Wednesday, November 30, 2016

ARC Review & Excerpt NICO:A Mafia Romance by Sarah Castille

NICO by Sarah Castille  
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Contact: Justine Sha T: 646-307-5564
Justine.Sha@stmartins.com 

 “A deftly plotted page-turner that will leave readers panting for the next installment” –Publisher’s Weekly

New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille is back with NICO (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, $7.99, December 6, 2016), the first book in her Ruin & Revenge series. With reminiscences of Romeo and Juliet, Castille presents a modern twist and a powerful bad boy spin on the classic tale. RT Book Reviews raves about Castille’s BEYOND THE CUT saying, “Castille continues to raise the stakes… giving readers the compelling romance they crave,” and that continues brilliantly in this new series.

In NICO, Las Vegas Mafia boss Nico Toscani is used to getting what he wants, whether it’s having the City of Sin under his rule or a beautiful woman in his bed. But when he meets his match in the gorgeous, headstrong Mia Cordano, daughter of a rival crime lord, all bets are off…

Sexy computer hacker Mia struggles to break free of her ruthless father’s Mafia ties…but she can’t resist the powerful and seductive Nico, who will stop at nothing to possess her. With their families locked in a brutal war for control of the city, Mia and Nico enter into a forbidden game. Will they surrender to the passion that burns between them—and risk tearing apart their families? Or will Nico be forced to betray the only woman who sets his blood on fire?



