arc · contemporary · new release · review · romance

Cruel Money by K.A. Linde

Cruel Money (Cruel #1)
by K.A. Linde

Rating: ★★★
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She was supposed to be a one night stand.

A way to sate my sexual appetite.

I gave her a glimpse of the man I am. The face that I hide behind my carefully cultivated life. But she ripped open that divide—and there’s no going back.

Now, she’s here. In my city.

I don’t care that I’m Manhattan royalty and she’s the help. Only that she’s living in my summer home. With me.

And I want more.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Think Gossip Girl or Cruel Intentions and you have Cruel Money—a second chance romance set within the glitz and glamour of New York’s upper class society. It is devious and abundant in delicious drama, characterised by deceitful personalities brimming with lies and scandalous propositions.

Delightfully addictive, without doubt compelling and unputdownable, Cruel Money, with an insurmountable level of intrigue and intensity, will have you invested throughout. It doesn’t just have angst and drama, it also contains seduction dripping with manipulation, deception flowing with tension and sweet lies coated in deviousness.

Our worlds didn’t connect. Our lives were so far from normal. I didn’t want to want this. I didn’t want to want him.

Penn Kensington and Natalie Bishop’s romance is twisted, yet fascinating—a train wreck of malicious intentions and inescapable heartache that you can’t turn away from. I became so engrossed in this narrative of cruel words and vicious actions that everything else faded away.

However, I couldn’t fully fall in love with these characters. Natalie does have some positive qualities—she’s confident, determined and she has serious backbone, but she’s also dense and unobservant, despite being a writer with certain qualities. Penn is an undeniable gorgeous, enigmatic figure, but there’s something missing.

Penn Kensington had gotten under my skin. He crawled beneath the surface and there was nothing I could do about it.

I know I will fall in love with this series. Cruel Money is filled with some of my favourite tropes combined into this enticing series. If you’re searching for something brimming with deception; a narrative with characters you’ll love to hate, or hate to love; the glamorous, lavish lifestyle of upper New York, this series will grip your attention.

I’m more than ready for Cruel Fortune (sadly, months away!)

arc · contemporary · review · romance

Ruthless King by Maya Hughes

Ruthless King (Kings of Rittenhouse #3)
by Maya Hughes

Rating: ★★★
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My dick never got me in half as much trouble as my heart…

We were high school sweethearts. I was head over heels for her and no one could tell me we weren’t going to last forever. College? Going pro? My family’s money? None of it mattered. She was all I needed.

Then she ripped my heart out. But I’m not going to let that happen again.

She’s back. Invading my life and acting like she was the wronged one. The pain is still there, but I can’t keep my eyes off her. I can’t stop thinking about her and how much was left unsaid between us. Being this close is making me question everything I thought I knew about her.

This time everything will be on my terms. Everything…

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

I have been dying to read Avery and Emmett’s second chance romance since starting Kings of Rittenhouse. Once having experienced an enviable, near perfect romance, only to have that dream shatter, ending tragically, Avery and Emmett’s relationship started to be filled with undeniable animosity. And many questions started swirling in my head, piquing my interest, about this couple’s reasons for separating.

Ruthless King was overall more enjoyable than Shameless King and Reckless King. However, I seem to have an issue with each installment. In Shameless King, Declan’s virtually non-existent relationship with his dad was pointless; in Reckless King, the forbidden relationship came too late and wasn’t worth being a point of contention.

Avery Davis had dismantled me and left me as a shell. Even knowing the pain she’d caused, every night I closed my eyes, it was her I dreamed about.

Complete, utter disappointment consumed me when we finally received details about the separation. I understand that sometimes a situation appears worse than it is, but unless you really saw something, or find definitive proof, having a smidge of maturity really saves a person from experiencing unnecessary heartache. Miscommunication is my least favourite reason to separate a couple for prolonged periods of time.

