Sunday, May 25, 2014


It's time for the Mended Blog Tour! I have a review and excerpt to share with you. Thanks for stopping by!

Mended (Connections, #3)Series: Connections #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: 6/3/14
Format: eARC
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  iBooks


Always in control, Xander Wilde considered life on the road to be a perfect fit for him. But when disaster strikes on the Wilde Ones’ latest tour, fate intervenes…and a newly single Ivy Taylor, the only girl he has ever loved, steps back into his life.

After moving past her painful breakup with Xander years ago, Ivy was poised to become the next big name in pop music…when suddenly she withdrew from the limelight—the same day she announced her engagement to her controlling agent, Damon Wolf.

Xander knows he should keep his distance. But once they’re on the road, he can’t resist pursuing her for a second chance. Yet a jealous Damon can’t let her go—and he’s keeping dangerous secrets that could destroy them all.

When the three of them come together, everything falls apart. But if Xander and Ivy can hold tight to the bond that connects them, they just might have a chance at reclaiming the powerful love they thought they had lost forever....

Xander Wilde the boy may have broken my heart once upon a time...but Xander Wilde the man, is the one who mended it.

 I've mentioned a couple of times, in my reviews for Connected and Torn, that I wasn't a big fan of Xander Wilde. He was overbearing and rude, always trying to push River in a direction he didn't want to go. Towards the end of Torn, more of the Wilde family's past comes to light, and I began to understand why Xander was as bossy and driven, nearly desperate, as he was. I was beginning to be excited for Xander's story.

I love when a character is more than he/she seems.

Mended opens with a prologue set twelve years in the past, with an eighteen-year old Xander set to graduate high school and leave for Chicago with the girl he loves, Ivy Taylor. Now, we all know that something happened to break Xander and Ivy up, but why? I was hoping this wouldn't be one of those "I'm not good enough for the girl I love, so I'm going to drive her away." scenarios. And it wasn't, really. As it turns out, Xander's sense of obligation to be there for his family, no matter what it costs him personally, was born at a tragic moment we learn about in Torn. I was surprised by how much I truly liked Xander. It turns out River is not the only terrific Wilde man.

Mended is largely Xander's story, and mostly comes from his points of-view. When we start getting Ivy's point-of-view as well, I was relieved. I liked feeling that connection to her, learning why she's gone off her once chosen path, how deeply Xander's actions affected her, knowing she's still in love with him. Ivy had a troubled past in her own right, with a demanding, greedy mother and a manipulative boyfriend. I didn't always like Ivy's actions, but I understood them.

When Ivy comes back into Xander's life, I was ready for this to happen. I was hoping to get an emotionally powerful story, a love that I could believe in. Happily, I got all that and more. And while
Mended stands on it's own, it is still largely connected to the Connections series as a whole. River and Dahlia have very significant moments in the story, Aerie plays a small but powerful role (with Jagger being mentioned, as well). Even Ben Covington -whom I hated, now pity- is useful! I'm beginning to hope that guy gets his own happy ending. The Wilde family's long-time issues revolving their father continue to be explored, and once again, we get another Connections story with with very powerful revelations. I continue to be impressed by how deftly Kim Karr has held to a "big picture" concept regarding this series.
I went into Mended with a "hope for the best" attitude. I wanted to love it, but given Xander, I wasn't sure I could. The story met and exceeded my expectations. This story, in addition to the entire series, is one I fully recommend. Now...bring on Frayed!

 Favorite Quotes
   I breathe out. She breathes in. I can feel my skin touching hers and I want to hold her, rest my forehead on hers, I want to brush my lips across hers, I want to whisper in her ear that she can trust me.

  "Look at me, Ivy," he commands, and I do. "You know why you said it--it's because you feel the same way I do. Look, we could play the game -- pretend we both didn't feel what we felt the minute we saw each other at the pool, but I'd rather not. I loved you when I was fourteen. I loved you when I was eighteen and had to let you go. I've loved you for the last twelve years. And I love you now. Ivy--I love you."
[...] He holds me close and I don't even question his words, not for a second. I don't need to. I can feel it. I can hear it. I can see it. It's written all over him--it's even etched on his body. It's real and right. It's everything I've been missing and everything I want. He's mine, and this time I'll never let him go.