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Excerpt


“Is this everything?” Tony thumbed through the envelope. “This is half of what you brought us last month.” He shared a glance with Charlie Nails and smirked. “I thought you fancied yourself an old- style mobster. In the old days, the casinos were a license to print money. This is hardly enough to pay our staff.”
Nico steeled himself to show an outer calm as he raged inside. “That’s just the casino money.” He reached into the pocket of his double- breasted suit jacket, and pulled out a second envelope. “This is from the other businesses and the pay up from my crew.”
Santo’s eyes narrowed when Nico tossed the second envelope on the table. Although not a clever man, like Nico’s father had been, Santo had a sixth sense for when he was being ripped off. “Is that everything?”
No, of course it wasn’t everything. Despite the risk, Nico had several businesses on the side, including a nice little condo racket in which the main condo developers in the city exclusively hired interior designers controlled by Nico’s associates, giving Nico a share of every condo development. His connection with the steelworkers’ union had also given him a line into the rapidly developing construction of new casinos from a wave of foreign billionaires looking for a place to park their money.
Unlike his uncle, who had taken the family into the drug trade against Cosa Nostra rules, Nico was all about real estate. The online scams and Internet fraud that many of his associates claimed were the new wave of business were of no interest to him, nor were any rackets where he had to enforce his will through vio lence. Although he would mete out punishment if it was due, attracting the attention of the police and FBI was not the way he wanted to do business. Nico liked to talk to the people he did business with, he liked to make connections, and his casino was the perfect place to wine and dine potential partners before comping them a few evenings in the high- stakes room, and taking even more of their money.
“That’s it.” Nico moved to leave and Santo held up a hand.
“Since you’re here and you are family, I want you to be the first to know. Tony’s getting married.”
Tony Crackers married? What kind of woman would agree to marry a man with a reputation for brutal violence?
“Congratulations, cugino.” He shook his Tony’s hand. “Who’s the lucky woman?”
“Mia Cordano.” Tony gave him a sly smile. “I heard you were with her the other night. I didn’t know you were so close to the Toscanis.”
Nico understood the implied threat, but he didn’t address it because he was still trying to process the information. Political marriages were very common in the upper level of the Mafi a, but usually the women involved in the arranged marriages were of a type— docile, submissive, fully indoctrinated in the Cosa Nostra culture, and willing to help the family through an alliance that would benefit both sides. He couldn’t see an assertive, intelligent, sophisticated businesswoman like Mia Cordano marrying a violent, uneducated criminal like Tony Crackers unless she was forced to do it— and although some women were pressured by the families into marriages, how did one force a woman who so expertly wielded a knife?
“Vito hired her to do cyber- security work for the casino.”
Santo sucked on his cigar, blew a ring of smoke. “You should keep better track of what your employees are doing, especially when we are involved in a faida with her family of your making.”
“You don’t support the faida?” Nico scowled. “What man of honor would not want to avenge his brother after he was shot in the back by a coward who didn’t even have permission from the New York bosses for the hit?”
“Don’t disrespect your uncle,” Charlie Nails warned. “He has his reasons for doing what he does and they are not your concern.”
Nico shot him a scathing look. Aside from some minor gambling and loan sharking, Charlie Nails, a lawyer, ran a legitimate law firm and helped the family out with legal issues as well as liaising with important “bought” figures such as politicians or judges. He had been a trusted and close friend of Nico’s father, but Nico had no tolerance for a man who would sell his loyalty to the highest bidder.
Santo raised a hand to silence Charlie Nails. “He should know that his actions have led to this marriage. Don Cordano has eyes on his daughter. When he found out she had been seen with you, Nico, he called me with concerns about her safety. He accused us of disregarding the rules regarding the sanctity of women and children in the faida.”
“That’s bullshit and you know it. She was there for business. Her safety was never in question.”
Santo waved a dismissive hand. “Both sides have lost many soldiers in this senseless war. Don Cordano fears for the life of his son, Dante, as I fear for the life of my Tony. We shared our concerns and discussed a truce. As a show of good faith, he offered one of his daughters in marriage to the Toscani family. It was not an opportunity I was prepared to pass up. The Cordanos have a solid foothold in the drug trade. Marriage will bring us together. Don Cordano thinks to gain strength through the union, but Dante is weak, not worthy to lead. Once Dante and the don are out of the way, Tony will have a claim to lead by marriage and he will take over as boss. Together, he and I will push aside the other Cosa Nostra families and take control of the city.”
Nico pulled his pen from his pocket and spun it around his thumb as he struggled to hide his anger. His father had intended to pass the pen down to Nico when he became a made man, just as his father had done for him.
But he hadn’t lived to see the day. Nico had only started carrying the pen after he was made, and he intended to pass it on to his son.
“My father has not yet been avenged,” he spat out. “And what of all the soldiers and capos who will lose their lives? You dragged this family into the drug trade against Cosa Nostra rules. Everything my father tried to do for the family, you have undone. But this . . . betrayal of the other Cosa Nostra families, a full- out war for control of the city . . . How many will be left standing at the end?”
Charlie Nails, quiet until that moment, ran a hand through his silvery hair. “I have to agree, Santo. Not just because of Nico’s father, Maximo, but because our involvement with the drug trade has already brought us to the attention of the FBI. When Maximo was boss, we were able to fly under the radar. If we expand our drug operation, and the bodies start to pile up, they are going to come down hard on us. Even if our men don’t get whacked in the civil war you propose, they’ll wind up in jail.”
Cazzo!” Even more volatile than usual, Tony reached for the weapon holstered at his side, and Santo held up a hand.
“Stand down. Charlie Nails is old and slow, and Nico is maybe upset that you have stolen his woman. But he understands that this is a sacrifice that must be made for la famiglia.”
Nico’s stomach tightened at the thought of his crazy cousin married to Mia, the girl he’d once held, trembling in his arms, who had become a beautiful woman who stirred a longing in him he had long thought dead. Did her father, Don Cordano, understand the risk? The danger she was in? “Did she agree to this?”
Copyright © 2016 by Sarah Castille and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

What I thought about NICO

In this new series, Sarah Castille takes on the Las Vegas Mafia with the story of mob-boss wannabe Nico Toscani and Mia Cordano, daughter of a rival family.  I'm going to try to keep this review spoiler free.

Nico's got lots of reasons to want revenge on the Cordano's. He wants to bring honor back to his family, especially after a tragic childhood incident. But when he meets Mia as an adult, he's smitten.  There's really no other way to say it.  This was my favorite part of the story. Sarah Castille does an awesome job of really showing how he gradually falls (and falls hard) for Mia.  There's destiny here, and their love story was really the best part of this book for me. 

The quest for power between the rival families is what brings Nico and Mia together and it might just break them apart too.  There's a whole bunch of  wiseguys involved, each with a colorful nickname or two. I thought the mob story was well done, but it was Mia and Nico together that made the pages really sizzle. I think there's one scene that I've gone back to a couple of times now, it's just that sexually delicious! 

I thought this was a great start to the series.  The world-building in this book slowed the pace at times, and I felt that the conclusion was a bit rushed, but I finished this book really loving Nico and Mia and wanting more of this world. That's a very good place to be in when starting a new series.

