TWO EBOOKS UP FOR GRABS!!!
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You don’t choose when.
You don’t choose where.
And you don’t get to choose who you fall in love with.
The minute he opened his sexy mouth, Holliday Hughes should have known Jack Dalton was trouble. His smooth pickup lines, broad shoulders, and ridiculously handsome face charmed her right out of her clothes. She gave into her desires, the instant attraction blinding her to the obvious.
One night. That was all it took for Holliday’s world to be flipped on its axis. Jack Dalton was cocky. Smug. Volatile. Demanding. He ignited something deep inside her like no other, but there was something more to this brooding bad boy. There was a dark side to him she couldn’t help but be drawn to.
Torn between what she knew about him and a mysterious side he tried to hide, could she walk away or was he simply too hard to resist?
Wait. Don’t go. Stay. Whether we have sex or not, I just want your company.” His expression appears sincere, but he seems to have several sides to him.
With my back against the door, I keep my eyes on his. “Look. I don’t sleep around… much. But I have slept with someone just because it was Wednesday.” I shrug. “So I’m not innocent over here, but I work hard and I have a pretty crappy social life because of it. Sometimes it’s nice to feel a warm touch that vibrates with excitement instead of a cold one that’s battery-operated.” I step forward as if I owe him more, more of an explanation, or more of me, I’m not sure. “Judge me if you must, but I’m in Vegas and now officially on vacation. And despite what you may think, I’ve only had the one drink so far today, so I’m not drunk. I’m a grown woman who appreciates a handsome face and the artistry of a tattoo that has meaning to the person wearing it. I actually thought we’d have dinner and a good time. All that came from somewhere pure, somewhere that now feels dirty, a little tainted. So I’m going now and if one day you find yourself not so lost in Los Angeles, you know my information.”
I don’t wait for a response or apology. I don’t know Dalton well enough to know if he’d offer one anyway. So I go without looking back, passing the room service waiter on the way, and hop in an elevator that’s for the exclusive use of the two penthouses.
Half expecting to hear him call after me, my finger hovers over the Lobby button, but I count to ten and when I don’t hear anything, I push it. The doors start to close when a hand reaches in, stopping them. Dalton peeks around the corner with a big smile in place, and says, “Can we start over? Stay for dinner?”
“Because I like you. I like your honesty and I don’t get much honesty in my line of work.”
“You’re an undercover narc. Of course you don’t get much honesty. Isn’t that why you got into the business?”
A sly smile crosses his face, revealing a small dimple in his cheek. A light sparks from within, reflecting in his eyes, and with a nod of his head, he says, “Come back. I’ll feed you and give you the sex you came up here for. Because it’s a Friday and while Friday may not be hump day, it’s still a damn good day of the week.”
My mouth drops open. “The sex? You’ll give me the sex because it’s Friday?” I roll my eyes while huffing, and then push the lobby button twice.
Stepping inside, he blocks the doors from closing and a buzz is heard from overhead. With his arms stretched wide, he looks into my eyes. “No. I mean, if you want the food that’s currently getting cold inside, you can have it. If you want to have sex, let’s fuck. You can have anything you want.”
The elevator starts buzzing even louder, escalating its level of warning. Dalton spreads his feet apart to hold the doors open and reaches for me. “I’ll even call you Holli since that’s what you prefer.”
He’s sexy and when he’s flirting with me, even sexier. I can’t give in too easily though. I should make a few ground rules, or at least one. “I’ll only come back on one condition.”
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It’s here!!! Football Friday!!!
Today is Silas Moore and Levi Abrams’ Day!
Are you ready to meet the BAD BOYS of All Lined Up???
*** First Up – Silas Moore ***
Silas is the first college boy our girl Dallas notices. He is HOT, he is flirty, and she is definitely interested. Until she overhears his conversation with his fellow teammate and other BAD BOY Levi. Uh yeah, things get interesting from there. Good guy? Maybe? Or maybe not. Silas is sort of mysterious character. We see several different sides of him and I, for one, cannot wait for more from him in the second installment of the Rusk University Series ALL BROKE DOWN coming soon!