Xander Wilde
The magic of rock and roll—it casts a spell on you. I’m no exception. I’m a band

manager and I’m living the dream, touring with The Wilde Ones, helping them secure

their well-deserved place in the music industry. I love being a part of it all, especially

watching the band perform live—the crowds, the cheers, the music. It’s a high and a low

all at once and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Every step of the way with this band has

been fun, exciting, stressful—every possible emotion. Obviously we’ve had some breaks

but mostly we all put in a lot of hard work—myself, Garrett Flynn, Phoenix Harper,

River Wilde, and now Zane Perry.

“Can you hear me now?” he bellows.

I nod my head as my heart pounds in my chest. My hands feel cold and clammy and

a nervousness that makes me weak and shaky takes over. Doubts race through my head and I’m questioning if he’s going to make it through this. A vague awareness that something bad could happen kicks around in my mind and I can’t shake it. The Wilde

Ones are doing a sound check on stage and Zane’s not on his game.

It’s July and the weather has been brutally hot. But today it seems cooler. Maybe it’s

the California weather maybe it’s the excitement of being home. The Beautiful Lies Tour

bus finally rolled back into our home state of California after six months away. When we

pulled into the amphitheater, we could see tanned kids in board shorts and bikini tops
already lined up at the will call window. Security guards in polo shirts directed us to the
artist parking lot, and we were officially home. Tonight we’ll be headlining our biggest
show to date. We’re on tour without my brother, River, and still more than half of the
shows are sold out, including tonight’s. River quit the band—touring just wasn’t for him
but even so the album is on its way up the charts. Who knows it may even hit gold status.
The songs on the album were written and sung by River but are performed in concert by
Zane. Having him as my brother’s replacement has been the key to our successful
transition in a world where replacing leads is normally unsuccessful—simply put, we’re
lucky as hell to have him. River promised to make a surprise appearance at our next stop.
It’s going to be epic.
But tonight is all about the arena—Mountain View and the Shoreline. “That’s
enough,” I yell to the band and call rehearsal. This place is the biggest outdoor venue
we’ve played and I couldn’t be more stoked—or more nervous. A sold out show and a
rocking opening band—what a combination. But a lead singer with another cold and a
weakened voice that can’t be heard throughout an amphitheater scares the shit out of me.
I head straight for the bus and spend the next few hours hashing out a song with Nix
that he calls a jumbled mess of muscular sense and big-riff sunshine—whatever the hell
that means. All I know is that it needs help and that’s why he’s turning to me. I hadn’t
played guitar since I was eighteen but for some reason over the course of this tour I’ve
picked it back up. At first I used whatever was lying around but last month I had my
mother mail my old one to me and it feels like home. It’s a light blue and brown Gibson
and I had to have it because it was the guitar that Slash played on. Playing again seems to
help pass the time and brings a calm over me that I haven’t felt in awhile.
Hours pass and before I know it, it’s almost show time. We make our way over to the
Amphitheater, do the typical festival schmooze fest, and then settle back to wait. Waiting
for them to take the stage is always the most nerve-racking time. I’m sitting in the
practically vacant makeshift meet and greet area back stage and sipping a beer in a
worthless effort to calm my nerves when a voice travels through the sound system. It’s a
powerful and emotive mezzo-soprano range that is nothing short of explosive. She
sounds unlike any singer I’ve ever heard before—with only one exception, Ivy Taylor. I
push back the memory of her name and the emotions it evokes—the memories are just

too painful. I can’t see her on stage but I know that the voice belongs to Jane Mommsen.

Her band Breathless is playing right before The Wilde Ones.

A hand on my shoulder startles me. I twist and glance up as Amy sits down beside

me, crossing her legs. “Hi, Xander. I thought I saw you earlier at the hotel.”

She’s a beautiful woman—long, wavy dark hair, petite figure, very natural looking.

She’s wearing jeans, a blue shirt with some kind of foil design, and silver sandals.

Grinning at her I say, “Finally we catch up. Can I get you a drink?”

