Blog Tour + Excerpt: The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

I’m so excited to share an excerpt from Kristen Callihan’s The Hot Shot as part of the blog tour!

The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
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First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunes • Kobo

Now here’s an excerpt from The Hot Shot! ❤

excerpt button

CHESS

 

Grumbling, I toss on some black lounge pants and my oversized Tulane t-shirt and head to the drugstore.

My head throbs by the time I get there, and my insides are writhing. I rest my hand against my lower stomach and grab a basket before calling James to complain.

“I swear,” I tell him as I grab a bottle of painkillers. “It’s like this entire day has been cursed.”

He snickers. “Curse. Get it? Curse?”

I roll my eyes, even though he can’t see me. “Laugh it up. Meanwhile, it feels as if someone is playing Battleship in my uterus.”

“Poor Chessie bear. At least we know why you were in such a foul mood.”

A flush washes over my cheeks. “Yeah.” Lie. Lie. Lie. A tub of salted caramel gelato makes its way into the basket.

“Tell me you’re getting some gelato,” James says.

I smile. “Just grabbed it.”

“Salted caramel?”

“You know it.”

I find the feminine products aisle and search for my brand. “I’m going to go home, take a long bath with my gelato, and forget this fucking day.” Forget Finn. “And then I’m going to go on Amazon and buying a freaking year’s supply of tampons so I don’t have to make these kinds of emergency runs anymore.”

A low, deep chuckle rumbles from behind me, and all the tiny hairs lift on my arms.

“But you’ll still need your gelato,” a familiar—fuck me, seriously?—voice points out.

My insides swoop even as my cheeks burn.

“Who is that?” James asks in my ear.

I slowly turn on one heel. “The plague,” I say, glaring up at Finn Mannus’s smiling face.

“From asshat to plague.” Finn scrunches up his brow. “I’m not sure if that’s a step down or a tie.”

“Who is that?” James nearly yells now.

I don’t take my eyes off Finn. “I’ll call you back.”

James’s squawks of protest cut off as I hit the end button.

“Are you stalking me, Mannus?”

Finn a rests his hands low on his lean hips. “Having a healthy amount of conceit myself, I have to admire yours, but no, buttercup. My buddy Woodson lives a few blocks away. It’s poker night. I’m stocking up on beer.”

It’s only then I notice a twelve pack tucked under his other arm.

“And tampons?” I ask, with a pointed look around the aisle we’re standing in.

“Not tonight,” he says easily. “Though we used to keep a pack of them back in college. Light flows were perfect for stopping up bloody noses.”

A snort escapes me. “Now there’s a visual.” Somehow, I’ve taken a step closer to him. He’s freshly showered, the golden brown strands of his hair still damp at his temples. And I wonder if he’s just come from the gym or practice. “So back in college you went and bought these tampons?”

“Nah,” he says with a cheeky smile. “I’d ask one of the girls hanging around to get me some.”

“Of course you did.” My nose wrinkles with annoyance.

“Give me a little credit, Chess. I’d buy them now if I had to.”

“Hmm…” I eye him, trying not to return his smile. If only because it’s more fun when he teases. “So why are you in this aisle now, if not for potential nosebleed needs?”

“That’s easy.” He steps closer, a warm wall of muscle and clean scent. “I heard your voice.”

For a second I just blink. “You recognized my voice?”

His gaze darts over my face as if he’s trying to get a read on why I’m gaping at him. “Not to be…ah…rude, but you’re loud when you talk on the phone.”

“Yeah, but… You recognized it.” We’d only just met. It occurs to me that I’d recognized his both times he’d snuck up on me. Then again, his voice is distinctive, flowing like hot honey when he’s relaxed or hammering down like iron to rock when he’s taking command of a situation.

A soft flush of pink tints the tips of his ears. If I wasn’t staring at him, I might have missed it. He shifts his weight. “Was I not supposed to?”

“No. Yes.” I shake my head and laugh. “I don’t know.”

