Love all of these!
Today’s stop is for PE Kavanagh’s Friends & Lovers Book Series. We will have info about the books and author, and a great excerpt from one of the books, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.
Happy Reading :)
A grieving heiress. A celebrity psychologist. A decade of friendship. UNDONE BY ONE BOLD MOVE.
When Camille first met Jackson she was too young. Too innocent. Too traumatized.
Friendship was less than what she wanted, but all she could handle.
Ten years later and she’s a different woman. Strong, successful, brave. At exactly the wrong moment, one bold move threatens everything.
The safe harbor of Jackson’s family. The unconditional commitment of his friendship. The collection of secrets she never knew existed, Claims and confessions come hard and fast as Jackson and Camille navigate all that has never been said. Each step they take, closer to the truth and each other, demands another layer of secrets must fall.
Collecting Secrets is a steamy standalone contemporary romance with no cliffhanger. You will meet characters who will reappear throughout the series.
From Collecting Secrets
This was not the first time Camille had looked foolish, but it might have been the first time she didn’t care. Unable to find her room key or hold back the torrent of tears, she plunked down onto the ugly hotel carpet in front of her door and sobbed, loud and hard. With nothing but the back of her hand to wipe away the tears and snot, the scene quickly escalated from tragic to gruesome. Heartbreak was no stranger. But this break-up was beyond humiliating. How dare he? She had given him everything and he claimed it wasn’t enough. He’d stood in the cold marble lobby and yelled at her. Accused her of cheating. In front of everyone. Humiliation mingled with anger and desperation, halting any effort to pull herself together. They’d flown across the country to attend this wedding and now she’d be conspicuously dateless in a room full of happy couples. She tried to take a breath and choked on a new wave of tears. A soft crush of footsteps stopped in front of her, but Camille had no interest in lifting her head off her knees to look. “Hey, Cam. What’s wrong?” She knew that voice, as well as the gentle stroke of his hand in her hair. “Camille. You’re scaring me. What’s going on?” His worry pierced through her pain and, with great effort, she tilted her head up to see her best friend’s face inches from hers. His eyes flashed to fear. “Camille! What happened? Are you okay? Talk to me!” It took so much energy to form words. “Calm down, Jack. I'm okay.” “You don’t look okay. Did something happen with Charlie? Where is he?” The questions were coming too fast for Camille’s throbbing, blurry head. “He dumped me.” There, she said it. Out loud. The line of his lips flattened and his breath growled. Rage filled his expression. “That mother fu-” Camille shook her head, trying to regain her composure. “We flew all the way here and that bastard couldn’t even wait one more day.” Jackson’s mouth softened. “I'm so sorry.” He rubbed his thumb across her cheek. She looked into the warm brown eyes of her closest friend, the man who’d been like a brother for the past ten years. This was how she knew him best – kind, caring, and sweet. She didn’t care how the world saw him. She had gotten to know the real man. “Let’s get you up and into your room.” He slipped his long arms under hers and stood her up. She fell into his broad chest, melting into the arms that enveloped her. “Where’s your key, love?” he whispered into the top of her head. She mumbled into his chest. “I couldn’t find it.” Keeping a firm grip around her with one arm, Jackson dipped down to pick her purse up off the ground. “Can I take a look?” “Of course.” She had no secrets from him. She winced when he had to unlock his arm from her waist to search through her purse. Of course, he knew exactly where she would have put the key: in the smallest zippered pocket. He waved it in front of the magnetic pad and the loud click confirmed his success. As expected, the room had been cleared of all Charlie’s belongings. His compulsiveness would have prevented him from forgetting anything. Camille stepped away from Jackson to look around, hoping to find a belt, or a tie, or even a tube of shaving cream. Any excuse to contact him again. But there was nothing, not even a stray hair. Charlie had almost snuck out without her knowing. If she hadn’t had to leave the restaurant to go to the bathroom, she would never have seen him, bags in hand, striding across the lobby. Jackson stepped in front of her, halting her examination of the room, and began wiping her eyes and nose with a tissue. “I'm a mess.” Only the slightest tinge of self-consciousness colored the moment. This was who they were and had always been. He pressed the tissue across her nose and she blew, like a small child. “No, Cam. You’re just hurting.” He balled up the tissue and flicked it into the small metal bin to his right. “I know you’re upset, love. But, personally, I'm glad he’s gone. He was never good enough for you. And he reinforced his complete lack of class by doing this here. I mean, he couldn’t have ended it before flying to Chicago with you?” Camille dropped her head, another rush of tears pressing against her eyes. His broad palms cupped her face, tilting her up to look at him. “Hey, hey, Cam. He has no idea what an amazing woman you are. There are better things in your future. I know it.” His shoulders lifted as he took a deep breath. Something about the look on his face locked her attention on him. When he touched his lips to hers, a first in their relationship, a tiny spark of surprise jolted her awake. When he pressed in, more deeply, passionately and deliberately, gripping her and parting her lips, there was no question a line had been crossed. A column of heat filled Camille’s body as his mouth explored hers. She could not have imagined anything as wonderful as that kiss in that moment. Until she remembered to whom that mouth belonged.
