DELAYED PENALTY by Sophia Henry Blog Tour!!!

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Today I’m so excited to be hosting a stop on my friend Sophia Henry’s blog tour for her debut novel DELAYED PENALTY, which releases from Random House Flirt on September 1!! That’s right, you can read this awesome contemporary romance – starring a hot Russian hockey player – in just 3 DAYS!

Here’s a little about the book:
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She closed her heart long ago. He just wants to open her mind. For fans of Toni Aleo and Sawyer Bennett, the debut of Sophia Henry’s red-hot Detroit Pilots series introduces a hockey team full of complicated men who fight for love.

Auden Berezin is used to losing people: her father, her mother, her first love. Now, just when she believes those childhood wounds are finally healing, she loses something else: the soccer scholarship that was her ticket to college. Scrambling to earn tuition money, she’s relieved to find a gig translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player—until she realizes that he’s the same dangerously sexy jerk who propositioned her at the bar the night before.

Equal parts muscle and scar tissue, Aleksandr Varenkov knows about trauma. Maybe that’s what draws him to Auden. He also lost his family too young, and he channeled the pain into his passions: first hockey, then vodka and women. But all that seems to just melt away the instant he kisses Auden and feels a jolt of desire as sudden and surprising as a hard check on the ice.

After everything she’s been through, Auden can’t bring herself to trust any man, let alone a hot-headed puck jockey with a bad reputation. Aleksandr just hopes she’ll give him a chance—long enough to prove he’s finally met the one who makes him want to change.

Want to find this book online? Of course you do!

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24683240-delayed-penalty?ac=1 Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/154977-pilots-hockey

Buy Links:  Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo


About the Author:
Sophia Henry Author Pic

Sophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing, and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to North Carolina, where she spends her time writing books featuring hockey-playing heroes, chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.

 

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Enter Sophia’s Raffle here!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjM1YmFiZTdlYjI3MzI3YWI0NTU3Mjk0OWM3MTIyOjI1MQ==/?

Not enough to convince you that you NEED this book? Here’s an exclusive excerpt of DELAYED PENALTY!

When you’re twenty years old, there’s nothing music and a drink can’t cure.

At least that was my best friend’s response when I told her I’d been cut from Central State’s women’s soccer team that morning.

The overzealous stylings of two drunk chicks bellowing “It’s Raining Men” wafted through the air, and I’d just received my vodka club from the bartender, so why did it still feel like someone scratched my heart out with a serrated shovel?

Maybe “It’s Raining Men” wasn’t the right song?

Or maybe my friend’s remedy lacked one vital piece. Like, five minutes locked in a bathroom stall with the crazy-haired hottie approaching me. His head was buzzed short on the sides, leaving a thick patch of dark locks, gelled into a neat pompadour in front. Sort of like 1920s gangster, except less slicked, more height.

Every muscle in Crazy Hair’s body rippled under his clothing as he walked. He had to be over six feet tall, with a broad chest and massive arms stretching the seams of his long-sleeved black Henley. His skin was smooth and pale, a contrast to the thick dark eyebrows resting above his jump-in-and-drown-in-me blue eyes. From the scar on his left cheek to the smug smirk of his lips, he was exactly my type: dangerous, confident, and totally lickable.

I flipped my long blond hair behind my shoulder and glanced to my left, pretending Crazy Hair’s advance had no effect on me. In reality, I’d checked to make sure that he wouldn’t pass me up on the way to some beautiful bombshell I hadn’t noticed standing in the vicinity.

Like when you see someone wave, so you wave back. Then you realize they weren’t waving at you but the person behind you. So you try to play off your lame wave like you were batting away mosquitoes, which aren’t there because it’s December in Canada. Just trying to avoid an awkward situation like that.

Crazy Hair continued to close in, before stopping just inches away.

I’d opened my mouth to ream him out for stepping too far into my personal space, but the sweet scent of clove cigarettes flooded warmth through me like a sip of hot chocolate on a January morning in the Upper Peninsula.

“You work at post office?” he asked in a thick Slavic accent.

“Um, no.” I took a swig of my drink. Though I was unsure where he was going with that line, he was hot enough for me to stick around.

The left corner of his mouth curved into that sexy little smirk. “Because I see you check out my package.”

Carbonation stung my nose as I snorted and choked trying to hold in my laugh. Without time to turn my head, I sprayed vodka club and saliva across the front of Crazy Hair’s shirt.

Awesome.

“Weak!” I heard from somewhere behind me.

I turned to see who had yelled, still coughing as I noticed a group of guys and girls at the high-top table behind me. Shaggy blond hair bounced against one guy’s forehead as he snickered. The dude next to him held his fist in front of his mouth in a horrible attempt to hide his laughter. A brunette in a tight red sweater didn’t look amused. At all.