Avery could have been honest, saving herself being subjected to bullying by an ex-boyfriend, but instead remained quiet about everything that happened. She didn’t trust herself, nor her relationship. I experienced inconsistencies with her less than fabulous personality—one minute, she’s angry at Emmett for not believing her; the next, she admits she didn’t want to cause issues by upsetting Emmett. You can’t be annoyed at someone over a situation you’ve been secretive and dishonest about.

“I never stopped loving you. Even when I hated you with all of my being, even when I hated myself for it and wished I could carve my heart out of my chest, I still loved you.”

I started enjoying this more towards the end, because the narrative moved forward and the characters developed some. However, relationship development felt stagnant. I have some very good feelings regarding Ford and Olivia (that ending!) in Fearless King. If you love second chance sports romance, I recommend reading this series!

contemporary · reveal · romance

Cover Reveal: Text Me Baby One More Time by Teagan Hunter

I’m excited to be sharing the gorgeous cover for Teagan Hunter’s next standalone romcom, Text Me Baby One More Time.

Author: Teagan Hunter
Series: Texting #4
Release Date: February 11, 2019

I love you, he said.
Forever, he said.
Turns out, he lied.

When he leaves me high and dry after a cross-country move, I push him out of my life as much as I can, which is hard to do when the guy who broke your heart also happens to be the most famous dude in town.

After a disastrous year, he’s aiming to rehab his reputation, and I just so happen to be aiming for a promotion at the paper.

So, we strike a deal, and it’s a win-win all around.

Besides, what’s the harm in a few dates to charity galas anyway?

He’s arrogant, a total jerk. There’s no way I’ll fall for him…again.

I used to love him. Now I hate him…I think.

You don’t want to miss the other standalones in Teagan Hunter’s series, Texting!

Let’s Get Textual | I Wanna Text You Up | Can’t Text This | Text Me Baby One More Time

TEAGAN HUNTER is a Missouri-raised gal, but currently lives in North Carolina with her US Marine husband, where she spends her days begging him for a cat.

She survives off coffee, pizza, and sarcasm. When she’s not writing, you can find her binge-watching various TV shows, especially Supernatural and One Tree Hill. She enjoys cold weather, buys more paperbacks than she’ll ever read, and never says no to brownies. For more information, please visit http://www.teaganhunterwrites.com.

Website | Facebook | Reader Group | Twitter | Instagram | Book+Main | Pinterest | Amazon | Goodreads | BookBub

arc · review · romance

The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

The Kiss Thief
by L.J. Shen

Rating: ★★★★★
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They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

A story of a Nemesis and a Villain with no chance at a happy ending. Where the prince doesn’t save the princess. He tortures her. And the beauty doesn’t sleep. She’s stuck. In a nightmare.

What a fantastic beginning to reading in 2019!

I knew I’d fall in love with this, because it is L.J. Shen. One of, if not, my favourite author. Ever. She’s a proficient and excellent writer—her sentences are carefully and beautifully constructed into gripping scenes and concise prose—who continues to astound me with every release.

She’s mastered an ability to transform cold-hearted and callous asshole heroes, who undergo an inevitable transformation of redemption, into loveable characters we can’t hate. They’re always damaged, filled with cynicism and sarcasm and hatred towards the wrongdoer, yet loaded with vengeance and countless positive qualities that make them them.

God, she was sweet, and she was all mine. Not just her body but also her words and her courage.

I thought I loved Baron “Vicious” Spencer; adored Celian Laurent, but I’m unconditionally infatuated and unquestionably besotted with Wolfe Keaton—The Kiss Thief. On the surface, he appears to be nothing beyond ruthless; however, there’s an immense amount of depth, intrigue and enigma surrounding this mean anti-hero. Without doubt, he is complex and multi-faceted, someone who appears withdrawn and detached, yet beneath the tough exterior is someone able to love. And love hard. Fierce, without shame. Wild, without restraint.

We were entwined and entangled, connected with invisible strings, each of us trying to pull away, only to create more knots that made us closer.