He grins then. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”

“I’m not flustered.” I am.

Reading Order: Game On series

The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan 

#1 ~ The Hook Up: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Friend Zone: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ The Game Plan: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#4 ~ The Hot Shot: EbookPaperbackGoodreads

about the author button

Kristen CallihanKristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Amazon Page


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Best Books of 2015 + Giveaway!

Can you believe it’s already the end of 2015!? It went by SO fast, and yet it’s been an amazing year filled with so many incredible books. I read over 300 books this year (what!?) and I STILL have a never-ending TBR, which I’m sure will last me my lifetime. So to celebrate the end of the year, I’ve compiled my list of my top 15 books of the year, PLUS a fantastic giveaway to win one of the books below and a $15 gift card! It was so hard to narrow down to 15, but I really tried. So here they are alphabetical order (except for one)! Let me know in the comments what your favorite books of 2015 are!


1. Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Kulti by Mariana Zapata

My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads

KULTI!!!!! Hands down, Kulti is my absolute FAVORITE book of the year!!! This book is the only one out of order because it’s seriously the BEST book I’ve read this year. It was just so easy to choose my all-time favorite, because Kulti is that amazing and more. This was my first read from Mariana Zapata, but I know it won’t be my last. I adored EVERY single word of Kulti – the hilarious, sassy heroine, the moody, sexy hero, the friends to lovers romance between them, even soccer. This is simply romance at its finest.

“Every single thing that has ever happened in my life has led me here, Sal. Destiny is a ladder, a series of steps that takes you where you’re supposed to go. I am the man that I am, and I have done the things that I’ve done, to get me to you.”


2. Risking it All by Tessa Bailey

Risking it All by Tessa Bailey

Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

I went on a Tessa Bailey reading marathon this year and literally read every single one of her books, and Risking it All is seriously my FAVORITE of them all! BOWEN!!!! I’m obsessed with this alpha bad boy. The love he has for his heroine, the way he’ll do anything for her and to protect her, his dirty mouth… it takes my breath away. Risking it All was the perfect bad boy-good girl read!

“Ah, sweetheart, I don’t fuck around with virgins.” His head dipped, teeth closing around her ear and tugging. “But I’ll get down on my knees and eat that untouched pussy like a motherfucker.”


3. Zack by Sawyer Bennett

Zack by Sawyer Bennett

My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads

Zack is my faaavorite Sawyer Bennett book to date! This was the perfect forbidden love story between a widowed single father and his son’s babysitter. It was sweet, charming, emotional, surprisingly funny, and seriously hot as hell. It’s also a hockey romance (who doesn’t love those!?), so for fans of sports romances, you definitely need to read this book (and series). Each of the books in the Cold Fury Hockey series can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend read them in order.

“You were what has been missing all my life.”


4. The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

I still cannot get over how freaking HOT that cover is. Just look. at. it. I adore every one of the books in the Game On series, but The Friend Zone is without a doubt my favorite of the series so far. It’s a friends to lovers book, which is my all-time favorite trope, so how could I not love it!? It’s a fantastic NA sports romance with hilarious characters and the sweetest, most heart-warming romance there is. Gray just makes me SWOON!

“The fact is, Ivy, for me, there is one absolute truth. The sum of my existence equals you.”


5. The Master by Kresley Cole

The Master by Kresley Cole

Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

I have to admit, I’ve already reread The Master at least five times over the course of the year. I wasn’t a big fan of the first book in The Game Maker series, but when I read this second one, it blew me away. I was seriously addicted to Cat and Maksim’s story! Cat is one of my favorite heroines ever, because she’s just so hilarious and sassy and doesn’t hold back from Maksim. And holy god, Maksim!!! He is sex on a stick. If you’re looking for a fantastic erotic romance, you absolutely NEED to read The Master!

“You aren’t done with me yet?” He pinned my gaze with his own. With a surprisingly smooth accent, he told me, “Nunca voy a terminar contigo.” I’ll never be done with you.”


