ARC Review: Off the Ice (Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn)

I am going to say that it’s TWO for TWO for me, when it comes to Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn’s writing partnership, after Permanent Ink. Because I loved this one as well!

Off the Ice is the first book of the new trilogy, Hat Trick, featuring Tristan Holt, a defenseman for Atlanta Venom, and Sebastian Cruz, sociology professor at Georgia State. It has a number of tropes that may attract readers of this genre. Let’s see … student/teacher, age-gap, d/s kink … and well, hockey players!

The two men meet when Tristan enrolls for summer course during his season break and takes Sociology 3201 where Sebastian is the professor. Initially Sebastian — despite his PhD in sociology and his lecture about perceptions, mind you — ends up falling into stereotype trap as he thinks that Tristan is just a jock, who plagiarizes his fellow student’s paper. Boy, I LOVED that scene where Tristan reminds Sebastian about it, takes him down a peg *laugh*. They don’t start dating after the final grade is given though, to avoid breaking the rule.

The main conflict of the book is nothing new, especially if it involves non-straight athletes. Tristan being in the closet, afraid of the repercussion of being an out player, versus Sebastian’s out status and unwillingness to be a secret lover. Having said that, I didn’t think it was angst-heavy. We still have a lot of them being in the state of sexual bliss, outside of Tristan coaxing Sebastian to start paying attention of hockey. Addressing the issue is being kept until later in the book to act as the bridge to deliver the happy ending.

All in all, it’s a great start to introduce readers to the series. I already look forward to reading the upcoming books. I hope the next one is about Ryu, the Venom goalie.

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

The ARC is provided by the authors via A Novel Take PR for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Off the Ice
Author: Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn
Series: Hat Trick, #1
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 70,900 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 30, 2017

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Billionaire’s Ex-Wife (Leslie North)

The Billionaire’s Ex-Wife
Leslie North
(The Jameson Brothers, #1)
Publication date: October 19th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Sam Jameson always gets what he wants and what he wants is his ex-wife.

Sam views the world in black and white—a strong attitude that’s earned him billions in the business world and an ex-wife in the real world. Sam wants is to choose his own future, but to do this he must pass a test set out by his older brother, and CEO: onboard his wayward brother, Eddie. Sam accepts the challenge but isn’t sure what to think when he learns that the woman he’d love and left is part of the test too.

Trinity Jameson is a fixer. It doesn’t matter if it’s ugly furniture or an ornery employee, Trinity has the touch and she’s spent most of her life helping others achieve their best potential. But when her ex-husband comes back to town to prove he’s got a heart, Trinity makes a decision: She’s not going to fix his problems for him—no matter what his smoldering blue eyes ask of her, she’s going to say “No.” She’s determined that he’ll fix his own mess this time.

Before Sam landed in New York, his goal was to leave the city just as fast. But when Trinity saunters into the room looking better than ever, his desire begins to shift. He realizes that what he really wants is what he can no longer have: Trinity. Sam has no trouble stoking their physical fire, but hot sex isn’t going to be enough to heal the hurt he’d caused long ago. Sam isn’t going to be dissuaded by her new found emotional wall. He helped her build it, and now he’s going to knock it down.

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EXCERPT:

His favorite suit was wrinkled. It didn’t matter if there was only one: the wrinkle was there, leering up at him like a lopsided, mocking smile.

Sam Jameson shook out his sleeve, but the minor imperfection remained. Minor, he thought to himself in consolation. A wrinkle that wouldn’t smooth was the least of his problems today; still, it lingered in the back of his mind as much as it lingered on the otherwise crisp fabric of his suit.

Sam distracted himself by gazing about the familiar waiting room of the New York office. He missed the East Coast more than he could express, and he wasn’t an expressive man by nature—but even he could appreciate the familiar, sanitized smell of the office, the classic wooden furnishings, and the precision of the New York City skyline just outside the high window. The L.A. office always smelled like someone was secretly giving manicures in the staff kitchen, and the West Coast skyline was…quirky. Slipshod. Obscured by a permanent haze and decidedly not up to code.

L.A. was to blame for Sam’s current predicament, of that he had no doubt. Who the hell lodged a complaint about “annoying perfectionism” and took their business elsewhere? Apparently L.A. clients did. Sam blamed the strange holistic culture that had seized the West Coast—the culture of “mistakes are successes that haven’t happened yet”, or whatever inane philosophy Californians liked to paste on the bumpers of their hybridized cars—but his older brother William didn’t see things the way he did. That was partly why Willian was CEO, and Sam was COO, of Jameson Advertising Agency: it wasn’t just a matter of age, but perspective…or so their father had once explained it.