Francesca Rossi is my newest fictional best friend. Tangent: I was almost named Francesca. Ergo, we’re best friends. I digress. Having been raised dreadfully sheltered inside a gilded cage, oftentimes Francesca appears to be docile, unsure of herself and awfully immature. Seeming complaisant, or sometimes quiet, however, doesn’t always mean being submissive or feeble-minded—she’s quick-witted and intelligent. Torn between an older life bound in tradition and a newer life promising freedom, Francesca transforms into someone more daring, challenging and outspoken.

He turned to me, his grays on my blues, two pools of beautiful lies.

Wolfe and Francesca are explosive. Passionate enemies who slowly and quietly transform into intimate lovers. Wrapped up in an unexpected fervid romance; embraced by an intense connection.

The Kiss Thief is an engrossing, riveting narrative of an arranged marriage set within a modern Chicago. Promises of revenge shadowed by danger is abundant—you will be turning the pages faster than expected. L.J. Shen continues to astound me with the ways she illustrates love. It is always an intense fierceness of earnest affection and vicious yearning that is wretched and heart-aching however real. To be in real love is to be free. To change. To transform into someone greater than you’ve imagined. And she’s portrayed this through Wolfe and Francesca.

arc · contemporary · new adult · review · romance

Fixed by Emma Louise

Fixed (Flawed Love #2)
by Emma Louise

Rating: ★★★★
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He’s my best friends brother.
She’s not over her ex.

Elliott.

I should have seen it coming, my world being shattered by the man that was supposed to love me. But I didn’t and now I’m trying to find the pieces of me he left behind. 
Duke.

I can’t fix her, not when I’m just as broken as she is. I should leave her alone, she’s too good for me. But, fighting the attraction that pulls us together is getting harder everyday.

It doesn’t take long until we’re a tangle of limbs and pleasures. 

No promises are made, no guarantees. 

Just a vow to keep our hearts out of the bedroom. 

Simple, right? 

Except, now we both have to try and avoid getting cut on each others broken parts.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Fixed is my first story by Emma Louise—a second chance romance between a single mother and her best friend’s older brother. It screams ‘forbidden’. Taboo. However, it is filled with heartache for someone who forget what self-love is; for another who has returned to Savannah, a little bruised and shattered himself.

Something about her calls to me on a level that I don’t understand.

Divorced and feeling defeated, Elliott is re-learning to love herself; to re-acquaint herself with long lost confidence and independence. She’s alone, desperate, raising two young girls within a home that isn’t hers. But she’s determined to never beg another man for anything. Duke is finally returning to Savannah after leaving the military, ready to discover his purpose and start living. Despite being Elliott’s opposite in appearance—she’s wholesome, whereas he’s gruff and rough around the edges—they compliment each other well!

“I can give you this if you want it. Me. It’s not much, but I guarantee you I’ll make it good if you say yes. The only promise I can give you is that our hearts won’t get hurt.”

Elliott is an inspiring woman. I admire her tenacity; it is difficult to love yourself, to know your self-worth, when someone, who’s supposed to have unconditional love for you, repeatedly crumbles your self-esteem. Doing this, whilst raising two inquisitive children, is an incredible feat that every modern woman experiencing a similar hardship deserves an applause.

Duke and Elliott have an intense, heated chemistry that they initially refuse to embrace. However, once they allow their insecurities and hesitation to fall away, they’re passionate and explosive after years of quiet fervid longing. In seamless manner, Duke fits in Elliott’s life, becoming an admirable father figure to Brooke and Bailey, and loving both of them with ease.

arc · contemporary · review · romance

Secrets by Aleatha Romig

Secrets (Web of Sin #1)
by Aleatha Romig

Rating: ★★★★
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I’m Sterling Sparrow. You’ve no doubt heard my name or read it on the top of tall buildings. There’s more to my business—my realm—than what is seen aboveground.

Within the underbelly of one of America’s largest cities lives a world where a man’s word is either his most valuable tool or his most respected weapon. When my father ruled that world and that city, he promised me someone who would one day make my reign complete.

Since that day, long ago, Araneae McCrie has been mine.