ARC provided for review.

About the Author 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, SARAH CASTILLE, worked and traveled abroad before trading her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home near the Canadian Rockies. She writes sexy contemporary romance and romantic suspense featuring blazingly hot alpha heroes and the women who tame them. Her books include Beyond the Cut, Chaos Bound and Rough Justice. 
 
Social Links:
Twitter: @Sarah_Castille
Author Website: http://sarahcastille.com/

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Release Blitz, Giveaway & Review:Hold Me Down by Shari Slade

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Hold Me Down by Shari Slade

Devil’s Host MC Serial ,#4
Publication Date: November 29, 2016
Genres: Adult, Serial, MC Romance, Erotic

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Synopsis

I knew how to survive before I met, Noah. Now…
I need to fight.
Noah pulls me deeper into the club, where everything is life or death. He lets me peer into the dark hearts of violent bikers. Shows me glimmers of hope. Family, loyalty, honor—but everything comes at a price. This one might be too steep for me too pay.

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Reading Order for the Devil’s Host MC Serial:
Ride Me Hard (Part 1)
Break Me In (Part 2)
Drive Me Wild (Part 3)
Hold Me Down (Part 4)

DON'T MISS THE FIRST 3 PARTS IN THE DEVIL'S HOST MC SERIAL!

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Synopsis: When a big scary biker shows up at Jimmy's Diner fifteen minutes before the end of my shift, covered in tattoos and looking at me like I'm on the menu, I should flip the open sign to closed. But I don't, because I'm too used to doing what I've been told. Too used to working and struggling and surviving to do anything different. A closed sign wouldn't stop him anyway. He's here to collect a debt. And I'm the only one left to pay.

Author's Note: Ride Me Hard is part one in the Devil's Host MC serial.


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Synopsis: "Do you get what you deserve?"
Under his hands or on the back of his bike--the freedom I feel with Noah is an illusion. "No, baby. You get what you take and you keep what you can hold." He ties me to him with fear and obligation and lust. Binds us tighter with his twisted sense of honor. I just hope his chains are strong enough to keep me safe.

Author's Note: Break Me In is part two in the Devil's Host MC serial.

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Synopsis: His club is demanding answers. His sister is missing. Noah needs to draw on every ounce of strength in that muscled body. It's not the time for him to let anyone see he's more than fists and ink.
Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the man behind the cold, hard mask. Something like caring. Something like kindness. I live for those moments. He might die for them.


Author's Note: Drive Me Wild is part three in the Devil's Host MC serial.

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What I thought about Hold Me Down

This has been an interesting series from the start and I'm so glad to see that the final installment is here. The Devil's Host MC series is not watered down at all -- there's plenty of rough sex that sometimes gets very close to the line (at least for me) and plenty of brotherhood and violence too. That's what made this a notable series for me.

In the final installment, Noah and Star are on the hot seat. The club is trying to decide Noah's fate, and Star has come to the realization that she has some deep feelings for Noah. But a betrayal puts her and Noah in a dangerous position and things are up in the air until the very end.

Nope, not going to tell you how it ends, you'll just have to read it yourself.
Each installment is quick, hot, action packed experience that will have you falling for Noah and Star's story. I did!

I really liked this series and Hold Me Down wrapped up this story in a very satisfying way.

ARC provided for review.   

 ABOUT SHARI SLADE

shari-slade
Shari Slade is the USA Today bestselling author of sexy new adult and rock star romance. She’s a snarky optimist. A would-be academic with big dreams and very little means. When she isn’t toiling away in the non-profit sector, she’s writing gritty stories about identity and people who make terrible choices in the name of love (or lust). Somehow, it all works out in the end. If she had a patronus it would be a platypus. Frequently found in a blanket fort, you can also find her contributing at Wonkomance, on twitter, facebook, or tumblr. For new release updates, sign up for the newsletter.


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Monday, November 28, 2016

Spotlight, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway:Wolf Unleashed (SWAT #5) by Paige Tyler

Title: Wolf Unleashed
Author: Paige Tyler
Series: SWAT, #5
ISBN: 9781492625988
Pubdate: December 6, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance


SHE BRINGS OUT THE WOLF IN HIM

Lacey Barton can’t deny her crazy attraction to Alex Trevino, but that doesn’t mean she has time for the gorgeous SWAT officer. She’s hell-bent on discovering who’s behind the brutal dogfights sending countless mauled animals to her veterinarian office. The trail leads Lacey to a ring of vicious drug dealers and suddenly she’s in way over her head—right smack in the middle of a SWAT stakeout.