If only Sam could give William a momentary demotion and make him see things from his point of view. This move to onboard Eddie was a mistake. More than that, it was far below Sam’s paygrade—but even he wasn’t so callous as to say as much out loud. He had learned early that when it came to family, talking in strictly business terms wasn’t exactly smiled upon.

But surely even William could see, from his lofty vantage as CEO, that bringing Eddie any closer in the family business was a mistake. Their father had certainly thought so. The youngest Jameson simply wasn’t cut out for more than wining and dining clients.

Inviting the family screw-up back into the fold didn’t seem like a wise move to Sam—but who was he to protest it? He would get in, do the job to a more than acceptable degree, and get out, the same as he always did. William wouldn’t be able to argue with the results, and then Sam could get the hell back to L.A. and move onto better things.

The door opened and Sam rose, applying one last swipe to the wrinkle. He raised his gaze, expecting to find Eddie’s lopsided grin and ridiculous eyebrows waggling a greeting.

Instead, it was his own ex-wife he found staring back at him.

“Trinity.” He hated how out of practice he suddenly sounded saying her name out loud. Not a day had passed since their separation that it didn’t enter his head on a repeating loop, always in threes: Trinity. Trinity. Trinity. “What are you doing here?”

His ex-wife blinked her gorgeous doe eyes like he had her caught in a crosshairs. Obviously his presence in the room wasn’t a surprise to her, but maybe seeing an estranged spouse in the flesh shook her as much as it shook him.

 

Author Bio:

Leslie North is the pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women’s contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.

The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren’t afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.

Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.

She LOVES reader feedback, and if you have any comments, don’t hesitate to contact her via e-mail: leslie@leslienorthbooks.com.

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ARC Review: Kill Game (Cordelia Kingsbridge)

Kill Game is a book whose plot (serial killer!), characters (a homicide detective — who can do Krav Maga by the way — and a bail enforcement agent), chemistry (sizzles), action (fast-paced!), and romantic development (strong and steady; the sex near the end is pretty hot too) is RIGHT up my alley! It definitely is one of my favorite reads of the year…

This is only my second book of Cordelia Kingsbridge and I seriously wonder why I haven’t read more of hers. Maybe because I’m not really into reading free online fiction *lol*. Anyway, I requested this ARC because of the first two words of the blurb: homicide detective. Other readers have their love towards firemen, or hockey players, or military officers …

Me? Homicide detective is one of my weaknesses. I didn’t even read the whole blurb completely; I saw that and I was intrigued.

What a ride this one turned out for me!! I couldn’t put this down. Kill Game is a thrilling page-turner and everything I enjoy from mystery/romance…

First, a vigilante SERIAL KILLER. Yes, The Seven of Spades only kills people who commit crime and walk away from jail time. I enjoy reading about serial killer whose victims are not exactly innocent. The moral question on whether the victims “get what they deserve” makes the story EXCITING.

Then we have the relationship dynamic between Levi (the detective) and Dominic (thebail enforcement agent). Levi thinks that Dominic is NOT his type at all. Dominic is too big, too muscular… As for Dominic, Levi is a bit too prickly. But boy, they have delicious chemistry. They work REALLY well together too; even if Dominic is not part of the Las Vegas Police Department. I think it’s because they respect each other and they are good at what they do. I also loved them individually; I especially enjoyed the added layers that Kingsbridge gave this character… like Levi having a rich boyfriend, and Dominic as a recovering gambling addict.

The love story is slow burn for me. Until at least half of this book, Levi is in a relationship with someone else. No, Levi is not cheating on his boyfriend, they already have issues. I thought Kingsbridge offered a convincing problematic relationship when the two men involved had different ending goals.

The only thing that stops Kill Game from being a perfect read for me is, well, the ending. When I read it, I wasn’t aware that it was the first novel of a series arc that spans five books. Which means when I started, I had expectations. I wasn’t prepared with the possibility that the big question wasn’t completely answered at the end… so I was a bit bummed by it.

The final line of this book was excellent though … I know I’m going to have fun building up hypothesis about the real identity of Seven of Spades. I already have my guess at the moment, but with more books, I will have more data so to speak. Now I’m eagerly waiting for the second book and counting the days until it arrives.

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

 

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Kill Game
Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge
Series: Seven of Spades, #1
Genre: MM Contemporary / Mystery Romance
Word Count: 78,500 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 23, 2017

Release Day Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: In Over Our Heads (CJane Elliott)

Title:  In Over Our Heads

Series: Stories from the Shore

Author: CJane Elliott

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: October 16, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000

Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation

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Synopsis

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Excerpt

The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.