Crazy Hair threw the guys not one but both of his middle fingers.

“That girl’s a fucking smoke show. Why’d he use a shitty line like that?” the blond one said.

Smoke show? I bit down hard on my lip to fight back a smile. The last time I’d heard that phrase was in high school from my hockey-playing best friend, who’d informed me that “smoke show” was player lingo for “hot girl.”

Unsure of how to recover any semblance of cool after spitting my drink across Crazy Hair’s muscular chest, I spun around and shuffled back to the table my friends occupied in front of the karaoke stage.

It felt weird to drink in public, though we’d been to Canada on multiple occasions. As lifelong residents of Detroit, Michigan, we thought of Windsor—the Canadian city connected to Detroit by a bridge and a tunnel—as the next town over, rather than a foreign country. Nineteen was the legal drinking age in Windsor, so it made sense for underage Americans like us to cross the border for some legit cocktails.

My butt had barely brushed my seat when I heard my name, and my name alone, called over the speakers. I lifted my eyes to the outdated popcorn ceiling, as if the voice resonated from the heavens beyond, rather than the karaoke host.

“Why is he calling my name?” I asked Kristen.

“I picked you a song,” she responded, taking a swig of her beer.

“You picked us a song, you mean?” Emphasis on the us, because I’d never sung alone in my life—not counting the shower and car, of course.

“Nope. Just you.” Kristen placed both hands on my back and pushed me toward the stage. “You need to sing it out. Keeping shit bottled up never works.”

I had no problem singing it out if I was singing with other people, but not when it was just me. Hadn’t I been embarrassed enough today?

My short-lived “smoke show” happiness vanished, and the embarrassment of making a fool of myself in front of Crazy Hair returned. I tried to reverse, but Kristen’s trampoline-like hands propelled me back toward the stage.

Climbing onto the stage, I snatched the microphone out of the host’s hand. I almost felt bad about taking my anger out on him until I saw the lyrics to “Proud Mary” light up in white against the teleprompter’s blue screen. Fuck.

What the hell? I exhaled and lifted my eyes to Kristen.

“Girl power!” She saluted me with her glass.

Was “Proud Mary” a girl-power song? I thought it was about a boat.

“Do you have ‘Good Feeling’?” I asked the karaoke host. He was around my age, with big brown eyes matching his neat, trimmed beard and his shoulder-length hair.

“Flo Rida?” he asked, as disapproving wrinkles formed on his smooth forehead.

“Oh, no,” I said. “The Violent Femmes.”

A smile spread across his lips, and he nodded. “Give me a second.”

And finally, I had the privilege of receiving an advanced copy of this book! Here is my review! (Spoiler: 5 stars!)

Auden Berezin is a college student home on winter break, where she lives with her grandparents. Her Russian grandfather gets her a job as a translator for the hot Russian hockey player Aleksandr Varenkov. What starts out as a professional relationship gets a little more personal when Auden and Aleksandr start despising – then flirting with – each other. However, Auden doesn’t want to jeopardize her job, and Aleksandr has been looking into joining a different hockey team in Charlotte (they are currently in Detroit).

I loved the voice in this book – Auden felt so genuine and real to me. I also loved how Russian culture plays such a big part in this book, from the names and language, to the traditions. Auden and Aleksandr’s relationship was really sweet, and I loved the scene where he played a prank on her by saying inappropriate things in Russian she is supposed to translate for the press, hehe
I also really enjoyed the dynamic between Auden and her grandparents, and how their relationship develops over the course of the book.

Overall, this was a really fun read. I’m looking forward to more of Sophia Henry’s Pilots Hockey series! 

Be sure to check out DELAYED PENALTY, coming to an e-book retailer near you September 1st!

Release Day Blitz – CAN’T GO BACK by Marie Meyer!

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Today, I’m so excited to help celebrate launch day for my friend Marie Meyer’s second novel, CAN’T GO BACK! While her debut novel ACROSS THE DISTANCE is all about Jillian, now we get to see the story from Griffin’s point of view.

About CAN’T GO BACK

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When Jillian moved next door, she refused to get out of the car. I climbed into the backseat beside her and promised to never leave her.Now, I’m driving her a thousand miles away, so she can leave me.

She has to go. What else would she do? Follow me and my band from one cheap bar to another, get hit on by sleazy promoters? Because Jillian would definitely get hit on. She’s the most gorgeous, talented girl I’ve ever known, and she doesn’t even see it.

This scholarship gives Jillian the chance to study at the best design school in the country. It’s what she’s always wanted. I won’t stand in the way of her dreams, no matter how much it hurts to watch her go. I just wish she wasn’t leaving without knowing the truth.


Find it here!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1JTXxLc
B&N: http://bit.ly/1MvW4jw
iBooks: http://apple.co/1Dcbt6C
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1h7UKr1
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1U9uRFz

Exclusive Excerpt!