6. Aflame and Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Aflame by Penelope Douglas Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Aflame: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
Corrupt: Character Q&A • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

I’m cheating here a little, including two Penelope Douglas books, but I had to! Aflame and Corrupt are my two favorite reads from Penelope this year. First off, I am so, so happy she decided to write Aflame. Even though I was hesitant to read it, it really did feel like the right direction for Tate and Jared, and I couldn’t be happier with the way their story continued in Aflame. This book is the perfect ending to one of my all-time favorite couples, but mainly, I just LOVED reading about Tate and Jared again.

“For better or worse, you’ve been my other half since I was ten years old, and I can’t imagine a future I’d want without you in it. You’re the love of my life.”

As for Corrupt, this book totally messed with my mind. It left me speechless in the best way possible – I had such high expectations since the second this book was announced, and I wasn’t disappointed. Rika and Michael’s story consumed me, and I honestly still can’t get it out of my mind. It’s an unforgettable, gritty, thrilling read, and if you like dark erotic romances, you absolutely MUST read this book.

“Our scrapes and bruises, tattoos, scars, smiles, and wrinkles told our stories, and I didn’t want a pristine piece of wallpaper. I wanted her and everything she was.”


7. Manwhore series by Katy Evans

Manwhore by Katy Evans Manwhore +1 by Katy Evans Ms. Manwhore by Katy Evans

#1 ~ Manwhore: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Manwhore +1: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ Ms. Manwhore: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

Malcolm. Freaking. Saint!!! AHHH!!! This gorgeous billionaire stole my heart and took my breath away! Katy Evans knows how to write alpha-males, and she hit it out of the ball park with Malcolm Saint. If you love heroes who will sweep you away, you absolutely must read the Manwhore series. I am obsessed with this series!!

“Do you know what I’d do for you?” A huskiness enters his voice as he circles my chin with his thumb. “You’re the only heaven I will ever know, Rachel”–He looks into my eyes–“and if you were a hell, I’d sin my whole life just to stay with you.”


8. Bad Habits series by Staci Hart

With a Twist by Staci Hart Chaser by Staci Hart

#1 ~ With a Twist: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Chaser: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

I’m so happy to have discovered Staci Hart this year. She’s a new-to-me author and I LOVED her Bad Habits series. Each of the books in the series can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading them in order, because each is very closely connected to each other. With a Twist is a charming friends to lover romance and Chase is the sexy older brother’s best friend trope. All of the characters in the series are written so well that they felt real to me, and I can’t wait for the third and final book!

“I’ve been around the world, and I thought I’d seen everything it had to offer until that night, until I saw you. In all my life, I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, not standing in the Blue Mosque or the Taj Mahal. Not in the streets of rome or canals of Venice. Making you smile gives me life. Making you laugh gives me hope. Making you happy is all I want, other than to keep you.”


9. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November Nine by Colleen Hoover

My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads

What’s a top favorite list on Booklovers For Life without Colleen freaking Hoover!? And it just so happens that November 9 is #9 on my list! You guys, I loved this book. It was such a unique, addicting read. CoHo’s writing is flawless as always, and the fascinating storyline (the main characters meet once a year) kept me riveted to the pages. If you haven’t read Colleen Hoover’s books yet, you really need to get on that. Her books are NA at its finest!

It took four years for me to fall in love with him.
It only took four pages to stop.


10. Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy

The Deal by Elle Kennedy The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

#1 ~ The Deal: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Mistake: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

The Off-Campus series just might be my favorite sports romance series of the year. I LOVED The Deal – this is a must-read NA book. I didn’t think Elle Kennedy could top it, but I was so wrong. The Mistake, Logan’s story, is definitely my favorite of the series so far. Logan is hilarious and so adorable, and the way he makes his mistake up to Grace makes for an incredibly entertaining read. This book – and series – is well-written, funny, heartwarming, so freaking sweet… You absolutely need to read it if you haven’t already. (And btw, The Score is SOOOO GOOD!)

