An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur Review

September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.

September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he’s long suppressed.

Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11’s, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

“Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn’t yours.”

Across three decades and two continents, Suanne Laqueur’s fifth novel explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love’s downfall can turn to exaltation.










Review

An Exaltation of Larks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am so thankful that this book was brought to my attention. It is definitely my favorite read of 2016 and the best I’ve read in a long time (that’s saying something because I read a lot). I loved everything about it. I had many smiles and tears along the way. My heart squeezed and soared.
The story follows main characters and the people in their lives for several decades, from childhood to middle age. It’s a tale of connected families. Death, love, tragedy, war, hope, lust, friendship, parenthood, PTSD, prejudice, pain, culture, family, loss, happiness, sexuality, marriage…basically every human emotion and state of being are covered. The story is told from several points of view, two being an American refugee from Chile who lost most of his family and a Dominican American who was disowned by his family. The cast is from all walks of life, ages, races, etc. The storyline was completely original for me. It’s a novel about living and all the ups and downs and snapshot moments and bigger pictures. Issues don’t always tie up neatly or quickly. Just like reality sometimes the tone is heartbreaking, bittersweet, beautiful or magnificent.
I’m still so deep in the feels that I can’t get it out of my head. This author truly has a gift. There are a lot of good books out there, but finding something that touches me on this level is a rare unicorn. Bravo!


***copy given in exchange for an honest review***

FGMAMTC 

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

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Slide by Garrett Leigh Review

Roads: Book One 

Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back… 

Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand. 

Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down. 

Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.

REVIEW

Slide (Roads, #1)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Slide is a story about two young adult men becoming roommates and then falling for each other. It’s just their day-to-day work and living basically, but it speaks to me on such a profound level. The way it is written made me feel like I was really in their heads. The phrase Still Waters Run Deep comes to mind when I think of this book and of Ash’s character.
Both Ash and Pete are bisexual. Both are functioning adults for the most part, but neither is really settled in life, especially Ash. I was so drawn to them both. I think Ash will have a piece of my heart forever. I wanted to wrap him up and make him feel safe. (Following sentence might be considered a spoiler) –> When Ash was found on the streets, and the truth about him being sick and turning to no one came out, it broke my heart.
My emotions have been thoroughly worked over. They need each other, and I need more of them, so I’m definitely on to book 2.

FGMAMTC 

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents 

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Grayson’s Vow by Mia Sheridan Review

A full-length, standalone romance from the New York Timesbestselling author of Archer’s Voice.
Kira Dallaire is desperate.
Some challenges in life seem too hard to overcome. With little money, and even fewer options, the quick-witted and vibrant twenty-two-year-old needs to reinvent herself. Known for her generous heart and impulsive personality, she devises a survival plan, possibly her most outrageous idea yet. 
Grayson Hawthorn is losing hope.
Some obstacles in life seem too hard to overcome. Betrayal definitely being one of them. With limited capital, and dwindling resources, he is attempting to resurrect his failing family vineyard, a self-imposed vow seemingly destined to fail. That is until a young woman enters his office with an outlandish, unexpected proposition impossible to refuse. 
What begins as a temporary business arrangement, soon evolves into more as vivacious, spirited Kira challenges detached, arrogant Grayson to want more from life. To want more for himself. But as their wills clash and fiery passion ignites, they’ll realize that sometimes the past creates walls too difficult to climb, and that lies and deception rarely precede a happily every after.
As Kira and Grayson race toward their destiny, they will discover that some vows are meant to be broken, and others are worth risking everything for . . . even your very own heart.
THIS IS A STANDALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY LIBRA. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Mia Sheridan is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. Her passion is weaving true love stories about people destined to be together. Mia lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband. They have four children here on earth and one in heaven.

