Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Review: Siren Beloved - Lexi Blake

Aidan O’Malley walked away from his fiancée, Lexi, and their best friend, Lucas, after a night of passion left him shaken to his core. Years later, Aidan returns home from Iraq haunted by all he has lost. The enemy broke his body, destroying his dreams of a career in music. Worse still, he lost Lexi and Lucas. That damage he’d done all by himself. While he can’t restore what combat took from him, he’s determined to reclaim the two loves of his life.

Lucas Cameron is a changed man. After connecting with his brother, he found the discipline to get his life on track. His legal career is flourishing, but his love life is a train wreck. The woman he loves is spiraling out of control. After Aidan abandoned them, Lucas and Lexi clung together but no matter how hard he tries, Lucas can’t find a way to heal the wounds that Lexi carries.

Lexi Moore feels like a jigsaw puzzle with too many missing pieces. Losing Aidan was hard, but the true reason for her shattered spirit is a secret she only shares with her beloved Lucas. She knows she is drowning and the time has come to heal, but the holes in her heart hold her back from moving on. Shedding the burden she carries is her only hope for a happy future, but she fears she will never have the strength to reveal her secret.

When Aidan walks back into their lives, Lucas and Lexi know everything is about to change. But as they fight to reconcile their past and reclaim what they lost, a vicious predator stalks Lexi. In order to stop the killer, all three must confront the secrets they’ve carried…before they’re buried by them.

Texas Sirens Series:
(Originally published under the pen name Sophie Oak)
Small Town Siren
Siren in the City
Siren Enslaved
Siren Beloved

Visit Lexi Blake's website for more information

Review:
After a night of passion shocked him to his core Aidan walked away from his fiancee Lexi and their best friend Lucas, he just couldn't wrap his head around his attraction to two people and was worried about what his conservative family and town would think of such an unconventional relationship. That was years ago though and after a devastating attack in Iraq left him badly wounded he's come to realise how short life can be - too short to walk away from the people he loves the most. Now Aidan is back and willing to do whatever it takes to convince Lexi and Lucas that this time he's serious. Lexi has been struggling since Aidan left, Lucas has tried to help her keep it together but they're both floundering. Aidan could be the key to getting their lives back on track but that's only if he manages to earn their trust again and with a stalker hot on Lexi's tail time is running out for a happily ever after.

If you've read the previous books in this series you'll already be familiar with some of the characters in this one - Lexi is Abby's daughter and Lucas is Jack's younger brother - so I was already looking forward to seeing them find happiness. Aidan has been mentioned before but we only know him as the ex-fiance who broke Abby's heart when he ended their engagement so I was really curious to meet the man both Lexi and Lucas were in love with. I have to admit I wasn't a fan of the way Aidan chose to walk back into their lives, it felt a little manipulative and I was really surprised that Julian, and particularly Jack, went along with it. I did feel Lexi and Lucas' reactions to that were completely understandable though so I was glad that it kind of backfired on him!

Lucas is a more forgiving character and he was willing to listen to Aidan's side of the story, I think given his own background that made a lot of sense, he's already been given second chances so knows what it's like to mess up. Lexi went through a lot after Aidan walked away so she's much more wary of getting hurt again, she only really agrees to speak to Aidan for Lucas' sake but she can't deny that she still has feelings for him. The three of them worked really well together and I enjoyed seeing them find their way back to each other after all this time apart, they all had their own issues that they brought to the relationship but they were all really supportive of each other and willing to listen to each other which is important.

There's no denying that Lexi Blake writes fantastic romances with scorching hot chemistry and Lexi, Lucas and Aidan were no exception to that. This series really amps up the heat levels but it also has some really sweet and fun moments so I loved getting the chance to catch up with previous characters and their growing families. I'm not sure which characters are up next but I really hope we get to see more of both Aidan's brother Bo and Master Leo, the rest of this series is definitely on my wish list though and I can't wait for the next book!

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Blog Tour: Siren Beloved - Lexi Blake


Aidan O’Malley walked away from his fiancée, Lexi, and their best friend, Lucas, after a night of passion left him shaken to his core. Years later, Aidan returns home from Iraq haunted by all he has lost. The enemy broke his body, destroying his dreams of a career in music. Worse still, he lost Lexi and Lucas. That damage he’d done all by himself. While he can’t restore what combat took from him, he’s determined to reclaim the two loves of his life.

Lucas Cameron is a changed man. After connecting with his brother, he found the discipline to get his life on track. His legal career is flourishing, but his love life is a train wreck. The woman he loves is spiraling out of control. After Aidan abandoned them, Lucas and Lexi clung together but no matter how hard he tries, Lucas can’t find a way to heal the wounds that Lexi carries.

