Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Sapphire Heist (Jewel #2) by Lauren Blakely: Release Blitz Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Keep your lover close and your enemy closer…

After giving in to a fiery night of passion, island adventurer Steph Anderson and bounty hunter Jake Harlowe are back to square one. With millions in stolen jewels at stake, it’s hard for Steph not to question her new partner’s true motives—no matter how sexy he might be. Jake is hungry for more of Steph, but he can sense her growing mistrust, which only fuels his own doubts. Worse, there’s undeniable evidence that someone else is now after the jewels—and that they are both in real danger.

Fighting against their magnetic attraction is a distraction these two can’t afford. In order to survive, they’ll have to pull off one more heist—and trust each other with something even more precious than jewels: their hearts.

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He grabbed her waist and slammed her close. Her breath caught. He nipped her earlobe.

“Admit it,” he growled. “Admit I am masterful at darts. Then, and only then, will I accept your rematch offer.”

She shook her head and made a move to reach for the dart in his hand. Like she was trying to subtly snatch it away. He clamped his palm around it and raised an eyebrow.

“You trying to pickpocket me?”

“If pickpocketing from your hand counts, then yes. I was.”

“You need a lesson in proper pickpocketing then, woman. You’re too obvious. Like you were in the alley earlier today.”

“You’re telling me you know how to pick pockets, too?” She narrowed her eyes, skepticism in her tone as she grabbed her iced tea from the nearby counter and took a drink.

He laughed. “I do. I don’t do it often, but it’s a useful skill.”

She put down the glass, then parked her hands on her hips, hiking up her purse on her shoulder. “Teach me.”

“Can’t really teach you everything in one night, but it’s all about the art of deception,” he said as he led her back to the dartboard. Grabbing a dart from the green felt, he raised it and took aim at the bull’s-eye. Her gaze followed the dart. “That means you need to get the person to look elsewhere, like at the dartboard.”

She nodded and stared at the dartboard. For one second. Two seconds. Three. Then it dawned on her. When she snapped her focus back to him, he brandished her wallet.

“You got that from my purse,” she said, stomping a foot.

“I sure did. But that was the point. To show you how it’s done.”

“OK,” she said, wiggling her fingers. “Let me try.”

He taught her a few basic distraction tricks, and she practiced on him, dipping her hands in his pockets and trying to pilfer his watch. She was no pro, and he was aware of her moves every time. But her technique improved with the brief lesson. However, the constant gliding of her hands into his pockets zapped his focus away from teaching and onto the next phase oftonight.

“That’s all for today’s lesson,” he said, since he had no more interest in being out with her. “Need to get you alone now.”

Her eyes told him she wanted that, too. “Let’s say good night to Marie.”

She’d been busy all evening pulling the tap and pouring drinks, so he drummed his fingertips against the bar, tipped an imaginary hat to her, and waved good-bye. But she beckoned them over. “Hey. You found your sexy fisherman,” Marie said to Steph, flicking her long braid off her shoulder so it hung down her back. She turned to Jake. “And you found my favorite mermaid.”

“We did find each other,” Steph said in a sweet voice that nailed him right in the heart. We found each other. Those words. They pulsed with double meaning.

About Lauren Blakely:

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat,

heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He's Mine, Playing With Her Heart, Trophy Husband, and Far Too Tempting. On November 21, she'll release the edgy new adult novel THE THRILL OF IT. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.

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Review by Yvette:

With its whodunit-type of mystery and elements of pulse-pounding action and suspense, The Sapphire Affair had such a different feel than Lauren Blakely's other books, yet it featured everything I've come to love about her writing: engaging characters, a riveting storyline, and a swoon-worthy romance. What The Sapphire Affair had also had was a jaw-dropping cliffhanger that had me eager to get started on the follow-up novel, The Sapphire Heist. Not only does the sequel turn up the heat with the already-scorching chemistry between protagonists, Steph Anderson and Jake Harlowe, but the stakes are raised with the ongoing diamond investigation, creating so many twists and turns, the narrative will keep you guessing right up until the big reveal.

If The Sapphire Affair was the buildup – introducing the key players and setting up both a mystery and a romance – then The Sapphire Heist is the takeoff, thrusting readers headfirst back into Jake and Steph's non-stop, action-packed case. After attempting to ignore the sexual tension constantly simmering between them for a good portion of the previous book, Jake and Steph succumbed to their baser needs, only to have their budding relationship tested from page one. With both their bodies and their hearts involved, the case isn’t as easy to crack as Jake and Steph first imagined, especially when each new chapter seems to uncover even more unanswered questions. Wrapping up loose ends surrounding the case is difficult when everyone seems to be a suspect.

Whatever uncertainties they have about the case, the one certainty between them is their overwhelming mutual attraction. After all, what would a juicy mystery be without an equally enticing romance? If you thought The Sapphire Affair was sexy, prepare yourself because you ain't seen nothing yet. The Sapphire Heist is filled to bursting with sultry, passionate, drool-worthy love scenes in which Jake and Steph take their oh-so-sweet time becoming intimately acquainted with each other's naughtiest desires. What I love about Jake and Steph’s relationship is that their romance is steamy (we’re talking uninhibited, uncontrollable, all-consuming passion) without compromising the storyline. I prefer for a book's love scenes to advance the narrative while also being able to sweep me away with their emotional upheaval, creating a deeper connection not just between the characters but between the characters and myself.

After I finished The Sapphire Heist (with a big smile on my face, I might add), I came to the conclusion that Lauren Blakely is a phenomenal storyteller. That's not the first time I've had such a thought but what never ceases to amaze me is that, after twenty-plus books, I continue to find her writing refreshing and unexpected. I can't claim to have read many heist books within the romance genre but, combined with the author's signature blush-inducing brand of romance, The Sapphire Heist is a fast-paced, entertaining read that I didn't want to put down until I uncovered all of the book's secrets. If you love books that are fun and flirty, sweet and sexy, mysterious and suspenseful, Lauren Blakely’s Jewel series is a must-read.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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