“I’d love that. How’s life on the road been?”

“You know, it has its ups and downs but actually not bad. You?”

“Jane’s been going full-force for a while now. But the tour ends with the summer.

I’ll be glad to be back in LA.”

Standing up, I laugh. “I know the feeling. I’ll be right back, let me grab us that

drink.” Tossing my empty bottle, I make my way to the coolers lined up under the tent

and grab two beers. I know she’d rather have a glass of Chardonnay but beer it is. Amy is

Jane’s assistant and I’ve taken her out more than a few times. We went to high school
together and Amy and I know most of the same people so whenever I need a date, I ask
her. Last time I saw her was almost nine months ago when I took her to River and
Dahlia’s wedding.
Heading back to the table I hear Jane yell out to the crowd, “Are you ready for three
of the hottest guys in music?” The audience starts screaming and the stage lights dim
cuing the guys that it’s the fifteen-minute countdown until they take the stage. The band
huddles together in their typical pre-performance stance. I’ll have a quick drink with
Amy and then join them. As I hand her the bottle my fingers touch hers and we both grin,
knowing that we will end up alone by the end of the night.
“You sticking around for the whole show?”
“I think I might,” she smiles.
“How about we ride back to the hotel together and grab a real drink at the bar?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
“Great. Time for me to get back to work.”
She rises from the table, I do the same. She stands up on her toes and kisses me
quickly on the lips. “See you tonight,” she smiles.
“Catch you later,” I say and then cross the room to join the band.
“You’re late,” Nix snickers. “What’s with you two anyway?” he asks.
I shrug my shoulders. “Nothing. We casually see each other once in a while.”
Garrett raises an eyebrow. “Chicks are never cool with casual.”
Shaking my head at him, I don’t bother to disagree. Amy and I have been doing this
for years. It works for her and for me. We like each other’s company but only see each
other sporadically. I’ll call her once in a while and we’ll go out but we are in no way
exclusive. I don’t ask her about other men and she doesn’t ask me about other women. I
grab the bottle and pour the amber liquid into the shot glasses stacked on the cap. It’s our
pre-show routine. A shot and a prayer, so to say. It’s Garrett’s turn tonight to ‘pray’ so
this should be good.
He raises his glass. “Here’s to hoping Xander gets laid so he’ll get off our backs.”
Tipping my glass back, I quickly down the amber liquid. It burns as it makes its way
down my throat. Once we’ve all drank our two shot maximum before a show Garrett
follows his toast up with, “Seriously man, you need to get laid.”
The guys laugh and I actually join in. Jerking off in the small bathroom on the bus is
definitely one of the downsides of touring. I’ve slept with a few girls at some of our stops
but screwing groupies isn’t really my thing. I’m not one to have time for a girlfriend but
I’m also not about to pull my dick out backstage, so it’s been a long six months.
Zane coughs after he slings back the shot and I look at him with concern. “You’re
going to a doctor tomorrow.”
He shakes his head. “Yes, Mom, if you say so.”
“I’m not kidding. Your voice sounds like shit.”
“It’s a fucking cold. I took some medicine. I’ll be fine.”
“Doctor. Tomorrow. I mean it. I’ll have Ena set it up.”
“I can always sing,” Garrett chimes in and I smack the back of his head.
“Hey. I can.”
The lights start to flicker and I look at Zane with that feeling of uneasiness again.
Second time this tour he’s coughing and hacking. We’re screwed if he really gets sick.
He nods at me as I pat him on the back. Slinging his guitar over his shoulder, he heads
out first raising his arm in the air. The crowd goes crazy. The six foot guy is a chick
magnet and no one misses my brother tonight. Garrett heads out next yelling, “Great to
be here Mountain View!” and Nix follows with his trademark nod. Zane skips his normal
charming banter and I know he must be saving his voice. Again, I think about how we’re
fucked if he gets sick.
I stand at the edge of the stage all night until they finally come to their last song. “It
Wasn’t Days Ago,” is a simple but crowd affecting ballad and Zane belts it out. Shouts
from nearly thirty thousand fans call for an encore. Turning away from the microphone
Zane coughs again. Biting his thumbnail he looks over at me and I slice my finger across
my neck.
“One more song for tonight,” he tells the screaming fans and my blood pressure
rises. “This one is a cover, an ‘ode to’ I’ll call it. It’s for Xander Wilde, the band’s
manager and it’s his favorite song. Everyone ready?” As he starts to sing Linkin Park’s