She just didn’t know.

My father is now gone.

The city and the underbelly are now mine.

The time has come for me to collect who was promised to me, to shred her life of secrets and make her who she’s always been—mine.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

2018 is becoming my year of introducing myself to different, fabulous authors. I haven’t read anything by Aleatha Romig, though I’ve heard about her romances—the twisted darkness she weaves throughout and the commanding men she writes about, she’s an author you’ll want to read!

Secrets is filled with everything a reader could want—lies, secrets, deception, all unexpected yet enthralling, complex characters and captivating dark, delicious romance. Sterling and Araneae are multi-faced, intriguing characters that will demand your attention within an intricate storyline.

I knew since that fateful afternoon that Araneae and I were meant to be, with too many factions at work, the timing was imperative and her ignorance of her fate necessary.

Araneae McCrie/Kennedy Hawkins is gorgeous, intelligent and selfless. She’s also shrouded in almost impenetrable secrecy. Ultimatums and warnings are thrown her way every moment, but she remains grounded and filled with independent sass. 

Sterling Sparrow is arrogant and demanding, enigmatic and sinfully wicked. Countless secrets and uncertainties surround this mysterious businessman. And he’s the only person capable of giving Araneae the information she covets. 

In all situations, Sterling Sparrow moved like a lion: majestic, strong, proud, and above all, powerful. He was the king of the beasts and everyone within his realm was either a peasant, present to do his bidding, or prey, waiting to be devoured.

Fiery tension and tangible chemistry is rife in Secrets. When Araneae and Sterling come together, they’re explosive and passionate. Always pushing and pulling. Defying each other. Bantering and engaging in battles of wits. 

I cannot wait to have more of Araneae and Sterling in Lies, as well as receiving answers to innumerous questions, especially to that cliffhanger.

review · romance

Review | Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen

Midnight Blue

by L.J. Shen

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SYNOPSIS

It should have been easy.
I needed the money. He needed a babysitter to keep him from snorting himself to death.
I was cherry-picked especially for him. Responsible. Optimistic. Warm. Innocent.
The worst part is that I should have known better.
Alex Winslow. British rock star. Serial heartbreaker. Casanova with whiskey eyes.
“Don’t get near the devil in a leather jacket. He’ll chew you up and spit you out.”
Guess what? I didn’t listen.
I signed the contract.
World tour. Three months. Four Continents. One hundred shows.
My name is Indigo Bellamy, and I sold my soul to a tattooed god.
Problem was, my soul wasn’t enough for Alex Winslow. He ended up taking my body, too.
Then he took my heart.
Then he took my all.


REVIEW

You can also read this review on Goodreads!

Before you cringe at my rating, I promise I enjoyed this. I really, really, really did. L.J. Shen is an amazing writer, there’s no denying it. She strings together sentences so beautifully, they become lyrically and poetically enthralling. While weaving a unique tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, and writing some memorable quirky heroines and angst-ridden asshole heroes, she’s established a reputation for herself as an amazing story-teller and character creator.

She’s my Queen of Asshole Heroes.

Some aspects of this made me swoon with stars in my eyes, or giggle in absolute delight. They just didn’t happen enough, hence my rating. I also experienced moments where I really wanted to throw my Kindle, but I’m awfully attached to my little piece of brilliant technology. However, my biggest issue is Indie, who’s both endearing and infuriating in equal measure.

“Life is full of secrets, and narrow-minded people, and sugar-coated, empty conversations that hold no weight. What’s real is what’s inside us. What’s important is what we feel.”

Travelling is one of my greatest hobbies, so to read about the characters on tour, jumping from continent to continent, exploring the various cities they visited, it feels as if you’re travelling around the world, watching relationships transform and experiencing the same moments as Alex and Indie.

Asshole heroes have a spot in my heart. Brooding, arrogant assholes are enticing because they are mean, dangerous and oftentimes the antithesis of everything wholesome in life. Alex Winslow isn’t just an asshole, he is an outright knob. I don’t care that he abuses booze and drugs, or that he is unsettled. I care that he harboured this fascination and obsession with Fallon, his ex-fiancee.