*** Next Up ~ Levi Abrams ***
Levi is your typical jock…starting quarterback for the Rusk University Wildcats, good looking, and in this case, a major douchebag! He also happens to be Dallas’ ex-boyfriend. From the moment he is introduced you know the is just a certified jerk. He plays a pretty significant role in All Lined Up whether we want to see him or not! My question is…will we see him again???
This new series by Cora Carmack is fantastic!!! A college romance set around football???
This Texas Girl is IN LOVE!!!
** About All Lined Up **
Author: Cora Carmack
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 13, 2014
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.
In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.
Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.
But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.
Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.
Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.
And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller
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** Posted by Yesi **
** Follow the Rusk University Street Team Members **
Amber at Grown Up Fangirl: http://www.grownupfangirl.com/
Kaitlin at Between Order and Randomness: https://www.kaitlanolivia.blogspot.com/
Momo at Books Over Boys: http://booksoverboys.blogspot.com/
Yvette at Nose Stuck in a Book: http://ycervera.blogspot.com/
Kim at Kimberly Faye Reads: http://www.kimberlyfayereads.com/
Stephanie at Smart and Savvy with Stephanie: http://smartsavvysteph.blogspot.com/
Krista at Krista’s Dust Jacket: http://kristasdustjacket.blogspot.com/
Andy at Owl Always Be Reading: http://www.owlalwaysbereading.com/
Ethan at One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads: http://oneguysguidetogoodreads.blogspot.com/
LIVE YOUNG. LIVE HARD. LOVE DEEP.
Charley and Jake’s story concludes in Out of the Shallows…
Somehow, after everything they’ve been through, Jake Caplin and Charley Redford made their way back to one another. But finding each other and staying together are two completely different things.
When Charley’s world is flipped upside down, she begins to question the choices and decisions she’s made since her arrival in Edinburgh, and in an effort to grip onto what she holds most dear she believes she must sacrifice her love for Jake.
Returning to the States for her senior year, Charley struggles to find peace and happiness. While everyone else seems to be finding themselves in college, Charley is terrified that, along with almost everything else that’s important to her, she’s lost herself.
While friends and family deal with their own tumultuous lives, there is one person resolved to uncover the reason behind Charley’s sudden defection and unhappiness. Refusing to give up without a fight, Jake believes he is the only one who can truly understand what Charley is going through, and this time he’s determined to prove he’s there for her no matter what obstacles are thrown in their way.
However, as Charley strives to make it through the biggest personal journey of her life thus far, there is no guarantee that the woman she is becoming will still need Jake as much as the girl she once was did…
*** Yesi’s Review ***
4 out of 5 stars
This was by far one of my most anticipated books for 2014 so when I finally got it in my hands I immediately began reading. Once I started, I did not put it down and at 3am my eyes were droopy, but my heart was racing and my mind was blown! That is all on Samantha Young. She is a storyteller like no other. She brings so much depth to her characters and her writing style is brilliant. Jake and Charley are two very complex characters and she brings them to life beautifully in this series. When she released the official blurb I knew in that instant that this book was going to take me on an emotional ride and that my heart was going to hurt along the way. At the time, I just didn’t know how much.
“We love each other so we can hurt each other, but I am making a promise to do everything I can not to hurt you again. I want that promise from you.”
Hmmm…yeah…hurting they did and hurting I was. At the end of Into the Deep we are left with Charley and Jake in a somewhat happy state. They are together and are in love. Yes, there is hesitation on Charley’s part and she was totally in her right. So when Out of the Shallows begins I have to say that I was shocked at where they were at that particular stage in their life and relationship. I will admit that I did not see this storyline coming but whether it is what I wished for or not, it was told in such a way that I was immediately sucked in. I wanted to know why and how this could be. I could not read fast enough. Just like Into the Deep, OOTS goes back and forth between the past and the present and if I thought book 1 was full angst, it had nothing on this one. My heart just ached but there was promise that by the end it would be fully healed.
“It sucks at first, but it gets better.”
