Monday, October 23, 2017

Hard Wood by Lauren Blakely: Release Blitz w/ Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Women often say a good man is hard to find. And a hard man is even better.

That’s why I’m quite a catch— good, hard, loaded, and wait for it…I’m ready to settle down too. But the woman I want to pitch my tent with is precisely the one I need to stay far away from.

After that fantastic night with Mia Summers, I’m ready to give her many more. But there's a hitch in my plans — she just hired my company. If there’s one thing I’m committed to, it’s running a squeaky clean adventure tour business. One of the iron-clad rules?

Don’t screw your customers.

I can follow my own guidelines. After all, it’s only a week-long trip with Mia and her employees over the trails and down the hills I guide them on. I can obey the rules—even if it’s hard in the woods.

I'm about to give myself a badge of honor when the storm of the century hits, sending everyone else running for cover, but us. It's my biggest temptation and me, alone for a long weekend. You don’t screw the client, especially when you’re already in love with her . . .

But what’s a guy to do when she’s so hard to resist?

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I haven’t seen Mia in almost a month, since the last time she was in town staying with Max. I didn’t realize she’d be back a full week before her other brother Chase’s wedding, and am I ever glad to see her again.

She makes all parts of me quite happy indeed.

By happy, I mean hard as a rock.

Okay, fine. It’s not like I’m operating at full power this second. I’m thirty-three, not fifteen. I have plenty of self-control in the “when and where to pitch a tent” arena. All I’m saying is this woman gets me going, and I feel that zip down my body when I see her.

She’s on the phone, her eyebrows pinched, her expression harried. She drags her hand through her caramel-blond hair. As I walk closer, I hear her say, “I understand. Yes, I understand. Things happen.”

And that’s the sound of someone being disappointed.

Which is a terrible thing for this sexy-as-a-fiery-sunset woman to experience.

When she stops and ends her call, she spots me. She tilts her head, her eyes piercing, her brow furrowed, and her dimples killing me with cuteness. Her eyes roam from me to Zeus, and then she points at my boy. “I don’t know if anyone has told you this . . .”

I raise my eyebrows. “Tell me. What could it possibly be?”

Her eyes drift to the ground then back up. In a deadpan tone, she says, “But there’s a cat in your hat? Well, on your back, actually.”

“There is?” I crane my neck to peer over my shoulder. “You’re right. How did he get there?”

She parks her hands on her hips. “You’re in big trouble.”

“I’ve been bad, have I?”

She pushes my shoulder then wags her finger at me. “How did you keep this from me?”

I quirk an eyebrow. “The fact that there’s an awesome new Italian place down the street? It opened last month, and I planned to tell you.”

She huffs, rolling her eyes. “I’ve known you for months and you didn’t tell me you had a cat. Friends don’t hide pets from friends.”

She’s not in town that often. She hasn’t ever been to my apartment. And I don’t take Zeus upstairs to Max’s. But I’m not going to state the obvious. I’m going to have a little fun with her. Flirt with her. Because . . . that’s what we do.

“There’s a reason for that.”

Her eyes go wide, and she taps her toe, waiting. I drag a hand through my hair. Evie says my light brown hair is floppy, and she tells me this is a good thing. The ladies love floppy hair, she says. She’s been right so far. My hair’s been a big hit with the ladies, and other parts have, too.

“It’s a good reason,” I add.

“I’m waiting, Patrick. This really isn’t the type of intel you should hold back.”

I heave a sigh as if I’m going to make a huge admission, then I park a hand on her shoulder. Because, well, I’m a sneaky bastard and I’ll look for any opening to touch her. “Look, I’m going to be blunt. If I told you I had a hiking cat who rides shotgun in a backpack and can purr like he’s a jazz superstar, you’d have had no choice but to fall in love with me.”

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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Yvette's Review:

A rom-com that's heavy on the romance with plenty of humor and a guaranteed happy ending is pretty much my idea of a perfect book. That's why I impatiently await each new rom-com Lauren Blakely releases. She doesn't disappoint! Especially when it’s time for the last of the Big Rock heroes to get his Happily Ever After. With Hard Wood (heehee), we have a best friend’s sister romance told via all-male-POV. This book has everything you could want in a romance: a heartwarmingly sweet love story, love scenes so sexy they'll make your jaw drop and your cheeks flush, and characters that’ll claim your heart from page one. In short, Hard Wood is another top favorite read by Lauren Blakely.

I love how everyone is connected in the Big Rock universe. Whether they’re close friends or relatives, they all run in the same circle that gets increasingly wider with each new book. Whenever new characters are introduced, I can’t help but wonder if they’ll soon appear in their own book. Luckily, that’s usually the case, such as with Patrick (Max’s close friend and Evie’s brother) and Mia (Chase and Max’s sister). The moment these two first met in a previous book, sparks flew, and my brain immediately started plotting the potential romance between them. Their story is, of course, everything I could’ve imagined and then some, complete with electric chemistry, palpable sexual tension, and flirtatious banter. There’s no unnecessary drama or drawn-out angst, but rather an easygoing, fun-loving connection between two individuals that blossoms into something more.

It’s the romance between Patrick and Mia that had me swooning and grinning nonstop, but I have to admit that what I love most about Hard Wood is Patrick, our incredibly charming narrator. As far as heroes go, he’s unpretentiously normal. He's not tortured, he's not a bad boy, and he’s not an over-the-top Alpha male. He runs a successful business, enjoys the outdoors, and wants to settle down (sigh). No, he's not flashy, but he is genuine and respectable, with an admirable sense of humor. Patrick is proof that a "good guy" is just as swoon-worthy, just as sexy, and just as romantic as any other fictional hero.

If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted rom-com with plenty of steam and minimal angst, Hard Wood is a must-read. It’s goofy and fun but also sensual and erotic, which is an irresistible combination that had me glued to my Kindle from start to finish. Although I’ll miss the Big Rock crew, Hard Wood is a perfectly satisfying, can’t-miss end to the series.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

✮✮✮ Enter to win this amazing HARD WOOD GIVEAWAY! ✮✮✮

The HARD WOOD Urban Adventure Pack ($380 value) is filled with:

✮ A stylish Michael Kors backpack for when a purse is not enough for your shopping adventture
✮ $50 Gift Card to The Body Shop to pamper yourself after a long day
✮ Your very own plush Zeus to snuggle with
✮ A Smores Making Kit for a backyard adventure  

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