Indigo Bellamy is an interesting character. She’s full of contradictions. She’s neither tough nor sassy, but rather a pushover and doormat. I actually adored her during the beginning and ending. To watch her personality go downhill during the middle was disappointing and depressing because she could’ve been such a good character!

For more than 3/4 of this, Alex continuously tells Indie, in blatant and brutal honesty, that they have an expiration date, because he’s too busy chasing his ex-girlfriend. I know they tried to redeem Alex towards the end using a decent excuse to explain his treatment towards Indie, however no matter the reasoning he is still a giant knobhead.

“I waited for many things, but a few minutes later, I heard the door open and shut, and knew he’d left me there, like the disposable fuck doll he’d wanted me to feel like.”

I can’t stop myself from comparing Indie to Millie, the starring character of L.J.’s other novel, Vicious. They both have vibrant coloured hair, share similar creative and exuberant personalities (Indie sews, Millie paints), a quirky style of fashion and they have asshole men charging into their lives.

However, the biggest difference between them is Millie actually doesn’t take Vicious’ bullshit, whereas Indie rolls over despite everything Alex has said and done. Oh and another thing: Vicious is actually a loveable asshole because at least he cares about Millie, whereas Alex is just a five year old dressed up like an adult.

Then you came in, walked away, and guess what? Now I know. I know I’m incomplete and my soul, which I thought was dying, is actually in Los Angeles, riding a French bike in a ridiculous dress.

During the end chapters I actually started to fall in love with Alex and Indie. Despite the heartache and struggles they’ve been through, they grow and change into better characters. Indie gains confidence from somewhere and begins standing up for herself. Alex starts recovering from substance abuse, coming back down to humanity after suffering from an addiction.

I seem to have this love-hate relationship with literally every character this author writes. Will it ever stop me from reading her brilliant writing? Hell no. I love immersing myself in the worlds she creates.

review · romance

Review | All I Want by J. Daniels

All I Want (Alabama Summer #2)

by J. Daniels

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SYNOPSIS

Luke Evans is a heartbreaker.
I didn’t want to give mine to him. Not when he kept me out.
He gave me enough, just enough to make me fall in love with him. I say this to convince myself. But I know the truth.
I would’ve fallen in love with him at a distance.
Handing my heart over to Luke was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I was naive when I wished for more, when I hoped he wanted the same things I did.
I try to hate him. I try to forget him.
But it’s not that easy.
Love is a ruthless bitch, and I’m her latest victim.
~*~
Tessa Kelly is a man-eater.
When she sets her sights on you, she doesn’t just consume your heart, she goes for your soul.
What we had was perfect, real, and all I would ever want.
But she destroyed it.
She destroyed us.
I try to hate her. I try to forget her.
But it’s not that easy.
Love is for people who have hope, and I have none.


REVIEW

You can also read this review on Goodreads!

Why did it take me so long to read this?

I have no idea. I do know I wish I started reading this series earlier. I’m totally addicted and floating around heaven somewhere, because the Alabama Summer series is everything. I’d rather be reading the next book than sitting here writing this review. These BAMA boys make this world a little brighter, with their little drama and humorous antics.

In All I Want, we delve right into Luke and Tessa’s complex story.

Tessa is Ben’s sister; Luke is Ben’s best friend and partner. When we’re introduced into this amazing world in Ruxton, Alabama, Luke and Tessa are already a couple in Where I Belong. But after bouts of miscommunication, Tessa leaves. While her reasons might be considered an over exaggeration, she isn’t willing to spend more time with someone who isn’t interested in eventually settling down. No matter how much she loves Luke.

”Because when you fall in love with someone exactly the way they are, how do you convince yourself they aren’t enough for you?”

Time jump: one year later.

