Today is my stop on the Taming Cross Blog Tour. The tour is being hosted by InkSlingr PR; find the complete tour schedule here. My stop includes a review, playlist and giveaway.
Series: Love, Inc. #2
Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Barkley's Books
Publication Date: 8/20/13
Source: Received from author for review
Rating: 4 stars
For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret - one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.
Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.
If there's anyone who knows what it's like to screw up big time, it's Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she's holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.
What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?
I was taken by surprise when I read Selling Scarlett this summer. What I thought would be a fluffy, sexy story about a woman who sells her virginity to help her best friend turned into as story about love, friendship, sacrifice, and human trafficking.
One of the heavily affected players in that book was Cross Carlson. It was his injury that prompted Lizzy to sacrifice a piece of herself in the name of friendship. But not only did Cross have to deal with a debilitating injury and the aftereffects, but also the fact that his father, the Governor of California, was a philandering douchebag who had ties to human sex trafficking to Mexico. Depressed and in pain, now Cross is on a mission to rescue the woman who paid a horrible price for unwillingly getting involved with the Governor.
I gotta say, I truly enjoyed Taming Cross. You might think, based on the gorgeous sexy cover of this book that you're going to get a frivolous (no judging, I love frivolous) story, but that couldn't be further from the truth. This is a story of redemption and sacrifice. Of laying yourself on the line for another human being with no expectations, simply because it is the right thing to do. Shamefully, I know next to nothing about sex trade and human trafficking, but I love that this series has examined and shed a lot of light on this horrible practice, one I can barely fathom exists.
The two lead characters, Cross and Merri, were both characters I embraced. Cross I already knew, and was excited to get his story. Not only is he likeable, and yes, sexy, but he's also still suffering from the debilitating effects of a motorcycle wreck and ensuing stroke. Because of this, Cross stuffed from extremely brutal nerve pain and has not regained use of his left hand. I truly admire the author for not making Cross invincible and impervious to the pain, both mental and physical. Cross was still a very handsome man, and he's partially disabled. And, he was sexy. I love James didn't cut corners with him and make his injuries magically disappear.
I also appreciated Merri's characterization. She was a typical college student who got with the wrong guy, got in trouble, then seeking a way out, got in waaay over her head, and was exposed to the brutal side of human nature. She is a woman who believes she's irredeemable, and must continue to atone for her sins.
When Cross and Merri come together, the attraction is fast, but the author took her time establishing a base of friendship and trust, a justice to these characters due to their circumstances. Great chemisty + a slow burn romance = great results!
On a fun side note, I learned something really fun while reading Taming Cross. I know men have different reasons for getting, ahem, "excited", but I'd never really heard terms for these reasons. Cross referred to different types of boners. There's the "Friendship Boner" which occurs when your hot friend rubs her boobs on you when giving a hug. Also the "Adrenaline Boner", occurring when you're dashing through the Mexican countryside on motorcycle, avoiding bullets from a grief-deranged psychopath. Good times!
Taming Cross was the story I'd hoped it would be, maybe better. If you're looking for a series that is truly more than meets the eye, give it a try.
He leans in close enough to steal the air out of my lungs and presses a kiss against my forehead. "And that's why I can't walk away, even though I know I should. My father might have found you first, but you were always mine." ~ebook 87%
The kisses start out soft and slow, excruciating. I'm shivering. But pretty soon they turn hungry. I'm pressed against the door and Cross is gently over me, smelling of vodka, breathing my name. ~ebook, 87%
Taming Cross Playlist
1) The Verve "The Drugs Don't Work"
2) Taylor Swift "Eyes Open"
3) Fleet Foxes "Your Protector"
4) Lights "Drive My Soul"
5) DeVotchKa "How It Ends"
6) The Civil Wars "Poison and Wine"
7) The Smashing Pumpkins "Tonight Tonight"
8) Imagine Dragons "Radioactive"
9) Coldplay "Amsterdam"
10) Sugarland "I Run to You"
Love Inc Series
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About the author:
I'm a Denver, Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. I am happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together we are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone's parents go to war over the placement of a comma. My books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Amazon Top 100 and the Amazon Movers & Shakers List; two were listed among Amazon's Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012. To find out more about my projects and win prizes and swag, find me on Facebook at facebook.com/ellajamesauthorpage. Questions or comments? Tweet me at author_ellaj or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.