For me, this sums up exactly how I was feeling about Charley and Jake throughout this book. I loved Charley but I wanted to shake her and smack some sense into her. I questioned the choices she was making. I loved Jake and as much as I wanted him to grovel in this one, I think he got it much worse. The one thing that was never in question was their love for one another and that made me happy even during the tough times. This story will simply consume your life in the time that you are reading. There is so much to love about it and there is so much to feel sad about too. The times that Jake and Charley are together are beautiful and sexy as hell. The times that they are apart are sad and almost anger inducing. Such an emotional roller coaster and I cannot rave enough about how the story was brought to life. Samantha Young has once again made me fall in love with the two leading characters but also with their friends. Beck and Claudia are scene stealers in this one but in such a good way. Lowe, he still has my heart and I will hold out hope for his own story to be written. Actually, all the men from The Stolen deserve their own HEA. So my recommendation would be to go into this book with an open mind, with full trust that Samantha Young will give her characters the ending they deserve, and with the notion that a great story will be told in a magnificent manner.
“I will never love anyone the way I love you. You’re part of me. You make me feel like I can be anyone, do anything… but you also have the ability to make me feel weak. You have the ability to crush me like no one else can.”
I couldn’t actually dispute any of that, which made me even more pissed, hurt, defensive, scared and … confused.
I started to shiver. “I … I can’t do this.” I turned away.
I hadn’t taken two steps when I felt his hand wrap around my wrist. Jake tugged me, forcefully, pulling me around so I stumbled into his chest. His lips crashed down on mine, his kiss hungry, desperate, angry …
For a moment I forgot everything else but the hard pressure of his mouth on mine, the smell of his cologne, the feel of his body. I was surrounded.
And I let it happen.
His lips moved from my mouth to my chin, along my jaw, as his hand slid up my waist, his thumb just grazing my breast. I sighed, my body arching into his. I was hot. Hot and wanting. Nothing else mattered but the way I felt when he touched me.
His voice was ragged in my ear. “I’ve missed you so much. I love you so fucking much.” He squeezed my waist and pulled me closer, his mouth reaching for mine again but those three little words had broken through the spell of lust created by Jake’s proximity and the four beers I’d had.
“Stop,” I whispered, pushing gently on his chest.
^^^ click to listen ^^^
OUT OF THE SHALLOWS
Wake Me Up – Avicii
Give it All Up – Amy Macdonald
Of the Night – Bastille
Hey Brother – Avicii
No Angel – Birdy
Flying Machine – Everly
Hear Me – Imagine Dragons
Parade – Matchbox Twenty
Artificial Nocturne – Metric
Runaway – The National
Say Goodbye – Olin & the Moon
Almost Everything – Wakey!Wakey!
Life in a Beautiful Light – Amy Macdonald
Book 1 in the Series – Into the Deep
Charley Redford was just an ordinary girl until Jake Caplin moved to her small town in Indiana and convinced her she was extraordinary. Almost from day one Jake pulled Charley into the deep and promised he was right there with her. But when a tragic incident darkened Jake’s life he waded out into the shallows and left Charley behind.
Almost four years later Charley thinks she’s moved on. That is until she takes a study year abroad in Edinburgh and bumps into none other than Jake Caplin at a party with his new girlfriend. The bad-boy-turned-good attempts to convince Charley to forgive him, and as her best friend starts spending time with Jake’s, Charley calls a truce, only to find herself tumbling back into a friendship with him.
As they grow closer, the spark between them flares and begins playing havoc with their lives and relationships. When jealousy and longing rear their destructive heads, Charley and Jake struggle to come to grips with what they mean to one another.
And even if they work it out, there is no guarantee Charley will ever trust Jake to lead her back into the deep…
^^^ click to listen ^^^
INTO THE DEEP
Pearl Jam – Black
Adele – Don’t You Remember
Biffy Clyro – The Thaw
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
Amy MacDonald – Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over
Florence + the Machine – Never Let Me Go
The Killers – Miss Atomic Bomb
Rihanna – Russian Roulette
Biffy Clyro – Skylight
Amy MacDonald – Troubled Soul
The Killers – Here With Me
Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. She’s been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and Best Romance for her international bestselling novel ON DUBLIN STREET. ON DUBLIN STREET is Samantha’s first adult contemporary romance and has been sold in twenty six countries.