“I need you. I can’t stand the thought of being without you.” He releases a shaky breath. “You’re the last person I think about before I go to sleep, and the first person I think about when I open my eyes in the morning. You’re it for me, baby.”


11. Elements of Chemistry series by Penny Reid

Attraction by Penny Reid Capture by Penny Reid Heat by Penny Reid

#1 ~ Attraction: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Heat: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Capture: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1-3 ~ Elements of Chemistry Bundle: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

I’m so ashamed to say that I only started reading Penny Reid this year. I have seriously been missing out! She writes the best, SMART romances with witty characters and fantastic stories. The Elements of Chemistry series is my favorite of hers yet – I loved Katy and Martin’s journey of a romance. I loved the way their characters developed and grew over the course of the series. Their story is funny, sweet, addicting, and so much fun to read.

“Why do people care about each other? What is attraction? I can’t give you a list of reasons why I react to you like I do. This isn’t an equation to balance. You’re the one I’m always thinking about. It’s you. It just is.”


12. Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie

My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

Rose and Connor make up my all-time favorite power couple!!! I adored them in Kiss the Sky and fell in love with them even more in Fuel the Fire. This book was… phenomenal. I’m so glad Rose and Connor got a second book, but I’m going to miss them so much! They are unique and endlessly fascinating and I could honestly read about them forever. And just for the record, the Addicted/Calloway Sisters series is my FAVORITE NA series of all time, so if you haven’t started it yet, I can’t recommend it enough!

There are rare people who will fuel the fire inside of you, who will awaken a dormant passion, who will challenge you, who will push you and better you. She alone is my rarity.


13. The Hotter You Burn by Gena Showalter

The Hotter You Burn by Gena Showalter

My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

I had no idea what I was in for when I started The Hotter You Burn – I found myself utterly charmed by this book. Gena Showalter has written an absolutely delightful, feel-good, heartwarming romance that I can’t recommend enough! It’s equal parts wickedly sexy and heartwarmingly sweet. The humor in this book had me giggling so hard, and it was just so easy to fall in love with the characters and story. I can’t wait to read the other books in The Original Heartbreakers series after reading this gem of a novel!

“There is nothing I won’t do for you, and nothing I won’t do to keep you. You’re it for me. My one. My only.”


14. Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Enigma by Nalini Singh

My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

Naasir’s book was a long time coming, and Nalini Singh did NOT disappoint. This book was captivating, sensual, heart-pounding, and unputdownable. I don’t read paranormal romances much these days, but reading Archangel’s Enigma reminded me of all the reasons why I love that genre. Naasir stole my heart and I was swept away by his and Andromeda’s romance. The romance is truly one of the best I’ve read from Nalini Singh, which is saying something, because her romances are top-notch.

“If you’re mine, you’re mine. And I’m yours. Today, tomorrow, always.”


15. Untamed by S.C. Stephens

Untamed by S.C. Stephens

My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

Untamed is the book that surprised me the most this year. I didn’t like Kiera and Kellan in Thoughtless, and I honestly thought I’d never pick up another book in that series again. But Untamed had me curious since it was Griffin’s story… and it simply blew me away. It took me a while to get into it, since Griffin is just so crass, but by the end of it, I nearly wanted to cry, I was so emotional. This book was surprisingly so much more meaningful and heart-wrenching than I’d expected, and I applaud S.C. Stephens for the incredible way she wrote Griffin’s character development. I’ve never felt more proud of a character than I had when I with Griffin when I finished his story.

I’d been handed fame on a platter and hadn’t appreciated it until it was too late.


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2 winners (open internationally):
Your choice of TWO of the listed favorite books (paperback or ebook) + $15 GC!
Your choice of ONE of the listed favorite books (paperback or ebook) + $15 GC!

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lacey


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Release Day Review: The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 1st 2015
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.

NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friends. That ends now.

Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed.

Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away; they live vastly different lives in separate cities. And Dex is looking for a forever girl. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he’s her forever man.