Lexi Moore feels like a jigsaw puzzle with too many missing pieces. Losing Aidan was hard, but the true reason for her shattered spirit is a secret she only shares with her beloved Lucas. She knows she is drowning and the time has come to heal, but the holes in her heart hold her back from moving on. Shedding the burden she carries is her only hope for a happy future, but she fears she will never have the strength to reveal her secret.

When Aidan walks back into their lives, Lucas and Lexi know everything is about to change. But as they fight to reconcile their past and reclaim what they lost, a vicious predator stalks Lexi. In order to stop the killer, all three must confront the secrets they’ve carried…before they’re buried by them.

AVAILABLE NOW



Lexi realized she was in serious trouble the minute the words left Lucas’s mouth. Hell, she’d realized she was in trouble the minute she opened her mouth. What was she thinking? She knew damn well how to behave in a dungeon, but something about this Master made her want to push him. Damn it. She’d been this way all of her life. She had to push. She thought about taking a step back, but before she could make her feet move, Master A had her in a fireman’s hold.

“Hey!” She shouted as her world upended. She turned her head up to throw a desperate look Lucas’s way.

Lucas stood there, a stony cold look on his face. In that moment, he was all Dom, and she’d never seen him look hotter. There was a confidence about him she had rarely seen when he was around her. Lucas was utterly in command at work, but his surety faltered when she walked into the room. Even when he performed a scene with her, she knew he worried about her comfort. He didn’t look worried now. He looked ready.

Her heart started to pound as Master A turned, and she lost sight of Lucas.

“I need a chair, Lucas.” The words came out of the Master’s mouth like a judge delivering a sentence.

“Yes, Sir.” Lucas’s words were silky smooth. There was not a hint of hesitation now. She could hear him moving to do Master A’s bidding.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she asked, though she was a bit less hostile now. She’d fucked up. She was glad Julian wasn’t around to witness it, though Leo would probably tell him. Tears pricked her eyes. Damn, she was proving to Leo she couldn’t handle the lifestyle. “Look, Sir, I’m sorry. It was wrong of me to be rude to you, but I was merely pointing out that Lucas and I had a plan for tonight.”

Reason. She could reason with him, surely. It worked on all the men in her life. Of course, usually she was looking at them instead of trying to plead her case to a group of back muscles. The muscles were unbelievably tight, but his skin—oh, his skin had been decimated in his lower back. It was a mess of white, puckered flesh, and she could see both neat, surgical lines, and jagged edges. She reached out to touch the mass of scars, but she was jerked back over his shoulder and set on her feet before she could make it. She wobbled on her heels, but Master A’s big hands held her shoulders.

“I don’t think you understand how this is going to go, sub. I am the Master, and you are the one being punished. I won’t put up with a spoiled princess telling me how her punishment will go. It will go the way I say it will go. First, you will pay for the insult to me, and then we’ll proceed to the sawhorse.”

“I don’t like the sawhorse.” The words came out breathy and small, because she was beginning to understand that this was serious.

Master A didn’t look like he was planning on giving in. And she hated being called a spoiled princess, but a part of her worried that he was right. The last few years, she’d allowed herself to become spoiled and dependent. She’d fled from everything that hurt her. She’d hidden. She’d let her stepfathers and Lucas coddle and provide for her so she didn’t have to face the truth.

Master A didn’t flinch. “I don’t care. Lucas has done the best he can, but the truth is he wasn’t trained to be a Dom. He might enjoy it from time to time, but he prefers bottoming. You require a firm hand. If you don’t want it, then you’re free to leave. No one is holding you against your will. This is all about consensual play, so you have to make the choice. Do you want the session to continue?”

She hated this part. This was the part that she’d never understood. She had to make the choice, and she couldn’t put it off on anyone else. She wanted for him to simply do it. Then she could blame him later, but that wasn’t what The Club was about. She’d been coming here for over a year, and she finally had to decide to make the choice—stay and put herself in the hands of a stranger, or go and never know what it was like. And then there was the fact that Master A was right. Lucas needed something she couldn’t give him.

She cast her eyes down submissively. How bad could it be? “Yes, Sir.”

“Then strip.”


About Lexi Blake:

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

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Cover Reveal: Cougar Creek Mates Series - Felicity Heaton


New York Times best-selling paranormal romance author Felicity Heaton has a special four book cover reveal today for her thrilling new shifter romance series, Cougar Creek Mates. Set in her popular Eternal Mates world, Cougar Creek Mates takes you into the deep Canadian wilderness to a secret place that's home to a cougar shifter pride led by four sexy brothers, each guaranteed to steal your heart and set it racing! With all four books in the series releasing just weeks apart, this is going to be one hot summer.