Author: M.A. DeOlmos
Genre: New Adult 18+
Publication Date: December 3, 2013
Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.
~ Synopsis ~
My name is Livie Marie Acosta. I am a firm believer that childhood memories are supposed to be happy, joyous, and beautiful. I also believe everyone else in life has just that… except for me, of course.
I came close to having that once with
my own family. I had a loving mother that treated me like her little princess. My father was, and still is, the biggest support system in my life, but even his love isn’t enough for me at times. I would have been a proud big sister at the age of seven, but Antonio Jr. was torn away from us before he was even born.
I was destined to be alone and hurt, both emotionally and physically scarred.
The only skeletons that remained of my once happy family was a father I adored, but who lived hundreds of miles away, and a mother whom I had spent most of my own life saving from her demons.
Like many people, they are scarred so deep that when they bleed, it is a reminder that they are still human.
I have a secret. A secret only I know about. I keep my secret well, and keep it hidden from the peeping eyes of the world.
At least I tried… that is until two angels barged into my life, and into my scattered heart. Their presence in my life spun me on my heels, turning my world yet again upside down, and right side up all at the same time.
What I find could either save me, or finally push me over the edge.
Here is my story…
Click the Graphic for Participating Blogs!
~ Excerpt ~
“Don’t call me that.” I screamed back as I stormed out of his bedroom towards the living room. As I turned the sharp corner to give him a rather large piece of my mind for calling me by my birth name, I tripped over my feet and collided with a body. Only this body wasn’t Law’s, I felt the distinction instantly. This massive rock hard frame sent chills through my entire body and had my womb vibrating in a way I’ve never experienced before. I’ve pleasured myself but this was a thousand times more intense. “Hey slow down Zena.” The voice spoke to me and I swear I was about to have a massive orgasm any second.
The strangers strong and beautifully built arms came up and he steadied me with his hands on my shoulders. The current that was racing through my body jacked up a million fucking notches. Since my off the shoulder top was hanging dangerously low, the skin-to-skin contact was making me dizzy. I squeezed my knees together to fight for some form of control over my pussy. I looked up at the stranger who was also the same height as Law at about six foot two or maybe three. His tan was perfect defining his sharp jaw and facial features. His eyes were a warm milk chocolate brown that looked like they were rippling with deep sprinkles of green. His lips, oh my god his lips. He had those Tom Hardy lips that a girl just wanted to kiss, bite, suck, nip, and just do dirty things to. The right side of his mouth turned up into a smirk and the leaky faucet between my thighs finally sprung a massive panty-drenching leak. This gorgeous man standing in front of me looked like the best of Stephen Amell, Jon Ryan, Alex Pettyfer, and Tom Hardy all rolled up into one fucking dangerous beast.
His shoulders where wide and broad great for boxing. His torso reminded me of Law’s, long, lean, and well defined. He had on a black fitted T that was stretching to the max over his sculpted muscles and his dark denim Abercrombie jeans where dangerously low showing off the tips of his boxer briefs. “You okay Zena?” The deep voice asked again. Even his voice was too sexy to be legal. It sounded bad enough to be bottled up and sold as an illegal substance. It was deep and rumbled as he rolled the words off of those juicy lips. Shaking my head to clear away the spell I allowed myself to be pulled under I looked up into his eyes.
“The names Livie not Zena, and you are?” I didn’t mean to sound so bitchy but no one in the history of my life had been able to bring out that strong of a reaction out of me and my lady parts. Virgin lady parts at that! “I know I heard you yelling at Law for calling you Livie, is there something I’m missing?” he asked me as he leaned forwarded causing me to take an awkward step back. What the hell, I never back down from anyone! This sexy son of a bitch was pissing me off. “I don’t care what you heard. To you its Livie and to Law its Sunshine! You don’t need to know why and I don’t care to share why. Don’t call me Zena again!”
“I see you two have met.” I heard Law say from the hallway. The frown on his face and the way he was staring down this stranger put me at ease a little. He caught my gaze and winked at me. “Sunshine this here arrogant douche bag is my cousin Ocean Nathanial Hawthorne.”
