Lush Series by Selena Laurence – Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Want to know more about Selena Laurence’s Lush Series? Don’t miss the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post!

A Lush Reunion – Now available!
(Lush No. 4)
by Selena Laurence
Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

Discover The Lush Series

 

A Lush Triangle (Lush No. .5)
** FREE **
 
A Lush Betrayal (Lush No. 1)
** FREE **
iTunes   |   Goodreads
 
Loving a Lush (Lush No. 2)
 
Lowdown and Lush (Lush No. 3)
B&N   |   iTunes
 
 
A Lush Engagement
(Free Short Story) 

The Origin of Lush

Ideas for stories come to writers in all sorts of different ways. And for me it’s been different each time I’ve written a book. I started the Hiding From Love series after I dreamed the first book. It went through some different iterations after that initial dream, but the core of the story remained the same.

The Lush series, appropriately, originated in a song. Long Black Veil was a song originally written by The Band in 1968, then made famous by Johnny Cash. It was covered by Dave Matthews Band a few decades later, and that was the version I first heard.

Long Black Veil tells the story of a man who is accused of killing his best friend in an old west town. The accusation is sketchy and the justice is swift, ending with the man’s execution. But the song tells us that he had an alibi he didn’t use. His alibi was his best friend’s wife…who he’d been having an affair with.

So, we have a story where the wife and her husband’s best friend are in bed together while her husband is out on a street getting shot. When her lover goes to trial, the woman doesn’t step forward, and even though he was cheating with his best friend’s wife, the main character has some integrity left, and he won’t reveal the widow’s infidelity.

The chorus of the song is this:
She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave where the night winds wail
Nobody knows, no, and nobody sees
Nobody knows but me.

(Those of you who have read the first book in the Lush series, A Lush Betrayal, should recognize significant elements of the story by now.)

Long Black Veil is a short little song, just three verses and the chorus, but as any well-written words can do, it raises powerful emotions and issues. Those emotions and issues were what sparked the idea of the Lush series, and they carry on throughout all four books.

When I listened to Long Black Veil what I thought of was, “is there a way to take this and give it a happy ending?” See, I hate sad endings (hence the whole romance writing gig), and this one crushed my heart. So I set out to take the idea—two friends—as close as brothers, one woman, a horrible mistake, and the ideas of guilt, consequence, repentance, and forgiveness. From that was born the story of Joss, Walsh, Tammy, and the band that loves them all.

My newest release, A LUSH REUNION, gives the whole group the happy endings that Long Black Veil couldn’t. I hope you like reading it as much as I loved writing it!

**To listen to Long Black Veil the Johnny Cash version click here.

The Dave Matthews version click here.

Series Playlist

The Lush series is about a rock band, the story originated from a song, and music has been a very important part of writing the books too. Here is a playlist of some of the most important songs (according to me!) for each of the books in the series. Take a listen and tell me if you see story or character elements from Lush when you hear these songs:

A Lush Betrayal:
Long Black Veil
Fortunate Son
My City of Ruins

Loving a Lush:
Still I Long For Your Kiss
Life By the Drop
I Lost It

Lowdown and Lush:
Wicked Way
Never My Love
Kid Rock – Cowboy

A Lush Reunion:
From Eden
Amber
Walk Tall
Back to December

About the Author

Selena Laurence
Selena Laurence is the Barnes and Noble Bestselling author of what she likes to call Edgy Contemporary Romance. Her books have been Amazon Top 10 bestsellers in multiple categories including Multicultural Romance, Hispanic Fiction, Urban Fiction, Military Romance, and Romantic Suspense. Her New Adult romance, Hidden, won the 2014 Reader’s Crown Award for Contemporary Romance of the year.

Selena lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and spends a hell of a lot of time at soccer games, on her laptop, and reading. She requires a Mocha Latte every day to function, keeps a goldendoodle at her feet most of the time, and has more kids than she or Mr. Laurence know what to do with.

Connect with Selena

 


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A Lush Reunion (Lush Book 4) by Selena Laurence – Release Day, Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway!

A Lush Reunion (Lush Book 4) by Selena Laurence

 

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided an ARC of A Lush Reunion in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

After the breakup of his band, Lush, Colin Douglas doesn’t know what to do with himself. All he knows is that he’s done with smoking weed after using it to keep himself in a haze for the past ten years. When he runs into his high school love, Marsha, he realizes his love for her never died. Now he has a purpose in life—to win Marsha back.