Check out the covers, and discover more about the books, including where you can pre-order!


Claimed by her Cougar
(Cougar Creek Mates Shifter Romance Series Book 1)
Felicity Heaton

Having lost his parents and mate in a brutal attack on his cougar shifter pride by a hunter organisation, Rath burns with a need to keep humans off his land and out of his life. He'll do whatever it takes to protect his pride from them, but when a lone female wanders into his territory, it isn't a burning need to drive her away he's feeling and it isn't his pride that needs protecting - it's his heart.

Down on her luck, Ivy follows a lead to a spot where she hopes to photograph black bears, but what she discovers there is a mountain of a man who lacks manners and seems determined to drive her off his property - a man who stirs unbidden fire in her veins and a strange sense of home.

With a pride gathering on the verge of happening at Cougar Creek and the air charged with a mating heat, the last thing Rath needs is a human on his land, especially one as beautiful and alluring as Ivy, one who rouses a fierce need to fight for her, but he can't convince himself to let her go... and that proves dangerous for them both.

Due for release on 28th July 2018





Captured by her Cougar
(Cougar Creek Mates Shifter Romance Series Book 2)
Felicity Heaton

In the wake of an Archangel attack on Cougar Creek, Storm is seething with a need for revenge against the hunter organisation and the key to it might be the petite blonde mortal he’s locked in his cabin, one he’s determined to make sing for him. Only the beauty has a fiery temperament to match his own, and the more time he spends with her, the more she stokes a fire inside him. One that fills him with a startling and undeniable need to make her sing in another way—in his arms.

Gabriella isn’t going to take her captivity lying down. She’s going to give the pig-headed brute holding her against her will hell until he finally believes she’s innocent. He might be a cougar shifter, but she isn’t afraid of him. Or at least she isn’t afraid of what he is. The way he affects her, the flames that lick through her whenever they’re close, terrifies her though, because the longer she’s around the towering sexy-as-sin shifter, the hotter that fire blazes, and it’s only a matter of time before it burns away all her restraint.

With the mating heat and the attack bringing cougars back to the creek, Gabriella is a complication Storm doesn’t need, but she’s one that he wants… because she might just be his one true mate.

Due for release on 18th August 2018





Courted by her Cougar
(Cougar Creek Mates Shifter Romance Series Book 3)
Felicity Heaton

Madness is sweeping through Cougar Creek, and Flint wants no part of it. The fever has two of his brothers in love already, and Flint is damned if he’s giving up the bachelor life to tie himself to one female, but when a perimeter sweep has him running into an exotic and enthralling beauty who rouses his instincts as a cougar shifter and a male, the hunt is on.

All Yasmin is interested in is making sure her friend, Ivy, is safe, but the alluring black-haired man with a wicked smile she meets on the path to the creek has her thinking about other things. When an incident at Cougar Creek leads to her revealing a secret, and Flint’s persistence pushes her to a rash decision, her entire world is in danger of being turned upside down.

With the gathering in full swing, and males determined to prove their worth to Yasmin, Flint discovers he’s not immune to the madness sweeping through the creek, because he’ll do whatever it takes to claim victory and win Yasmin’s heart… no matter how dangerous it is.

Due for release on 8th September 2018





Craved by her Cougar
(Cougar Creek Mates Shifter Romance Series Book 4)
Felicity Heaton

For the last twenty years, Cobalt has burned with a need of one female, a beautiful raven-haired cougar who captured his heart the moment he set eyes on her. His position as pride protector has been a blessing at past mating gatherings, keeping females away, but this time it feels like the worst of curses, because the female who has bewitched him so thoroughly is taking part for the first time and all he can do is watch as males battle for her.

As much as she hates the way her mother controls everything in her life, Ember is thankful for it as she constantly turns away suitors, unaware of the pain she’s sparing Ember from with every male she rejects. Every male who isn’t the gorgeous blond with darkness in his eyes and an easy smile she burns for with an intensity that scares her, awakens feelings in her that have her verging on doing something reckless. Damaged goods he might be, dangerous and unpredictable, but with every contest over her that pulls her closer to her doom, she grows more determined to follow her heart, no matter the consequences.

With every fight over the right to Ember, the tethers on Cobalt’s feelings twist and threaten to snap, a torment he cannot bear and one that has him willing to risk it all, because a single kiss would make even the harshest punishment worth it. He would die for one moment with her… his fated mate.

Due for release on 29th September 2018





Book 1: Claimed by her Cougar (coming 28th July 2018)
Book 2: Captured by her Cougar (coming 18th August 2018)
Book 3: Courted by her Cougar (coming 8th September 2018)
Book 4: Craved by her Cougar (coming 29th September 2018)



Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

Friday, 13 July 2018

Cover Reveal: Infinite - Cecy Robson


INFINITE

by Cecy Robson
A Carolina Beach Novel, #3
Publication Date: August 15, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Standalone


#PREORDER NOW!