Grayson's Vow

4.5 stars
Mia Sheridan is a master of writing tortured characters like puppies being trampled by big dogs, but then those puppies grow up inevitably changing the dynamics.
Grayson and Kira both came from wealthy prominent families. Unfortunately, this just gave their abusers (aka parents) more power and money with which to mistreat them. One was constantly reminded how much they were never wanted, and the other was just another possession to be used for the owner’s benefit.
Grayson has put up a barrier between himself and most of the world, sealing his pain inside. He’s gorgeous on a physical level which is as far as anyone is allowed to go. “Abs and Hidden Torment: A Man’s Guide to Bagging Babes” would be his title if he were a book.
Kira is wild and outgoing. No one knows what she’s going to do next. Her plots have been lovingly dubbed Very Bad Ideas. Despite everything, she is super giving to humanity.
The two of them get together with a plan to their mutual advantage, but of course lines get crossed. When feelings get involved, things irrevocably change. The reader comes to know them as The Dragon and The Witch.
“Forget the prince and princess. I always imagined the real story was between the witch and the dragon.”

This story has themes of forgiveness, charity, kindness, self-discovery, acceptance, strength, friendship and familial and romantic love. I enjoyed it of course.
Also, I always have to show love to an HP reference.
“Like the wizard, sir, only I don’t got a scar on my forehead.”



***copy given in exchange for an honest review***


toni


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Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson Review

With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.


As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.

But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.

Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.

Coming 7/21/15 — FOCUS ON ME the second book in the In Focus series
9780698194632_FocusOnMe_EB (5)Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.

Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…
Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she’s probably listening to the characters in her head who won’t stop talking.

Trust The Focus (In Focus #1)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I just happened to stumble across this book, and I am very thankful that I did. It’s so wonderful when a story connects with you on a personal level.
Justin and Landry have been best friends since they were little kids. During the last few years, they have drifted apart some because their lives have been pulling them in different directions. Landry is openly gay. Justin is living the life his mother has designed for him. Justin’s father died, and now both boys graduated college. They set out on one last cross-country ride (before entering the real world of jobs and responsibilities) to sprinkle Justin’s father’s ashes. The experience of being in the camper together day in and day out is causing a lot of heat leading to explosive fights, passionate encounters and amazing revelations. No matter what, their friendship will never be what it once was.
The theme is finding oneself. Justin has to find what he wants and where he wants to be in this world. Does he want to continue the path he’s been on or follow a different one changing almost everything?
I love how real this book is. It isn’t over dramatized. I could understand the actions and consequences easily. The attraction and sex are hot, but the rest of the story totally holds it’s own. This is a sweet, romantic, hopeful read without being eye rolling. I definitely recommend it.
4.75 stars

ALMOST ALIVE by Daryl Banner ♥♥ BLOG TOUR Review




ALMOST ALIVE BANNER




Title: Almost Alive (The Beautiful Dead, #3)
Author: Daryl Banner
Release Date: April 24, 2015
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Zombie

goodreads  



Blurb

Twelve years have passed since the devastation.


The world is changed. What once was a planet struggling to survive is now a planet bursting to life. The humans are thriving. Gardens are growing. Trees are reaching up to the sky and the Undeadly clutch on the planet is slowly letting go.


But what does that mean for Winter and her friends?


In the wake of spring, the last of the desperate Undead gather, fighting to maintain their place in a world that no longer wants them. Mother Nature slowly but certainly works to purge the planet of the Dead, just when Winter thought she had finally embraced this Second Life.


Her new friends are back and old nemeses return for the final chapter in Winter’s Undead journey.




11139625_10102367054396186_974530824_n ***
“This is so dumb, all of this. Why are we suffering?” He gets to his feet, pulls me up onto mine. “Come.”
“Where are we going?” I ask.

“Who cares,” he says, a smile playing on his face. “Wherever it is, I’ll race you there.”
***



Pre Order Almost Alive today!













TheBeautifulDead1_TheBeautifulDead_HQ-Cover  The Beautiful Dead (The Beautiful Dead, #1) 
  On Sale Now for 99¢! Amazon US | Amazon UK 

She’s dead.


In fact, the whole world’s dead. Every single person, apparently. Unburied and reimagined into a beautiful living-dead woman called Winter, she is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in a quaint, peaceful city with no hunger, no sickness and no bills to pay. Her Second Life is perfect in every way possible.


