Cara together. His twelve-year old nephew, Seth, is unexpectedly dropped at the ranch. Seth’s mother abandons him while Seth’s dad, Zack, is deployed in Afghanistan. Of course this is going to play emotional havoc on a young boy. Not caring about much of anything including his grades, prompts Josh to seek tutoring help over the summer for him. Cara is a positive light for Seth. With her help, he gets his grades back on track and curbs his disrespectful attitude towards everyone. However, it’s not until after Seth’s dad returns that some light is shed on the things his mother told him. At that moment my heart broke. It struck a strong personal cord with me. Ugly tears were streaming down my face with the lies his monster of a mother fed him and the animosity that he developed for his dad. Ugh, I’m crying now just thinking of it again. Ms. Proby wrote an amazing heart wrenching scene there. I know Seth and his dad still have things to work on. Seth himself as more to reveal later in the story; as if my heart couldn’t break enough for this kid. I’m truly looking forward to Zack’s story.

Okay, on to Josh and Cara. I smile now, just thinking of what a great love story it was. They’d known each other their whole lives, but it’s not until years later they see each other in a different light. The romance between them just felt so natural.

“No measure of time with you will ever be long enough, Cara.”

Of course what’s a romance book without some torment. Once again, Ms. Proby had my heart in my throat when a bad storm rolls through town and almost puts an end to something before it could fully start. She captured the emotion of the situation perfectly. I felt the spike in my adrenaline as Cara reacts to get out of harms way and then again when Josh was desperately in search of her. What played out from there was sensual and beautiful. Josh is so smooth and attentive; in and out of the bedroom.

“You own me, Carolina. Body and soul.”

While, Cara may have grown into a beauty, sadly she still sees herself as the girl from the past. This opens the door for uncertainty to seep in. You’d think by now Ms. Proby would have thrown enough angst at as, but nope. She took me on some highs and lows with this one. To the very end. I refused to leave my Kindle. I needed to know what happened next. It was well worth the lost hours of sleep.

I have to add. In true Kristen Proby fashion, she brought her characters to life. These people exist! And I fell absolutely in love with them; from Josh and Cara, Zack and Seth, to other characters I haven’t even mentioned cause this review would never end if I did. I’m excited and cannot wait for more in this series.

KRISTEN PROBY is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular With Me in Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type—fiercely protective and a bit bossy—and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate, and sunshine. And naps. Visit her at

Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.


Pocket Books:

a Rafflecopter giveaway//

Jerk of My Dreams # 31

Jerk. Asshole. Douchenozzle. Admit it- you hate to love the jerks. That alpha male character who is so arrogant and rude but sexy as hell. That foul mouthed douche bag of a man who rocks your traitorous heart. We’ve all read them and we’ve all liked them to some extent. In real life you wouldn’t touch the man with a ten foot pole. But in the fictional world? Nothing can stand in the way! Everyone would be lying to themselves if they didn’t admit that the meaner the man, the further we run… Towards them! *sigh* 

That’s what this weekly meme is about- those jerky delicious men! Each Friday this meme will go up, and you can share your jerk anyway you want: review, interview, lines and quotes, giveaway of a book. However you want! All you have to do is sign up 
HERE and follow the linky. Any time you comment on someones post, leave your link so that person can comment back.