SYNOPSIS

Hale Wilder, aka the Anaconda of Wall Street, spent his childhood fighting to be the best to win his father’s love. He was the best student and the best athlete, who grew into a successful businessman and took the finance world by storm. Want to retire before you’re forty-five? He’s got you. Need your millions to be billions? He’s your man.

Young, rich, and powerful, Hale was unstoppable, until a company scandal destroys his reputation and threatens to bring down everything he’s bled for.

Becca Shields is the kickass public relations goddess spinning scandals to gold and launching has-beens into superstardom. She never expected to see Hale again—not following the humiliating night when her family caught them on the beach, barely clothed.

When Becca discovers Hale is in trouble, she can’t turn her back on the boy who was once her world and the man she never forgot.

Hale never thought he’d have another shot at greatness or with Becca. Now that he has both, he won’t let either go without a fight.

*NOTE* Although a part of a series, INFINITE can be read as a complete STANDALONE and features a new couple!


EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

I shut the TV off when she turns to answer the next question. Not because I don’t want to keep watching, but because I do. Jesus Christ in heaven. When the hell am I going to get over this woman?

“Did you turn it off?” Sean asks.

There’s enough sound coming from his end of the line that I can still hear Becca’s voice. Unlike me, Sean is still watching. He and Becca remain close, but then again, they never got as close as Becca and me got on that beach.

“I have work to do, Sean,” I say, trying to keep my voice casual. “Anything else you want to tell me?”

“Yeah.” He takes a sip of his drink. “I think Becca broke off her engagement.”

I straighten, every muscle along my spine turning to stone. For once, I’m glad Sean’s not around. I don’t want him to see me like this.

“To the owner’s son, Paris,” Sean adds. “Hmm. Or is it Lynda? Could be Brooklyn or maybe something fancy like Minnesota. Whatever his name is, he’s out of the picture. Did you see? She’s not wearing a ring no more.”

I didn’t bother looking, but if Sean’s telling me, it’s because he did look. Ever since learning she accepted that jackass’s proposal, I’ve forced myself to stop wondering what could’ve been between us. Who the hell am I kidding? I’ve never stopped wondering about us. How her hair fanned over my shoulder and the feel of her when I climbed on top of her.


DON'T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE CAROLINA BEACH SERIES

INSEVERABLE, A Carolina Beach Novel, #1

How can you imagine forever with someone who's leaving everything behind?

Callahan, a former army sniper, wants to make an escape from his past and everything he experienced at war, but most of all, just not feel. Feeling leads to pain and he's suffered enough. When he inherits a house on South Carolina's Kiawah Island, he packs his bags, lured by the peace and seclusion he thinks it will bring. But, Callahan never counted on meeting anyone like Trinity . . .

Trinity has always been the cute, and funny one, who most guys overlook in pursuit of her "hot" friends. She became used to being everyone's pal, until the day the young man she was attracted to, was drawn to her in return. He became her first great love, and first crushing heartbreak when she found him in bed with one of her closest friends.

To move forward, and to carry out her commitment to helping those in need, Trinity enlists in the Peace Corps, but not before returning to Kiawah for one last memorable summer. She just never imagined it would be so unforgettable.

Callahan doesn't want to get close to anyone-let alone Trinity. He finds her perkiness insufferable and her attempts to entice a smile distracting. After all, he's in Kiawah to leave all feelings behind. But when it comes to Trinity, who feels everything, it's hard not to feel something.

Neither expected to fall in love. And no one could have predicted how inseverable they'd become.



ETERNAL, A Carolina Beach Novel, #2

After months of bad luck and even worse men, Luciana Diaz just wants to crawl under the covers and forget the year ever happened. Her friend has other plans, convincing Luci to attend a New Year’s Eve party on the affluent shores of Kiawah Island.

Luci never expected to have fun. She also never expected to wake up with a man she just met, or for this man to be the new attorney at her firm.

Landon Summers is done with drama. After an ugly separation and even worse divorce, he has no desire to jump into another relationship.

When his sister Trinity drags him to a New Year’s Eve party, he doesn’t plan to stay long. One drink, a few hellos, and he’s out. Until he meets Luci, the first person in months to draw his smile and incite his passion.

Neither Luci nor Landon planned on each other, and they definitely didn’t plan on love. But the New Year means a fresh start, and eternal possibilities neither could deny.