I believe that everything we experience exists as a story within us.
My journey as a writer includes the award-winning poem I penned at the ripe old age of seven, decades of hiding and doubt, and then finally… finally!... realizing that art needs to be shared. Storytelling is part of my heritage, even though I denied it for so long. The stories I created - true and imaginary - have saved me numerous times.
My characters come to me, like old friends excited to tell me what's new. They represent the world I see and the world I want to see.
More than anything, I care about recovery from life’s setbacks… getting back on your feet after life has brought you to your knees… and my characters fight the hard fight for the lives they know are waiting for them.
I’ve drawn my inspiration from the many flavors of my life experience. Once a sad, shy girl, I’ve also been an MIT-trained engineer, biotech executive, professional dancer, yoga teacher and business owner, school founder, spiritual counselor, entrepreneur, and author.
And I own a magic wand that I’m certain will work one day.
When I’m not typing, furiously trying to capture the stories that pour from me, you can find me loving my people to excess, globe-trotting to the next great adventure, and sporting bright red lips as a tango diva. And of course on my digital homes: pekavanagh.com and boldsoulcoaching.com.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
Another good installment in the small town contemporary series. This time we find Jackson Sansbury, the last living member of Trinity Falls, OH founding family, owning and running a cabin resort at the edge of town. Jackson has had a rough couple of years; his wife cheated on him while he was at the hospital with their daughter who was fighting (and ultimately lost her battle with) cancer. With the towns 150th birthday celebration just weeks away, the citizens of Trinity Falls hope that he can come around to celebrating with them; but for now he is just dealing with his grief in his own way by being a grumpy recluse.
Until Audra "Penny" Lane comes to spend a summer in the one renovated cabin at the resort. Her manager is a native of Trinity Falls and thinks that getting Audra away from the pressure cooker that is Los Angeles will help her get over her writer's block (Audra is a songwriter who just won a Grammy) and help with her insomnia. She finds the small town life very liberating and begins to find her muse again.
Jackson and Audra make a sweet, wonderful couple and both their exes can die in a fiery mosh pit. Doreen amps up her mayoral campaign and gets caught in a sort of love triangle (but let's face it, anyone is better than that asshole Coach Leo). I kind of knew what secret woman Darius was seeing in the next town over and was proven right. The secret coming to light was a nice bit of fireworks to end Trinity Falls celebration.
Plot wise, this book moves slow in the first half and then layer upon layer of revelations begin to emerge and makes the story so engrossing. There are other plotlines that are a continuation from the previous book and are left hanging somewhat to be continued in the next book, but these plotlines give the reader a fuller sense of the world building and help set up the next book. Darius really shines in this book and I can't wait to read his story.
The basic premise of this story pulled me right in. Take some Medieval LARPers and stick them in a biodome for decades and monitor how their society evolves. Now it’s 2 generations later and the grandchildren of those original LARPers are coming into their own. Willow and Leaf Watson just put their father, Joel, to rest in a grave and they have many questions about where their lives will go from here. Being the two oldest members of one of the reigning houses, they know they hold some power but are not sure what to do with it. Their young sister, Laurel, is still a child and unaware of what perils may befall their family.
Meanwhile, out in the real world with all it’s technology, the Game Master Hannley Nichols plots. The biodome was originally set up to study human psychology when a society is confined yet separate from the larger whole of humanity (as it would be on Mars or such). However, I wonder if his goals have changed over time or if he had ulterior motives all along. A good chunk of the world sees the biodome and it’s residents as entertainment and not a serious scientific study. Initially, Hannley was just a side character, but by the end of the book I had a real interest in him and what his story arc will be for the series.