The Other C-Word will rock your world. OMG! I was hooked from the very beginning.
Marley is such an enigmatic character. She has secrets. Secrets only her family knows. These secrets cause so many problems for her. Yet, she’s surrounded by family that loves her, supports her, and does what they need in order to help her. We should all be so lucky.
She finally meets a man that could be her one. Her one true love. Yet, she pushes him away. Her secrets are too much.
Rick is awesome. He agrees to play by her rules. Yet, he manages to get a few of his own rules thrown in. Over time, he gets her to see things differently. He does it just by being himself.
Now, while Rick is awesome. He’s also a jerk. He pushes things, he’s inappropriate, he’s cocky, arrogant and OMG HOT! I really wanted to smack him at times. He would be a total jerk to her and then in the next instant he was being sweet.  As soon as she would say or do something he took affront to, he would be cold and arctic to her. But, once he found out the whys of her behavior he would soften toward her and try to make everything better.
I was on an emotional roller coaster through this book. I knew she had secrets. Horrible secrets, but we didn’t find out those secrets until about ¾ way through the book. Once we find out the entire secret, I was bawling. I completely understood why she was being that way. I also understood Rick’s need to take care of her.
We should all be so lucky to have a Rick in our lives. Or has Marley called him R U Randy! (That gave me many chuckles).  Even though Marley kept pushing him away, he came for her when she needed him most.
I think it may be time to Dish……and dish!

Review: Heaven’s Sinners by Bella Jewel

Everyone has a past.
Everyone has someone they loved and lost.
What if the person you loved and lost is back in your life?
How do you get past the hurt to find that love again?
Ciara and Spike have one of the hardest, most difficult pasts ever. Many years ago they were best friends. They both wanted the other but were too afraid to act on it. Then Ciara’s sister, Cheyenne, decided she wanted Spike. Now, Cheyenne is dead, Spike and Ciara hate each other, and the drama continues.
This story killed me. I cried through nearly the entire thing. Ciara and Spike just kept hurting each other. They couldn’t stop! I wanted to hit them both upside the head. Just when they would start to make progress, one of them would say something stupid and mess it all up again.
I do love how Ciara handled Spike on several occasions. Instead of running, she faced him head on with a smile on her face. It left Spike reeling, not knowing what was going on.
Once Spike and Ciara finally got together it was great. Spike held nothing back and Ciara gave as good as she got. It was intense. The whole story is intense. It’s full of heart-ache, mistakes, forgiveness, and moving forward. It takes a lot of courage and a big heart to be able to forgive someone. To be able to move past the things Ciara and Spike did to each other is phenomenal.
In case you’re wondering why he’s called Spike, you’ll have to read to find out. I guarantee you’ll be left with your mouth hanging open. I know mine was.
Ciara also manages to make friends with one of the guys in Spike’s MC, Muff. He was a great secondary character and I’m really hoping he gets his own story. He was a riot!
Of course we still see Addi and Cade in this one. I love seeing the past couples in series show up again. They’re not just secondary characters that make an appearance, they have a significant role in this story and I like it. I like knowing they were left behind in their own story. I like that they continue to live on in the following stories.
I only have one complaint about this story. The level of cussing went up dramatically. I don’t remember it bothering me in the first one. But this one, it feels like every other word was the f-bomb. Cussing in stories doesn’t usually bother me, but at one point I had to put the book down because it was just too much.
We have what appears to be a resolution to the problem Spike had. We don’t know for certain, just an assumption on the part of the MC Club. We’re left with them working on finding out for certain. No big cliffhanger, just a little uncertainty. We also leave Ciara and Spike with the HEA. Even though they’re big bad bikers, and they’ve done some pretty crappy things in their lives, you still love them. You still want them to have the HEA. They’re completely heartless. In fact, they almost seem….normal.

I’m thrilled to say I have the next one in the series in my hot little hands. I’ve moved on to Knight’s Sinner and I must say, it’s starting off with a bang.
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Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway: Now or Never by Jamie Canosa

You always hurt the ones you love. Even if you’re trying to protect them, or maybe because you try to protect them. But no matter what, you’re stronger when you do things together, stand together.
Jay and Em’s story continues in Now or Never. It’s a heart-wrenching, gut wrenching emotional roller coaster. Jay and Em don’t seem to be able to catch a break. No matter what they do, life keeps throwing things at them. They fight, they try, they can’t get ahead. Then Jay’s past and Em’s past catch up to them. It threatens everything.
This is definitely not your typical romance. Jay and Em have issues and problems most people could never imagine in a million years. They’re fighting so hard. As I was reading this story I wanted to hit Jay so many times. He’s a typical male in that he wants to protect Em. But his problems are not typical. His methods were not typical. He just ended up hurting Em over and over.
Em, bless her heart, tried. She kept loving Jay. She tried to get him to listen, but he just pushed her away and fed into her fears. I was so proud when she finally took a stand and made Jay realize what they had to do. It was amazing.