Marsha O’Neill has had a rough life, made even worse when Colin left her ten years ago. Now on her own with a six-year-old son, Marsha works as a waitress to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. When her one true love walks back into her life, she’ll have to decide if what they had as teenagers is still there and worth risking her heart over, but she’ll also have to deal with the complications Colin brings to the table.

A Lush Reunion is the fourth book in the Lush series, and it’s another awesome addition. Although the stories follow the same group of characters—the members of the Lush band—you do not have to read all of the books to enjoy each one individually. Each story is able to stand on its own. A Lush Reunion focuses on Colin, the bassist for the band, who finds his high school sweetheart when and where he least expects to. The other band members are nicely incorporated, giving a little information on what has happened in their lives and some updates on where they are now.

The story starts off with some intrigue over what happened between Colin and Marsha ten years ago, and it hooks you in to want to know more. Bit by bit, it is revealed that Marsha got pregnant, but the couple split up over a difference of opinion. Marsha has had to make tough decisions in her life, and I love her character’s strength. She continues to show strength as she deals with not only Colin, but also her ex-husband and his best friend and being a single mother struggling to make ends meet. She’s reluctant to accept help from anyone, but eventually learns that sometimes it’s okay to lean on others for support.

The author is able to make you feel each character’s heartbreak, both ten years ago and now, keeping you fully engaged in their relationship. Colin and Marsha’s current relationship progresses at a nice pace. It’s not too fast or slow, allowing for a realistic feel. And when the pair finally does get together, the sparks jump right off the page.

A Lush Reunion is a must read for contemporary romance fans, especially if you like sexy musicians. I happen to love them, and this story did not disappoint!

You can find my review of A Lush Betrayal (Lush Book 1) by selecting Selena Laurence from the Author Spotlight tab. I’ll be back with more information on the Lush series tomorrow.

Happy reading!

Rach

 A Lush Reunion

(Lush No. 4)
by Selena Laurence
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 
Releases June 29, 2015 – Now available!
 

Synopsis

Ten years ago Lush bassist Colin Douglas met the love of his life. Then she broke his heart. Now, in a small Texas town, in the midst of the breakup of his band, Colin has found Marsha, and he has no idea what to do with her.

Marsha O’Neill hasn’t had it easy. Since losing Colin nothing’s gone right for this east Texas waitress—except for Sean, her six-year-old son. She’s worked hard to give Sean what he needs—the best of her. Then a hot bass player walks into her bar and she knows the world isn’t done screwing with her yet.

What happens when life gives you a second chance? Can you learn to trust again, live again, love again? Colin and Marsha are about to find out that second chances don’t come easy.


Excerpt

She looks down, fiddling with her bracelet, taking a deep breath. “It’s hard I guess. Imagining you with other people. All these years you’ve sort of been stuck in my imagination as my boyfriend. I never saw you with other people, didn’t have to go through that, so when you showed up here it was like being tossed back ten years. I don’t know who you were after you weren’t mine anymore.”

“Yea, that’s a good way of describing it. Like all those years never passed. The feelings are all still there. I guess we never dealt with them, did we?”

She shakes her head. “Have you forgiven me?”

“Excuse me?” I ask, thinking I heard her wrong.

“Have you forgiven me? Or do you think you ever will? I’ve wondered all these years if you ever forgave me. And if you did, could we be friends or something. And now you’re here, and we’re talking like civilized adults, and I just wonder if that means you’ve forgiven me?”

About the Author

Selena Laurence

Selena Laurence is the Barnes and Noble Bestselling author of what she likes to call Edgy Contemporary Romance. Her books have been Amazon Top 10 bestsellers in multiple categories including Multicultural Romance, Hispanic Fiction, Urban Fiction, Military Romance, and Romantic Suspense. Her New Adult romance, Hidden, won the 2014 Reader’s Crown Award for Contemporary Romance of the year.

Selena lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and spends a hell of a lot of time at soccer games, on her laptop, and reading. She requires a Mocha Latte every day to function, keeps a goldendoodle at her feet most of the time, and has more kids than she or Mr. Laurence know what to do with.

Connect with Selena

 

Giveaway
 
More information on Lush coming tomorrow!

Teaser – A Lush Reunion (Lush Book 4) by Selena Laurence

A Lush Reunion by Selena Laurence releases Monday!  Don’t miss the heart-warming conclusion to Selena Laurence’s wild Lush series.  Pre-order your copy today!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1BkvOFB
iTunes: http://apple.co/1F6bYzq
BN: http://bit.ly/1zGE9mh

Releases June 29th! My review will be posted on the blog on Monday to celebrate the release.

A Lush Reunion Teaser4

New to the series?  Get a FREE copy of A Lush Betrayal, the first book in the Lush series. You can find my 5-star review of A Lush Betrayal by selecting Selena Laurence from the Author Spotlight tab.