So why is she so bent on destroying it all?


After angering the mayor, befriending rebel headless teenagers and igniting romance with a dark and brooding neighbor, she finds herself wrestling madly with a First Life she cannot remember and this Second Life she cannot accept. Not to mention the maniacal army of rotting corpses who want her dead. Again.


But none of that matters in comparison to an even worse problem. There’s a guest in her house. A rude, good-looking man on the run … a man with a heartbeat.






TheBeautifulDead2_DeadOfWinter_HQ-Cover  Dead of Winter (Beautiful Dead, #2) 
  On Sale Now for 99¢! Amazon US | Amazon UK 

No one said being an Undead is easy.

Winter’s Second Life became a lot more complicated when the Living moved into her hometown of Trenton. Undead neighbors fight with their Breathing ones. Food is sparse. And, worst of all, the season is taking a change for the colder.

A desperate plea for help to a neighboring city turns deadly and soon Winter finds herself facing an old friend from her past whose plot to annihilate all life on the planet may have everything to do with her.

And what about the man-with-the-heartbeat in her house? Is there even room for love in such a ruined, unforgiving world?

New friends are made. Others are lost forever. In the dead of winter, no one is safe.  






About the Author

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Daryl Banner is a writer and composer who graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Theatre and Psychology. After writing several plays and a musical in college, he started composing for short films and websites, one of which is the Vamplets “Baby Vampyre Dolls” website: (www.vamplets.com)


Interesting tidbits: Daryl is also an obsessive piano player, video game enthusiast, and occasional actor. He’s been remixing video game music for over fifteen years, and is a passionate Final Fantasy fan. You can feed your ears with many of his remixes (as well as his original music) on his YouTube page “www.youtube.com/DarylBanner“. Also, he personally answers all emails he receives, so if you have some strange desire to write him, he may enjoy it. He currently resides in Texas.








Connect with Daryl


 
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REVIEW

Almost Alive (The Beautiful Dead, #3)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Writing this review is very difficult. How does a person convey the depth within an amazing book like this? It’s one of the best stories I’ve ever read so I don’t think anything I write will do it justice. Almost Alive is an epic fantasy that has something for every type of reader.
Winter and my favorite cast of zombies and humans in a post-apocylptic world are back one final time. Previously the world was dying. The people, plants and animals were going extinct. Now it seems the planet may be ready to brace a new age.
This story has the entertainment factor. It’s very imaginative and original with plenty of action and adventure. There are undead, giant spiders, magical rocks and loads more attention grabbers. The plot is very steady, no falling off, no getting stagnate. Every character is on a mission.
Matters of the heart are also a part. Friendship, familial love and romance all play roles in the overall storyline. Many of these characters have been through so much with each other through life and death. It’s very touching and tearful. Prepare yourself for some major feels.
Isn’t that how all our most precious things are lost? In one silly, insignificant moment?

For those wanting to deepen their experience, this book takes it to a whole new level. The meaning of existence, the circle of life, the afterlife; it’s all in there. The way this series has unfolded leaves me in awe. From the first time I read it, I’ve been in love with this author’s writing style. The Beautiful Dead trilogy overall has the perfect quirkiness and individualness, revolutionary for the entire zombie genre.
Not really dead, not really alive, just almost alive.

This is my #1 read of the year. It reached my soul, and really isn’t that why we read, to be transported from our world into another, to know the personas as we know ourselves, to rejoice in victories, to smirk at snide humor, to morn the dead, to realize it’s all worth it, to be changed forever more.
The world is suddenly so full of beauty and poetic reciprocity and meaning.


***copy given in exchange for an honest review***


toni


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By Any Other Name by J.M. Darhower Review

By Any Other Name
(Forbidden Series Book One)
By
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
J.M. Darhower

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 23rd, 2015


A deadly rivalry. 
Two families at war. 
Nobody is safe, not even the innocent. 
Especially the innocent. 
Blood will be spilled. 

