mlsimmons

I’m Melanie and I like to live vicariously through fictional characters. I enjoy reading and listening to mostly fictional books in the paranormal genre, including Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. I will read contemporary romance on occasion, but not often. I will occasionally throw in a biography, usually autobiographies of people that I find interesting. Listening to autobiographies that are narrated by the author have been great in my experience.

Book Blast + Giveaway: Sculptor's Desire by Kerry Adrienne!

Kerry Adrienne is back with another novel that'll keep you up way past your bedtime.

 

Rocco Lazzaro meets the a new age, yoga instructor Devin in SCULPTOR'S DESIRE, the second novel Kerry Adrienne's sizzling Gallant Gentlemen's Guild series, out on August 27th. 2014  from Ellora's Cave.

 

 

About SCULPTOR'S DESIRE:

Rocco Lazzaro is on a mission to find the perfect male body to sculpt. His inability to find "the one" has affected his creativity and he's frustrated by his failure. With a Guild charity auction coming up, he's expected to provide high quality sculptures, but the pieces he creates feel soulless.

 

When Devin, a yoga instructor, approaches him and offers to help, Rocco can't quit thinking about the red-hot ginger. Devin's New Age beliefs push Rocco away—he can't deal with reality, much less mysticism. No auras and rainbows for Rocco—just stone and chisel and hammer.

 

But Devin is persistent. He knows he's supposed to help Rocco find his muse—and he'll stop at nothing to show him that the line between art and skin is very thin and a true muse can provide inspiration in many ways.

 

 Goodreads | Amazon| Barnes and Noble

  

 

Also in the Gallant Gentlemen's Guildseries: ARTIST'S TOUCH by Kerry Adrienne! On sale for just .99 cents from August 25th – August 31st, 2014.

  

 

About Kerry Adrienne:

 

Kerry loves history and spends large amounts of time wondering about people who lived and walked on Earth in the past. She's a mom to three daughters, six cats, and various small animals, including a panther chameleon.

 

In addition to writing, she's a college instructor, artist, costumer, and editor. Her new love is her Mini Cooper Convertible, Sheldon, and they have already gone on many adventures.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

STEAMINESS

 

Rocco clutched the purple fliers and stared out at the busy park from his seat. He'd posted enough of the papers for the day, not that it mattered. He'd never had luck distributing them before—the responses had never lived up to his expectations. He set his backpack on the ground and leaned back against the wooden bench. Why bother? Not like the perfect man was going to walk up, pick up the flier and actually respond. Not in this lifetime.

 

He lowered the sunglasses over his eyes. The late afternoon sunlight didn't thread through the full-summer trees in this part of Central Park, but his shades allowed him to "bulge watch" as the throngs of tourists and New Yorkers paid homage at the mosaic shrine to John Lennon. The circular black and white medallion with "Imagine" scripted across its center was a place of reverence. Disciples had outlined the medallion with a peace sign made of fresh-cut flowers, and tourists took turns posing and taking pictures in front of the makeshift altar.

 

Rocco scanned the visitors. The place was a people-watcher's dream, and for a Monday, the crowd was huge. Summer in the city always brought the tourists in droves of asinine clothing and hats and noise. Still, he had hope he'd find the one he was looking for.

 

The man who'd make his dreams come true.

 

He set the fliers on the bench beside him, then picked up one purple sheet and folded it into a fan, carefully creasing each fold. He tried to breathe out the hot air, but no doubt about it, the June day was steaming. New York was a sweltering change from the Adirondack cabin where he'd spent most of his time in the last month. Still, he was happy to be back in the city—his second home. The cabin was great as a quiet place to work, even though it was small, but its remoteness made it impossible to people-watch and gain inspiration.