FREE 👉 http://amzn.to/1GvIM0g
#Lush4

Happy reading!

Rach

Renewed (The Kinky Connect Chronicles Book 2) by Harper Miller – Review and Blog Tour

Renewed Blog Tour Banner

Review:

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided an ARC of Renewed in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

After finding out her husband has been cheating on her, twenty-eight-year-old Tanya is done with him, and with love. But she’s curious about what led him astray. She creates a profile on the kinky website he’s been visiting, and while she’s there, a guy named Kenji finds and befriends her. Even though she’s not looking to make any kinky connections, Tanya finds herself giving in and meeting Kenji when they both happen to be at Heathrow airport at the same time.

The connection Tanya feels to Kenji has her exploring her kinky side in an airport bathroom and even trying out his fetish. But now she has to decide if she’s willing to continue exploring, or if she’s happier keeping her heart safe.

Renewed is another short story that is part of the Kinky Connect Chronicles by Harper Miller. It’s short and to the point, continuing the theme of strangers meeting on a kinky website. I enjoyed the fact that Tanya wasn’t actually looking to make a connection on the website, and at first she and Kenji were only friends. What she really needed was someone to open up to, and Kenji allowed her to do that. This led to their relationship being based on something more than a fetish. But at the same time, it also allowed Tanya to open up in other ways, including exploring Kenji’s foot fetish and exhibitionism.

I have to say that the foot fetish didn’t exactly turn me on, but the author was able to turn up the heat by showing how much the characters enjoyed it. The exhibitionism, on the other hand, was hot all on its own.

I would have liked to know a little more about what Kenji was doing on the website that led him to Tanya, but I understand not everything can be covered in such a short story. For what it did accomplish, Renewed is enjoyable and hot. It’s a quick read that explores the kinkier side of life. I look forward to more stories in this series.

My review of Ironic, the first story in The Kinky Connect Chronicles, can be found by selecting Harper Miller from the Author Spotlight tab.

Happy reading!

Rach

blog tour

Renewed Cover

Book Title: Renewed (The Kinky Connect Chronicles Book 2)
Author: Harper Miller
Genre: Erotic Romance/Erotica and Interracial/Multicultural Romance
Release Date: June 22, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

I was hurt. I was heartbroken. I felt abandoned and emotionally drained.

Sometimes heartache can open new doors.

Of course, names have been changed to protect all parties involved, but this is my story.

*Disclaimer* This is a novelette. Not a short story, novella, or novel. Content is intended for a mature audience, 18+.

Renewed is the second installment in The Kinky Connect Chronicles. The Kinky Connect Chronicles are short erotic stories/novelettes all wrapped up in neat little bows. These stories are standalones. No cliffhangers in the lot!

excerpt

© Harper Miller 2015

brwngrltrvler: I’m not in NYC at the moment. I’m overseas, for work.

JapKenDoll: Nice! Your passport is getting a workout. That’s right, you did say it was late where you are. Where’d your travels take you?

brwngrltrvler: Why are you asking? You plan on flying all the way from New York, Superman? I’m in London.

There’s a long pause.

JapKenDoll: Good thing I just got my cape back from the dry cleaners. 🙂 Tanya, I kid you not, I’m in Paris for work. It’s Fashion Week, which is a pretty big deal in my industry. I realize this is going to sound crazy, and you’ll probably say no, but I’d like to meet you. I fly out of De Gaulle with a layover at Heathrow for about an hour tomorrow. We can grab a cup of coffee as friends.

Well, that explains him checking into a hotel. Friends. Hmm, friends. Well, Kenji said he was transparent, but he doesn’t want to be just friends; I am sure of it. We were chatting via a kink-centric website. This is where people went for hookups. I’m sure he wanted something, something I most likely couldn’t give him.

brwngrltrvler: That’s a bad idea, Kenji.

JapKenDoll: Better to meet in London than New York, right? Afterward, you go off in your direction, I go in mine, and we never have to see each other again. Humor me. Have coffee with a man you’ll never see again. 🙂

I know it’s a bad idea, everything in my being is screaming it’s a bad idea. I’m emotional, I’m raw, I’m . . . stupid.

brwngrltrvler: What time?

Yes, incredibly stupid.

Teasers

Renewed-promo1

Renewed-promo2

Meet the Author

Harper Miller is a thirty-something native New Yorker. She’s traveled the world and lived in a variety of places but always finds her way back to the Big Apple.