Neither one has moved forward. Luke is sleeping with anything that breathes in an attempt to fill a void and defuse all anger towards Tessa. Meanwhile, Tessa is experiencing her own level of anger. Combined with feeling awfully jealous and extremely horny, she’s desperate to find a suitable replacement. With not much luck, she turns towards online dating.

Ruxton is small and sharing the same friends makes maintaining distance difficult for the former love-birds.

“I hate that I can’t hate you enough to forget you.”

Despite the distance and seething anger this couple maintains, they still share this inexplicable connection and intense passion. It is downright delicious, especially when paired with that delightful angst and spouts of drama J. Daniels loves to throw in!

I never would have expected such an in-depth character beneath the fun loving, confident, laidback Luke Evans. Who knew a seeming easy going person would have emotional barriers constructed after a bitter, troubled past to create a complex character?

I let her in as much as I can, and it has to be enough because that’s all I can give her.

Tessa Kelly is an interesting character as well. Sometimes her actions would come across as childish and immature (hence four stars rather than five). However, I understand her vulnerability is a by-product of an uncertain future with Luke, as well as a level of anger and unhappiness towards her interest.

I do love that our main characters perception of love is juxtaposed. Where Luke is closed off, not willing to attempt anything more because what he has is comfortable, Tessa is open-minded and prepared to embrace her feelings with open arms. It creates an interesting dynamic throughout the entire story.

As always, J. Daniels’ writing is fantastic and entertaining. I was thrilled that we witnessed more of Ben and Mia, watching their relationship as it continues to blossom and shape itself into something more beautiful. Sir Nolan is always a wonderful treat, too!

review · romance

Review | Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

Dating You/Hating You

by Christina Lauren

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SYNOPSIS

All’s fair in love and work. The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.


REVIEW

You can also read this review on Goodreads!

When Beautiful Bastard was originally Twilight FanFiction under the title, The Office, I fell in love with Christina Lauren’s writing then. I loved the intense chemistry and enemies-to-lovers passion they incorporated, the constant push and pull, the fiery independent heroine and the exacting, womanising hero that deserved to have some notches taken down.

It pains me to say this: Dating You/Hating You isn’t my jam. Cup of tea. Whatever. I was hoping this would be similar to Beautiful Bastard. Instead, reading this made me feel like a university student all over again, having to dissect every minute detail and source the meaning behind every word, because this story went from contemporary romance to work environment politics.

So, you can imagine how conflicted this story makes me feel.

Simply put, Evelyn Abbey is my former almost-girlfriend-turned-archnemesis-turned-tentative-ally whom I would now very much like to permanently seduce.

Dating You/Hating You lacks the fluidity CLo’s other stories have. Rather than showing you anything, it explains every single detail imaginable, with little bits of dialogue weaved throughout to slice through the dryness. You are essentially reading a wall of text.

Using dual perspective, we learn and understand the characters and their motivations. We follow Evie Abbey and Carter Aaron as they traverse through the tough waters of Hollywood’s talent agencies, hating and loving each other within an office setting as they compete each other for the same position.

Evie Abbey
Where to begin? One of my favourite things about CLo is the amazing fact that they write intelligent, incredibly confident and highly independent heroines. They are fiery, often times stubborn, but ambitious and aspiring characters that you can’t help but idolise.

Evie is emotionally immature. While it is admirable that she’s a strong advocate for women’s rights, she highlights the difference in treatment between genders and mentions unequal salaries, unequal representation, etc. a lot.

Before crucifying me, Evie is someone who brings up the topic whenever something inconvenient happens. To me, that kind of behaviour shows she’s incapable of recognising the difference between an issue involving sexism and an issue involving the workplace.

She’s always very quick to accuse others, especially Carter, when something doesn’t benefit her. And she’s always assuming Carter is betraying her by not divulging every decision he makes.

Carter Aaron
Carter is an adorable and quirky humorous mess.

And that’s about where his appeal ends. He is awfully passive, kind of weak really, as he never steps forward to praise Evie’s work ethic and credibility in front of Brad Kingman. I do love a brilliant female character. However, I also love when the lead male character is on equal footing with some backbone and observational skills, rather than being a flimsy wet noodle.