The word ‘biodome’ makes me sit up and take notice. For many years now I have been fascinated with this concept and the limited number of actual biodome experiments that have been done. The concept definitely helped pull me into this story but I found that it wasn’t executed very realistically. A self-sustained, closed society needs a lot of cross over training and strong connections among it’s members to work. The regular, daily tasks that it takes to live in a Medieval-like society in a biodome were glossed over and I found the enforced gender roles to be unlikely to work in such a situation. Plus, if we ever do send a chunk of humans to Mars to set up a biodome, we will probably make sure they have quality medical knowledge. This group didn’t have that.
So, setting that quibble aside, I was initially interested in the main characters. Willow, who prefers to be called Oaklee (and never let us forget it), is almost 16 and boys are starting to look her way as a potential partner in marriage. However, she lets her emotions rule her. At first, this was a charming quality about her as everyone, even herself, acknowledges this and loves her anyway. As the story went on, though, I found myself tiring of her emotional tantrums, weeping, fainting, crying to the point her stomach aches, etc. Since she was the main female character, I really wanted more out of her.
Leaf is rather mild and not that memorable other than he is easily offended. Meanwhile, Fillion revels in offending people. So maybe Leaf and Fillion were made for each other. Fillion has been a bad boy and is sentenced to a kind of community service that puts him ever closer to the biodome inhabitants. I found his character inconsistent at times even as I enjoyed his cheek. On one had, he claims no woman has offered him true affection before yet in other scenes he bemoans the fact that so many women have thrown themselves at his feet. While many of those girls could have been star struck or inconsiderate fortune hunters, I expect there were a few that served up true affections.
Then there’s some connection between the Watsons and the Nichols that I don’t fully understand yet. Della, Fillion’s mom, was also involved with Joel Watson at some point. So does that make Fillion and his sister Lynden stepsiblings (or divorced stepsiblings?) to the Watson kids? I’m not sure. I felt I needed a little family tree.
The story also gives us some insta-love which isn’t my thing. I expected more out of the biodome inhabitants as they don’t seem to have any method for divorce so I would think that pairings would be made with plenty of consideration for actual love matches. There’s also a love triangle to contend with, and again, that’s not my thing. So I could have done without the romance in this story as it seems to be there just to add drama.
The ending had plenty of drama and some of it was good (like Fillion’s final fist fight) and some of it was silly (Willow’s emotional tantrum). There’s this bit of failed drama where Fillion assumes a false name. This doesn’t go over as planned and yet Willow is fooled… hmmm…. really? And that’s when I decided I really wanted some other main female character. Anyway, all around, the setting and plot hold potential for the next book in the series. 3.5/5 stars.
The Narration: Sunil Patel has a very enjoyable voice. It’s rich and clear and just makes me want to listen to him all day. However, his narration skills need a little polishing. There were a few mispronounced words but his French was good. I felt his Japanese was a bit rough. Also, he doesn’t really do distinct character voices. He did try to soften his voice for the female characters, but that wasn’t consistent either. Whenever Willow was yelling, she sounded just like her brother or Fillion. The biodome inhabitants are supposed to have a general British English accent, which Patel does well, but Fillion and Hannley and all the outsiders really sound just like biodomers in accent. The recording was OK but there are a few places where the volume goes up or the recording sounds a little rough. 3.5/5 stars.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jesikah Sundin. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Callie Turner is an independent, successful businesswoman. But, after being betrayed by the two people closest to her, she’s ready to get her life back on track.
She’s doing well until her father surprises her with a gift that requires the help of…
Rugged and caring, he tilts her world on its axis when he descends upon her life with power tools and that damn dimple that has the ability to send her heart racing.
But he’s promised to stay away from Callie.
Until he can’t.
When a seemingly random string of bad luck starts following Callie, Mason is pulled in even further, wanting to protect her.
Growing closer together, they work to deal with family and overcome obstacles that threaten to tear them apart.
But Mason soon realizes Callie is the one worth holding on to.
And he never plans on letting her go.
@Mommy_Amers, #Adult, #Contemporary, #Romance, 5 out of 5 (exceptional)