“Iridescent,” I close my eyes and listen. When he hits the chorus his voice gets so low my
eyes snap open. Zane turns to grab a bottle of water while the guys continue to play but I
can tell something isn’t right.
Last night definitely didn’t go as planned—a visit to the ER, then sleeping in a chair
next to Zane all night on the bus because the steroids he was given freaked him out. It’s
noon and Amy and I are just arriving at the Pelican Hill Resort. Breathless was leaving
right after the show last night so Amy had already planned to ride with us and meet up
with them in Irvine. She invited me to some party being thrown by her band’s label that I
would have rather not gone to but Ellie, the tour manager, insisted we all go for the good
I’m exhausted and really need some sleep before dealing with the press and
tomorrow night’s show. The paparazzi have been everywhere—by the bus as we exited to
the waiting car in LA, outside the doctor’s office, at the gates of Zane’s father’s house,
and now they’re here in Irvine at the hotel.
To avoid the chaos awaiting us in the lobby, I call Ellie, who is already here, and ask
her to check me in and meet me at the pool bar with the key. Draping my arm around
Amy, we head that way. I’ve been here a few times so I know my way around. Cutting
through the grotto and over to the pool and cabanas, I steer Amy to the right and stop in
my tracks as all the air rushes from my lungs.
My body floods with adrenaline and my gut twists. I don’t even have to do a double
take because I’d know her anywhere. There’s no mistaking her. She’s just so beautiful—
the elegant planes of her face, those high cheekbones, red lipstick, her platinum blonde
hair shorter than it used to be tucked behind her ear, that face of an angel. She looks the
same. No, she looks better. Her skin glistens in the sun and my gaze automatically
follows the shape of her long legs. They look smooth and tan against her white bathing
suit. An ache forms in my chest as I think about running my fingers up them. She’s still
that eighteen-year-old girl I once knew but now she has the body of a woman—lean and
toned and full of curves. When she moves it’s so familiar it doesn’t seem like a day has
passed—and everything I ever felt for her, it’s all still inside me.
My pulse races at the mere sight of her. She’s lounging in the cushioned chair
reading a magazine just outside a cabana. My heart slams harder in my chest when she
sticks her earphones in her ears like she always used to do and it transports me back to
the last time I saw her do the very same thing. We’d skipped school and were at my
grandparents’ house—their pool. She was lying on the lounge chair listening to music
and singing along—her voice so full of soul. I’d moved to sit with her under the guise of
putting lotion of her back. She sat up and smiled that shy smile she didn’t need to have
when she was with me. I squeezed the tube into my hand and after rubbing them together
I slowly applied it to her back kneading my way up and down, touching every inch of her
that I could.
It brings me back to the here and now when she suddenly sits up and looks over at
me. Her eyes pin me in place. She looks at me as if she remembers me for who I was,
what we were, not what I did to her. With my chest pounding, memories of us keep
flashing through my mind. Fighting a smile, I wonder if she’s thinking the same thing—
remembering what we were, what we shared, how we loved.
She quickly breaks our connection when she averts her eyes over to the man handing
her a drink. I suck in a deep breath trying not to feel sick at the sight. He’s nearing fifty,
wearing a terrycloth robe. He’s about my height, dark brown hair, meticulously groomed
facial hair, and not exactly ripped but fit. He’s Damon Wolf, a man I’ve never actually
met but hate all the same. I’ve seen their picture on TV and in magazines. He’s her agent,
her fiancĂ©, and I’m sure he’s the reason she’s not singing anymore.
She looks up at him with that same forced smile she used to give people she just
wanted to appease and mouths “thank you.” I have a sudden urge to go over and deck
him when her gaze shifts back to mine and he pulls her chin back to look at him. I can
sense a discomfort between them. We could sense each other’s feelings even when we
weren’t near each other.
Amy’s hand slides down my face and I have to blink a few times before I can hear
what she’s saying. Glancing one last time at Ivy I see that she’s staring at me again. Then
suddenly her mouth forms a scowl and she flicks her attention toward him. Hooking her
arm around his neck, she pulls him down for a kiss and I think I might throw up.
“Are you okay?”
I nod. Not able to say a word.