Game On

My god. I don’t know how Kristen Callihan does it, but each book in the Game On series (easily one of the best NA series I’ve ever read) gets better and better. I didn’t think I could love anyone as much as I loved Gray from The Friend Zone (my review here), but oh, how wrong I was. Dex is just… perfection. An absolute wonderful hero I’ve fallen so, so, sooooo hard for. AH, I can’t even fully describe how much I love him! And this series!!! This is truly one of the top NA series that I’d recommend to EVERYONE. The lovable, mature characters, the fantastic writing, the humor, the heartache… Kristen Callihan mixes all of these into a potent combination that will steal your heart and take your breath away.

I see Ethan Dexter; he shines for me. And I burn hotter than the sun when I’m in his orbit.

We previously met Dex and Fiona in The Friend Zone, and they were quite the opposites. Dex is quiet and reserved, the go-to guy when his teammates need advice. Fi is an out-going, feisty girl who doesn’t hold anything back. He’s a virgin and a football player; she’s open about her sexuality and hates dating football players. Fi doesn’t really notice Dex, but he’s had his eye on her since the moment they first meet. And for two years, Dex has kept to the shadows, always watching her from afar, but one dare and kiss changes everything, and this sexy lumbersexual is determined to fight for the one woman he wants.

“You’ve ruined me, Fiona. I’m not sure I know how to live without you anymore.”

I’m just a pile of melted goo now, after finishing this book. Dex makes my heart practically SING – he’s romantic, sweet, thoughtful, patient. He’s just the perfect man for Fi, and she’s the perfect woman for him. Fi gets Dex to open up and show his true self only to her, while Dex gives Fi an anchor, a foundation. God, I seriously loved this couple. The two of them truly bring out the best and most out of each other. You can’t read this book and NOT smile and clutch at your heart at seeing them interact with each other, at them being TOGETHER. Oh, and did I mention how freaking HOT this book is!? You will seriously need a fan because the chemistry between Dex and Fi is off. the. charts. And Dex’s dirty mouth… *flails* I loved it!

“Being with you. Loving you—You make me feel everything.”

I haven’t rated a book 5 stars in quite a while, but what better way to get me out of my book funk than with Dex and Fi!? The Game Plan is another brilliant, heart-wrenching, utterly romantic addition to this series that I will forever adore. Fi and Dex’s story isn’t perfect, as they have their ups and downs, but their story was written perfectly and I couldn’t imagine it better. I honestly never wanted this book to end. And, another plus, we get to see the other couples from the previous series, and the new NFL teammates! The banters, the bromances, and the camaraderie were all a joy to read. Gah, this book. Just thinking about it makes me smile. I loved it with my whole heart – I can’t recommend it enough!

“I love you. I don’t say that enough. Just know that whatever I do, wherever I am, it is a constant refrain in my heart. You color my world, Fi.”

5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Game On series

The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

#1 ~ The Hook Up: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Friend Zone: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ The Game Plan: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Cover Reveal + Excerpt: The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

I’m SO incredibly thrilled to share the cover of The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan, out Nov. 1st! There’s also a fantastic excerpt below!

The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 1st 2015
Add to Goodreads

A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.

NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friends. That ends now.

Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed.

Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away; they live vastly different lives in separate cities. And Dex is looking for a forever girl. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he’s her forever man.

Game On

Buy Links:
Amazon • iTunes

Isn’t the cover just GORGEOUS!?

Now here’s an excerpt from The Game Plan! ❤

excerpt button

I grin up at him. “You know, before this, I’d have taken you for a hard rock, or maybe even a bluegrass fan.”

“It’s the beard, isn’t it,” he asks.

“And the man-bun.”

He laughs, a short rumble of sound. “Want me to let it down?”

Yes. Maybe.

“Not necessary. Man-buns are hot. I blame Jason Momoa. There was only so much watching him bang Khaleesi the female population could take before they wanted their own Khal Drogo.”