Genevieve “Genna” Galante knows a thing or two about causing trouble. After all, it’s engrained in her DNA. As the only daughter of Primo Galante, notorious boss of the Galante crime family, her life is dictated by a certain set of rules… rules Genna was never very good at following. 

Matteo “Matty” Barsanti never wanted anything to do with the family business, but as the first-born Barsanti son, certain things are expected of him. It’s his duty, according to his father, to help take down the enemy… even if that enemy means something to him. 

A chance encounter on an elevator changes the course of lives, causing the biggest trouble of Genna’s young life. The only good Barsanti is a dead Barsanti. She’s heard it said time and time again. So what happens when she falls in love with one of them? 

The story of star-crossed lovers caught in the middle of the biggest rivalry New York has ever seen, determined to make it… if only they can survive their parents’ feud.

“A Roman Coke,” Genna mused. “What’s that?”
“It’s rum and Coke. We just call it a Roman Coke around here.”
“Because you’re Italian?”
“And because when you get drunk enough, it all just slurs together anyway.”
“Ah.” Genna picked hers up, motioning toward him with it. “So what are we drinking to?”
“Today.”
“Today?”
He nodded. “Right now, this moment. Let’s drink to it.”
Smiling, she clinked her glass with his. “Today, then.”
They threw them back at the same time. The liquor hit Genna’s taste buds and she grimaced, the vicious burn seeping down her throat and settling deep in her chest. “Ugh, is there even any Coke in this damn thing?”
Matty laughed, setting his empty glass down. “Just a splash.”
“I couldn’t tell.”
“That’s because I prefer it that way,” he responded. “Strong and rough, enough to leave a lingering ache. I like it to hurt just a bit.”
Oh good God. Those words sent a chill down Genna’s spine, one she couldn’t hide, as Matty waved for the waitress. Eyes never leaving Genna, he ordered another round of drinks.
“Another?” she asked, picking up the water to take another sip, this one to soothe the sting in her chest. “You said one drink.”
A sly smile curved his lips. “I like to keep them coming.”
“Is that right?”
“Absolutely.” Matty stood, leaning across the table, his lips near her ear. “Maybe you’ll let me show you later.”



J.M. Darhower is a USA Today bestselling author, best known for her Mafia romantic suspense novels. She lives in a tiny town in rural North Carolina, where she churns out more words than will ever see the light of day. She has a deep passion for politics and speaking out against human trafficking, and when she isn’t busy writing (or being a fangirl) she’s usually ranting about those things.

CLICK TO SEE OTHER J.M. DARHOWER POSTS

By Any Other Name (Forbidden, #1)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Nobody does organized crime like J.M. Darhower. Good lord! Amazing story. I’m so emotionally wrung out now.
So obviously I loved it. BAON is about two kids from opposing crime families. They weren’t always this way. Once they were very close. Both family’s histories are super intertwined. Many things have happened that can’t be taken back. Each act builds causing a snowball effect, more pain, more drama, more death and so on.
One thing that I want to point out for those that loved the Forever/Sempre series is Gavin (from Sempre:Redemption, the one that overran the construction site and watched over Haven for Corrado) is in this series. The DeMarco family of Chicago is mentioned by name and references are made to Haven and Corrado. Gavin Amaro is in one of the five families in New York. I expect we will see more of him in future books of this series. He is one of the first to know of the affair going on between Matty and Genna.
“Look, Matty, I’ll tell you what someone told me once, a few years ago, when I got curious about a girl…don’t plant your seeds in someone else’s garden or you’re liable to get buried sex-feet under with fertilizer.”

Genna is different than any female lead I can remember Darhower doing before. She is a wild child. She isn’t virginal and sweet sitting at home while the boys play. She isn’t involved in the family business either. So while they’re all busy, she’s off getting drunk, screwing around and stealing cars.
Matty has never been a part of the family business. He was shipped off as a boy. Now after getting a college degree he has returned home to take care of his dying mother. He’s a good, sweet guy.
Needless to say, these two have no idea who the other is when they meet. Both have been raised to stay clear of anyone with the other’s surname, but without knowing this about each other, they immediately hit it off. While everyone around them is preparing for war, they’re beginning to fall for one another.
He’d bought her an abundance of drinks and followed it up with even more orgasms. The boy was a giver, for sure.