“Isn’t that Ivy Taylor over there? The girl you used to date in high school?” Amy
asks. There’s an irritated tone to her voice I’m not used to hearing and it makes me
“Yeah, it is,” is all I say. She’s not just a girl I used to date…she’s the only girl I
ever really loved. She’s also the girl whose heart I broke. Seeing her now brings back all
those feelings I blocked, ignored, tucked aside. So many times over the years I wanted to
go after her and tell her the truth—but I never did. Why I don’t know. Then one day it
was too late—she had gotten engaged.
Amy chatters on. “I think that’s Damon Wolf with her. We should go say hi.”
My body goes cold and my face blank at the thought. I straighten and just as I’m
about to say, “No fucking way,” my phone vibrates in my pocket. Squinting at the screen,
I see that it’s my brother. I look over to Amy and motion toward the bar. “Hey, this is
River. I need to take it. I’ll meet you over there in a minute.”
“That’s fine. We can catch up with them later. I’ll go order us a drink.” She smiles
and starts toward the bar.
Turning around to avoid staring at Ivy, I answer the phone. “It took you long enough
to call me back.”
“I was in a meeting and stepped out as soon as I could, so don’t start. What did the
doctor say about Zane?”
“He’s out for the rest of the tour and we’re fucked.”
“You sure? You’re back in LA for almost two weeks after tomorrow night right?
Isn’t that enough time for him to heal?”
“Technically yes. But his old man wants him out. The doctor said that he couldn’t be
sure how long the blood that accumulated under his vocal cords had been there but
obviously last night, the amount of ruptured vessels was enough to cause his voice to
change. He advised at least two weeks of rest before another evaluation to see if surgery
is necessary. Zeak wants his son to take a longer period of time off. He’s just afraid that if
Zane keeps singing and it keeps happening, scar tissue will build up and cause his voice
to change forever.”
“Do you blame him?”
“No I don’t,” I tell River and I feel like shit that I have to put him in a position to do
what he didn’t want to do in the first place. But I also know that if I don’t, the band won’t
survive. If I have to cancel this tour—the Wilde Ones are done. So I ask, “Did you talk to
He sighs. “Yeah, I did. She’s cool with it, Xander. I’m just trying to figure it all out.”
“You know I’ll do whatever you need me to do, right?”
“Shit why can’t you just be an ass and make it easy for me to say no?”
“Because you have no idea what this means to me.”
“Actually I do, and that’s why I’m going to make it happen. But Xander, remember I
can’t play a twelve string.”
Laughter and relief take hold of me. I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
“Right now I wouldn’t care if you only played the violin,” I joke.
He laughs and I add, “You’ll be here tonight?”
Now he sounds slightly annoyed. “I said I would. We might be a little late so don’t
get your panties in a wad.”
“That’s cool. Thanks for everything. Hey, one more thing.’
“Ivy Taylor’s here.”
“No way. Have you talked to her?”
“Fuck no. You know she won’t talk to me. And besides she’s with that asshole.”
“You should talk to her. Tell her the truth.”
“What’s that going to do now? She’ll just think I’m lying.”
“You want me to talk to her? I can explain everything.”
“No. I don’t need my little brother to fight my battles. I’ll talk to her if I feel the time
is right. Do you hear me?”
“Whatever you say. Look, I have to run but I want to discuss this later. And
Xander…you don’t know he’s an asshole. Just because Dad said his name once doesn’t
mean shit.”
“Right. Okay, see you tonight,” I say and end the call. My head is spinning knowing
that after all these years I’m actually in the same place she is. I want to talk to her, tell her
everything but what would it matter now anyway. Glancing behind me, I catch another
glimpse of her with him that turns my stomach. He’s such a slime ball. Since his father
was hospitalized and he took over the business, he’s been scooping up labels, tearing
them apart, and rebuilding them with bands he thinks are better fits. My guess is he
picked up Jane’s label—that’s why he’s here. I heard they were having some financial
difficulty and he’s just the kind of bottom feeder that would want to capitalize on not
only being her agent but now also her producer. The sight of him touching Ivy makes my
skin crawl.
Damon Wolf—two of the last words my father ever spoke to me before killing
himself, and I never knew why. Of all the guys in the world Ivy had to end up with him—
why him? I look up and they’re gone. But I’m anything but relieved. Rubbing my chin,
I’m antsy, agitated, pissed as hell, but feel more alive than I have in years.