“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”

“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”

I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.

“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”

“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”

“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”

“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”

She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”

I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”

“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.

“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”

“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.

“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”

Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!

Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”

Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

In Over Our Heads is marked as the second story from Stories from the Shore series but can be read as stand-alone. I love second-chance romance trope, it’s probably my favorite trope, which is one of the reason why I put a request for ARC in this one.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work for me.

First of all, I have ENOUGH of characters who turn 30 years old and call themselves “old fart” or “too old”. I know that people have obsession about youth. But look, based on RWA Romance Reader Statistic, the U.S. romance book buyer is most likely to be aged between 30 and 54 years (with average age of 42 years old based on Nielsen). Can romance authors be more, I don’t know, relevant to the majority of readers by NOT making these 30 year old character look like they already have middle-age crisis?!? PUH-LEASE! Sorry, but it’s aggravating for me.

Second of all, I’m sorry, but the reason of Walter’s avoiding Anthony is a bit lame. Yeah, yeah, so he has tragedy when he’s 10 years old. But the whole “I’m doing this to protect you” stance is bullsh*t. He’s a scientist, shouldn’t he based everything on facts and data rather than being rather superstitious about it?

And for second-chance romance, I think the first 50% of the book is mainly about Anthony trying not to care about Walter and has a little flirty-flirty with 22-year-old Miles.

Maybe I’m not in my best mood reading this one, but I can’t really find anything I like about it. Oh maybe Miles… I like him okay. He’s young and fun. I’m more interested in him compared to Anthony and Walter. Plus he dares to call Walter an idiot, so high five to Miles.

RATING: 2.5 stars

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24.

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Always (Bethany-Kris)

ALWAYS, A Legacy Novel

by Bethany-Kris
Cross + Catherine, #1
Publication Date: October 2, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Coming of Age, Mafia

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SYNOPSIS:

A Legacy Novel

A wild boy.
A sly girl.

Cross Donati defines trouble. He does what he wants because he’s never known anything different. He’s unapologetic, and he owns it.

Catherine Marcello is every bit a good girl … on the outside. Her entire world is a legacy, and she lives it. She’s curious, and she’s exploring it.

She chases bad things.
He never learned to be good.

They’re late nights, stolen cars, first times, fist fights, leather jackets, beaches, bloody smiles, and life.
They’re vicious and precious, dangerous and harmless, innocence and sin. They are love.

Love is killing for someone.
Love is living for someone.

Sometimes, you can’t keep saving your heart when it means sacrificing it, too.
Sometimes, you have to learn to save yourself.
Sometimes, love has to fall, crash, and burn.

This is what love is like when you’re a principe and principessa della mafia.
This is what love is like when you’re Cross Donati and Catherine Marcello.

***

Always is a Legacy Novel, and while it is standalone, it can also act as a prequel for Revere. Each Legacy Novel stands alone from any other book, series, or collection.

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ABOUT BETHANY-KRIS

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Off Pitch (Brianna Kienitz)

Title:  Off Pitch

Series: Pitch Prodigies, Book One

Author: Brianna Kienitz

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: October 9, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 92600

Genre: Contemporary, lesbian, musician, new adult, performing arts, romance, sports

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Synopsis

Soccer star Adeline Fahey has never taken an interest in the world outside of the pitch. The daughter of wealthy Irish immigrants, and a straight-A student, she sees nothing but the goal—finish her last two years of school and join a professional soccer team—no ifs, ands, or buts.

Then Gabriella Soto, a cello prodigy in her own right and the teaching assistant in Adeline’s dreaded Beginning Spanish class, walks onto her playing field.

After a drunken night in a T-rex costume boots their hearts onto a collision course, Adeline and Gabriella must tackle a field of school scandal, homophobic parents, and their own passionate career goals to have a shot at something more. In the face of so many obstacles, Adeline and Gabriella fear that their love may not be strong enough to score them the championship relationship they never knew they wanted.

Excerpt

Off Pitch
Brianna Kienitz © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

I stood back to watch my handiwork as the soccer ball soared gracefully into the top-right corner of the goal, and a whistle blew from somewhere near the sideline to signal the end of practice. I sighed with contentment at my own spectacular skill and jogged toward the net to help clean up the mess of balls that littered the goal area. My bedeviled locks clung to my sweaty forehead as the summer sun beat down from the clear August sky and reflected off Lake Michigan, bathing the soccer field in a double-whammy heat wave.

“God, Adds! Do you ever let up? The season hasn’t even started yet,” Jessica whined from her position inside the goal.