ABOUT CECY ROBSON:


CECY ROBSON is an author of contemporary romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double RITA® 2016 finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, and a published author of more than eighteen titles, you can typically find her on her laptop writing her stories or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY


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Cover Reveal: Darkest Heart - Juliette Cross

Today I'm excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for Juliette Cross' upcoming paranormal romance Darkest Heart. This is the first book in her new Dominion series and publishes on the 20th of August. I'm a huge fan of Juliette's Vampire Blood series so this book is definitely at the top of my wish list!


About the Book:

Anya—a stoic, blue-winged angelic warrior—was bitten by a demon prince in battle, and now she has precious little time to find a cure for his deadly venom. But the only archangel with the power to stop the dark poison from corrupting her body and soul is missing. She’ll have to trust her guide, the outcast high demon Dommiel, who is as handsome as he is dangerous if she has any hope.

An outcast of his own kind, high demon Dommiel stays under cover while the war between angels and demons rages on. When the only person who ever showed him kindness asks for his help, he has no choice but to try to save the angel. Venturing back into the dens he has avoided for so long, Anya makes him want and feel things he never thought possible.

But Dommiel knows there is no way an angel can ever love a demon…

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26877686-darkest-heart


--

About Juliette Cross:

JULIETTE is a multi-published author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She is represented by Rachel Brooks at BookEnds Literary Agency. She calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab named Kona. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance--alluring settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more books set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.


Juliette’s Social Links:

Author Website: https://www.juliettecross.com/
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/Juliette__Cross
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliettecrossauthor/
Author Street Team/Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/370204226437408/
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliettecrossauthor/
Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.fr/juliettecross3/
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7795664.Juliette_Cross
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/XeKIn

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Blog Tour: Empire of Silence - Christopher Ruocchio's Five Favourite Space Operas #EmpireOfSilence

Today I'm taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the release of Empire of Silence, the first book in Christopher Ruocchio's fabulous new series that's epic science fiction series. This is a huge book both in scope and number of pages (I'm currently about three quarters of the way through so watch out for my review coming asap!) and it's one that will definitely appeal to epic fantasy and space opera fans. It's been described as "Dune meets The Name of the Wind" so that should give you a hint of what you can expect from the story!

I have a brilliant guest post from Christopher Ruocchio to share with you today with his top five space operas (we can never have too many books on our to read mountains right? I know I just added a few more to mine LOL!) but first let me tell you all about Empire of Silence:

Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.

It was not his war.

On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives--even the Emperor himself--against Imperial orders.

But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.

Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fighting a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

Doesn't it sound fab? I'm really enjoying the story so far and can't wait to see how it ends!

Now please give a warm welcome to Christopher Ruocchio and prepare to covet even more books.


MY FIVE FAVORITE SPACE OPERAS (THAT AREN’T DUNE OR STAR WARS)

By Christopher Ruocchio

The space opera combines the very best of epic fantasy with the very coolest parts of science fiction. The dramatic heights, flashy action set pieces, and high romance set against a dark background of stars and burning worlds...it’s the biggest canvas imaginable, a place where the promise of the future meets the mythic past, a genre where anything is possible. Star Wars opened the door for me, and the original films hold a special place in my heart, as they do for so many fans. But none of you are here to hear about Star Wars, so here goes:

1. THE CULTURE SERIES BY IAIN M. BANKS

By rights, I shouldn’t like the Culture books. The late Mr. Banks and I seem to disagree about everything: he has a very positive view of artificial intelligence, I’m a deep skeptic; he believed space travel will weaken state authority, I think the prospect of it will make them clamp down harder. A committed anarchist, Mr. Banks writes about a hyper-advanced machine-governed pseudo-anarchist utopia where people are free to do whatever they like. It sounds lovely (though I don’t relish the thought of being an amusing pet to a bunch of god-like benevolent AI). But I love these books, in no small part because Mr. Banks tends to write about the problems with his utopian vision (a rare trait amongst utopian thinkers), or about people who don’t belong. Use of Weapons is my particular favorite—though it makes for a bad introduction to the series, for that, I’d recommend The Player of Games—and its hero, Cheradenine Zakalwe, remains one of my favorite characters in SF/F: an immortal soldier who would rather be a poet. The series is an utter delight, with a unique sense of humor and worldbuilding (and worlds) on a truly epic scale. But make no mistake, for all its levity, Banks is never afraid to take his readers down dark alleys and into places more terrible (and against enemies more fierce) than his sometime-laughing tone might suggest.