The Connections Series

   Connected (Connections, #1)  Torn (Connections, #2)  Dazed (Connections, #2.5) Blurred (Connections, #3.5)   Mended (Connections, #3)  Frayed (Connections, #4)
 (covers lead to GoodReads page)
About the author

I live in Florida with my husband and four kids. I've always had a love for reading books and writing. Being an English major in college, I wanted to teach at the college level but that was not to be. I went on to receive an MBA and became a project manager until quitting to raise my family. I currently work part-time with my husband and full-time embracing one of my biggest passions—writing.

I wear a lot of hats! Writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all around go-to person of the family. However, I always find time to read. One of my favorite family outings use to be taking my kids to the bookstore or the library. Today, my oldest child is in college and my twins are juniors so they no longer go with me on these outings. And although I don't need to go to the actual store anymore because I have the greatest device ever invented—a Kindle, I still do. There's nothing like a paperback. So now my four year old and I make dates out of going to the bookstore--it's time I love and cherish.

I like to believe in soulmates, kindred spirits, true friends, and Happily-Ever-Afters. I love to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart. <3

Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads


  1. Your reviews are just awesome. You think of shit I can't begin to put into words. I need to read the first one I bought a while ago...eventually

  2. Andrea, first of all, I love the feel of the new layout. I love the soft colors.
    Anyways, I love books where a couple reconnects after a really long time. I can tell that I'm going to be really mad at Xander, but at the same time, also really fall head over heels in love with him!
    I'm so happy that you loved it and that it exceeded your expectations.
    Lovely review!

  3. I'm happy to hear this doesn't have to be read in order because I haven't read any of this series before, but this sounds awesome!! Great excerpt. And I love this series' covers!!! :)

  4. EEP! Reading this next! I'm excited to see if I fall for Xander. Like you, I wasn't a fan in Connected or even Torn. I think I might after reading your review.

  5. I was just like you! I really wasn't sure how I would react to Xander as the main character but I ended up loving hike this really was a great addition. Great review.

  6. It is great when a character turns out to be more than you expected. Seeing his family and making connections is what its all about

  7. Don't think I will be reading this series anytime soon, you know how I am with these types of stories. Sexy cover arts though and even if there were things you didn't enjoy, it good that this one still managed to enhance the series as a whole.

    P.S. love your new digs

  8. Wonderful review, Andrea! :) Nice to see you could grow to like Xander even when he wasn't your favorite character before. I had a bit of trouble with the first book. I liked it but I didn't love it so I never continued with the series.

  9. love this series! im excited to read it, I can't wait to fall in love all over again with Xander, im sure this would be an amazing book!

  10. yes! I read all the books in this series, I think Zander will be another character that will capture my heart. :)

  11. I haven't started this series yet, Andrea, but I've been meaning to. I love it when an author can make you really dislike a character and then make you love them. (Mankin did that for me with War) I'll have to move this series up on my priority list. I'm really curious about Zander now. Great review, hon!

  12. I have. I have read Connected and LOVED it!! I have the rest of the series on my TBR. Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. Not yet, but it's high on my TBR!

  14. Have not started yet, next up on TBR list.

  15. I actually have not, but i'm very looking forward to reading it! Thank you! :)

  16. I've always like Xander. I'm so excited to read his story and now knowing it's from his POV, makes it even better for me. YAY

  17. Have not yet but looks very good.


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