 

Rocco crimped the last crease. His apartment in one of the Guild's brownstones felt like home away from home. The Guild's large studio provided the best space he'd ever had to work—tons of light and plenty of quiet. And his guildmates were like brothers, always ready to support each other through any artistic struggle, though he supposed they too were growing tired of his search for a perfect man. No one had actually voiced it, but he felt a distinct difference in the tone of the conversation when he brought the search up in conversation. With the upcoming charity auction in October, most of the artists would be working overtime and even less inclined to listen to his plight.

 

He fanned himself with the folded flier. Nothing to see at the moment. Not a single possibility in the groups of people gathered in the small courtyard. He scanned the area. The top edge of the Dakota Apartments peeked over the trees and Rocco glanced over the rows of tightly curtained windows. He'd never been inside the lavish building, though he knew several Guild members had been to private parties there. Rocco had been invited many times but had always declined. Wealth and showmanship weren't his thing. He preferred the simple life where nature set the style, not John Varvatos and Marc Jacobs.

 

Strawberry Fields was a prime tourist spot. Too bad today's mob held few specimens worthy of a glance, much less a stare. I'd think the simple math odds would warrant at least a couple prospects. Add in summer shorts, and there should be at least a good bulge or two…

 

He glanced at the stack of fliers—about fifty of them left. He'd put up as many papers as he could around the park over the last hour. Who was he kidding? After years of searching, he might as well give up on finding the ideal male. He set the fan on the bench and shoved the stack of fliers into the front pocket of his backpack and zipped it up.

 

He'd held several open calls with no luck. Something inside him pushed him to keep looking, keep trying, no matter how many times he failed. The same something kept him awake at night and tore apart his thoughts during the day. He'd find what he was looking for and he wouldn't stop until he did, no matter what it took. It didn't matter if it cost him his friends, his guildmates, his sanity. That was art, wasn't it?

 

"May I sit here?"

 

The soft, lilting voice wove through Rocco's thoughts and he paused. He looked up and his breath caught in his throat when he saw where the voice originated. Broad shoulders and a flat abdomen encased in a perfectly tight white T-shirt. Tall, but not overly so. Blue jean shorts, snug. Red cropped hair that glistened gold at the tips and fell over in a lock of bangs. Rocco gazed from top to bottom and licked his dry lips.

 

Red, white, blue, and all American.

 

"May I?" the man repeated.

 

"Sure." Rocco fumbled with his pack and slid over to make room on the wooden park bench, pushing his folded fan behind him and out of the way so the stranger could sit down.

 

"Thanks," the man said, dropping onto the bench.

 

No, thank you. But not so close. The vibrations of the man sitting raced through the wood of the bench into wood between Rocco's legs. He swallowed hard, pushing back the anxiety. "No problem," he said, half-whispering. He peeked then gazed down again. Finally, someone worth looking at. Only the man was so freaking near, Rocco felt as if he could feel the heat emanating from the man's hotness.

 

Too close. No comfort.

 

The man scooted back on the bench and stretched out his legs. "Long day. I'm exhausted. Didn't expect there to still be such a crowd here this time of day." He blew out a long breath and closed his eyes.

 

Despite the heat, a shiver raced through Rocco and he eyed the fluid line of the man's form. If he'd had a sketchpad, he'd do a quick gesture drawing of the long stroke of torso and limbs.

 

Not knowing what to say, Rocco turned away. A group of noisy teens descended on the mosaic like a swarm of bees, laughing and shouting and taking photos of themselves in stupid poses. Rocco blinked away the distraction and looked back to the man sitting beside him.

 

Not bad. "Yeah." Hell, not bad at all. "It's crowded." He squeezed his thighs together to control his body's reaction. Why couldn't the man have chosen to sit on the other side of the path where Rocco could observe without having to talk?

 

"Such a loud crowd, at that." The man opened his eyes and peered at the teen spectacle then shook his head. "They need to relax. Chill. You'd think they'd never been outside before."

 

Rocco nodded and followed his gaze. A teen had picked up one of the flowers from the medallion and was tossing it into the air and catching it. "Tourists. New York can't live with them, or without them."