The headlights flashed across the Pennsylvania Welcomes You sign just as my playlist ended. Reaching for my phone, I scanned through others. I needed music to fill the growing hollowness inside me. Moving my best friend, Jillian, to design school was one of the hardest damn things I’d ever had to do.

With the cruise set at eighty, I watched the odometer tack on mile after mile. Jillian snored away in the passenger seat, her head against the window, legs stretched out, bare feet resting on the dashboard. Every now and then, I’d sneak a quick peek at her and smile, years of friendship played on a highlight reel in my head.

Twelve years ago, after Jillian’s parents died during the 9/11 attacks, she came to live with her grandparents—my neighbors. The day she arrived, she refused to get out of the car. I climbed into the backseat with her, offered her my hand, and promised to always make her smile. I’d never leave her. Now, I was driving her a thousand miles away, so she could leave me.

When she’d been offered a scholarship to an elite design school in Rhode Island, I was thrilled for her. Jillian always dreamed of being a designer. After everything she’d been through, losing her parents at such a young age, and struggling to overcome her self-harm tendencies as she got older, it was time something positive came her way. But, it wasn’t until now that I realized just how many miles stood between Rhode Island and Illinois…between Jillian and me.

“Uhhh,” I groaned, pressing my feet into the floorboard, stretching the best I could. I needed some tunes to liven up the drive. The lonely, dark road was fucking with my state of mind. With the pad of my thumb, I swiped through countless artists on my iPhone, finally deciding on the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I needed something heavy, loud, and bass-driven to pull me out of my current funk. Letting my head fall against the headrest, I fingered Flea’s bass riffs along the steering wheel.

Jillian sighed and moved her head from the window, placing it back onto the seat. Wisps of blonde and orange hair covered her face and her neck slumped at an odd angle. No way was she comfortable. Hell, I wasn’t comfortable. It was almost eleven. I was tired, hungry, and I really needed a restroom.

Holding the wheel steady with my left hand, I used my right to rock her gently. “Jillian. Jillian, wake up.”

She blinked a few times and sat up, still half asleep. Her hair was a tangled mess on top her head, like a pile of vanilla ice cream swirled with orange sherbet. I ran my palm over her head, smoothing some of the pieces back where they belonged.

Jillian looked out her window, then back to me. “I’m sorry,” she croaked, her voice thick with sleep. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep on you. What time is it?” She lowered her pale legs from the dash and raised her arms high, stretching.

She wore a faded t-shirt featuring my band, Mine Shaft, and like any red-blooded male, it didn’t escape my attention when the t-shirt rode up, exposing the small patch of skin above the waist of her yoga pants. She wasn’t the scrawny little girl who used to play in the dirt with me.

I removed my hand from her head with a sigh and adjusted the volume knob, reducing Anthony Kiedis to background noise. “It’s just after eleven.”

“Ugh, I hope there’s a good yoga class on campus.” She yawned, arching her back. “Where are we?”

I took the next exit, getting off the turnpike, following the blue signs to the nearest hotel. “We’re in Pennsylvania. Do you want to keep driving or call it a night?” The choice was up to her; if she wanted me to keep going, I would. But, I hoped she didn’t. I was beat.

“Shit, I’m sorry. I should have taken over the wheel a hundred miles ago.”

“It’s alright.” I flashed her a smile. “You looked too peaceful to wake up.” More than peaceful, she looked gorgeous. Many times throughout the night, I’d fought the urge to run my fingers through her hair, or touch her porcelain cheeks.

But then I reminded myself, friends didn’t get to touch.

Three months ago, I’d had my chance. Back in May, the easygoing friendship Jillian and I had as children was obliterated the second she kissed me. In that moment, I wanted to do a whole hell of a lot more than kiss her.

A light wind whistled through the doorway, causing Jillian’s long hair to float on the breeze. Without a second thought, her hand came up and she swiftly tucked the flying strands behind her ears. I would have liked to do that for her…but it was too late. I kept my hands in my lap.

Stretching out my legs, I leaned my back against the wall of the little old cabin. Jillian did the same, resting her head against the dusty log walls. This cabin had been our place in high school. Off the beaten path, in a forested section of the state college campus, the miniature cabin became the home to many late night talks, song writing sessions, and countless other memories. Where most childhood friends have treehouses, Jillian and I had a tiny cabin in the woods.

After having dinner with my parents and sister, Jillian insisted on coming out here. Since she was leaving for college in three months, it seemed fitting that we needed to say good-bye to “our cabin”.

She’d been quiet since we’d gotten here. “What’s on your mind, Jillibean?” I nudged her with my shoulder.

“Hmm,” she hummed. “Nothing. Just enjoying the night. It’s always so peaceful out here.”