Be prepared for lots of emotions. There are deaths and heart moments. It’s a very easy story to get caught up in. It’s heavy in sibling love, forbidden romance and decisions that change everything.




***copy given in exchange for an honest review***


toni


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The Deal by Elle Kennedy Review



THE DEAL
Off-Campus Book #1
Elle Kennedy



​Summary:

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…


Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.


…and it’s going to be oh so good
All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.


One of a thousand favorite lines:

Yes, Hannah and I are friends. In fact, she’s the only female friend I’ve ever had. And yes, I want to keep being Hannah’s friend. But…I also want to sleep with her.​




“Hannah and Garrett are funny, relatable, and their chemistry on the page is palpable enough to linger off of it. The Deal reminds me of all the reasons I love romance. Two capable, yet flawed people realize that living without the other is worse than anything else life can throw at them. I highly recommend it to fans of Easy by Tammara Webber or The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan. It’ll make you laugh, maybe even tear up, but most of all leave you with that warm good book feeling at the end.” 

– Jane Litte, Dear Author ​


​​

Elle Kennedy engages your senses from the very first sentence! Both deliciously steamy and heart-achingly tender, the Deal is an absolute winner!

​ 

– NYT Best Selling Author Katy Evans​







​EXCERPT​ 

Thirty minutes before my shift ends, I find Garrett Graham in one of my booths.


Seriously.


Does this guy ever give up?


I have no desire to go over there and serve him, but I don’t have much of a choice. Lisa, 

the other waitress on duty, is busy tending to a group of faculty members at a table across the room, and my boss Della is behind the baby-blue Formica counter dishing out slices of pecan pie to three freshman girls sitting on the tall swivel stools.

I set my jaw and march up to Garrett, making my displeasure obvious as I meet his 

twinkling gray eyes. He runs a hand through his cropped dark hair and flashes a lopsided grin.

“Hey there, Hannah. Fancy meeting you here.”

“Yeah, fancy,” I mutter, yanking my order pad out of my apron pocket. “What can I get 

“A tutor.”

“Sorry, that’s not on the menu.” I smile sweetly. “We serve really good pecan pie, 

though.”

“You know what I did last night?” he says without acknowledging the sarcasm.

“Yep. You were text stalking me.”

He rolls his eyes. “Before that, I mean.”

I pretend to think it over. “Um…you hooked up with a cheerleader? No, you hooked up 

with the girls’ hockey team. No, wait, they’re probably not ditzy enough for you. I stick with my original guess—cheerleader.”

“Sorority sister, actually,” he says smugly. “But I’m talking about what I did before that.” 

He raises one dark eyebrow. “But I’m very intrigued by your interest in my sex life. I can give you details about that another time if you want.”

“I don’t.”

“Another time,” he echoes in a dismissive tone, folding his hands on the blue-and-white-

checkered tablecloth.

He’s got big hands with long fingers, short nails, and knuckles that are slightly red and 

cracked. I wonder if he’s been in a fight recently, but then I realize the busted-up knuckles are probably a hockey player thing.

“I was at study group yesterday,” he informs me. “There were eight other people there, 

and you know what the highest mark in the group was?” He blurts out the answer before I can hazard a guess. “C-plus. And our combined average was a D. How am I supposed to pass this makeup if I’m studying with people who are as dumb as I am? I need you, Wellsy.”

Wellsy? Is that a nickname? And how on earth does he know that my last name is Wells? 

I never told—argh. Damn sign-up sheet.

Garrett notices my surprised look and cocks his brows again. “I learned a lot about you in study group. Got your number, your full name, even found out where you work.”

“Congratulations, you really are a stalker.”

“Nope, just thorough. I like to know what I’m up against.”

“Jesus Harold Christ! I’m not tutoring you, okay? Go bug somebody else.” I point at the 

menu in front of him. “Are you ordering? Because if not, then please go away and let me do my job in peace.”