 

"Tourist?" The man asked. "Aren't you? I can't place that accent, so I assumed you were. Where are you from?"

 

"Italy." Rocco sat up straight, trying to not be obvious in staring at the man's muscular legs. He must be some kind of athlete. Was this man a candidate or had the hour of staring at subpar specimens clouded Rocco's judgment? "Well, born in Italy, but I've lived in the city for several years. Many, actually. I consider myself a New Yorker now."

 

"Ah, so Italian with some city dialect. Not a tourist. What's your name?"

 

Rocco flipped his sunglasses up onto his head. "Rocco Lazzaro. Not a tourist." He forced a smile. Meeting new people in person wasn't something he was used to doing.

 

"But very Italian, I see. Nice to meet you, Rocco." The man held his hand out. "I'm Devin Johansson. Also not a tourist. I live on the East Side."

 

Rocco took Devin's hand in his own and shook it firmly, aware that his own hand was clammy with anxiety. "Good to meet you too, Devin."

 

Devin clamped down on Rocco's fingers and held on. "Oh. You have working hands," he whispered. He pulled Rocco's hand closer and rubbed Rocco's palm with long, soft fingers. "And your aura shows great creativity." He looked up. "What is it you do?"

 

The teens moved on down the park path, giggling and talking loudly as they went. Rocco glanced over at them, trying to still the shudder that played along his arm as Devin rubbed his hand. A calm, warm feeling flowed up through his arm and into his chest. Even in the summer heat, the warmth felt good. Too good. Wait, what did he say? What the hell?

 

"My what? My aura?" Rocco yanked his hand away, immediately aware of the loss of warmth. Great. The first good-looking guy he'd met this week was a fruit loop New-Ager. The city grew all types, but this was one type Rocco tried to avoid. These dopes talked too much and thought too much about weird things instead of reality.

 

Devin leaned back and clasped his hands behind his head. He stared up into the trees, smiling. "Yeah, I can tell you are creative by your aura. So, what is it you do?"

 

Rocco scowled. "I'm a sculptor." He wasn't sure why he was telling Devin, or why he was even talking to the man in the first place. Am I that desperate? Do I look like a pity case? He straightened his sunglasses on top of his head and smoothed back his hair.

 

"I knew it." Devin looked at Rocco, his eyes sparkling. "You work with your hands, I can tell. Your hands hold lots of kindness and feeling and warmth. I knew you were an artist of some kind."

 

Rocco made eye contact. He nearly sighed aloud at the deep green in Devin's gaze. A perfect offset to his red-gold hair and pale skin, which, oddly enough, seemed devoid of the freckles that redheads often sported. If Rocco were a painter, Devin would be a divine palette to experiment with.

 

"Good g-guess." Rocco looked away. Something about intense men always caused him to lose his confidence, like maybe the men were peering into the innermost part of him and not running away. Like the fruit loop cast a spell.

 

"No, it's really obvious." Devin chuckled. "If you're sensitive to reading people, you're rarely wrong. It happens, but not often." A look of doubt crossed his face and was gone in an instant.

 

A warm breeze pushed through the park, sweeping a few dry leaves across the trail in a crackle and rustling Rocco's hair. He smoothed it down and settled the glasses back on his head.

 

How am I supposed to respond to that? Rocco fidgeted. Is he trying to get me to ask him something? "Well, okay. It's obvious I'm an artist." He had to get the conversation away from himself. Now. Not only was it uncomfortable, but Devin was in his personal space. "So what do you do, Devin? Besides tell people about their auras?" Magician? Fortuneteller? Horse Whisperer? He hoped Devin would notice the skepticism in his tone and lay off the hoodoo talk. Seeing colors around people? He'd heard of it before, sure. It was about as stupid as believing ancient aliens built the pyramids.

 

If Devin felt made fun of, he didn't show it. "I'm a yoga instructor and meditation coach," he said. "I meet clients here in the park and we embrace the movement of the sun and the moon and the seasons of nature. Here's my card." He pulled a neat stack of cards out of his shorts pocket and slid one off the top.