“Yeah, it is.” I closed my eyes and listened to the crickets chirp. In the distance an owl hooted.

“Griffin?”

“Yeah?” I answered, but kept my eyes closed. I liked the way her voice mingled with the sound of the wind.

“Griff,”

With a tap on my shoulder, I rolled my head in her direction, and opened my eyes. Our faces were less than an inch apart. My pulse went from zero to erratic in the matter of second and the cabin grew stuffy. Jillian’s midnight eyes searched my face.

My eyes fell to her mouth. Like so many times before, I wanted to kiss her. What would her lips feel like on mine? What did she taste like?

I moved my head closer…the tips of our noses touched and Jillian sucked in a tiny breath.

What noises could I elicit from her? How loud could I make her scream my name?

And while my mind conjured a dozen and a half erotic scenarios, Jillian closed her mouth on mine.

I shivered at the memory and readjusted in the seat, trying to accommodate the bulge in my pants.

It had taken every ounce of energy I possessed not to push my hands through her long, rainbow-dyed hair, press her against the cabin wall, and show her exactly why she couldn’t leave me at the end of the summer.

Her lips were hot and full, and I wanted to devour her. My hands itched to explore the curves of her tiny frame. With just one kiss, she’d released a flood of emotions I’d never felt for another woman.

And it scared the shit out of me.

Jillian was my friend…my best friend. If we ventured down that path, I feared she’d give up on her dream to stay with me. I didn’t want her to blow off design school and stay in Illinois and end up at the junior college. She was too talented for community college. I wanted more for her. I’d spent so many years trying to protect her from every pain and sadness life threw her way, I worried she’d grown too reliant on me. She needed this opportunity to spread her wings and find herself.

With one infinitesimal nudge—all I could muster—I pushed her way. When our lips parted, I could still taste her, and like a starving man, I wanted more. Energy crackled between us. Jillian stared at me, desire and confusion pooling in her dark chocolate eyes. Her expression begged me for an explanation. Then I told her the biggest lie of all: I only wanted to be friends.

And now she was leaving…without knowing the truth.

My Review

I was lucky to receive an advance copy of CAN’T GO BACK in exchange for an honest review.  I should state up front that Marie Meyer is my friend; I’ll also clarify that being my friend does not guarantee a positive review. If I read a friend’s book that I do not like, I simply opt out of leaving a review. So I’m thrilled to say that I loved CAN’T GO BACK! Here are my thoughts:

If you’ve read Marie Meyer’s debut, ACROSS THE DISTANCE, you already know Jillian’s side of the story. CAN’T GO BACK shows how Jillian and Griffin got together – from Griff’s point of view.

I’m usually hesitant to read sequels that are retellings of the original story from a different POV, because I find them repetitive – rehashing the exact same events, but from a different voice. However, CAN’T GO BACK shows us a completely different story from ACROSS THE DISTANCE. I think the key here is that Jillian and Griffin are dealing with a long distance *friendship* (ahem), so they aren’t together for most of it – we don’t just see the same scenes from a different POV. CAN’T GO BACK is a great companion to ACROSS THE DISTANCE!

In CAN’T GO BACK, Griffin has a lot on his plate. His band is taking off, he’s in a half-hearted relationship with his gf Erin, and his relationship with his parents has been rocky ever since he had to quit school to focus on music. Not to mention he’s missing his best friend Jillian, and dealing with regret over not telling her how he felt when she kissed him last year.

I loved Griff’s voice, and the fact that he read totally different from Jillian in ATD shows Meyer’s skills as a writer. I loved Griff’s relationship with his bandmates, and enjoyed watching their interactions (Can Thor and Harper get a book please?). I also loved Nee, the badass lady drummer who keeps the boys in line. During ATD, it pissed me off that Griff was with Erin, and when he wasn’t calling Jillian – so I liked seeing these events from his POV, and what he was thinking.

This dualogy is a sweet romance that I highly recommend. While I read ATD before CGB, I do think they can be read in either order, or as stand alones. I’m looking forward to more books by Marie Meyer!

 

 

About MARIE MEYER

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Marie Meyer was a Language Arts teacher for fourteen years. She spends her days in the classroom and her nights writing heartfelt new adult romances that will leave readers clamoring for more. She is a member of RWA and the St. Louis Writers Guild. Marie’s short fiction won honorable mentions from the St. Louis Writers Guild in 2010 and 2011. She is a proud mommy and enjoys helping her oldest daughter train for the Special Olympics, making up silly stories with her youngest daughter, and bingeing on weeks of DVR’d television shows with her husband.Connect with Marie online!

https://www.facebook.com/mariemeyerbooks 

Be sure to pick up copies of ACROSS THE DISTANCE and CAN’T GO BACK, both available now!