A lackluster love life leaves time to explore new interests, for Harper it is writing. The Sweetest Taboo: An Unconventional Romance is her debut novel. In her mind the perfect Alpha male possesses intellect, humor, and a kinky streak that rivals the size of California.

When she isn’t writing, Harper utilizes her graduate degree in the field of medical research. She enjoys fitness-related activities, drinking copious amounts of wine, and going on bad dates.

She loves hearing from readers. Feel free to reach out!

Social Media

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Famous (The Famous Novels Book 1) by Kahlen Aymes

Famous (The Famous Novels Book 1) by Kahlen Aymes

 Famous Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

Brooklyn Holloway and Caden Carlisle meet on the set of a movie they’re starring in together, and the attraction is instantaneous and undeniable. But Brook has a boyfriend she’s been dating for a few years. Cade’s heart is ripped out every time David comes to visit Brook on location. Cade wants nothing to do with the Hollywood glitz and glamour, or with the women throwing themselves at him all the time. He only wants Brook. When Brook realizes she can’t live without Cade and breaks up with her boyfriend, everything should be perfect—except it’s not. A clause in their contracts forbids them from having a relationship, and they have to hide the feelings that have been dying to be set free all this time.

Famous is a celebrity romance with two sweet main characters. They want to be together, but first Brook’s boyfriend and then their contracts hold them back. They have to resort to sneaking around and hiding their feelings in public, all while Brook pretends she’s still dating David. I enjoyed seeing a Hollywood good-guy, with Cade’s character being honest and dedicated. Although celebrity romance is a genre I typically love, I didn’t enjoy this book very much.

To start with, the love triangle was a little overdone. Right off the bat, we knew Brook and Cade had strong feelings for each other and Brook was blasé about her boyfriend. Actually breaking up with David was very drawn out. Brook was back and forth over her feelings for too long. Several of the situations within the triangle were cliché, like breaking up with David in public and paps taking pictures, which Cade then misinterpreted, and then he wouldn’t speak to Brook and immediately went out with someone else. Once Brook and Cade were finally together, it felt like every other line between them was “I love you,” and they constantly had to reassure each other. Both characters were too insecure over their relationship, which was supposed to be some great connection between them. One of Brook’s main insecurities was that they loved each other as people, not just as the characters they portrayed, yet they constantly used lines from the movie to express their feelings.

As far as the general plot goes, not much happened and not much was resolved. Brook and Cade got together and agreed (rather early on) they would get married, but they had to hide their relationship. At the end of the story, Cade had officially proposed (with a ring Brook couldn’t actually wear in public), yet they were still hiding the relationship and we didn’t know how much longer they’d have to hide. No decision had been made on whether there would be a second movie, which would bind them to their contracts for longer. Also, the story was clearly written to mimic a pair of real life celebrities, with not nearly enough details changed to make it original. There were even some similarities to the movie those celebrities starred in together.

Unfortunately, this book also needed a good editor. There were tense changes, comma splices, and incorrect homophones all over the place. There were also little inconsistencies an editor should point out, like when Brook put her sunglasses back on even though she had never taken them off in the first place.

I really wanted to love this book since it was based on celebrities I like, but it needed a clearer direction, more editing, and more originality.

Happy reading!

Rach

Breaking Free by Cara Dee

Breaking Free by Cara Dee

 Breaking Free Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Breaking Free by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Hollywood director Tennyson Wright enjoys his solitude when he’s not working on a film. But in order to promote his latest project, he’s been instructed by the studio to put on a show of his own by dating party princess Sophie Pierce, who is seventeen years his junior.

Sophie Pierce is hoping her role in her current movie, directed by Tennyson, will help her break free from her party girl image and her father’s clutches, but she doesn’t quite realize just how bad her image has become. With help from her PA Daniel and her fake boyfriend Tennyson, Sophie will learn that she needs to fly on her own in order to make it in this world.

Throughout their “showmance,” Sophie and Tennyson develop true feelings for each other. But their differences run deep, and Sophie still has a lot of growing up to do. They’ll have to figure out what is real and what’s for show, and how Sophie can break free of her old image and prove she’s a serious actress.

Breaking Free is book one of two, so not all issues are wrapped up at the end of the story. Although I’m not usually a fan of this format, Cara Dee did not end Breaking Free with a major cliffhanger. The book stops at a natural breaking point, with the characters at a point in their lives where they have to live with the decisions they’ve made. The story definitely isn’t over, but you’ll be comfortable with where it ends.