 

Rocco took the dark blue card. Embossed in gold lettering:

 

Devin Johansson, owner of City Dreams. Yoga, meditation, and spiritual healing—on my schedule or yours.

 

And quack. Rocco scooted forward on the bench. "Meditation, huh? Like being still for a really long time and breathing and not thinking?" He raised his eyebrows. This was going to be interesting.

 

"Yeah, I do group meditation classes on the Great Lawn on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at seven. Free. You should join us. We had a great crowd today. Summer sessions are always well attended."

 

"Thank you, but I don't meditate. I sleep. That's being still enough for me." Rocco rubbed his palms on his jeans. "I do try and breathe every day though." He held back a smirk. Something about being uncomfortable made him sarcastic, a smartass. He knew it but just couldn't help himself. He looked out over the park. Why was he even embarrassed?

 

A noisy group of tourists wearing matching lime green T-shirts circled the medallion. Their guide spoke loudly about John Lennon and the crowd ooohed and ahhed. One woman sobbed.

 

Maybe Strawberry Fields wasn't the best choice today. Too many weirdoes congregating. He should've checked the planetary alignment or star charts before he came because something was amiss. He smiled at his own cleverness.

 

"Well, maybe you should consider trying meditation. Your aura looks pretty blocked." Devin scooted closer and lowered his voice. "Maybe I can help you find what you're looking for. If you'll let me."

 

Rocco cleared his throat and stared at the woman crying, unable to look Devin in the eye. Was the fruit loop coming on to him? Rocco certainly wasn't looking for a quick fuck, though there were plenty of opportunities in Central Park. So he'd heard, anyway. But if he wanted a quickie, the last place he'd pick was a dirty bathroom or out in public behind a butterfly bush just off the path. Being stung in the ass wasn't worth it.

 

"Well, think about it," Devin pushed. "I'd love to help you out. It's what I do. I don't know exactly what you're looking for, but maybe I can help you. Us meeting here today wasn't by chance."

 

The hell it wasn't. "Thanks. I'll check out your website later." When I have nothing else to do.

 

"Great. Please do." Devin slid even closer until his leg brushed Rocco's. "I don't bite, Rocco. I help people."

 

Rocco's heart thudded and he yanked his leg away. How one man had gotten to him so quickly then left him scattered just as quickly was frightening. He had to get out of the park and back to the safety of what he knew. His work. His privacy. His studio.

 

The Guild auction was only a few months away and Rocco hadn't even begun to sculpt his main piece. At this rate, he'd have to work in clay only. He shoved the card into the small front part of his backpack and zipped the pocket closed. "I gotta get back to work. Nice chatting with you, Devin."

 

"Maybe I'll see you around another time." Devin closed his eyes. "I'm in the park most days for one thing or another. Just call me. I'll meet you here any time you want. One-on-one assistance, if you prefer."

 

Now for the Tourwide Giveaway!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson - Patricia Briggs

I loved the glimpses into secondary character's lives and their POVs.  Full review to come.

Reading progress update: I've read 88%.

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson - Patricia Briggs

Oh, Ben.  What are we going to do with you?

Reading progress update: I've read 81%.

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson - Patricia Briggs

Warren, another great story, as if there was any doubt. :-)

Reading progress update: I've read 70%.

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson - Patricia Briggs

I love Asil and Cara's story.

Tell me "Why I love the library" and be entered in a giveaway and be featured on the blog next month.

Reblogged from TheBookNympho:

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Felicia over at Geeky Bloggers Book Blog and I are hosting a month-long event in September to celebrate Library Card Signup Month.

 

We’ll have tons of library type swag giveaways from authors like book bags, book marks and more. We will also be featuring reviews from books we snagged at the library and snippets from our followers about "Why I love the Library".

 

 

If you want to share "Why I love the Library" just fill out this form BEFORE August 30th.

 



 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 58%.