~ About the Author ~
My name is Melissa DeOlmos, a newbie to the world of indie writing. I live in sunny side Palm Bay, Florida with my two lovely crazies ages five and two, along with my Law Enforcement champ of a husband. I could say that writing novels has been a passion that I’ve always pursued, but I can’t.
Writing for me has always been my own secret escape into a land of wonders, opportunities; loves and so much trouble that I sometimes wonder if I need medication for the stories that pop into my head. I am now deciding to share my mystical mind and stories with the world, so that hopefully others may also find that little something extra they’ve been looking for. Thank you and I hope you enjoy my books.
$10 Amazon Gift Card
Title: Coming Home
Author: Priscilla Glenn
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: January 20, 2014
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Event Organized By: AToMR
~Michelle’s 5-Star Review ~
“Traditions are good. They help keep memories alive.”
Priscilla Glenn falls into a certain category of authors–I will read ANYTHING she writes because I know it will be a fantastic read and perfectly edited! She’s an English teacher for heaven’s sake, and she can write those scenes that make me feel like I’m in the story, and I can feel exactly each and every emotion that I’m reading. (Do you remember the piano playing scene from Emancipating Andie? Holy hotness and sweet emotion! ) Well, Priscilla is now three out of three for me! She knocked this one out of the park with a grand slam. :)
I typically do not read teasers for upcoming novels (as I do like to be surprised) and hadn’t even read the synopsis for Coming Home. So it wasn’t until I was twenty-five percent into the book (and curious) when I finally went back and read the synopsis. (Again, that proves to you that I will read anything she writes.)
At this point in the story Leah was on the phone with Danny and they were asking each other questions. I remember having a wicked grin on my face the entire time. I felt like a teenager again enjoying the “getting to know” you period. I was so vested in Danny and Leah’s story already, and there was no going back. Of course, I was very curious about Danny’s secret and his intentions at this stage of the book. (Did I mention that I literally laid in bed ALL day reading and put everything and everyone on hold?)
Coming Home is written in third-person point of view, which is great because I felt every emotion that Danny and Leah experienced. I laughed, I cried, I smiled, and I mourned throughout Coming Home. Priscilla included quite a bit of humor in this book, which was a welcome change. Leah had a great relationship with her family, and they were constantly teasing one another. Once again, I felt like I was part of the family and my heart was full with that familiar feeling of being loved and having family to count on no matter what.
Leah is so refreshing to read because she is a confident woman, and she doesn’t have too much of a problem telling Danny what she is thinking or what she wants. Oh, can I tell you how much I enjoyed her character? I seriously want to just hang out with her, especially at the Cheesecake Factory or a bar. :)
“I don’t mind a little disappointment now and then. It just means you’ve got high standards. I’d rather shoot high and be disappointed sometimes than just live in the middle with the illusion of being satisfied.”
And when she laid her head back down on his chest, he rested his cheek against her hair and closed his eyes, wondering if there would ever be a man on this planet who was worthy of her.”
“So if something seems too hard, princess, before you throw in the towel, you should always ask yourself, ‘Will the reward be worth the suffering.’”
Danny DeLuca (gosh, I love saying his name) is no doubt going to make the list of top book boyfriends. He is sexy, complex, wishy washy, but he is honorable and has his reasons for the way he acts. Yes, he has a secret. He has a past, and he is his own worst enemy.
The hurt will be temporary, she reminded herself as his lips moved against hers. This is the forever.
In addition to Leah and Danny and their families, Priscilla has included their best friends as well. And once again, their scenes are some of the best, both funny and heartbreaking.
If you are a fan of Colleen Hoover’s writing, I encourage you to pick up Coming Home, especially if you have never read a book written by Priscilla Glenn. There were two scenes in particular that I honestly thought were written by Colleen. Yes, that is one hell of a compliment, which tells you how great this book is. Coming Home will no doubt sit on my shelf of Top 10 Reads for 2014!
“I just…I want you to know that no matter what happens, I know you, Danny,” she said. “I know who you really are.”
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book directly from the author. I was not paid to read or review this book. All opinions are my own, and I was never influenced by anything or anyone.