The main focus in Breaking Free is on Sophie growing out of her party princess ways and learning how to handle life on her own, but that doesn’t mean there were no lessons for Tennyson to learn. He’s been happy in his life, until it’s pointed out to him that he’s not exactly approachable, and he begins to realize that perhaps his self-imposed seclusion is not doing him any favors. It’s been a while since he’s had a romantic relationship, so when feelings for Sophie develop, Tennyson isn’t quite sure what to do with them. Their differences seem insurmountable, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to take her under his wing and protect her. Unfortunately, sometimes protecting someone also means letting them fly on their own.

I love watching Sophie’s transformation from self-centered, stuck-up party girl to responsible, dedicated actress. It’s no easy feat. Even once she begins to prove herself, she continually has to fight against her old image. And nothing can fully change overnight; it’s a recurrent learning process for Sophie. Cara Dee keeps things real. Problems and images don’t just go away, and differences are not overcome just because we want them to be. These characters have to fight for what they have.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how hot the erotic scenes are between Sophie and Tennyson. His realization that their age difference turns him on, and her loving his commanding ways, makes for some steamy times together. Their relationship progresses at a realistic pace, allowing the reader to fall in love right along with the characters.

Cara Dee has created another romantic masterpiece, and I can’t wait for book two, With Brave Wings, which will be released in August. If you enjoy realistic celebrity romances, you’ll love Breaking Free.

Happy reading!

Rach

Outcome (Aftermath Book 2) by Cara Dee

Outcome (Aftermath Book 2) by Cara Dee

 Outcome Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Outcome by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Chase Gallardo hasn’t fully gotten over his kidnapping and five months in captivity, even though it’s been three years since he found freedom. The reason he believes he was targeted, that he’s gay, is just one more reason to keep his true nature to himself, even if it means a life of celibacy. He’s happy helping others and owning the bar he’s spent most of his life trying to afford.

Remy Stahl is on a downward spiral as his guilt eats away at him. He feels responsible for the kidnapping of ten men since he unknowingly gave his half brother the money that funded the kidnapping. His friends want to save him from the self-destructive lifestyle he’s adopted, but Remy doesn’t feel worthy of being saved.

A chance encounter between Chase and Remy, the person Chase was forced to portray during his time in captivity, sets both men on a path toward healing—and toward each other. They both will need to accept help from friends who are more like family, and they’ll need to lean on each other in order to get through the issues they face. When they develop feelings for each other, Chase will have to decide if he’s ready to face the world as a gay man or not.

Outcome is the second book in the Aftermath series by Cara Dee, and it is just as amazing as the first book. Although it builds on the story started in Aftermath, Outcome can definitely be read as a standalone. It focuses on different characters, but the main characters from Aftermath play a big part in Outcome. It is also so much more than a M/M erotic romance. Both Chase and Remy have a lot of growing and healing to do as part of the outcome of the kidnapping that took place three years prior.

Chase likes to fix everyone else’s problems but has never been good at accepting help for himself. Throughout the story, he learns it’s okay to lean on others for support. Sometimes it’s little things, like allowing his friends to help out at the bar, and sometimes it’s bigger things, like coming out of the closet after so many years of hiding and realizing that his friends won’t judge him. A relationship with Remy—half brother of Chase’s kidnapper—is the last thing Chase expects when he offers to help Remy with his issues. But it ends up being the icing on the cake as the two men lean on each other to get through their problems.

Remy’s guilt over what he feels is his part in the kidnapping leads him to no longer care what happens to his life. He’s been abandoned by his family and feels like he has no one left. But when his friends Minna and Andy try to save him, he begins to realize he has something to live for and that family doesn’t have to come from a blood relation. Once Chase enters the picture, Remy finds he can help the other man by helping himself. And accepting love from Chase heals Remy more than he ever thought possible.

I truly enjoyed reading Outcome and watching these men learn to open up and accept friendship and love. Cara Dee writes stories that are real and down to Earth, with problems that don’t disappear at the drop of a hat. Following this journey to self-discovery was fulfilling and exciting. This is another must read for fans of M/M erotic romance.

Happy reading!

Rach

Breaking Free by Cara Dee – Release Party and Teaser

Breaking Free by Cara DeeRelease Party and Teaser

I’ll be participating in a takeover at Cara Dee’s Facebook Release Party for Breaking Free on June 23, 2015. There will be tons of giveaways, teasers, takeovers, and much more! Please join me for the event by clicking here and RSVP that you’re going.

Here’s a teaser to whet your appetite: Breaking Free Rain Teaser

You can find plenty of reviews of Cara’s books under the Author Spotlight tab at the top of this page. My review of Breaking Free will post on release day! You can pre-order Breaking Free from Amazon now.

Happy reading, and I hope to see you at the party!

Rach