With Lacey in danger, Alex’s wolf side is unleashed. But when she witnesses Alex shift, she’s even more terrified… Now it’s up to Alex to crack the case—and earn back Lacey’s trust and, ultimately, her heart.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29155101-a-wolf-unleashed

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Excerpt from Wolf Unleashed


Dr. Barton was bent over rummaging through a bottom drawer of the built-ins on the far wall. Even though Alex did his best not to stare, it was impossible not to notice that she had an incredibly spectacular ass. He’d always been a leg man, but one look at her derrière and he suddenly decided he’d been missing out. 
Then she stood up, turned around, and flipped her long, wavy blond hair over her shoulder, and he realized that the rest of her was equally stunning. While her baggy white lab coat hid a lot, he could still tell that she had an athletic build and some really nice curves. It was her face that made his heart beat faster, though. She had the most captivating pair of blue eyes he’d ever seen and full red lips just begging to be kissed. From this moment forward, whenever he pictured an angel, he would think of the beautiful Dr. Barton.
Alex smiled, and when she smiled back, he heard her heart thudding a little quicker. But then she looked down at Tuffie, and her entire expression changed. Hurrying over, she dropped down to one knee beside Tuffie, gently examining her ears and face.
She gave Alex an angry glare. “Please tell me you arrested the people who put this beautiful girl in a dogfighting ring. Even better—tell me you shot them.”
If Alex had thought her heart was beating fast before, it was nothing compared to the way it was thumping now. Clearly, Dr. Barton was very passionate about protecting dogs. In his book, that made her even more beautiful than she already was.
“I wish I could, but unfortunately, we never found the people who did it,” Alex said. “We rescued Tuffie when her owner was killed. He died trying to protect her from a psychopath armed with a rifle.”
Dr. Barton’s gaze went back to Tuffie, her expression turning from anger to sadness as she ran her fingers down the fresh scars along the dog’s chest and side. “Looks like she got shot anyway.”
“Yeah. It’s a miracle she lived long enough for my teammate and me to get her here in time for Doc Jones to save her. Thank God for sirens. I think we ran every red light in town.”
The veterinarian straightened, gracing him with another dazzling grin, and Alex felt his knees go a little loose. Damn, what a smile.
“I knew there was something I liked about you the second you walked in.”
Alex felt his face flush. “It wasn’t a big deal. I’m a cop. Saving people—and dogs—comes with the job description.” He cringed the moment the words left his mouth. Had he really just said something that lame?
Thankfully, the beautiful Dr. Barton didn’t seem to notice the cheesy line. Or if she had, she was too polite to laugh at him.
“And is bringing Tuffie to her appointments also in your job description?” she asked, her eyes twinkling.
Was her heart beating even faster than before? Unless it was his own heart pounding in his ears. That was a definite possibility. Because it seemed like he had a real thing for Dr. Barton.
He smiled. “It is if the rest of the SWAT team and I adopted her and gave her a new home.”
Alex knew it was a shameless grab to get further into the doctor’s good graces, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself.
“Not only did you save her life, but you adopted her too? I think Tuffie hit the lottery with you, Officer…?”
“Trevino,” he said, filling in the blank and offering his hand. “But please, call me Alex.”
She took his hand and gave it a shake. “Nice to meet you, Alex. I’m Lacey Barton.”
Her hand was small in comparison to his, her skin soft and warm, and Alex found himself holding on a bit longer than was customary. Lacey didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she appeared just as reluctant to let go as he did.
She pushed her hair behind her ear and cleared her throat. “I guess we ought to get on with Tuffie’s checkup. So you can get back to saving the world and everything.”
“Yeah, of course.”
Reaching down, Alex gently picked up Tuffie and set her on the stainless steel exam table.
“Nice muscle tone,” Lacey murmured.
Alex felt the compliment go right to his head. “Thanks.”
“Actually, I was talking about Tuffie,” Lacey said as she tenderly ran her hands over the dog’s shoulders.
“Oh.”
She looked up at him from beneath her lashes. “But yours is pretty good too.”
Alex chuckled. Damn, this woman was good. He had her by a foot in height and more than a hundred pounds in weight, yet she was playing him like a fiddle, and he didn’t mind one bit. He couldn’t remember ever having such an immediate and intense reaction to any woman he’d ever met. Suddenly, he wanted to know everything there was to know about her—and then some.
Lacey was more than accommodating, telling him about how she’d recently gotten a job here after working several years at a place on the west side of Dallas closer to Arlington.
“I loved it there, but this place is closer to my apartment,” she told him as she continued to examine Tuffie. “I’ve cut my commute time by about an hour and a half each way, so it’s like getting a whole extra day off to do stuff I want to do instead of sitting in traffic.”
“And what do you like to do with all this extra time?” he asked.
Lacey leaned over to read something in Tuffie’s medical records. Alex tensed, worried she’d found something wrong, but after a moment, she merely nodded to herself, then went back to checking Tuffie. “I do a lot of volunteer work at one of the nearby animal shelters,” she said. “I’m also on call to help out both Animal Services and the DPD Animal Cruelty Squad when they run into injured dogs.”
Whoa. A woman who spent her days taking care of dogs for a living, then did it during her spare time for free? That was definitely a woman Alex could appreciate.
“It’s pretty amazing that you give so much of your time to animal causes,” he said. “Getting called out at all hours of the day and night must be tough on your boyfriend, though.”
Lacey urged Tuffie over on her back, pressing carefully along one of the long scars that ran all the way from the base of her rib cage to the middle of her cute pink tummy.
“I don’t have a boyfriend right now,” she said, the corners of her mouth turning up. “My life is a little too busy for that at the moment.”
Bingo! Alex had already noticed she wasn’t wearing a ring. Now he knew she wasn’t seeing anyone. Could this get any better?
  