“I’m notoriously married to my job.”
“That’s super convenient because so am I. It’ll be like we’re cheating on our jobs with each other.”

Chemistry, romance and storyline, or lack thereof…
I was head cheerleader of Team Evie and Carter before the office antics started. They meet each other while attending a mutual friend’s Halloween party, cute things happen and then that spark quickly fizzles when they become sworn enemies.

Dating You/Hating You would work wonders as a romantic comedy film.

But the office antics these two engaged in didn’t make me laugh, or my mouth twitch slightly. Whatever chemistry and romance Evie and Carter shared disappeared as swiftly as it started. It lacked the iconic push-pull, the constant bickering and the anticipated arguments that you find in enemies-to-lovers romance.

Regarding the ending: I predicted everything.

And it totally undermined the entire feminist subplot being pushed throughout.

reveal

Excerpt Reveal | The Naked Truth by Vi Keeland

The Naked Truth Sneak Peek teaser

CONTINUE READING FOR MORE GRAY

IN AN EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK OF

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The Naked Truth Excerpt Reveal Banner

“May I get you something to drink while you wait for the rest of your party?” the waiter asked.

I would normally wait to see what the client did and follow his lead on alcohol. But tonight was not the norm.

I rubbed at my stiff neck. “I’ll take a vodka cranberry, please.”

I hoped it would help calm my nerves and release some of the tension in my jaw before I gave myself a full-blown headache. Taking out my phone, I started to scroll through emails to distract myself while waiting for my drink and dinner companion.

My head whipped up at the sound of Gray’s voice behind me. “Sorry I’m late.”

My heart unexpectedly fluttered, and I fought against the feeling of excitement. “Are you really? Because I get the sense you don’t have any manners after the way you interrupted me a million times today.”

He completely ignored my attitude as he took the seat across from me. “Traffic is a bitch getting downtown at this time. Next time we’ll have dinner at my place.”

“There won’t be a next time.”

Gray’s mouth curved into a smug smile as he snagged my gaze. “Sure there will. There’ll be plenty of next times. And eventually you’ll stop pretending you don’t enjoy my company.”

I hated that my body reacted to him. Right from the very start, we’d had a crazy chemistry between us that was difficult to dull.

I sighed. “What are you doing, Gray? Why did you come to my firm?”

He lifted the cloth napkin in front of him and laid it across his lap. “Isn’t that obvious? I need new legal representation.”

“At my firm? And you’d prefer that representation come from an associate instead of my boss’s boss—the head of our securities division? Or even from Pittman, who would gladly hold your hand and provide you whatever legal advice you need from his fifty-plus years of experience?”

“Loyalty is important to me. I want someone I can trust with my business.”

“And you’ve decided that’s me? An associate with five years experience who just got off probation with the Bar Association for violating attorney-client privilege?”

The waiter arrived with my drink. “Here you go, ma’am.” He turned to Gray. “May I get you something to drink? Or would you like to wait until the last of your party joins you this evening?”

“It’s just the two of us. I’ll have a Macallan, neat, please.”

“Coming right up.” The waiter walked around to the other side of the table and started to remove the third place setting.

I put my hand out, stopping him. “We actually do have another party coming, so you can leave that.”

“Very well.” He nodded.

Gray waited until the waiter was out of earshot. “I didn’t invite anyone else to dinner.”

I sipped my drink and offered a saccharine-sweet fake smile. “I did. Figured an important client like you should have more than one attorney to answer his questions.”

Just as I set down my glass, I saw the other man I was waiting for enter the restaurant. He scanned the room, looking for me, so I held up my hand and waved.

“Perfect timing. There’s Oliver now.”

Gray glanced at the man heading toward us and back to me. Instead of being pissed off, the jerk was amused. “That’s cute. You invited a chaperone because you don’t trust yourself with me.”

We hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of THE NAKED TRUTH.

The Naked Truth by Vi Keeland

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