“After fourteen years on the pitch together, I thought you’d have learned the answer to that question.” I gave her chestnut ponytail a playful tug, and she glared at me while she leaned casually against the goalpost.

“Well, there was that one time in first grade when we sat down in your living room and watched a movie.”

“Ha. Ha.” I rolled my eyes. Jessica Strobel and I had been best friends since first grade. Now, going into our junior year at Northwestern University, our relationship subsisted entirely on sarcasm and caffeine.

“I’ll tell you what. Since you managed to block almost 10 percent of my shots, and I know what a sore loser you are, I’ll take you out to coffee after we’re done here.”

“Wow, your highness. You are so magnanimous. Thank you soooooo much,” Jessica said with a flagrant eye roll. As much as we teased, I did feel a little guilty for dragging her to this practice. It was the last day before the start of fall classes, and while pre-semester practices weren’t mandatory, I was beginning to feel the stress of the inevitability of graduating in two years. I only had two seasons left to impress scouts and get picked up by a professional team, or risk becoming another college has-been. That was a fate to which I refused to succumb.

Jessica was, and always had been, my rock. She kept me grounded and sane, which was no small feat, given my penchant for being a high-strung ass much of the time. Her role in my life was much like that of the Roman slaves who whispered in Caesar’s ear, “Remember, thou art mortal,” as he paraded victorious. Not that I thought I was immortal but I did have a big head. Jessica was the person who kept my over-inflated ego from carrying me away like a hot-air balloon.

“Fahey! Strobel! Clean up now, chitchat later,” Coach barked from the sideline. “Some of us have places to be.”

“You heard the man.” Jessica gave me a pointed look. “You made this mess. You clean it up.” Without another word, she traipsed off toward the locker rooms. I sighed audibly, but silently smirked at her retreating back. She put me in my place like no one else could. It was only fair that I pick up. If I hadn’t dragged her to this voluntary practice, she would probably still be sitting in our shared apartment in her pajamas, watching whatever show she was currently obsessed with.

Once I had stuffed the plethora of soccer balls back into a bag, I hitched it over my shoulder and hauled it to the sideline where the coach waited impatiently. He seemed focused on whatever he was doing on his clipboard, so I didn’t dare disturb him. I threw the bag into the pile of soccer sundries for the equipment manager to deal with and started to trot toward the locker room. I was only a few steps along when the coach called after me.

“Hold up, Fahey. A word, please.” His tone was always gruff, but I had learned that his demeanor was more warm than harsh. His face seemed to bear a perpetual five-o’clock shadow, but his blue eyes were always bright beneath his bushy rich brown hair. It was as if he was built to be a coach, right down to his powerful physique and firm attitude.

“What’s up, Coach?”

“Gardener is gone,” he said without looking up from his clipboard.

“Yeah. I know.” I felt like he was stating the obvious. Cam Gardener had been the captain of Northwestern University’s women’s soccer team for the past two years. She had graduated last year, and we’d held a big going-away party for her and the other graduates at the end of the semester. I was perfectly aware that graduating meant she wouldn’t be on the team anymore.

“So, we’ll need a new captain.” Coach looked up at me finally. “It’ll be the ladies’ decision, ultimately, but I want it to be you.” His expression was calculating as he waited for me to respond.

“Oh…wow! I…thanks, Coach. I mean, it’s up to the others, obviously, but…yeah. I’ll think about it. Thank you. I’ll think about it,” I babbled and started to walk away. I felt Coach’s gaze weighing on the back of my strong shoulders, and my thoughts began to race. I had never really considered being captain of any team. I was an excellent player by any standards, and it wasn’t that I was selfish, or a showboat, but I was always focused on being the best I could be. I loved being part of a team, but I had never thought of myself as a leader.

The prospect was both exhilarating and daunting. I tried not to let it worry me as I undressed and showered in the locker room. Hopefully, Jessica was up for being a sounding board, and she could help me figure this whole situation out. She was always the level-headed one.

Deleted Scene with Commentary

This isn’t a deleted scene, but a scene that crossed my mind one day after I had finished the manuscript. It takes place the first weekend after school starts. I call it “Adeline and Jessica Visit the Bean.” If you’re not familiar with the Cloud Gate statue in Millenium Park in Chicago, it’s a mirrored sculpture shaped like a bean (hence the colloquialism) inspired by liquid mercury.

 

I was distracted from watching a family make faces at themselves in the shiny surface of Millenium Park’s famous Cloud Gate statue by a slapping sound beside me.

