Sunday, September 8, 2013


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.

Taming Cross (Love Inc. Book 2)Series: Love, Inc. #2
Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Barkley's Books
Publication Date: 8/20/13
Format: Kindle
Pages: 236
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.

Favorite Quotes:

  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
Exclusive 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
Selling Scarlett (Love Inc., #1)Taming Cross (Love Inc. Book 2)
Purchase Taming Cross
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble


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 Questions or comments? Tweet me at author_ellaj or e-mail me at



  1. I have seen this book somewhere before but I can't remember where. Anyhow it sounds like a really interesting read. Great review :)

  2. That cover is very pretty but from your review also misleading. I may have to check this series out. Also, I ADORE that Civil Wars song. Great review!

  3. What a great playlist!! I love The Civil Wars!! Poison and Wine is one of my favorite songs off of that album. I also love Coldplay and Sugarland! Anyways, I remember reading your review for the first book, and it sounds like a good series. Great review hon!!

  4. I read the first book in this series and wasn't blown away by it. I thought that the story was real interesting and like you I wasn't expecting it be heavy with the human trafficing story line. I really did like Cross' character and is the main reason why I want to continue this series and your review just convinced me. Adding it back on my TBR.

  5. Oh my god the different boners made me LOL pretty hard. I wouldn't imaging someone getting one in the second scenario, but what do I know? Happy that this one was much more than you were expecting, those are always the best surprises!

  6. Great review, Andrea. I have Selling Scarlett on my kindle but haven't gotten to it yet. And I am excited to read Taming Cross now, too! ;) I really enjoy it when an author gives us a great foundation for a smokin' hot relationship! :)

  7. I haven't heard of this series before, but after reading your review, I'm definitely getting myself a copy of the first book. It sounds like a fabulous one and I'm glad you enjoyed book 2 as much as the first one.
    I always appreciate a relationship that develops from an attraction into a friendship, so I can tell I'm going to ship this couple.
    And OMG! The different boners! I almost died trying not to laugh at my library.
    Great review, Andrea! :)

  8. Redemption and sacrifice are def worthy topics and sounds like powerful.

  9. I am going to have to get these now. They sound really good and I am glad to know there is such depth to them. The boner nugget of wisdom cracked me up.

  10. I like these kinds of books! I just need to find time to fit them in. Glad you liked both!

  11. Thanks so much for the review, and for being part of my tour. You rock! ~Ella

    P.S. The covers ARE sort of misleading. I'm getting new ones 9/13, so watch for those!! ;)

  12. I am always finding the most interesting NA titles to try on your blog, Andrea--this one sounds promising! Those "he's hiding a secret" things always intrigue me.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  13. The covers are a little misleading because they do make it seem like the story inside would be hot and fun. This sounds way more serious. I like the fact the author wrote a real life hero and not the standard perfect man we get so much. Real life is not filled with perfect men or women. I read Captive in the Dark and the sequels and it dealt with human trafficking. It turned my stomach! Unfortunately, I think this happens. I just can't fathom the sick mind that could treat any human in such a way. Wonderful review, Andrea! I'll have to check this series out. :)

  14. That's great there is more depth to the story than what first meets the eye. ;) I like books like that! The playlist has some awesome songs on it too. LOVE songs I can listen to when reading a book.

  15. I remember your review of the first book. Because of that, I almost took this one on. Glad you enjoyed it!

  16. I would have guessed these books were a bit lighter going by the covers so I'm glad of the heads up. It sounds like it has some really great subject matter though. Thanks for bringing these to my attention!

  17. This sounds like such a good series! I don't know to much about human trafficking either. I've noticed that lately a few books have been coming out with it though. I never heard of the different types of boners either. LOL

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

  18. Yeah - this really does look like a sexy romp but I'm glad it's more serious.

    I've watched a few documentaries about human trafficking and the sex trade that made me want to vomit.

    Adding to the TBR list.

  19. Oh I love that first quote a lot! This one sounds better than I thought.

  20. Yay I love when the author takes her time with the author takes her time with building the romance. There can always be lust and attraction at first but before they really get down to anything I like them to have spent time getting to know something about one another.
    Glad you really enjoyed this book. I have the first one just have to find time to read it. :)


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