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson - Patricia Briggs

I still love the Alpha and Omega story, no matter how many times I read or listen to it.  I love Charles and Anna. I really enjoyed Moira's story too.  Can't believe I hadn't read it.

Listening progress update: I've listened 9%.

Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson - Patricia Briggs

We are starting with the story of how Bran and Samuel become werewolves and meet Ariana.  The joys of family.

Reading progress update: I've listened 339 out of 705 minutes.

The Mane Squeeze - Shelly Laurenston

Judy "I Desperately Need a Sandwich" Bennington

Reading progress update: I've listened 232 out of 705 minutes.

The Mane Squeeze - Shelly Laurenston

They should call this bear, Pooh, with his obsession with honey.

Reading progress update: I've listened 65 out of 705 minutes.

The Mane Squeeze - Shelly Laurenston

I'm loving the nicknames.  Calling her Mister Mittens and him Paddington and Baloo.  I love this series and needed some laughs.

Blog For Sale – Parajunkee Makes it Easy to Start a New Blog

Reblogged from Parajunkee:

Have you been wanting to start a blog, but intimidated by all the work? Want a premium design, domain and interface – but just don’t know how to GET IT DONE? Want to be a YA Blogger Rockstar?

Look no further. I have a blog For Sale – and you get the WHOLE THING. Everything you see here – is yours. I transfer the login & password – and you take over. You even get the email address, twitter and facebook fan page. Already getting hits. Yes, this is such a premium name – it’s already getting hits from search engines, it already has followers on twitter…and likes on facebook. Not a huge amount … yet … since this blog has been active for 1 day. Think what will happen in 1 year?

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Buy This Blog! ready-made book blog

This blog can easily be used by:

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This blog includes:

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    • Reading YA Rocks is a premium domain name
    • Domain is Registered Private
    • Names are secured on Twitter, Google & Facebook
    • The new .rocks is a brand new domain
  2. One year domain registration  (renewal estimated at $15.00 for 1 year)
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    • Magazine theme set-up just for book / writer bloggers
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Go see it live! | Pricing & More Information

Beyond Addiction (Beyond #5) by Kit Rocha

Beyond Addiction - Kit Rocha

**Note: There are no spoilers for this book, but a very slight series spoiler.

 

Another great story from Section Four and the O'Kane gang.  We have Trix who is originally from Sector Five, but escaped to Sector Four as a strung out druggy.  She is now all clean and a member of the O'Kane with ink cuffs and all.  At the beginning of this story, she is kidnapped and taken back to Sector Five because Dom wants revenge for getting him kicked out of O'Kane's gang.

 

Finn has believed for five years that Tracy had overdosed and was dead.  Even though he has stayed on as Fleming's enforcer, he had little love for his own life.  Isn't he surprised when Trix shows up and is the Tracy he once knew.

 

This story is as hot as you would expect from any Kit Rocha book, even as Kit and Finn are running and trying to make their way back to Sector Four.  It takes a little bit for the couple to figure out where their relationship stands and to be sure that the previous relationship wasn't based solely on drug addiction.  Plus, they have to figure this all out while on the run.

 

Finn has to come to term with some of things he has done while he was the enforcer for Sector Five.  He has a tendency to feel sorry for himself and to feel that he isn't worth anything.  Even after he puts his life on the line for a member of the O'Kane family, he still doesn't seem himself as a valuable contributor.  Even living in a world where everyone has done things that they are not proud of, it is something he could've gotten over a little faster.

 

Not only do you have the story of Trix and Finn, we have lots going on in the overall story arc.  As you can imagine, there is stuff going on in Sector Five.  There is a lot that happens there, but I can't tell you more without spoilers.  We also meet a group of friends of Finn's in Sector Six, so I see something there in the near future.  Oh, we did have an O'Kane party to welcome Finn.  If you've read the series, you know what that entails.  Lots of sexiness, that's what.