“Adds, I’m flicking the bean. Get it?” Jessica stared at me with a proud smile, as if she hadn’t just make a lewd joke in the middle of of crowded tourist spot.

I tried to ignore her obscenity. “Is this why you brought me here? I have work to do.” The parents I’d been watching were glaring in our direction.

“It’s the first week of school. How much homework can you have? Besides, there’s plenty to learn here.” She kept slapping the statue. “When was the last time you flicked a bean. Maybe you need some practice.”

I started walking away before she could say any more horrible things in front of innocent strangers.

“Aww. Come on, Adds,” Jessica whined, chasing after me. “You know I’m just worried about you getting rusty.”

“Get rusty for what? It’s not like ladies are lined up around the block.”

“Only because you’re not putting yourself out there. Are you going to tell me you not even a little interested in anyone?”

I pushed the vision of my Spanish TA’s silken hair cascading over her touchable shoulders to the back of my mind, but not before it caused me to flush.

Jessica cracked a sinister smile. “I knew it. Who is she?”

“No one. I mean, I don’t have time for thinking about anyone that way. There’s no one,” I sputtered.

“Mhmm. Whatever you say, Adds.” Jessica wasn’t convinced in the least, but I was being halfway honest. I didn’t have time for stupid schoolgirl crushes.

“Do you want to go get some ice cream?”

“If you think you can distract me from my best friend obligations with comfort food-” Jessica gave me severe look “You are absolutely right. You’re buying.”

I followed Jessica to the nearest ice cream cart, trying hard not to wonder at  Gabriella’s favorite ice cream.

 

I love the interplay between Adeline and Jessica, and I love writing them together. They are the perfect foil for one another, and they are more complete people for being together. I hope you’ll find their relationship as touching as the one that blossoms between Adeline and Gabriella.

 

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Meet the Author

Brianna Kienitz (pronounced Kee-nits) started out as an avid reader of lesbian fiction on Wattpad. When reading no longer sated her appetite, she turned to writing the stories she craved. Brianna believes a good story should make you feel every moment deeply, whether it be laughing until it hurts, crying yourself dry, or screaming with unbridled rage. Her Wattpad works have been widely read and have received multiple awards from the Wattpad community. Her current project, Off Pitch, was named Wattpad LGBT Book of the Month in March 2017.

Brianna lives in Missoula, Montana, where she works as a slayer of transit demons, and a dance instructor. She spends most of her down time hiding in her Hobbit Hole with her wife and cat, curating T-rex costume GIF’s and pretending not to be socially awkward on the internet.

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10/9 Abbeys 1-Click Book Blog

10/9 MM Good Book Reviews

10/10 Butterfly-o-Meter Books

10/10 Andrew Grey’s Blog

10/11 Love Bytes

10/11 Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter

10/12 Out Of My Head

10/13 Stories That Make You Smile

10/13 Dog-Eared Daydreams

10/13 A.O. Chika Book Blog

10/13 Happily Ever Chapter

10/13 A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog

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ARC Review: Off Pitch (Brianna Kienitz)

I admit that I requested the ARC for this one because … SOCCER!! I was thinking about “Bend it Like Beckham” all the way through when I saw the cover reveal. I didn’t exactly read the blurb — so I thought it involved two soccer players instead of one soccer player and a cello prodigy *lol*

Anyhow … it was pretty nice read — it was quite long and covered months of Adeline and Gabriella’s relationship in Northwestern University. They first met in Spanish class: Gabriella is Adeline’s teaching assistant. I thought it was also angst-lite, even if we had a number of drama including homophobic parents, jealousy, and short separation. They all either solved pretty quickly or simply forgotten (for example, I still wonder if that’s just it with the parents).

I was more annoyed with the way that the last two issues were introduced though … because it was quite late in the book. To me, it was almost like the author decided to add last-hour problem because she needed a climax to end this story.

Having said so, this love story felt slightly too young for me to completely enjoyed it. I’m not exactly huge fan of YA/NA in the first place, although I don’t avoid this genre completely (there are some great ones that become my favorite!). It didn’t help that I thought Adeline (the main narrator) to be quite impulsive (buying an expensive Christmas gift when she’s not really having steady bank account/income to last university doesn’t sound smart to me) and slightly a bit drama-queen.

 

RATING: 3 out of 5

 

 

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The ARC is provided through IndiGo Marketing & Design for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Off Pitch
Author: Brianna Kienitz
Series: Pitch Prodigies, #1
Genre: FF Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 92,600 words
Publisher: NineStar Press
Purchase Link: Amazon US, Barnes and Noble
Release Date: April 3rd, 2017