What I thought about Wolf Unleashed
I love this shifter series.  The men are gorgeous, sensitive, hot alpha crime fighters that you can't help but love and their mates are usually understanding of their special "features."  In Wolf Unleashed, Alex Trevino is still working on his wolf attributes, and hasn't been able to do a full shift yet.  Can we say, 'wolf in training'.  

Lacey is the sweet veterinarian he meets when the takes Tuffie in for a checkup. (I've got to say that I love how the other animals react to Alex. This situation appears a few times and I really thought it was one of the more interesting aspects to the story.)  Lacey isn't looking for romance or a partner, so when Alex asks her on a date, she declines. But Alex isn't going to be put off so easily, and he eventually wears her down.  There's some really cute conversations between partners Alex and Remy about "The One" too that made me smile.

When Lacey gets involved investigating with a dog-fighting ring that might also be a drug ring, she gets a glimpse of just how special Alex is, and she doesn't handle it well.  My heart cracked a little for Alex here, but he handles it with grace and sticks around to help her when the situation includes Lacey's sister. She'll have to decide if she can live with the real Alex, and how that is going to change her life.  Good thing she has some help from the lady shifters!

While this book didn't capture my attention until about midway, I still enjoyed this story.  There was a lot of setup in the first 50% of this book which was necessary and then the last half of the book flew by with a lot of action and suspense as the dog fighting ring and the drug ring are vanquished.  Even though this isn't my favorite of the series, I'm still a fan of the SWAT wolves. 

These stories are just a lot of fun, easy to read, and great for when  you want something that has a bit of conflict, lots of action and a romance that is destined to be.

ARC provided for review.


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Spotlight on Paige Tyler

In Wolf Unleashed, the fifth installment in Paige Tyler’s sexy and suspenseful SWAT series, Lacey, the heroine, sees a side of the hero, Alex, that she really did not expect. Namely, his wolf side!

We asked Paige Tyler about other fantastic stories that portray a character seeing another in a new light. What are her favorites?

Bella from Twilight. I’m one of those people who loved Twilight for what it was—a story of two people with a lot standing between them. In the beginning, Bella thought Edward was sort of rude, or at least really standoffish. But as she moves closer and closer to him, she discovers that there are reasons why he behaves the way he does. The conflict between Bella, her pale sparkly boyfriend, and her rather hairy new best friend (who would rather be something more), makes for a great story and illustrates the whole “looking beyond the surface” thing.



About the Author

Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. Paige writes books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines they fall in love with. She lives with her very own military hero (a.k.a. her husband) and their adorable dog on the beautiful Florida coast.



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Twitter: @PaigeTylerAuthor