 

This is an extremely fun and erotic series.  While this book can be read without starting from the beginning, you will be missing the backstory of many of the secondary characters.  All the books in this series to date have been an extremely fun ride.  I highly recommend that you start the adventure from beginning to get the full sense of the world that the O'Kanes live in.  

 

**Book was provided to me by the author. This review is my opinion and was not requested or provoked in anyway by the author.

Tempted by a Rogue Prince (Eternal Mates #3) by Felicity Heaton

Tempted by a Rogue Prince (Eternal Mates Paranormal Romance Series Book 3) - Felicity Heaton

**Note: There are no spoilers for this book, but are slight spoilers for previous books in the series.

 

This is book three in the Eternal Mates series. Vail is our severally tortured hero of this story.  We met him in book one where he had spent thousands of years under the control of an evil witch and was forced to be at war with his brother and the rest of the elves.  This witch had tortured him and left him without much of his sanity.  Needless to say, he doesn't have much use for witches now that he has finally escaped her clutches.

 

Our heroine was introduced in book two.  Rosalind is a witch and a bit of a hermit.  She especially avoids elves.  It was foretold that she would die at the hands of an elf, so she has refused to spend any time around any elves to make sure she doesn't meet up with the specific elf that is supposed to kill her.  Fate has something different in mind for both our hero and heroine.

 

When they are both captured and held together in a prison and Rosalind is forced to heal Vail, she has no choice but to be around the elf as he is forced to be around the witch.  Their time in the prison, which would be enough on its own, is made much more difficult as they both deal with their hatred of the other species.

 

Rosalind and Vail are fated mates, so they feel a connection from the start.  However, Vail doesn't take to this very well.  The evil witch trapped him by convincing him that she was his fated mate.  So when Rosalind shows up as his actual mate, Vail instantly feels it is another trick.  As they work together to escape the prison, along with the help of an incubi, we see their relationship bloom and the mistrust between them dissipate.

 

This was the darkest story in series so far.  Since I like dark stories and tortured heroes or heroines, this was a great story for me.  I love the look into Vail's head.  Heaton does a great job portraying his forays into and out of his bouts of madness.  The worldbuilding is just as good as the previous books, which is wonderful.  She really does a great job with the descriptions to make you feel like you are actually their.

 

The cast of characters in this book is really small.  For the most part, the story is just Vail and Rosalind, along with the incubi that was also imprisoned with them.  I'm a big fan of secondary characters. They can make or break a story for me.  However, the lack of secondary characters in this book didn't make the story suffer at all.  Vail is such a complex character, he  and Rosalind were able to hold your attention without the extra characters in the story.

 

If you haven't started this series yet, I highly recommend it.  Heaton brings a fresh and darker look into the Paranormal Romance genre with great world building and characters.  I have yet to try books from her other series yet, but you can bet I will be trying them soon.


**Book was provided to me by the author. This review is my opinion and was not requested or provoked in anyway by the author.

 

 
 
 
 
Google Play: 
 
 

Reading progress update: I've listened 564 out of 899 minutes.

Dark Skye - Kresley Cole

And we have NIx.  I love Nix. She is such a great character.

What a Dragon Should Know (Dragon Kin #3) by G.A. Aiken

What a Dragon Should Know - G.A. Aiken

This is once again another great book from Aiken.  

 

You have Gwenvael the Handsome, who is probably the most fun-loving of all the dragons (or maybe Éibhear).  No one took him seriously.

 

We also meet Dagmar Reinholdt, also known as The Beast.  People don't realize she is a girl and the youngest child of Northland warlord The Reinholdt until they meet her in person.  She is quite the strategist and the brains behind her father.

 

It was great to watch these two come together.  Dagmar is so different from most heroines we meet in PNR stories.  She isn't a looker, but yet she has a presence about her.

 

The story is fascinating as they meet a goddess.  Fight the lightning dragons.  There are some major emotional moments, the most we've ever seen in this series.  The laughs are still there and surprises are in store.

Currently reading

Impulse
Dannika Dark
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