Shit. I really don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Because it sounds a lot like flirting to me. Instinct tells me flirting with Ethan Dexter isn’t something to do lightly. And there’s the fact that I don’t go for athletes. At all. I don’t care how fit they are. Or how confident. I don’t like sports. Football bores me. Oh, I know tons about the sport—kind of impossible not to in my family—but I don’t want to pretend that I care when I’d rather talk about other things.

Dex’s eyes crinkle again, and he turns toward me, leaning an elbow on the table. “Doesn’t Momoa have a beard?”

I wave my hand. “Who has time to look at his beard when his muscles are on display?”

I most certainly do not look at Dex’s phenomenal arms.

“So your stance on beards is?” His gaze so strong I feel it in my toes.

My breathing picks up. “Don’t particularly like them.”

It’s the truth. And yet I can’t help but look at his. It’s dark, framing his mouth, which should be a turnoff for me. Only it draws all my attention there. To the shape of his mouth—the upper lip a gentle curve, the lower lip fuller, almost a pout. There’s something slightly illicit about the whole effect.

I clear my throat, glance up, and find him watching me through lowered lids. He doesn’t seem particularly put out by my frankness.

“What don’t you like about them?”

Is he serious?

He stares at me.

I guess he is.

Taking a quick sip of my drink, I search for an answer. “They’re just so…fuzzy. Prickly.”

He moves in, not crowding me, but putting himself at arms’ reach. He smells faintly of cloves and oranges. It must be his aftershave or cologne, but it works for me.

I’m distracted by it and almost jump when he speaks again. “Do you know this based on experience, or are you making an assumption?”

My gaze narrows. “Aren’t you the philosopher.”

“You didn’t answer the question.”

“Fine. Assumption.”

His lips quirk. “You should find out if your assumption is true before you condemn the beard.”

“Is this some sort of creepy way to get me to touch your beard?”

A challenge flashes in his eyes. “There are a few guys at the bar sporting beards. You could go ask them. But I figure since we know each other…”

“Not that well.”

“You’d rather ask a stranger?”

“You’re assuming I care enough to ask, Slick.”

His teeth shine white in the shadows of the club. “I know you’re curious. You’re fairly twitching with wanting to know.”

I flatten my hands against the table and glare. Is it just me, or is he closer? Close enough that I can see his eyes are hazel, lighter around his cornea with a starburst pattern. I wish I could see the colors, but he’s painted in shades of blue and gray right now.

And he’s watching me. Patient. Calculating. Tempting.

“It’s always the quiet ones,” I mutter before taking a breath. “Okay, I’ll pet your fuzzy face.”

“Hold up.” Without hesitation, he reaches for my drink and takes a sip. “Liquid courage.”

A strangled laugh leaves me. “Because I’m sooo scary.”

“You have no idea, Cherry.”

I think I growl at him. I definitely want to give his precious beard a good, hard tug. But he simply lifts his brows at me. “Get on with it, then.”

This cheeky bastard is totally playing me. And here I am falling into his trap. Because I cannot look away from his beard now. More specifically, his lips, which are parted just slightly. An invitation. A dare.

Shit. I’ve never been very good at ignoring a dare.

I hate that my hand trembles as I reach up to touch him. He stays perfectly still, his arm casually slung on the edge of the booth behind me, his body turned toward mine. But I don’t miss the way his breathing has kicked up just slightly.

I hesitate, shy almost. Hells bells, I’m only going to touch a bit of facial hair. Why does it feel like we’re two kids tucked in a dark corner, playing a game of “I’ll show you mine”?

Annoyed with myself, I close the distance between us.

Reading Order: Game On series

The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

#1 ~ The Hook Up: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Friend Zone: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ The Game Plan: Ebook • Goodreads (Nov. 1, 2015)

about the author button

Kristen CallihanKristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather do. She is a three-time RITA nominee, and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 5th 2015
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Gray doesn’t make friends with women. He has sex with them. Until Ivy.