“Jesus Harold Christ?” Garrett snickers before picking up the laminated menu and giving it a cursory glance. “I’ll have a turkey club.” He sets the menu down, then reaches for it again. 

“And a bacon double cheeseburger. Just the burger, no fries. Actually, I changed my mind—yes to the fries. Oh, and a side order of onion rings.”

My jaw almost hits the floor. “You’re seriously going to eat all that?”

He grins. “Of course. I’m a growing boy.”

Boy? Nuh-uh. I’m only noticing it now—probably because I’ve been too distracted by 

how insufferable he is—but Garrett Graham is all man. There’s nothing boyish about him, not his chiseled good looks or his tall frame or that ripped chest of his, which suddenly flashes to mind as I remember the picture he sent me.

“I’ll also take a slice of that pecan pie and a Dr. Pepper to drink. Oh, and some tutoring.”

“Not on the menu,” I say cheerfully. “But the rest is coming right up.”

Before he can argue, I abandon his booth and head to the back counter to place his order with Julio, our night cook. A nanosecond later, Lisa rushes over and addresses me in a hushed 

“Oh my God. You know who that is, right?”

“Yep.”

“It’s Garrett Graham.”

“I know,” I answer dryly. “That’s why I said yep.”

Lisa looks outraged. “What is wrong with you? Why aren’t you freaking out right now? 

Garrett Graham is sitting in your booth. He talked to you.”

“Holy shit, he did? I mean, his lips were moving, but I didn’t realize he was talking.”

I roll my eyes and walk over to the drink station to pour Garrett’s drink. I don’t look his 

way, but I can feel those smoky gray eyes following my every movement. He’s probably sending 

elepathic orders for me to tutor him. Well, too bad for him. There’s no way I’m wasting the little spare time I have on a college hockey player who thinks he’s a rock star.


Lisa trails after me, oblivious to my sarcasm and still gushing about Graham. “He’s so 

gorgeous. Like unbelievably gorgeous.” Her voice lowers to a whisper. “And I hear he’s 

amazing in bed.”


I snort. “He probably started that rumor himself.”

“No, Samantha Richardson told me. She hooked up with him last year at the Theta 

kegger. Said it was the best sex of her life.”

I have no response, because I couldn’t care less about the sex life of some girl I don’t 

even know. Instead, I shrug and hold out the Dr. Pepper. “You know what? Why don’t you take his booth?”

The way Lisa gasps, you’d think I just handed her a check for five million dollars. “Are 

you sure?”

“Yep. He’s all yours.”

“Oh my God.” She takes a step forward as if she’s going to hug me, but then her gaze 

darts to Garrett and she appears to have second thoughts about broadcasting her terribly unwarranted joy. “I owe you so big for this, Han.”

I want to tell her that she’s actually doing me the favor, but she’s already dashing toward 

the booth to wait on her prince. I watch in amusement as Garrett’s expression clouds over at 

Lisa’s approach. He picks up the glass she sets in front of him, then meets my gaze and slants his 

As if to say, you’re not getting rid of me that easily.










REVIEW

The Deal (Off-Campus #1)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is one of those really sweet and saucy new adult books that makes us ladies swoon. It completely met that bar, but I was surprised by some of the deep subject matter too. While it has all those romance and young love in college vibes, it also is a story of overcoming trauma.
Garrett is the big man on campus, but I wouldn’t call him typical. He’s maybe a little full of himself, but the most genuine guy ever. Hannah is a little different also. She’s focused without being a snob and reserved while still being fun. Both characters behaved pretty maturely which I super appreciate, no over drama or cheating. Both are good people with demons in their pasts, and when they hook up sparks fly.
Sometimes people sneak up on you and suddenly you don’t know how you ever lived without them. How you went about your day and hung out with your friends and fucked other people without having this one important person in your life.

I will certainly read the next book in the series. I would like to know more about this group of friends. This story left me feeling happy and made me smile while reading.
I look like this.
4—4.5 stars






***copy given in exchange for an honest review***


toni


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