Hopefully Jay and Em will have their HEA now. But you never know as life has a way of keeping you on your toes and throwing curve balls.
Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Ravena, NY with her wonderful husband and three crazy kids . . . plus the dog, the bird and the rabbit.

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Slowly, he lowered them both back down to the mattress with Em still tucked close. When Jay’s lips brushed over her forehead, Em shut her eyes. She loved nothing more than the feel of his lips . . . except maybe the taste. Luckily, he wasn’t done yet.
Equally as desperate to avoid returning to the horrors that awaited them both on just the other side of consciousness, Jay covered her hair and face with tiny, feather light kisses until she could hardly catch her breath. When his tongue finally tangled with hers, heat raced through Em’s veins like some kind of igniter fluid. She couldn’t have stopped the gasp that escaped her lips if she tried, and when she felt Jay smile against her mouth, she was glad she hadn’t.
His talented lips continued their trail downward, along her neck, and Em tipped her chin up to give him better access as Jay’s fingers toyed with the hem of her shirt. He lifted it up an inch and stopped, waiting on her go-ahead before taking things any further, as always. When she arched her back and began tugging at the shirt herself, Jay took the hint and finished the job.
They’d been this far before—more than once—but it still made Em’s pulse race. Mostly with excitement and anticipation, but there was always that ever present fear lingering in the back of her mind, a small nagging presence that kept things from ever going any further. For months, Jay had been infinitely patient with her, never pushing, never even asking, but could she really expect him to wait around for her forever?
The coarse scruff on his jaw rubbed against the delicate skin just below her ear, setting her body on fire. Christ, she loved when he did that. His delicious scent surrounded her. She bathed in the smell of him, the touch, the taste. A small moan escaped her lips before she even knew it was coming. He just felt so . . . good.
Propped up on one elbow, Jay trailed his mouth back down her torso, along the curve of her neck, down her collar bone, over the swell of her breast, and continued downward. Teeth scraped her sensitive flesh, causing waves of heat to wash over her. When he reached her bellybutton, his warm, wet tongue dipped inside.
Panting, Em fisted one hand in the sheets and the other in Jay’s hair. So good. So good. He groaned against her lower belly and she felt the tingles all the way to her toes. As Jay made his way, slowly, up her body again, Em’s eager hands slid over his toned shoulders and down his back, gliding right over the numerous puckered scars she hardly even noticed anymore. To her they were beautiful. He was beautiful, everything about him, including his past. Even if parts of it were unbearably ugly, it had made him who he was—the man she loved.
His muscles rippled under her caress and his breath quickened. Tiny puffs of air fanned her face as his chest slid over hers and she could feel his heart pounding an almost violent rhythm against her own. So distracted by the way she affected him, Em didn’t notice his hands moving until they hooked behind her knees, dragging her legs up and around his waist.
Jay’s full weight pressed her down deep into the mattress. Holding her. Pinning her. Trapping her. Sweat broke out across Em’s skin and her heart started racing for an entirely different reason. Lost in his affections, Jay didn’t notice when her breaths turned to gasps.
He gently nibbled on her shoulder as he lowered his hips to hers. Hardness and heat pressed against her through their pajama bottoms and Em fought for control of herself. This was Jay. Not him. It was Jay. She could do this for him.

Em held perfectly still as his hands slipped down her sides. She stopped breathing entirely as they trailed across her hips. But, when his fingers tangled in the drawstring to her pants, she couldn’t stop the quiet whimper from escaping.