The last thing star tight-end Gray Grayson wants to do is drive his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car. But he needs the wheels and she’s studying abroad. Something he explains when she sends him an irate text to let him know exactly how much pain she’ll put him in if he crashes her beloved ride. Before he knows it, Ivy Mackenzie has become his best texting bud. But then Ivy comes home and everything goes haywire. Because the only thing Gray can think of is being with Ivy.

Ivy doesn’t have sex with friends. Especially not with a certain football player. No matter how hot he makes her…

Gray drives Ivy crazy. He’s irreverent, sex on a stick, and completely off limits. Because, Ivy has one golden rule: never get involved with one of her father’s clients. A rule that’s proving harder to keep now that Gray is doing his best to seduce her. Her best friend is fast becoming the most irresistible guy she’s ever met.

Which means Gray is going to have to use all his skills to win Ivy’s heart. Game on.

(HOT DAMN!!! THAT COVER!!!!!!)

Holy mother of god… Gray’s book was absolutely phenomenal!! I had such high expectations for The Friend Zone after reading and loving The Hook Up, one of my favorite reads of last year, and The Friend Zone went above and beyond what I expected! I fell for this book – for Gray – hook, line, and sinker. I completely ADORED Gray and Ivy’s book… maybe even more than Drew and Anna’s. I seriously loved every single thing about this book – the humor, the friendship, the banter, the combustible chemistry. The friends-to-lovers trope is one of my favorite tropes and I’ve read so many books about it that sometimes they all seem to blur together. But The Friend Zone is one of the few that stands out to me and truly made me feel. I got that warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart, I couldn’t stop smiling, I wholeheartedly loved the main characters… This book is just perfection!

“The fact is, Ivy, for me, there is one absolute truth. The sum of my existence equals you.”

When star football player Gray Grayson borrows his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car, the last thing he ever expected was to form a friendship with a girl who would soon become one of the most important people in his life. We get to see Gray and Ivy bond over hilarious, heartwarming texts and become each other’s closest and dearest friend. But when Ivy comes home and these best friends finally get to meet each other in real life, things start to get a little complicated. Because beneath their friendly touches, their banter, their friendship, lies an intense attraction they’ve never felt with anyone before. Though both Ivy and Gray are hesitant to risk their friendship, they quickly realize that the once-in-a-lifetime love growing between them is worth… everything.

But what hits me the most is the way just seeing him makes me feel as though night has turned to day. Everything around me feels brighter, fresher. Gray is my joy. I know this now.

I loved loved loved the slow burn romance between Ivy and Gray. It’s perfectly paced with just the right amount of tension that keeps you wanting more. These two characters… they’re absolute perfection together, and being best friends adds such a great depth to their relationship. Gray and Ivy are MEANT to be together – their love comes across so clearly off the pages. The characters themselves are fantastically written as well. I’m a sucker for a reformed manwhore, and Gray is the perfect example of one. The things he says and does for Ivy… I’m so in love with him. It’s just so clear how much he belongs to and with Ivy that you can’t not root for them! And I adored Ivy as well. She’s an awesome heroine who I was able to connect with right away. The Friend Zone is a romance, but it’s also so much more. Alongside the love story is a journey of self-discovery, and I loved every single page of it.

“I’m crazy about you, Ivy. You have to know that. I’m so lost in you, I don’t ever want to find my way back.”

The Friend Zone is a stunning, beautifully written friends-to-lovers romance that everyone needs to read. I felt so much while I was reading, and I almost didn’t want the book to end. I loved this book SO FREAKING MUCH!!!! I loved Drew from The Hook Up, but GRAY…. he completely stole my heart. Fans of The Hook Up are going to LOVE Gray and Ivy’s book!

5 perfect hearts!

“I’m so fucking glad I borrowed your car,” he chokes out, his hand gripping my calf, rubbing it as if I’m precious. “The thought of you not being in my life tears me up. I… You are the happiness I never realized I needed.”

5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Game On series

The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

#1 ~ The Hook Up: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Friend Zone: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ The Game Plan: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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