2. THE VORKOSIGAN SAGA BY LOIS MCMASTER BUJOLD

When I’m not writing, I have the honor to be the Assistant Editor for Baen Books in the US (how I came to be published by DAW and by Gollancz is a long story). Toni Weisskopf insisted I read The Warrior’s Apprentice, and I did. And every other book in the series in the course of a few months. Miles Vorkosigan is perhaps my favorite single character in science fiction. The disabled son of the Prime Minister of the planet Barrayar, a sort of Czarist regime on a planet newly connected to the galaxy’s wormhole nexus, Miles is by turns brilliant, self-effacing, and a little bit insane—but above all it’s his compassion and charisma (and his seat-of-the-pants command style) that inspire the love of his friends and readers alike. Bujold deserves every one of the Hugos she received for this series—including the first ever Best Series Award, richly deserved. High marks for me include the absolutely gut-wrenching novella “The Mountains of Mourning,” in which Miles must confront an infanticide on his homeworld, where disabled infants are often killed to keep the native population free of mutation; the sprawling revenge epic Mirror Dance; and its immediate sequel, Memory, a more quiet meditation on aging that deals with the fallout of the horrific events in Mirror Dance. It’s very rare to find a series that follows a character from childhood to adulthood to parenthood and on that handles it with such grace and honesty. Moreover, Lois’s prose is remarkable. Understated and spare, she does more with a sentence than most writers (myself very much included) can do in a paragraph. If you haven’t read it, start with The Warrior’s Apprentice or Shards of Honor, and start today.

3. THE REVELATION SPACE SERIES BY ALASTAIR REYNOLDS

Featuring some of the best worldbuilding in the genre, Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space series pushes the low-life, high-tech feel of the great cyberpunk writers into the galactic future. His cities and orbital habitats bring out the very best in human ingenuity—and the worst of human nature. These are dark places, dangerous places, places where our capacity for reason and creativity long since came unglued from any sense of morality, and the effect is chilling. I have never seen more creative and terrifying uses of technology in a series. How he can take an industry staple—like an inertial dampener—and make it utterly terrifying is beyond me. I remember I accidentally read his short story, “Nightingale,” when I was about 12 years old. Those of you familiar with that story about an artificially intelligent hospital ship gone rogue will understand if I didn’t sleep for days. I resisted reading the novels themselves for many years because of this little incident. Alastair Reynolds’ universe is one I would hate to live in, but remains one of my very favorite to explore.

4. UNDER JURISDICTION BY SUSAN R. MATTHEWS

A more recent discovery of mine. I had the privilege of working with Susan while we were in the process of reprinting her Under Jurisdiction series, and so reread her old books in preparation for the release of new ones. Like the Miles books, these focus on the career of a single officer—Andrej Kosciusko—from the start of his career and through his life. Unlike the Miles books, Andrej is a torturer. An avid hobby-historian like myself, Susan shares my interest in the Qing Dynasty’s horrific legalism, and a version of it plays out in grand scale here, with Andrej transformed from a provincial doctor into an inquisitor for a horrific totalitarian regime. Susan pulls no punches. It’s hard to like Andrej, who keeps slaves and learns to really (and I mean really) enjoy his work, but it is an absolutely brutal examination of the way in which a seemingly ordinary person can be transformed into (and redeemed from) a part of the apparatus of the state...mirroring the way ordinary policemen were transformed into executioners in Nazi-occupied Poland, or into Party workers in Maoist China or the Soviet Union. This is a series very much not for the faint of heart, but for those of you who like to stare into the abyss, there are few darker. The series begins with An Exchange of Hostages, but the first three have been packaged together in an omnibus called Fleet Inquisitor, as well.

5. ARTHUR C. CLARKE’S SPACE ODYSSEY SERIES

I’ll admit to one heresy: I don’t care for Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey. I respect its enormous achievement, and it’s absolutely a work of art. But you see, I was—and remain—incurably restless. Sitting through that much screen-time with nothing but the dance of spaceships to classical music is entirely beyond me, and was beyond me even before I had a cell phone. But the books were a different story. A canonical text in our genre, the Space Odyssey books taught me that science fiction could emphasize the science part and not be tedious. They were also my first brush with a threatening artificial intelligence in HAL, who remains one of the genre’s best and most legendary villains (I remain extremely suspicious of robots, and suffer Alexa’s presence for my girlfriend’s sake). It was also my first encounter with the idea of transcendent alien life forms, a genre trope that I remain enamored of. The fact remains: I was reading these books in about third grade, right when I was starting to write, and so it is most in Clarke’s shadow—not Asimov’s or Heinlein’s—that I think I may be found.

________________________________

Thanks for so many fabulous recommendations Christopher! I read 2001: A Space Odyssey many years ago and I really enjoyed Revenger by Alastair Reynolds so I already had the Revelation series on my radar but the other series you mentioned are all ones I definitely need to check out. I'm also really enjoying Empire of Silence so I'm looking forward to continuing the Sun Eater series too!