~Author’s Take on Danny DeLuca ~
By Priscilla Glenn
Danny DeLuca is “the perfect combination of cute, but sexy. Pretty, but rugged. Exuding a gentleness, but at the same time, radiating a raw sex appeal.” He’s described as tall with black hair, and eyes that are “shockingly blue” against the dark tone of his hair. And the cherry on top? A pair of dimples that make Leah feel like her veins are full of helium whenever they appear. When he’s not working underneath a car and cursing like a sailor, he’s taking care of Gram and apologizing for his friend’s crude behavior. He is a walking, talking, delicious dichotomy.
Danny is passionate about everything he does; he works hard, fights harder, and loves with his entire being. He can be moody and unpredictable at times, but he is extremely loyal to those he cares about and will do anything to protect them or make them happy, even if he suffers as a result. There are events in his life he’s still struggling to move on from, but despite his traumatic experiences, he has managed to maintain a level of sensitivity and kindness. (Although, you’d be remiss to mistake his kindness for weakness.)
Unknown fact about Danny: When I first wrote Coming Home, it was done in first-person point of view with Leah as the narrator. It wasn’t until I went back and gave it an overhaul that Danny’s point of view made an appearance, and holy hell, there was so much he wanted me to know about him. I totally fell for him while writing his perspective, which in turn gave me a deeper understanding of Leah.
~About the Author ~
Priscilla Glenn lives in New York with her husband and three children. She has been teaching English at the middle and high school levels for the past twelve years while moonlighting as a writer, mom, coach, student, and professional laundry-doer.If you catch her when she’s feeling sophisticated, she’ll tell you her favorite things are great books and good wine. In the moments in between, she’ll admit her love for anything Ben and Jerry’s, UFC fights, and Robert Pattinson. Glenn is also the author of the contemporary romance novels Back to You, and Emancipating Andie.
The Inspiration for the Spiral of Bliss Series
At the risk of sounding rather nutty, I can say with complete honesty that the inspiration for Liv and Dean’s story came from Liv herself.
One afternoon in July 2011, I sat down at my computer to write a short, erotic story that I was planning to self-publish. I didn’t have much of an idea in mind, except I thought that if I wrote about a woman who was trying to get pregnant, that would certainly leave plenty of room for sex scenes.
But when I started writing, Olivia West walked right into my head and started talking to me. To this day, I have no idea where she came from. I don’t know anyone like her, she’s not based on anyone I know or even any other fictional characters I’m aware of. Instead she just emerged, fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus, with all her hopes, dreams, insecurities, wishes, doubts, and fears.
I initially wrote the book in a diary format, as if Liv was keeping a journal of her thoughts, and the first draft started with her introducing herself as “My name is Olivia West. I’m medium-height, with long dark hair… etc.” (later, I realized she was introducing herself to ME). So Liv is really the one who drove the story from the very beginning. In some ways, I feel like I was just going along for the ride.
As the story progressed, I became both consciously and unconsciously inspired by some of my favorite stories and themes—the idea of journeys and returning home in Alice in Wonderland, The Little House on the Prairie series, the Wizard of Oz, and themes of true love and betrayal in Gone with the Wind.
I also found a great deal of inspiration in classic fairy tales with motifs of defeating evil and finding your way through dark forests, as well as medieval legends about chivalry and the codes of honor that Dean represents.
And of course, the theme that inspired me the most was that of a couple so devoted to each other and so deeply in love that they will fight any battle to stay together.
The beautiful Spiral of Bliss covers were painstakingly designed by Victoria Colotta of VMC Art & Design. When Victoria and I discussed imagery for the new covers, we decided to create something more unique and “outside the box” than the previous covers of sexy couples.
She and I also both wanted the covers to have a progression, with the first cover representing Liv, the second Dean, and the third cover symbolizing them together. One of the reasons I love the covers so much is that they are so tied to the story and characters.
The cover for AROUSE, a flower in a nest, represents Liv on so many levels—her love of gardening, her desire for a home/nest and family of her own, her fragility, and her hope of blossoming into the woman she wants to be.
The cover of ALLURE, books and a butterfly, is equally tied to Dean. The books represent his intelligence and love of scholarship, while the butterfly symbolizes his struggle to let Liv take flight while wanting to protect her. The butterfly is also an allusion to Liv and Dean’s conversation in ALLURE about the monarch butterflies of Pacific Grove who always return home.
The AWAKEN cover of two antique keys and hydrangea flowers represents both Liv and Dean. The keys allude to the conversation in AROUSE about everyone having a “key” to unlocking their secrets. Liv soon realizes that Dean is her key, but together they have to fight through the consequences of unlocked, destructive secrets.
I also discovered that hydrangeas symbolize “heartfelt emotion” and are the “4th anniversary flower.” In AWAKEN, Liv and Dean celebrate their fourth anniversary as a married couple, and they certainly do have a great deal of heartfelt emotion!
Finally, the color progression on the three covers represents Liv and Dean’s unity and reconciliation:
red + blue = purple
Arouse + Allure = Awaken
Liv + Dean = togetherness.
I’m so grateful to Victoria for designing such beautiful and emblematic covers—I could not be more thrilled that Liv and Dean’s story is so perfectly packaged.
The Spiral of Bliss Symbolism
When I started writing the Spiral of Bliss series, I didn’t set out to incorporate themes of home, courage, friendship, and finding your way. Those ideas grew organically as Liv and Dean’s story evolved, though early on I had the sense that Liv was a lot like Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.
Once I realized I was writing about a woman who was trying to find her way home after traveling on strange, twisting roads and battling scary creatures, I made the symbolism a more intrinsic part of the story.
In all three books, there are many allusions to characters in Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. Here are just a few:
- Mirror Lake = reference to “Through the Looking Glass”
- Emerald, Ruby, and Poppy Streets = Emerald City, the ruby slippers, the poppy field
- Avalon Street = mystical island in Arthurian legend and the place where King Arthur’s sword Excalibur was forged
- Maggie Hamilton = Margaret Hamilton, the actress who played the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz movie
- Helen Morgan = Morgan le Fay, the sorceress in the Arthurian legend
- Kelsey March = March Hare in Alice in Wonderland
- Allie Lyons = Cowardly Lion in Wizard
- Professor Marvel = the magician/peddler in the B&W part of the Wizard of Oz movie, who is later the Wizard himself
- Crystal Winter = the witch’s crystal ball
- North = The Good Witch of the North
The symbolic themes of the books relate to Liv’s difficult past and her struggles in a strange, frightening world of uncertainty. Although she has found a safe haven with her husband, she still has to try and find her own path and a way “home.”
Along the way, Liv establishes her own friends and support system, and eventually has to figure out exactly what “home” means to her. In the midst of her journey, Dean is like the wizard, fighting to give Liv everything she wants and needs while hiding his own flaws. They both have to discover in different ways that they each have power and strength within themselves.
The Awaken Symbolism
From the beginning, Olivia West is a woman who is trying to find her way, just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. Liv wants to believe she’s strong and capable, but her life’s experiences have thwarted her efforts. As she says, “The ground has always shifted beneath my feet. I’ve had a hard time planting myself firmly on it, figuring out in which direction I should or even could grow.”
After making her way through the twisted, confusing path of her childhood, Liv found a safe haven in her husband. For years, Dean has been Liv’s rock, her port in the storm, but she soon realizes that her need to be nurtured and cared for has made her lose sight of who she is and what she wants.
So Awaken is in part about Liv’s journey, like her compatriots Dorothy and Alice, not only to find her way home again, but also to discover her own strength and power. And we learn about her “Good Witch of the North,” a man named North who helps her along the way, and Liv’s need to defeat her own personal version of the Wicked Witch of the West.
The Wizard of Oz and Wonderland themes come to fruition in AWAKEN, as Liv both finds solidarity with her friends and learns to stand on her own. Also, Dean has to figure out his own way through the chivalric code of honor that he has always tried so hard to follow—but navigating the tenets of duty, faith, and sacrifice prove more difficult than he imagined.
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances and spicy erotica. Originally from California, she loves traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Nina also spent many years in graduate school studying art history and library sciences.
Although she would go back for another degree if she could because she’s that much of a bookworm, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer. Nina’s novel The Erotic Dark hit #1 on Amazon’s Erotica Bestseller list, and Allure is a USA Today Bestseller.