Don't forget to check out the other fab stops on the Empire of Silence blog tour:


You can follow Christopher Ruocchio on Twitter @TheRuocchio and check out the #EmpireOfSilence tag for more information!

Friday, 6 July 2018

Blog Tour: Make Me Crave - Katee Robert


MAKE ME CRAVE, an all-new enemies to lovers story from Katee Robert is LIVE!

In MAKE ME CRAVE by NYT Bestselling Author, Katee Robert, Roman Bassani will do anything to close a deal. Even chase down Allie Landers on her Caribbean vacation to make an offer on her company.


Add MAKE ME CRAVE to your TBR pile on Goodreads and keep reading to get a sneak peek excerpt and enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card or one of three (3) ebooks from Katee Robert’s backlist!


Title: Make Me Crave
Author: Katee Robert
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Dare
Series: Make Me
Page Count: 144 pages
Format: Digital
ASIN: B0779DL61K

Synopsis:

“I crave you…”

Can their hunger be satisfied?

Roman Bassani will do anything to close a deal. Even chase down Allie Landers on her Caribbean vacation to make an offer on her company. He expects a challenge—but not their immediate intense attraction. After an accidental one-night stand they agree to put business aside—for now. The island lulls them into a heated sexual journey…but what happens to their opposing interests when they return from paradise?

“Dare is Harlequin’s hottest line yet. Every book should come with a free fan. I dare you to try them!”
—Tiffany Reisz, international bestselling author

Available at:




Praise for Make Me Crave

“Make me Crave by Katee Robert is such an amazing and captivating read that you will not put it down. Sexy, fiesty, hotness, chemistry, laughter and love Make me Crave is a must read for all book lovers. This is hands down in my opinion the best book that I have ever read by Katee Roberts.”—Goodreads review

“Wow! I can't emphasize enough how much I loved Make Me Crave (Make Me #2). It has sass, steam and great characters with loads of chemistry. Katee Robert is definitely an author on my ‘must read’ list.”—Goodreads review

“Hello Adonis! Roman is just...yeah. I mean, sex on a stick with a good heart (despite his past misdeeds), and a more than capable brain! Allie is his perfect match and their time together sets the pages on fire while making you root for them to get more than just the pleasure they find from each other on the island! A great book!”—Goodreads review


Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card or one of three (3) ebooks from Katee Robert’s backlist!

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Make Me Crave Excerpt
Copyright © 2018 Katee Robert

Allie was so furious, she could barely put two words together. “You don’t get to just decide that we’re having a conversation and haul me out here to do it.”

“If I was going to haul you anywhere, it’d be over my shoulder.”

Her body clenched at the thought of him doing exactly that, but she fought her reaction back. “You are insufferable. Do you know when the last time I had a vacation was? Ten goddamn years ago when I was still in freaking high school and on spring break. Ten. Years. Becka had to twist my arm to get me here, but I was enjoying myself—”

“I know exactly how thoroughly you were enjoying yourself.”

She ignored that because if she tried to deny it, she’d be a red-faced liar. “That changes nothing. The point is that I’m not enjoying myself now, and the only one to blame for that is you.” She went to push him back a step, but her hands had a will of their own. They stayed on his chest, and she sucked in a breath at how warm his skin was. The man might be a corporate suit, but he looked perfectly at home in his shorts without a shirt on here in the growing darkness near the beach. It was almost enough to forget all the reasons she never wanted to see him again.

Allie stepped closer and lowered her voice. “Nothing you say can make me believe you’re anything but a goddamn shark.”

“Who said I’m trying to convince you of anything?” The words brushed her mouth as he leaned down, just a little. “I am a shark, Allie. I’ve never pretended to be anything else.”

She started to call him a liar, but he was telling the truth. He hadn’t tried to seduce her with sweet words to get her into his bed—he’d offered her exactly what she wanted in as many words. Black-and-white. Simple.

It wasn’t simple at all.

“I despise you.”

“You want me.” His hands rested lightly on her hips. “It tears you up inside that you crave my cock, but you can’t fight it no matter how hard you try.” He backed her up, step by slow step, until she bumped a tree. Roman kept coming, the side of his face brushing hers. “Did you think about how good it’d feel to have my fingers sliding into these yoga pants?”

“No.”

“Who’s the liar now, Allie?” His lips caressed her earlobe. “I’d love a private yoga session. Just us. No friends, no instructors, no clothes. How long do you think we’d last before I was on my back and you were riding my cock?”

She couldn’t breathe. Her skin felt too tight, as if it were several sizes too small, and her core pulsed in time with her racing heart. “I would never—”

“No, Allie. No more lies between us. You’re pissed that I’m here—I get that—and you’re even more pissed that you want me. Trust me, I know the feeling. I was never supposed to fuck you, and if I’d known who you were…”

She leaned back enough to look at his face—or what she could see of it in the darkness. “If you’d known who I was, you wouldn’t have gone there with me.”

Roman cursed. “Even if I’d known your name, that wouldn’t have stopped me from wanting you. Needing you.”

She stroked her hands down his chest to the waistband of his shorts. “Do you need me now?”

“I never stopped.”

This was the worst idea. She needed her head clear, and it was nothing but muddled around Roman. He was too big, too beautiful, too overpowering. Even now, she leaned forward, the few inches between them too much distance. He let her, his hands on her hips branding her—but not trying to guide her. Allie inhaled deeply. “Do you drug your cologne? Because, seriously, how am I supposed to think straight when you smell so good?”

He chuckled. “I’m not wearing any.”

He was gorgeous and a god in the bedroom, and he had to smell good naturally. Because of course. “I don’t like you.”

“You don’t know me.”

She could argue that, but it didn’t feel completely accurate. Allie traced the waistband of his shorts with her fingers. She shouldn’t…but she was going to. She unbuttoned his shorts and slipped her hand in to grip his cock. “I don’t have to know you—I know this.”

“You’re playing with fire.”

“Maybe.” Definitely. If she was smart, she’d release him, walk away and spend the rest of her vacation in as close to bliss as she could get, throwing herself into relaxation before she had to go back to reality. She stroked him again, liking the way his body went tense but his hands stayed still on her hips.

As if he was waiting for permission.

The realization sent a thrill through her. She kept stroking his cock, teasing him. “Did you really think it would be that easy?”

“What would?” He spoke through gritted teeth, and her body gave another thrill of pleasure.

“Getting your way.” She squeezed him around the base and nudged his pants down a little farther so she could cup his balls with her free hand. “You thought you’d show up here, interrupt my vacation and, what? I’d fall all over myself to give you exactly what you wanted?”

Roman released one of her hips and braced his hand on the tree behind her. The move brought him closer to her, but not so close that he impeded her movements. She stroked him harder as he slid his cheek against hers, his breathing hitching with every downstroke. He nipped her earlobe. “Isn’t that exactly what happened last night?”

She glared and gave his balls a squeeze that was just shy of vicious. “You’re awfully cocky for someone who’s got their nether bits in my hands.”

“They’re very capable hands.” He shifted to press butterfly kisses along her jaw and down her neck even as his hand on her hip squeezed her. “Don’t stop.”

“I should.” She didn’t. “I should stop right now and leave you with a wicked case of blue balls.” Why was her breath coming as harshly as his? He’d barely touched her, but having his cock in her hands and him so close… Intoxicating. There was no other word for it.

Roman gave her collarbone an openmouthed kiss and dragged his hand up her side to palm her breast. “I’ll just go back to my villa and jack myself off thinking of your sweet pussy. Not as good as the real thing—nothing is—but you gave me more than enough inspiration to get the job done.” He tugged the strap of her tank top off her shoulder. It was one of those things with a built-in bra, so the motion freed her breast. He repeated the move with the other side, and she shivered as the breeze coming in off the water teased her nipples. “Beautiful,” Roman murmured.

“You go overboard with the compliments.” She kept up her leisurely stroking. It was like the rest of the world ceased to exist outside their little sphere. It was just her and Roman, driving each other crazy.

“I give credit where credit is due.” He bent and sucked one nipple into his mouth. The position meant she had to let go of his cock, which she did with reluctance. He cupped her through her yoga pants, the coolness of the tree against her back only highlighting how warm his body was. “If I slipped my hand in here, would I find you wet and wanting? I think so.” He traced a single finger up the seam of the pants—right over her clit. “I think having my cock in your hands turned you on as much as the fact that we’re ten yards away from the bar and anyone coming up from the beach will get the show of their life.”

She pushed back against him even as her hips rolled into his touch. “That’s not true.”

“Liar.” She felt more than heard the word as his breath caressed her neck. “You get off on this as much as I do.” Another stroke through the fabric. “Would you take my cock right here, right now?”

She started to say yes, but common sense reared its ugly head. “I’m not fucking you without a condom.”

“Mmm.” He kissed her neck. “I know.” Roman pulled her pants down in a swift movement. She started to protest, but he went to his knees in front of her and yanked her foot free. Oh. He looped one leg over his shoulder and she caught the glimpse of white teeth when he grinned. “Have a little faith, Allie. I’m not a complete monster.” And then his mouth was on her pussy and she didn’t have the breath to argue.



About Katee Robert

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa's knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension." When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Connect with Katee at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Instagram

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